Year in Review & the 2015 Challenges

Happy New year very soon! I am just getting this post going along so I can be ready and prepared for a whole new year. I admit I did not meet all of my goals this year for reading. I do however have a very good reason why. Divorce and a cross country move will do that to you. However there is no reason to be let down and stay in the dumps about it. No 2015 is a new year with new goals.

So here is how this year shook out with the reading challenges:

On goodreads I set out to read 75 books I read 57.

I did not complete my goal of 25 historical fiction books.
I smashed my Witches and Wizards goal of 10 by reading the entire Dresden series.
I completed half of my goal of 10 vampire books by reading 5
I completed 2 of 5 of my net galley challenge
TBR goal was 21 I completed 11
Historical romance was only 3 books completed
8 letters left from the Alphabet soup challenge
5 completed for the read my freebies challenge
7 of 12 done for the British book challenge

All in all could be worse but could be much better. So here we go for the challenges for 2015

Goodreads: 60 books
Historical Fiction Challenge: Victorian reader – 5 books
Witches & Witchcraft Challenge: Maiden: Read 6 – 10 Witchy Books
Fur & Fangs Challenge: 10 books
British Book Challenge: 12 books
Read your Freebies: Coupon Clipper: read 12 ebooks
Historical Romance: 1–6 books
TBR Challenge: 1-10 A Firm Handshake
Alphabet Soup Challenge: A-Z

For links to each sign up page for the challenges please hit the Challenge page!

Here is to a great 2015!

Book Review: Passive Aggressive Notes: Painfully Polite and Hilariously Hostile Writings by Kerry Miller

Part voyeuristic entertainment, part group therapy, Passive Aggressive Notes offers a fascinating look at the all-too-familiar frustrations of embattled office drones, apartment dwellers, parents, and pet owners everywhere.

This curated collection combines dozens of outrageous, never-before-seen notes as well as favorites from Passiveaggressivenotes.coma 2008 Webby Award Winner and the official “Best Blog” of the South by Southwest Interactive festival

This was just a short and easy read sent to me by a dear friend when I was going through some very icky stuff. I loved this little romp through passive aggressive notes and I can remember seeing ones like this back when I worked in an office environment. If you want something fast and easy that will just make you laugh while you are reading it I would recommend this one. If you are easily offended by a bit of snark it might not be for you but heck I had a lot of good fun with this one!

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher

In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies-elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal, fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos-when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies-Tavi’s simple courage will turn the tides of war.

I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. I am just kind of meh about the Furies of Calderon. I really wanted to love this one since I love the Dresden Files so much, but I felt the throw into this new realm was a bit to heavy and fast. There was no leading up into it just plunk here you go good luck. I could not connect to any of the characters either. What I did like was the sword battles and the usual fantasy fun that you can enjoy. I will try the second Codex but overall just a little meh on this one. Which makes me a sad Panda.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Changes (The Dresden Files #12) by Jim Butcher

In Changes (The Dresden Files #12) by Jim Butcher we are reminded that Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden’s lover—until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it—against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry’s not fighting to save the world…

He’s fighting to save his child.

Holy crap Harry has a kid. Holy crap Harry has a kid. Is what went through my head from the moment that we find out that Harry has a kid. I mean seriously, holy crap. From there I can honestly say I enjoyed the book. Harry has to make a lot of tough choices in this book and while I won’t give it away by saying what all those choices are but trust me in this they are big. This is perhaps the biggest adventure yet for Harry and what he has to take on to get his child back.

The ending will rip your heart out it surely did mine but it had its good spots too. The world of Harry is getting darker by the chapter and pretty soon I would say something has to give. The question is what will it be? Another solid installment of the series, Jim Butcher keeps on giving.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Turn Coat (The Dresden Files #11) by Jim Butcher

When it comes to the magical ruling body known as the White Council, Harry keeps his nose clean and his head down. For years, the Council has held a death mark over Harry’s head. He’s still thought of as a black sheep by some and as a sacrificial lamb by others. But none regard him with more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules.

Like Harry.

So when Morgan turns up asking for help, Harry isn’t exactly eager to leap into action. Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council, and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog.

Like Harry.

Now Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less than agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.

Like Harry…

This many books into a series you expect to see stories being reused or that the books will just start to be lack luster overall. That is not the case with Harry at all! Once again we get a big delivery with a fresh story and new twists that I can say had my mouth hanging open. Not only that but by the end of this one, I had a respect for Morgan I did not before.

As a reader I disliked Morgan because of his dislike of Harry, but this explained a lot more to us as well. The action in this one is great and Harry is running around being Harry. I love this book. Another win for the Dresden files I highly reccomend Turn Coat.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book review: The Widow of Larkspur Inn (Gresham Chronicles #1) by Lawana Blackwell

When Life Seemed Its Worst, Gresham Awaited

Julia Hollis’ opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family’s hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham.

Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she–who was accustomed to servants attending to every need–do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town..

The Widow of Larkspur Inn was a decent story. I went in knowing it would have a fair amount of God refrences as it was Chrisian Lit but towards the end of this book it got to be a bit much, very preachy. With that said the begining was a bit slow and there were the problems in the end, however the middle was good.

