Happy 2016! I can hardly believe we’ve started a new year, much less that it’s almost the middle of January. It’s been awhile since I posted, so I wanted to pop in and also share that I will be posting on a regular basis going forward. I have tons of things to share, but I thought I’d start the year off by posting about what I read in 2015.
So, last year I set a goal (Goodreads challenge) of reading 25 books, basically the same goal I’ve set the past few years. But, I really wanted to focus on good books – books I really enjoyed and wasn’t feeling like I had to slog through.
During the holidays (2014) we watched The Red Tent on tv. I’d had the book on my bookshelf for years, literally, and had never read it. I’m so grateful that the mini series reminded me that this book had sat for far too long unread and I decided to pick up the book and start it on January 1st. A friend was going to read along as well so that we could discuss the book. The book is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I loved this book. I loved Dinah’s “voice”. I loved the small details like the Taweret pitcher Benia gives her, the lapis ring of Rachel’s, the widemouthed frog idol, etc. Overall I loved the pivotal role that the community of women plays – sharing, teaching, loving, comforting, grieving with each other. This book left me with a similar feeling as from The Mists of Avalon or The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I highly highly recommend it.
The next book I read was the complete opposite end of the spectrum – Fifty Shades of Grey. This was actually a re-read for me. I wanted to read it again before seeing the movie on Valentine’s Day. I enjoyed visiting Christian Grey again and if you’d like to check out my previous post on this series, you can find that here. As for the movie, I’m glad I went to see it and thought it was well done. My only comment is that I wanted Christian to have a little more…something. More fire to him? I only re-read the first book, I imagine I would re-read the others if/when movies are released.
Next up I decided to pick up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I was gifted this book in December and after reading Attachments, I was really anxious to read Fangirl. I loved this book. I loved that it was about writing fan fiction, particularly since I’d just finished reading Fifty Shades (originally fan fiction) and I’d spent a good amount of time immersed in the world of reading fan fiction. I can’t say enough good things about her books, her characters, and specifically in this one her stories within a story. I really enjoy Rowell’s writing and will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.
After Fangirl, I moved on to a book that Eric had picked up on one of our trips and enjoyed so he recommended it to me, particularly since it had to do with art and archaeology. He was right, I did enjoy it. This book is actually part of a series and I haven’t read the other books in the series, but I think this book can stand on its own. I didn’t feel I was missing anything from not having read the others. I enjoyed this book and following the story from the Vatican to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and all the twisting turns in between. Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading this book we were watching a show called Dig that was excellent and had a lot to do with some of the same subject matter and focused on the Temple Mount. If you missed the show when it was on, I highly recommend it. Anyway, I will probably read more books by Silva in the future, likely circling around to read the other books in this series.
Next up I read Sublime by Christina Lauren. I have read several other books from them (the Beautiful series and Sweet Filthy Boy, the first book in their Wild Seasons series), in the adult romance genre and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was anxious to see how their first YA book was. Sublime is a beautifully haunting and romantic ghost story, and it did not disappoint!
After finishing Sublime, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to read. I dug around on my shelves and came across the last book that my friend Missy had loaned me/recommended. So far from her I’d read a couple of the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series, the Stacia Kane Downside Ghosts series (my post on those here), and Stacia Kane’s Megan Chase series (no post yet – coming soon!). I’d put off reading Kushiel’s Dart because it was the lengthiest of the stack. But, I decided I was ready for something a bit more substantial. I ended up picking this book up, reading it for awhile, and then setting it aside. Mostly it was because I was not getting much time to read and this book was involved enough that it did not lend itself to reading it in 5 minute increments. So, I set it aside for a couple other ebooks that I’ll get to in a minute. I took a trip to Michigan mid-November and had a flight and a LOT of time in the airport at both ends, which for most folks would be annoying but I was thrilled. It felt so decadent to do nothing but sit and read for hours. And because of my long reading stint, I was able to really sink my teeth into the book and really enjoyed it. Never was I bored with it, never was I uninterested, but the intricacies of the plot, characters, and intrigue required a fair bit of focus which I did not have in great supply. Even after setting it aside for days or weeks at a time though, I never lost the thread of the story. Carey’s debut novel is impressive, and detailed, and shockingly not on every best seller list. I am sure that this book has been passed over by readers due to Phedre being not only a courtesan, but more predominantly an anguisette (deriving pleasure from pain). I think that’s what makes her a much more complex character and understanding her nature is exactly what makes her memorable. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, and I am sure it will not disappoint. If you like Game of Thrones, I think you would enjoy this book.
Ok, so I mentioned that I set Kushiel’s Dart aside at a couple of points to read some ebooks. One was a free ebook called Club Shadowlands. Meh. The other was Iced by Karen Marie Moning. You may have read my post on the Fever series (here if you haven’t), and Iced is a spin off of that series. Same world, but you are now following Dani O’Malley rather than Mac. I didn’t love Dani as a character previously, so I honestly never had any interest in reading Iced. But, the quickest way to get me to read a spin off focused on a character I’m not that into? Tell me that there’s a new book featuring Mac and Barrons that this one leads into. KMM surprised me with this book. It was an enjoyable read and Dani didn’t bug the crap out of me like I thought she was going to. I feel like I understand her a bit better having been in her head now. I’m also very curious to see where KMM is going to go with Dani’s character. She’s far too young for her possible suitors to become anything at this point, but I feel like that’s where we’re headed. So…maybe she’ll go through some sort of time shift and age several years miraculously? Who knows, but it was enough to keep my attention anyway. So, I’d recommend reading Iced…particularly if you want to get to Burned. *evil grin*
The last book I read in 2015 was A Discovery of Witches. I’d had this one on my to be read list for awhile and sitting on my bookshelf for far too long. I was immediately hooked by “the combination of magic and history” as a friend put it. As an Art History major, I found Diana’s studies about alchemy and ancient texts (which crosses over into the art history realm) fascinating. As Diana struggled to learn more about her own history and explore her powers, I found that it was echoing a similar process I’ve been going through (not magical, obviously!) with finding and reacquainting myself with my authentic self. I cannot wait to read the next book in this trilogy! This one was another I would highly recommend.
So, that’s my 2015 year in reading and I’ve got a fun plan for my 2016 reads that I’ll share soon. Happy reading!