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Reading Roundup Archives - Page 5 of 17 - Canadian eReader

Category: Reading Roundup

Reading roundup – April 27th 2015

Reading roundup – April 27th 2015Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
Series: Chronicles of St Mary's #1
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Zara Ramm
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Humorous, Humourous
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

It’s always fun to come across a great new series by accident.  A couple of weeks ago, Audible sent me one of their new release by author X emails advising me that book five in Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St Mary’s series had been released.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this series, it’s about time travelling historians, or as I like to think of it, Connie Willis with more tea.  

The premise sounded interesting, so I went to check out the rest of the series on Audible. I was surprised to find that book one was listed as In my library.  It appears Audible had included it as one of their Daily Deals some time ago, and I’d picked it up.  As an aside, it’s definitely worth signing up for those daily deal emails – you can find some excellent deals for $4.

What I liked

The humour.  The humour is very British and, being British born and bred, it really appealed to me.  I also appreciated the references to the copious amounts of tea drunk by the historians!  

The protagonists.  I really enjoyed hearing about Max and her disaster magnet coworkers.  I enjoyed the way she found humour in the most dire situations in which she ends up.  The way the romance was slowly built up was beautifully done and realistic.

The concept.  Time travelling historians.  That pretty much says it all.  I understand from Taylor’s bio that she is particularly interested in history and it shows in the descriptions of the times and places Max and her coworkers visited.  The business model the historians of St Mary’s come up with towards the end of the book is intriguing and should provide fodder for many more stories to come.  The concept of a vengeful “history” seems not quite yet fully fleshed out, but promises good things for future books, if that is the direction Taylor chooses to go.  Alternatively, I rather enjoyed the evil historian antagonist plotline.

Surprising twists. When I first started listening to it, my first thoughts was that this was a very amusing, if light story, but then there were a few twists that raised the stakes for our protagonists and drew me in even more to the story.

The narration.  The audiobook narration was brilliantly provided by Zara Ramm.  She really “got” Max’s voice and  the humour of the story.  I will certainly continue with this series in audiobook format rather than ebook because of the wonderful narration.

What I didn’t like

Unexplained/unlimited time travel.  This for me was one of the biggest weaknesses in the story.  Certainly, Taylor has chosen to focus more on the historical side of time travel rather than the science fiction, so makes no attempt to explain how it works.  That I can live with.  What was more problematic for me was that there appeared to be no limitations on Taylor’s time travel.  They can set the coordinates and go wherever and whenever they wish.  The historians appear to have no fear of disturbing the timeline – aka the grandfather paradox.  As with fantastical magic systems, often what you can’t do can be more interesting than what you can.

Leaving out limitations means there is a whole area of narrative tension left unexplored. This is also what led to my initial thought of light, amusing fluff.  I will say though that there are definite seeds in this first book in the series which indicates this may be addressed more fully in later books.

Despite these few concerns, I loved Just One Damned Thing After Another and gave it five stars out of five.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much I’ve just gone out and purchased the rest of the series.  Go check them out and enjoy.

As I mentioned in my last blog, my husband and I are setting off on a big train trip in a couple of weeks;  we’re doing the ViaRail trans Canada journey on The Canadian.  Being the avid reader that I am, I have been reading some books for advice. 

All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide 

One of the main books I read for my research was All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide by Jim Loomis.  This is a very detailed guide to train travel in North America and includes everything from tips on how to get the best fare to the facilities you’re likely to have onboard.  Although I have travelled by train many times before, this is my very first long haul train journey and I found this book invaluable.  

Equally importantly, Loomis’ passion for train travel comes across very well and that only served to enhance my excitement for our trip.  

Trans-Canada Rail GuideThe Trans-Canada Rail Guide is more of a traditional travel guide than a how-to of long distance rail travel.  It contains tourist information on the places we will visit on our trip and most interestingly a route map for the train journey indicating places of interest at each point.  My biggest gripe with this book is that it is not available in ebook format – I will have to take the hard copy with me rather than having it on my Kindle.

That’s all for this week.  Back soon. 

five-stars

Reading Roundup – April 13th 2015

This week for me has been a week of Skull Thrones and Star Wars and Shakespeare, Oh My!  

