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TSS: May 2011 Reading Wrap-Up

We’re already five days into June and somehow I’ve not yet summarised my May reading! As a month overall, May was pretty average. I spent some time planning my trips, playing various video games (Fable III and Assassin’s Creed, for any fellow gamers out there), and discovering Downton Abbey and How I Met Your Mother. I also decided to go on a book buying ban, which has now taken effect.

My reading took a bit of a hit this month thanks to all of the above. I read 13 books, which is probably the least I’ve ever read since I’ve been blogging, and in vivid contrast to April’s 22. Regardless, I’ve already started to make up for the slow month by reading 4 in June so far! Here’s what I read:

Fiction

I also interviewed Elizabeth Chadwick and participated a bit in Armchair BEA with an intro post and three SEO tips.

Nonfiction

Best of the Month

This month I’d best give my top pick over to Nalini Singh, because this is the month that the Psy-Changeling series hooked me!

caressed by ice

I also, however, really loved The Hemingses of Monticello, Madame Tussaud and Lady of the English and would enthusiastically recommend all three.

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February 2011 Reading Wrap-Up

February was a bit of a mixed bag for me in many ways. In the “real world”, very little actually happened! It was mainly just more of the same; I’ve started an exercise routine in earnest, have been working as usual, and am in general modestly busy. Nothing to complain about but nothing to get excited about either. I did manage to finish an Xbox game I’d got for my birthday, Assassin’s Creed II, so I’m doing a decent job of keeping up my other hobbies as well.

The month was also mixed in terms of reading. I managed to keep up with part of my re-reading goal. I finished Anne of Green Gables and have just sneaked in the start of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. I’ll count that as being mostly on track. I’m still failing pretty hard at writing reviews on time, but I think I’d best just accept that and keep trying to write a full week’s reviews each weekend. The quality of the books I read varied – I had more duds than usual, but as always some good ones as well. In total I read 18 books this month.

Fiction

Nonfiction

  • Bad Science, Ben Goldacre
  • Flow, Elissa Stein and Susan Kim
  • She-Wolves, Helen Castor
  • A Computer Called Leo, Georgina Ferry

In March, I’m looking forward to reading two more Wheel of Time books. I think this may be the year of fantasy re-reads, however, because George R.R. Martin has just confirmed that July 12th is the release date for A Dance with Dragons, the next in A Song of Ice and Fire.

a dance with dragons

I flat out loved the first three and enjoyed the fourth, so this is a must read – but I’ve been waiting five years for it to come out. That means I’ll have to read those four books as well, before July, because no way am I having that spoiled for me. And then there’s The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss’s new book, which came out two days ago, and necessitates re-reading The Name of the Wind. Looks like I’ll be busy … but in a very good way.

How was your reading month?

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January 2011 Reading Wrap-Up

The first month of 2011 is already past us – it’s certainly hard for me to believe! Wasn’t it just Christmas?? We only just took our tree down and I have to say, without holiday cheeriness it’s difficult to take the cold winter. I’m already set for spring yet have months to go.

My reading this month has been pretty good! I read 20 books in the month of January. I had a week off to visit my parents, plus a couple of days at the New Year, so I managed to fit in plenty of reading time. I hope I’ve set a good course for the year ahead. This year I’ve decided to simplify my wrap-ups by splitting books into just fiction and non-fiction. I’m aiming for a more even balance anyway, and classifying gets more difficult by the day!

Fiction

Non-fiction

I can’t choose a favorite this month – I read too many fantastic books! I wholeheartedly recommend Packing for Mars, The Heroine’s Bookshelf, Notes from a Small Island, American Rose, Looking for Alaska, The Raising, Fall for Anything, and You Know When the Men are Gone.

How was your reading month?

I am an Amazon Associate. Some of these books were sent to me for review.

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October 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

I truly can’t believe that October has ended and we’re almost in the long, cold, dark stretch of winter.  About the only thing winter is good for is reading – as well as my birthday, but I’m sure I won’t like that any more either soon! – and I have a lot of that lined up this winter.  Unread book numbers have been pretty constant since July, which isn’t terrible but isn’t great either.  I doubt I’ll make a dent in them this winter with the holiday season coming around, but I can dream, can’t I?

