Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Blogger Hop: 27 December 2013 - 2 January 2014

Book Blogger Hop

I'm so glad that I've resurrected this blog from oblivion. The Book Blogger Hop was one of my favorite activities. This week's question is:

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2014?

My 2014 plans include concentrating on clearing out many of the books which have accumulated here at the house. I'm going to try to buy very few books, read from my stash (both physical and electronic), and take advantage of the library. At the top of my list—the books which I want to read early in 2014—are those books in favorite series:

First up with be First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher. This is the sixth and final book in Butcher's Codex Alera series. I've sent a request for the book to my local library, but I know it won't arrive until early in January. Another series that I'd like to complete is Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity mysteries. I'm ready to read Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil, and right behind that is Aunt Dimity: Detective, the sixth and seventh books in the 17 book series. And, the book that I'm waiting for so anxiously is The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, sixth in Alan Bradley's marvelous series starring precocious pre-teen Flavia de Luce. As I mentioned in the earlier posting, this book has already been ordered by my library and should be arriving in early January. (Amazon shows a publication date of 14 January.)

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Today's Top Ten Tuesday list asks for “Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me”.

I have so many books on hand which I want to read and I'm not the least bit reluctant to buy books that I want, so it's a bit difficult to come up with much of a list. If a book is to be shared with family members, I'll choose to purchase the Kindle version. Books to be shared with my friends at BookObsessed are printed on paper, but often bought at second-hand stores. That leaves me with two other classes of books. First are the books that I really want to read—but only once. These I try to get from the library. And the second are books that I want to own. So, with those categories in mind, here's what I'd like to receive from Santa. Note that some of these are pre-orders since they are due to be published in the next couple of weeks.

  1. Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau is the second in a young adult series which began with The Testing. Set in a dystopian future, some reviewers have compared the series to The Hunger Games. I'll admit that there's a decent similarity, but this is definitely not a rip-off. Since this book is due to be released on 7 January, I'd love to see it headed to my Kindle on publication day.
  2. The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card Another book which would be a pre-order is The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card. It's also the second book in a series, and also aimed at the young adult marketplace. There the similarity ends. Card has crafted a remarkable fantasy set in contemporary times, but drawing upon the mythology of the Norse gods. I look forward to receiving a copy in February.
  3. Borderline by Nevada Barr Borderline is the 15th in Nevada Barr's mystery series set in various National Parks in the USA. This volume is set right here in Texas in Big Bend National Park. I'd love to catch up with this series in 2014, so finding this book in my Christmas stocking would make me very happy.
  4. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan BradleyI'm not so patiently waiting for The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, sixth in Alan Bradley's marvelous series starring precocious pre-teen Flavia de Luce. Fortunately, my library has already ordered The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches and its due to arrive just after the beginning of the year. (This feels a little bit like cheating since I'm already on the wait list.)
  5. Flying Too High by Kerry GreenwoodPhryne Fisher is the protagonist in Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood. I just discoverer this series when the first book, Cocaine Blues was a freebie at Amazon. Coincidentally, my local PBS station was broadcasting the Miss Fisher Mysteries BBC series based on these books. I would love to receive the Kindle version, but I'm willing to simply request it from the library.
  6. The Prodigal Nun by Aimee and David ThurloThe Prodigal Nun, a Sister Agatha mystery by Aimée and David Thurlo, has been on my wishlist at Amazon for a couple of years. It's the fifth book in the series of six and I think I'd like to complete the series in 2014.
  7. Hush Now, Don't You Cry by Rhys Bowen In 2013, one series that I've particularly enjoyed has been the Molly Murphy Mysteries by Rhys Bowen. I'm ready to read book #11, Hush Now, Don't You Cry, so I'd be thrilled if it arrived for Christmas. (However, given that there's a copy available at my local library, I can easily pick it up on Boxing Day.)
  8. Kris Longknife: Intrepid by Mike Shepherd Another series that I'd like to resume reading is the Kris Longknife military science fiction adventures. I'm ready to read Kris Longknife: Intrepid, the sixth book in the series. (Sometimes, however, I feel like I should go back and re-read the previous book when it's been so long between books.)
  9. Inferno by Dan BrownI'm probably one of the very few who hasn't read Inferno by Dan Brown. Since I very much enjoyed The Lost Symbol, I guess it's time that I got around to reading the next one in the Robert Langdon intrigue series. It's not yet available in paperback, so I'll hope for a Kindle edition or borrowing it from the library.
  10. Fifth Gospel by Adriana Koulias Amazon lists this book at the top of the Recommended for you list, so I'm going to include Fifth Gospel by Adriana Koulias as the tenth book on my holiday wish list. It appears to have a similar theme as the Magdalene Line trilogy by Kathleen McGowan, so I hope that I'll enjoy it.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish posts (and answers) a new Top Ten list. Book bloggers are encouraged to join by posting answers on their own blogs, linking to The Broke and the Bookish, and adding their names to the Linky widget.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Update

