#26 Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer. This was something Bri picked up and put in my stack of books that I should read. It was an okay book. It wasn't a book that I couldn't put down. "Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips, who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker. At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school."
#27 Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer. This book was recommended by one of the girls who works the desk at the pool. We always talk about what we are reading when she is up there. She said Nancy Thayer books were "to old for her" but she enjoys them. That statement alone made me feel about 120! Anyway, here's the GoodReads synopsis: "Heat Wave tells the moving story of a woman who, after her seemingly perfect life unravels, must find the strength to live and love again.
Making the startling discovery that her family finances are in dire straits is only the latest shock endured by Carley Winsted after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack. Resisting her in-laws’ well-meaning overtures to take in Carley and her two daughters, the young widow instead devises a plan to keep her family in their beloved home, a grand historic house on the island of Nantucket."
#28 The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. This book was featured in Entertainment Weekly at the beginning of the summer. I put hold requests on the ones that looked to be good reads. This book was good, but dragged. Here's the synopsis: "Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever."
#29 Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison. This was pretty good book. I have read another book by this author earlier. Here's the synopsis: "Twenty years ago, Allie Denty was the pretty one and her best friend Olivia Pelham was the smart one. Throughout high school, they were inseparable…until a vicious rumor about Olivia— a rumor too close to the truth—ended their friendship. Now, on the eve of their twentieth high school reunion, Allie, a temp worker, finds herself suddenly single, a little chubby, and feeling old. Olivia, a cool and successful magazine beauty editor in New York, realizes she’s lonely, and is finally ready to face her demons."
#30 Insurgent by Victoria Roth This is the sequel to Divergent. It was good, but not as good as Divergent. Now I have to wait until October to read the last one! "One choice can transform you, or destroy you. Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love."
#31 Islands by Anne Rivers Siddons. This book was a hard dragging read. It took me forever to read this, over a week. Here's the synopsis: "Anny Butler is a caretaker, a nurturer, first for her own brothers and sisters, and then as a director of an agency devoted to the welfare of children. What she has never had is a real family. That changes when she meets and marries Lewis Aiken, an exuberant surgeon fifteen years older than Anny. When they marry, she finds her family—not a traditional one, but a group of Charleston childhood friends who are inseparable, who are one another's surrogate family. They are called the Scrubs, and they all, in some way, have the common cord of family. Bad things begin to happen—a hurricane, a fire, deaths—but still the remaining Scrubs cling together. They are watched over and bolstered by Camilla Curry, the heart and core of their group, always the healer. Anny herself allows Camilla to enfold and to care for her. It is the first time she has felt this kind of love and support."
#32 Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris. The last of the Sookie Stackhouse books. I was kind of sad to see this series end, but honestly there is only so much one person can endure and I think Sookie has endured it all! From GoodReads: "Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated. Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime. But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough..."
#33 The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer. This was a fun lazy day read. Here's what GoodReads has to say: "Nola Devlin has a secret identity. By day she is an overweight, frumpy, and overlooked editor, but by night she slips behind her keyboard and into her alter ego: Belinda Apple. Belinda is thin, gorgeous, and the author of a glamorous advice column, "OnBeing Fab!" Not even Nola's two best friends or her jealous sister (who worships Belinda as the "sister she never had") know her secret. Nola is shocked when Belinda receives a desperate letter from Deb, her best friend and former cheerleading captain, now also overweight and depressed. Nola resolves to help her friend, and together with their pal Nancy, the trio form the "Cinderella Pact" a promise to be their own fairy- godmothers and help change one another for good. But things don't turn out the way the three friends expect. Deb's formerly devoted husband drifts further away with every pound she loses, while Nola finds herself caught between a crush on her dreamy boss and the attentions of a charming British reporter. But which of them loves the real Nola? Only when her secret identity is revealed will she find out which man is right for her, and if her two best friends can forgive her deception."
#34 Sisters, Ink by Rebeca Seitz. This was a good book. It's another one of those I was walking through the library and thought it looked interesting books. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads: "At the center of the creativity and humor are four unlikely young adult sisters, each separately adopted during early childhood into the loving home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair. Ten years after their mother Marilyn has died, the multi-racial Sinclair sisters (Meg, Kendra, Tandy, and Joy) still return to her converted attic scrapping studio in the small town of Stars Hill, Tennessee, to encourage each other through life’s highs and lows. Book one spotlights headstrong Tandy, a successful yet haunted attorney now living back in Orlando where she spent the first eight years of her life on the streets as a junkie’s kid. When a suddenly enforced leave of absence at work leads her to an extended visit with her sisters in Stars Hill, a business opportunity, rekindled romance, and fresh understanding of God’s will soon follow."
