Friday, January 1, 2016

What I Read And What I Rejected In 2015

Once again, mysteries are my favorite genre, coming in at 66/129 or 51%.  No surprises there.
My goal was to read 130 books this year.  If you just look at the main list, then I didn't quite make it.  But if you count my re-readings/revisions of my own manuscripts, then I passed my goal.

Here's the main list:

  1. Armoires and Arsenic by Cassie Page **** cozy 1/3/15
  2. In the Wake of the Plague by Norman Cantor ** prejudiced, condescending non-fiction 1/4/15
  3. 1603 by Christopher Lee *** non-fiction 1/12/15
  4. As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust by Alan Bradley **** cozy 1/14/15
  5. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie **** mystery 1/16/15
  6. Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills **** MG realistic fiction 1/27/15
  7. The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp *** YA historical paranormal 1/30/15
  8. Crafting a Meaningful Home by Meg Mateo Ilasco *** non-fiction, crafts 1/31/15
  9. Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing by Kathy Cano Murillo *** non-fiction, crafts 1/31/15
  10. The Secret of Terror Castle by Robert Arthur *****MG mystery 2/6/15
  11. Dorm Room Decor by Smith and Gonzalez ** non-fiction, crafts 2/6/15
  12. The Christmas Book by Council Oak Books ** non-fiction, crafts 2/7/15
  13. Recreative by Steve Dodds ** non-fiction, crafts 2/7/15
  14. Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton *** cozy mystery 2/8/15
  15. Fabric Memory Books by Lesley Riley **** non-fiction, crafts 2/9/15
  16. The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot by Robert Arthur *****MG mystery 2/10/15
  17. The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur ***** MG mystery 2/11/15
  18. The Mystery of the Green Ghost by Robert Arthur ***** MG mystery 2/12/15
  19. The Case of the Vanishing Treasure by Robert Arthur ***** MG mystery 2/12/15
  20. Prophet’s Prey by Sam Brower ***** non-fiction (FLDS) 2/13/15
  21. The Secret of Phantom Lake by Robert Arthur ***** MG mystery 2/13/15
  22. No Mallets Intended by Victoria Hamilton *** cozy mystery 2/15/15
  23. Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton *** cozy mystery 2/17/15
  24. Muffin But Murder by Victoria Hamilton *** cozy mystery 2/18/15
  25. The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison ***** mystery 2/21/15
  26. Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith ***** paranormal A/A 3/2/15
  27. Stitching Snow by RC Lewis *** YA sci-fi 3/8/15
  28. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black **** YA fantasy 3/9/15
  29. A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas *** YA fantasy 3/11/15
  30. Charisma by Jeanne Ryan *** sort of sci-fi YA romance 3/12/15
  31. The Secret of Skull Island by Robert Arthur ***** MG mystery 3/12/15
  32. Prudence by Gail Carriger more or less YA steampunk paranormal 3/21/15
  33. The Mystery of the Fiery Eye by Robert Arthur *****MG mystery 3/23/15
  34. A Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina **** self-pub YA steampunk 3/25/15
  35. The Victorian Home by Judith Flanders ***** non-fiction 3/28/15
  36. Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Pamela Hill Smith, ed) **** non-fiction 4/4/15
  37. The Secret of the Silver Spider by Robert Arthur ***** MG mystery 4/8/15
  38. The Mystery of the Purple Pirate by ?? ***** MG mystery 4/9/15
  39. The Polygamous Wives Writing Club by Paula Kelly Harline *** non-fiction 4/11/15
  40. The Secret of the Crooked Cat by ?? ***** MG mystery 4/12/15
  41. The Mystery of the Magic Circle by Arden ***** MG mystery 4/14/15
  42. The Mystery of the Shrinking House by William Arden ***** MG mystery 4/14/15
  43. The Mystery of Monster Mountain by ***** MG mystery 4/16/15
  44. The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints by MV Carey *****MG mystery 4/18/15
  45. The Taking by Kimberly Derting *** YA sci-fi 4/20/15
  46. The Mystery of the Dead Man’s Riddle by William Arden ***** MG mystery 4/20/15
  47. The  Mystery of the Rogues’ Reunion by Marc Brandel ***** MG mystery 4/21/15
  48. The Mystery of the Missing Mermaid by MV Carey ***** MG mystery 4/22/15
  49. The Mystery of the Coughing Dragon by Nick West ***** MG mystery 4/23/15
  50. The Mystery of the Talking Skull by Robert Arthur ***** MGmystery 4/26/15
  51. The Mystery of Death Trap Mine by MV Carey ***** MG Mystery 4/27/15
  52. The Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs by   ***** MG mystery 4/27/15
  53. The Mystery of the Two Toed Pigeon by Marc Brandel ***** MG mystery 4/28/15
  54. The Mystery of the Smashing Glass by William Arden ***** MG mystery 4/29/15
  55. The Mystery of the Scar Faced Beggar by MV Carey ***** MG mystery 4/30/15
  56. The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow by MV Carey ***** MG mystery 5/1/15
  57. All Four Stars by Tara Dairman ***** MG realistic 5/3/15
  58. The Mystery of the Headless Horse by W. Arden ***** 5/5/15
  59. The Mystery of the Kidnapped Whale by Marc Brandel ***** 5/6/15
  60. The Mystery of the Moaning Cave by Willaim Ardn ***** 5/9/15
  61. The Mystery of the Creep Show Crooks by MV Carey ***** 5/9/15
  62. The Secret of Shark Reef by William Arden ***** 5/10/15
