Challenge Wrap-Up, End of Year Wrap-Up, READING CHALLENGES 2010

2010 Reading Challenges Wrap-Up

So I didn’t do as good on my reading challenges as I had hoped, but that’s okay. I’m still pleased with what I accomplished in 2010. Here’s where I stand in terms of my challenges for 2010:

FINISHED CHALLENGES:

  • Random Reading Challenge (12/12)
  • Thriller & Suspense Challenge (12/12)
  • Finish That Series Challenge (3 Series caught up with)|
    ALEX KAVA’S MAGGIE O’DELL SERIES
    JAMES PATTERSON & MICHAEL LEDWIDGE’S MICHAEL BENNETT SERIES
    TESS GERRITSEN’S JANE RIZZOLI & MAURA ISLES SERIES

 

UNFINISHED CHALLENGES:

  • 2010 100+ Reading Challenge (67/100)
  • Celebrate the Author Challenge (10/12)
  • Countdown Challenge 2010 (45/55)
  • Harry Potter Reading Challenge (1/7)
  • RYOB 2010 (45/50)
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End of Year Wrap-Up, Reading Statistics

2010 Reading Statistics

Well, here it is. The breakdown of my 2010 reading. I had a good year this year, and I’m very happy with where I’m at. I especially like that I was able to read 45 books off of my shelves. That’s great in my opinion (now if I could just get through the other gazillion books on my shelves, haha!) Anyways, without further ado, here is my 2010 reading year in review:

Overview

  • Books Read: 67
  • Books Un-Finished: 6
  • Pages Read: 24,551
  • Male Authors: 22
  • Female Authors: 18
  • New-To-Me Authors: 22
  • Longest Book Read: The Camel Club by David Baldacci (593 pages)
  • Shortest Book Read: The Fun of Dying by Roberta Grimes (149 pages)

Best & Worst

  • Best Reading Month Based on Number of Books: September (8 books)
  • Worst Reading Month Based on Number of Books: November (3 books)
  • Best Reading Month Based on Number of Pages: September (2820 pages)
  • Worst Reading Month Based on Number of Pages: November (1322 pages)

Averages

  • Average Books Read Per Month: 5.58
  • Average Pages Read Per Month: 2045.91
  • Average Pages Per Book: 366.43

Top 10 Favorites (In alphabetical order):

  • The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver
  • 14 by J.T. Ellison
  • The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
  • 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan
  • Black Friday by Alex Kava
  • The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
  • Victim Six by Gregg Olsen
  • The Big Bad Wolf by James Patterson
  • The Spire by Richard North Patterson

Breakdown of the Numbers

  • Page Distributions
    • 0-200 pages: 2
    • 201-300 pages: 8
    • 301-400 pages: 33
    • 401-500 pages: 19
    • Over 501 pages: 5
  • Publication Date
    • 2011: 1
    • 2010: 16
    • 2000-2009: 35
    • 1990s: 11
    • 1980s: 3
    • 1970s: 1
  • By Genre
    • Fiction: 64
    • Non-fiction: 3
  • By Rating
    • 5/5: 18
    • 4.5/5: 7
    • 4/5: 25
    • 3.5/5: 3
    • 3/5: 14
    • 2/5: 0
    • 1/5: 0
    • 0/5 (DNF’s): 6
  • Source of Book
    • Owned: 45
    • Library: 11
    • Review Book: 11
  • Authors Read Multiple Times This Year
    • David Baldacci: 3
    • Patricia Cornwell: 13
    • Tess Gerritsen: 6
    • Erin Healy: 2
    • Alex Kava: 3
    • James Patterson: 9
  • Challenges
    • Challenges Completed: 3
    • Challenges Unfinished: 5
3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell

Book of the Dead
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 511
Rang: 3.5/5
Read: Dec. 24-27, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 67
Format: Print

First Line: Water splashing. A gray mosaic tile tub sunk deep into a terra-cotta floor.

Blurb: Starting over with a unique private forensic pathology practice in the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, seems like the ideal situation for Scarpetta and her colleagues, Pete Marino and her niece, Lucy. But then come the deaths… A sixteen-year-old tennis star, fresh from a tournament win in Charleston, is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. The body of an abused young boy is dumped in a desolate marsh. A woman is ritualistically murdered in her multimillion-dollar beach home. Meanwhile, in New England, problems with a prominent patient at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital begin to hint at interconnections among the deaths that are as hard to imagine as they are horrible. Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones facing her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names – and the pen may be poised to write her own.