I read 19 books, which is a bit less than normal, but still an entirely satisfying month.  Here’s the breakdown:

Non-fiction

Historical Fiction

Historical Romance

Literary Fiction

  • The Passport, Herta Muller

Contemporary Fiction

  • A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby

Fantasy

  • Of Saints and Shadows, Christopher Golden
  • Spirit Bound, Richelle Mead (YA)
  • Angel Souls and Devil Hearts, Christopher Golden
  • The Demon’s Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan (YA)

This may be the first month ever where my largest category of reading was non-fiction.  I think I like it!  I felt like I was learning a lot this month, and while it may have meant I read less fiction, I really found myself craving facts and history.  There are also a few memoirs in there, which I found quite interesting as well.

The clear favorite for fiction for this month is Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin – I still haven’t got my hands on the sequel, but it’s sitting in the library reservation basket and I’m just waiting for it to come in so I can get to it right away.

How was your October reading?  Are you looking forward to settling in with a book on the ever-colder November nights?

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TSS: September Reading Wrap-Up

September was a bit of a crazy month around here.  First of all, my Kindle arrived, and I’ve read quite a few books on it.  I’m surprised by how much I like reading on it; I don’t want to give up my books but I definitely haven’t wasted my money.  Then I won the Best Historical Fiction Blog award for BBAW 2010, which was really exciting, and I’m still really happy about that.  Then, through a few interesting events at work, I’ve landed into a new job, which is by all means a good thing but also has meant that I’ve spent quite a bit of the last week learning things, and I’m not going to stop learning for some time yet.  The new job is probably all good for my blog though; it should involve far less writing, which means I may actually be able to blog after work and not feel sick of writing all the time.  We’ll see how it goes, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

September was a pretty good month in terms of reading too.  I somehow read 22 books.

Historical Fiction

Non-fiction

  • Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature, George Sullivan
  • Katherine Swynford, Alison Weir
  • Geisha of Gion, Mineko Iwasaki

Romance

Fantasy/Sci Fi

Children’s

Contemporary Fiction

Obviously, historical fiction has completed its comeback and now makes up the majority of my reading once again.  I mainly enjoyed the books I read this month, but I vastly preferred Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion to the rest.  It just completely set itself above much of what I’ve read lately – I found myself marking passages and thinking about it almost constantly.  I feel like I love very few books these days, and this was one I loved.  I can’t wait to tell you about it later this week.

In the meantime, October looks to be another amazing month, or so I’m hoping!  The Read-a-thon is next weekend; I haven’t even begun to think about what I plan on reading and I may join in a bit late, but I will be reading and I’m looking forward to it.  Then, towards the end of the month, my husband and I are going to Paris for a short holiday, which I absolutely cannot wait for.  Otherwise I’m looking forward to reading a lot of good books and enjoying some nice autumn weather if it ever stops raining!

What do you have planned for October?  Will you be reading or cheering during the Read-a-thon next weekend?

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August 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

Amazingly, we have now hit the end of August.  As I’m again going to be working into tonight, I doubt I’m going to be reading any more books, so it’s the perfect time for my regular reading wrap-up.  As usual the breakdown is completely arbitrary as I try to figure out what I’m reading the most of.  I managed an astonishing 24 books this month; I blame the YA.  While most of them were thought-provoking and complex reads, there’s no denying that I do read them faster than adult books, even when they’re enormous chunksters.

