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text 2013-12-31 21:30
December 2013 Actual
The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson
The Once and Future King - T.H. White
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré
The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home - Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
The Fiery Cross - Diana Gabaldon
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

I was hard pressed to finish these - time got away from me, as it seems to do every December. I didn't make it to Marmee and Louisa (November 2014, maybe?).




The Well of Ascension - I didn't like this as much as Mistborn. It was worth the read, but seemed to drag on forever. And I hated the ending. Hated it. Still, I'm planning to read the next ones.


The Once and Future King - I'm not a fan of the Arthurian legend. Not sure why - maybe it was being force-fed the story in high school. Maybe it was because Arthur seemed to be too much of a Marty Stu (although I didn't know that term at the time). Maybe it was because Camelot seemed too good to be true. Anyway, I enjoyed The Sword in the Stone, but found the rest of the book grating.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - For the HP group read. For some reason, I thought I didn't like GoF that much, but I enjoyed it as much as the first three. Not sure why I thought I didn't like it. I really like how these books are getting darker and more complex as the characters are getting older.


A Christmas Carol - Delightful Dickens Christmas classic. I've seen several movies based on the story, and have listened to Tim Curry's audio book narration, but this is the first time I've actually read the book.


Audio Books


Split Second - Laughably bad! I remember liking it when I read it years ago, but I found the story deeply unsatisfying this time around. Caricatures rather than characters. A preposterous premise. And the narration, while good from a technical standpoint, was unnecessarily snide and sarcastic, which seemed to only highlight the flaws in the story.


A Christmas Carol - Listened to this Christmas Eve...it's becoming a holiday tradition. And yes, I read it and listened to it this year.


The Cricket on the Hearth - A cute story, one of Dickens' Christmas stories. Picked it up as an Audible freebie, narrated by Jim Dale. Excellent narration.


The Fiery Cross - Started this just after Christmas. Will finish it up in January.

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text 2013-12-25 13:19
2013 to 2014 Random Thoughts
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Heart's Blood (Roc Fantasy) - Juliet Marillier
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith
The Diviners - Libba Bray
The Book Thief - Trudy White,Markus Zusak
Allegiant - Veronica Roth
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff
Unhinged - A.G. Howard
The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater

So the time around holidays tends to be chaotically busy... and I tend to get frustratingly lazy.  Also, my attention has been drawn away from reading this month.


On that note, Merry Christmas to everyone!  Hopefully everyone is enjoying the holidays, a good book, a nice cup of something yummy, and keeping warm in your own little reading nook haven.



Anyway...  As the end of the year approaches, I had wanted to write a piece detailing all the books I've read this year as well as all the books published in 2013 that I managed to get my hands on this year.  I love writing and blogging, even if sometimes I have no idea what to blog about.  And I'm not the best writer, but I try to perfect if I can.


Simply put, I just really like sharing my thoughts, and since there are very few friends in my actual real life I can discuss books with, I chose to blog my book thoughts.  Thus far, it's been pretty satisfying.


2013 has been quite the year for me as a book worm.  Ever since the days of elementary school when I first started reading for leisure regularly, and then into my middle school years where I proclaimed to anyone who would listen that I wanted to read "every book in the library", I'd pretty much given myself the mission of becoming a Master Level Bookworm with "uber fantastic reading skillz!"


That dream is still a work in progress.


Starting in high school, I began making my reading lists, compiling titles such as Lord of the Rings, everything Michael Crichton and Dean Koontz, what was out for the Harry Potter series... and so on and so forth.  I always enjoyed English class reading assignments and I spent a lot of time allowing friends to randomly choose books for me to check out from the library.


But then college started and leisurely reading had to be put on hold in place of required reading of text books, essays, journal articles, research papers... the works.


And then college ended and now I have all the time in the world to read whatever I want to read.


And now I may begin to continue satisfying my Master Level Bookworm goals.


In 2011, I had just begun the task of going through my book shelf and reading all the books I owned.  In 2011, I also discovered The Hunger Games and a little book cataloging site called Goodreads where I then went to discover a way to find all sorts of books I would be interested in reading.  And also in 2011, I picked up my first e-reader, thus making it so much easier for me to find and purchase books with the simple click of a button.


2012 was a good year in fiction land for me, but still not quite as satisfying as it could have been.  After the discovery of online book communities and social networking dedicated to books as well as several different book cataloging websites and the convenience of e-books, however... I've managed to go from reading 27 books in 2012 to having completed more than 100 books in 2013 -- 101 to date.


Sure... some of those books might have been short stories.  But at least one of them was a two book volume and three of them were extremely long length novels totaling up to 700 pages and more.  Nonetheless, setting aside the short stories, I still feel extremely accomplished in the number of books I've read, the number of reviews I've written, and the many number of books I will be planning to read soon.


