Goals and the end of the year and stuff

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Happy 2013 everyone! It’s that time again where everyone discusses the best of last year and their goals for the next.

THEN:
2012 goodreads stats detailsEdited this post to add this chart, with *hat tip* to Heidi @ BunburyintheStacks

I had just as many books on my favorites list this year as in previous years, but 2012 wasn’t what I’d call a stellar year in reading quantity. I read 52 books, which is low for me Here is a visual aid (click to embiggen):

books read chart 2012

Upward trajectory halted! But that’s OK. Over 50 is pretty good when I think back and remember what 2012 was like.

Here are my excuses:

  1. Rampant TV watching. I know, but I can’t help it. Last year Spring-Summer was all cycling and the Olympics, Fall was rediscovering Friends, and Winter involved little Holiday movie addiction I have. I’ll try to get some help, but we just bought a snazzier, fancier, bigger TV recently. Wish me luck for 2013.
  2. Job. This is a valid reason and the biggest one – long meetings held at night really did a number on my free time and my reading routines. I was also very busy in general.
  3. A certain ennui brought on by excuses 1 and 2 and by all the drama that went on in the middle of 2012 (I think that took up some head space because it made book blogging less of a “happy place” it used to be for me. I’m beyond that now though).
  4. I still haven’t figured out how to be faster at writing reviews. If anything, it takes me longer.  Reviewer time management fail. It’s a work in progress.

NOW:
Well it’s 2013, I have a brand new job. I think the big problem I had last year with work hours and personal time won’t be such an issue in this one. So far it is looking good, but we shall see. And I had a really nice long break in December between jobs in which I did NOTHING. I have no regrets about that because it means I feel a lot more invigorated about reading and reviewing now.

The goals for this year are.. well maybe “general idea” rather than goals, but here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Keep going for 100 books read per year
  • Work on SERIES reading. I have a lot of series I am very behind on but I have all the books. I think I’m going to maybe start getting on reading those things.
  • Finish up those reviews I’m behind on from last year

to review strip
Oh, so those reviews I need to do. This is the list below. I have a few to write and I was thinking if people gave me the puppy-dog eyes about certain books, I’ll probably work on those first. Anything take your fancy? Let me know!

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
Polymer by Sally Rogers-Davidson
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Dark and Stormy Nights anthology
Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer

… I am really behind.

Best of 2011 and plans for 2012

2006 - 103 books, 2007 - 99 books, 2008 - 77 books, 2009 - 79 books, 2010 - 82 books, 2011 - 85 books

(click chart made via onlinecharttool.com to embiggen)

Every year, same goal of reading 100 books, but the only year I made it was 2006, before I started reviewing.

Newsflash: reviewing cuts into reading time!  But, that’s OK, I like to blog.

To break down the books I’ve read, you can check out goodreads. There you’ll see I read 86 “books”, but I didn’t count the one graphic novel. I did count a couple of novellas because I read some longer 500+ page books as well and figured they balanced each other out. So in 2011, I read 85 books.

Out of those books, I have my favorites, and my favorites have two categories. Those books that blew me out of the water, and those that came very close to doing that. Blew me out of the water always a difficult group to get into, because it’s based on sheer emotion. If I feel euphoric LOVE after I finish a book, it goes on the list. Not many books do that to me. So:

Blew me out of the water:

Close to perfection:



(each image links to my review, if I have reviewed the book).

There are so many books not on this list that I consider keepers. Another 20 books at least, so 2011 was not a bad reading year at all. Check out my goodreads to see all the 4 star books this year not on this list here. I was actually good about putting the books I read on there this year.

Goals for 2012:

  • Again keep trying to get to 100 books read
  • Since I can’t finish a challenge to save my life.. try not to join so many challenges (hah, we’ll see)
  • Buy whatever books I want to. :) I have given up the fight against the TBR, but I know what’s reasonable.
  • Stay relaxed with the blogging thing.
  • And this year, the goal is to catch up on some series. I have a lot of series that I’m realizing I’m behind on and would like to get back into.

Faves of TwentyEleven: The Characters


 
Day Two of Nomes’ Faves of TwentyEleven is the Characters (click here for the rules, and here for Nomes’ nominations in this category).
 
