Random (but not really)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Books of 2014: Last Stats

I read 167 books this year, which is just under my best year (174 books last year). The fewest books I read in a month was nine, in May. (When I was out hiking and doing fun outside stuff.)

Unsurprisingly, I read more eBooks than anything else.

Paperback – 24
Trade Paperback – 22
eBook – 111
Hardback – 2
Audio – 8
Total – 167


I had a lot of re-reads this year. 76 re-reads, far more than any other previous year.

Of genres, I read more fantasy than anything else this year.

Fantasy – 101
Mystery – 79
Romance – 37
YA – 11
Comic – 10
Anthology – 6
Non-Fiction – 2


Mystery was up there however, and romance is creeping up. I still could do without all the boinking, but I do historical romances.

And then for author gender.


48% of the books I read were by female authors writing as females, while 31% were written by males. But this, of course, isn’t the true number of books written by women. There are many female authors writing under male pseudonyms or under their initials. (When I was younger, I just assumed that all authors who wrote under their initials were women. I later determined this wasn’t that far-fetched.)

Taking that into consideration, 56% of the books I read this year were written by women, and since 2006, 52% of the books I have read have been written by women (to 41% male)

All things considered, that’s not a bad percentage.

So that’s 2014 in books. Here’s to all the books I’m looking forward to reading in 2015!

Written by Michelle at 9:18 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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The Books of 2014: Mystery, Romance, Non-Fiction

And here are the rest of the books I read this year and loved.

Why Kings Confess (2014) C.S. Harris  (8/10)

Fairest Vol. 3: The Return of the Maharaja (2014) Sean E. Williams, Stephen Sadowski, Phil Jimenez  (9/10)

This was a fabulous addition to this series. I loved the main character DESPITE the fact that I hate the male character.

Fables Vol. 20: Camelot (2014) Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Russ Braun, Barry Kitson  (8/10)

The Countess Conspiracy (2013) Courtney Milan (9/10)

Why did I love this book?

Violet narrowed her eyes at him. “I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to distract me with science.”

The Heiress Effect (2013) Courtney Milan (8/10)

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (2013) Mary Roach  (10/10)

Mary Roach is the best.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2012 (2012) Edited by Dan Ariely and Tim Folger (9/10)

Written by Michelle at 8:33 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
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The Books of 2014: Fantasy

These are some of the fantasy books I read in 2014 that I really liked. I limited this list to books published in 2013 & 2014, first because I didn’t want to count re-reads, but more importantly, because it limits the list.
Supernatural Fantasy

Mercy Thompson

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (2014) Patricia Briggs  (9/10)
Night Broken (2014) Patricia Briggs  (8/10)

I love the Mercy Thompson series.

Black Arts (2014) Faith Hunter  (9/10)

The latest installment of the Jane Yellowrock series. Another favorite.

London Falling (2013) Paul Cornell (9/10)
Downfall (2014) Rob Thurman  (8.5/10)

I adore Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series. I hesitated to read this, because I was afraid it might end in Cal and Niko, well, ending. The fact that the story was split between Cal and Robin reinforced this fear. But it was really good and worth the wait.

Iron Night (2014) M.L. Brennan  (8.5/10)
Broken Homes (2014) Ben Aaronovitch  (8.5/10)

This series is good, but the narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is AMAZING.

Known Devil (2014) Justin Gustainis  (8/10)

This is a fun series. Police unit that investigates magical crimes. Set in Scranton. No, it’s good. Really!

The Grendel Affair (2013) Lisa Shearin  (8.5/10)

This is another supernatural mystery and I liked both the premise and characters.
Young Adult

Eternal: Shadow Falls: After Dark (2014) C.C. Hunter  (8.5/10)

I like this series (the second series in the same world with overlapping characters).

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014) Maggie Stiefvater  (8.5/10) (points lost for the epilogue)

This is an EXCELLENT series. I can’t wait for the next (and hopefully final) book.

Magic City: Recent Spells (2014) Paula Guran  (8.5/10)

I love anthologies, and this is good one. A lot of variety and authors I love.

Night Shift (2014) Nalini Singh; Ilona Andrews; Lisa Shearin; Milla Vane  (8/10)

Just to be clear, I only read half the stories–the other authors didn’t interest me.

Written by Michelle at 8:26 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
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The Books of 2015: Covers

There were some very good and some very terrible covers this year.

First, The Bad

I’ve already ranted about how much I hated the cover for Burn for Me:


It’s awful. And there was an alternate that was gorgeous, which is just adding insult to injury.

For the other book, I hate to do this, because it’s not a horrible cover, but she’s had such gorgeous covers in the past, I found the cover of Why Kings Confess to be terribly disappointing.

It doesn’t look at all like Sebastian, and there is nothing in the cover that draws me in. But the fact that previous covers were so gorgeous, I have a much higher bar for this series than I do for many others.

Now, The Good

Luckily, there were far more covers I really liked this year.

I really loved the cover of Jaye Wells Dirty Magic:

Dirty Magic

ML Brennan’s Generation V series also has good covers:

But as the main character is male, that’s not particularly unusual. But they do a good job getting Fort right.

Faith Hunter, as usual, gets fabulous covers for her Jane Yellowrock books.

I adore how powerful Jane is.

As always, kudos to the latest Cal Leandros book

That all the covers do such an excellent job of portraying the essence of Cal (and Niko when he makes an appearance) continues to astound me. Every cover in the series is immediately recognizable as a Cal & Niko book, and Cal looks exactly how he is written: like an obnoxious asshole with an obsession with guns.

And I want to draw special attention to Fairest Vol. 3: The Return of the Maharaja

The book had FANTASTIC art.

