Tag Archives: Goodreads

Life is a series… of series

Having just returned from a quick trip across the Atlantic I had an opportunity to read a couple of books (and load a few as backups). I noticed upon completing these and observing those I’ve loaded that I have a serious series fetish. I personally like coming in when the series is complete so I can binge read, but sometimes that is just not possible. It feels rare these days that you get a book that is one and done – especially in the YA category (although refreshingly, the latest Expiration Day was… I think). EVERYTHING seems to be part of a series. As a wannabe author I’ve read that you should pitch your book (singular) even if you have a series in mind so that you don’t scare away the publishers/agents – but I’ve also read the opposite, if you have a good idea for a series (and can pull it off) put in your query letter that it is a series. I have so many downloaded samples of series starters… I just wish I knew before investing if I was going to be in for a good ride, or if I should stop before I begin.

Anyway – today I wanted to put a lens on these series that I’ve invested in…

Completed series (that I can remember – thank you goodreads):
1) Harry Potter by JK Rowling (beloved beloved beloved)
2) Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (though admittedly, watched the movies, THEN listened to the BBC book on tape – that series is L O N G)
3) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (of course… what YA writer hasn’t read these as inspiration?)
4) Divergent by Veronica Roth (though the last one lost steam)
5) Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (again… what happens with these last books?)
6) Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris (yes I started before True Blood, and she definitely petered out – but watching that HBO series divergence you can see why)
7) His Dark Materials (aka Golden Compass series) by Philip Pullman (definitely started better than it finished, but I do have a dog named Lyra so does deserve a place on this completed list)
8) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (at least I think I finished these… 6th grade stuff!)
9) Wool Series by Hugh Howey (so good! recommend for anyone who likes dystopian)
10) Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown (is this one finished? Don’t know, cruised through Inferno this summer)
11) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (dino-saurs… what’s not to like?)
12) Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larson (gripping, good, cruised through all three in short order)
13) 50 shades by EL James (yep. I read them all. Paperback and all, not even hiding behind my kindle. Silly lightweight porn. Could have probably made one good book instead of three mediocre books)
14) Confessions of a Shopaholic Sophie Kinsella (writes a fun/funny main character who is terrible hopeless but makes you feel better about your own plight)

Abandoned series:
1) Anita Blake Vampire Hunter by Laurell Hamilton (the first few were so good – then they just got lazy and pornographic)
2) Meredith Gentry Fairy Series by Laurel Hamilton (same author and same problem as Anita Blake)
3) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (liked the first book, did NOT like how it ended, trudged through the second book and didn’t continue)
4) Fire and Ice Series by George RR Martin (aka Game of Thrones – made it half way through book three and didn’t want to meet yet another unimportant character or have to refer to the family glossary in the back to see who was killing whom in which family. TOO Much. Thank you HBO for simplifying – though that Red Wedding was a SHOCKER!)
5) The Boyfriend List series by E. Lockhart (read the first one after meeting the author, didn’t love it enough to want to read more)
6) Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (read through the first 2 in this series before giving up)
7) The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro (who doesn’t like a vampire trilogy? me apparently. This started off so well, but then spiraled into mundane, maybe I’ll watch the FX series…)
8) Cormoran Strike series by JK Rowling (definitely not Harry Potter and I apparently don’t like male protagonist detective novels…)
9) The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey (not even sure another one is coming out – but not a fan, didn’t like the characters)
10) Alex Cross by James Patterson (I did like these, but I think I just stopped grabbing the latest one while at the airport…)
11) Kay Scarpetta series by Particia Cornwell (didn’t mind these either… just stopped reading. Watch Bones now if I need a fix)
12) The Black Jewels by Anne Bishop (I think I read the main three from this dark fantasy series – not bad, but when the main protagonists story completed I wasn’t interested in the side character stories)
13) Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia (aka at Beautiful Creatures – apparently this is a good series but honestly I didn’t like either of the main characters and the movie was even worse. Couldn’t do it, as much as I like books about witches…)
14) The Inheritance Cycle (aka Eragon series) by Christopher Paolini (impressive first book for a 16yo writer. Actually own the second two in hardback from the series, but haven’t felt the need to pick up a 1000 page hard back…)