I enjoy watching the growth of the family once they move to the Larkspur and seeing how each member changes. The grow and get stronger. The cast of characters that come to live in the Inn are funny and watching them grow is interesting as well. It almost made me want to go and have a bed and breakfast myself! Overall this is a good read and if you can get past the slow points and the preaching I think you would enjoy it as well.

My Gemstone Rating:


Review: Long Time Waiting by Michelle Bennett

In a rare chain of events, a young man is allured by the beauty and passion of one of the most beautiful woman in his city. She surrenders to his desire and shows him things he has never experienced before. Long Time Waiting is guaranteed to get you aroused,and keep you intrigued to the last page.

So this book was guarenteed to get me aroused and it just didn’t. Have you ever had one of those books that is nto good and not bad it just is meh? It does not have anything overly memoral about it? Sadly for me that was the case with long time waiting. The writing was not bad, but not hot and just not memorable for me.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10) by Jim Butcher

The new novel in the New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series. No one’s tried to kill Harry Dresden for almost an entire year, and his life finally seems to be calming down. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow. An old bargain has placed Harry in debt to Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, the Queen of Air and Darkness-and she’s calling in her marker. It’s a small favor he can’t refuse…one that will trap Harry Dresden between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, and one that will strain his skills-and loyalties-to their very limits. It figures. Everything was going too well to last..

So it has been almost a year since Harry Dresden was in a life or death struggle this must be some kind of record for him! Of course nothing can ever stay simple in Harry’s life and soon enough Mab the Queen of air and darkness is calling it a marker on a debt he owes her that is of course when the book really gets good. This is now book number 10 and I can say none of the books in the Dresden files have been disappointing, small favor is action-packed and full of a lot of different things that we all love about Harry. You would think by now that some of the stories would start to be reused it is after all book 10 and other authors have been known to use it. Period. I won’t say who the are though.

There were times in small favor where I thought Harry might’ve lost the plot for once it is Harry and he has been taking on a lot in the last several years. However he goes on to prove once again why he is my favorite wizard for higher even going so far this time to help in destroying an aquarium. Yes an aquarium to be fair the bad guys started it as they usually do. Overall a solid book and a great read that kept me entertained and well connected to the series well done Jim Butcher!

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (Pampered Pets Mystery #3) by Sparkle Abbey

Caro Lamont—pet therapist—and her cousin Melinda Langston—owner of The Bow Wow Boutique—pamper the kitties and pooches of Laguna Beach’s elites. Unfortunately, their human clients keep turning up dead.

“We were at an art exhibition at The Montage,” I told the detective, “and Kitty asked me to take her cats home because something had come up. Something urgent. It seemed strange, but then the whole evening was strange with dogs and cats. Ones that paint, I mean. And Kitty would never leave her cats, but she did, so it must have been really urgent . . .”
Detective Judd Malone looked past me. “Are those the cats?”
I nodded.
“What kind are they? They’re huge.”
“They’re Bengal cats. Bengals are a hybrid. A cross between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard Cat. It’s a relatively new breed. Most have . . .” Malone’s face said TMI. Fair enough, more info than he’d been looking for.
“I imagine you know I’m here about Ms. Bardot?” Malone was suddenly all business.
“Yes.” I held my breath and hoped for good news.
“Caro.” He paused. “She didn’t make it.”
“She—” I felt my throat close, and I swallowed hard trying to get control of my emotions. “Too many injuries?” I finally asked. Whatever her emergency had been, it had seemed to upset her. She’d been shaken, and Kitty was never shaken. I remembered her voice as she’d asked me to take care of Tobey and Minou and get them home. The cats. What would happen to the cats now? “Was she driving too fast?”
“Not exactly.” Malone’s voice was serious and grim. “We won’t know until we have a lot more information from the crime lab. It’s too soon to tell, but it may have been a case of road rage. Kitty Bardot was shot.”

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The Pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets – Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and depending on the time of day, with either an iced tea or a margarita.

This is a fun read and even though I have not read the whole series I really enjoyed it and the overall fun romp. There was danger but like the style of cozy suggests there was nothing to dark. The cats really makes me giggle you can’t help but smile when they appear especially if you are a cat lover like me.

The book itself is well written and there are some interesting stories. While I did have the idea of who the killer was longer before the reveal gave it I enjoyed it. The book was fun and it did not take me long to get through.

toop style=”text-align: center;”>My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: White Night (The Dresden Files #9) by Jim Butcher

The inspiration for the Sci Fi channel television series

In Chicago, someone has been killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry Dresden’s half-brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling’s name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too…

The Dabel Brothers are bringing the Dresden Files to life in comic book form—look for issues beginning April 2008! View more here!

Another great Dresden book, Harry is up to his chin in trouble with White Night. Just when you think he cant get in any more trouble he does. Thomas seems to be the cause of some murders going on but in the end Harry finds out the big secret, Thomas was protecting them not harming them. The best part? Thomas has a new job and without spoiling it all I can say is, it will make you laugh and then laugh some more. I know I did. I could hardly fathom it and yet then it made so much sense!

Harry manages to find out who is really behind the deaths and it is not overly shocking in the end. He has to expend a lot of magic and there is more then enough danger to go around. His little padwan Molly starts coming into her own and overall. It is just another solid installment of the series. I simply can’t get enough of Dresden. I know it seems like I am mosting nothing but Dresden as of late but the books are addicting.

My Gemstone Rating:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...