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Wherein you will find posts with humor, photos, reviews, occasional rants and journalistic entries of interest to me alone but that I hope will touch you, the reader, in some way. I remain sincerely yours,
A Work in Progress

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

100+ Reading Challenge

Hosted this year over at My Overstuffed Bookshelf, Head on Over to Join!
This is a perfect challenge because I can use re-reads and I promised a friend I would make a list for us both of 100 books for 2011.   I have some new ones to try, some new authors to check out and some new worlds to explore.  I also have some on my "I have been meaning to read that." list  And my year wouldn't be complete without rereads of some old friends.


I have reached my goal of 100+ books this year with 128 as of 12/27/2011
I was delighted to find some wonderful new authors this time around.  Sadly, there is a lot of crap in and among the paranormal and it's even worse in the Young Adult genre, but I've found a few writers that are new favorites and definite re-reads.  The characters have become such good friends it is hard to believe we only just met this year!  It was a year for mostly recreational reading with the exception of all the hours I've put in researching the Lyme disease our girls were diagnosed with, there were days I swear my eyes were bleeding and my heart was so heavy I was grateful to have my books in which to retreat.

This was the year in which I met and fell in love with Harry Dresden and Atticus Finch.
The year in which, because I had finished the Dresden files that I went looking for and met Mercedes Thompson, October Daye, Clary Chase,Kate Daniels and Rose Drayton.

This was yet another year for the familiar and beloved, I re-read the Harry Potter series in preparation for the Deathly Hallows and the end of a decade.

There were a few misses, I could not abide Steven Tyler's autobiography and never made it through Known and Unknown, not the First World War, though I intend to finish them at some point.

A couple of gems really stood out, Coop, A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting, by Michael Perry.  Get it, read it, love it.  Also Bill Bryson's, I'm a Stranger Here Myself.
I almost peed my pants reading through his description of ice skating.  Every time I pick one up I am reminded of why he is one of my all time most beloved writers.

I couldn't put down Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series and moved right into Book I of the Beyonders as well.  I couldn't stand the little brother in the first two books but by the last, I was on the edge of my seat.

I really enjoy the challenges and am looking forward to 2012.

My GoodReads Bookshelf

 Week 52    

New paranormal favorites!!
Ilona Andrew's  Edge series
On the Edge
Bayou Moon
Seanan McGuire's October Daye series
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night

Week 49-51
Brent Week's Night Angel Trilogy
The Way of Shadows
Shadow's Edge
Beyond the Shadows
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Alison Arngrim

Week 45 through 48
Read Aloha from Hell, the 3rd in the Sandman Slim series.  Big fan of this series.
Plowed through the Kate Daniels series from Illona Andrews.
Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
Magic Bleeds
Magic Slays
Fans of The Dresden Files and Mercy Thompson will love these.  I may even like them better than the Patricia Briggs.  By the 3rd one Ilona's character really comes into her own and I was on the edge of my seat wanting more.
School read aloud this week was The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis

Week 44
American Gods, Neil Gaiman but my knitting it totally cutting into my reading time! 
School Read aloud for the week is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

Week 43
Read Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos, it was entertaining with some "ah ha" moments for me.  Also Bill Bryson's, In a Sunburned Country. Hilarious.

Week 42
Finished Kill the Dead and can't afford the new one so now I am about 3/4 of the way through Bear Grylls, Mud, Sweat and Tears  We love this guy so I thought it would be fun, and it is. 

Week 41
Read the 2nd in the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead.
Still liking them enough to keep reading the next, Aloha from Hell.  Wil Wheaton is a fan. :)
School Read aloud for the week is The Magician's Nephew, C.S. Lewis 

Week 40
I keep avoiding my "school books" in favor of fun ones so I am still reading Rumsfeld and Strachan but...

Sandman Slim, Richard Kadrey was an odd book but I found myself quite enjoying it.  It was a recommendation on MobileRead for Dresden Files fans.  Looking forward to the next two in the series.
I am, at present, howling my way through Bill Bryson's, I'm a Stranger Here Myself.
I almost peed my pants reading through his description of ice skating.  Every time I pick one up I am reminded of why he is one of my all time most beloved writers.

Week 39
Devoured Ree Drummond's, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, my very first library book on my Kindle.
Read Brandon Mull's, A World Without Heroes, Beyonder's #1.  I enjoyed it but I am not invested as yet. I loved Fablehaven once I got past the first one, so I will reserve judgement and wait for the next in the series. There was a lot to like, it just never really picked up for me as yet.
Enjoyed Across the Universe , by Beth Revis.  It was a strange book, kind of like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meets 1984 but with a young adult slant.  I think, oddly, it may yet be a sci fi classic in it's own right.

