March 2017 Books

Well, well, well, no one thought to remind me that I hadn’t posted this yet?

In my favorite month of the year I’m always a busy girl. Things to do, presents to open, that sort of thing. Therefore, my expectations are pretty low for books. In fact, 19 books is the most I’ve ever read, the other three years I’ve been tracking were 7, 6, and 5, reverse chronologically.

Imagine my surprise to pack eighteen new books into my calendar in my birthday month!

Here’s what I was reading.

March: (18 books)

  1. Royal – Winter Renshaw^
  2. Six of Hearts – L.H. Cosway^
  3. Lucian Devine – Renee Carlino^
  4. Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner
  5. Rock Addiction – Nalini Singh^
  6. Three Little Words – A.J. Pine^
  7. The One Real Thing – Samantha Young^
  8. Wait for It – M. O’Keefe^
  9. Blush for Me – Kristen Proby^
  10. Unexpected Fate – Harper Sloan^
  11. Goodbye Paradise – Sarina Bowen^
  12. Truth or Beard – Penny Reid^
  13. Grin and Beard It – Penny Reid^
  14. Beard Science – Penny Reid^
  15. Every Little Thing – Samantha Young^
  16. Openly Straight – Bill Konigsberg^
  17. Openly, Honestly – Bill Konigsberg^
  18. Honestly Ben – Bill Konigsberg^

What a great month (in so many ways!). The first three were duds. Then Rock Addiction and Unexpected Fate, both of which were unimpressive. But, the other 13 books I read this month were terrific.

Goodbye Days is already a contender for best book of the year, seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read. (In case you’re wondering, Elena, you will hate this, Kelly, I would assume no, but you could try it, Mom, I think you would like it).

Three of these (Blush For Me, Three Little Words, and Wait for It) were continuations in a series. All three were excellent entries to their respective series’.  I also tackled two new series, the three by Bill Konigsberg, which is a completed trilogy and The Beard books, which is an ongoing series, these are just the ones completed.

I have written previously of my love of Sarina Bowen, so kudos to her for putting out her new book for my birthday. It was stellar. I adored it.

I adored the readings. All of them, even the bad ones. I love a good month of reading and this one was exemplary. What a ‘happy birthday to me’ sentiment that is.

As for our update. Through the end of March, I had read 63 books, which put me on pace to read 252 books this year. Yikes. That would be amazing. I guess we’ll see how it goes. We are headed into nicer weather and you know how I love to read outside!

How Technology Changed Reading

You’re thinking this will be a post about reading on a device?


It’s not about that at all. It’s about how technology, social media, and computers have changed the way we interact with the book world. Authors are everywhere. Social media, newsletters, Goodreads.

If I have a question for an author, I can post it on GR and it will get answered. Or I can Tweet to that author. Once, I Tweeted to a beloved author (Teresa Medeiros) that I was recklessly in love with one of her heroes. I don’t normally crush on fictional heroes (except Captain America), but no matter how many times I read that book or others, I just plain love him. (I said all this in 140 characters or less) and she responded that of all her heroes, she has a soft spot for him as well. Swoon! So, like any good fan, I said to her, if you had to cast him in a movie, who would play him? Not that I was interested, but even though he was described in the book, I had a picture of him in my mind and I wanted to know what he looked like to HER, his creator. Very shortly, she replied. Christian Kane! No kidding. My favorite book hero ever and she thinks my favorite celebrity should play him? Oh my. I think I may have passed out. But now that I’ve fully recovered, I view that book and that author differently. My love for them is a bit deeper having interacted with her.

Another author (Sarina Bowen) I like let me join a behind the scenes team that gets the opportunity to talk about her books in advance of their publication. That just makes me feel cool.

An author (Jeff Zentner) I recently discovered published his second novel. Before it came out he Tweeted a link to the first three chapters. I got to read a preview. When I thanked him online, he responded. It made me feel valuable. There is a connection that had never before been present and it enhances my reading life.

Let’s scoot forward to today. If you know me, you know I am a crazy emailer. Pretty quick response time. But I don’t often check email on weekends. And weekends that include my birthday? Not even a bit. So when I saw this email this morning, in the form of a newsletter from an author I enjoy, I read it.

