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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

52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge

"A new year, a fresh slate.  Time to discover some new friends and rediscover some old friends. Make the challenge as easy and casual as you want or spice it up and challenge yourself. Explore a bit, but most of all have fun." 

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 was fabulous, Harry quoted Star Trek, Star Wars and Princess Bride.  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, 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
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. 

Week 21, 22 and 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 am now in the third book and will happily continue the series, they are a nice addition to the paranormal genre. I also very much appreciate that the content, so far, is 'PG". I like to share good stories with my teenager but a lot of paranormal crosses a line I am not ready for her to cross as yet.
Iron Kissed
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.
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

Began Rob Lowe's autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends.

Week Of May 8th
 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 liked it immensely 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 extraordinary 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 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....
 Reading, When Character was King, Peggy Noonan.  Reviewed it here
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.

I am now thinking of a reading challenge to read through modern history using biographies and books like Panama Fever, Tulipomania and such. If I can find the time to put it together. Thinking it would be grand to do it with my high schooler next year as a course and add in movies and documentaries. 
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

Ok, I've been reading but not writing about it....
March 15th check in for Week 11
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 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

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 16th Check in Post
 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
And now I am sad, the next book, Ghost Story, won't be out until July August.  I will be missing Harry until them.  

January 10th Check in Post

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 changeling.
An avid Shakespeare lover, who could resist delving into a world with Oberon, Titania, Queen Mab and the irrepressible Robin Goodfellow?  
Add into the Never never 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.


Robin McCormack December 28, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

Glad you are joining in. Happy Reading!

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