1. favourite female main character
 

 
Wow, this is actually very difficult. I waffled. A lot. I finally decided that of all the female characters in the books I’ve read this year, Isabel, the vicious mean girl with layers, was the most complex and so my favorite to get to know. I really liked how her personality dominated Let’s Get Lost and how the more I read the more I understood why she was the way she was. Isabel is not easy to like, but I was fascinated by her.
 
2. favourite male main character
 

 
And this was so easy. Gen, the thief who says he can steal anything (and can), stole the show this year. I love the way he pretends to be the underdog, then flips the tables. It’s been fun watching him play with his detractors.
 
3. best couple
 
Ah, another tough one! So this time, I’m going to cheat and give you who I’d choose for my made up sub-categories under “best couple”:
 
best couple because they’re both so broken but together are so perfect:
 

 
Unsticky! There you are again. Always popping up on my faves lists. Grace and Vaughn. Each rather messed up, but SO good together.
 
best couple because they’re badasses with smart mouths:
 

 
Kate and Curran’s banter and one-up-manship always gives me a bit of a silly grin.  I imagine a lot of facepalms. One of my favorite series and favorite couples. And the latest installment, Magic Slays, brings the relationship to a new level but manages to keep my interest as a reader despite the changes.
 
best strong, silent type couple:
 

 
Sean and Puck. This is the couple who let their actions speak for them most of the time, but when they do actually speak – you listen. And swoon a little. For a young man of few words, Sean somehow finds the perfect thing to say.
 
4. who i so want to be best friends with
 

 
I want to be Sass’s bestie. Or one of her best friends because Sass has a lot of friends and they always seem to have a grand ‘ol time when they get together. The only problem is I don’t love bars and the social scene that Sass does. But maybe I’d show up at a house party, and join in on their daily joking emails that they use to keep in touch.
 
5. worst (best & baddest) villian
 

 
The villain in this one was completely creepy and unexpected. I think “horror” was my reaction to this villain’s accomplishments, every time.
 
6. best character twist (who you loved then hated or vice versa)
 

 
Hoo boy. Double Cross by Carolyn Crane. There are two characters here that get a twist (depending on you POV). I can’t even go into any detail here because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. But this twist was SO good. *bites fist*
 
7. best kick-arse female
 

 
There’s the kick-ass females that have some sort of superpower, and then there are those that kick ass with their wits and instincts. Cat falls in the latter category. Plus she likes to learn and gives her fiance a good run for his money – more than once or twice.
 
8. best kick-arse male
 

 
I’m going to go with Tybalt on this one. He’s the King of Cats, can deal with groups of baddies at a time, and he’s always got October’s back.
 
9. broke your heart the most
 

 
Hmm. I don’t know which of the brothers from Flat-Out Love broke my heart more: Finn, or Matt.. People need to read this book so they can commiserate with me.
 
10. favourite pet/animal character award
 

 
My heart belongs to Spike the rose goblin, who is something like a cat crossed with a rose bush. I also really liked  Oberon, the Irish Wolfhound, and dog-sidekick to Atticus O’Sullivan from The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

Faves of TwentyEleven: The Books

Hope that people are having a nice holiday season. I’m over in AZ as usual, spending time with the family (Christmas with my dad’s family, Hannukah with my husband’s) and eating lots and reading a bit too.
 
I’m not sure I’m going to have much time this week to work on reviews, so this is a good week to join the Faves of TwentyEleven that inkcrush is hosting.
 

 
OK, here are the rules basically: choose what books that you’ve read this year that fits each of the categories that Nomes has created. And do what you want (make new categories, answer just the ones you want to.. etc)
 
Here I go:
 
1. favourite book read in 2011
 

 
Unsticky by Sarra Manning! I wonder if people are sick of me talking about this book? Because I sure feel like I am repeating myself over how great it is. I was obsessed over it after I read it. Obsessed.  So it also gets the always recommending this book award too.
 
2. most powerful book
 

 
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager – Did I cry a little bit reading this? Maybe. That ending makes you feel reborn.
 
3. brilliantly funny
 

 
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood. I think this book was so great because its funny while Dan, its protagonist, is going through a bad time. The ability to laugh when times aren’t so hot..I like.
 
