July Books

Oh Boy.

I kind of want to leave it at that. I may have gone a bit over the top in July. Not that life wasn’t busy, it was, but for some reason, since starting my new job, two weeks ago, I haven’t slept for shit. I’m freaking exhausted, yes, but I’ve gotten lots of middle of the night reading in.

I was just doing calculations, for fun. Last year, I read 155 books on the year. In order to reach that goal this year, I’d have to read just under 3 books a month for the remainder of the year. Since it is not unheard of for me to read more than three books in a day, I don’t see it being a huge issue. So I will most definitely beat last year’s total, probably by a lot. I foresee beating last year’s total before the end of August, actually.

Also, I was not trying to read a book a day this month. It just sort of…..happened. Back to back months of 32 books.

Oh Boy.

July: (32 Books)

1. The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey^ (Yes, Lisa, I finally did read it!!!)

2. I Am the Weapon – Alan Zadoff^

3. The Maze Runner – James Dashner^

4. The Scorch Trials – James Dashner^

5. The Death Cure – James Dashner^

6. Close Enough To Touch – Victoria Dahl^

7. Talk Me Down – Victoria Dahl^

8. Start Me Up – Victoria Dahl^

9. Lead Me On – Victoria Dahl^

10. Too Hot To Handle – Victoria Dahl^

11. On The Fence – Kasie West^

12. So Tough To Tame – Victoria Dahl^

13. Angel – Johanna Lindsey*

14. Shattered – Kevin Hearne^

15. Simply Irresistible – Jill Shalvis^

16. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart^

17. Undone – Shannon Richard

18. Broken – Megan Hart^

19. Sweetest Mistake – Candis Terry

20. Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins^

21. Led Astray – Sandra Brown*

22. Wife For A Day – Patti Berg*

23. Playing For Keeps – R. L. Mathewson^

24. The Next Always – Nora Roberts^

25. The Last Boyfriend – Nora Roberts^

26. The Perfect Hope – Nora Roberts^

27. The Sweetest Thing – Jill Shalvis^

28. Head Over Heels – Jill Shalvis^

29. Nora Roberts Land – Ava Miles^

30. Perfect Pitch – Mindy Klasky^

31. Catching Hell – Mindy Klasky^

32. Welcome to Temptation – Jennifer Crusie^

What did I love? Well I already wrote an in depth blog post on Broken (linked above). I will update it by saying that my mother read the book, too and she also liked it a great deal.

Speaking of my mother, she recommended a trilogy by Nora Roberts. The Next Always, The Last Boyfriend, The Perfect Hope, collectively, The Inn Boonsboro. Not only did I like the books, but I really loved the fact that they came recommended from someone else. Lisa and Jan send me recommendations, and sometimes I can nag Elena into telling me some books, but mostly, I find things on my own. It is a sheer delight to have a recommendation —and to enjoy it so immensely.

Last month I read the Hex Hall trilogy by Rachel Hawkins and loved it, so I was looking forward to her new series, which came out this month. Rebel Belle. I was surprisingly disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it surely did not have the sparkle and zest that Hex Hall had.

Kasie West is a teen author I adore, her newest novel, On the Fence, was delightful. Likewise with Kevin Hearne. He writes the Iron Druid Chronicles, my favorite series of the year last year. This was the latest installment, Shattered. It was a bit of a departure from recent books, but still had the same wit, humor, vocabulary, and plot twists that I’ve grown to love. Plus, Jesus showed up again, and that was one of my favorite scenes from previous books. It was awesome.

Did a few rereads, because I was jonesing for stories I already know I love, and read a lot of mediocre to crappy romance. Now let’s get to the good stuff.

Lisa has been nagging me to read The 5th Wave for….a  long time. I promised her I would get to it soon, so when I needed a book to start the month, I just picked it up and did it. It was good. No doubt. I liked the story, it was suspenseful and kept me wondering. But it was….missing something. Not really sure what, but I wouldn’t give it a rave. But I am glad I read it and I will read the sequel, due out later this year.

Then, since I was diving into my TBR (To Be Read) list (which is crazy/scary long), I decided to stay in that genre and I tackled The Maze Runner. Another one people have been raving over and there’s a movie coming out soon. This one I really liked. It was hard to get into because the author throws you in at a breakneck pace and doesn’t slow to explain, but once you adjust, it’s fantastic to be along for the ride. I enjoyed that he never slowed the pace.

The only other one I want to mention is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I found this on an email by Amazon. They sent the best books for the 1st half of 2014 and I skimmed all the lists, but dwelled in the teen list. This was the best teen book for the first half of the year. So I read it. And it was….terrible, not good, shallow, light on substance, poorly written, take your pick. I understand why people would say they liked it, the plot twists unexpectedly at the end, but the rest of the book was so inconsistent and immature, I was appalled at Amazon daring to recommend it to me. They very rarely let me down. It is possible (I never checked) that the list was compiled strictly off sales, in which case I couldn’t blame them, but if it was anything else, shame on them.

And, there is the July wrap up. My annual total is 141 books. Yes, I am only 14 away from last year’s total, with five full months to go. Last year, I reached 141 books in the second week of November. That puts me more than three months ahead of last year’s pace. I am currently on pace to read 242 books this year. I doubt like heck it will get that high, but then I would have never said I’d read 64 books in 2 months either. So who knows? But if you guessed low, I’m not feeling good about your chances. And I just went back to look at the list of guesses and there are a lot of low guesses. If I had to predict a winner right now, I’d be feeling pretty good to be Mark. But we will see what happens. Remember that fall tv starts in a bit over a month, that’ll slow me down for sure. Plus it’ll get colder and I won’t be able to read endless hours outside in my new hammock swing.



