December 2011


I’m also joining the 2nds challenge in 2012. I read 17 books for this challenge last year, so I’m going to choose the A Full Plate level with 12 books.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate. If you’re not a blogger, you can post your reviews at a review site like Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari and link them up here.

2. There are four levels to choose from in this challenge:

* Just a spoonful – Read 3 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.
* A few more bites – Read 6 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.
* A full plate – Read 12 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.
* All you can eat – Read 20 books (or more) that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.

You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you. Any genre counts. Any book format counts.

3. The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2012.

4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2012.

5. A post will be created here where you can link-up your reviews and visit the reviews of other participants.

6. If you’re a blogger, write up a sign-up post that includes the URL to this post so that others can join in. Feel free to use the button! You can grab the code you need from the box in the right sidebar.

Read
1, John Vornholt: A Time to Die
2, Christoper Golden and Nancy Holder: The Ghost Roads
3, Cherie Priest: Clementine
4, Italo Calvino: Marcovaldo or the Seasons in the City
5, Tanya Huff: Blood Trail
6, Carolyn Crane: Double Cross
7, Sarah Jane Stratford: The Moonlight Brigade
8, Liz Williams: Bloodmind
9, Robert Greenberger: A Time To Hate
10, Bram Stoker: Dracula’s Guest and other weird stories
11, David Mack: A Time To Heal
12 Karen A. Wyle: Wander Home
13, Rowena Cory Daniells: Exile
14, Lilith Saintcrow: Hunter’s Prayer

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I’m going to join a couple of more reading challenges for 2012. I had a lot of fun last year with this one, so I’m going take part in the 1st in a series challenge.

1st in a Series Challenge 2012

Here are the guidelines:

1. Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate. If you’re not a blogger, you can post your reviews at a review site like Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari and link them up here.

2. There are four levels for this challenge:

* Series Novice: Read 3 books that are the first in any series.
* Series Lover: Read 6 books that are the first in any series.
* Series Expert: Read 12 books that are the first in any series.
* Series Fanatic: Read 20 books that are the first in any series.

You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you. Any genre counts. Any book format counts.

3. The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2012.

4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2012.

5. A post will be created here where you can link-up your reviews and visit the reviews of other participants.

6. If you’re a blogger, write up a sign-up post that includes the URL to this post so that others can join in. Feel free to use the button! You can grab the code you need from the box in the right sidebar.

I’m aiming for the Expert level with 12 books.
I have a lot of these in my TBR and I plan to start a few series in audio, too. I tend to read fantasy, science fiction, and mystery.

Books read:
1, Kim Stanley Robinson: Red Mars
2, John Vornholt: A Time to be Born
3, Christoper Golden and Nancy Holder: Out of the Madhouse
4, H. Beam Piper: Little Fuzzy
5, Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games
6, Sue Grafton: A is for Alibi
7, Jennifer Estep: Spider’s Bite
8, Carolyn Crane: Mind Games
9, Barbara Hambly: Dragonsbane
10, Kevin Hearne: Hounded
11, Elizabeth A. Lynn: Watchtower
12, Tanya Huff: Blood Price
13, Liz Williams: Darkland
14, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris: Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel
15, Lois McMaster Bujold: Shards of Honor
16, Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge: Black and White
17, Rowena Cory Daniells: Besieged
18, Josh Lanyon: Fatal Shadows
19, Elizabeth Peters: Borrower of the Night
20, Susan Wittig Albert: Thyme of Death
21, K. A. Stewart: Devil in the Details
22, Jasper Fforde: The Eyre Affair

Booking Through Thursday

What were your favorite books of 2011?

I had a great reading year so I chose one book for each month:

C. J. Cherryh: Chanur’s Legacy
Liz Williams: The Precious Dragon
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Rachel Caine: Thin Air
Emma Bull: War for the Oaks
Kristine Kathryn Rusch: City of Ruins
Seanan McGuire: An Artificial Night
Steven Brust: Tiassa
Lois McMaster Bujold: Paladin of Souls
Peter Clines: Ex-Patriots
Seanan McGuire: One Salt Sea
C. J. Cherryh: Cyteen

That was already very difficult. I enjoyed both Brust books a lot (Tiassa and Iorich) and both of Marie Brennan’s books (A Star Shall Fall and With Fate Conspire) and Liz Williams’ books and Kerry Greenwood’s books…

I planned to post the list on Tuesday but the power went out during the afternoon and didn’t come back until the next day.