Historical Fiction

YA (all genres)

  • The Shadow in the North, Philip Pullman
  • Infinite Days, Rebecca Maizel
  • The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness
  • Monsters of Men, Patrick Ness
  • A Northern Light, Jennifer Donnelly
  • The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

Nonfiction/Memoir

Mystery

Women’s Fiction

  • Maybe This Time, Jennifer Crusie (I actually have no idea where to categorise this)

Literary Fiction

  • Red Hook Road, Ayelet Waldman
  • Bombay Time, Thrity Umrigar

Christian Fiction

I’m surprised to say that my reading was pretty evenly split between the first three of my categories.  It’s almost amusing considering just the other day I said I didn’t read much YA!  I have proved myself very wrong there.  I’m also glad to see how much non-fiction I’ve read; as I finished my MA dissertation nearly a year ago now, I’m absolutely craving interesting information.  I’m actually finding myself more drawn to non-fiction than some fiction and reading it almost as quickly.  I miss learning.

I would also like to report the first success of my scheduled reading project.  I spent all of August reading one review book, one own book, and then one library book, which I planned out for myself in advance.  I did break away from that to read all the Hunger Games books, but I’m right back to it now.  I feel surprisingly accomplished as the pile changes, and it helps a lot that I mix up must read NOW books with interesting non-fiction and slower review books I might otherwise put off.  I’m achieving a greater balance than I was and reading more of what I feel I want to read most rather than just those books which catch my eye or are short enough to read in a day.

Finally, I’m thrilled to be shortlisted for Best Historical Fiction Blog in BBAW 2010!  I didn’t even know the shortlists were out but I received a lovely email this morning with this fantastic banner:

Thank you!

How was your reading month?

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July 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

I’m going to go ahead and assume I won’t finish The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet or How Dolly Parton Saved My Life today, so my wrap-up for the month should be accurate now.

July was a pretty busy month, given that we had two weeks’ holiday in the middle, but I still managed to read plenty.  I completed 19 books and I enjoyed most of them.  As you can see below, I have probably overcome my aversion to historical fiction.  It’s just about choosing unfamiliar places and time periods these days, I think.  I also have a depressing number of reviews to work on!

Historical Fiction

Romance

Fantasy/Horror

Non-fiction/memoir

  • The Boy Who Loved Books, John Sutherland
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby
  • Down Under, Bill Bryson

YA

  • The Ruby in the Smoke, Philip Pullman (mystery)
  • Envy, Anna Godbersen (historical fiction)

Women’s Fiction

  • The One that I Want, Allison Winn Scotch
  • Writing Jane Austen, Elizabeth Aston
  • How to be an American Housewife, Margaret Dilloway

At least this month, I am able to choose a favorite, and that’s Brooklyn.  I just adored that book and looking at it makes me want to read it all over again.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I don’t have too much planned for next month, but I know I’ll be reading and giving away copies of The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The White Queen last year so I’ve found myself looking forward to this one, and I hope I’ll be as excited to share it with you after I’ve read it.

How was your month in reading?

Some of these books were sent to me for free for review.

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June Reading Wrap-Up

Can you believe that it’s July?  I certainly can’t; months seem to be flying by these days!

I’ve done pretty well with my reading this month.  I managed 18 books, so I’ve read a little more than half a book every day.  I think that’s pretty good; I have no idea how I’m managing it, but I’m pleased with this rate and I hope I can manage it.  I think I’d have managed to read even more if I hadn’t spent most of the last three days of the month working!

I won’t be doing a genre breakdown today; I don’t have my spreadsheet with me so it isn’t as easy as normal.  I’ll just list them instead.

  1. Eden Springs, Laura Kasischke
  2. Day for Night, Frederick Reiken
  3. Wild Romance, Chloe Schama
  4. Flirting with Forever, Gwyn Cready
  5. The Mistress of Nothing, Kate Pullinger
  6. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson
  7. Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater
  8. Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
  9. Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok
  10. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, C.W. Gortner
  11. Ten Things I Love About You, Julia Quinn
  12. The Blue Orchard, Jackson Taylor
  13. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, Kelly O’Connor McNees
  14. Dragon Haven, Robin Hobb
  15. Katherine, Anchee Min
  16. The Radleys, Matt Haig
  17. Don’t Tempt Me, Loretta Chase
  18. The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, Gina Ochsner

I actually had a few disappointments this month, so my favorites are very easy to choose!  I’ll have to go with The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner for making historical fiction interesting again.  I definitely recommend both of those.

