This month’s bounty is being held by pirate!Winnie the Pooh!
Last year, I wrote a rather long post about how blogging can overwhelm me out sometimes. I get review books and, instead of being excited about them, I feel horrifically guilty because I know I probably won’t get to read most of them. So this month, I am going to only tackle that guilt head on and only read books I received for review!
Loads of these books have already come out (one on the pile came out in 2011), but they are all ones I’ve really, really wanted to read:
When between books, I continue to work on A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin – which I will finish one day, dammit!
In this month’s wind-up: Kim Newman steals the stage at the House of Commons (he get’s that from Moriarty’s side), Ally Carter reveals herself to be up to no good (but in a really good way), and George R. R. Martin continues to torture me (unsurprisingly).
I started with my first Sarah Dessen book, Last Chance (review here), which was rather sweet and certainly left me wanting more from the author. I then started on Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman. The book is basically a recount of the Sherlock Holmes cases from the point of view of his Sebastian Moran. Unfortunately I only read the first few stories in the book, as you really need to have a good knowledge of Doyle’s canon to appreciate them. As I have yet to finish all of the original stories – and didn’t want to encounter any spoilers! – I decided to put the book on hold. Shame, as I was really loving it! I also got a chance to meet the author this month (more below!).
Next up was A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin… which I still haven’t finished. But not for lack of trying, however. I am enjoying many of the narrators – but others just drag the book out like mad. But I did finish Season 2 of Game of Thrones this month so… that kinda counts, right?
As Clash of Kings took up so much of my reading time – despite not being finished – I only got two other books finished this month. First of these was Heist Society by Ally Carter – which was OMG amazing. Seriously, I absolutely adored this book. Next up was The Holders by Julianna Scott, which I had trouble getting into at first, but then absolutely flew through. Reviews for both of those books coming up soon.
The Events: The Stranger’s Room Repast
Programme and Invitation
Kim Newman gives a toast
Earlier this month, my mother invited me along to a rather special literary dinner: The Sherlock Holmes Society of London‘s annual dinner in the House of Commons. It’s an annual tradition for the society and, every year, they invite a special guest to address the society. Past guests include Stephen Fry, Colin Dexter, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, to name but a few! This year, author Kim Newman was invited.
Kim Newman was an absolute treat: he gave a very funny talk, spinning a tale about Moriarty and where he may well be now. It was so well thought out, and so well delivered, it made me want to finish his book! (Something I plan to do in parallel with reading the rest of ACD’s work.) Perhaps I should also pick up his Anno Dracula?The evening was a black tie event for members only and I expected great things. The preparation alone was great fun, and the dinner itself was everything it claimed to be: fantastic food in a stunning setting, rich in history, and a night of people speaking about literary characters.
Society member Calvert Markham also gave a fantastic toast in honour of Doctor Watson – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. He is not a writer (to the best of my knowledge!) but he could sure spin a tale. He had the room hanging on his every word – it was one of the highlights of the evening!
In short, a great night – thank you mum!
Highlights from the month:
Double Dog Dare: 2 books taken off my TBR pile.
New Authors: 3 new authors read.
Personal challenges: I’m still working on A Clash of Kings, dammit!
This month, I have quite a few books I “have” to read – for blog tours and author meetings and whatnot:
- Last Chance by Sarah Dessen – This book kicks off my YA Contemporary Challenge (though, being half way through it, I have noticed that the writing is a bit dated).
- Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman – I will be meeting Kim next weekend and really want to have read his book before I do.
- The Holders by Julianna Scott (kindle) – I’ll be part of the blog tour for Julianna’s book next month, so need to read it ASAP!
- A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – I’ve decided to finally finish this mammoth book this month. I’ve read half of it, and plan to do a readalong-with-the-show in order to get through the second half.
- The “maybe” book: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead – Again I’m half way through this and really want it done with already!
And… that’s all! I’m not putting too many books on my reading pile, as I am swamped with work as is. If you’ve read any of these – or if you are really looking for a review for one – let me know!
2012 was actually a very busy year for me, reading-wise…. but not book-wise! I read a lot of fanfiction – 98% of it absolutely brilliant – and only a few books. Truth is, most of the books I picked up I did not enjoy. I have quite a big pile of books in my room half-read… including some from series I adore.
But there have been some great books in 2012. Here’s a wrap-up of them all with the help of The End of the Year Book Survey hosted at Perpetual Page Turner!
