Can’t Wait! and Update for February

March 3 is the release date for the newest book in the the Courtyards of the Others series by Anne Bishop, Vision in Silver.  I’ve already got this on pre-order and will be getting started reading it as soon as it shows up on my reader.  Still going back and forth on trying to decide if I want to re-read the other two books in the series before it comes out as a refresher.  Gonna have to give that some thought.

So far this year, my book count stands at 78 new books and 15 re-reads.  Apparently this is going to be my year to go back and read some of my favorites again as I still haven’t really found a new author to grab my attention.  Not that I have much problem at all re-reading my favorites, they are favorites for a reason.

Along the Anne Bishop theme, I’ve re-read all the books in the Black Jewels world.  I’ve actually had times where when reading a book again after a while I realize that I don’t actually like it as well as I thought I had.  That is so not the case with that series.  I have a feeling it will be the same with the new Others series, so maybe I will go through with the refresher read after all.

 

Jason: Anita Blake Series, Book 23

JasonAuthor: Laurell K. Hamilton
Book Name: Jason
Series: Anita Blake
Order: #23
Rating: Mediocre/Didn’t Like
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

I really debated on whether or not I actually wanted to write this review.  I dislike saying or writing negative things, especially when it comes to something I normally would be raving about.  In this case, I just couldn’t help but say something.

I really didn’t like this book.  For so many reasons.  It was a huge disappointment.  It just did not live up to the existing standards set by the rest of this series. While we got to see some familiar and well loved characters, there just wasn’t a story in there at all.

I’m all for hot and steamy love scenes, no matter what combination of men and women, no matter how many are involved and in most cases, not even the level of kinky, when it is wrapped inside a great story.  Sometimes I’m even good to read something that is nothing but those steamy love scenes, story or not, but please, do them well.  Don’t make them fumbling and awkward.  I get that in real life, steamy doesn’t always come across as smooth, but come on.  When I read a book, a big part of the reason to do so is to live a bit in the fantasy that the author creates.  If you aren’t going to make it so that a reader can get sucked into what you are writing without being thrown out of whatever mood you are trying to create, then what is the point?  I’m pretty sure that in some ways, awkward was the tone that was trying to be set, but it was so wrong and so didn’t work, that for the first time ever reading an Anita novel, I was really tempted to put it down and not finish.  When I finally did finish, I was still wondering why I even bothered.  If you have to force yourself to finish a book, then why even consider reading the next one?

As a whole, I have really enjoyed the series thus far, but with this addition and a couple of the other more recent shorts and additions that I’ve read, I’m wondering how long I’ll continue reading the Anita Blake series as what I’m seeing lately just isn’t all that entertaining.  Like I said, I’m all for steamy, no matter what my own personal preference is.  It is like any other kind of art, while I may not like it personally, I can totally appreciate what goes into it and how someone else might enjoy it and can enjoy it from that perspective. But apparently, even in my reading and enjoying the fantasy from that other perspective, I do have limits to what I can find sexy, even peripherally.  Up until this, and I have read more than my fair share of all kinds of steamy, I hadn’t found that boundary.  Apparently I have been pushed past that and just couldn’t find what I’ve been reading sexy or interesting or entertaining in any way.

The only reason I didn’t rate this book as garbage was because I have liked this series and the characters so far and am hoping that this isn’t an indication of where the series is going from here.  I will be waiting until the next book is in the library rather than spending money on something I’m not sure will be any better than this one.  I am glad that is how I read this one because I do feel like it would have been a waste of money.  I’m sad to say, that if the next isn’t any better, it may just be the last.

 

Lady Luck: Colorado Mountain Series, Book 3

Lady LuckAuthor: Kristen Ashley
Book Name: Lady Luck
Series: Colorado Mountain Series
Order: #3
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Romance

This wasn’t actually a new read for me.  I read it last year for the first time, but it is absolutely one of those that demands more than one read.

I first ran across Kristen Ashley last year when my library added parts of the Colorado Mountain series to their digital library.  While the series and author quickly became one of my favorites, this book in particular hit the top of the list.

