March Books

Remember last March? I only read five books the entire month. In fact, it was my lowest reading month of the year. I was concerned for this year, going in, because the guesses are so much higher this year. But I still have to live a life, even while reading books. So, imagine my surprise when I read…and read some more….and read some more, and couldn’t stop reading in March. I was cramming in reading sessions like it was going out of style, which was especially weird because I didn’t have much new to read.

In fact, my rereads were out of control this month.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

March (19 books)

1. The False Prince – Jennifer A. Nielsen

2. The Runaway King – Jennifer A. Nielsen

3. Beastly – Alex Flinn^

4. Cloaked – Alex Flinn^

5. The Shadow Throne – Jennifer A. Nielsen

6. Addicted to Love – Lori Wilde

7. Wallbanger – Alice Clayton^

8. Suddenly Royal – Nichole Chase^

9. The Cowboy and the Princess – Lori Wilde^

10. Can’t Buy Me Love – Molly O’Keefe^

11. Sugar Daddy – Lisa Kleypas*

12. Heaven, Texas – Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP)*

13. Dream a Little Dream – SEP*

14. Blue Eyed Devil – Lisa Kleypas*

15. Killer Frost – Jennifer Estep

16. Smooth Talking Stranger – Lisa Kleypas*

17. Lothaire – Kresley Cole*

18. Remember When – Judith McNaught*

19. Shadow’s Claim – Kresley Cole*

19 books on the month, 7 of which were rereads. 6 of which were digital. The best thing I read was the Ascension Trilogy (False Prince, Runaway King, Shadow Throne) It’s very good, addicting and thrilling. Great boys read books, appropriate for maybe 5th grade and up? A good reader, maybe 4th grade.

Also Killer Frost, this was the final installment in the Mythos Academy series that I started and tore through last year. It was good, perfectly fine, but not quite as thrilling as the previous ones. I did, however, like the solution she came up with to the question haunting the heroine for the past several books. It was clever.

Suddenly Royal is a great chick lit read. Easy to read and enjoyable. I’ll read the others when they come out.

The Lori Wilde books were not great and the Molly OKeefe was just bad.

I liked Beastly by Alex Flinn (a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast) but hated Cloaked (a bunch of unknown fairy tales retold together in one book. When I started it, I thought it was a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. I was very wrong and very disappointed).

Wallbanger…was probably the most surprising book of the year. It’s a terrible premise (seriously, girl meets boy because they are neighbors and she can hear his headboard banging on her wall every night as he has sex), but it got great reviews. I was skeptical, but picked it up anyway. And, I liked it. It was smart. Smarter than the premise lets on. And it was funny and the story surprisingly poignant.

And I was out of things to read after that, so I turned to some old standbys. I just couldn’t stop reading last month. Sometimes it goes like that, it just gets under my skin.

The total on the year?

46 books.  On pace for 184.

A funny thing I noted, last year, it was the middle of MAY before I had reached 46 books, that is quite a lead that I’ve built up this year. Plus it is starting to slowly warm up (she says as it is supposed to snow tomorrow) so pretty soon I’ll be able to read outside again. Even better, I bought a hammock swing for my patio for this year. If it is as comfortable as it is supposed to be (it’s not up yet) then I might quit my job and sit there for three months, reading and swinging. Sounds like heaven to me!

Happy 34

It’s weird how much I love my birthday and yet I kind of hate blogging this because it was almost three months ago. Still and all, I’m going to do it, because otherwise I’m going to be sad when next year comes around.

For my actual birthday, I went out to dinner with my family. We went to Dick’s in Hudson. Why, you ask? Well, if you know me at all, that’s a good question. I am not a big fan of Dick’s. I don’t hate it or anything but it probably wouldn’t rank on a list of my favorites at all. However, my birthday always falls during Lent and this year it was on a Friday. That meant I could really only go out for Fish Fry. I happen to like Fish Fry, so it wasn’t a thing. My sister suggested Dick’s, saying their Fish Fry was great. It was pretty good, I think great might be a stretch. Obb’s is better, but since I’m not a huge fan of that place either, it was a six of one situation.

My number one goal was to get a picture of me with all three of the little kids, Simon, Arionna, and Camden. There is only ONE picture of me with Simon AND Arionna, and it’s terrible. So, I asked my sister. She decides to do it at the restaurant.