The Skull Throne by Peter V. BrettOne of the big releases of last week was The Skull Throne, the fourth in Peter V Brett’s Demon Cycle fantasy series.  I have read and enjoyed the three previous ones so I was keen to read the fourth.  More accurately, I should say listened to as I experienced this book in audiobook format. In general, I did enjoy it, but I did have a few issues.  

The biggest challenge I had was the sheer amount of in world vocabulary Brett has invented for this series.  I admit it’s been a while since I read any books in the series, but at first I found all the jiwah Ka, khaffit, Shar’Dama Ka, inevera  rather disconcerting and it threw me out of the story on many occasions.  I ended up having to keep the Krasian dictionary open on my computer while I was listening.  Eventually I was able to move beyond this and enjoy the story.

For me one of the highlights of the book were the beautifully written interpersonal relationships, notably that between Ahmann Jardir and Arlen Bales.  These are two men of honour, with very different life views, both of whom want the same thing.  The chapters in which they have to work to come to terms with their history and achieve some kind of detente were particularly enthralling to me.  I also enjoyed reading about Rojer’s unconventional homelife and Leesha’s baby daddy drama.

Personally, I was not particularly engaged by the chapters relating to the Krasian political drama.  I did not find Jayan a particularly threatening villain.  Also, I was completely hooked by Arlen and Jardir’s storyline, which I imagine will form the backbone of The Core, the final book in the series.  I found myself wishing I were reading about them rather than the Krasian internal politicking.

Narration for The Skull Throne was performed by Pete Bradbury.  I would say the narration was competent rather than outstanding.

All in all though I did enjoy The Skull Throne and would give it four stars out of five.  More thought, it whetted my appetite for the series finale.

For those of you who are unaware, last week saw the release of all six Star Wars movies in digital download format.  I already have the original trilogy on Blu Ray, but I did pick up the prequel trilogy.  I am seriously excited for The Force Awakens, which I hope will take after the originals and not the prequels.

The Phantom of MenaceIn keeping with the Star Wars theme, Ian Doescher has published his Shakespearean take on the first of the prequels, The Phantom of Menace.  I’ve not yet read it, but I’m hearing good things about it, particularly in Doescher’s handling of the prequels’ most controversial character Jar Jar Binks.  I was extremely disappointed though that as of yet there is no sign of an accompanying full cast audiobook production.  I really hope that there will be.  These productions were a real highlight for me of the first set of Shakespearean Star Wars books.

The Emerald Atlas This week also saw the release in the final book of John Stephens’ middle grade series The Books of Beginning – The Black Reckoning.  I wanted to catch up before reading it, and I saw that my library had the audiobooks of the first two.  These are narrated by Jim Dale.  Now, normally I am not a big fan of Dale’s narration.  It’s kind of hit and miss for me.  I didn’t enjoy his Harry Potter narration but did enjoy the Night Circus.  I did really enjoy his narration for these books though and have added the Black Reckoning to my audiobook collection.

Well, that’s all for today.  Have a good week everyone!

Reading roundup – April 3rd 2015

Good morning and welcome to another reading roundup.  This was another week of nightshifts so a lot of audiobook consumption was involved.  Here are some of the books I enjoyed this week.

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige The Wicked Will Rise is the second novel in Danielle Paige’s reimagining of L Frank Baum’s Oz in which Dorothy has turned evil.  Some of you who read my review of the first novel, Dorothy Must Die, may remember that I had a few issues with it, notably the pacing and the audiobook production.  I am happy to say I found no such issues with the sequel.  I found the pacing much more lively and consistent and it kept me listening along.  I would strongly suggest that you read the e-novella The Wizard Returns beforehand – it’s not strictly necessary, but it will fill in a few blanks.

The protagonist, Amy Gumm, continues to be kickass and engaging and I loved hearing the continuation of her story.  I found some of the situations and emotional problems she has to deal with very well done.  The narrator, Devan Sorvani, once again did an excellent job of bringing her to life and the production was much better this time in that there were no annoying long pauses between paragraphs.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book was that it took the story in a completely different direction – and a new and interesting direction – than what I had been expecting.  It’s always excellent when an author can surprise you.  I really look forward to book three now.

I picked up The Wicked Will Rise in both Kindle and Audible format and gave it five stars out of five.