Week 38
Still reading.....
Known and Unknown, Donald Rumsfeld
The First World War, Hew Strachan
The First World War, John Keegan

Week 37
Cure Unknown, Patricia Weintraub
Clear, concise and chilling this is the definitive book on Lyme disease.
It highlights the political machinations that resulted in half-assed guidelines and treatment protocols. It staggers the imagination how deliberately obtuse the medical field,in general, remains about this epidemic.
It highlights what happens when politics and health are married to money and patents.
It shows the disdain of academia for the doctors in the trenches with real patients with real issues.
It is criminal that the treatment of clinical cases of Lyme have to be begged for by patients and that is if they are "lucky enough" to have gotten the classic "bulls-eye" rash. At least the CDC proclaims that as diagnostic. Unless, of course, you live in Missouri for some reason.
Lyme remains a political and medical pariah, misunderstood, under-diagnosed, under-treated.
Though there are researchers working hard, for every revelation they have, another Dr. who treated Lyme has been hounded out of practice.  There is no conclusion, no happy ending and no cure for far too many.  If 20% of patients treated for strep throat never got well, wouldn't there be an uproar? Why is Lyme such a pariah? This book explores the reasons and does so with solid research by a well-respected science reporter.

Why do I care?  Because it is affecting the lives of people I love and our daughter is one of them. 

Week 35 and 36
Read through the first three of the  Iron Druid Chronicles and loved them.  I was looking for some humorous fantasy and saw this recommended on MobileReads. Love my Kindle for immediate gratification.  Atticus is an ancient druid, the last of his kind and he hangs with an Irish Wolfhound that goes by the name of Oberon. He looks twenty-something and owns a book/herbal shop. With an enchanting cast of characters (sometimes literally) Hounded was a pleasure from start to finish.  Hard to write a review without spoilers but these are funny and fun, a good romp and I recommend them

Week 33 and 34
I went camping and took my Kindle.  Did plenty of beach reading and enjoyed it immensely.  
I read all 7 of John Marsden's Tomorrow series.  I keep describing it as, Red Dawn, set in Australia.  I enjoyed them very much.
Tomorrow When the War Began
The Dead of the Night
The Third Day, the Frost
Darkness, Be My Friend
Burning for Revenge
The Night is for Hunting
The Other Side of Dawn

Lab 257, The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory, Michael Carroll
Escape, Carolyn Jessup
Both are interesting but they aren't the sort of books one enjoys per se.  I am not a big conspiracy person but there are some very interesting things in the book that certainly sound plausible.

Week 32
I read The Warlock, Book 5 in Michael Scott's series, Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel. It was decent, not as in love with it as I have been but that may be due to memory loss between books.  I was really enamoured with the series when I first read it.

Started Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series with One for the Money. Why I've waited so long, I do not know. They are laugh out loud funny. On Book 2, Two for the Dough.

Week 31
 I read the 13th book in the Dresden Files series, Ghost Story, which I had been waiting for anxiously.  It had it's moments, Harry quoted Star Trek, Star Wars and Princess Bride.  I am unhappy about a lot of it though but you have to read it yourself.  I love Jim Butcher.  
I am still  reading, enjoying, loving, chortling over, Coop, A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting, by Michael Perry.  Get it, read it, love it.  Anyone else hate that the Amazon feature is gone on Blogger? Makes me nuts.

Week 30 
I read the first 4 books in the Sookie Stackhouse series. By book 4, this was the review I wrote on GoodReads. "Still not a fan. I like so much about these, especially her supporting characters. (Bubba), but they are getting more R rated in each book and that doesn't work for me. And they still just don't have that, "I'm hooked" factor.  Think it is time to move on."
Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas, Charlaine Harris
Club Dead, Charlaine Harris
Dead to the World, Charlaine Harris
(can I mention here how pissed I am at Blogger's upgrade and the loss of my Amazon widget?)

Also read Jaycee Dugard's, A Stolen Life. Hard to describe. Tragic and ultimately triumphant. I am hard pressed to understand how she was missed so very many times.

And Michael Byrnes, The Genesis Plague. This was a great idea for a book but I really didn't like it very much. It didn't really keep my interest and I kept putting it down. I have completion issues, so I did finish it but there are a few hours I can't get back. Probably would make a great movie.

No idea what I am moving on to this week yet.

I've been remiss about blogging these so here is a recap of weeks 24-29
James Patterson's YA series, Maximum Ride.  There is one more not pictured here as well, Angel.  They were enjoyable, not great literature, but very readable.  I liked the characters very much indeed.  

