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)

January:
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

February:
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 

April:
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

May:
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)

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

July:
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

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

September: 
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

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

November:
Hounded by Kevin Hearne

December:
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:

THE FINAL SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVEL 

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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finding Colin Firth



Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

From the Publisher:  


After losing her job and leaving the husband she dearly loves, twenty-nine-year-old journalist Gemma Hendricks is desperate to save her career by scoring an interview with Colin Firth. But a much more localstory steals her heart—and just may save her rocky marriage too. Thirty-eight-year-old waitress Veronica Russo, shocked by the unannounced arrival of the daughter she gave up for adoption two decades ago, becomes an extra on the movie set, wondering if happy endings—and a real life Mr. Darcy—are even possible. Twenty-two-year-old student Bea Crane, alone and adrift, longs to connect with Veronica, her birth mother, but she’ll discover more than she ever imagined in this coastal Maine town. And just when they least expect it in a summer full of surprises, all three women may find what they’re looking for most of all…


My Review:
I received this as an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher. I read about a fourth of the book and ran back to the room with my DVDs and gathered all my Colin Firth movies. I've spent all this weekend reading this book and watching his movies. Loved this book! (and loved the movies, lol)


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pampered Pets


Pampered Pet series #1-3 by Sparkle Abbey

From Barnes & Noble, Book #1:
When Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist makes a house call to help Kevin Blackstone with his two misbehaving German Shepherd dogs, she expects frantic dogs, she expects a frantic dog owner, she even expects frantic neighbors. What she doesn't expect is that two hours later the police will find Kevin dead, his dogs impounded; and that as the last person to see Kevin alive (well, except for the killer) she is suddenly a person of interest, at least according to Homicide Detective Judd Malone. 

Sparkle Abbey is a pseudonym for two friends, Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, who like to write books together. Sparkle is Mary Lee's cat and Abbey is Anita's dog. 

My review:
I read a LOT of books in March. 37 to be exact. Being off work all month, plus surgery recovery left a lot of time for reading. This series was one of the highlights. For some reason, I just wanted to read cozy mysteries and these fit the bill beautifully. Great series. I hope to read about more "Pampered Pets" soon.

Jane Jameson




The Jane Jameson series #1-4 by Molly Harper
Unabridged audio, Read by Amanda Ronconi

From Barnes & Noble, Book #1
Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.
Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She's forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What's a nice undead girl to do?

My review: 
These books are some serious FUN! I now want to go read all the other books Molly Harper has written. 

Brownies & Broomsticks



Brownies & Broomsticks by Bailey Cates

From Barnes & Noble:

EASY BAKE COVEN
Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.
While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!
When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer..
My review:
Great start to a new series! I can't wait to read more about Kate and her Bakery.