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December Monthly Recap


It’s time for our final monthly recap of 2015! Find out which books were favorites, which were duds, and which ones we are most looking forward to in 2016. We’ll end our wrap up with a calendar of book-related events/facts from the month of December and we’ll highlight our January content. We’ve also added a list of upcoming book releases for January 2016 (scroll to the end for the list).

One randomly selected follower (email or wordpress follower) will win a $10 amazon gift card. Scroll down to see if you are the winner. The prize is only awarded if you contact us with your email address so make sure to check these monthly recaps each month to see if you won! We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read in December and what you look forward to reading in January.  Read more

The Worst Books We Read in 2015

thumbs down

So we have done our top 10 best books of 2015 and I (Book Worm) felt it was then only fair to share our worst books of 2015. See which books made our list of worst books we read in 2015. Read more

Book Worm’s Scavenger Hunt Update #1

scavenger hunt

This winter we are hosting a scavenger hunt reading challenge. You can read more about the challenge here. There is still plenty of time to join the fun! All you need to do is check out the clues on our winter challenge page, pick a book, and start reading. We will be awarding cool prizes for those of you who accomplish certain goals. Most prizes will be awarded Mid-march but additional prizes will be given to those who complete all items by end of year.

Having seen the other participants running away with their reading I thought it was time for me to get in the game. Luckily I was able to combine some of the clues with my current challenges. So here is my progress so far: Read more

Terrible Reviews of Great Books: Lord of the Rings

one star reviews

There is no such thing as a universally loved book. Each month, we’ll feature a book from Time’s list of the best 100 English language novels of all time. From the nasty to the snarky to the downright absurd, we’ll highlight some of the strange reasons why some people hate these great reads. In six days it will be J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday so what better pick than The Lord of the Rings? Read on to see why some people hate this book (which I happen to love). Read more

Merry Christmas

christmastree books

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, Book Worm and I wish you a Merry Christmas!

To all our readers: may your holiday season be filled with joy, love, happiness and great books. We hope you chime in to share some of your holiday traditions (whether book-related or not) with us.


1001 Book Review: The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
First published in: 1850
Reviewed by: Book Worm & Jen
Find it/buy it here (free on kindle): The Scarlet Letter (Dover Thrift Editions)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, this tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth reveals Nathaniel Hawthorne’s concerns with the tension between the public and the private selves. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Arthur Dimmesdale, trapped by the rules of society, stands as a classic study of a self divided.

Book Worm’s Review:
Set in a Puritan New England town in the 1640’s, this is the story of Hester Prynne, a woman who has committed adultery and bears a child. As punishment she is forced to wear a scarlet letter A on her clothing. While she lives with her punishment and her sin, she refuses to name the child’s father — something that she will eventually come to regret for his sake.

What I enjoyed about this book was the portrayal of how a religious community treats a sinner. By accepting her sin and punishment, Hester becomes separate but accepted by the people she lives with. I liked the way Hawthorne portrayed the different ways of living with guilt and these ways can affect the health of a person.  The father is easy to guess, but his discovery is not the book’s primary concern.  Instead, it is to show how father and mother dealt with their sin seperately and what it cost them both individually and as part of a close knit community.

A good read!

Jen’s Review:
I first read the Scarlet Letter in middle school and remember liking it quite a bit. When I looked at my Goodreads rating I had given it 4 stars. This year I listened to it rather than read it. Perhaps this was a mistake because I found it very dry and my mind was constantly wandering. The archaic language further reduced my engagement.

There’s no question that it was an influential book that highlighted the problems inherent in Puritan morality. Hawthorne wrote about the nature of evil, sin, morality, and personal growth and identity. His books were psychologically complex and his portrayal of women was ahead of his times. Hester Prynne is perhaps one of the best-known female protagonists and is considered by many to be the first heroine of American fiction. You can find an interesting article about some of the history behind the Scarlett Letter and Hawthorne’s America here.

It’s probably unfair of me to rate it 3 stars based on the audio version and maybe I should just let my 4-star rating from my first read be one that counts. It is on several lists of best books including the 1001 list and The Guardian‘s 100 best novels. I am guessing that almost everyone has read this novel since it’s on many school curriculums in the U.S. It’s a very short story so if by some miracle you haven’t read it, you should try it out of your self. You can find it for free on Amazon (or a number of other places including project Gutenberg): The Scarlet Letter (Dover Thrift Editions)

Have you read the Scarlett Letter? When did you read it? What did you think about it? Check out the 2015 movie trailer below.

Book Riot Quarterly Subscription Box #09

Last week I received my third Book Riot box. I’ve had mixed opinions about the subscription. You can read my prior two reviews here and here. Check out what came in the December box and whether I have decided to keep up with the subscription or let it go. Read more

Kids’ Corner: Top Ten Books

There always is a surge of top ten lists at year-end, and we did our part last week. But The New York Times, Washington Post, and even our effort don’t hold a candle to the top ten list of my 5-year old daughter. E picked out the top 10 books she read in 2015. Keep reading to find out what she selected and why.


To say that E has a lot of books is an understatement. I believe she inherited my book addiction. E also loves playing book-related games for the blog and was excited to get to create her own top ten list. How did we do this? We first laid out all her books on the floor of her room. Then she selected her 10 favorite. Finally, she lined then up in descending order from most to least favorite. Here are are top ten and the reasons she gave for their making it on to her list. Read more

1001 Book Review: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller


I may well be the last person on earth to read this book but I’m going to write up this review in case any of you are contemplating a reread. Find out what we thought of it and let us know what your opinion of the book. Read more

Our Top Ten Books

In the last few months various outlets have been publishing their top books of 2015. We thought we’d join in with the top ten books we read in 2015 and our top 5 books published in 2015. Find out which books made our lists and scroll down for links to a number of other “best of 2015 lists.” Read more