Review: (There will be SPOILERS in this review). This is the 15th book in the Kay Scarpetta series. Overall, I felt as if the plot line was much better than the last few in this series have been. But, I do have a few issues with this book (and the series, really). First, let me just state: Pete Marino is a jerk with a capital J. Ms. Cornwell has managed to take a rough, yet likable, character and just totally ruin him and turn him into a disgusting excuse for a man. And Kay, well, if she forgives Marino one more time for a unexcusable offense, I think I will throw up. In general, the characters have really gone downhill as far as their characteristics go. Lucy hasn’t been in a good mood ever since the tumor was found. Benton, well besides the fact that you “kill” him off to bring him back 2 books later, has some serious communication problems when it comes to his feelings and Kay – and he’s a psychiatrist of all things, he should know better! But what really gets me is the fact that Dr. Scarpetta can’t stay in one place! In the last two books, she has moved to 2 different places (Florida, then South Carolina). And, having picked up Scarpetta, the 16th book of this series off my shelf to read next, I know that Kay has once again moved (Boston/NYC). I don’t know why Ms. Cornwell can’t just let her be in one place, all this moving is confusing. You meet new supporting characters, and then never hear from them again because she has once again picked up and moved. Anyways, I guess if you take away all my gripes and get down to the storyline, it’s slightly disappointing as well. There’s all this lead up to the who-dun-it part of the book, and then the killer is revealed (no big shocker, but somewhat of one) and then he’s effectively caught and imprisoned with only a slight mention in two sentences. Really? That’s how you’re going to end this book? Not sure I really care for this series anymore. I know of quite a few people who have given up on this series simply because the writing is not up to par with her early books and the characters are no longer enjoyable. It may be time for me to hang up Dr. Scarpetta as well. I suppose I will give it two more chances (since I have two more books on my shelves), after that I’m not sure I will pick up the latest installment (Port Mortuary) anytime soon.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, Review Book

REVIEW: At the Crossroads of Terror by Lenny Emanuelli

At the Crossroads of Terror
by Lenny Emanuelli

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 224
Rang: 4/5
Read: Dec. 22-24, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 66
Format: Print

First Line: They threw the woman to the ground, naked, on top of a pile of dirt at a construction site on the corner of Front Street and Noble Avenue in Philadelphia

Blurb: An Asian Crime family with the perfect setup, an unsolved double homicide, a billion dollar drug business, a wanna be, big time, news reporter, creating the perfect setting for a suspenseful romantic mystery thriller. Charlie Johnson, a man suspected of killing a local merchant, reluctantly teams of with a television street reporter, Sherry Mann, trying to prove, he is innocent which takes them both deep into the world of an organized Asian street gang, who is on the verge of making their biggest stride, in their drug business.

Review: I received this book for review from Amy at Phenix & Phenix Publicists. This is a very fast-paced, enjoyable thriller. I will say, that I can see where some people might have some issues with the subject matter. But I’m not easiliy upset by what I read, so I had no problem with this book. I throughly enjoyed this book, especially since I probably never would have been made aware of this book had I not had the opportunity for review. I wouldn’t exactly recommend this book for anyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Meme, WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays – Dec. 29, 2010

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?

  • Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

* What did you recently finish reading?

  • Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell (review pending)
  • At the Crossroads of Terror by Leonard Emanuelli (review pending)

* What do you think you’ll read next?

  • I’m not really 100% sure as to where I will go next with my reading. It will really depend on how long it takes me to read my current read. I might be looking for something short to sneak in before the end of the year, or I might be looking for something to start the year (and new challenges) off with. I guess it just all depends on that. Plus whatever strikes my fancy 🙂
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Nonfiction, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, Review Book

REVIEW: Defending the Enemy by Elaine B. Fischel

Defending the Enemy: Justice For the WWII Japanese War Criminals
by Elaine B. Fischel

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 383
Rang: 4/5
Read: Dec. 17-21, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 65
Format: Print

First Line: 1946. World War II had ended and the United States was to occupy Japan.

Blurb: From 1946-48, Elaine B. Fischel worked in Tokyo alongside the American attorneys assigned to defend the Japanese war criminals held responsible for the torture and deaths of millions of civilians and prisoners of war. She recounts the post-WWII transition in Japan to the country’s occupation by their former enemy, and the subsequent surprise on the part of the Japanese citizenry that the U.S. allegiance to democracy meant providing a fair trial even to the men considered the most evil perpetrators or atrocities. In letters to her family at the time, the author as a young woman tries to explain her relationships with the defendants and her own surprise at the growing fondness she felt for many of the “villains” of WWII – particularly prime minister and general Hideki Tojo, known during the war as “Razor.” Defending the Enemy is also the story of a young woman who wants to make the most of her time in a country so full of beauty. Fischel interweaves the activities and intrigues of the trial alongside her tales of travel throughout Japan, her social engagements with high-ranking military and civilians, and her unique enduring relationships, such as her friendship with Emperor Hirohito’s brother, Prince Takamatsu. In doing so, Fischel illuminates the paradoxes inherent during this period in history.

