How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
My parents got me this book for Christmas. They know my style. A chick-lit book about childhood friends that open up a bakery? Sold!
How to Eat a Cupcake is the story of Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clair. Julia comes from a life of privilege and wealth. Annie grows up on the outside, yet inside of that life as Annie’s mother is the St. Clair’s housekeeper.
The girls grew up very close until a falling out in high school. The story begins ten years later as the two find themselves back into each others lives. In an attempt to make amends, Julia offers to help Annie open a bakery. Although prideful and suspicious, Annie needs the financial help and agrees.
I found myself comparing this book to Something Borrowed, which isn’t a fair comparison except it’s both about childhood friends. This book is not nearly as good as Something Borrowed. I wasn’t especially drawn to either Annie or Julia. I found Annie a bit whiny and Julia was definitely not my cup of tea.
My favorite character was a farmer, Ogden, that supplied food to the bakery. The book is a quick read though….and it did make me hungry. Mocha cupcakes, Chocolate persimmon spice cupcakes, lemon cupcakes, etc.
3 out of 5 stars
In 2012, I upped my reading game by purchasing an iPad. After going to book club once and being the only one without an e-Reader, the peer pressure got to me. Oh yeah, I wanted to read the shameful 50 Shades of Grey books without having to buy the books in-person.
The 50 Shades books were horrid….although I still read all three of them. But my iPad reading and I are two peas in a pod.
In 2011, I read 21 books. Let’s see how 2012 panned out.
Books Read in 2012
1. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
2. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I love this book so much!!! 2012 was definitely the year that I got more into reading memoirs.
4. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
Really enjoyed this book too!
5-7. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
8. How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
9. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
10-11. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth
12. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
After moving to Austin, this book really helped me in my quest to make friends!
13. How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
14. The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
15. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Haven’t you read this book yet?!?!?! It’s only been on everyone’s top books of 2012 lists, including mine!
16. How To Be a Woman by Caitline Moran
Other people really enjoyed this book. Sadly, I was not a fan.
17-19. 50 Shades of Grey trilogy by E L James
Sorry, lapse of judgement there…
20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber
22. Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
23. The Affair by Lee Child
Lee Child writes the Jack Reacher books, which is currently a movie out with Tom Cruise. They are solid “guy books”. An easy read, but not my normal choice of book.
24. The Confession by John Grisham
25. The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy
26. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
This book is being made into a movie too. I enjoyed the book…even without knowing a lick about mythology. If you studied mythology in school, you may enjoy it even more than I did.
27. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
I just finished this book today!! I really enjoyed it and am anxious to see what my book club thinks about it when we meet in January.
What was your favorite book that you read this year??
I haven’t done any book reviews in 2 months.
I picked several so-so books recently that I chose not to review.
The 50 Shades of Grey triology by E L James
–Yes, I read all 3 of them! I only enjoyed the 1st one though. The 2nd two were a constant roller coaster of girl is whiny/man is brooding, they argue, they make up & have great sex. Rinse & repeat for hundreds of pages.
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
–Evanovich has a new series about a pastry chef that has mystical powers. It was super hokey, which is true Evanovich. If you are a Stephanie Plum series fan, you may enjoy them. I did finish the book in one day, but the hokey-ness turned into groaners for me.
The Affair by Lee Child
–My Dad gave me this book when I visited in July. It’s similar to all of those mystery/government conspirary type books that men read. Or at least, that’s what I associate as a “guy’s book”. It started off strong and kept my interest, but I felt dissatisfied with the ending.
Everything Is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert
–I usually love snarky female memoirs, but I could only get through about 1/4 of this book before giving up. There’s too many books out there to force yourself to read one that you’re not into!
The Confession by John Grisham
–I’ve read almost all of Grisham’s books. I’m not sure if my tastes have changed or if this book just wasn’t at the same level. I remember being younger and riping through The Firm and The Pelican Brief and loving them so much! With The Confession, there was more despair than hope. Next!
I’ve been on a bit of an upward slope with my most recent two read thoughs!
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
–We read this book for book club and met last week. About 70% of us liked the book, but even if you didn’t like the book…it led to a great discussion! I chose not to review the book, because it’s a modern classic and I don’t feel equip to review “real” books. I do recommend it for a book club though. The themes really stand the test of time and we could still correlate to today. Great book!
White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber
–If you read Jenna’s blog: Eat, Live, Run, then you’ll enjoy this book! I read it one evening and couldn’t stop. It’s odd when you feel like you know someone so well, when they are still a stranger!
Next up for my book clubs, I’ll be reading:
How To Be a Woman by Caitline Moran
Nerves of Steel by CJ Lyons
Have you read any of the books mentioned?
What should I read next???
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I know! Where have I been? You’ve already read The Hunger Games books. I bought the 1st book quite awhile ago. I was forewarned by a friend not to start it until I had the other 2 books, because you will FLY through them. She was so right! I read the 1st book in 2 days, the 2nd book in 2 days, and it took me about 4 days to get through the last book.