Since this blog post would be immensely longer (than it already is), and I know I have a tendency to ramble on in a nonstop fashion, I'm not going to mention every book I've read this year (especially since I've read upwards of 100 books, and yes, I'm proud of myself for that).


Instead, I'm just going to talk about the end of the year and how I'm going to wrap things up for 2013, including the most recent books I've finished and the current books I'm reading.  If I feel like it later, maybe I will write a post about the books I've read this year, emphasizing the ones I especially liked the most and the books that were the biggest disappointments.


But until then, here's the end of year wrap up and random thoughts.



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review 2013-12-13 16:02
New scifi series kick off this December
Presence - Perie Wolford

My new science fiction series are kicking off late December! Check it out!


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text 2013-12-08 14:16
Update: Mini Book Club's Second Selection -- 34% Done
Heart's Blood (Roc Fantasy) - Juliet Marillier

So I know I've yet to write anything more about The Scorpio Races that had been the first mini book club pick for me and my BFF.  It just so happens that I've been extremely lazy and extremely busy and extremely distracted all at the same time.


Reading other books, watching some old Asian television reruns, and generally being lazy and sleeping in on cold days has been quite routine for the past couple weeks.  Winter time and end of the year holiday ish does that to me.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.


Nonetheless, here's a quick update about the second book that BFF and I chose for our December book (we've decided to choose one new book each month for our mini book club funsies!).


Heart's Blood was BFF's choice.  Although, once again, I have a feeling she's more interested in the aspect of having a book club read-a-long more so than the actual book we're reading.  She had very quickly nodded to two other books with: "Yes.  That one, we're reading that one," up until I finally caved and gave a finality to the choice.


I... may or may not be a bit stubborn about the books I personally want to read.  And since Heart's Blood is a fairy tale retelling based on Beauty and the Beast as well as a book I'd been interested in for some time now, I may have been a bit more willing to say yes to this choice.


I promise, next time I will more readily agree with what BFF wants to read.


Anyway, onto Heart's Blood:


I had a little trouble getting into the book from the beginning until Caitrin joined the household up on the Whistling Tor.  And so it took a little longer for me to finish our initially agreed upon five chapters of reading before our first book club session.  And even then, with all my distractions, I ended up a bit behind.


And so we didn't quite have a book club session so much as we just sat back and agreed that maybe we should finish the entire book before the end of the year and then find some time to sit down and discuss it in all its glorious entirety.  


However, the main point we both hit on for Heart's Blood is that, despite having fairly neutral feelings for the characters so far, we both absolutely LOVE way that the book is written, for one, and the way the setting, atmosphere and descriptions are given.  The way that the fortress of Whistling Tor is described and the feel of the entire village and community: the library, the garden, the hall of mirrors, the village at the bottom of the hill...  The way it's written is just so beautiful!


I can honestly feel myself being drawn to the fortress itself and yearning to be in Caitrin's place, as a scribe in that neglected library where I would do nothing but sort, translate, transcribe, and pretty much fix up the entire area.  It sounds really attractive, in my own nerdy way.


I'm glad we selected this book.  Despite not quite getting into the story itself, I'm still finding myself enjoying it a lot.  And hoepfully I'll continue to enjoy the rest of it as I have plans to read more books by Juliet Marillier after this one.

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text 2013-12-08 13:56
First Impression: Chapters 1 - 3
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

I'm going to openly admit that the only reason this book landed on my 'To Read' list was because I found out that J.K. Rowling was the author behind the pen name.  Of course, I'm not saying that this book would have never landed on my 'To Read' list at all.  The words 'private investigator' and 'murder mystery' typically find their way to me one way or another and I'll find myself contemplating the book eventually.


It just happened to help propel things that I love the way J.K. Rowling writes.


As far as The Cuckoo's Calling is concerned, I'm finding it quite enjoyable so far.  The introduction of the suicide, the characters, and the possible murder mystery are paced smoothly.  The writing is great, though I feel like I'm seeing a distinct difference from the way Harry Potter was written -- which would be a given considering the fact that Ms. Rowling is going for a different genre and target audience altogether anyway.


To be honest, had I not known that Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling, I probably wouldn't have made the connection.  Then again, it's not like I'm some sort of literary book genius either; I don't always pick up specific writing style habits from favorite authors.


Nonetheless, after a long wait to check this book out from the library, I finally got it and will see how the rest of the story fairs.  I'm sure I'll enjoy it since it's got a lot of my favorite elements at play.  Just as well, it seems fast-paced and to the point, though the crime/murder mystery aspect and the characters don't seem all too unique.


Here's hoping for a great experience from one of my favorite authors in an entirely different genre!

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