It's been so long since this list has been updated. Here goes:
#35 Scrapping Plans by Rebeca Seitz. "Scrapping Plans is book three in the SISTERS, INK series of novels for women. At the heart of each story are four unlikely sisters, each separately adopted into the loving home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair where they still meet as adults in their late mother’s attic to work on scrapbook projects and work through life together. The focus moves now to youngest sister Joy who was adopted from China as an infant. Always the quiet one, she and her husband’s struggle with infertility is being drowned out by sister Kendra’s wedding day, her daddy’s new romance, and another Sinclair sister who may see that double pink line on a pregnancy test before Joy does."
#36 Eighteen Acres by Nicolle Wallace. I really liked this book! "Eighteen Acres, a description used by political insiders when referring to the White House complex, follows the first female President of the United States, Charlotte Kramer, and her staff as they take on dangerous threats from abroad and within her very own cabinet. Charlotte Kramer, the 45th US President, Melanie Kingston, the White House chief of staff, and Dale Smith, a White House correspondent for one of the networks are all working tirelessly on Charlotte’s campaign for re-election. At the very moment when they should have been securing success, though, Kramer’s White House implodes under rumors of her husband’s infidelity and grave errors of judgment on the part of her closest national security advisor. In an upheaval that threatens not only the presidency, but the safety of the American people, Charlotte must fight to regain her footing and protect the the country she has given her life to serving."
#37 The Heist by Janet Evanovich. "FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.
#38 Dust by Patricia Cornwell. Ugh! Why don't I just give up on this series. The Scarpetta novels used to hold my attention and keep me glued. Now it's like walking through glue to get finished with them. "A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy. At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipton, but she’s covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluoresces brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don’t want the killer caught. "
#39 The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank. "Leslie Anne Greene Carter is the last original wife among her husband's group of cronies. They've all traded in their first wives-the middle-aged women they long ago promised to love and cherish 'til death did them part-for riper peaches: younger . . . blonder . . . more enhanced models. Leslie is proud of her status and the longevity of her marriage. Sure the spark isn't quite as bright and sometimes takes a little longer to flame. And it wouldn't be too much to ask if her husband paid just an itty bit more attention to her desires. But there's something to be said for a comfortable and deeply familiar relationship. Or at least she thinks until the day, out golfing with her husband and his friends, she slips into a manhole. And nobody realizes that she's gone."
#40 Life After Life by Jill McCorkle. I realize I have already read a book with this title, but it's two totally different books and different authors. It was a little hard to get through and ended abruptly. "Jill McCorkle s first novel in seventeen years is alive with the daily triumphs and challenges of the residents and staff of Pine Haven Estates, a retirement facility, which is now home to a good many of Fulton, North Carolina s older citizens. Among them, third-grade teacher Sadie Randolph, who has taught every child in town and believes we are all eight years old in our hearts; Stanley Stone, once Fulton s most prominent lawyer, now feigning dementia to escape life with his son; Marge Walker, the town s self-appointed conveyor of social status who keeps a scrapbook of every local murder and heinous crime; and Rachel Silverman, recently widowed, whose decision to leave her Massachusetts home and settle in Fulton is a mystery to everyone but her. C.J., the pierced and tattooed young mother who runs the beauty shop, and Joanna, the hospice volunteer who discovers that her path to a good life lies with helping folks achieve good deaths, are two of the staff on whom the residents depend."
#41 The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi. This is one of those books that the title caught my attention as I was talking through the library, so I added it to my stack! This happens often. Here's the synopsis: "As soon as he arrives in Lambert's Corner, Dodge falls happily into the whirl of gossip, gifts, and quintessential Southern hospitality. Link Kay, one of his employees, warms up to him after Dodge admires his expertise on pens. Bean Hurt- a feisty and outspoken ten-year-old-becomes a fast friend. And Maude Golden, the mayor, supplies him with indispensable information. But the one person who really catches Dodge's eye is Julia Darrow-the beautiful but aloof pajama- wearing owner of the Cocoon, a popular store specializing in luxury linens. Dodge tries to befriend her, but she remains elusive and mysterious. Everyone knows that she is a widow, but no one seems to know why she came to town or why she never leaves Lambert Square-or does she?
