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2018 – A Reading Year in Review

As I sit on my couch immersed in a Marvel Avengers binge watch (right now i’m focusing on Captain America because i’m sooo not watching in sequence) – I figured it was time to write my 2018 reading year in review post – I would say its my blogging year in review, but honestly, blog posts have been few and far between this year. Its been both a busy one (traveling to Bahrain for 2 weeks in August, starting a new job in September and running a marathon in October) and a crappy one (losing my dog to a medical emergency in August – BLOAT sucks).

On the reading front, I didn’t read as much this as in previous years. My total read count was 273 books and a total of 84675 pages. Which when compared to last year was 66 books and 5144pgs less. But on average, the books I read in 2018 were longer (310pgs compared to 265pgs).

Now onto the actual books I read during the year:
First book marked as finished for 2018: Mr Churchill’s Secretary – Susan Elia MacNeal – I found this mystery to be interesting and its a series that I would like to continue in the future – so I’ve added at least the next book in the series to Mt TBR…(which might kill me if it ever topples over…)
Last book read in 2018: Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison – I have to say I was disappointed in this book – i’d heard a lot about this series and originally bought this in 2010 (so its only been languishing on Mt TBR for 8yrs)…but Rachel just annoyed me and I found her to do too much dumb, impulsive shit that got both her and her friends into trouble.
Longest Book Read: Morgan’s Run – Colleen McCullough – growing up in Australia, Ms McCullough is one of those authors that I should have read growing up – the Thorn Birds by her is a “classic” and yet while I have many of her books on my shelf – I’ve never read anything by her. Morgan’s Run was ok (I gave it 2 stars but annotated that I would have given it 2.5) – overall is was too long and needed a good editor in places.
Shortest Book Read: Another Dance – DeAnne Cameron – this was 2.5 in a series I had been reading but like my longest read of the year – this one just didn’t live up to my expectations (in this case, the fact that I had previously read and enjoyed the authors books).
Most Popular Book: The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins – read by 1,796,450 ppl – I know a lot of people loved this book but for me, I was underwhelmed – there have been many other mystery/thriller/suspense like this that I enjoyed much more (the Breakdown by BA Paris being one of them).
Least Popular Book: Another Dance – DeAnne Cameron – i’m not surprised that this also showed up as my least popular book – I randomly stumbled across her books on Amazon a while back but I rarely hear her name recommended.
Highest Rated: The Sun Also Shines – Anthony Ray Hinton – it is no surprise to me that this is the highest rated book that I read this year (and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson who features in this was my highest rated in 2017). This book is also my most recommended book of the year – if you ever want insight into why would justice system needs to be reformed – you need look no further than this book – Mr Hinton spent 20yrs on death row in Alabama for a crime he didn’t commit and with no evidence to convict him (and the sheriff who caused this miscarriage of justice is still in a position of power).
Most Read Author: Zoe Chant – During 2018 (or rather since August when I discovered her) – I’ve read 17 books by Ms Chant. They are all included in my Kindle Unlimited package and honestly just the kind of quick easy reads you need when you are down in the dumps or just need something relatively easy/brainless.

And with that, I’m signing off for 2018 and will see you all in 2019! Best Wishes and Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2018 in Blog Features, Year in Review

 

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Nonfiction November Week 1: Your Year in Nonfiction

So this is my first year participating in Nonfiction November and i’ll be honest, I think its the first time I’ve ever heard it referenced on blogs – maybe I just wasn’t reading the right ones (because lets face it, nonfiction is not a topic that lots of people read and review exclusively). But now that I know about it, it will be making an appearance on my blog in future years. This year, Nonfiction November is being hosted by Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Julie (JulzReads), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Katie (Doing Dewey), and Rennie (What’s Nonfiction). I’m already having a blast looking at all the different pictures of books that people are posting on Twitter, Instagram or in the Goodreads group – I have a feeling that Mt TBR is going to grow exponentially over the next month.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
So this part of the prompt was a non-brainer – but far my favorite non-fiction read from the past year is also one of the books that I have probably also recommended the most since I read it. But first, a bit of the backstory, whenever I go to the library (which is much more often that I care to admit some weeks…I’m basically on first name basis with all the staff there), I tend to do a quick look of all the new purchases the library has made in both fiction and nonfiction (and its not uncommon that at least one – or more – books get added to my check out pile). Anyways, in August, I did just that and a book called The Sun Does Shine caught my eye – first of all the cover was very bright which when compared to many other NF books that use blacks, greys and white as their predominant colors, this was an anomaly. But the second thing that caught my eye was the authors name, Anthony Ray Hinton…I couldn’t place it exactly, but I knew that I had heard or read it someone in the not so recent past. Anyways, I grabbed it to read and when I opened it up and saw the foreword, I knew why – the memoir was based on one of the cases that Bryan Stevenson discusses in his book, Just Mercy – which is probably my most recommended book in 2017.

Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
My nonfiction reading is always kind of diverse – mostly because a lot of the stuff I read is for different challenges on both Goodreads and other websites. A quick analysis of the 16 books I read in the past year were: Science/Math: 5 books; Biography/Memoirs: 7 Books (further broken down into Celebrity /Performers (1), Historical Persons/Groups (3); Current Persons/Groups (3); Travel/Adventure: 3 Books; Self-Help: 2 books and True Crime: 1. I guess if I had to pick, I would say that I’ve been more prone to picking up science/math type books recently (I’m counting psychology, math, economics all under this general umbrella).

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
See my comment above about my favorite book from the last year – as soon as I got done with reading my copy from the library – I walked in, handed it to the librarian and said “READ THIS” – thankfully, most of them listen to me (or at least I think they do) when I recommend books. He also turned around and recommended a similar book to me that is part of the One Maryland One Book project (which is one of the books I have on my pile for this month).

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
Well, I could sarcastically say that I hope to reduce some of the nonfiction books on my pile – but we all know that isn’t going to be the case 🙂 So I hope to discover a wide variety of books on topics that I hadn’t considered before (even if I don’t get them read during the course of the month). Katie at Doing Dewey inspired me to try my own Dewey Decimal Challenge – so I’m slowing chugging away at that – I have definitely found my comfort zone – so trying to push out of that.

Bring on Nonfiction November!!

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Dewey’s Reverse Read-A-Thon Wrap-Up

In the infamous words of Bugs Bunny…Th-th-that’s all folks! Yes, unfortunately, its time to say farewell to Dewey’s Reverse Read-A-Thon (but never fear, it will be back for its normal scheduled appearance in October). This was a fun read-a-thon for me because I mostly played it by ear – I didn’t have a huge list of books to pick from (although I did have an epic list of books that were in progress). I didn’t care that at 1:30am, I fell asleep for about 8hrs or that I also took another nap around 11. It was nice being so chill and just reading. Huge shout out to all the various through the hours that kept us entertained on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Litsy and other social media platforms that I’m sure i’m forgetting.

And on to my stats for this read-a-thon…

Books Starts Prior to Read-a-thon and finished:
Driven Snow – Tara Lain (m/m romance, fairytale retelling, starting at pg 97) – 113pgs
Death at La Fenice – Donna Leon (mystery, starting at pg 146) – 124pgs
Unbound – Neal Schusterman (YA dystopia, starting at pg 21) – 299pgs
Under Control – Qwillia Rain (erotic romance, starting at pg 15) – 83pgs

Read in Entirety:
Worth the Wait – Karelia Stetz-Waters (f/f romance) – 368pgs
The Fifth Favor – Shelby Reed (erotic romance) – 322 pgs

Continued Reading/Made Progress:
Cowboy Pride – Lacy Williams (contemporary Pride and Prejudice Retelling) – read 135pgs
Zodiac – Romina Russell (YA fantasy, starting at pg 22) – read 117pgs
The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz (Nordic noir, audiobook, starting at 6:11:45) – listened to 6:03:07 – equivalent of 181pgs

Total Pages Read/Listened To: 1742pgs

How about you – did you participate? How did you do?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2018 in Read-A-Thon

 

Dewey’s Reverse Read-A-Thon Kick-Off

Squee!! i’m soo excited! About a month ago, the gals at Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon decided they were going to try a spontaneous summer reverse read-a-thon! What’s a reserve read-a-thon, you ask? Well, instead of starting at 8am on a Saturday morning, we are kicking off the festivities at 8pm on a Friday evening. Now admittedly, its been a long week at work – and I don’t see myself making it through the night – but damn, if i’m not going to try!!!

Like I normally do for a Dewey Read-a-Thon – i’ll be posting periodic updates on my reading – right now i’m thinking about every 6 hours, but we’ll see how things play out and how much reading I get done. I’ll also be posting pictures of books i’m reading on twitter, tweeting various random musings as I read (there is some legit punch-drunk tweeting that goes on at 3am during a read-a-thon 🙂 ) and of course, random dog pictures! (what more could you ask for!)

Here is my starting list for reading (yes, these are all books I have in progress…I might have a touch of book ADD…):
The Quiet Game – Greg Iles (legal suspense, starting at pg25)
Ocean’s Light – Nalini Singh (paranormal romance, starting at pg 43)
Unbound – Neal Schusterman (YA dystopia, starting at pg 21)
The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken (YA dystopia, starting at pg 112)
Driven Snow – Tara Lain (m/m romance, fairytale retelling, starting at pg 97)
Death at La Fenice – Donna Leon (mystery, starting at pg 146)
The Ghostwriter – Alessandra Torre (contemporary thriller, starting at pg 43)
Zodiac – Romina Russell (YA fantasy, starting at pg 22)
The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz (Nordic noir, audiobook, starting at 6:11:45)

What about you guys? who is joining in the read-a-thon and what is on your pile?

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2018 in Read-A-Thon, Reading Events

 

Movie Monday (6) – Incredibles 2

Pop some popcorn, sit back, put your feet up and tell us about the movie(s) you have seen this week!