A stand alone SF book.

Publication year: 1990
Format: print
Page count: 340
Publisher: Baen

This book has multiple POV characters and two main time lines. One of the time lines is centered into 12th century, during the Third Crusade, and the second one is set in the 21st century in a futuristic US. Additionally, the main POV character in the future story line has dreams/hallucinations about being various people in other times.

The chapters with a heading of “Sura” and a quotations from Omar Khayyam, focus on the 12th century. Thomas Amnet is a Knight of the Temple and the Keeper of the Stone for the Templars. The Stone gives its keeper magical powers and near immortality. Amnet is an advisor to the Grand Master of the Order and so he’s also in the middle of intrigue between the various Christian factions. Amnet is known to be a wizard and the Stone can give him flashes into the future. However, recently when Amnet looks into the Stone, a man’s face prevents Amnet from using it properly. Amnet fears that this is a rival wizard and that they will have to fight.

Raynald the Chatillon, Prince of Antioch, insults a group of important Muslims and as a consequence, their military leader Saladin declares jihad against Raynald. The new King of Jerusalem decides to defend Raynald. Meanwhile, the order of the Assassins are killing knights but decide not to side with Saladin. One of the assassins, Hasan, looks young but is in fact a over a hundred years old and a wizard but not connected to the Stone.

In the 21st century, Tom Gurden is a jazz musician and in trouble. He feels like several men have been following him and they have saved his life a few times. However, now they have tried to kill him. Gurden calls to an on-line psychiatric unit, Eliza 212, and tells his story to her. He has also had a couple of dreams where he was a man in various places in time. In the first dream, Gurden is a poor scholar in Robespierre’s France. Later, Gurden’s old lover returns and a man tries to kill Gurden.

The plot is a rather complicated mystery. There are several POV characters in the chapters set in the 12th century but in the 21st century Gurden is pretty much the only POV character; there’s only one short scene from another POV.

The story lines don’t merge until the very end, but a reader is likely to guess what’s going on. Amnet is a loyal Knight who sometimes warns his Master about future decisions but will follow him in the end. He guards the Stone jealously from even his half-blooded apprentice.

Gurden turns out to be an expert martial artist in addition to a masterful musician. He’s become careful and almost paranoid in recent months. Sandy is his former lover who comes back to him at the start of the book

The book starts with a scene where Sandy orders a specific glass made. Glasses similar to that one feature in Guren’s dreams; the dream always starts when he hurts his hand on a glass. The people he is in the dreams are quite different from each other and don’t seem to have much in common. Yet, he doesn’t gain any knowledge or powers from the glass.

The 12th century chapters have most characters in them. Most of them are Christian knights who aren’t romanticized but shown as scheming men who are cruel and greedy at times. We also get a few brief glimpses from Saladin’s POV. As far as I can tell, the story line is historically accurate (except for the magic and Amnet, of course) but condensed for brevity.

I enjoyed the historical chapters more than the future ones. The future characters felt a bit bland while Gurden felt a bit too conveniently competent. I would have wanted to know just who Sandy was.

It’s a nice quick read but not as good as Amber.

I read 17 books for the 2nds Challenge 2011 hosted by A Few More Pages and achieved my goal of 12 books.

I enjoyed all of the books I read for this challenge and intend to continue with most of them. This year, I read three 2nds books from my favorite authors, so I can’t choose between them: A Local Habitation, Flying too High, and City of Ruins were all excellent. Bear and Cherryh are also among my favorite authors but for some reason, I didn’t enjoy these books as much as their previous ones. However, I will continue with these series, too.

Books read:
1, Marjorie M. Liu: Darkness Calls
2, Seanan McGuire: A Local Habitation
3, Tara Maya: Taboo
4, Kerry Greenwood: Flying Too High
5, Tim Powers: On Stranger Tides
6, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: City of Ruins
7, Ben Bova: Vengeance of Orion
8, Layton Green: The Egyptian
9, Jocelynn Drake: Dayhunter
10, Susan Wright: Star Trek: Dark Passions, Book 2
11, C. J. Cherryh: The Faded Sun: Shon’Jir
12, Peter Clines: Ex-Patriots
13, Linda Hawley: Guardian of Time
14, Elizabeth Bear: By the Mountain Bound
15, Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Goes to Washington
16, Baroness Orczy: The Elusive Pimpernel
17, Elizabeth Bear: Chill

This is the post to track my reading challenges and link to all the books I’ve read in 2012

Challenges:
R.I.P. VII (4+1+1) 9+1 Done!
Terry Pratchett: (1) 5 Done!
Just for Fun (12) 12 Done!
New Author (25) 30 Done Yay!
The Graphic Novel Challenge (12) 21 Done!
Immortal (3+3+3+1) 3+3+3+1 Done!
Sci-Fi Challenge (12) 12 Done!
Speculative Fiction challenge (48) 48 Done!
Off the Shelf (50) 50 Done!
1st in a series (12) 22 Done!
2nds (12) 14 Done!
The 2012 Science Fiction Experience 10 Done!
Once upon a time VI: 10 Done!