With caveats, Patricia Briggs also gets good covers.

For some reason they always have Mercy showing more skin than seems at all realistic for her character. But she is shown as strong and acting (as opposed to being acted upon) so I’ll take what I can get.

Written by Michelle at 7:27 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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The Books of December

And it’s the end of December, so time for the books I read this past month!

Best books of the month were Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, which is an old favorite I have read many, many times. Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews was another re-read of a book I loved.

And here’s what I read:

Epic Fantasy

The Belgariad
Pawn of Prophecy (1982) David Eddings (10/10)
Queen of Sorcery (1982) David Eddings (8/10)
Magician’s Gambit (1983) David Eddings (9/10)

Supernatural Fantasy

Generation V
Tainted Blood (2014) M.L. Brennan (7.5/10)

Supernatural Romance

Burn for Me (2014) Ilona Andrews (7/10)

The Edge
On the Edge (2009) Ilona Andrews (8/10)
Bayou Moon (2010) Ilona Andrews (7.5/10)
Fate’s Edge (2011) Ilona Andrews (9/10)

Historical Romance

Rules of Scoundrels
A Rogue by Any Other Name (2012) Sarah MacLean (7/10)
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (2013) Sarah MacLean (8/10)
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (2013) Sarah MacLean (6/10)
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (2014) Sarah MacLean (7/10)

Format-wise, I once again bought books I already owned in paperback, so I could re-read them.

Paperback – 3
eBook – 9
Multiple Formats – 3
Re-read – 6

Very little variety in genre this month.

Fantasy – 8
Romance – 8

And male authors made a slight comeback this month, but not enough to pull out of their slump.

Male – 3
Female – 3
Initials – 1
Joint – 4

Written by Michelle at 6:50 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

To Whom It May Concern at Avon:

I read the new Ilona Andrews book (first in a new series) Burn for Me.

I had a couple problems with the story, but overall, I found it quite enjoyable.

What I did not enjoy was the cover.

Here is the cover of the book.


I don’t like it. I just don’t. The female character is weak, and looks needy and defenseless, and I JUST CAN’T EVEN with men wearing their shirts like that.

But, you know, bad book covers happen to good people.

Then I discovered they had another cover, that was rejected.

THIS cover:



It is AWESOME. She is powerful and taking action. In fact, he’s the one standing there clutching her hand and looking handsome while she is taking action.


But instead, someone decided they had to go with the bare chested man, with the woman all but swooning in the man’s arms cover.


And even though the female character didn’t actually hold balled lightening when fighting, she was smart and able to care for herself and others. She had no need to clutch needily at a man. A man who doesn’t even know how to wear a shirt for gods’ sake.

The woman on the cover that went to print is NOT the woman I read about in the book.

WHY did they need to show her as weak? WHY?!

Let me be clear: Avon? You SUCK at covers.

ADDENDUM the First:
Another salient point. I purchased the book solely because it was written by Ilona Andrews. If I was browsing, I would have immediately skipped right over that as a book of no interest to me. And in fact Despite the fact I had pre-ordered the book, I put off reading it because I found the cover so unappealing, I presumed it wasn’t the kind of book I typically enjoy.

But I did get around to reading it, because I love Ilona Andrews and the books they write. But if I was a reading, looking for a new author? No way in hell would I have picked that up.

Written by Michelle at 6:55 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Books of November

And now…. the books of November!

Again, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s reading of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series was again spot-on perfect, with Whispers Under Ground. I adore listening to this series so very much.

Also very good was Henning Mankell’s The Troubled Man, the 10th Kurt Wallander book. Be aware this is as much about Kurt Wallander as it is a mystery, but those parts are what were so very good.

I also really like Tracy Grant’s Charles & Melanie Frasier series, which is also the Malcom & Suzanne Rannoch series (I believe it had to do with publishers), and the books are not written/published in chronological order. But they are chock full of intrigue.


The Troubled Man (2009/2011) Henning Mankell translated by Laurie Thompson (9/10)

Outrage (2008/2011) Arnaldur Indridason translated by Anna Yates (8.5/10)

Mystery, Historical

Beneath a Silent Moon (2003) Tracy Grant (8.5/10)

The Mask of Night (2011) Tracy Grant (8.5/10)

Fantasy, Supernatural

Fair Game (2012) Patricia Briggs (9/10)

Eternal: Shadow Falls: After Dark (2014) C.C. Hunter (8.5/10)

Night Shift (2014) Nalini Singh; Ilona Andrews; Lisa Shearin; Milla Vane (8/10)

Broken Soul (2014) Faith Hunter (7/10)

Graphic Novels

Fables Vol. 20: Camelot (2014) Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Russ Braun, Barry Kitson (8/10)

Fairest Vol. 4: Cinderella:  Of Men and Mice (2014) Mark Andreyko, Shawn McManus (7/10)

Romance, Historical

A Study in Seduction (2012) Nina Rowan (7/10)

Audio Books

Whispers Under Ground, Audible Version (2012/2012) Ben Aaronovitch narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (10/10)

Blood Cross, Audible Version (2010/2010) Faith Hunter narrated by Khristine Hvam (8.5/10)

I read 13 books this year, so that’s 155 so far for the year. Probably break last year’s total, but that is still quite a number of books.

Paperback 1
Trade Paperback 2
eBook 8
Audio 2
Multiple Formats 2
Re-read 3

As always, ebooks are far and away beating paper books.

Fantasy and mystery were pretty evenly split this month, but I did get in two comics.

Fantasy 6
Mystery 5
Romance 3
Comic 2

And female authors are continuing to lead male authors. Hooray!

Male 3
Female 7
Anthology 3

Written by Michelle at 9:04 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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