Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 will be known as the year I read alot

I hit triple digits.

I may never do it again, but I'll always be able to say I read 100+ books in 2014.

First, a look at some stats. I finished 102 books and 33,136 pages. That's a lot. A lot of books. A lot of pages and a lot of trees that are probably dead. Fear not, I'm starting to save a few trees by reading more titles on my Kindle, which I love. Each book averaged 325 pages. I finished an average of 8.5 books and 2,761 pages per month.

Other numbers that jump out?
The shortest book I read was Castle Hill by Samantha Young at 97 pages. OK. Maybe it's more of a novella, but it's still on my list and therefore counts as the shortest thing I read. The longest was A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin, which came in at 976 pages. That was a beast, but so so good. There were a couple of authors that showed up on my list multiple times, including Samantha Young (5), Richelle Mead (6), Kiera Cass (3), Tara Sivec (3), Deborah Harkness (2), John Green (2), Jill Shalvis (3), Tara French (2), Rainbow Rowell (2), Janet Evanovich (20), Liane Moriarty (2), Ian Doescher (3), Sylvia Day (4) and  Emma Chase (4).

My takeaways for the year?

A big reason I was able to hit 102 had to do with Janet Evanovich and the Stephanie Plum series. I mean seriously. When I plow through 20 books in the series as quickly as I did, that's a big chunk of my reading totals. That being said, they weren't the most amazing things I read this year.

Absolute favorites for the year include A Feast for Crows, the two Tana French books and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Two that I would tell people to put down and run far, far away from would be Love in the Time of Algorithms and Someday Maybe.

For 2014's "classic" I read Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms," which wasn't bad.

Throughout the year I did a fairly detailed monthly review of what I read. Check out the links for lists, ratings and a sentence or two about what I thought.

May and June

So what kind of reading goals have I set for 2015? Last year it was all about chasing numbers. I know it would be really hard to break 102, so I don't even know if I'm going to try. I'm going to set a reasonable book number, because I want 2015 to be about reading for enjoyment again, not necessarily numbers. I'll aim for 50 again because that's been about average the last few years.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

December reading recap

Well. I did it.

I hit triple digits for the number of books I read in a year. It took a lot of reading in December and it was HEAVY on the light, fluffy, vacation-type reads, but I did it.

Sitting at 87 completed books at the beginning of the month, I went into December with the mindset that I'd just read and see how high into the 90s I could get. But somewhere around the middle of the month, I looked at the number of books I'd read, how close I was to 100 and how many days I had left in the month. Suddenly I was shooting for 100. Of course, knowing I had a week of vacation at the end of the year helped sway my decision.

I finished the month with 15 books and 4,012 pages. That brings the year's final total to 102 books and 33,136 pages. Needless to say those are new reading records. More on year-end stats in a future blog post.

For now, what'd I read?

A Discovery of Witches by Deobrah Harkness
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
A Beautiful Wedding by Jamie McGuire
Shame on You by Tara Sivec
Shame on Me by Tara Sivec
Shame on Him by Tara Sivec
Tangled by Emma Chase
Twisted by Emma Chase
Tamed by Emma Chase
Tied by Emma Chase
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins
Instant Temptation by Jill Shalvis
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Sense a trend? Lots of series by authors. Fluffy, easy, vacation-type reads. And of interest? Everything except the Matthew Inman book was read on my Kindle. For being someone who really likes the feel of an actual book in my hands, I really enjoy my Kindle.

And now for the brief reviews, complete with number of stars given out on GoodReads. Follow me here if you’d like a more timely update on what I’m reading, what I think and what’s been added to my to-read list.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness  ****
When I started this, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. The first chapters just didn't draw me in. But I set it down and came back to it a week or so later and let me tell you. Good decision. Somewhere around Chapter 4 I got hooked. I was drawn into the characters of Matthew and Diana, developed so well that at times I sometimes forgot I was reading about vampires and witches.

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman  ****
I run and I like cartoons from The Oatmeal. No brainer that I would pick this one up.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness  ****
The second book in the All Souls trilogy. More Matthew and Diana and more character development, particularly Matthew. Good stuff. I have the final book in the trilogy, but this was around the time when I decided I was going to hit 100, so I opted for shorter, fluffier reads for the rest of the month.

A Beautiful Wedding by Jamie McGuire  ***
I generally don't read those "between the whole number" books in series, but this had been sitting on my Kindle for a while. Eh. It was OK.

Shame on You  ***, Shame on Me  ***, Shame on Him  *** by Tara Sivec
This three-book series reminds me of the Stephanie Plum series with a bit of chick lit thrown in. Three women form a private investigation company and during the course of their cases fall for some man. Not bad. Entertaining.

Tangled ****, Twisted ***, Tamed ***, and Tied *** by Emma Chase
I really liked Tangled and the other three books were entertaining as well. My biggest beef would be the order. Technically I think Tamed should have been second in the series, not third, since if you're reading it in order you're actually going back in time. The first and final books (Tangled and Tied) are told from the male point of view.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover  **
No. Just no. I don't remember how this ended up on my list, but if it's on yours, just stay away. Rambly. Repetitive. Parts could have been axed to make it shorter. I didn't like the characters. I just didn't like it.

In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins  ****
Enjoyable. Emmaline needs a date for her ex-fiance's wedding so she takes the town heartthrob Jack. They go just as friends, but you know that's not how it ends. And plus, the puppy on the cover? Adorable.

Instant Temptation by Jill Shalvis  ***
This is the third in a series and just like the other two, I liked it. However, I felt this was the weakest.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green  ***
I don't think I should read John Green anymore. After being blown away by The Fault in Our Stars, everything I've read after (this and Paper Towns) has just been, meh. I didn't like the main character Colin, he was whiny and self-centered and the actual plot didn't do much for me either.