January Books

Here we go! Our first edition of books for 2014. I’ve been intending to get this up for about, oh, 10 days now, but I’ve been busy nagging people into guessing. Last year, four people guessed. This year…..36! Granted, Kelly had her entire second grade class guess (at my request, after I met them and we talked about books and reading), but still, it is WAY more exciting to have a lot of guesses than a little.

Immediately following this post, I will summarize the guesses in a post, to make it easier at the end of the year.

I had a super slow start to January, I was super busy that month, so, believe me, no one was more surprised than me at how many  books I read. I actually didn’t read a book until January 8th. I know, completely crazy.

January: (15 books)

1. The Professional: Pt. 1 – Kresley Cole^

2. The Professional: Pt. 2 – Kresley Cole^

3. Blue By You – Rachel Gibson^

4. Foreplay: The Ivy Chronicles – Sophie Jordan^

5. Tangled – Emma Chase^

6. Waking Up Married – Mira Lyn Kelly^

7. Picnic – William Inge

8. Dark Desires After Dusk – Kresley Cole*

9. Kiss of a Demon King – Kresley Cole*

10. Tempest – Julie Cross

11. Burning Sky – Sherry Thomas^

12. The Professional: Pt. 3 – Kresley Cole^

13. Tangled Up In You – Rachel Gibson^

14. Vortex – Julie Cross

15. Timestorm – Julie Cross

A quick guide to my symbols. * Denotes a book that is a reread. The new symbol this year is ^, which denotes a book I read digitally. I noticed last year, after I got my iPad, that I am now reading considerably more digitally. I still VASTLY prefer reading a book, but sometimes, if I really want to read something, or if I’m on a wait list at the library, or if, as it has been, it’s just too freaking cold to go to the library, I will get it digitally. So I decided that would be interesting to know this year.

The Professional was an eBook, released as a three part series, only digitally, so I had no choice there, though I hear they are planning to release it as a book later this year. Kresley Cole is one of my favorite authors, I read her voraciously, so I was super excited to see her new book. IT.WAS.TERRIBLE. Easily a contender, already, for worst book of the year. And she is the author of 2013’s Best Book, Endless Knight. Go figure.

I actually reread two of her old books just to get the taste of that bad book out of my mind.

Other interesting things. Tangled, by Emma Chase, was chosen as a Goodread’s pick for best romance of 2013. So, obviously, I read it. One of the worst romances I have ever read. It made me wonder if these readers have EVER read a romance before. It is also a contender for worst book of the year. (Speaking of romances, Blue By You, and Waking Up Married were also pretty bad….a terrible month for romance books, for me).

But luckily, I read Foreplay, by Sophie Jordan. She’s a historical author I’ve always enjoyed, and this is her first foray into contemporary. I adored this book. It was fun and smart and sexy. I cannot wait for the next installment, to see if it was a one off, or if this will become a favored series. And I found it free for purchase, so that is why it was digital.

Picnic is a play. First play I’ve read since recording…didn’t read one last year. Not a big fan of reading plays actually, I get too distracted trying to visualize it in my head, instead of enjoying the story. But since this story was stupid….

Burning Sky is by one of my favorite historical romance authors. Sherry Thomas writes historical romance that is smart and fun and not tripe, which is hard for most historical authors. Then she took a turn and wrote this…an historical, supernatural, fantasy? It was interesting. Not great, but not terrible. I’d read the next one, but if she doesn’t knock it out of the park, I’ll assume that romance is her forté.

And that brings us to a new trilogy that I found completely by accident. It sounded unique, so I got it, Tempest. And it was awesome. Hard to follow at times, but once I stopped trying, I enjoyed the story so much I couldn’t wait to read the other two. Timestorm, the final installment, just came out in January. I really enjoyed all three. It did not go at all the way I expected off the first book and I liked that. Would recommend this to anyone who likes teen fiction, science fiction, romance, adventure, and time travel. It’s a pretty versatile trilogy.

Alrightythen, that was more in depth than usual, but I decided that if I’m going to do this, it might as well be useful as a sort of reader’s advisory. It was a weird month, January, 15 books in 23 days and most of them were terrible. Makes me wonder what the rest of the year will hold!

Total: 15 books, obviously. This is five ahead of last year’s January total. Currently on pace to read 180 books for the year.

Scaring the Weather

I mentioned, in an offhand manner, something about the nice weather, to Elena. She said, “Sssh! You’ll scare it away.” Aside from that being funny, it makes me wonder.

Is this weather permanent this winter? Or is this just a weird prelude and we’re about to get smacked in the face with a “real” Minnesota winter?

I don’t know. Honestly, how could I, but I refuse to pussyfoot about. It is what it is. If the weather gets cold and snowy, then it does, it isn’t like that would be unexpected. However, for those who don’t know, we have almost zero snow on the ground. It’s snowed twice. The first time was about 0.5″ and it was melted in a matter of days. This last time (New Year’s Eve) it snowed about 1.5″ and though much of it has melted there are mini-snow drifts left to admire.

The temps have been so mild that I’ve only worn a coat twice this winter. (We had a two day span where the high was in the teens). So far, in 2012, I’ve yet to wear a coat. Today, January 9th, it is 41°. The average high for this day? 24°. Our overnight low tonight is predicted at 28°. That is higher than the average temp!

As an example, Thursday night is the night my recycling goes out. I showered that evening and I had bare feet. It was so warm it sounded like it was raining outside, but it was just snow melting of the roof. I went to take out the garbage and recycling in bare feet and flip flops. (I was also wearing pants and a t-shirt). Since it was so nice out I decided to scrape at some of the ice clumped at the end of my driveway.

So, in flip-flops, I grabbed a shovel and started scraping. That has never happened before. I doubt I’ve ever worn flip-flops in January in my entire life, much less outside, while shoveling snow! What a strange and wonderful winter this has been. I’m glad my Alabama relatives didn’t pick this year to come up in winter, can you imagine how disappointed the children would have been? No snow or cold at all. Just a shade colder than their daily lives. (Right now, it is 64° in Tuscaloosa–we are shooting for a high of 46. Granted that is 18° of difference, but that is not much, considering what it should be!)

Speaking of 64–on Friday, when I came to work, I parked in the sun. When I got done, four hours later I got in my car and it was so warm in there. I turned it on and the temperature gauge said:

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(I’m tickled that this is also the current temp in Alabama. How fortuitous!)

Granted it was only 38° outside, but the sun was so warm it made the car think it was almost 30°warmer! It’s wonderful and I am sure enjoying this anomalous weather. Also, it makes other things spectacular as well. There has been sunshine every single day, so no January depression or doldrums, and the other night, driving home, I saw this.
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Rarely do we ever even see sunsets in January, the gray, heavy, leaden clouds are usually blocking it, and in my recollection, it is never that gorgeous. Sometimes, Mother Nature is kind to us in her blessings. I’m very grateful. Hopefully, she’ll appreciate that and not allow me to scare away this goodness. (It is supposed to get down to highs in the teens by the end of the week–and snow–so I am blogging this now, in case I need to remember)

Happy January!