  63. Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare ***** (1st period) drama 5/11/15
  64. The Mystery of the Deadly Double by William Arden ***** 5/11/15
  65. The Mystery of the Dancing Devil by William Arden 5/12/15
  66. Time Travel Trailer by Karen Nortman *** chicklit 5/12/15
  67. Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare ***** (3rd period) drama 5/13/14
  68. The Mystery of Wreckers’ Rock by William Arden MG mystery ***** 5/14/15
  69. Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare ***** (5th period) drama 5/14/15
  70. Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare ***** (8th period) drama 5/14/15
  71. The Mystery of the Wandering Caveman ***** by MV Carey MG mystery 5/15/15
  72. The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo **** non-fiction 5/18/15
  73. The Mystery of the Trail of Terror by MV Carey *** MG mystery 5/19/15
  74. The Mystery of the Nervous Lion by Nick West ***** MG mystery 5/21/15
  75. The Mystery of the Cranky Collector by MV Carey ***** MG mystery 5/23/15
  76. A Dollhouse To Die For by Cate Price *** cozy mystery 5/24/15
  77. Green Living Can Be Deadly by Staci McLaughlin *** 5/26/15
  78. The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan ***** non-fiction, humor 5/28/15
  79. The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason *** YA steampunk paranormal time-travel 6/1/15
  80. A Bushel Full of Murder by Paige Shelton ***** cozy 6/4/15
  81. Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay *** cozy 6/6/15
  82. Fundraising the Dead by Sheila Connolly **** cozy 6/8/15
  83. Fire Engine Dead by Sheila Connolly **** cozy 6/11/15
  84. Let’s Play Dead by Sheila Connolly **** cozy 6/13/15
  85. The Vampire Book: the legends, the lore, the allure. *** non-fiction 6/15/15
  86. How To Be A Vampire by Amy Gray *** non-fiction 6/16/15
  87. Monument to the Dead by Sheila Connolly *** cozy 6/18/15
  88. Razing the Dead by Sheila Connolly *** cozy 6/19/15
  89. Frankenstein: A Cultural History by Susan Tyler Hitchcock ***** non-fiction 6/20/15
  90. Thor Heyerdahl In Brief by ? ***** non-fiction 6/29/15
  91. Bryggen Guide Book by ? ***** non-fiction 7/3/15
  92. Santa Cruise by Mary Higgens Clark *** cozy 7/5/15
  93. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ***** (3rd? time -- at least) historical fiction 7/9/15
  94. The Mystery of the Singing Serpent by MV Carey ***** MG mystery 7/17/15
  95. The Mystery of the Invisible Dog by MV Carey *** MG mystery 7/19/15
  96. How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Steven Marche *** non-fiction 7/15/15
  97. Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudson **** YA paranormal 7/29/15
  98. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil McGregor non-fiction ***** 8/8/15
  99. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee ***** historical 8/10/15
  100. Uprooted by Naomi Novik ***** YA Fantasy 8/15/15
  101. The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman ***** MG realistic 8/21/15
  102. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George ***** YA paranormal 8/24/15
  103. The Agency: Rivals in the City by YS Lee MG/YA mystery **** 9/2/15
  104. The Cracked Spine (ARC) by Paige Shelton **** cozy mystery 9/15/15
  105. Emma by Jane Austen ***** romance 9/20/15
  106. Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell ***** YA steampunk fantasy (fairytale retelling) 9/25/15
  107. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy **** YA realistic 9/27/15
  108. The Poe Estate by Polly Shuman *** MG Horror/Paranormal. 10/3/15
  109. The Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis *** YA A/A 10/6/15
  110. Into the Stone Circle by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel ***** YA ghost story 10/11/15
  111. Generic Vampire Novel #937 Part 1: American Sexy *** action/adv/paranormal 10/28/15
  112. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis **** YA historical thriller 10/29/15
  113. Jackaby by William Ritter **** humorous YA paranormal mystery 11/3/15
  114. Ancient Appetites by Oisin McGann **** YA 14+ steampunk A/A 11/6/15
  115. Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger ***** YA steampunk 11/8/15
  116. When Books Went To War by Molly Guptill Manning 11/14/15
  117. Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin ***** YA paranormal alt. history 11/19/15
  118. Soundless by Rachel Mead ***** YA fantasy 11/29/15
  119. A Killing In Zion by Andrew Hunt ***** historical mystery (LDS) 12/5/15
  120. His Right Hand by Mette Ivie Harrison ***** mystery (LDS) 12/6/15
  121. Lethal Letters by Ellery Adams **** mystery 12/13/15
  122. The Last Word by Ellery Adams **** mystery 12/14/15
  123. To Helvetica and Back by Paige Shelton ***** cozy mystery 12/21/15
  124. The Humbug Murders by LJ Oliver **** crime 12/22/15
  125. Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase ** romance 12/23/15
  126. The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan ***** non-fiction 12/27/15
  127. City of Saints by Andrew Hunt **** historical (LDS) mystery 12/28/15
  128. Da Vinci’s Tiger by LM Elliot ***** YA historical fiction 12/30/15
  129. Lord James Harrington and the Winter Mystery ***** cozy mystery 12/31/15

