Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: End of Year Book Survey

It kind of embarrassing to think how long I've been working on this. (Since October!) But the truth is, I didn't do something like this last year - all that work! - and so badly wanted to make sure I got a year end survey this year. This was partially inspired by Jamie's awesome yearly survey over at The Perpetual Page Turner. But I definitely customized with some of my own stuff. (And I'm also not going to duplicate books. If I've already answered them for something, that book can't be my answer again.)

The Stats
Number of Books Read: 134
Total Pages Read: 41,113
Number of Audiobooks Listened: 5
Number of Rereads: 4
Average Rating: 3.6 stars
Shortest Book: Solstice Day Gifts by Lindsay Buroker - at a whopping 15 pages
Longest Book: Winter by Marissa Meyer - at merely 824 pages
Average Book Length: 319 pages - I'm definitely trying to up this next year!
By The Number Books
Fantasy Books Read: 46
Sci-Fi Books Read: 26
Historical (inc. AU) Books Read: 22
Romance Books Read: 14
Contemporary Books Read: 21
Best in Books
Favorite Fantasy of  the Year: The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells
Favorite Science Fiction of the Year: Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff
Favorite Historical of the Year: Prudence by Gail Carriger
Favorite Contemporary of the Year: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Favorite Romance of the Year: Trial and Temptation by Ruby Lionsdrake
Beginnings & Ends
Favorite Series Starter: The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
Favorite Mid-Series Book: The Avatar Battle by Chad Morris
Favorite Series Finale: Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger
Assorted Favorites
Favorite Debut of the Year: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Favorite New-To-Me Author of the Year: Honor Raconteur (Read: The Child Prince)
Favorite 'Surprise' Book of the Year: The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes
Favorite Book I Read Because of Recommendation(s): Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Favorite Book By An Author I Read Previously: Republic by Lindsay Buroker
Favorite 'Overlooked' Book: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp
Favorite Cover: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Favorite Friendship: Hadrian and Royce - Michael J. Sullivan (Read: The Jester)
Book I Recommend To Everyone: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
Book I Can't Believe I Waited So Long To Read: Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Looking Ahead
Book/Series I Didn't Read This Year That I WILL Next Year: Eh, I really don't know. Anymore it's hard for me to even guess what I'll want to read next.
Non Debut Book I'm Most Anticipating: The Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Debut Book I'm Most Anticipating: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Series Finale I'm Most Anticipating: *gasp* I can't find any of my series that end next year!
One Thing I Want To Accomplish Next Year: I'd just really like to keep putting myself out there. Each year I'm trying to push myself more and more. First it was starting a blog. Then this year I joined Twitter and I wrote my first ever guest post (something I LOVED doing but was seriously nerve wracking)!

Not my divider;
but I forgot where
I got it from!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Wrap-Up

Goodbye 2015! (I hardly knew you.) *coughcough* Moving on.

I can't believe this is already my last wrap up for the year. And, in fact, my second to last post of the year. This is just crazy! Where has my year gone?

Let's see, I had my yearly eye doctor appointment this month. My doctor is great - although this year he was trying to get me to go to his church and hinting that it's totally normal to be uncomfortable in church. *blinks* Anyway, I hate having to go. All those bright lights shining in my eyes and then it feels like sand has been dumped into my eyes for half the day. My vision's all wonky for a good couple of hours and when I try reading the words blur. The good news is my prescription hasn't changed for years, so I've not been having to buy new glasses!

A couple of Tuesdays this month I was all excited to make my rounds of the TTT meme - but my internet was working even worse that usual so I didn't get to. In fact, my internet has been working very poorly all month. The only good thing that ever comes from this is that means I'm more likely to read. (Yay!)

You know, there is something to recommend DNFing books. You see, this month I've been kind of hair trigger when it comes to sitting down with a book. If I'm not feeling it, I've been able to stop reading with only a little guilt. However, of the books I've finished, this had probably been my best reading month ever. Not only have I got a lot read, but the quality of the books has been amazing! I've also made a little 'rule' to follow. I will try my best to read until page 50, even if I'm thinking about dnfing a book right away. This will give me a chance to see if I can settle into the book and, hopefully, I won't be dnfing quite so many. (Hopefully I got all the crummy books cleared out!)

What I've been reading...