Its been fourteen years in the making (and waiting) – but like many folks, I was so excited to see my movie this weekend on opening weekend (normally, I try to stay clear of those movies but I was feeling nostalgic and knew that it was worth the risk is going. So without further ado – my movie this week: Incredibles 2.

I’ll admit that I still go and see the Disney animated movie every year when it comes out – except for Frozen because for some reason I was a dumbass and just didn’t go…(no heckling allowed). When I was driving home from work Friday night – I was debating going to see Incredibles 2 or Ocean’s 8 – and it wasn’t until I actually got up to the counter to get my ticket that I decided on Incredibles. Mostly because I didn’t know if I was in the mood to deal with a movie that would have a lot of kids at it – especially since I was going to see the 7:30 showing on a Friday night during the first (or second week) of summer holidays. But surprisingly enough, the movie wasn’t sold out and the kids who were in there were mostly well-behaved (aside from an infant who apparently took offense to one of the scenes with Jack Jack).

I’ll admit that I figured out pretty early on who the antagonist was in the movie – it was kind of obvious to me – and ugh, I really hated who it was – because I liked them as a character prior to the reveal. I was REALLY hoping that I was going to be wrong. But alas…For me, the best part of the movie was Jack Jack! At the end of the first movie, the viewers knew that Jack Jack had powers, even though the rest of the family didn’t know. So we are going into the movie knowing something that characters in the movie didn’t know. There was one scene with Jack Jack and a raccoon that had me nearly rolling off my seat, I was laughing so hard. I will say that I wish there had been some more Edna (the fashion designer who made the outfits in the first movie).

While I didn’t love the Incredibles as much as I had hoped – it was definitely a solid sequel and made for an enjoyable Friday night after a long week at work. And who knows, there is the potential for a third movie based on a few of the lines and conversations that occurred….I only hope I don’t have to wait another 14 years….

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Movie Monday

 

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Team Sea to See…and they’re off

So this isn’t a typical post for me, but its something awesome that a friend of mine is doing (in fact, as this post was published they departed Oceanside California). Race Across America is an annual race where the crazy people, whoops, I mean cyclists, either individually or in teams, try to be the fastest person to cross the United States. It starts in Oceanside, CA and ends in Annapolis, MD. These teams cross over 3000 miles, 12 states and over 170,000ft of climbing (which just makes me cringe…I hate anything that makes me climb hills!). What makes this even more awesome is that my friend, Pamela (yeah, girl, i’m calling you out), is one of 4 pilots on a team that features all blind stokers (the folks that are in the back of a tandem bike). The team, Sea to See (isn’t that a great play on words) is aiming to change the narrative about what visually impaired folks can do.

I’m going to be tracking them through live updates (available HERE)

You can read more about Team Sea to See HERE and if you would like to donate to their mission, here is the link: DONATE HERE

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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First Line Friday – 15 June 2018

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I don’t know about you guys but i’m struggling with the fact that we are officially halfway through June as of today. They say time flies as you get older (and heck, i’m not even officially that old) – but its sooo true! Although (just a secret between us girls – and guys…I accidently wrote June 2017 on a document at work the other day and didn’t realize it for like 3hrs). Anyways – I had a tough time figuring out what first line I wanted to feature this week because I have two books that I am going to be starting either tonight or tomorrow (depends on how I feel after I get home from the movies…Incredibles 2…heck yeah!). So I figured – why the heck not and featuring both of them! (because everyone who knows me, knows that i’m a bit of a rebel).

The Year 2083 dawns in the icy shadow of winter’s crystalline wings.
From: Ocean Light – Nalini Singh

Description:
Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment–taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling…

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine…

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back–even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy.

There was a darker brown stain on our brown suede couch.
From: How To Behave In A Crowd – Camille Bordas

Description:
Isidore Mazal is eleven years old, the youngest of six siblings living in a small French town. He doesn’t quite fit in. Berenice, Aurore, and Leonard are on track to have doctorates by age twenty-four. Jeremie performs with a symphony, and Simone, older than Isidore by eighteen months, expects a great career as a novelist. She’s already put Isidore to work on her biography. The only time they leave their rooms is to gather on the old, stained couch and dissect prime-time television dramas in light of Aristotle’s Poetics.

Isidore has never skipped a grade or written a dissertation, but he notices things the others don’t and asks questions they fear to ask. So when gedy strikes the Mazal family, Isidore is the only one to recognize how everyone is struggling with their grief and perhaps the only one who can help them–if he doesn’t run away from home first.

Why I’m Looking Forward to these Books
So the first one was pretty much a given for me – Nalini Singh is on my auto-read list (although unfortunately, since her psy-changling series moved to hardcover I tend to borrow from the library rather than buy). I’ve had this reserved since it popped in my library’s catalogue a month or so ago – which means i’m one of the first to get to read it 🙂

My other choice this week is a book that I requested through Inter-library loan about a month ago and it finally came in the other week (and since those loans tend to have a short timeframe for the loan, I knew I needed to get it read). But in general – I picked this off a list of books for a challenge because the cover caught my eye – I’ve never read of the author, but after reading the description I was intrigued!

What About You Guys – What is the first line from your current read?

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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