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I think I’ve finally reconciled this list with Goodreads, which was more of a project than it ought to have been. (I’ve been tagging everything over there by year read (moving stuff over to 2012 already, le sigh,) and those numbers were different than the numbers here and also on the Goodreads reading challenge tracker, which only counts the damned things if you remember to fill in a particular field, which I often don’t. Still: useful tool.)

Anyway. It looks like we hit 65 this year which is not as good as in years past, but better than last year (which I don’t have the stats for, I just know it wasn’t a good year for reading. I am kicking myself for letting 2009 and 2010 get away from me like that.) Keeping in mind that I’ve picked up an extracurricular or two, it’s pretty damned spectacular, all things considered. As usual there’s way too much romance in the list, a distinct reduction in YA (which isn’t to say I didn’t ready any, just not as much as I have previously,) and a definite uptick in the fantasy/horror genre. I read a purely ridiculous amount of horror back in high school (King, Koontz, and Saul were my holy trinity,) so I’m amused by the fact that I seem to be swinging back in that direction, although much of it is technically urban fantasy or is mired in the gooey ‘supernatural’ category, which translates to ‘romance, with extra vampires’ nine times out of ten. But dude, monsters and eviscerations are monsters and eviscerations. And some of this stuff is a bit rougher than Lightning, I’m just saying.

I got a Kindle for Christmas last year (as I’m sure you all know and are sick of hearing about,) and I have to say that I think it’s responsible for the numbers being as high as they are. Of the 65 books on the list, 7 of them were paper, and 3 of those were comic book trades which would have suffered for having been electronic as the Kindle is e-ink and doesn’t do color. (That would be the Fire that does color.) Reading books electronically means that provided I can get to a wireless connection, I have immediate access to pretty much whatever the heck I’m jonesing for right that second. Finish the first book in a series and HAVE to have the next one right that very second? No need to bundle up, hop in the car, and fight the throngs at the mall only to discover that Barnes & Noble doesn’t have a copy in stock right now, I can download it in under a minute. And hey, I don’t need sleep, I can finish the 3rd before work starts, right? It’s dangerous. But is also means 1.) when I have the time I can spend 6-10 hours at a stretch reading though everything I can get my hands on without having to stop because I’ve run out of books and/or need to go get something, and 2.) I can take everything I’m working on with me and pick at it whenever I have a moment. (For example, I usually read over lunch, but today, friends and neighbors, I am working on putting this together…so I can spend Sunday reading in peace.)

In any event, if I didn’t have such easy access to books, I probably wouldn’t read as many of them, and would possibly consider my purchases more carefully. Where’s the fun in that?

Totals
Overall: 65

Top 3 Genres

Romance: 26 (Not quite half. Better than I was expecting!)
Fantasy: 19 (Does not count YA or comics.)
YA: 7 (Really? Huh.)

Subgenres (only counted if 2 or more books/serials are involved.)
Zombie: 4
Steampunk: 4
Time travel: 3 (Really, I need to boost this number.)

Sub-subgenres:

Steampunk zombie: 3 (Although to be fair, one of the Steampunk stories not included IS within the zombie-filled universe, they’re just not featured.)

Series I read on a whim and was surprisingly pleased by:

Downside Ghosts series – It’s not the best thing on Earth or necessarily for everyone as there are drugs and triggery violence throughout the whole thing and the second book is a bit of a retread of the first one, but I still liked it oodles.

Series I read on a whim and was disappointed by:
The Disillusionists series. There are some good ideas in there and the author does have some moments where things work well together, but overall it lacks…maturity? I think. Her writing just isn't there yet. And the heroine is frequently hit by the TSTL stick. Also! Damned if she doesn’t do that thing where she puts important information in a short story in an anthology that people might not read. (Which I did, which is why I read the series, but man, there is nothing like that to quite build my ill-will.)

Series that were a total waste of my time and money, but I don’t actually regret it:
The Night Huntress series. This is so not good. AND YET. I blame the romances for softening up my brain.