The Skull Throne by Peter V BrettI had been eagerly awaiting this fourth instalment in Peter V. Brett’s Warded Man cycle..  I’ve only just started it, but so far there have already been a couple of WTF?!? moments.  One thing that did strike me though was how much in-world Krasian jargon Brett uses that I’d forgotten about – it’s been a while since I read/listened to Daylight War.  The first section of the book that I’ve been listening to deals with the Krasians and every fifth word or so it seemed was a made up Krasian word.  I eventually had to open the Krasian dictionary on my computer as a reference so that I could remind myself what khaffit, Jiwah Ka and other phrases meant.  It did put a real hurdle in my enjoyment of the book, but I’m sure I’ll overcome that.

I picked up The Skull Throne in both Kindle and Audible formats.

The Outlandish Companion The Outlandish Companion is, as it says on the tin, a companion volume to books 1-4 in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. It is written by Gabaldon herself and has been freshly updated to include information and behind the scenes titbits on the Starz TV show.  The book is a fascinating mixture of reference material – synopses, character lists – and anecdotes from Gabaldon about her experience writing the novels.  As I’ve only read 2.5 of the four books, I have had to be a little careful to avoid spoilers, but otherwise I found the book engrossing.  I’ve treated it more like a reference book – jumping to the chapters that interest me.  Gabaldon’s wit and intelligence really come across in this book.

As a bonus, reading it has FINALLY managed to get me across that reading hump I experienced about a third of the way through Voyager.  Three times I reached the same point, put the book down and got stuck at the same point when I came back to it.  Thinking about it, it’s because for me, that point seems to be the natural conclusion of the framing story started in Dragonfly in Amber and I really, really struggled to get past it.  I’m now happily well beyond it and becoming once again sucked in to Jamie and Claire’s next adventures.

I picked up The Outlandish Companion in Kindle format only.

Other than the books mentioned, I have added two other books to my library this week – my poor bank balance.

Given my revived interest in the Outlander books I preemptively purchased the Kindle and Audible books of book four in the series, Drums of Autumn.  Yay for Whispersync for Voice – the audiobook cost me $3.99 instead of nearer $40.  Bargain!

Mark Lawrence recently released a short story in his Broken Empire world – Sleeping Beauty: A Broken Empire short story.  Now, I’ve not read it yet, but based on the author and the synopsis, it has to be a winner.  I picked it up in Kindle format.

Thats all I have time for today folks – Claire and Jamie call.  Talk to you next week!

Reading roundup – March 27th 2015

Yikes, has it really been a month since my last reading roundup?  My apologies for the delay – life got in the way as it often does.

Star Wars NPR productionAs I’m back on nightshifts again (cue: sob, wailing, gnashing of teeth) I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks.  My favourites, and a highlight of my reading/listening month, were the NPR radio adaptations of George Lucas’ Star Wars. I picked the first one up, Star Wars, some time ago when it was one of Audible’s Daily Deals but had not got around to listening to it.  I rectified that mistake last weekend and loved it.  This adaptation has been licensed from George Lucas, so they were able to incorporate John Williams’ iconic music and the sound effects from the movies (blasters!  lightsabers! R2D2!).  It boasts an excellent cast including Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels from the movies.   At first it did take me a short while to adapt to the different voices for Leia, Han and Darth Vader, but the production quality and the excellence of the cast soon made me forget about that.  As I’ve said before on this blog, the original Star Wars movies have such strong themes and powerful storylines and these productions did them justice. There were a few clumsy script moments as the radio production tried to explain what was going on (“oh wow, my lightsaber is coming towards me by the Force!) but other than that, there is nothing to fault these fantastic productions.

I enjoyed this so much that I bought extra Audible credits so that I could pick up The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. Although I have not yet listened to Jedi, Empire was equally engaging.  I give the productions five stars out of five.

Thief's Magic by Trudi CanavanTowards the middle of the month I hit a bad reading slump.  To get out of it I did what I often do: I browsed through the first few chapters of several books in my TBR pile to see which one would engage my attention.  This time it was Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan.  This is set in a world where magic is being used up by industry – rather like our fossil fuels – and is therefore highly restricted and follows two very different characters with two very different but parallel paths.  What originally attracted me to the novel is that one of the “characters” is a talking magic book!  Although it didn’t immediately grab me – it grew on me more slowly – it was enough to break my reading slump.  I started reading it, but switched to the audiobook to continue during my nightshifts.  I particularly enjoyed the narration for this book by Grant Cartwright and Hannah Norris.  At first it took me aback that they are Australian, but then, I realised it made sense given that the author is Australian, too.