The Hunger Games books take place in Panem, formerly known as North America. The Capitol oversees the 12 districts of Panem. Years prior, the districts tried to overthrow the Capitol and failed. To remind the districts to keep their place, the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games annually. Once a year, each district draws the name of one boy and one girl to fight to the death. Only one will come out alive. The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen from District 12 as she volunteers for the Games to save her sister.
It’s a really unique and interesting concept! There’s violence, romance, and suspence while still touching on social issues such as poverty and abuse of power. Many people seem to like the 1st book the best and the last book the least. I actually liked the 2nd book the best! The 1st book was a very close 2nd though. The last book was a disappointment unfortunately. The final book just didn’t hold up. It was as if the author thought….oh wait, I have to figure out how to end this real quick. The ending left me wanting more explanation.
Don’t let my lackluster feelings on the last book deter you though. The 1st two books are SO great that it’s still well worth your time to knock out reading these three books.
Get cracking now and you’ll have them read before the 1st movie comes out in March!!
4.75 out of 5 stars
Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
If you had told me 12 months ago that I would be so into autobiographies, I would have said um, no thanks I don’t think that’s my cup of tea. But I am loving them! Now, I need funny/juicy autobiographies though (not the political/historical variety). I’m talking David Sedaris, Kathy Griffin (Just saw her comedy show live last night, by the way! Love her!), Tina Fey, Bethenny Frankel, Mindy Kaling, and now Rob Lowe!
I bought this book on a whim. I went to Watermark Books to pick up my tickets to see The Pioneer Woman (yay!) in April. I felt bad just going to the bookstore to get free tickets though. It’s only polite to buy a book too, right? (Read: I will use any excuse to buy books!) So, in support of my locally owned book store, I went with Lowe’s autobiography. I’d heard killer things about it!
Lowe’s autobiography is a very good read. Pure entertainment. I knew that he’d started acting young and was a playboy. So, I was anxious for tales of growing up in the limelight and his escapades. I was a little disappointed that there was only a mere 2 page mention of his big sex scandal back when he was campaigning for Dukakis. But then I thought back to the title: Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Would I rehash this scandal to friends? Or would I tell them about how I punched Tom Cruise in the face instead? Tom Cruise, please!!!
At first, I thought the stories were a bit name dropper like. But no, he really was just telling you how he became famous and who he met along the way. Back in the day before homeschooling and TMZ was everywhere, I think young actors could more normal lives. Lowe pretty much grew up in high school with Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Sean & Chris Penn, Tom Cruise, and Robert Downey Jr. He dated Melissa Gilbert and later on Princess Stephanie of Monaco…..whaaaaaat?!
A lot of the stories are pretty light and short and in passing. Such as Lowe talks about his first starring role in a TV commercial and he’s cast next to a newscaster at the time by the name of Regis Philbin. Or when Lowe was on a sitcom for awhile and one of his co-stars said she wanted to try singing instead of acting like her brothers….oh yeah, it was Janet Jackson, no bigs.
I found the book so entertaining and really enjoyed it! I have to admit I really only associate Lowe with Brothers & Sisters, Parks & Recreation, and Tommy Boy. I’ve never even see St. Elmo’s Fire, About Last Night, or The West Wing. But Netflixing past seasons of The West Wing is definitely on my radar now!
4.75 out of 5 stars
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Did you read Bossypants last year? Me too! Loved it!
BUT OMGeeeeee, I love.love.love.love.LOVED Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?.
Mindy Kaling is one of the writers and stars of The Office. She plays Kelly Kapoor, one of my favorite characters. Kaling’s autobiography kept cracking me over & over again. Since we’re the same age, I related to it much more than I did to Fey’s book. Kaling’s book is a super fast read as well. I knocked it out in one day.
I bookmarked so many pages in the book of parts that I loved. Here are few of my favorite random parts:
“I didn’t want to be Regis or Kathie Lee, because their chairs were too high. I’m sorry, I’m supposed to sit like that for an hour? Too much blood rushing to my ankles. No, thanks.”
“…So, with my zit throbbing like a nightclub, I went to the interview.”
“When I was a kid, I was obsessed with listing my favorite things. I kept an index card with all my favorite foods folded in my wallet, just in case anyone asked me what they were. Then when people walked away, I imagined they’d say ‘Whoa, Mindy Kaling is so cool and self-actualized. McDonald’s pancakes are her favorite food, and she was able to tell me right away.’ “
“I remember when the news reports came out about Michael Phelp’s ten-thousand-calorie-a-day diet, and everyone was so shocked. But I just thought, yep, I could do that, no problem.”
If you need a good laugh, read this book! Pronto!
5 out of 5 stars
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
I just read Sarah Jio’s Violets of March last month and LOVED it! So, I was super amped to read her new book, The Bungalow. With both of Jio’s books, there is a war/historial fiction/romance/mystery element. With Violets of March, it’s focused on the girl still in the States during the war. And in The Bungalow, it’s focused on the girl going to Bora-Bora to help with the war efforts.
The Bungalow follows the story of Anne Calloway. She has went to nursing school to learn a trade never thinking she’ll use it as she’s engaged to a wealthy man. Something inside is gnawing at her telling her that she needs to help with the war effort and she also needs an adventure before settling down.