Review: This book was sent to me for review by Phenix & Phenix Publicity. As a history major in college, I was intrigued by this book when it was pitched to me via email. World War II is not a point in our history that I have studied a great deal on, so I was immediately drawn in with the chance to learn something about this time period. I do not read a lot of memoirs, either, so I was also looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked how the author was able to include portions of her letters home to really tell the story of her time in Japan. Ms. Fischel must have been a prolific letter-writer during this time period, but that is great for readers like me who enjoy reading about what life was really like through primary documents, such as letters. I did have two slight problems with the book, though. First, I tired rather quickly about hearing how many men she “dated” during this time span. It seemed like every single letter that was quoted, she was talking about a different man, and how good looking he was. This was fine at first, but like I said, it got to be a little bit repetitive. I understand that she was one of very few women over there, but I’m not sure the point had to be hammered home as often as it was throughout the book. Second, I sometimes felt as if the author switched topics with lightning speed. At one point, on page 117, the author went from attending fancy parties to horseback riding with no real transition paragraph (or sentence!). This was always a big no-no when I was writing papers in college, so it’s something that sticks out whenever I read now. However, those two issues really didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this book. One thing that I really want to point out is how the author really had to handle her feelings toward the defendents in the case. When she was writing letters home to her parents, she had to pretty much conceal her true feelings towards the Japanese because public opinion of the Japanese back home in the United States was so poor. But at times, her true feelings would show through and she would try and explain to her family why she felt such a connection to the people she interacted with on a daily basis. I enjoyed seeing how she tried to explain to her family her thoughts and opinions. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to any history buff. It’s a really interesting read.

4/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES, The Camel Club

REVIEW: Stone Cold by David Baldacci

Stone Cold
by David Baldacci

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 511
Rang: 4/5
Read: Dec. 7-16, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 64
Format: Print

First Line: Harry Finn rose as usual at six-thirty, made coffee, let the dog out into the fenced backyard for its morning constitutional, showered, shaved, woke the kids for school and oversaw that complicated operation for the next half hour as breakfasts wer gulped, backpacks and shoes grabbed and arguments started and settled.

Blurb: Oliver Stone, the leader of the mysterious group that calls itself the Camel Club, is both feared and respected. Keeping a vigilant watch over our leaaders in Washington, D.C., the club has won over allies, but it has also made some formidable enemies… Annabelle Conroy, an honorary member of the Camel Club, is the greatest con artist of her generation. As an old, powerful mark hunts her down and the Camel Club tries to protect her, a new opponent suddenly arises. One by one, men from Stone’s shadowy past turn up dead. Behind this slaughter stands one man: Harry Finn. To almost all who know him, he’s a loving father and husband who uses his skills to keep America safe. But Finn is also an unstoppable killer who now sets his lethal bull’s-eye on Oliver Stone. And with Harry Finn, Stone may well have met his match.

Review: This is the third installment in the Camel Club series. These books just keep getting better and better. I can’t get enough of them. This book, in particular, was really good. I was glad that the readers were finally given more insight into the man behind Oliver Stone – “John Carr.” What I found really surprising was that this book raised just as many questions as it answered in regards to Oliver and his shadowy past. But that’s okay with me – I love the intrigue behind Oliver’s character! It was very sad to see one of the founding members of the Club not make it in this book, but I think that that really opens up things into regards of where the next book will go from here. The ending is especially intriguing, because it is really a big question mark ending – and I love those! It always makes me wanting more … and with this series, I want more right now! I already have the next book in this series, Divine Justice, waiting for me on my shelves. I know it won’t be very long until I get around to it, simply because I’m eager to see where the Camel Club goes next. What kind of trouble will they get into? What kind of trouble will find them?!