I did enjoy Thief’s Magic and gave it a solid 3.5 to 4 stars out of five.

Orphan QueenJodi Meadows’ Orphan Queen has been highly publicised recently and I gave in to the hype and bought it. This book is about an exiled queen whose land was conquered while she was a baby and, now a teenager, plots to infiltrate the enemy’s stronghold to help her win back her kingdom. In all honesty, this book frustrated the heck out of me, and not in a good way. Too many times I found myself thinking “what, seriously?” at some of the things our protagonist says and does.

The book got off on the wrong foot with me when I found several grammatical mistakes in a the first chapter.  When I’m paying $11 for a book, I do expect that the author and/or editor has corrected these.  One or two I could overlook, perhaps, especially in an unfinished ARC, but not for the finished copy.

Secondly, while the protagonist is kickass, her sheer cluelessness in certain situations really annoyed me.  Furthermore, I felt the relationships described – such as the one between Wil and her closest friend – were unrealistically drawn.  I just didn’t feel their friendship could continue in the way the author claimed it did after all that had happened.  I also had predicted the “huge reveal” at the end of the book back in the first couple of chapters.

To have something positive to say, I will say that I enjoyed Wil’s badassery and the snarky relationship between her and Black Knife.

For me, personally, I just can’t recommend this book.  Sorry.  I gave it two stars out of five.

The Indigo Spell by Richelle MeadRecently, Amazon had a one-day special offer where all the Bloodlines books were $1.99 each.  This was too good an offer to pass up, so I added the last four to my collection.  The series is growing on me, like the Vampire Academy series of which it is a spinoff.  I didn’t particularly engage with protagonist Sydney Sage in the first book, Bloodlines, but I do love the world Mead has created, and now, after three books, I really like Sydney as a protagonist.  I realised Mead had done her job well when I found myself mourning with Sydney over the loss of her car, Latte!  I probably won’t marathon the rest of the books, but they are fun reads.

I gave The Indigo Spell four stars out of five

Well there you go – that’s what I’ve been reading this month.  Speak to you soon!

Reading roundup – February 28th 2015

Good afternoon!  I’m sorry for the lack of posts in the last couple of weeks, but I have been on vacation.  It was a very relaxing vacation spent visiting family and I got to read a whole bunch, which was excellent.  With being on holiday, I added so much to my library.

I was really in the mood for a quirky contemporary romance, so I added Rainbow Rowell’s Landline to my collection and read and finished it straight away.  It was an excellent choice and I devoured it straight up.  I loved the main character, Georgie McCool – what an awesome name! – and adored how her relationship with her husband was explored in both past and present.  Definitely worth picking up.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard has been promoted very heavily recently, and I gave in and bought it.  I ended up really enjoying it and will write a full review soon.

Despite not being blown over by Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, I was really in the mood for that kind of book and after leafing through Golden Lily in a bookstore I picked it up in Kindle format.  I did enjoy it more than the first book in the series, but not enough to want to go out and buy the rest of the series immediately as I did with Vampire Academy.  I will probably continue the series at some point but not immediately.

One of my most anticipated releases of March was Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic.  I’d been hooked from the sneak preview I saw and had it downloaded to my Kindle on release day, February 23rd.  I’ve already finished it and will be writing a full review soon.

One of my favourite YA series is the Gem trilogy by Kerstin Gier – Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green.  The German Blu Ray of Sapphire Blue comes out next week and I have ordered it from Amazon Germany.  Amazon also has the first five chapters for free of the English translation for Gier’s newest series Dream a Little Dream.  It has the same engaging narrative style as the Gem trilogy and although the first five chapters were not enough to give a real sense of the story, I will probably check it out.

Katytastic. one of my favourite booktubers, recently has started reviewing the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson and this has inspired me to pick up the books in audiobook format – read by the fantastic Michael Kramer – for a reread.  Excellent books, all, and I can’t wait for Kat’s thoughts on Hero of the Ages.