Author Overdose: Courtney Milan

Recommended unreservedly:
  • Boneshaker – Excellent world building, relatively unique setting, does not fall into the trap of being overly precious or sentimental about being steampunk. Also, as a bonus to those who look upon the vast amount of romance I consume with horror: there is no romance in this.
  • Feed (Newsflesh #1) – Not recommending the series because I’m concerned that the 3rd book won’t be able to stick the dismount when it’s published, but the first on holds up well as a standalone. Snarky and creepy, plays around with the whole politics vs. the media thing well. I don’t want to say it’s like Transmetropolitan because it’s not, but it gives off a similar vibe, if with less in-your-face outrageous obscenity.
  • Heart of Steel (Iron Seas #2) – I think this was a better adventure book than the first one which was much more of a romance. I’m a bit conflicted recommending HoS over The Iron Duke because that one did most of the universe building that is useful to know, but it does get covered in this book, if not to the depth of the previous, and this does end up being the rare sequel I do like better than the original. (Although I am not by any means disparaging ID, which I did like very much.)
  • Blackout (All Clear v1.) I don’t really have to say more than Connie Willis and WWII here, right?
  • 11/22/63 – Do you miss epic, old school Stephen King, before he got all weird? You know, right around Dolores Claibourne and you wondered what the hell happened that he needed to inflict that on his readers? Because, man, I sure did. This is not a 100% complete return to form, but damned if it doesn’t feel right. Even if you’re not a fan of the ending (and I’m really on the fence about it,) the rest of the story is just fab and worth the time.

Recommended with reservations:
  • The Knitter’s Book of Yarn – A lot of the information in the book is probably most useful to novice knitters, but the patterns are lovely and good for a whole range of folks. Obvs, this would probably be most useful for a knitter or someone who wants to give a knitter a nice present related to their hobby and isn’t sure about this whole ‘yarn’ thing.
  • Bossypants – Humor is subjective. I think it was a good and funny book, but I can see where not everyone would agree with me on this. If you’re not a fan of Tina Fey, I’d probably avoid it.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – I really liked the way the author made use of vintage photographs in the book and it is an inventive and dense little world that’s been created here. And time travel, how can I not love time travel? But at the same time, it moved a bit slow and as the first book in a series with no published sequels that will not hold up well as a standalone, I’m often a bit reluctant to push them on people if I don’t have a real sense that it’s not a fluke.
  • Ready Player One – You didn’t think I’d rec this, did you? Look, despite my problems with the book which decidedly affect my ability to enjoy the story, it really is a well-written geekfest that I think a lot of people will like.
  • Unraveled (Turner #3) – Again, my favorite of a series, probably can be read just fine outside of the whole. I tend to favor emotionally stunted heroes (who are not assholes,) what can I say. The whole series is fine (although I recommend skipping the little novella if, like me, you have issues with bullying and being bullied.)

Kill it, kill it with fire:
  • School for Brides – I just. No. So bad.