Pandora Hearts Vol 2 by Jun Mochizuki - ****
Pandora Hearts Vol 3 by Jun Mochizuki - ****
Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce - ****

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase - ***
Daja's Book by Tamora Pierce - ****
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - ** - Review

V is for Villain by Peter Moore - **** - Review 1/6th
Briar's Book by Tamora Pierce - ****
The Feros by Wesley King - ****

Literally Murder by Ali Brandon - ****
Ticker by Lisa Mantchev - ****
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan - ***** - Review 1/13th

The Stone Kingdom by Danielle E. Shipley - *****
The Explorers Club by Nell Benjamin - ****

Arisa vol. 7 by Natsumi Ando - *****
Arisa vol. 8 by Natsumi Ando - *****
Earth Girl by Janet Edwards - ***** - Review 1/20th

The Impossible Race by Chad Morris - *****
The Gate of Gods by Martha Wells - ****
Claimed by Lindsay Buroker - *****

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger - *****
Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux - **

Buying ban information to date...
I can buy/get free 1 book for every 5 I read.
Series continuations are free.

Physical books read: 23
E-books read: 11

Physical books bought: 0
E-books bought: 1

What I've been watching...

I have been watching so much TV this month. It's like in the winter, all I do is watch TV and read. I'd say this is because it's so cold, but the truth is that this year we've been pretty warm for December.

I finished Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. I didn't hate the show, but I didn't really like it, either. And, in fact, if it hadn't been a borrow from my brother, I never would have watched it.

Finished rewatching the 1950's Sherlock Holmes adaptation with Ronald Howard. This is one of my two favorite Holmes adaptations ever. I love how it's based more on the characters early in the cannon, before Doyle got unhappy with his creations and the fact that that was all anyone wanted to read of his.

I finally finished BlazBlue: Alter Memory. The only good thing I can say about it is that it's over. After that, I seriously have no interest in playing the games.

I've rewatched season 2 of Numb3rs and had so much fun with it. Barely restrained myself from rewatching season 3 right away.

Finally finished rewatching seaQuest DSV. For those of you that know the show, yes, I mean both seasons that were released to DVD. (Except the final episode of season two. I just didn't have the heart to watch that huge cliffhanger again.) I didn't really plan to watch both of them, but it was so much fun. I love this show!

Finished watching season one of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In truth, I guess I could say I rewatched it, because I watched this all those years ago when it was on TV. It's really interesting to see how my opinions of people have changed. Or haven't as the case is with all except one of the Rangers - who I liked but now hate.

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and will have a safe and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half Of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I'm befuddled. I can't believe this is the last TTT of 2015. Heck, I can't believe it's the end of 2015. I usually ponder where my month has gone while working on my wrap-up posts, but now I'm wondering where my year has gone.

Although, I have to admit, getting to talk about some much anticipated 2016 releases kind of makes up for feeling like I misplaced about three months out of this year. ;)

Monday, December 28, 2015

December Book Haul

So, I took pictures of my book haul, brought my camera with me to work so I could upload the pictures - and then realized I forgot to bring my usb cable. *headdesk* That's the way my Monday morning has been going so far.

I'm still in the midst of my book buying ban - and I have been doing wonderful! I am so super proud of myself.

Books bought…

Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward
The Mermaid's Madness by Jim C. Hines
The Spirit Eater by Rachel Aaron

Arisa Vol. 9 by Natsumi Ando
Arisa Vol. 10 by Natsumi Ando
Karneval Vol. 1 Omnibus by Touya Mikanagi
Pandora Hearts Vol. 4 by Jun Mochizuki
Pandora Hearts Vol. 5 by Jun Mochizuki

The reason I'm so proud of myself is because Villains by Necessity was ordered back in October, before my buying ban started. (Thanks to the postal service, they lost the book and had to buy one to replace it for me.) The other two are next books in a series so they don't count for my ban. (And, apparently, manga don't count at all, but I only started one new series - the other two are continuations.) All in all, I am super pleased with the restraint I've shown for this ban. If I can keep it up another month or two, I will be down to a good number of books!

Buying ban information to date...
I can buy/get free 1 book for every 5 I read.
Series continuations are free.

Physical books read: 22
E-books read: 10

Physical books bought: 0
E-books bought: 1

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Grinch Book Tag

I found this tag over at The Regal Critiques while they were doing their A Christmas Story feature - if you're looking for Christmas posts, you should check it out! Anyway, I want to give a shout out to Veronika for the great graphics, too!