I also borrowed a few books from the library.  One of these was Golden Son by Pierce Brown.  I wasn’t really blown away by Red Rising, but Golden Son has been getting rave reviews so I thought I should check it out.  I’ll be honest and say I just couldn’t get into it.  I did spend an Audible credit to have it in my library, so I may try to go back to it again.

Another book I borrowed was Shopaholic in Hollywood by Sophie Kinsella which I borrowed in audiobook format. It was a lot of fun at first, but I found I got rather bored of the same situations coming up again and again and lack of character development for Becky.  I didn’t bother finishing it.

One borrowed book I did finish was Loki’s Wolves by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr.  This is a kind of poor man’s Rick Riordan with teens being linked to Norse gods and having to save the world.  It was a lot of fun, but probably not enough for me to continue the series.  I’d rather wait and see Riordan’s take o the Norse mythology.

Upcoming releases in March

There are quite a few books coming out in March about which I am excited:

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs.  This is the fourth book in her Alpha and Omega series.  I do enjoy these so I have preordered this in Kindle format.  Dead Heat is released on March 3rd.

The Lost Herondale – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.  This is the second in a series of novellas from Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman and follows Simon Lewis as he continues Shadowhunter training.  If it’s like the first one, it’s fun, but not particularly deep.  Still it will pass an enjoyable couple of hours and ease the wait for Lady Midnight.  I’ll pick this up in Kindle format on March 17th.

The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett.  This is the fourth in the Demon Cycle series.  I’m honestly surprised that I’ve not heard more buzz about this one.  I really enjoy Brett’s worldbuilding and the narrative he is developing.  It’s not yet available on Audible but I will be picking this up in both audiobook and Kindle format.  The Skull Throne is released on March 30th.

On March 31st Danielle Paige’s sequel to Dorothy Must Die, The Wicked Will Rise, will be released.  Now, I did have some serious issues with the first book, but the world is intriguing enough for me to want to continue the story.  I’ll pick this up in both Audible and Kindle formats.

One expensive splurge I’m making on March 31st is the updated version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlandish Companion.  At $21 it’s quite expensive, but I do enjoy the series – both books and TV – and will enjoy learning more about the background.  It will be available in Kindle format.

My work hours have changed now, and I’ll have to go back to nightshifts very shortly about which I am pretty bummed.  The only bright spot is that I will be able to get through a lot of audiobooks.  Any recommendations for me?

Have a good week – until next time.

Reading Roundup – February 6th 2015

Hello and welcome to this week’s reading roundup.

In actual fact I don’t have a great deal to talk about this week.  I’ve been reading/listening to Samantha Shannon’s The Mime Order, the sequel to her Bone Season.  I very much enjoyed it and a full review will be coming soon.  I just finished it, and have not yet decided what book to pick up next.  I am rather tempted to listen to Sanderson’s Mistborn

This week I found out that at work I’m almost certainly moving back to nightshifts in a month’s time, which really, really sucks.  I’m trying to remain positive, to think of all the audiobooks I will listen to during those shifts.  

Added to my library this week

I only added the one book to my Kindle library this week and it was a free book: Until Midnight by Melissa Landers.  This is a novella in her Alienated series which is about a girl who falls in love with an alien.  I read the first book and found it a lot of fun so I was happy to pick up this free snippet.  As it’s set after the events of Alienated, it’s probably not the best place to start if you’re new to the series.

In terms of audiobooks, Audible had one of their regular $4.95 flash sales so I picked up Terry Goodkind’s First Confessor. You can hardly go wrong with Terry Goodkind.

I realised that I forgot to include my most anticipated releases of February in my last reading roundup.  The main one I’m looking forward to is A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.  I’ve read the excerpt and it looks sooooo good.  A Darker Shade of Magic will be released on February 24th.

What are you looking forward to reading in February?

Reading Roundup – January 23rd 2015

One of my most anticipated reads of 2015 is V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. It sounds such an intriguing premise – various parallel worlds and certain people can travel between them.  This week Tor released an excerpt which I devoured.  It has really whetted my appetite and I look forward to its release on February 24th.