It's Monday and time to join readers around the world documenting what we're currently reading. It's Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey. Post what you read last week and what you're planning to read this week and link to Shelia's post. Then visit, visit, visit!

With just 8 days left in this year, I'm pushing really hard to read 7 more books to meet my year-long goal of reading 150 books. I'm fortunate to be on vacation for the rest of the year, but even so I may need to pick short books or those which can be read pretty quickly. This past week I completed two books: The Last Illusion by Rhys Bowen and The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.

The Last Illusion is book 9 in Bowen's Molly Murphy mystery series. I borrowed it from the local library, as I have all the books in the series. I bought book #10 (Bless the Bride) a couple of months ago and it is sitting right here to start as soon as possible. I'll send a hold request to the library for book #11 shortly.

On my Kindle, I read The Testing—a young adult dystopian novel set in a future where most of the territory of the US is devastated and unpopulated due to the effects of the Seven Stages of War. Sixteen-year-old Cia is one of four high school graduates from her town who are selected to compete in The Testing for the opportunity to attend college. Bearing a lot of similarity to The Hunger Games, the tests are brutal and result in the deaths of many of the young people. Unlike The Hunger Games, the population is not oppressed and most are unaware of the true nature of The Testing. Book two in a planned trilogy is due out in January and it's definitely on my wish list.

Other books which I read last week (and am reading this week) are Princeps' Fury, fifth in Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series and Bertie Plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith. Princeps' Fury is a long book with more than 600 pages. It's also checked out from the library and I'm about ½ way through it at this point. I'm listening to Bertie Plays the Blues, seventh in McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series. I couldn't find the audio book in the US, so last summer I ordered the unabridged CDs from England along with book #8, Sunshine on Scotland Street. I only have one more CD to listen to and will probably finish this book tomorrow if I drive down to town to finish up my shopping.

Queued up are Bless the Bride by Rhys Bowen, Deadly Stakes by J A Jance, The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper, and Miss Julia Paints the Town by Ann B Roberts. These are all high interest books and should be fairly quick reads to help me meet my 2013 reading goal.

The Last Illusion by Rhys Bowen The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher Bertie Plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith

Bless the Bride by Rhys Bowen Deadly Stakes by J A Jance The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper Miss Julia Paints the Town by Ann B Ross

Monday, December 09, 2013

Reading Challenges

GoodReads-status_2013-12-09In years past, I've signed up for several challenges. I find that they are fun to keep me motivated, but when I join too many, I lose focus. So in 2013, I only took on two challenges. The first was the annual Reading Challenge at Goodreads (mirrored over at BookObsessed) and the other was a Series challenge at BookObsessed. I'm going to be pushed to meet my goal of 150 books for the year, but I think I can still accomplish it. The series challenge is not going as well.

At the beginning of the year, I listed 9 series that I wanted to complete (or at least read through all the then-currently published books). I've only finished two of those series. I have, however, finished 13 other series, most of which were started before 2013. I'm also making progress in another 16 series. Of course, with new volumes in some of these series coming out in the first quarter of 2014, I'm only temporarily caught up.

I'm now busy looking at challenges for 2014. Since many of these allow for overlap, I can sign up for the Goodreads 2014 challenge as well as You Read How Many Books? with exactly the same goal—which I think will be 150 again. I'm also looking at a TBR challenge which encourages me to read books which have been sitting on my shelf or locked in my Kindle for at least a year and a Library challenge to motivate me to read more books from the library instead of purchasing them. The library challenge might not be too difficult as this year I've use the library to help me complete a number of series.