It included a short blurb about 20 free copies of one of her books being available on iBooks. you just had to be one of the first 20 people to respond to this email. Normally I am all over this sort of thing. I am ready to be one of the first 20. But this email came out on Saturday. I didn’t see it until today. That is DAYS later. I figure there is ZERO chance that there are any free copies left.

But, never one to leave a stone unturned, I respond back, regardless. I said “bad weekend to be off email for my birthday, I’m guessing, but is there any chance I’m the 20th person to respond?” Again, I figured zero chance and didn’t even figure on a response. I cannot imagine that at least 20 people didn’t want a free book, especially if you subscribe to the author’s newsletter

Imagine my surprise, when, a couple hours later, I get a response from the author. She wrote, “the 20 were gone days ago, but I just contacted them now and got another free code, for you. Happy birthday, here’s to being the 21st!”

No kidding, she did that for me. Eve Silver is her name and I’ve been reading her books for years. I was so touched. I mean, she did not have to do that, I totally did not expect it, but by doing so, she made me a fan for life. I probably already was, but this cemented it for sure. Now I have the book and gratitude for her kindness. This is something that couldn’t have happened before technology put us in touch with people we will never meet.

Thank you, Eve Silver. I’m super excited to read your book, it was an amazing birthday gift.

(For anyone wondering the book is Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver)

I Like BAD Books and I Cannot Lie

I almost called this “In Defense of the Bad Book” but I thought that title was more funny. But truly, this is the purpose. I want to defend the bad book.

Let’s talk about this. I read a lot. Everyone knows this. I.READ.A.LOT. Obviously, when you read as much as I do, not every book can be a winner. Even if you only read 2 books a year, not every book can be a winner, it’s just human nature. Some things you won’t like. Some things you’ll actively dislike. Sometimes your mood will affect how you feel about a book. Sometimes you’ll be tired when reading and, therefore, less invested in that story.

There are as many reasons for not liking a book as there are books themselves. I am well aware I won’t like every book I read. I used to be the person that read every book, if I pick it up I will read it, end of story. But I am not like that any more. I have no problem stopping a book if I am not into it. Maybe I don’t like it, maybe it’s just not my cup of tea, maybe, maybe, maybe. I won’t hesitate to stop reading a book.

Why then, would I ever read a bad book?

Here’s why: They make good books better.

When you read a bad book, a book that unsettles you or puts a bad taste in your mouth, or just something that didn’t float your particular seacraft, and then you follow it with a book you enjoy, the good book suddenly seems better by comparison.

Here’s an example. In January I read a bunch of books I did not want to read. Many of them were outright terrible. It was not a fun reading time for me, on the whole. Then, I picked a book I was excited about to be the first book of my choice to follow those. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Was this the best book I have ever read? No. But you know what? It’s close. I read it on January 28, and I have such a deep and abiding love for this book, I want to read it again. It has not even been two months and I want to read it again, because in my mind, it was magic. It doesn’t mean it was the best book ever, it is just at the time that I read it I was craving something good like it. And BAM, there it was.

If you read neverending good books, they all begin to blend together in your mind, and, honestly, they become fairly boring. Like your tolerance shoots up. But if you mix in the occasional bad book, suddenly they are shiny and beautiful again. It’s the contrast that makes the beauty stand out. Like the lone daisy in a field of weeds. Among a field of daisies, you’d never even notice her, but the contrast makes her beauty truly shine. That’s what bad books do for me.

Here’s another reason. Bad books help clarify what you do NOT like. I think this is just as important as figuring out what you DO like; when you are a reader. My example here comes from the book that prompted this post. The alpha male. I love me a good alpha male. Every time I have read a good book with an alpha, I tell myself, yes, I do like alphas. But then I read a book, like the one I just finished. The alpha in this story, while certainly, on paper, meeting all the traits, is like an alpha on steroids. He treats women like dimwitted, helpless, foolish, children and expects that this makes him look strong and handsome. In reality, this makes my skin crawl. I do not like characters that are too over the top. I do not like characters that don’t have respect for other characters. I do not like gratuitous sex. I do not like domineering men. I do not like simpering females. I do not like manufactured drama. These are just a few examples of things I’ve learned from bad books.