4. best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read
 

 
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park:  since I’m quite the softy, I avoid those books where I know I’ll be crying like a baby.  Therefore, so not many books I read this year were vying for the award in this category. This won easily because there’s one bit in this book that just GUTTED me. Just thinking of one particular line makes me feel a bit misty. But things got better, which is good for my heart.  This is also my vote for best under-appreciated, hidden gem book.
 
5. delicious rainy day comfort read
 

 
Julie James is my comfort food, so A Lot Like Love was my comfort read of the year (although Sarah Addison Allen’s The Sugar Queen was also a contender).
 
6. the beautiful prose award
 

 
There was something so lovely and poetic about the prose in Robin McKinley’s Chalice. Like being transported into a hazy dream place where you have bees as best friends.
 
7. most atmospheric and vivid setting
 

 
I just finished reading The Scorpio Races this weekend, and @#*$&!!! Amazing. I think it actually be my second favorite book of the year. Depending on my mood, it might be my favorite. A review will come. In the meantime. Thisby! What a place. What people.  Most atmospheric and vivid setting, yes, it wins it.
 
8. i-so-want-to-go-there award
 

 
After reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I wanted to go to Prague immediately. This is what I said in my review: “Prague is described wonderfully. I’ve never been there, but I want to see its old streets that are “a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century [...] it’s medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies”. ” Would love to go there, sit in a cafe, and have some good goulash.
 
9. most original and imaginative
 

 
This is a very easy category to decide which book I’d nominate. Chime reminds me of how I felt reading Alice in Wonderland for the first time. There’s a little bit of disorientation when you first go in, but figuring out the rules is a lot of fun.
 
OK, now my brother’s dog has decided my hand needs to be petting him, and not typing, so I’m stopping at 9 books (typing one-handed is slow going but Milo keeps looking up soulfully when I stop). To check out the books I chose midway through the year, check out my Sharing The Awesome post.

Favorite Reads of 2010 and plans for 2011

First, the stats:

  • 2006 – 103 books
  • 2007 – 99 books
  • 2008 – 77 books
  • 2009 – 79 books
  • 2010 – 82 books

As you can see, I still haven’t made my yearly goal to read 100 books, but the number is climbing upwards! The problem is that reviewing books (2006 and 2007 I didn’t review as I do now), cuts into reading time. Oh well, I won’t stop reviewing!

Out of those 82 books, these were my favorites (click on the book to see my review):

Blew me out of the water – Two books this year just had the perfect mix that made me feel like I was in utter love from start to finish. Unless I don’t feel consumed to a semi-obsession, a book won’t get on this list.

 

These books I loved and came close perfect (and wow, I had 9 of these this year. Up from 5 last year)

(Note: The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice is the repackaged mass market version of Pemberley by the Sea and Cordelia’s Honor is actually 2-books-in-one – I linked to the first book)

Goals for 2011:

1) Keep working on the TBR but don’t worry so much about how many books I buy. Last year I held back on buying books when I wanted to because I was concerned about the size of my TBR (it was 190, now it’s over 250). I’ve decided not to do that – if the TBR grows, it grows. Instead I think I’ll focus on trying to read more often than I have been (this year I often had rows of days where I read nothing. I’d like to read even a few pages a day as long as I read something)

2) Try to read 100 books – this is a long standing goal, just for a number to aim for. I don’t think it will ever not be a goal!

3) Be better about reading challenges – I sign up for online book clubs and challenges and I pretty much NEVER complete them. I suck at it. I’m going to try to read books for book clubs and challenges early this time. And oh man, I’d love to complete the Everything Austen challenge for once. Both times I joined, I got 4 out of 6 Austen related books/movies read and watched, then ran out of time. In 2011.. oh, I will get 6 out of 6. I WILLLLL!!

4) Stay easy going in this blogging thing. I think that will all the book blogs out there, it’s easy to put pressure on yourself and lose perspective. I want to make sure to remember that I do this because it makes me happy.

Best of 2009 and New Year’s Resolution for 2010

I liked looking back last year at 2008 so this year I’m also looking back at 2009. I didn’t make my goal of reading 100 books, but at 79 books I was above last year’s number (77). Anyway, here’s my Best of 2009 list, broken down in the same way I broke down books last year:

The Books that Blew Me Away – This is a very small list, just three books, like last year.  I only put books on the list when a book consumes me.

  • Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliosotti http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (this is technically a 2010 book. Review to come) -http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gif http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
Books that Came Close to Blowing Me Away - This list is of books which I’d recommend without reservation and I loved them while reading them. There are more of these this year than last year (5 versus 4!)
  • Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Endless Blue by Wen Spencer http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg

Books I Really Liked/ Keepersthese are also recommended and all have several moments that I loved in them and I think many people will like these books:

  • Soulless by Gail Carriger http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • On the Edge by Ilona Andrews http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Must Love Hellhounds (anthology) Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook, and Charlaine Harris — I liked 2 of the 4 stories a lot http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Heroes at Risk by Moira J. Moore http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Sins & Shadows (Shadows Inquiries) by Lyn Benedict http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • The Stars Down Under by Sandra McDonald http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percey Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • What Happens in London by Julia Quinn http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon, Bk 1) by Ann Aguirre http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Kitty Raises Hell (Kitty Norville, Bk 6) by Carrie Vaughn http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Kitty and the Silver Bullet (Kitty Norville, Bk 4) by Carrie Vaughn http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Austenland by Shannon Hale http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
  • Kitty Takes a Holiday (Kitty Norville, Bk 3) by Carrie Vaughn http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg

And for my New Year’s Resolution – First I have the usual one which is to read 100 books.

  • 2006 – 103 books
  • 2007 – 99 books
  • 2008 – 77 books
  • 2009 – 79 books

The second resolution is to make the TBR go down. I was really bad over my Christmas vacation and the TBR is over 190 right now. The plan is that I can’t buy a book unless I read two or more. Let’s hope I have the willpower.

Best of 2008 and New Year’s Resolution for 2009

A lot of people are posting a year end post for 2008. It's nice to see people looking back at the books they read for the year and picking out their favorite reads, and it's interesting to see what they picked. I thought it would be a good thing to try myself because with it recorded, I can look back in later years and see what my tastes were like.

Out of a total of 77 books read this year, very few got into my best list, but book ratings are highly subjective.  I just went with my gut and rated them according to how I felt about the book as soon as I finished reading them. These lists are compiled from ratings I put down in my private notes.

All the links to my reviews here are to my Livejournal.

The Books that Blew Me Away  – These books are those I gave top marks to when I first read them. It's a very hard list to get onto because I have to feel like I'm falling in love and cannot be parted from the book for it to get on this list. Only three got on it this year.

Books that Came Close to Blowing Me Away - These came very close to getting top marks from me. This is a personal thing, but the books above I would put down and then obssessively think about when I could pick them up again. The books below, I didn't feel as consumed by the book, but still felt really impressed by them.

  • Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready (my review)
  • Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (I need to review this when I have the book in my hands)
  • The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald (review coming soon)

Books I Really Liked/ Keepers. These each had several moments where I loved the book and overall I think these are books that deserve to be loved and read by others, but for some reason or other these didn't get into the top 7. I still consider these keepers, and all these authors are pretty much autobuys/ must read backlist authors. There are 19 of these books this year (Linnea Sinclair's name comes up a lot here, I was reading her backlist in 2008):

  • The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Exit Strategy (Nadia Stafford, Bk 1) by Kelley Armstrong (my review)
  • Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas (my review)
  • Grimspace by Ann Aguirre (my review)
  • An Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy (my review)
  • Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre (my review)
  • Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Bk 1) by Patricia Briggs (my review)
  • Easy Freedom by Liz Berry (my review)
  • Jinx by Jennifer Estep (my review)
  • Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair (my review pt 1, pt 2)
  • The Good Neighbors by Holly Black (my review)
  • The Nanny by Melissa Nathan (my review)
  • Grave Sight (Harper Connelly, Bk 1) by Charlaine Harris (my review)
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (my review)
  • Burndive by Karin Lowachee (my review)
  • An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connelly, Bk 3) by Charlaine Harris (my review)
  • The Decoy Princess and Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook (my review)

 

And for my New Year's Resolution – it's the same resolution as last year , to read 100 books.

  • 2006 – 103 books
  • 2007 - 99 books
  • 2008 – 77 books
  • 2009 – let's get it back up to 100!!

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