Books, Books, Books – July Edition

Thinking back, I had a holiday, family picnic, birthday, celebration, and sub shifts in July. It was a busy month. Yet, somehow I managed to fit in a LOT of reading. Probably the beautiful weather. For some reason, the weather cooled down, giving us balmy days in the high 70s, plenty of sunshine and almost no humidity. It was glorious. With weather like that I can’t help but be outside. There were nights I was outside and it was growing so dark I was trying to squeeze in “just one last chapter” by the light of my citronella candles. Granted, there is nothing stopping me from going inside and reading in the light, I just enjoy reading outside so very much. And I don’t like to interrupt when the book is good.

Ready for the results?

July (26 books)

Did you catch that? No, not kidding….I read 26 books this month. Here they are.

1. The Bride – Julie Garwood*

2. The Wedding – Julie Garwood*

3. Ransom – Julie Garwood*

4. Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips

5. Miracle – Elizabeth Scott

6. The Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan*

7. The Mark of Athena – Rick Riordan*

8. Starcrossed – Josephine Angelini

9. Stranger in the Moonlight – Jude Deveraux

10. Dreamless – Josephine Angelini

11. Goddess – Josephine Angelini

12. Ain’t She Sweet – Susan Elizabeth Phillips*

13. Breathing Room – SEP*

14. Match Me If You Can – SEP*

15. MacRieve – Kresley Cole

16. Inferno – Dan Brown

17. Awaken – Meg Cabot

18. Touch of Enchantment – Teresa Medeiros*

19. The Wizard of Seattle – Kay Hooper*

20. Perfect Timing – Catherine Anderson

21. Natural Born Charmer – SEP*

22. The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson

23. Heaven Can’t Wait – Pamela Clare

24. Bridesmaid Lotto – Rachel Astor

25. Gamble on Engagement – Rachel Astor

26. The Wedding Wager – Rachel Astor

There you go, the complete list. 15 new books and 11 repeats. I honestly found 15 new and interesting books to read, but it still wasn’t enough. I had to keep digging into my stash. I pulled out some of my greatest hits this month; and it was fabulous. I started out with The Bride/The Wedding by Julie Garwood, two of my favorite books ever. I have read them so many times I can almost quote them. But I keep reading them, over and over, reminding myself why I still consider Julie Garwood one of my favorite authors, even though she hasn’t written anything I’ve loved in years. Which reminds me she has a new one out in August.

The best thing I read this month would probably be numbers 8, 10, and 11. The Goddess trilogy by Angelini. I picked up the first (I read them in order) by chance and just sucked it down. It was captivating. I had to wait a whole day for the next one so I read something in between, but then I plowed through the next two. Unlike many trilogies, this did not drop off from one to the next. It kept my attention all the way through. Great teen trilogy if you like mythology, which I do.

Worst thing I read? Hm, that would have to be #5. This was a book I found during a preview (an email I get) and it seemed so interesting. So I got the book and, it was decidedly NOT interesting. Not a bad book, just incredibly boring. Nothing happened. 300 pages and nothing actually happened. The just kept rehashing the beginning, the mystery that interested me in the first place. Dull, dull, dull.

Most disappointing books I read? Those awards go to #15 and #20. Both continuations on long standing series that I LOVE and own every book in each series. #15 is the 14th book in the series. I look forward to the new one coming out every year. This one was just a DUD. Not terrible, just not great. I read it, but it just wasn’t interesting or captivating. Such a disappointment when you look forward to a book that much.  Then #20, which is the 11th book in its series. Hers usually come out annually, but she started a new series. So the last book in the series came out in 2010. Three years ago! I was so excited for this book, it should be the last one, and she made us wait for it. Then….wow. She took such a weird turn with this book I kept turning pages and saying (out loud) “WHAT?” It was so….ODD. That is the only word for it. I didn’t hate it, and I actually kind of liked how it ended, but it was for sure my least favorite in the entire series.

Most surprising books I read? Number 4 and #24. #4 was a book recommendation from a blog I follow. I like mythology, as I said, so I picked it up. It was….almost shocking. Like about two pages in and suddenly I was shocked by what I was reading. Not necessarily in a good way. It was a very unusual book. It took me a good while to adjust to that, but once I did, I actually started to enjoy it. #24 was a free book on iTunes. Typically, free books are not popular and not very good. I will admit this was not a “good” book. The editing was AWFUL, I was actually distracted by the sheer volume of typos in this published book, but the content was so entertaining I didn’t care. This book made me laugh out loud so many times. The story is cheesy and obvious, but the lead character is so likable and funny that it made up for all other imperfections. I really didn’t expect to like this book enough to actually go out and BUY the next two in the trilogy, but I did. And I enjoyed them as well.

There you go. I know it was a long recap, but it was a LOT of books to get through this month. And for the grand total? I am up to 83 books on the year. That puts me on pace to finish 142 books on the year. That’s quite a leap…at the end of June, the pace would only get me 114.  Granted, I don’t expect the rest of the months to be like July, my pace had me on a book every single day of the month, save for five days.

But things are definitely getting interesting with only five months to go.

July Keeps Bustin’ My Chops

This July started off fantastic.

Just as quickly, things started to go downhill. It’s been a rough month for me. I haven’t spoken of it often, but there were issues. Lots of work issues. Friend issues. Money issues. Daily grind issues. It seems like issues has become the word of the day, every day.

Then, I stumbled across this post, dated just over a year ago.

Apparently, this is not a new phenomenon. July was pretty awful to me last year as well. I hope it isn’t a pattern. I don’t want to have to start erasing July from my annual calendar just to get by.

But, come on, July! Cut me some slack, hmm?