Like Dodge, Chicago-born Julia is fleeing a tumultuous past. But with the help of a hilarious and endearing cast of characters, Julia and Dodge learn that, sometimes, you don't need to go far to find home."
#42 The Bible. I read it in a year thanks to the YouVersion app on my phone. The app breaks it down into a couple verses a day. I would turn it on and listen to it when I was in the car, either driving or sitting a car line.
#43 Chasing Harry Winston by Laura Weisberger. This was a boring book for me! It took me a while to get through it. GoodReads doesn't even have a summary for it! Don't know what that says about the book itself. I wouldn't recommend it though.
#44 Full of Grace by Dorothea Benton Frank. This book was a much better book than the ones I have been reading lately. It was also a different book than what I have read lately. Here is the GoodReads summary: "The move from New Jersey to Hilton Head, South Carolina, wasn't easy for the Russo family—difficult enough for Big Al and Connie, but even harder for their daughter Maria Graziella, who insists on being called Grace. At thirty-one and still, shockingly, unmarried, Grace has scandalized her staunchly traditional Italian family by moving in with her boyfriend Michael—who, though a truly great guy, is agnostic, commitment-phobic, a scientist, and (horror of horrors) Irish!
Grace adores her parents even though they drive her crazy—and she knows they'd love Michael if they got to know him, but Big Al won't let him into their house. And so the stage is set for a major showdown—which, along with a devastating, unexpected crisis and, perhaps, a miracle or two, just might change Grace's outlook on love, family, and her new life in the new South."
#45 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Bri got this book for me from the library. She said I needed to read it. It was good. The movie will be out soon. Here's the summary: "Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten."
#46 The Devil Wears Prada by Laura Weisberger. This is probably the one time that I will say that the movie is better than the book. I normally leave a movie and think the book is better, not this time. Here's the GoodReads synopsis: "THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about "The Boss from Hell." Narrated in Andrea's smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda's children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day-and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul.
#47 Revenge Wears Prada by Laura Weisberger. This was better than the first. It kept my attention better, but I realized I could skip chunks of the book and still be able to keep up with what was happening. "Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job a million girls would die for; working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a highend bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her heart content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro. Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karma's a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can't shake the past. And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing; not her husband, nor her beloved career is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago."
#48 Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich. This was okay. It was another one of those books that grabbed my attention when I was walking through the library on Tuesday. That's what Alex and I did to prepare for the snow! Anyway, here's the synopsis: "Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband's illness and death. Now she's alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she's met her goals--and other men are noticing?"
#49 Some Days There's Pie by Catherine Landis. This was okay. It was a little slow going. Here's the synopsis: "When Ruth faints from hunger at a North Carolina five-and-dime, Rose, a feisty elderly reporter, rescues her. A friendship stronger than family ties blossoms; for all her bravado, unsentimental Ruth can never quite disguise her need for a mother's love. In Ruth, Rose finds someone who refuses to see old age as a handicap, and gives her life new purpose. With spirited humor and empathy, Landis beautifully intertwines the unforgettable stories of Rose, in stubborn denial of lung cancer, and Ruth, who possesses the energy and conviction of Rose in her younger days. "
#50 Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline. This was good! I read it over Saturday and Sunday. It really kept my attention. Here's the synopsis: "The unlikely heroine of this Lisa Scottoline thriller (which follows 2006'sDirty Blonde), mousy University of Pennsylvania assistant law professor Natalie "Nat" Greco, finds herself in way over her head when an unintended visit to a minimum-security prison in nearby Chester County puts her in the middle of a deadly uprising -- and places her at the center of an elaborate plot that involves an incarcerated crime boss and more than a few improbable conspirators. Greco's classes at Penn Law -- the History of Justice, for example -- aren't nearly as well attended as those taught by charismatic and handsome prof Angus Holt. Greco herself is far from immune to Holt's charm, so when he asks her to accompany him to Chester County Correctional Institution to lecture to inmates involved in an externship program, she quickly agrees. But the professors' visit soon turns deadly; a riot erupts, and amid the chaos Greco finds herself alone with a dying correctional officer who has been stabbed through the heart with a metal shank. His last words are a cryptic message to his wife: "It's under the floor." Soon thereafter, Greco is inexplicably set up for the murder of a state trooper and is forced to become a fugitive from justice while she tries to unravel the mystery of the dying man's words. "