While Lady Luck contains all the hallmarks that makes the series excellent… super hot badass dude, quirky, smartass sassy chick, steamy love and intense drama… for me this book really did hit all of that perfectly.  From the first book, I have fallen in love with the men Kristen Ashley creates and how they become so very real I cannot seem to get enough of them.  In this one, for some intangible reason, I was totally sucked in, more so than any of the others in this series.

Not sure exactly where on the scale this would land, but it is definitely up there in my all time favorites of all the books I’ve ever read.

Broken Soul: Jane Yellowrock, Book 8

Broken SoulAuthor: Faith Hunter
Book Name: Broken Soul
Series: Jane Yellowrock
Order: #8
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Fantasy

This was another excellent addition to a favorite series of mine.  Since I’m kind of an instant gratification kinda gal, I don’t always like cliff hanger types of books.  While the Jane Yellowrock series doesn’t exactly do that, it does somewhat continue a larger story arch across the whole series while at least resolving the most current drama in each book.  Broken Soul continues this pattern.  It also added some interesting layers to the main characters while giving insight into a few that had been more peripheral in other books.

I love the main character in this series and am glad to see something going her way relationship wise in this book.  I do hope it continues into the next one.  I don’t like seeing characters constantly battling and never getting a break or finding any level of happiness or heck, even a few seconds to just breathe.  So far, Faith Hunter has played with that a bit in previous relationships in this series, but has still kept it on the positive side.  I’m absolutely looking forward to the next book!

Dark Heir, book 9, looks to be due out in April of this year.

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How I Rate Books

There are several things that I believe will either make or break a book with tiny variations along the way being the only difference between a good book and one that is awesome.  Or… along the other spectrum, awful.

I categorize books based mainly on whether or not I’d be willing to spend the money on the book, or as is most often the case as I read the majority of books from the library, if it is worth re-reading (which that list has become incredibly narrow as of late). This type of book is one that I will read multiple times, has such great content that I find myself so absorbed in the story that I’m so disappointed when the book is over because I want more.  These are the books that are in my all time favorites list.  There is a big divide between this level and the next because there just aren’t many at all that will land in the top.

The next level is where a book is really good; excellent story/characters/world, but isn’t quite unique or special enough for me to want to take the time out of reading new material to want to read it again.  It would definitely be something I’d recommend to others if asked.

Editing is something of a peeve of mine and can actually make the difference between a good/mid-level book and a great book.  For me, if the story is excellent and I’m reading along and there is a glaring editing mistake, it trips me up.  I have to stop, usually re-read to try and figure out what was actually meant before I can move on.  This disrupts the flow of a book and bugs me to no end.  I don’t always know if those great books are just exceptionally well edited or if the story is just so amazing my mind skims over whatever mistakes are there, but the times it is noticeable can really effect where I place a book on my good/bad scale.

There will always be that mid-level book that is okay, but to me seems like a replay of every other storyline out there.  It may have mostly decent writing, but often one major aspect seems weak or not well thought out or fully developed.  I wouldn’t consider them a waste of time, but are right there on the border.  Cookie cutter writers eventually fall into this category, no matter how much I may have liked the first book or so.  There are only so many times you can read the same story with only slightly different characters/scenarios before it gets really old.  This level also covers books that just weren’t for me, now matter how well written they may have been.

The last group of books are those that I seriously question every single person involved in the process because that book was BAD.  Bad story, horrid characters, no way was there any editing involved, or any combination of those things.  An awful lot of times, these are the books that I may get a few chapters into and cannot force myself to attempt to plow through another sentence and are absolute and total garbage.

It may seem that there is a huge gap between those last two, but there really isn’t.  Most books that I’m not a huge fan of will fall in that second to last group.  Just because I don’t necessarily like or enjoy it doesn’t make it a bad book.

I guess if I had to put a label or name on those levels, they would be Excellent/Favorite, Really Good, Mediocre/Didn’t Like, Garbage.  Though I really hate using the last term for that label as I don’t like to slam anyone, but there really just isn’t a nice way of saying it when a book is actually that bad.

So Far – January 2015

As of today, I’ve already read 19 books.  For the most part, while I have enjoyed what I’ve read, I haven’t just loved it.  I think I’ve gotten to a point where I need to find a new author I love to add to my favorites list, though.