DNF Books, End of Year Wrap-Up

2010 DNF Books

So, I got this idea from Marce over at Tea Time with Marce. She posted her DNF books and is offering a spot to link up your DNF list. Here’s mine:

 

  1.  Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol
    ~I wanted SO much to love this book, but I just couldn’t get into it. I’m not really sure what the problem was, to be honest. It just didn’t catch my attention. Maybe I’ll try again sometime next year.
  2. William Coughlin – The Court
    ~I have only read one previous William Coughlin book and I had trouble getting into it. But I took another chance on this author, and I just couldn’t get through it.
  3. Ted Dekker – The Bride Collector
    ~I read (and LOVED) BoneMan’s Daughter last year. I was hoping that this one would be just as good, if not better. And the blurb sounded great. But for whatever reason, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the main character. I might try again some day, but I’m not in any rush.
  4. Paul Christopher – Rembrandt’s Ghost
    ~
    I had read some of the previous books in the Finn Ryan series and enjoyed them. This one, I don’t know if it was the plot or what, but I was not interested in it.
  5. Jeffrey Archer – Sons of Fortune
    ~I read through quite a bit of this book … and I just never liked it. I hated the characters. I found it unbelievable. I simply did not like it one bit.
  6. Steig Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    ~I was told that this book was hard to get into at first, and to get through the first 100-150 pages and then it would pick up. Well I made it to page 186, and I will admit, it got a little bit better. But by that time, I had wasted 3 weeks to get to that point and I just wasn’t all that into it. I only wish I hadn’t wasted the money by buying the second book at the same time as the first….
Miscellaneous Ramblings, Random Book Discussions

Looking Forward to 2011

2010 is almost over. Unbelievable! Either way, this time of year is always fun for book bloggers. We get to look at the new challenges. We get to think about what we want to accomplish in the coming year. We get to look back at what we have accomplished over the past year. Can you tell that I LOVE this time of year when it comes to my reading? I’m a planner. I’m a list maker. I just eat up this kind of stuff 🙂

Anyways, I have already over-extended myself on the challenge front. I took a step back from challenges in 2010; I still participated, but I really only chose those challenges that were open ended. By that I mean there was no set lists, there was no categories to find books to fit into. I thought that that would open up my reading and really let me get back to what I enjoyed. And it did. I have had a great reading year this year, even though my quantity of not where I would like it to be, my quality has been over the moon this year.

I have already been signing up for challenges for 2011. I had made myself swear that I would only sign up for 5. Well, I’ve already failed on that. This morning I signed up for my 6th (and last!) challenge. Looking over the challenges that I have signed up for 2011, I noticed that I have gotten back into the kind that require you to find books that fit into certain categories. That’s what I wanted to get away from in 2010. But I’ve gone right back to it. I don’t care, I enjoy the hunt of finding the perfect books. It seems to me that I am going to have to step out of my comfort zone (crime fiction) quite a bit in 2011. I like that, I want to challenge myself in that manner.

I still hope to work on the book series that I have going. I always have to resist signing up for the First in a Series Challenge because I already have SO MANY series that I am very far behind in! In 2010, I have really taken a look at the book series that I had been working on. Some of them I still love and will NEVER give up on. However, I didn’t feel so guilty when I decided to step away from a few (Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone; Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar; Janet Evanvoich’s Stephanie Plum) I don’t feel bad whatsoever. In fact, I felt a little bit relieved when I made the decision. I also decided that I would read Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt series, but not necessarily every book in the entire series – just those that sounded good to me. I have come to the realization that life is way too short to read books that I don’t like just because they are part of a series that I want to finish. It’s simply not worth the effort.

In 2010 I have had 7 DNF books. This is something that I never would have done a few years ago. But when a book is taking me 2-3 weeks and I’m still under the 150 page mark – it’s time to put it aside. And I feel absolutely no guilt about doing this whatsoever. As stated above, life is too short to read books I don’t like! Although I did have two books on my DNF list that really disappointed me (Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I wanted to enjoy those books SO MUCH and I just didn’t….).

In 2010, I became a lot more selective about which review books I would take on. I decided that it wasn’t doing me any good to accept books for review that I would end up not liking for one reason or another. I have become a lot more selective, I have done a lot more research when I’m first pitched a book. And because of that, I have read some really great books that I NEVER would have found otherwise. I’m very pleased with that.

I’m not very well-known throughout the blog-o-sphere. I want to change that in 2011. I want to come out of my shell and start commenting more on people’s blogs. I want people to become aware of me. I want to hold more giveaways (and have more than 4 people sign up….). I’m considering participation in the Bloggiesta coming up in January (although, I have to double check on the dates and make sure that it’s not scheduled for when I have to go to the World of Concrete in Vegas for work.) ETA: Yep, it is indeed scheduled for the weekend I will be gone…GRRR, oh well, maybe next time.

Anyways, I don’t know where my reading will take me in 2011. I don’t want to plan it out too much. I just want to let it take me where it takes me. I hope 2011 is a great year for us; we have some big plans for 2011. And I don’t want to feel too tied down to my reading. I hope to just be able to read what I want, when I want to. And most of all – I want to have FUN!