Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2015 Year in Review

The Numbers:

Total Books: 302
E-book: 51
Print: 20
Audiobook: 231
Total Pages: 86,506 (Estimate because I only added it once and didn't check my work !)

Again, audiobooks win the format race! I have a long drive to work and I can now listen while at work, so that will probably be the norm in 2016 as well. My print book selection went up this year, and my e-book selection went down. Go figure!

My Favorite(s) of 2015
There were two this year that I have a hard time choosing between the best, so I'm putting them both.

The first of a trilogy, I read this first book and the second "Invasion of the Tearling". I am eagerly awaiting the third book and the promised movie starring Emma Watson.

The other favorite of the year is a zombie book about children. Not my usual kind of book, but I really loved this one!

Now for the rest of the best:

I started several new series this year and continued with some old favorites.

Trouble in Mudbug series by Jana Deleon is a cute, funny, cozy mystery series. I read the first of the series in January, "Ghost Mother-in-law."

I discovered Simone St. James last year. "The Haunting of Maddy Clare", another ghost story, but a bit more serious.

Another new series I started this year was the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I also discovered "FictFact" website for keeping up with series titles. It also includes short stories and novellas. In February, I read the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, "Cinder" along with the second book in the series, "Scarlet", and several short stories in the same series.

 Joe Hill and his dad, Stephen King, both made my February list. Joe's "NOS4A2" audio narrated by Kate Mulgrew (awesome narration!) was a February favorite. "Danse Macare" by Stephen King, I also listened to on audio. I was a bit disappointed in the narration of this one. Stephen should always narrate his non-fictions. It makes them way better. I can't remember who narrated this one, but he put emphasis where emphasis was unneeded and didn't emphasis things that did.

"As You Wish" by Cary Elwe is a memoir of the filming of "Princess Bride". Needless to say, I loved it!

Lunar Chronicles "Cress" made the March list.
A sad, bittersweet memoir, "Time of My Life" by Patrick Swayze & Lisa Niemi was one of my favorites this month. Written after Patrick was diagnosed with cancer, it was a sad, joyous story of his life, his fame and his hope for the future that did not happen.
The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne is one of my favorite series. I was able to read several novellas, short stories and one novel "Tricked" this month.
"Horns" by Joe Hill makes the list. Joe is a great horror writer, every bit as good as his dad.
My sister loaned me a book a year or so ago and I just got around to reading it in May. It started a massive search for the other books in  the series and I read a whopping 8 of them before the year was out. The Puzzle Lady series by Parnell Hall, begins with "A Clue for the Puzzle Lady"  I won't list each book separately for the rest of the year, but I really enjoyed them all.
One of my favorite writing duos Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia have teamed up to write more Caster Chronicles. A spin off series is Dangerous Creatures and I read "Dangerous Deception" this month. Also, they are writing a few novellas & short stories from the Caster world and I read a couple of those this month as well.
Another cozy mystery series I began this month, Rose Gardner by Denise Grover Swank, made my favorites list beginning with "Twenty-Eight & a Half Wishes".
I started a new series by one of my favorite authors, Charlaine Harris, Midnight Texas. I listed to the first two books in the series "Midnight Crossroad" & "Day Shift". The next installment comes out soon and I can't wait !

A new series for me, Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer, is now a favorite. I managed to read all the books in the series this year. The first was "The Case of the Missing Marquess."

Nothing really stands out this month except for the Paper Magician Trilogy by Charlie Holmberg. Great trilogy beginning with "Paper Magician".

One of my favorite all time authors is Andre Norton. It had been years since I read any of her work and I have had "Three Hands for Scorpio" on my TBR shelf for years. I finally read it and it did not disappoint. I loved it.

Other than that, I read several "next" in several series I enjoy, Puzzle Lady, Haunted Home Renovation, and Elemental Assassin.

This is the month I read "The Queen of the Tearling"!

I began a new series, Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost. I read the first two books in the series this month, "Paladin Prophecy" and "Alliance".

"Still Foolin' 'Em" by Billy Crystal, possibly the best memoir I've listened to - and it should be listened to, not read.

The only thing that really stood out this month was a new short story by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia, a companion to their Beautiful Creatures series, "The Mortal Heart."

There were also more Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne and the second book in the Queen of the Tearling series.

I revisited an old favorite "The Rowan" by Anne McCaffrey.