Speaking of excerpts, one very useful thing about the Kobo Aura is its ability to read articles you have saved to the online archiving service Pocket.  This is built into the Kobo software, no extra setup needed.  What I like to do with excerpts like these is email it to my Pocket account rather than read it on Tor’s website.  A minute or two later it appears on my Kobo, with the convenience of reading on an eReader including font changes and other personal settings.  

This week I’ve been listening to Death Masks, the fifth book in The Dresden Files series.  I’ll do a review soon, so won’t say too much more about it.

Added to my library this week

There were a couple of preorders I added to my list this week.  The first of these is Fool’s Quest, the second in Robin Hobb’s Fitz and Fool trilogy.  I am very much invested in these characters now and I look forward to seeing where their adventures take them.  This is expected to be released August 11th.  

The second preorder I made this week was The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, based on the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  I understand it’s not the events of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries from Lydia’s perspective but a sequel.  I really hope Mary Kate Wiles will narrate the audiobook as Ashley Clements did for the original.

The final book I added to my library this week was Het Achterhuis, which is The Diary of Anne Frank in the original Dutch.  Yes, I speak Dutch.  There’s little i can add in the way of comments to this insight into life in hiding during the Second World War.

Have a good weekend folks, and see you next week.

Reading roundup – January 16th 2015

Good morning, welcome to another reading roundup.  The biggest item of note this week is that I am now Bluetoothed up to my hearing aids so I can listen to my audiobooks directly throughly hearing aids.  Yay!! It’s lovely to have the audio directly in my ears without having to wear headphones which are painful with my hearing aid.  I tested it with Firefight, the Brandon Sanderson novel I had been enjoying – it works really well and I can enjoy my audiobooks again.  On the TBR list for this week is Jim Butcher’s Death Masks – the fourth in his Dresden Files series narrated by James Marsters.  Good stuff.

In a previous entry I have mentioned the web series Green Gables Fables, a modern retelling in transmedia format of the classic Anne of Green Gables series.  Those of you familiar with the source material will know there is a truly heart wrenching moment towards the end of the first book.  The series reached that point this week, and I have to say I found the last video a real tearjerker to watch.  I’ve not been so emotionally engaged in a web series since Lydiagate broke in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  Kudos to the writers and cast of the series.  It is well worth checking out, although keep a box of Kleenex on hand for episode 42.

Added to my library this week

Bossypants by Tina Fey.  This is an autobiography written and narrated by comedian Tina Fey.  I borrowed the audiobook from the library but I returned it.  I will likely invest an Audible credit in the book when I’m in the mood for it.

Het Achterhuis.  This is the original Dutch version of The Diary of Anne Frank.  Yes, I speak Dutch.  I do love this book and thought it was time I added the original to my collection.  I picked this up from a Dutch bookseller’s website so it will be readable on my Kobo.

Romeow and Juliet by Kathi Daley.  OK I was drawn in by the name first of all.  Romeow and Juliet!  Adorable.  From the synopsis it sounds to be one of the cozy cat mysteries I do enjoy.  It was on my Amazon recommendations for only a dollar or two and so I couldn’t resist.

That’s all I have today, folks.  Have a good weekend!

Reading roundup – January 9th 2015

So welcome to my first reading roundup of 2015!  Yay!  The first thing I want to talk about this week is my GoodReads reading challenge for 2015.  I failed to achieve my goal of 100 books last year – I read 91 – and I noticed that because I was listening to more audiobooks, books were taking me longer to finish.  This year I have set my goal for 75 books.  That’s still just under a book and a half a week.

My family was also very generous to me over the festive season.  I was showered with Amazon and iTunes vouchers – thanks everyone, you know me well!  I also received the gift of Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please! book in my Christmas stocking.  I look forward to reading that.

This week I did something I don’t often do – I accepted I was never going to finish a book and removed it from my currently reading list.  The book in question was Endgame by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton.  I’m sorry, but life is too short to stick with a book that really isn’t doing anything for me.  You can check out my review to see why I dumped it.

To respark my interest in reading, I picked up a cutesy romance – in this case Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door.  I loved it and it really hit the spot.  Look for a full review soon.