That isn’t to say that good books can’t have these things, they can. But it is unsurprising how quickly a book will turn from good to bad because one of these things will occur in a book I may have otherwise loved.

Lastly, I like bad books because they serve as a repository for the things I don’t like. We can keep the domineering disrespectful alphas in the bad books and reserve the generous, tender and kind alphas in the good books. It’s a system that so far seems to be working for me.

So, what did we learn from this?

Well, bad books are inevitable, but I don’t mind. I’m actually glad to read a book I don’t like. It brings balance to my reading life. I don’t want all my books to be bad, but every once in awhile, I am happy to read a bad book. I cannot lie.

February 2017 Books

Second month of the year went pretty well. I read quite a bit and some decent stuff. Now we are in my favorite month of the year and there’s some good things coming out I’ve been waiting for, so things are exciting.

Here’s the list:

February: (18 books)

  1. Managed – Kristen Callihan^
  2. Ransom – Rachel Shurig^
  3. Good Boy – Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy^
  4. Hard Hitter – Sarina Bowen^
  5. The Goal – Elle Kennedy^
  6. By Your Side – Kasie West^
  7. Attraction – Penny Reid^
  8. Heat – Penny Reid^
  9. Capture – Penny Reid^
  10. Blind Attraction – Eden Summers^
  11. Try – Ella Frank^
  12. Bittersweet – Sarina Bowen^
  13. The Playboy – Madeline Ash^
  14. Her Secret Prince – Madeline Ash^
  15. The Way We Fall – Cassia Leo^
  16. My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick^
  17. Caraval – Stephanie Garber
  18. Heartless – Winter Renshaw

Standouts from this month include Managed, the second in the VIP series, which I enjoyed. Good Boy, which is the third in a series I adore, this was cute but not as good as the first two. Hard Hitter the second in a series, which I liked much better than the first. By Your Side, the newest book by Kasie West, one of my faves and this was fantabulous. My Life Next Door, a very sweet book in the style of Kasie West, so I will try another by Huntley Fitzpatrick and, finally, Caraval. This is a book recommendation I got over a year ago and I have waited and waited for it to come out. It was very good. Not excellent, but it could have fallen victim to The Oversell. I hate that. Still, it was a worthy read.

And there you have it. My February books. I am at 45 books on the year, currently on pace to read 270. Since my goal is 175, I’m not too concerned. Goodreads tells me I am 17 books ahead of schedule. I could technically take the month off and still be on pace. But I won’t. See in you April!

August 2016 Books

Well, September is upon us, which means it is time for fall, back to school, and my August book list. I’m not going to lie, I went a little crazy in August. I mean, every spare second, EVERY spare second, I was reading. I haven’t watched tv in ages. The fever had me and it showed in this month’s tally.

August: (37 books)

  1. 30 First Dates – Stacey Wiedower^
  2. Day Zero – Kresley Cole
  3. Poison Princess – Kresley Cole*
  4. Endless Knight – Kresley Cole*
  5. Dead of Winter – Kresley Cole*
  6. Paper Princess – Erin Watt^
  7. Broken Prince – Erin Watt^
  8. The Forbidden Wish – Jessica Khoury^
  9. Nuts – Alice Clayton^
  10. Cream of the Crop – Alice Clayton^
  11. Pretend You’re Mine – Lucy Score^
  12. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me – Mariana Zapata^
  13. Just Kiss Me – Rachel Gibson
  14. Six Month Rule – A.J. Pine^
  15. The Play – Karina Halle^
  16. P.S. I Like You – Kasie West
  17. Trust Honor Love – J.M. Witt^
  18. Marrying Winterbourne – Lisa Kleypas
  19. Winter Wishes – Karina Halle^
  20. The Lie – Karina Halle^
  21. Close to You – Kristen Proby^
  22. The Year We Fell Down – Sarina Bowen^
  23. The Year We Hid Away – Sarina Bowen^
  24. Blonde Date – Sarina Bowen^
  25. The Understatement of the Year – Sarina Bowen^
  26. Arcana Rising – Kresley Cole
  27. The Shameless Hour – Sarina Bowen^
  28. The Fifteenth Minute – Sarina Bowen^
  29. The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner^
  30. When Lightning Strikes – Kristin Hannah*
  31. Coming in from the Cold- Sarina Bowen^
  32. Falling from the Sky – Sarina Bowen^
  33. Shooting for the Stars – Sarina Bowen
  34. Him – Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy^
  35. Us – Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy^
  36. Bet on Us – Rachel Higginson^
  37. Bet on Me – Rachel Higginson^