One of these years I'd like to get through the annual summary without something that deserves to be in the 'kill it with fire' category, but that seems unlikely.
The list for 2011:
  1. The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) - Meljean Brook (Fantasy: Steampunk, zombies)
  2. The Heir - Grace Burrows (Romance)
  3. Wedding of the Season (Abandoned at the Altar #1) - Laura Lee Guhrke (Romance)
  4. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Ralstons #1) - Sarah MacLean (Romance)
  5. Boneshaker (Clockwork Century #1) - Cherie Priest (Fantasy: Steampunk, zombies)
  6. Miss Wonderful (Carsington #1) - Loretta Chase (Romance)
  7. Slow Hands - Leslie Kelly (Romance)
  8. The Admiral’s Penniless Bride - Carla Kelly (Romance)
  9. Side Jobs (Dresden Files #12.5) - Jim Butcher (Fantasy: Urban: Wizards)
  10. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer - Lish McBride (YA: Fantasy: Urban)
  11. The Knitter’s Book of Wool - Clara Parkes (Nonfiction: Fiber arts)
  12. The Knitter’s Book of Yarn - Clara Parkes (Nonfiction: Fiber arts)
  13. Catch of a Lifetime - Judi Fennell (Fantasy: mermaids)
  14. Matched (Matched #1) - Ally Condie (YA: Fantasy: Dystopia)
  15. Ten Ways to Be Adored when Landing a Lord (Ralstons #2) - Sarah MacLean (Romance)
  16. Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith #1) - Julia Quinn (Romance)
  17. Scandal of the Year (Abandoned at the Altar #2) - Laura Lee Guhrke (Romance)
  18. Lord of Scoundrels – Loretta Chase (Romance)
  19. Where Shadows Dance (St. Cyr #5) - C.S. Harris (Mystery: Historical)
  20. Secrets of a Proper Countess - Lecia Cornwall (Romance)
  21. School for Brides - Cheryl Anne Smith (Romance)
  22. Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse #11) - Charlaine Harris (Fantasy: Urban: Vampires and crazy shit)
  23. Invisible Things (Explosionist #2) Jenny Davidson (YA: Alternate History)
  24. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart (Ralstons #3) - Sarah MacLean (Romance)
  25. Bossypants - Tina Fey (Nonfiction: Memoir)
  26. Divergent (Divergent #1) - Victoria Roth (YA: Fantasy: Dystopia)
  27. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs (YA: Fantasy: Time Travel)
  28. Beauty Queens - Libba Bray (YA: Satire: Miss Congeniality meets Lost)
  29. Trial by Desire - Courtney Milan (Romance)
  30. Proof by Seduction - Courtney Milan (Romance)
  31. A View to a Kiss - Caroline Linden (Romance)
  32. His Every Kiss - Laura Lee Guhrke (Romance)
  33. Unveiled (Turner #1) - Courtney Milan (Romance)
  34. Ghost Story (Dresden Files #13) - Jim Butcher (Fantasy: Urban: Wizards and ghosts)
  35. Unlocked (Turner 1.5) - Courtney Milan (Romance)
  36. Blackout (All Clear #1) - Connie Willis (SFF: Time Travel)
  37. Wild & Steamy - Brook, Something, Crane (Fantasy: Anthology: Steampunk, werecritters, superpowers)
  38. Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1) - Stacia Kane (Fantasy: Urban: Ghosts)
  39. A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal - Meredith Duran (Romance)
  40. Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts #2) - Stacia Kane (Fantasy: Urban: Ghosts)
  41. City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #3) - Stacia Kane (Fantasy: Urban: Ghosts)
  42. Feed (Newsflesh #1) - Mira Grant (Horror: Zombies)
  43. Wicked Becomes You - Meredith Duran (Romance)
  44. Naughty in Nice (HRS #5) - Rhys Bowen (Mystery: Historical)
  45. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (SFF: Geekery on Parade)
  46. Record Collecting for Girls - Courtney Smith (Nonfiction: Memoir)
  47. Unclaimed (Turner #2) - Courtney Milan (Romance)
  48. One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #1) - Jeaniene Frost (Fantasy: Urban: Vampires)
  49. At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3) - Jeaniene Frost (Fantasy: Urban: Vampires)
  50. Hounded (Iron Druid #1) - Kevin Hearne (Fantasy: Urban: Angry Gods)
  51. Fables (v.14): Witches - Willingham/Buckingham (Comics: Fantasy)
  52. Fables (v. 15): Rose Red - Willingham/Buckingham (Comics: Fantasy)
  53. Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress #4) - Jeaniene Frost (Fantasy: Urban: Vampires)
  54. Heart of Steel (Iron Seas #2) – Meljean Brook (Fantasy: Steampunk)
  55. The Unwritten (v. 1): Tommy Taylor and the Bogus identity - Carey/Gross (Comics: Fantasy)
  56. Firelight (Firelight #1) - Sophie Jordan (YA: Fantasy: Dragons)
  57. Lord and Lady Spy - Shana Galen (Romance)
  58. Deadline (Newsflesh #2) - Mira Grant (Horror: Zombies)
  59. Mind Games (Disillusionists #1) - Carolyn Crane (Fantasy: Urban: Superpowers)
  60. Double Cross (Disillusionists #2) - Carolyn Crane (Fantasy: Urban: Superpowers)
  61. 11/22/63 - Stephen King (Fantasy: Time Travel)
  62. Head Rush (Disillusionists #3) - Carolyn Crane (Fantasy: Urban: Superpowers)
  63. Unraveled (Turner Series #3) - Courtney Milan (Romance)
  64. A Lady Awakened - Cecilia Grant (Romance)
  65. Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar #3)- Laura Lee Guhrke (Romance)
.

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February 2012

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