Name a book/series/character that started off well then went downhill.

The Dusk Gate Chronicles by Breeana Puttroff
The first book was love. The second was starting to tarnish a little. The third was weak but still got a very generous five stars from me. The fourth was awful. Nearly everything about the fourth book I hated. The mother was vilified because she didn't want her seventeen year old daughter to marry a boy she's known less than a year and go running off to another world together. The daughter is so mature that, even though she is having sex with her husband, she never once thinks about having children - even though she agrees when her husband states that they are doing nothing to not have children - and blushes during the conversation.

Name a book that you did not enjoy but everyone else seems to love, and it will not stop haunting you.

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Yes, I read the first three because I was told they get better - and that the third was the best of the three. Honestly, I hated the books. All three of them pushed so many of my buttons that if I'd read them now, I probably wouldn't make it through the first one. And everyone else loves them so I am always seeing them on blogs and on Goodreads. I've even seen them at Wal-mart. Why won't they just leave me alone?!

Name a character that kept messing everything up for everyone (not a villain).

Jeth from Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Question: What kind of decisions does Jeth make.
Answer: Stupid ones. Repeatedly.
Seriously, it's like there'd be no plot if he wasn't such a dumbass all the time.

Name a book you were spoiled for.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I've not actually read the book yet, but I already know many things about it. (Like who dies, for example. Or what couples wind up together.) Even when I actively try to avoid spoilers, they keep popping up. I know, folks, that I'm late to the party - but that doesn't mean I don't want to discover things for myself.

Name a character you just couldn't warm to.

Sabriel from Sabriel by Garth Nix
My take away feeling about her is boredom. Supreme and total boredom.

Name a couple that you just could not stand.

Johanna and Rafael from The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Okay, so I didn't finish this book (read a little under half of it) but I figure with the long looks (and the general bastard that the guy was) that this is where the story was headed. And unless the guy seriously would shape up, I would detest this couple.

Bonus, quote from the book:
It wasn't fear, exactly. She knew he wouldn't physically harm her, but there was something in the way that he looked at her that made her feel…less.

Context? He already beat her into unconsciousness once. So I can totally see where she'd get the idea that he wouldn't hurt her.

A book that has been sitting on your shelf for years that you are not motivated to read but do not have the heart to get rid of.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
I bought the book mostly because of the title (who doesn't want to read about a demon king?) and because it sounded interesting. Then I lost interest. Then someone who has been right every time they said a book probably wouldn't be for me, expressed concern if I'd like the book. Then I really lost interest.

Dead Iron by Devon Monk
So, I'm not sure what made me buy this book. I was probably going through a gritty steampunk phase brought on by one of the tales of the Ketty Jay books. I've picked it up no less than three times thinking I was going to read it and … didn't get past the first couple pages before looking for something else to read.

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
I bought this book because I felt guilty that I claimed to be a fantasy fan and had never read a Hobb book. I've discovered since that guilt and peer pressure is no reason to buy a book because I've never even thought about reading it.

I would like to say that I do intend to eventually attempt read all these books. I might not make it past chapter two, but I will give them a try.


Name a character death that you are still mad about.

Darkwell by Douglas Niles
The only thing the death in this book served to do was clear up any question the main woman might have about which of the men she would choose and make sure that people could no longer think that the secondary male character was cooler than the worthless slug of a main male character. Who, me? No, I'm not still mad.

Name a series with too many books or that went on for too long.

Uh, check out the first topic for this tag. That's my answer for this one, too.

Name a main character that you absolutely hate (not a villain).

How many do you want? How about if I just limit it to them in books that I've read this year. And that I rated one star.

Meliara from Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
She is a self-absorbed, self-obsessed little brat that has to be always right. She is shrill and surly. She refuses to think about things from another perspective because her way is the only way. She won't listen to anyone. She's insecure so she's overcompensating by taking it out on everyone around her.

Twylla from The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
She's a doormat. Twylla never makes a decision on her own and merely follows the path of least resistance.

Sarah Booth Delaney from Smarty Bones by Carolyn Haines
She is petty, a reverse-snob and hates women for no good reason. And she always has to remind you that she has amazing sex with her movie star boyfriend.

As Ebenezer Scrooge would say, bah-humbug. (You can take that to mean Merry Christmas, if you'd like. I suppose.)