First off, can we take a second and marvel at how freaking many books I read this month!?!?!? Prior to this my highest monthly totals were 26 in 2013, 32 in 2014, and 29 in 2015, followed by my June of this year, with 35 books! I thought 35 would be the permanent record, but then I surpassed it by TWO this month. So it seems silly to me to say that this might be the most books I’ll ever read in a month, but that is how it feels. But hey, it’s good to have goals, maybe one day I will read 40 books in a month!

Onto the books themselves, there’s a lot to talk abou this month, so I’ll start with Kresley Cole who writes my all time favorite series and I’ve been waiting two years for the next installment. First she put out a companion guide, Day Zero, which I really enjoyed, and then the book Arcana Rising, which I did enjoy. Elena did not. But I did. Not going to make best book of the year (she usually does win this, but definitely will not this year), but it was definitely a good installment to the series.

The absolute most interesting, shocking, different, cool thing I read this month (and likely this year) is the duology Him and Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. Elle Kennedy I already know and like and I read Sarina Bowen’s backlist this month, all of which I enjoyed, so I decided to try these books that they teamed up on. And guess what? A huge shocker for me. Remember how I said I’m rarely ever surprised by books? Well, this surprised me because I didn’t know much about it, but it was a gay romance. Yes, really. Jamie and Wes, which I assumed was M/F when I read the description and was plenty surprised to find out I was wrong. But, turns out, I liked them both (the books, not Jamie and Wes, though I liked them, too), immensely. I’ve never avoided gay romance, but I’ve never sought it out, either. It was good. Then one of Sarina Bowen’s books was a gay romance, so I went from zero to three in this month alone.

Excluding repeats, which you already know I like, I liked nearly everything I read this month. It was an astonishingly good month of books for me. The only things that were flops are:

Just Kiss Me – Rachel Gibson, disappointing because I like RG a lot, but this book was not good.

Trust Honor Love – JM Witt, this was just a bad book. Terrible.

That’s it! The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and Pretend You’re Mine were not my favorite books, they weren’t bad, but even if I add them to this list, that is four out of 37 that I didn’t like. That’s a pretty good average.

So not only a ton of books, but a ton of good books. I’m just so happy about this month. Let’s hope the momentum keeps rolling into September. The first book I plan to read in September is the new Colleen Hoover, whom I LOVE, and wrote what is still holding as the best book of the year, the first book I read this year, November 9. This new book, It Ends with Us, may be the only shot at knocking her other book out of first place. Though knocking yourself out of first place to take first and second is a problem I think we’d all like to have.

Lastly, I have now read 136 books on the year. (Funny side note, I was telling my brother Zack about this and said my goal is 175…he is not a reader at all and said, “You can’t read 40 books before the end of the year!” and I said, “are you kidding because I almost read 40 books this month! and he said, “I don’t think I’ve read 40 books in my whole life”. Okay, maybe not funny, kind of sad, actually). I am on pace to read 204 books this year, which would be a new record. We will see what happens with only four months left to go.

Reading in the Rain

I know I’ve talked ad nauseum about how much I love to read outside. I LOVE it, it’s just the best thing in the world. I’m honestly surprised I don’t go into depression when I can’t for nine months out of the year.

At my house, I have a three season porch off my living room, which is on the second floor, that means my patio has a roof, the floor of the porch. I have my swing  hanging from the porch and that’s where I spend 99.99% of my outdoor reading time (once it was too sunny and I sat on the bench for 15 minutes, that’s the other 0.01%). Because of the way the three season porch is designed, it doesn’t get wet underneath. The rain has to be blowing virtually sideways to get rain underneath. The same is true inside the porch, so I’m lucky I can leave those windows open day and night, from April to October.