January
1, Kirsten Imani Kasai: Tattoo
2, Marie Brennan: With Fate Conspire
3, A. M. Dellamonica: Indigo Springs
4, Sharon Lee: Carousel Tides (Spec Fic)
5, Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder: The Lost Slayer Omnibus (Fun)
6, Kerry Greenwood: Ruddy Gore
7, Tara Maya: Sacrifice (Spec fic, Immortal)
8, Tara Maya: Root (Spec fic, Immortal)

Novellas:
1, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Spires of Denon (Sci fi ex)

Comics:
1, Tom Strong: Book Three (Spec fic, Graphic)
2, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Enemy Unseen (Graphic, Spec Fic, Sci fi Exp)

February
9, Kim Stanley Robinson: Red Mars (1st, Sci fi Exp, Spec Fic, Off, Sci Fi Chall-modern classic)
10, C. J. Cherryh: Faded Sun: Kutath (Sci fi Exp, Spec Fic, Off, Sci Fi Chall-starships/aliens)
11, John Vornholt: A Time to be Born (Sci fi Exp, Off, 1st, Spec fic, New)
12, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Boneyards (Sci-fi Exp, Spec fic, Fun)
13, John Vornholt: A Time to Die ST:TNG (Sci fi Exp, Off, 2nd, Spec fic)
14, John Scalzi: Fuzzy Nation (New, Sci-fi Exp, Spec fic, Off, Sci-fi Challenge)
15, Christoper Golden and Nancy Holder: Out of the Madhouse (1st, Spec fic)
16, H. Beam Piper: Little Fuzzy (Spec fic, New, Off, 1st)
17,Christoper Golden and Nancy Holder: The Ghost Roads (Spec fic, 2nds)

Comics:
3, Tom Strong: Book Four
4, Tom Strong: Book Five

Novellas:
2, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Recovery Man’s Bargain

March
18, Christoper Golden and Nancy Holder: Sons of Entropy
19, Cherie Priest: Clementine (2nds, spec)
20, Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games (new, 1st, spec, sci-fi challenge)
21, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore: A Time to Sow (new, spec, off)
22, Cherie Priest: Dreadnought (spec)
23, Sue Grafton: A is for Alibi (1st, new, off)
24, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore: A Time to Harvest (spec, off)
25, Cherie Priest: Ganymede (Spec, fun)
26, Italo Calvino: Marcovaldo or the Seasons in the City (2nds, off)

Comics:
5, Kurt Busiek and George Perez: Avengers: The Morgan Conquest
6, Avengers Assemble vol. 1

Novellas:
3, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Dragon’s Tooth
4, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Assassin’s Dagger

April
27, Kerry Greenwood: Blood and Circuses fun
28, Robin McKinley: Spindle’s End (spec, once)
29, Jennifer Estep: Spider’s Bite (1st, new, spec, once)
30, Carolyn Crane: Mind Games (1st, once, spec, new)
31, Barbara Hambly: Dragonsbane (off, 1st, spec)
32, Kevin Hearne: Hounded (1st, new, spec)
33, Jules Verne: From Earth to the Moon (off, 1st, sci-fi, new)

Comics
8, Avengers Assemble vol. 2

Novellas
6, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Coolhunting
7, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Becalmed

May
34, Robert Greenberger: A Time To Love (new)
35, Liz Williams: The Iron Khan (off, spec, once)
36, Robin McKinley: Sunshine (off, spec, once)
37, Jack Vance: The Dying Earth (new, spec, once)
38, Kerry Greenwood: Urn Burial (fun)
39, Elizabeth A. Lynn: Watchtower (new, spec, once, 1st)
40, Liz Williams: Empire of Bones
41, Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked This Way Comes (new, spec)
42, Tanya Huff: Blood Price (Off, 1st, spec, new)