The rest of the month was reading more series and short stories by favorite authors. Molly Harper came out with a new book as did Susan Elizabeth Phillip - always winners with me. More stories from Beautiful Creatures, more books in the series Haunted Home Renovations, Elemental Masters, Ghost in Law, and Poor Relations. Nothing really stands out, but all enjoyable.

I revisited another series I love from my first reading years ago. This time, I listened in audio, the Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey. I finished up several series Enola Holmes, Poor Relations, and Mortal Instruments.

A new series for me, Colors of Madeleine by Jaclyn Moriarty makes the favorites list.

Two stand alone books, "March" by Geraldine Brooks and "Sea Hearts" by Margo Lanagan were audios I received free last summer from AudioBookSync. Both were outstanding.

That finishes 2015. Now on to greater adventures in 2016!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Year in Review

First the numbers:

E-Books:  83
Print: 3
Audiobooks: 151
Total: 237
Total number of pages: 57,403

Now the best of:

This was my favorite book of the year. I listened to the audio and Neil Gaiman is now one of my most very favorite authors. I've always liked his books, but his narration was awesome. I went back and listened to several of his books that I had already read and loved them all over again.

Chosen not so much for the story as the presentation. Colin Firth does an excellent job of reading this classic.

This series was chosen because of the story, the writing and presentation. The TV series is not bad either.

Monthly Selections

Only one book I read in January makes my Best of List.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has been one of my favorite authors for a while now. This book did not disappoint. Susan McBride's Debutant Dropout series is about Dallas. She has actually lived there, so the landscape is accurate. 

Den of Shadows #9: Promises to Keep by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Magical Bakery #3: Charms & Chocolate Chips by Bailey Cates
Debutante Dropout Mystery #1: Blue Blood by Susan McBride
Deadlocked #1 by AR Wise
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I began re-reading an old favorite this month, Dragonlance. I held myself to the original trilogy and not all 900 of the other books.

Debutante Dropout #2: Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Susan McBride
14 by Peter Clines
Iron Druid #3: Hammered by Kevin Hearne
Dragonlance #1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Dragonlance #2: Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

I began an awesome trilogy this month, Call the Midwife. I also read my first graphic novel, Cemetery Girl. It opened a whole new world for me!

Charmed Pie Shoppe #3: Pecan Pies & Homicides by Ellery Adams
Cemetery Girl #1: The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris & Christopher Golden
Cat in the Stacks #5: Silence of the Library by Miranda James
The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Dragonlance Chronicles #3: Dragons of Spring Dawning by Margret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Call the Midwife #1:Memoir of Birth, Joy & Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

Finally, zombie books I can love, Junkie Quatrain and the White Trash Zombie series.

Junkie Quatrain by Peter Clines
Winter Witch by Paula Brackston
White Trash Zombie #1: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

A new series by one of my favorite writing duos, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. Coldest Girl in Coldtown, another zombie book, made the favorites this month. A new favorite series, Elemental Assassin.

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
Dangerous Creatures #1: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Elemental Assassin#1: Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

I met Jane Fonda at ALA in Las Vegas this summer. She was so nice and took the time to talk to each person in line to get her latest book signed. I really enjoyed listening to her autobiography. 

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
Pendergast #13: White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Midnight Texas #1: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Debutant Dropout #3: Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club by Susan McBride
Call the Midwife #2: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

I rediscovered a favorite author this month, but only audiobooks that he reads himself! Also, I re-read a favorite from last year along with the next book in the series (this month, another book in the series next month),  The Raven Cycle.

Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Raven Cycle #1: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (re-read)
Raven Cycle #2: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

This month, I listened to possibly the best performed audiobook I've ever listened to, The End of the Affair by Graham Greene and performed by Colin Firth.

Inquiry Into Love & Death by Simone St. James
White Trash Zombie #2: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland
Elemental Assassin #2: Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountain by Neil Gaiman
End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Joyland by Stephen King
Old Kingdom #4: Clariel The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix

I rediscovered an old favorite from when my children were young and listened to audios with me, the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. 