Okay, so this means I don’t have to stop reading when it is raining. This is a HUGE plus for me, especially this summer when it has been super rainy. And since rainy days are prime reading days, it’s basically heaven on earth for me.

Cut to Tuesday night. I was out reading and it rained a bit. No big deal. Then it got dark and a storm blew in. It was rapidly cooling off outside and I was considering heading in (I was reading on my iPad, so the dark didn’t matter) but it was a good part of the book and I was enjoying the sounds and smells of the storm, so I stayed put.

Suddenly, something wet and slimy landed on my bare leg. Okay, I just got a chill typing that. Truly. It was dark outside, so I couldn’t see it. Instead, I just freaked. FREAKED. Remember this? It wasn’t quite that bad, because I wasn’t naked, but still, I was in capri pants and it was on my bare skin.

So I freak out and start kicking both legs, which were previously resting on a footstool. Kicking like a maniac with one hand holding my iPad to keep it from crashing to the ground, I felt whatever it was leave my skin.

I calmed down and finally brought my legs to rest on the footstool when whatever it was touched my other leg! Again with the freaking and kicking and not knowing what the hell was happening. So I removed my feet from the footstool, but I was so freaked out I didn’t want to put my feet on the ground because I didn’t know what was happening and I was barefoot (my sandals were under the footstool where I had slipped them off) so I simply stuck my legs straight out. And, naturally, because I was on a swing, I start swinging wildly about in the dark with nothing to anchor me. During this time I was chanting, out loud, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf.  After maybe 20 seconds, my legs were starting to hurt, but I was calming down and I realized I needed to figure this out. On the heels of that thought was the reminder that I was holding an iPad IN MY HAND and it emits light. Um, duh?

So I flipped the screen toward the ground and, obviously, saw nothing, since the fear of the ground was all in my imagination, and finally put my feet down. As I stopped moving I was able to turn toward the footstool and I aimed my iPad again.

There it was, the source of all this drama.

A tiny green tree frog. Okay he wasn’t tiny, like maybe 1.5″ long. Which is sizeable, but by no means terrifying. Frogs do not bother me in the least. Except when it is storming, and dark and they are wet and land on my skin, uninvited, then, I guess, they bother me plenty. But I was laughing as I saw him, and I leaned forward and pushed him off the footstool with my hand. Because frogs don’t bother me. I touched him, he hopped off, I resettled in my spot and dove back into my book.

But something was bugging me, niggling in the back of my brain…

Finally, I switched over from the book to my browser and googled how high tree frogs can jump. I mean, I see frogs and toads frequently and they hop a bit, I’ve seen them jump great distances, forward, but never have I seen one jump high. Maybe and inch or two off the ground, but that’s it. However, this particular frog landed on my leg, on the footstool, which I am guessing is close to four feet off the ground when all is said and done. Four feet in the air! So my brain was wondering if he was on a tree or something and got blown onto my leg? I mean, it sounds crazy, but how else did he get there.

And then Google told me that tree frogs can jump up to 7 feet in the air, or 50 times their own body length. Wowza. I mean, that’s impressive, but also strange that I never knew that. Now I’m a little creeped out. Before I saw frogs and thought nothing of it, but now, knowing that if I am walking and see a frog on the ground, he could literally leap up and land on my head. That’s a little creepy.

Anyway, I filed that information away for later and finished my book. I was so close that even though I was cold and living in my own private dramedy, I wanted to finish. So I did. As soon as the book was done, I shut off the iPad and lifted my feet to the ground. I stuck my left foot under the stool and slid it in my flip flop. Then my right, but I couldn’t quite reach it, it may have gotten moved in the frantic flailing of the aforementioned dramedy. So I stood up on my left foot and reached further and my toe caught the edge of my shoe. I scootched it toward me and finally slid my foot in…and my toes met something slimy!