Take 1:
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 Really, kids?
Take 2:
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Well, that’s actually worse.
Take 3:
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Seriously? At least the baby is kind of looking for this one. And then my sister hands me the camera and says, “I’m sure one of those will work.”
Are you? ARE YOU REALLY?
Next, Simon took over the camera to take super unflattering photos of most of the table’s occupants.
Himself:
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Arionna:
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And Auntie Livi:
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I mean, wow.
But then, he proved the old adage “practice makes perfect” by knocking it out of the park with this photo.
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I know, beautiful.
Then it was home for cake and presents, frankly, my favorite part.
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I also like how when it is my birthday, they let me hold the baby all night long.
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Then, as my REAL present, I was insistent upon getting an actual nice photo of me with the kids.
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So close…if only Arionna put her hand down.
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Well, that’s pretty perfect. Cam’s not looking, but it’s still pretty great.
One more take, though, just in case….
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BAM!
There it is. All looking, and someone said something funny, so Arionna is laughing and I’m laughing and Simon has a sweet smile on his face. Just perfection. This picture makes me so happy.
Onto the next night, where all my friends and most of my family came over to play board games. It was a fun evening, but very, very, very much more lowkey that previous epic parties. In fact, several people commented on that fact to me.
Not too much to report. Kelly was kind enough to stop in for 10 minutes, before heading off to give birth, which was nice of her. (Seriously, she gave birth five HOURS after leaving my party).
But my favorite part was getting lovely photos with my friends and family.
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Me and Lane. This was a self-portrait because she was the first one there. And I think she actually took all the rest, which is why this is in the kitchen (counters) and the rest are in the living room.
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Me and Mindy, and I love this because there are not NEARLY enough photos of me with this girl.
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Me with my sister and brother in law, and I think this is the only photo of just the three of us in existence. I was trying to think if there was one from their wedding, but I don’t think so. Chad’s brother (the best man) was always in photos with us.
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My mom and her girls. One of my favorite photos of the three of us was taken on Emily’s 21st birthday. This could well be my second favorite!
And my last photo of the night?
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LOVE.
Do I really need to say more?
It was a quiet birthday, but that’s okay. Just a breather to gear up for 35…

Books, Books, Books – March Edition

Here we are, three months in and I’m still recording and loving this whole “keeping track” business. For those of you who were worried about the overwhelming numbers the first two months, don’t worry, I slowed down in March.

With my birthday, Kelly’s new baby, my newest nephew, Arionna’s birthday, Easter, and two jobs, I didn’t read that much. Let’s take a look.

March (5 books)

1. The Goddess Inheritance – Aimee Carter

2. Speechless – Hannah Harrington

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

4. The One and Only Ivan – Katherine Applegate

5. Prodigy – Marie Lu

I did say at the end of February’s post that I figured I read less in March. I do. It’s not like 5 books is insignificant, I am aware that most people read 5 books in a year, not a month, but as it is only half as much as the previous month (s) I am feeling a little adrift. I will say it was technically 5.5 books because I did start the sequel to #3 and I am over halfway through it, but I didn’t finish it yesterday, so it wasn’t counted.

However, my overall total for 2013 is now up to 28, with nine months to go. I am on pace to read 112 books for the year. We will see how it ends…

The best of the 5? Number 2, (Speechless – Harrington). I did not expect to like this book this much. I spend so much of my time reading angsty teen dystopian fiction that just a straight up novel was a refreshing change of pace. The story is well written, the characters likable and it seemed like a realistic representation of  high school, or at least high school as I remember it. I was impressed by it and tore through it.

The worst? None of them. The first I read was the last in a trilogy (see previous months) and I really liked the whole series. I was least impressed by this third one, but it was still good from start to finish. The 3rd is interesting. I wish I liked it more. It was a little too vague for my tastes. I’m all about setting up a mystery to draw in the reader, but if I’m 2/3 of the way through the SECOND book and I still don’t know what is going on…it’s too much. I was annoyed when it ended, abruptly and left me with no idea what was happening to Mara Dyer. But, even through that complaint, the story is so compelling you can’t help but keep reading it. And I found Mara to be a good character. I would recommend this – especially to you, Sara. I think you’ll like it.

Book 5 is also a sequel. I read the first, Legend, in February. I liked it fine, but I really liked this one. Much more. However, I hated how it ended, but that is not unusual for me, so I am willing to let it pass.

The final book I read, number 4, is a children’s book. It was the 2013 winner of the Newbery Medal, which is awarded annually to the best written children’s book. Strangely, the writing was annoying to me. But only for the first 30 pages, then I grew used to it and became engrossed in the story, it was good. However, I’ve read all of Kate DiCamillo’s novels and think they are similar in style, but much stronger stories. It was fine, certainly worth the read, but not a favorite I’ll keep coming back to. It is a very quick read. I did like it more when I learned it was based on a true story. And, Kel, I think this would be a terrific read-aloud when you’re back in the 2nd grade.

There we go, a little something for everyone. I will be diving back in here in April. I am so excited for the night I can leave work and go read on my patio in the warm evening sunshine. Soon enough, I hope.