Last year’s new author was Kristen Ashley.  I still have quite a few of hers to read, but as most of them are not available through my library at the moment, I’m having to read those as they come.

Other than those books, I haven’t been absolutely absorbed by anything I’ve read in a while, so I think I need to do some research into some new authors that I have yet to read.  Finding the Goodreads site recently is probably where I’m going to start.

I was lucky enough to get a couple of gift cards over the holidays, so that opens  my options up a bit more, especially with as stingy as I’ve been when it comes to what I’m willing to actually pay for now that I’ve discovered the wealth of options available to me through the library’s digital content.  Unfortunately, that wealth of options also means I’m more willing to read all kinds of stuff whether I actually like it or not just because it is available, so I may have to seriously rethink that as well.

2014 Final Book Count & Looking Forward

I managed to get my database updated with the last few books I read in 2014 and was a bit stunned by my final totals.  I really didn’t think it was possible to read more books than I did last year, but not only did I do that, but I did it by quite a bit.

Last year I hit 465.  This year, I hit a whopping 509.  507 of those were new to me books and only 2 were re-reads.  I really think I had one or two more re-reads in there, but I didn’t get my database set up figured out to keep track of those until way later in the year.

And yes, I have a database that I built to keep track of my books.  I started with a notebook that I kept authors, books and series lists in, but quickly outgrew that when I had so many that it was hard to find what I was looking for.  I then went with a binder that I could keep more organized, but again seriously outgrew that when I wanted a quick and easy way to see totals.  I still keep the binder for a fast look-up when I’m not wanting to get on the computer, but I doubt I will be doing that much longer as I’m about to the point where I’m going to have to split the one binder into two.

The database started as a simple thing that just listed the author, book title, series and order (if there was one) and the year I read it.  It has grown over the last year to add in additional methods of keeping organized as there have been several times I wanted to look up a book but couldn’t for the life of me remember the book or even the author, but I remembered the general subject.  Now, I have a genre/subject designation, re-read options, a notes section and whether or not I own the book.  I now have the ability to actually go in and search for very specific information and not have to spend hours looking up the books that I think are possibilities and reading the summaries to figure it out.  Yes, I’m such a geek when it comes to stuff like that.

Hopefully with the better organized database (I still have a ton of genre entries to fix on the books that were already there), it will be a bit easier when I need to go find the next book in a series, especially as some authors just don’t have clean websites that lists that kind of information.

As for 2015, I’m not setting a reading goal.  I seriously doubt I will want, or even be able, to read more this year than I did in 2014, especially if I’m going to spend any time at all writing about what I read.  I’m sure I will still read way more than is probably healthy while getting very little else done.

Beginnings

A few years ago, I got an e-reader for my birthday.  It didn’t take long to discover the convenience of the instant download when purchasing or that I could easily get books for it through my local library.  Lots and lots of books.  Books that I didn’t have to wait on or go out somewhere and get.  If I wanted to read it, it was right there.  Instantaneously.  That set off an interesting chain of events and a huge new addiction.

I’ve always been a big reader, but had this weird obsession of needing to own what I read.  I didn’t like going to the library to check books out because I hated having to give back a book that I loved.  When you do not have an unlimited book budget and you have a weird quirk about needing to own what you read, it forces you to become really picky.  Because of that, I really didn’t read a lot of books, maybe 5 or 10 a year depending on what my favorite authors at the time were releasing.

When I got my first tablet, it helped me to let go of that little obsession (that whole “you can have it RIGHT NOW” thing kind of began to overrule that little quirk), but also opened the door to me reading all kinds of books.  This lead me to find lots of new authors that I loved.  It also lead me to a whole lot that not only did I not love, but absolutely couldn’t stand.  I learned an awful lot about what I did and did not like in a book or an author.

For the last few years and through over 1200 books (no that is not a typo, I did say “huge addition”), I’ve found myself wanting to get some thoughts out of my head about what I’ve read.  There is only so much my poor hubby can sit and listen to about books, especially when he is so not a reader himself.  I figured this was a much better option than driving him crazy on a regular basis.