Again with the instinctive reaction, my foot kicked and the sandal went flying. Not far, mind you, just off my foot. STILL standing my my left foot, I leaned backward and grabbed my iPad, turned it back on and shined the light. My flip flop was about a foot away and now sole side up. I leaned forward with my hand and picked it up and that little frog was sitting underneath. Apparently, he thought he could make himself at home in my sandal.

Not true my freaky, jumping, little nemesis. This time I picked up the shoe in my hand, put it on, and grabbed my iPad to head inside. I kept the light pointed at the ground the whole time so I didn’t accidentally step on this frog, or worse, he didn’t hop right inside with me. As I stepped across the threshold, I turned back for one last look and the dim light from the screen could barely touch him several feet away, but it was enough to see the gleam of mirth in his froggy eye as he sat there mocking me.

Damn frog.

January 2016 Books

Well, I feel like I’m off to a good start. I not only read well and recorded well to start the year, here I am updating the blog only 5 days into February.

January (19 books)

  1. November 9 – Colleen Hoover
  2. Imperfect Chemistry – Mary Frame^
  3. Imperfectly Criminal – Mary Frame^
  4. Country – Danielle Steel^
  5. Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy^
  6. Freefall – Tess Oliver^
  7. Clutch – Tess Oliver^
  8. Wait for Me – Samantha Chase^
  9. Trust in Me – Samantha Chase^
  10. Stay with Me – Samantha Chase^
  11. The Paladin Prophecy – Mark Frost^
  12. The Viscount Who Loved Me – Julia Quinn*
  13. Alliance – Mark Frost^
  14. The 5 Stages of Falling in Love – Rachel Higginson^
  15. Black Lies – Alessandra Torre^
  16. Rogue – Mark Frost^
  17. The Muse – Anne Calhoun^
  18. Stripped – Jasinda Wilder^
  19. Leaving Amarillo – Caisey Quinn^

There you have it, the 19 books I read to kick off the year. This was my highest January EVER! (ok, at least since I’ve been keeping track). In 2013, I read 10 books. In 2014, I read 15 books. In 2015, I read 5 books.

Interstingly, those correspond perfectly to my yearly totals of 155, 194, & 136. That’s not really enough data for a pattern, but we shall see if it holds true that January sets the tone for the year. In order for it to work, I’d have to read more than 194 books on the year. I guess only time will tell.

Now as far as the books. I read some great stuff this month. The Muse was an odd little story that I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. The 5 Stages of Falling in Love I just adored. That could make the finals at the end of the year. The Paladin Trilogy, (Paladin Prophecy, Alliance, and Rogue) was a terrific series I never expected. I enjoyed it thoroughly. A contender for best series, for sure! Dumplin’ was a surprising hit. A book I normally wouldn’t read but it got some seriously great reviews, so I tried it out and am so glad I did.

In the disappointing column, Country by Danielle Steel. I read DS when I was younger and while a few of her early books blew me away, I never liked her newer stuff. But I enjoyed the premise of this book and decided to read a DS novel for the first time in like 15 years. Mistake. It was not good at all. I’m surprised people still read her…..

But my favorite book was November 9. Colleen Hoover is an author I thoroughly enjoy. This was her latest offering. It was the first book I read this year and when I closed the cover, I hugged it to my chest and said, out loud, “this may well be the best book I read this year.” Kind of incredible on the first try. I loved that book so much I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if I reread it before the end of the year. Part me hopes it isn’t the best book of the year, because how sad that everything else is downhill.

So there you go. I’ve got a decent jump on February, as well, so I’ll see you after Leap Day to talk more books.

Year-to-Date (YTD): 19 books

Reading and Writing

You all know my love of reading. It’s not like it’s a surprise.

Here’s something you may not know. I think I’d like to write a book. I’m not big on competition or criticism or rejection, so nothing may ever happen if I do, but I think I’d like to do it. I’ve had many people tell me, over the years, that I should, but should is a long way from want, and even further from will.

As each year passes, I find myself more and more intrigued with putting my ideas down, shaping a story, crafting something purely from my own mind. Which brought about a very real concern, I don’t know how. I mean, I get the basics. And I know there are plenty of writers who don’t know how to write and simply do it anyway, but that’s not me. I need to know things, to understand them, or I won’t do them.

