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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Progress: 264/341 pages
Bossypants - Tina Fey I have discovered a love for Tina Fey!
The Berlin Boxing Club - Robert Sharenow 4.5 stars
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller 2.5 stars
Ponies - Kij Johnson 4 stars

Wow. Just wow.

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein 4.5 stars

I should mention that I enjoy reading WWII books. Any book that takes place during that time will almost undoubtedly get added to my to-read list. Code Name Verity had loads of positive reviews here on Goodreads which helped shoot it up my list to be read sooner rather than later. After reading it myself, I can understand why it was rated so highly.

The first half of the novel comprises of diary-type entries written by Verity. Verity has been captured as a spy in Nazi-occupied France and, in order to avoid any more torture, has made a deal to give an account of everything she knows to her German captors.

Verity's entries threw me off a little at first as she writes both in the first person, as she details the happenings while she is imprisoned, and in third person, retelling how Maddie and her first met mostly from Maddie's viewpoint. Once I figured out how she was narrating, it became much easier to follow and I ended up liking her method (and her portion of the novel) very much.

What I loved about Verity's accounts was how unreliable they could be. It did not even occur to me how much she could be making up until she actually mentions that she is making names up, to keep up the flow of the story. I will admit that I forgot (and frequently continued to forget) that she was not writing this for us, but rather for the SS leader, Amadeus von Linden.

The second half of the novel comprised of diary-type entries written by Maddie herself. Maddie writes strictly in the first person. We don’t fully realize how much Verity left out until Maddie’s turn. Maddie’s entries clear up both the lies that were told and the details that Verity intentionally left out. Maddie’s entries are also the most heartbreaking ones.

I completely loved and devoured this tale and feel everyone should give Code Name Verity a try. This is book is more than just a WWII book. It is about the bonds of a true friendship. If you can get through some of the more technical details in the first half, you are in for a great story.

KISS ME, HARDY
A Certain Slant of Light - Laura Whitcomb, Lauren Molina 3.5 stars

Rounding up because it was definitely worth the read.

A Certain Slant of Light was a beautifully written story. I thoroughly enjoyed both the writing and the overall story. It presented a different and original take on ghosts than any other I have read. While there were some stretches where I lost focus and had to go back to re-listen, there were also longer stretches that I was so engrossed in the story, I found it difficult to stop and leave my car.

The ending left me feeling a little... unfulfilled, maybe? Not sure exactly what I was hoping for, but compared with the pace and buildup of the rest of the story, it felt too neat and tidy (at least for Helen).

Overall, I would certainly recommend one giving it a try. I plan on reading the companion novel to see how things turn out for Jenny and Billy.
In the Woods  - Tana French 5 stars

Argh! Why did I wait so long to read this?

I have owned this book and The Likeness for such a long time and have only now just read this. I wish I didn't have so may library books checked out at the moment...

*Goes and finds The Likeness and places under library books. Stares sadly.*
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier, Anna Massey 4.5 stars

It took me a very long time to get into this story.

I am pretty sure is was not the audio version - that was excellent. (Anna Massey does an amazing job narrating and I will be looking for additional books she narrates.) I simply just could not get into it. It was not bad, but I had not thought it anything special - a 3-star read - for the first half (or so) of the book.

Somewhere along the way, during that second half, I got hooked, seriously and completely hooked. The characters, the language, the mystery - they all sucked me in.

And that ending! What a way to end it.
Un Lun Dun - China Miéville 5 stars

I love you, Deeba.

China Miéville, you aren't too bad yourself.
A Northern Light - Jennifer Donnelly, Hope Davis 5 stars

When I began A Northern Light, I had no idea what it was about, let alone that it was inspired by a real-life murder. I had recently finished listening to Revolution and since I enjoyed that, I decided to try out another one of Jennifer Donnelly's books. There was an audiobook of this on-hand at my library so I decided to check it out.

This leads me to one of the things I admire about Jennifer Donnelly (and her books) – she has the ability to truly make me interested in the history. And, as a result, I have determined that I actually enjoy historical fiction when a significant amount of authentic history is presented.

It was refreshing wondering which parts were real occurrences or real people and which parts were from her creative mind. I also enjoyed how Grace Brown’s real letters were included.

As for fictional characters in this book, they were wonderful. They each had their own personality and stood out as individuals. I understood and cared for them, even with those with less involvement in the story.

Abby, Lou and Beth, even as members of the same family, were each their own distinct person. Weaver – oh, I loved Weaver. And Emily Wilcox. As for Royal Loomis, at times I hated Royal and at times I liked him, but I understood why he was the way he was.

But the person I appreciated the most was Mattie (which was probably a good thing, being the main character and all). I felt so completely for her – her predicaments and the decisions she had to make. She is caught between what her father and Royal want her future to become and what she wants to do. Through Grace and Grace's letters, she is able to make that decision.

I was especially amused at some of the things she thought, as I have had very similar thoughts as well:
I don’t answer her. I’m not scared, not exactly, but I can’t explain how I feel. Words fail me sometimes. I have read most every on in the Webster’s International Dictionary of the English Language, but I still have trouble making them come when I want them to.

Making up word combinations, which I unintentionally do all the time:
What is the word for that feeling? For knowledge and fear and loss all mixed together? Frisdom? Dreadnaciousness? Malbominance?
Is there a word for that? Feeling scared of what’s to come but eager for it, too? Terricipatation? Joybodenous? Feager? If there is, I mean to find it.

Initially, my first reaction was to give this book 4/4.5 stars, but I was continually thinking about Mattie Gokey and her story. I remember taking “scenic” routes homes, trying to get a little more time to listen. I sat in my driveway determined to finish the current chapter. But what probably the biggest deciding factor was actually dropping off the audiobook and walking straight to pick up a physical copy of the book, in order to aid my writing of this review. Which, by the way, is what I would call my first real review.

To the death, Mathilda Gokey.

Revolution - Jennifer Donnelly, Emily Janice Card, Emma Bering 4 stars
- Thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this one.
Timeless  - Gail Carriger 3.5 stars
- Took me awhile to get into this book and, while probably my least favorite of the entire series, it was still an enjoyable read.
Sweethearts - Sara Zarr 3.5 stars
- My least favorite Zarr novel so far, but I still have one more of her back-list left.
The Austere Academy  - Lemony Snicket 4 stars
-The best of the series so far, even without Mr. Curry.
Room - Emma Donoghue 2.5 stars
The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2) - Lemony Snicket,  Tim Curry 3.5 stars