I’m not sure what I’ll be reading in July.  I have two weeks off to visit my parents, so I’m sure I’ll get some read, but I’m going to leave my choices up to the whim of the moment!

Do you have any summer reading plans?

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May 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

It was a bit quiet on my blog here last week.  I intended to post more and participate more in Armchair BEA, which was a great idea, but I found that I didn’t have the energy for it at all.  I’ve discovered that I generally prefer reading to blogging; if given a choice, I will read and ignore the reviews that are piling up.  I even have maintenance to do with regards to my change in address – change my feed and redirect all my posts, for just two things – but I haven’t managed to convince myself to do that either.  Writing lots for work has in some respects taken the fun out of writing for my own blog.  I’m resolved to try and get back into it this month now that everyone is back from BEA and the chatter about it will quit depressing me!

Anyway, May wasn’t too bad as months go.  I read 18 books, which isn’t very much for me but still amounts to a book every two days.  I’m impressed with that; at times I didn’t feel like I was getting anything read!  I think that’s because I read three chunksters, particularly the 900+ page Lonesome Dove, but I managed to read quite a few shorter books in between.  Here’s what I finished:

Historical Fiction

Historical Romance

Non-fiction/Memoir

YA (all genres)

Fantasy

  • Kitty’s House of Horrors, Carrie Vaughn

Literary Fiction

Overall, I think my month was spread fairly evenly across genres, with the exception of fantasy.  As you can probably see, I still have a lot of review writing to catch up on.  I’ve almost finished the review for Wicked Becomes You but the rest are pretty much untouched.  I’ll be working on those this week, but I don’t think I’m going to get back to daily posting unless I hit up some memes or come up with and actually do a weekly feature.

I also wanted to give everyone a quick reminder – next week, on June 8th at 4:30 pm EST, I’ll be on That’s How I Blog chatting with Nicole.  The book we’ll be discussing is The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer, so if you’ve got it handy, give it a read and join us!  Even though I’ve had to have an earlier time, I still hope at least of few of you will be able to listen in.  I’m a bit anxious about it already, but I’ve really enjoyed listening to the previous shows and hope mine is half as fun.

I hope some great reads await you in June!  I hope to get through:

  • Day for Night, Frederick Reiken
  • Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan
  • Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
  • Dragon Haven, Robin Hobb
  • The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, Kelly O’Connor McNees
  • The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
  • Empress Orchid, Anchee Min
  • The Passage, Justin Cronin

Any great ones in that list to start with?

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April 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

I was really interested to see what happened with my reading this month.  It’s my first full month working full-time ever, so I figured my reading was going to take a hit.  It did, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.  I finished 18 books this month.

Fiction

Classics

Romance

YA Fiction

  • Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld
  • How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
  • What I Was, Meg Rosoff

Fantasy

Non-fiction

  • Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah

I’m also pleased to see that I managed three non-fiction books.  Okay, one was a YA memoir and the other was a very short celebrity memoir, but I am trying harder to include non-fiction in my reading choices.  You’ll also notice that only three of these books were set before the twentieth century, and one was written in the nineteenth century anyway.  How unusual is that?  I’m actually reading a historical fiction novel at the moment, but typically it’s not resonating with me.  So we’ll see how that goes.

I read a ton of great books this month, though.  Favorite non-fiction is definitely The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I would put it above much of the fiction as well, actually.  I’m not sure I can choose a fiction novel – it may have to be Under the Skin by Michel Faber which has remained with me so far.

A few changes are going to be taking place around here.  I am moving my blog to medievalbookworm.com very soon, so I may have a new feed address.  I’ll be sure to post it on twitter and facebook when that happens so if you’d like to keep subscribing, please stay aware!  I have a lot of changes to enact with all of this so some links may be broken, etc., but this is something I need to do before it gets even more difficult!  If anyone knows of a good way to redirect all of my old review links to my new site, please do share.  =)  In the meantime, have a great weekend!

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