Which is why I am taking a class this winter. A writing class. I haven’t had a writing class since my freshman year of college, and that’s…well, it’s more than a few years ago. My buddy, Lane, is taking it with me and we shall see how it goes.

Ok, so the logistics of getting more information are taken care of. I have ideas stored away for when I’m ready to write. I know I am not the most motivated person, on my own, and I have ideas to address that. So, am I ready?

I just don’t know.

When you read as much as I do, there becomes an undeniable sameness to books. Doesn’t matter if I’ve never read the author before, or that particular genre before, books aren’t a mystery. They follow a frame, a format, and they are patterned. If you read, books are not a mystery. Even mysteries. There’s nothing new under the sun, that’s what people say. I know this better than most. I’m aware that anything I create has been done before, the question isn’t if it’s new, it is if it’s good. Am I going to be good at this? I have no idea, but that doesn’t bother me much. It would if I wanted this to be a career and had every intention of getting published. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t try that, just that it isn’t my goal. My goal is to do this because I want to do it. I want to know that I can do it.

I don’t yet know what I will write. I have ideas that are romance, fiction, dystopian, science fiction/fantasy, and a couple combinations thereof. I could write several different things. Maybe I will write several different things if this turns out to be something I enjoy. Maybe not.

I’ve been a reader my whole life. Suddenly I feel like it might be time to be a writer. I’ll keep you posted.

For the Roses

Just this morning, I got an Evite reminder for my family Christmas party (usually in January, but illness pushed it back) and decided it was a good time to go in and start designing my birthday Evite, which I think is fun to do. Less than six weeks until my bday, so why not?

I’ve had an Evite account for years and something made me click my profile. I haven’t looked at my profile since I created this account, I don’t think. I created the account in 2009, so it’s probably been six years. The very first thing that popped out at me was a line that says “Book I Read Over and Over…..” and I wrote “For the Roses by Julie Garwood”.

Now, this is true, I’ve probably read this book more than any other, possibly. What’s weird is this. Yesterday at work, I was reading an article online and something reminded me of a line from that book (because I’ve read it so many times, I actually know most of the lines by heart) and it made me nostalgic for the book, which I haven’t read in at least two years (because it wasn’t on my book lists the last two years, LOVE keeping track!) So I went home from work last night and started it.

So I happened to click on this profile and happened to see this line today and it happens to be on a day where I am READING THE VERY BOOK IN QUESTION! So strange. And yet, very cool. Another moment of synchronicity.

And with that, I will remind everyone to get your guesses in for the annual contest of how many books I’ll read. Meanwhile, I’ll go back to reading one of my favorite books, whilst eating my free Jimmy John’s sample sandwich. It’s a good day!

2014 Books Recap

For some reason, I’ve been so excited to write this post. Actually looking forward to it since I wrote last year’s recap. There’s something about the tallying of scores, books, picking favorites, it’s just a fun, fun post to write. So here we go.

First off, what everyone wants to know, who won?

Well, as it turns out, it was a super close race! The actual winner is one of Kelly’s students from last year, initials RL, who guessed 200, being off by only 6 books. However, since I don’t actually know this child, I’m bypassing that for guesses from people I do know. In that case, Mark was the actual winner, with a guess of 203, being off by only 8 books. He pulled that off by the slimmest of margins over his daughter Victoria, who at 180 was only off by 14 books. Therefore, Mark and Victoria, you get to be the 2014 winners (1st and 2nd place). I decided (and I hope that others think this is fun, too) that the prize is a guest blog, anything about books. So, Mark and Victoria can each write a post of any length about books. They can write about their favorite books, or books they don’t like, how how much they read, or whatever they like as long as it is book related. Email them to me and I’ll post them!


Okay, moving on to the tallying.