Maximum Ride, The Angel Experiment, James Patterson  
Maximum Ride, School's Out - Forever, James Patterson  
Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, James Patterson
Maximum Ride: The Final Warning , James Patterson
Maximum Ride, Max, James Patterson
Maximum Ride, Fang, James Patterson 
Maximum Ride, Angel, James Patterson

Total beach reading, these were like reading a great "B" movie.  I was pretty much done with them after the 2nd one but I have completion issues and finished them all.  Yeah, the covers sum them up.  The first one was actually pretty good.
Meg, Steve Alten
The Trench, Steve Alten
Primal Waters, Steve Alten
Hell's Aquarium, Steve Alten

Week 21, 22, 23
The Mercy Thompson series were recommended by a friend who is also a Dresden Files fan.   While technically in the same genre and quite enjoyable so far, they are no Dresden Files.  On their own merit though, Mercedes is a highly likable character with a great supporting cast.  Interestingly, the fae have "come out" to some extent in these books and the consequences are only just beginning to reverberate through as the werewolves also reveal themselves.
I plowed through these and loved them and went right into Brigg's Alpha and Omega series when I was done.  Mercy is a fabulous character and I can't get enough of these.  While they don't have all the humor of the Dresden Files, these are stand out books, especially as you keep reading.  Great fun, highly recommended.
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed  
Silver Borne
River Marked
From Patricia Brigg's website, the seventh and last in the series is due out Spring 2013
Alpha and Omega series
Cry Wolf
Hunting Ground
Due out  January 2012,  Fair Game

Rob Lowe's autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, was an ok read.  The most interesting stuff in it, for me, was the behind the scenes dirt on The Outsiders.  Beach reading, better to just skim for the good stuff.
Wil Wheaton's,  Just a Geek, was more interesting than I thought it would be.  If you are a fan I would definitely say it is worth the read, if not, I wouldn't go there.   Still loved him enough to follow him on Twitter, I really enjoy his posts.

Week Of May 8th and 15th
After the 2nd one, I couldn't put these down.  
Rise of the Evening Star
Grip of the Shadow Plague 
Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary  
 Keys to the Demon Prison.    
Brandon Mull is a masterful storyteller with great characters, he has a real gift for making his supporting cast memorable.  He  also excels at the plot twist and the bad guy twists.  Also it seems satyrs are always funny. 

Week of April 24th
Alex and Me, Irene Pepperberg
I didn't "really like it" because it is all that good a book. I really liked it because it was a really good story. I've known of Alex and seen him in action and loved him from afar. I also have had the privilege of living with a parrot, a Yellow-Naped Amazon named Barney.
No bird lover can resist crying and smiling through it. It is a very special book about a very special kind of friendship.

Week of April 18th
I read Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli
A fun read for die hard fans it was a fun look at the overall phenomena that is Harry Potter and I am glad to be a part of it.  I am not ashamed to say that her website, The Leaky Cauldron is a place I visit daily. As I read the above I longed to head back to Privet Drive, where I first met Harry and so I re-read the entire series.   
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
As Stephen King so aptly put it, "No ending can be right, because it shouldn’t be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away."  

Part Surfer Magazine and part scientific journal this book was a grand read from start to finish.  Susan Casey hangs with the greatest surfing talents out there and moreover,listens and learns from them managing to convey their respect and awe of the ocean they challenge.
She regales with tales and solid facts from salvage captains, surfers, photographers, scientists of all types. Combining meteorology, climatology, oceanography along with riveting stories of high seas adventures and derring-do I enjoyed this book more than I would have imagined

For Week of April 10th....
Read, When Character was King, Peggy Noonan, reviewed it in it's own post, it was a rather special book for me. 
Also read Rogue Angel Book 1 Destiny, Alex Archer
Just started this series and so far I am a fan. Indiana Jones, Laura Croft, Daniel Jackson and Amelia Peabody rolled into one exciting character. A little history, a little paranormal, a little action adventure and you have a winning combination. Can't wait to read the next in the series. I gave it 3 stars because it takes me a little while sometimes to fall in love with a series but I did enjoy it very much.

April 3rd check in post 
 Last week I read Linda Greenlaw's new book, Seaworthy.  The captain's long anticipated return to sword-fishing was pretty much a nightmare but she has grown and matured and it shows.  I am a fan of the good captain and it was nice to see a book about her returning to the love of her life. The seasoned captain's return was an unmitigated nightmare. Well, except that I guess it was mitigated a bit by the 4 men who were her crew this time out. She left the dock with the greatest 4 guys she ever fished with and they did her proud on this awful trip. Linda writes well and you get caught up in her adventures, but she was "in her head" a lot in this book. It was more reflective than her others. With a vessel they rightfully dubbed, "The Shithawk", the trip was one mess after another including somehow, inexplicably drifting into Canadian waters.   It was a quick read and I do like to keep up. 