Pendergast #14: Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child
Call the Midwife #3: Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
Breeders #1: The Breeders by Katie French
Elemental Assassin #3: Venom by Jennifer Estep
The Herdmans #1: Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

End of the Affair

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Unabridged audio, 5CDs, narrated by Colin Firth

The story is not one I'd really pick up to read and I probably would not have finished it except for the performance. This has to be one of the best presentations of any audio book I have ever listened to. The emotions were right, the emphasis was where it should be and significant parts were significant. Colin Firth does an award winning reading. The 2013 Audie Audiobook of the Year it was well deserving of the honor.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Life So Far

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
Abridged Audiobook, 8 CDs 21h-35m

I heard Jane Fonda speak at ALA this year (2014). After the session, I spoke with her briefly while she signed one of her books for me. She was so nice and friendly and seemed genuinely interested in talking with me. I've had this book on my shelf for quite a while and when I got home, I began listening to it. She talked about each of the 3 phases of her life so far. Birth to 30, 30 to 60, and her plans for 60 plus. She seems so open and honest in her writing. She does the narration of this audiobook as well and it was wonderful to hear that voice I've grown up listening to in her movies and exercise tapes talk about herself. Overall, this was one of the best autobiography/memoirs to which I've listened.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Best Reads of 2013

I said good-bye to some of my all time favorite series this year. The Wheel of Time came to end. This was one series I thought needed to end because the books were sooooo long, but hated for it to because it was so darn good! Sookie Stackhouse and the Southern Vampire series also came to an end, although I'm willing to bet there will be a few short stories here and there. I don't blame Charlaine Harris for ending it - they have made such a HUGE mess of it on HBO. The only good thing I can say about the changes they made from the books is that they kept Lafayette alive because that actor is awesome, but him a voodoo king? No, never mind, they managed to mess that up too.

I got stingy with rating books "5 stars" this year. Most were a 4. They only got 5 when they were truly of the "Hunger Games" or "Harry Potter" category. All the 5's will make this "Best of" list and some of my favorite 4's.

I managed to finish 192 books last year. My goal was 125, so I over did it a little. I had a semi-major surgery and wound up off work for 6 weeks or that number would have been a lot closer to 125.

Print Books: 10
E-Books: 80
Audio books: 102
Total pages: 59,200 (approximately - some books were audio only and had no page numbers so I could not count those and I'm too lazy to add them again to double-check)

Die Snow White, Damn You Die! by Yuri Rasovsky
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Trilogy within a series: Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey

Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child

March (the big stay at home month!):
Angelfall by Susan Ee
4 books in a series by Wendy Corsi Straub: Lilly Dale: Awakening, Believing, Connecting, Discovering
Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls by Jane Lindskoid
Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler

During the month of March I discovered two (well 3 really) new favorite authors and though their books are not really Hunger Games/Harry Potter category, they are delightfully entertaining.
3 books by Sparkle Abbey (2 people): Desperate Housedogs, Get Fluffy, Kitty-Kitty Bang-Bang
2 books by Molly Harper: Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men 

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindi
Finding Colin Firth by Mia March
Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
4 books by Molly Harper: Nice Girls Don't Live Forever, Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors, Driving Mr. Dead, The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Ann Schlitz
Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Towers of Midnight by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan (repeat read)

Icons by Margaret Stohl
Memory of Light by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan
Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

What You Want is in the Limo by Michael Walker
Dewey by Vicki Myron
A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Suzanna Clarke

The Appeal by John Grisham
In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill (novella)
Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (no, I had never read the real thing before)
Under the Dome by Stephen King

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Yip and Tuck by Sparkle Abbey

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

2 books by Alane Ferguson (Forensic Mysteries): Angel of Death and Circle of Blood
Mistress of Dragons by Margaret Weis
Dangerous Dream by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wheel of Time

I seem to be saying good-bye to many of my favorite series this year. The Wheel of Time, the epic 14 volume series by Robert Jordan and then by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson ended this year with the publishing of "A Memory of Light". I so wanted to know the ending to this fantastic story, but then did not want it to end.

All the loose ends were tied up. Some good characters didn't make it, some bad ones did. Others got exactly what was coming to them.

Probably about a year or so from now, I will start it all over again and rediscover things I'd forgotten and discover things I might have missed, but for now, I'm happy.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dead Ever After

Southern Vampire series #13: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

From Amazon:


There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart....

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 clear cut. 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…

My Review:
I usually dislike series that go on and on and on, but in this case, I'm sorry to see it end. This series was my first introduction to paranormal light reading and I was hooked on the first book. Sookie's life didn't turn out like I expected, but life usually doesn't. I am glad there is a bit of closure with all Bon Temps main characters. I know there is a real closure book planned for later this year for more of the characters and I am glad. 

I wish the TV shows hadn't strayed so far from the original story line (except where Lafayette is concerned - I love that character, lol). The books were good material to start with and there was no need to change so much, but it's HBO, whose motto seems to bring on the shocking nasty. I've just about quit watching or caring that the series was supposedly based on the book series.