Here are the 2014 statistics. (* denotes new categories for 2014)

Total number of books read in 2014: 194 (25% increase over 2013)

Average number of books read per month: 16.2

Average number of books read per week: 3.73

Month with the most books read: Tie! June and July (32 books each) (23% increase over 2013)

Month with the least books read: December (2 books) (60% DEcrease from 2013)

Best book I read in 2014: Endless Knight by Kresley Cole. This is actually a bit of a cheat, because this book came out in 2013 and I read it in 2013 AND chose it for the winner in 2013. But, I REread this book TWO times in 2014 (yes, it is only one year old and I’ve read it three times) and I honestly did not read a book that is better than this one in this year. So I am picking it again. My list, my rules. And this has quickly become one of my favorite books of all time, which is impressive when you consider all that I read. (Caveat: if you want to read this, and you should, you need to read the first one in the series first, Poison Princess.)

*Runners Up for Best Book of 2014:

Talon by Julie Kagawa. Talon was a book about dragons that I did not expect to like, but I loved. Kagawa wrote the Iron Fey, one of my all-time favorites, evidently she can do no wrong in my world. Writing about Puck and Faeries or about dragons, it doesn’t seem to matter, she sucks me into her stories and doesn’t let go.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Laini Taylor had the runner up for best book two years running, both from the same series. The middle book was a little lacking, but the first and this, the third, were brilliant and make this a favorite series of all time. Another contender for best series; it was probably 6th or so on the list, primarily due to the slower middle title, but overall, an incredible teen fantasy series.

Pivot Point by Kasie West. Pivot Point was the first in a duo that I adored. I have now read everything Kasie West has written and have discovered a new favorite author, though this book remains my favorite of hers. Actually this series, was next on my list, but I stopped my runners up at three, so it didn’t quite make the cut, but it is amazing.

Worst books I read in 2014: The Professional by Kresley Cole, while this was probably not the actual worst book of the year, because she is one of my favorite authors, the fact that she can make this list at all easily qualifies her for the title. Please note she also wrote the book I chose as best of the year two years running. Kudos, KC. And I just found out this horrible book is a series. Dear God, KC, what were you thinking? Please stop writing these immediately and focus all your energy on the Arcana Chronicles.

*Runners Up for Worst Book of 2014: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Knight by Kristen Ashley, Last Hit by Jessica Clare

Total number of NEW books read: 161 (83% of the books read in 2014, a 1.4% increase over 2013)

Total number of rereads: 31 (17% of the books read in 2014, a 1.4% decrease over 2013)

Total number of standalone books (does not occur in a series) read (including rereads): 28 (8% decrease over 2013)

Best new series: Bad Boys and Wallflowers by Maya Rodale, simply because of the innovative nature of the stories. Telling parallel stories across two genres, it was just brilliantly done. The books are not the best, but this idea was amazing and I couldn’t stop reading them.

*Runners Up for Best Series: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A Nielsen,The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Most surprising book: Broken by Megan Hart. There were no runners up here, this was easily my most surprising book of the year, so surprising, in fact that I wrote a whole blog post dedicated to this book.

Biggest disappointment: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This is by the slimmest of margins over Dark Skye. I might have actually been more disappointed in Dark Skye, but Outlander was over 900 pages of disappointment, so I am giving it the crown.

*Runners up for Biggest Disappointment of 2014: Dark Skye by Kresley Cole (boy, she had a big year on my list, didn’t she?), Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

*Total number of print books read in 2014: 76 (39% of books read in 2014)

*Total number of electronic books read in 2014: 116 (61% of books read in 2014)

*Most surprising statistic: I have to go with the grand total 194 books, and knowing that I read 25% more books in 2014 than in 2013. That’s pretty amazing.

My final thoughts? I recently read a quote from the Pew Institute that the average American reads 5-7 books a year. I read almost 4 books a WEEK in 2014, so clearly I’m above average. Way above, but I think we already knew that. I was actually astonished by that. I know I read way more than anyone I know, but 5-7 a year seems so low to me. For some reason, I didn’t find the books quite as gripping this year as the previous year. That could be because an all-time favorite came out for me in 2013, but it could also be because I read more. Reading more tends to lend itself to quantity over quality. And with such a huge disparity between the years, for me, it means there is no rhyme or reason to it, I have no idea how much I will read in 2015, but we surely will find out.

Monthly lists:













Congrats again to Mark and Victoria, please send me your blog posts whenever you get them done and I’ll post them. Here’s to another great year of reading!

P.S. Don’t forget to hit the comments with your guesses for 2015!