 I also read Mackenzie Phillip's biography, High on Arrival.  
Holy crap what a disaster. Like watching a train wreck. She spared nothing and seemed to have miraculously come out the other side a whole person. Her fortitude is nothing short of staggering. 
 In honor of Joss Whedon month on Facebook, I also read a novelization of the Firefly movie, Serenity, by Keith R.A. DeCandido.  It felt right but read just a little wrong.

March 28th Check in Post
Well, I finished Clash of Kings and then went insane.
Consequently, I have now read through, I Am Ozzy for no reason I can fathom and am now almost finished with Rush Limbaugh, An Army of One by Zev Chafets. Both were incredibly readable and oddly, I enjoyed them very much.

March 21st Check in Post
 A Clash of Kings, Book 2, A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin
This is book two of the epic fantasy series and I read them years ago.  It is worth the re-read even though they average about 700 pages.  These are fantasy at it's finest.  The first book came out in 1991 and here at last, the 5th, A Dance with Dragons is finally available for pre-order on Amazon with a July publication date.  Additionally, HBO is coming out with a series based on the books on April 17th that looks amazing.  Sean Bean as Eddard Stark.  No bad there. I have just done a little research on the series and am almost wishing now that I had waited to read these again.  With a track record of 6 years between books these days, George R.R. Martin plans to have this series go to 7 books all told.  I hope it doesn't end up being another Wheel of Time. *this is not kids reading, lots of adult themes

March 15th Check in Post
I read "We Bought A Zoo"
I loved the idea of this book, I was enchanted with the title and looked forward to reading it.  It was readable but I guess I expected better. The prose was a bit amateur and I was surprised at the rather poor selection and number of photos. There was so much there, it should have been better. I wonder if he wasn't just in a bit of a hurry to coincide with the tv series?  I would love to see a re-write of this with new adventures and more photos.
I also re-read Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire Book 1 as the 5th book is coming out at long last and HBO is about to launch a new series based on the books on April 17th. It has been forever since I read them and now seems a good time to do so. I'd forgotten how good they were. Epic fantasy in the classic style of all good epic fantasy. Did I mention Sean Bean is in the series? Be still my heart.
So this week I am continuing the series in A Clash of Kings.

February 27th Check in Post.
City of Bones, Mortal Instruments Book 1, Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes, Mortal Instruments Book 2, Cassandra Clare
City of Glass, Mortal Instruments Book 3, Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels, Mortal Instruments Book 4, Cassandra Clare
The reviews on Amazon were so mixed for these that I said the hell with it, I will just have to see for myself.  Glad I have.
I really enjoyed Cassandra Clare's world.  I grew more and more engaged with the characters as they developed more fully.  I quite liked the new twist on the very popular faery, lycanthrope, vampire, and angel fiction that is so very prevalent these days.  In a time where it has begun to be , done to death, so to speak, her work is original and satisfying.  Definitely a fan of this series.
Bought Book 4 for my Nook the day it came out, I have been dying to read it.  Read it in 6 hours.  It was worth the wait.  The characters were more fully developed, the storyline rich and satisfying and the action literally had me on the edge of my seat.  These are YA fantasy and are well done.  I thoroughly enjoyed the world Cassandra Clare has created and can't wait to go back.  In her world, the Nephilim, begotten from an archangel, battle demons in the shadows of the "real" world. They are called Shadowhunters and Clary Chase is thrust into their world abruptly in Book One, City of Bones.   

Reading this week the prequel to the series,
Book One of Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel.

January 28th Check-In 
A friend of mine recommended The Dresden Files series and handed me a bag full of them last week.  I spent a day in the ER this week and read all day and have been plowing through them at night.
The Dresden Files, Book 1, Storm Front
The Dresden Files, Book 2, Fool Moon
The Dresden Files Book 3, Grave Peril
The Dresden Files, Book 4,  Summer Knight
The Dresden Files, Book 5, Death Masks
The Dresden Files, Book 6,Blood Rites
 I am hooked on these.  Harry Dresden is one of my new very favorite characters of all time.  Mixing the Nevernever, paranormal, present day, action, adventure and humor I am plowing through these with abandon.  Harry is one of a kind with his haunted past,  his sense of humor and his oddball bunch of friends.  These  include  Mister, his Garfield-sized cat, Bob, his research helper spirit who lives in a human skull, Murphy the adorable (but don't tell her) hard-bitten Special Investigations officer, and Susan, sexy, loyal companion and syndicated writer for the Arcane.  Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, gangs, and writing reminiscent of my favorite sleuth's creator, Robert Parker make these a hit with me.