Still going strong:
1) Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (just finished the first one of these on the plane – impressive!)
2) Maze Runner series by James Dashner (about to start book 3 of 3 – but haven’t invested in the .5 versions)
3) Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (gave up on this series after reading the first book, but then picked it up again after watching the cheezy but fun movie, on book 3 of 5 so far)
4) Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead (the first one was mildly amusing, strong protagonist, would’ve abandoned, but my friend let me borrow the next couple, so am currently about to read number 3)
5) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- another Seattle author, like Richelle (these are clever futuristic takes on fairy tales. About to start 3 in at least a series of 4)
6) Stephanie Plum Bounty Hunter series by Janet Evanovich (these are fun to just pick up and read whenever – no need to rush out and binge I’m on 15 of a still going 21 so far!)
7) MaddAddam/Oryx and Crake series by Margaret Atwood (clever adult dystopian. Didn’t love the protagonist, but the second in the series was highly recommended so will go back)
8) The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (not quite the ‘next JK Rowling’ as the previews stated, but good enough to preorder the next one)
9) Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi (only have read one of several in this series, but it was funny so I’ll go back some day. Have the second one loaded on ye ole Kindle)
10) Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde (so cleverly written I have to take long breaks inbetween…)
11) The Passage series by Justin Cronin (love this dystopian series…wish I would have found it AFTER he completed it, waiting is painful)
12) All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (same as The Passage series – waiting for the third book is painful… want it now)

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 24 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Rip Van Winkle has nothing on me!

Hello Readers (aka Mom…)

When we last spoke I expressed that something in my busy fall schedule needed to give. I was working, traveling, writing, blogging, going to a writing class, taking an online anthro class, and trying to read 52 books in 52 weeks (and doing this crazy diet contest with a bunch of people, but that is another story).  I thought that I would be okay just giving up the Anthro class (was a free online course so not really a huge deal if I deferred for a bit).

I ended up being laser focused on work, travel, writing class, dieting and reading. I dropped the anthro class and the blogging, and sadly didn’t quite make 52 in 52  – though read a lot of great books last year (read 48 books I think – which is pretty good considering I started in June tracking my books!).

Now we’re in 2014 and I’ve just passed a milestone birthday (not one with a 0 at the end, but a 5, which is almost as impactful when you’re filling out surveys and the like – I’m not in a new category, blech.) and thinking I need to get BACK into the blogging aspect of the above goals.

The goals of course have been modified slightly this year – yup, I’m a resolution kind of gal (I like goals and deadlines… work better under pressure).  So here they are for all to see (and heck it’s the first day of A month, just not the month – so it’s almost like you’ve been with me the whole time).

1) Read a lot (achieve 52 in 52 this year – no excuses)

2) Keep writing (I am in class until June so that will help.  I’ve also entered a writing contest – yep. that’s write…er right, this shit just got real sort of – more on that later too) & try to keep up on this blog business, if only to work through exercises and keep track of the books I’m reading.

3) Keep on that healthy track.  The diet contest is every other month, which is GREAT during the month, but v. binge worthy when not in the contest.  More on that later

4) De-clutter – always a goal.  Mine this year was the office and closet spaces.  Paul has the kitchen and garage (God help him, we’re Hoarders contestants in there).

5) Couple other financial goals but you don’t need to know those – needless, they’re lofty but attainable with some dedication (and avoidance of Zappos.com).  🙂

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 9 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Reading, reading and more reading…

Okay – class(es) are in full swing. I think taking the writing class and the anthro class that P wanted to take online MIGHT have been biting off more than I can chew. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the writing class. So fun and interesting and I’m really learning a lot. I fear that my interest in writing and the writing class have overshadowed the Anthro class. I’m trying to keep up – but if I don’t get my homework done with P then I fall really far behind. And – since it is a real college course, they have a lot of homework.

Sigh. I wish I had enough energy for both. It is fun taking a class with P. With NANO and launch around the corner, something will have to give.

