Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Read 100 Books in 2011!

I'm super excited that I reached my goal and managed to read 100 books in 2011! I finished my 100th book this afternoon with a little less than eight hours to spare before the clock strikes 2012. Phew--that was close! I admit that December sort of looks like the month of the novella, but what the heck! I say as long as a book has its own ISBN number, it's fair game.

I'm putting together a 'Best of 2011 in Books' post to go up in January--I'm still having too much fun crunching my book stats ;) --but if you're dying from curiosity, you can see the 100 books I read on my 100 Books in a Year Reading Challenge 2011 post OR my 2011 Reading Challenge on goodreads. I love the visual of all those book covers lined up like that.

In the meantime, here's a quick  look at what I read this month [December 2011]:

Romance ................ 4
Crime fiction ........... 3
Young adult ............ 2
Graphic novel .......... 1
General fiction ......... 1

Total books read ............... 11

Of those books, SIX were novellas.

1. Origin in Death by J.D. Robb
In Death, Book #21
Mini reviews of the In Death books I read this month can be found on the December In Death Reading Challenge post HERE.

2. Once Upon a Winter's Eve by Tessa Dare
Spindle Cove, Book #1.5
A very sweet romance about a young woman who has only loved one man since her childhood... and the love she finds with a stranger who literally stumbles into her world who looks remarkably similar to her one true love. GRADE: B

3. A Taste of Midnight by Lara Adrian
Midnight Breeds, Book #9.5
This is the first ever published novella in the Midnight Breed series and takes place between the events of Deeper Than Midnight [Book #9] and Darker After Midnight [Book #10], which will be released in January 2012. A Taste of Midnight is the story of a long lost friendship between Breedmate Danika MacConn and Malcom MacBain, the once best friend of Danika's deceased mate Conlan, who you may recall was killed in the first book of the series, leaving Danika widowed and pregnant with his child. Danika is still grieving over her mate's death while she visits with Conlan's family in the Scottish highlands for Christmas with her newborn son. After overhearing horrific talk about human trafficking for the pleasure of the Breed's most depraved, Danika makes the mistake of publicly insulting the dangerous Breed named Reiver who is a mob leader of sorts behind the "blood clubs" in this region. Now he is out to kill her and she can barely believe that the man she once knew and was close to--Malcolm MacBain is one of Reiver's closest associates.

A Taste of Midnight is a thrilling little teaser for fans of the Midnight Breed series and contains all the key elements for a satisfying story--a strong heroine, a brooding but fiercely protective Breed male, an evil villain with nefarious intentions and a touching romance. The result is a short, but intense story that with a logical connection to the series arc but can also be read as a stand alone story. I enjoyed this novella, but I must confess that Danika makes some careless decisions that jeopardize her safety and that of her newborn son, which felt largely out of character for someone so vulnerable in the Breed world. Also, while the attraction, concern and ultimately the budding romance between Danika and Malcolm was believable, I felt the professions of love were a little too much too soon for both of them, which inevitably made the happily ever after come across very rushed. Still, A Taste of Midnight is a great morsel for fans of the series who are dying to get their hands on the next book in the series, Darker After Midnight which will be released on January 24, 2012. Which, by the way, is the long awaited story of Sterling Chase and his mate! Finally!

4. The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland -- For A Little While
by Catherynne M. Valente
Fairyland, Book #0.5
This is the prequel novella to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Written in Ms. Valente's signature whimsical prose, this short isn't nearly as captivating as the full length tale of September in Fairyland. It took several pages of what felt like a long winded introduction to get this short story going and then just as it gained momentum, it was over. Still worth the read, though, if you're interested in an introduction to this author's talented story telling.

5. Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle
This book is a collection of three intertwined short stories written by three of today's wonderfully talented young adult writers and a perfect wintertime-Christmasy read for teens. All three stories expertly capture the trials and tribulations and intense joys of being a teen and the crazy and confusing and often wonderful things that can happen when you least expect it. GRADE: B+

6. Memory in Death by J.D. Robb
In Death, Book #22

7. Haunted in Death by J.D. Robb
In Death, Book #22.5
Mini reviews of the In Death books I read this month can be found on the December In Death Reading Challenge post HERE.

8. To Desire a Scoundrel by Tracy Sumner
Southern Heat novella
I purchased this ebook after reading an interview with the author on the Book Lovers Inc. blog and became intrigued by an American historical romance set in North Carolina in the late 1800s. To Desire a Scoundrel a sweet and sexy Christmas romance about a second chance for a couple whose love fell apart after a betrayal and lack of communication two years prior. I liked this story a lot, got a little frustrated when the characters repeatedly passed up every opportunity to talk about their past when so clearly they both wanted to. There were also a few times when I stumbled on a sentence or two that pulled me out of the story. The story was still charming, though, and I'm already reading another book by this author.