Did I mention that I am hooked on these?  I read the first 6 last week and I am now on book 9, Small Favors.  Butcher is a genius. Action, adventure, characters familiar and fun, humor, sarcasm. loyalty, friendship, pets, these books are some of the most rip roaring fun I have had reading in a long time.  It is Dresden himself that drives the action, these are written in the first person from Harry's point of view.  Reminiscent in flavor of the classic gunslinger spaghetti westerns at no point do these become predictable. 
The Dresden Files Book 10, Small Favors
The Dresden Files Book 11,  Turn Coat

January 10th Check -In

This week I read Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey Series.
The Iron King, Winter's Passage, a prelude to the sequel, and The Iron Daughter. 
I read a lot of YA and fantasy is my favorite genre.  I almost didn't read them when I saw "Harlequin Teen".  I hate Harlequin books, I despise the entire Romance genre.  I don't object to romance, naturally but I want it to stem from a great plot line and story, not BE the plot line and story.  
In any case, I couldn't resist these due to their premise.  King Oberon had a half fey daughter who discovers who she is on her 16th birthday when her 4 year old half brother is exchanged for a changling.
An avid Shakespeare lover, who could resist delving into a world with Oberon, Titania, Queen Mab and the irrepressible Robin Goodfellow?  
Add into the Nevernever a plot twist stemming from technology and gadgets in our world and you get a whole new world of faery.  Julie Kagawa did an amazing job putting together a highly engaging story and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Book 3 of The Iron Fey: Iron Queen, Julie Kagawa 

(Still) On My TO READ Shelf

 Ancestors of Avalon, Diana L. Paxon
 Sword of Avalon, Diana L. Paxon
 Ravens of Avalon, Diana L. Paxon
 The Forest House, Marion Zimmer Bradley
 Lady of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
 Priestess of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
and then I will have to re-read Mists of Avalon.

Across the Universe,  Beth Revis
I am going to try some of the Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum series because I have 2 friends who love them and I have yet to read them.

 The Wish List, Eoin Colfer
 Because I really enjoyed the Artemis Fowl books I have read so far and because I can't resist the description," Eoin Colfer’s Wish List reads like a head-on collision between Dawson’s Creek and Touched by an Angel."

The Two Princesses of Bamarre - Gail Carson Levine
This one is on the list and I will have to choose it, it is one of my daughter's all time favorite books.

The Undomestic Goddess, Sophie Kinsella

 Daughter of the Forest, The Sevenwater's Trilogy, Book 1, Juliet Marillier
 Son of the Shadows, The Sevenwater's Trilogy, Book 2, Juliet Marillier
 Child of the Prophecy,  The Sevenwater's Trilogy, Book 3, Juliet Marillier
 Heir to Sevenwaters, Juliet Marillier
Seer of Sevenwaters, Juliet Marillier
I have high hopes for these,  several reviews liked this author as much as Ann McCaffrey.  I am a big fan of Celtic tales if they are done well.

 The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

 Alanna, The First Adventure, Song of the Lioness Book 1, Tamora Pierce
 In the Hand of the Goddess, Song of the Lioness Book 2, Tamora Pierce
 The Woman who Rides Like a Man,  Song of the Lioness Book 3, Tamora Pierce
Lioness Rampant, Song of the Lioness Book 4, Tamora Pierce 
Pretty standard fare, enjoyable but not memorable, was surprised at the rave reviews. 

 Boys and Girls Together - William Goldman
From the man who brought us Princess Bride?  A must read for me.

The reviews are so awful, I don't actually expect to like or stick with this one.  There are three of them in the series.

Postmodern Times, Gene Veith
It has been in my "to read" stack for too long.

The Holy Bible.  I am doing a "read the Bible in 90 Days Challenge".  I have a blog for it I will pick up again this time around.  I failed epically last time.
If you want to keep up with my adventures through the Bible, it is here. Reading Through.
 Life Application Study Bible, NLT


Guild Hunter Book 3, Archangel's Consort, Nalani Singh

Book 11 The 39 Clues, Vespers Rising, Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson

Brave Girl Eating, Harriet Brown
Amazing book, a must read for anyone who knows and loves an anorexic.  

Possibly the Steig Larsson series though I do tend to avoid all "hyped" type books.  But I was glad to have caved and read Harry Potter and Twilight in the end, and my brother in law is loving them, so maybe.


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