Book 83: Christmas Kitsch – Amy Lane

Lane, Amy - Christmas KitschI didn’t have any expectations going in and overall I enjoyed it. It could’ve been better but it could also have been a lot worse. This was the last galley/ARC of my year and it was an endearing quick read. I received a copy from the publisher in return for my honest response; no compensation was received.

I tried to stay away from romance novels for so long but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed wallowing in them this past year. When I saw Christmas Kitsch I internally debated for quite a bit of time on whether I would read it and finally broke down and got it. I was hesitant because I always thought the super-specific holiday reads (i.e. Debbie Macomber) were super hokey even though I’d never read them. And I finally requested a copy while trekking through War and Peace, I figured a nice light fun read would be a great follow-up!

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Book 66: Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #4) – Anne Tenino

Tenino, Anne - Good BoyTo be completely honest this book was a waste of time for me. It had so much potential going into it, but I didn’t realize how short it was. I will say that if I had paid for a copy of this book, or waited for a long time on a hold list I would have been that much more disappointed than I was. However, I received a copy of Good Boy from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion of the work.

What bothered me about this book was that it seemed to be a hold over until the next book in the series could be released. And this wouldn’t have bothered me anywhere near as much, but the story brings up quite a few things that I assume are answered in a later story in the series, but why bring them up now in 77 pages, why not write a longer book? I would rather have waited much longer and had this book fully fleshed out, rather than be subjected to the short-story/novella form of this book in its current format.

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Book 40: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth – Alexandra Robbins

Robbins, Alexandra - The Geeks Shall Inherit the EarthThis book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I still found it an interesting read. My friend Chet sent it to me last year as a gift and after having a bit of a downer week a few weeks ago (dating and men suck – I’m back to the thought that men, or at least the ones I’m interested in dating, are stupid and you should throw rocks at them) and figured I’d find out why I am the way I am. And conveniently this counts as a bonus book for my Mount TBR reading challenge.

I was hoping Robbins would take it her analyses further, but she lead right up to numerous ideas and then just left them. She did provide a great job trying to define ‘quirk culture’ and explaining the ‘cafeteria fringe,’ but I can’t help but feel as this book is a pop-journalist book there wasn’t as much done as I would expect in an academically researched book. But she did provide many references and anecdotes of additional resources.

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Book 39: Harvard’s Secret Court – William Wright

Wright, William - Harvard's Secret CourtI’ve wanted to read this since a book group I was in when I first moved to Boston read it. They read it before I joined and I thought it sounded interesting. So keeping with my theme of expanding my reading (and apparently reading a lot more nonfiction) I requested it from the local library.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed. This book felt more like a really well written undergraduate research paper than a book than a published book (and they were typos too). Part of this I believe comes from the structure and subtitle of the book and the other part I think comes from the super-focused subject matter. I discuss both below, but before I get to that I do want to say that it was an interesting read and I found many of the stories compelling and the appalling way in which Harvard dealt with these students should be a black mark on their history and reputation regardless of the time period. Not only did the Secret Court expel a number of individuals they were so adamant in their beliefs that they expunged the records of some of the individuals completely removing them from Harvard University records and if any of those expelled attempted to get into another school or a job using their Harvard connection/credentials, Harvard had a policy of exposing explicitly why they were expelled and this continued into at least the 1970s.

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Book 27: Love, Hypothetically (Theta Alpha Gamma #2) – Anne Tenino

Tenino, Anne - Love, HypotheticallyFor some reason, this novel just felt more real and better developed than Tenino’s first novel in this series. Frat Boy and Toppy wasn’t bad, it just annoyed me and could’ve used a better copy editor. This novel seemed more polished and a bit more developed. I’m not sure if this had to do with the (seemingly) fewer sex scenes, the (seemingly) more emotionally intense battles or if it’s because the author progressed as a writer. I like to think it was a mixture of the three.

I received a copy of this from the publisher and I received no compensation for my honest response.

The fact that this was a continuation of a love story between two of the characters that broke off fora reason you find out pretty early in the book really helped this be a better novel than the first in the series. The history between Paul and Trevor provided the crucial emotional turmoil for this book to succeed and made it more believable. Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for first-love and second chance stories and this one was definitely a good one. In addition the past history of the two main characters lessened the need for lovey-dovey nicknames that really rubbed me the wrong way in the first novel. There was one used but (and it was my LEAST favorite – babe), but since it appeared only once I just let it go.

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