1. Best Book You Read In 2012?
There are three that come to mind immediately… but I’d have to say If I Die by Rachel Vincent. One of the reasons I loved this book so much was because it was such a surprise – I expected a good-or-just-OK novel, and instead got a brilliant one.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Easy: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams. God, this book was just so frustrating. I had read so many great reviews of the book but found riddled with cliches and featuring the most idiotic of love triangles. Never got round to reviewing it as I couldn’t face revisiting it…
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan – I enjoyed the first book in this series, but didn’t think it anything special. This book proved me wrong!
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
The Soul Screamers series, by far.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
The Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas – I am not really a romance reader, let alone a historical romance reader… but the first two books in this series were just SO entertaining and well written.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Again, Lisa Kleypas.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I’d say the Vampire Academy graphic novel. I was my first full-length graphic novel ever, and I really enjoyed it!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Instead of a single book, I’d say the entire Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent. Even in my reading slump, I devoured these.
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year.
Probably A Study in Scarlet by ACD – it’s a classic for a reason.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
The UK cover of Muse by Rebecca Lim, by FAR.
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
I adored Mercy Thompson in River Marked by Patricia Briggs this year. She has always been exceptional, but she was even more badass in that book.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Meh… none of them. All great – none “beautiful”.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
I’d say Pure Blood by Caitlin Kitteredge… and not for a good reason. I loved the first book in this series, but this book made me want to hit things. That it came after reading two other UF novels with similar female leads didn’t help…
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre. I had adored the first two books in the Jax series, and I wish I had dived into the sequels sooner!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”
– A Study in Scarlet
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
I think the longest book I read this year was actually only half a book: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. I read the first 500 pages, but put it down as it was getting horribly depressing… The shortest would have to be Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs (graphic novel).
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The scene with Faythe and Jace in Prey by Rachel Vincent – I knew it was coming but… WTF?!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Vel and Jax in the Sirantha Jax series – I heart these two SO MUCH, even in spite of one of them being a bug alien… rather impressive, me thinks.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously.
River Marked by Patricia Briggs: the woman is a legend for a reason.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else.
It is really rare for me to read a book without first getting a recommendation from someone… so, all of them.
I’ll be honest, 2011 wasn’t the best year for me book-wise. For starters, I only managed to get through 63 books this year. While that looks like a lot, it means there a loads of books that I didn’t manage to get through – mostly ARCS, sorry publishers! Out of those 63 books, I only gave five a 5 star review. In other words, only 8% of the books I read this year did I consider excellent. Now compare that to 2010, where I gave nine books 5 stars. Five vs. nine! Isn’t that just depressing?
That said, there have been some truly standout novels this year. Some of them had been on my TBR pile for years while some were from brand-new authors. Here’s how they break down genre-wise: 3 Dystopian YA, 2 Adult Fantasy, 2 YA Urban Fantasy, 1 Adult Urban Fantasy, 1 Literary Fiction, and 1 YA Science Fiction. They’re a diverse bunch of books, but they are all worth a read! (Click on the titles to read my reviews.)
Top Ten Books of 2011
A Game of Thrones should really count as 3 books, considering it is big enough to double as a weapon! If you’ve somehow missed all the buzz about the HBO series based on this book, you’ve obviously been hiding under a rock. It is fantastic. Read the book, watch the show, go to a convention!
Patricia Briggs writes amazing books and Cry Wolf was no exception. I absolutely loved how the novel jumped between different characters, and wow what a plot. A-MA-ZING.
Yep, The Hunger Games. It took me forever to get to this book but it was ludicrously amazing. I even got my mother to read it (she adored it, btw!). Catching Fire and Mokingjay were just good and OK, but they did not detract from the brilliance of this book.
Moloka’i is unlike all the other books on this list – it’s historical literary fiction! But wow, is it ever extraordinary. Even if you don’t usually read this type of book, I would give it a shot.
Do not be fooled by the cover of Academy 7, this is YA science fiction at its very best. The only, only issue I had with this book? It was too bloody short! Moooore, Anne Osterlund. More!
Pure is kinda a cheat for this list. The book doesn’t come out until 2012 but I couldn’t help but add it to my list. While it isn’t perfect, it was one of the most terrifying YA novels I have ever read.
Temeraire! What a fantastic book! Dragons and Napoleon and magical magical writing. Read it!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was probably one of the most unique YA books I’ve ever read. I am so very, very glad that it has gotten the praise it deserves. Oh, and Laini? Awesome awesome pink-haired lady.
I was afraid to read The Gathering, as I adored Kelley’s Darkest Powers trilogy and everyone knows that sequels never live up to the original! The only exceptions being The Godfather II and… The Gathering! This book was every bit amazing.
Ann Aguirre’s Enclave lived up to everything I expected from it. And I expected a hell of a lot. Her Sirantha Jax series is a fantastic read, so I hoped and prayed that her venture into YA would be just as great . It was – it really was!