Monday, January 4, 2016

I resolve...

to not set traditional New Year's resolutions.
Instead, I plan to pursue fitness goals - including breaking the 30-minute mark on a 5K run, trimming down my half-marathon and 10K times and training with friends to meet the RKC challenge of 100 snatches in 5 minutes with a 16KG kettlebell. I signed up for at least one new race this year, and may try the CrazyLegs in Madison.
2016 will bring an end to my civic duty. I find it fascinating but also sometimes soul-crushing, and the commute forced me to adapt a bit to city driving.
Looking forward to time spent with friends and family, from a baby shower, wedding and hitting the all-nighter during Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech.
Hoping to scrimp and save and indulge in a trip to Florida, and perhaps Colorado.
Perhaps this will be the year I finally get the Magic Mike-themed birthday party I wanted when I turned 40.
Looking forward to 2016 and the adventures that await.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 - My Year in Reading

I went through several reading droughts this year, periods where a week or more went by without me finishing a book. Then I would spend a weekend diving into one book after another (housework is overrated) and caught up. My total for the year according to Goodreads is 219, but I opted not to count several re-reads.
My list of books to read on Goodreads now approaches 800 titles. If I keep my re-reading to a minimum, I hope to put a dent in that number by the time 2017 arrives.

By the Numbers:

Total Books Read: 219 (The total is probably around 225, or more)
Books I read again for the second (or third or more time):  9 (per Goodreads, closer to 16 in reality)
Young Adult/Juvenile Fiction:  16
Romance:  103
Mystery: 46
Nonfiction:  8
Paranormal, Horror, Sci/Fi, Fantasy:   22
Series books: 156
Novellas/Short stories:  7

The authors I read the most in 2014:
John Sandford: 11
Great mysteries set mostly in Minnesota, written by a former journalist. Some plotlines get pretty dark. But once the story hooks you, the book becomes practically impossible to put down.

Richelle Mead: 8
Mostly books written for the teen market, mostly in the paranormal/fantasy genre. Quick, fun reads.

Jenn McKinlay: 4
Essentially what is none as a “cozy” mystery, set in New England and featuring a librarian and her book club friends.

Julie Anne Long: 10
I fell in love with her Pennyroyal Green romance series and anxiously await the final title in the series. It came out last year, and I am still on the waitlist for it through my library. She writes amazing romances. Utterly fabulous.

Lorraine Heath: 11
After reading a romance recommended by a book club I take part in through Facebook, I tore through Heath’s back catalogue. Some are better than others, I did not care for the books set in Texas.

Molly Harper: 4
Paranormal romances with witches, werewolves, shapeshifters and vampires with a great sense of humor.

Elly Griffiths: 5
She writes contemporary mysteries set in the UK featuring a female protagonist, Ruth Galloway.

Amelia Grey: 5
Meredith Duran: 4
Grace Burrowes: 5
Romance novelists I discovered by following my favorite romance authors on Facebook and Twitter.

The final book of the year? “The Rogue Not Taken” by Sarah MacLean. I cannot recommend her books enough. Fabulous romances with richly drawn characters, fast-moving plots and fantastic dialogue. I pre-ordered it from her favorite neighborhood bookstore and scored an autographed copy. 

My favorite books of the year include MacLean’s, plus “The Suffragette Scandal” by Courtney Milan; “Ruffian: Burning From the Start” by Jane Schwartz about the ill-fated filly who rocked the horse racing world; “Mortal Heart” by Robin LaFevers, the last in a fabulous series about female assassins in medieval France, with a fantasy twist, “The Likeness” by Tana French, the second in her Dublin Murder Squad series; “A Dangerous Place” by Jacqueline Winspear, the next in her Maisie Dobbs series. “Brush Back” by Sara Paretsky, the latest in her V.I. Wachowski series set in Chicago, “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, “The Walls Around Us” by Nova Ren Suma, which still haunts me; “How to Start a Fire” by Lisa Lutz, “Revolution” by Russell Brand, “The Martian” by Andy Weir and the books in John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series.
My highest rated romances for the year are by Julie Anne Long. "I Kissed an Earl" and "What I Did For a Duke" and "How the Marquess Was Won."  Utterly brilliant and the books made me laugh, smile, cry and require a fan for the hot flashes. 
Here’s most of what I read in 2015:

I look forward to reading great books in 2016 (including finishing several I started in 2015). What are you reading?