Cut to Anne and her best friend, Kitty, traveling to Bora-Bora to join the Army Nurse Corps. Anne stumbles upon an abandoned bungalow where she meets a soldier, Westry. They become friends and decided to fix up the bungalow and keep it their secret. From there, the friendship turns to love and Anne is torn between passion and her commitment to her fiance back home.
The Bungalow is a very quick read. I’m becoming a fast fan of historical romance. Parts of the book are highly predictable though. Maybe it’s because I’ve read the Violets of March and knew Jio’s style. But I would have liked more surprise elements. All in all, still a good read!!
4 out of 5 stars
I love reading books almost as much as I love buying books.
And I love recap lists.
Here’s a list of books I read this year. So, that you think I’m smart & worldly!!
It’s mostly because I need a record of what I read to refresh the ol’ memory.
Books Read in 2011
* = a book that I’d recommend to others to read
1. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger *
If you liked reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, you’ll probably like this book. It has mystical theme too.
2. Room by Emma Donoghue *
It takes awhile to get used to the book being written by the point of view of a child, but very unique and original!
3. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister *
I loved this book, but I lent it to a friend and she did not. But if you’re a foodie, I think you’ll enjoy it!
4. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
A different friend loooooves this book. I haaaaaaated this book.
5. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
6. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby *
We were a split camp at book club with this one. I really enjoyed the book and related to the female character a lot.
7. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
8. Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun
9. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
10. Ghost, Interrupted by Sonia Singh
11. St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
12. The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble
13. Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner *
14. This Is Where We Live by Janelle Brown
15. Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister *
16. The Jewel Box by Anna Davis
17. Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton *
A good chef memoir!
18. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio ***
My favorite book that I read this year!
19. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard *
20. Ice Land by Betsy Tobin
21. Commencement by J Courtney Sullivan
What should I read in 2012?? I’m currently working on The Tiger’s Wife. And I am going to read The Hunger Games triology in Jan/Feb.
The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
The Violets of March is the story of Emily, an author who’s just finalized her divorce from her cheating husband and is living in NYC. She decides to travel to Washington state to stay with her great-aunt Bee for a month to try to heal.
Shortly after arriving, Emily discovers a diary in her aunt’s house from the 1940′s. Emily works to uncover the true story behind the diary while learning about herself in the process.
This book is part romance, part historical fiction, and part mystery. I sailed through this book in less than 3 days! And considering, I usually take a few weeks to read a book that’s saying something! I highly recommend this book. I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in such a long time. It’s definitely my top book read in 2011!!
Read it yourself and then share it with a friend! I plan on giving it to my friend, Kristie, to read this week.
Sharing is caring!
5 out of 5 stars
Wow, I haven’t done a book review since October. I’ve been off my game. Truth be told, I picked a stinker of a book to read after the last review. And I spent weeks battling myself internally as to whether I should muddle my way through the book. The answer is NO. If you’re not into a book after 50 pages…just move on! There’s too many great books in the world to force yourself to read it.
So, then I tried another book. And it was worse! But I stopped trying with that one after about 40 pages.
After 2 duds, I knew what I needed to get back in the reading routine…..CHICK LIT. Sometimes, a chick lit book is the perfect thing to breeze through and get excited about reading again.
Commencement by J Courtney Sullivan
Commencement is the story of 4 girls entering their freshman year at Smith College. It follows the 4 friends through college and until the age of about 26. Celia is the aspiring writer, lapsed Catholic, and always feeling that she’s just not quite good enough. Bree is the Southern Belle, who is already engaged when coming to Smith but whose life takes another course. April is the ultra-women’s liberation advocate. Sally is the wounded soul who just lost her mother to cancer before coming to Smith.
Each chapter of the book is told by the point of view of a different girl. I have always loved this form of writing. I feel you get to know the characters better this way. And you also get to know how the characters feel about each other through this method of writing.
Since the setting is Smith College (where the author graduated from as well), it’s, of course, very much centered around women. At one point in the book, they quote Mary Poppins: ”Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stupid.” Love that quote!
One of the quotes on the back of the book says the book is: a beach book for smart women. (Entertainment Weekly)
So, I shouldn’t have been too surprised to find that the author added all these heavy topics into the book: date rape, affairs, families not accepting one’s sexual orientation, and the biggest WHAT?! of them all: American child sex trafficking. I think that the author should have written a few books with her ideas since of throwing them altogether into one. But the last 2 chapters of the book were great….especially the last chapter, I did NOT see that coming!!
You’re intrigued now, right?? ;)
And finally, one of my favorite parts of the book. (I don’t think I’m spoiling it by revealing there is a baby involved. I’m not saying who or when or anything!)
“Listen, I want an enema,” she said, “It’s part of my birthing plan back home… Call my doctor there if you don’t believe me.”
The nurse smiled. ”It’s not that I don’t believe you, dear,” she said. ”It’s just not our policy to give enemas.”
“Honey, why do you want an enema in the first place.”
“So I don’t take a big poop on the table while I’m giving birth!!”
3.5 stars out of 5