I am currently reading Brandon Sanderson’s Firefight, which I’m enjoying immensely and this book also marks the first time I’ve listened to an audiobook since I got fitted with hearing aids.  Yay for Sanderson!  I’m hoping to  get back into audiobooks in the next couple of weeks when I take delivery of a Bluetooth streamer and headset which will allow me to stream my audiobooks directly to my hearing aids.  Woohoo for tech!

While I was on vacation with my family, I introduced my father-in-law to the delights of Whispersync for Voice with Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance.  I’m curious to learn how he gets on with it.  For me, the integration between Kindle and audiobook really rocks my world.

Added to my library this week

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson.  This is the second book in the Reckoners series.  I’m really enjoying it so far.  I picked this up in both Kindle and Audible formats.

Lola and the Boy Next Door.  I was really, really in the mood for some light, cutesy romance and Lola was really calling to me.  I’m happy I picked it up in, you guessed it, both Kindle and Audible formats

Amazon had a great deal on N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy.  I’d  heard great things about this, so I snapped it up.  This was in Kindle format.

As I mentioned I received Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please! as a Christmas gift.

The last book I picked up this week was borrowed from the library.  It’s the ebook of Poehler’s partner-in-crime Tina Fey’s Bossypants.  This is read by the author herself and I’m looking forward to it.

That’s all for this week folks!  Have a good weekend and stay warm.

2014 – My Reading Year

Happy new year everyone!  I hope 2015 is a good one for you.  It’s about time I got on and did my review of my reading year.  It was a good year in general.  I did have a couple of major reading slumps, which meant that this was the first time in many years that I didn’t make my GoodReads challenge.  I had set my challenge at 100 books of which I read 91, which isn’t too bad going, I suppose.  My challenge goal didn’t take account of the fact that this year I listened to far more audiobooks than previously.  These do take me much longer than reading a Kindle book, but are very enjoyable.

Some stats

One reason I love GoodReads is that is can give you some interesting stats and a record of your reading progress.  Here are some of mine.

I read 91 books in 2014.  The longest of these was Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance, which weighed in at a whopping 1,088 pages or 48 hours and 15 minutes of listening pleasure.  I gave my father-in-law this audiobook for Christmas – it will take him a bit of time to get through it!

I rated 21 of those 91 books as five stars.  I do tend to be quite generous with my five stars!

I rated 41 of those books as four stars.  This means that I really enjoyed over two thirds of the books I read in 2014 which is awesome.

23 books were rated three stars on my scale.  These were books that were quite good but didn’t fire up my imagination.

This leaves 6 that were two stars or unrated.

Here is the GoodReads chart showing which categories I read most in 2014:

Chart

That is pretty much what I would have expected.  I do love my young adult fiction.

Lowlights

I suffered a couple of major reading slumps this year, one of which I’m still working my way through.  Part of it is due to my hearing challenges and being fitted with hearing aids.  I know that, technically, there is no real reason why I can’t enjoy my audiobooks as before, but yet I can’t get into them.  I had really wanted to be able to stream my audiobooks direct to my hearing aids, but the ones I was prescribed for other reasons don’t have this functionality.  Ah well.

Highlights

One thing I really loved doing this year was my trip through Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings in which I marathoned a significant chunk of Hobb’s epic fantasy series.  This was in preparation for the release of the first Fitz and Fool book in many years.  I do love Hobbs’ writing style and her world building – it’s a testament to her craft that I was able to sustain interest in her world for six whole books one after another.  That is very unusual for me; generally I like to mix up my reading.  I remain on record as being totally on board the Fitz/Fool ship.

I read some excellent books in 2014. Ones that jump to mind are:

Marissa Meyer’s Cress.  This is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series which is a contemporary/sci-fi retelling of classic fairy tales.  They have kick ass protagonists, imaginative world building and are just awesome.  Go read them.

Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series.  This is best experienced in audiobook format.  The cast really brings out the humour in Doescher’s adaptation and I found myself laughing out loud many times.

I have also really enjoyed Rachel LeFevers’ His Fair Assassin trilogy.  I credit this with kicking my out of a major reading slump.  Kick ass teenage nun assassins in sixteenth century Brittany.  That says it all, really.  I won’t say too much more as I’ll do a full series review at some point soon.

Keira Cass’s finale to her Selection series, The One, was another great read this year.  A great series ender.  I would recommend any and all of these.

So there you have it; my reading year for 2014.  Here’s to 2015!

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