Comics
9, The Avengers: Nights of Wundagore by David Michelinie and John Byrne
10, Avengers: Living Legends
11, Avengers/Thunderbolts Volume 1: The Nefaria Protocols
12, Avengers: Above and Beyond

Movies:
1, Mirror, Mirror

June
43, Tanya Huff: Blood Trail (2nds, spec, once, off)
44, Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere (spec, once)
45, Carolyn Crane: Double Cross (once, 2nds, spec)
46, Fritz Leiber: Swords in the Mist (once, spec, off)
47, Karin Lowachee: The Gaslight Dogs (new, off, spec, once)
48, Elizabeth Bear: The Sea Thy Mistress (spec)
49, Sarah Jane Stratford: The Moonlight Brigade (2nds, spec, immortals, off))
50, C. J. Cherryh: Downbelow Station (spem sci-fi challenge)
51, Liz Williams: the Poison Master (fun)

Short stories:
DB Jackson: A Spell of Vengeance

Comics:
13, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
14, Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War

July:
52, Liz Williams: Nine Layers of Sky (fun)
53, Teresa Frohock: Miserere (new, spec)
54, Liz Williams: Darkland (1st, spec)
55, Liz Williams: Bloodmind (2nds, challenge)
56, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris: Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel (1st, new, off)
57, Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes, ed.: Chicks Kick Butt
58, John Joseph Adams ed.: The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Comics:
15, X-Men: Second Coming
16, Avengers: Under Siege

August
59, Terry Pratchett: Going Postal
60, Terry Pratchett: Lords and Ladies (off)
62, Robert Greenberger: A Time To Hate (off, 2nds)
63, Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters (fun)
64, Lois McMaster Bujold: Shards of Honor (1st)
65, Amanda McNeil: Waiting for Daybreak (new)
66, David Mack: A Time To Kill (new, off)
67, Bram Stoker: Dracula’s Guest and other weird stories (2nds)
68, Terry Pratchett: Eric (off)

Comics:
17, Avengers Forever
18, Essential X-Men vol. 3

September

69, David Mack: A Time To Heal (off, new)
70, Carolyn Crane: Head Rush (fun)
71, Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge: Black and White (off, 1st, new)
72, Stacia Kane: Sacrificial Magic (rip)
73, Kerry Greenwood: Raisins and Almonds (rip)
74, Rowena Cory Daniells: Besieged (1st, rip)
75, Jocelynn Drake: Pray for Dawn (rip, immortals)
76, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling: Difference Engine (off, new, challenge)
77, Nancy Farmer: The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (new, off, challenge)

October
78, Josh Lanyon: Fatal Shadows (1st, new, off)
79, R. C. Daniells: The Price of Fame (rip)
80, Elizabeth Peters: Borrower of the Night (rip, off, 1st)
81, Karen A. Wyle: Wander Home (2nds)
81, K. A. Stewart: Devil in the Details (off, 1st, new)
82, Susan Wittig Albert: Thyme of Death (off, 1st, new)
84, Terry Pratchett: Guards! Guards! (fun)
85, Rowena Cory Daniells: Exile
86, Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book (rip)

Comics
19, Essential X-Men vol. 4
20, Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (rip)
21, Essential X-Men vol. 5

November
87, Terry Pratchett: Men at arms (off)
88, C. J. Cherryh: Merchanter’s Luck (off)
89, Seanan McGuire: Ashes of Honor (fun)
90, Tara Maya: Wing
91, Jocelynn Drake: Wait for Dusk
92, C. J. Cherryh: Forty Thousand in Gehenna (off)
93, Rowena Cory Daniells: Sanctuary
94, Philip K. Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (scifi)

December
95, Laura Anne Gilman: Burning Bridges (off)
96, Kage Baker: Mendoza in Hollywood (sci-fi, off)
97, Keith R. A. DeCandido: A Time for War, A Time for Peace (off, new)
98, Lilith Saintcrow: Hunter’s Prayer (off, 2nds, immortals)
99, Jasper Fforde: The Eyre Affair (off, scifi, 1st, new)
100, Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Take a Holiday (off, immortal)
101, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Blowback (fun)
102, Roger Zelazny and Robert Sheckley: Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming (immortal, off)
103, Randall Garrett: Lord Darcy Investigates (off)
104, Tanya Huff: Blood Lines (off)
105, The Shadow Conspiracy, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Laura Anne Gilman
106, Tanya Huff: Blood Pact

Happy holidays to everyone!

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