9. The French Maid by Sabrina Jeffries
This is a very short novella about a married couple at the cusp of their one year wedding anniversary who each receive a little push from an unusual French maid to work harder at making their marriage a happier, more mutually satisfying relationship. It was short and sweet, but I was disappointed that the woman needed to make herself more beautiful and seductive in order to get her husband to notice her. There were other positive messages in the story, however, to still send valuable messages about how a husband and wife need to work at their marriage, not take each other for granted, and speak up when they need something from their partner.

10. Macbeth by William Shakesepeare,
Graphic novel, script adaptation by John MacDonald for Classical Comics
This graphic novel makes a fantastic supplement to Shakespeare's original work or in my case, a fun and easy way to refresh my memory after having read Macbeth years ago in high school. It would also serve wonderfully as a introduction to Shakespeare for the reluctant reader. I highly recommend this and all other graphic novels from Classical Comics.

11. after the quake by Haruki Murakami
A collection of short stories

after the quake is a collection of six unique short stories about characters whose lives were indirectly transformed by the disastrous Kobe earthquake in Japan in 1995. The impact of the earthquake on these characters' lives is in fact subtle, but in a way also quite profound as it serves as a catalyst in personally meaningful ways that give each of them a new direction in their lives, or at least peace of mind.
" 'Strange and mysterious things, though, aren't they--earthquakes? We take it for granted that the earth beneath our feet is solid and stationary. We even talk about people being 'down to earth' or having their feet firmly planted on the ground. But suddenly one day we see that it isn't true.' "[quote from the story "thailand," p. 92]
Murakami shows how earthquakes are a lot like life. The world as we know it can change in a heartbeat, suddenly shifting our lives in ways we never expect. It's unpredictable and often out of our control. What ultimately matters most is how we choose to embrace life and love when adversity strikes.

I enjoyed this collection of short stories--the stories are meaningful and show how a natural or man made disaster can spark self reflection and positive change to even those remotely affected. The final story in the collection, "honey pie" is my favorite and perhaps the easiest with which to identify in the way that a tragic event can provide the inspiration to not waste another day not being with the one you love.

I also met both my Holiday Reading Challenge 2011 hosted by Book Lovers, Inc. AND my Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge hosted by tanabata this month! Yay!

Here's to another year of great books in 2012 for all of us!


  1. Congrats! I'm so happy for you! I enjoyed these reviews,
    I'm so glad that the winters eve book wasn't just ne. I had such high hopes from the cover, then I was thinking maybe I was just being hard on myself.

    Guess what? Ive nit read more than a chapter in days, maybe I need sleep...

    Happy new year!

  2. Congrats on meeting your 100 book challenge and all the other challenges! That's fantastic! Looking forward to your 'Best Of' *grin*

  3. Congrats on reaching 100. I agree anything with an ISBN is fair game!

  4. Great reading year for you!! I look forwrd to another great year of book discovery and always heck your blog for some great reading inspiration!

    Happy New Year


  5. Nice job on reading 100 books!! What an accomplishment!! Hope you have a great 2012!

  6. WTG! So glad to know you met your challenge! I hope 2012 is even better for you!

  7. Awesome!!! Here's hoping this year is just as rewarding!

  8. Congrats Christine!! Yay!!

    LOL, I pretty much did the same as you for December :) I had a lot of novellas read :) But I mean, it's a story of its own right? so why not count it :)

  9. I am SO happy that I reached my goal of 100 books in 2011! Phew!!!

    My new reading goal for 2012 is to read 101 books. ha ha ! I know how hard it was to get to 100... I'm not gonna push my luck with anything more ambitious than one more book beyond that. ;)

    Gina, hope you've caught up on sleep by now. I am dragging the last couple of days, myself and determined to get to bed early tonight.

    orannia, hoping to get my 'Best Of' up soon! Not today, I think..

    Linda, thank you for validating my ISBN fair game rule! By the way, I found a graphic novel challenge for 2012 that I plan on doing--why don't you do it with me? I will post details soon... or you can google it. I think there's only one out there that pops up for 2012.

    Paula, you're a doll! I miss our Authors by the Alphabet book club. I am still toying with reviving it, but I'm slowly getting over the OCD itches about only doing letters A-H so maybe I can let it go. Besides... if I recruit new people, why would they want to start with letter I?? I'm crazy.

    Michelle, lol! thanks! But only 4 mystery authors out of all that so I failed the A-Z mystery challenge. Actually, I'm going to keep filling in the letters even if it takes me a couple of years to get all letters accounted for. LOL!

    samantha, thanks!

    Brandy, thank you!

    Leslie, thanks!

    nath, thanks! Nice to know I'm not the only one who crammed in a few novellas to reach goal! Novellas definitely count! See ISBN rule above! lol!

  10. Woo-hoo! Well done! Looking forward to seeing your best of lists.

  11. Congratulations! And novellas certainly count. Hey, I signed up for the 50 State Where Are You Reading Challenge, and in December I headed straight into the children's section of the library to find my missing areas.


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