That said – still on a reading tear. A little bit at a time, and still 5 books behind making my goal of 52 in 52.  I have a quick flight tonight to LA and then back Sunday  – on which I won’t be bringing my surface so no tv/movie distractions!  I currently have 4 books rolling.  Ender’s Game  by Orson Scott Card) – I know, I know, controversy – Orson Scott – not a nice dude.  But I can’t continue to have my scifi geek card if I don’t read this one), Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, A Memoir on Writing by Stephen King (recommended by my prof), and Strunk and White’s Element of Style (again, and this was recommended by Stephen King).   The latter 3 are all actual books, the first is on my kindle.  I’ll bring two with me on this trip so I can read during take off and landing too! 🙂  Let’s see if I can get through two in three days.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 38 books toward her goal of 52 books.
hide

I just finished reading my favorite book of the year – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. He wrote a magical, nerdy, nostalgic book about a geeky gamer who is trying to find the ultimate ‘easter egg’ (gaming term for a hidden code in a video game that gives the player a prize) within a massive open world/mmo video game and win a multibillion dollar fortune. All the 80’s references were AWESOME. And gave me an opportunity to reach out to the author and asked him how he obtained permission for all of the lyrics and other references in the book. It was insane. And written in first person – very fun. I have recommended it to about 20 people as required reading if you are in the gaming industry. 🙂

So on top of all this reading (to hone my ‘craft’ don’t you know…) I also am writing for class and getting ready for NanoWriMo starting November 1st.   This week we got our first homework back – and the prof said after two additional days of lecture and learning that she wanted us all to rewrite our openings taking her feedback in mind.  PHEW.  Having read my piece out loud to P, I wanted to rewrite a bunch of things too.  So that is our homework this week.

One of the things I love about class is that we write each week.  She gives us a topic (week two – write an interview with your main character to learn more about him/her) and we write for about 20 minutes then she asks for volunteers to read out loud for critiques.   She also taught us how to properly critique constructively and positively.  This week’s writing exercise was to write about the catalyst (the point in the story where the ‘hero’ decides to go willingly or unwillingly on their ‘journey’ – think when Luke Skywalker first meets the droids and there is a message for ObiWan that needs to be delivered, then his farm and aunt/uncle are killed forcing him to go on this journey).

My story (for class anyway) has a willing hero going to college, so figuring out the catalyst has been challenging my brain a bit.  In class this week, I wrote the below dialog to help determine what my catalyst is (the protagonist wants to go to college, but does she know where she wants to live yet?  Having spent the past 8 years living on a studio lot, keeping her real identity a secret – would living amongst 50k students be a) overwhelming and/or b) ruin her cover?  Anywhoo – I didn’t have enough time to finish the thought, but I DID volunteer to read out loud in class.  My content is so simple and happy compared to the rest of the epic saga’s  I wanted to get some feedback early.  I did get some good feedback – none really negative though.  This probably means that the story is SO simple they don’t know how to actually say that.  ha!

Oh well – I’m having a good time.

 

Oddie and his band of merry men help me get to 31 of 52!

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 31 books toward her goal of 52 books.
hide

 

Finished Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz this morning. 31 books read on the road to reading 52 this year. Actually wanted to finish so badly was slightly later to work than normal (though we don’t have ‘hours’ so it doesn’t really matter). This book was a strong recommendation from my husband, but I put off reading it for years because I thought the genre was one I wouldn’t like. I really liked it. I didn’t give it 5 of 5 stars only because there were a couple of things in the book that were head scratchers and I want the series to have time to grow.

Not sure if this below part contains spoilers or not – so read on at your own risk.  🙂

This is my first Dean Koontz novel. I usually don’t read horror and for some reason I thought this would be horror. It certainly had some scary moments that were nail biters, and then some gruesome moments (e.g. finding the trophies in the freezer) – but the humor and character development was so rich and enticing that you forgot about those bits quickly after reading them. I loved the character Odd. He was fearless, which helped me as the (sometimes) timid reader be fearless as well. I would categorize this more as a thriller than horror. But perhaps after watching the first season of that creepy show American Horror Story nothing seems like horror anymore.

Near the end there were a couple of doozy twists that I was not expecting which always makes me happy when reading a book too (though one of the twists had me bawling – thanks husband for the recco! sheesh).

I’ve already downloaded the next one and am happy to have ‘discovered’ this series to give me something to read as a go to when I have a hole in the book lineup. Going to take a break for now though – that ending was hard hitting and I need to recover. phew!

Up next?  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  I fly to Tokyo on Monday so will have ample time to read a few books (11.5  hours there and 8.5 hours back yeesh).  But do feel I need to make up some nice ground on this challenge before my novel writing and anthropology class start up later this month and next.