Here's the manuscript list:

  1. The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay 2/15/15
  2. The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay 4/12/15
  3. The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay 4/26/15
  4. The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay 7/11/15
  5. The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay 7/23/15
  6. The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay 8/31/15
  7. Nerissa MacKay and the Secrets of the Seventeen Scrolls 9/12/15
  8. The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay 10/4/15
  9. Nerissa MacKay and the Secrets of the Seventeen Scrolls 10/26/15

And, what usually ends up being people's favorite thing to read each year, here's the list of what I began but did not finish.  It's not a completely coherent list, as I just scribble down notes, either in anger or disgust, but here 'tis anyway:

  1. The Invention of Murder by Judith Flander.   Too slow moving.  I got bogged down about 100 pages in. early April
  2. The Victorian City by Judith Flanders.  Again, I expected this to move like Victorian Home did, but it was just too much Dickens and not enough of non-fiction sources.  Parts were interesting, but parts were too preachy about the poor (just like Dickens).  I kept drifting off to read other things.  After about 250 pages, I just gave up.  4/26/15
  3. The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy. Three plots in about 10 pages.  Forget it.  4/18/15
  4. Nonna’s Book Of Mysteries by Mary Osborne.  It sounded so promising, but the pace is so slow!  And the protagonist is dumb and lacking personality!  Ugh.  50 pages. 5/7/15
  5. Skeleton Crew by Halber.  about a chapter in.  It’s interesting, but far too gruesome for my mood. 5/15/15
  6. Scrapped by Mollie Cox Bryan.  After 4 chapters of reading, I could not stand it anymore. The author tried to use 3rd person omniscient by switching the focus every chapter -- and it was a mess!
  7. Time Salvager by Wesley Chu.  1st chapter.  Quite well-written, but life’s too short to waste it reading Ender’s Game spin-off set in claustrophobia-inducing space ships. 7/24/15
  8. I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest.
I should have known better.  I threw aside her Boneshaker in disgust a couple of years ago when she tried to write for YA but focused all her attention on the mother in the story.  This is truly bad form.  I don't understand why her books are so popular when she has no clue who her audience is.  Of course, she's probably writing for adults who read YA and not for actual kids, but I still loathe it when authors say they've got a certain audience and then write for another.
X has the same problem from a different angle.  In this one, Priest talks to the reader as if s/he is a 9-year-old.  It's condescending.  I could not stand it after a couple of chapters.
This one's going back to the library unfinished. 7/28/15
9. The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson.
This one sounded really good, but it's so cliche that it's boring.  Also, the protagonist is exactly that sort of silly airhead that makes a terrific foil for a likable female protagonist but who makes a lousy protagonist.  I do not like dumb protagonists; I cannot relate to them and I have no patience with them.  This protagonist is a sweet, charming, stupid girl.  After 92 pages of this and a predictable plot, I gave up. 7/28/15
10. Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie.
Remember what I just said about hating stupid protagonists?  Well, this book is infinitely worse than Princess Spy.  This protagonist gives his passport and travel documents to a pretty girl who claims to be in danger.
Nope.  I do not waste my time with protagonists that dumb.
When I grabbed the book, I thought it would be a detective solving a mystery about an exceptionally dumb person, but no, the main character is the idiot.
I'm not wasting my time. 7/30/15
11. Tales of the South Pacific by James Mitchener. It’s actually pretty decent; I just don’t have the time right now. 7/31/15
12. The Watchmaker of Filigree St. by Natasha Pulley.  Great characterization, but it’s mixing the Irish Troubles of the 1980s with Victorian England, which I don’t like, and I read in a review that the action will move to Japan. Japan doesn’t interest me.  about 40 pages 8/3/15
13. Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke. This is clearly a book later on in a series and the author does NOTHING to explain to the reader who’s who among the NUMEROUS side characters and backstories.  So very confusing. four chapters 8/10/15
14. Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas. This is a fairytale dystopia which is not a particularly good mix.  It’s told in 1st person POV -- except when it switches to 3rd person limited to focus on the male love interest.  This is highly annoying.  Also, it’s told in present tense, which is always annoying.  I stopped reading when the characters were so incredibly stupid as not to realize they might be chased if they were to escape a locked compound wherein other people had been killed for even attempting to escape.  Stupid protagonist + 1st person POV is a recipe for nothing but anger on my part, so I quit reading.  9/26/15
15. Reawakened by Colleen Houck YA paranormal. I must say that a YA mummy book sounded good, as that’s the only traditional monster unexplored in the last few years.  But the characterization in this was so pathetic that I gave up in 24 pages. 10/2/15
16. Sherlock, Lupin, and Me: the soprano’s last song. by “Irene Adler” I like some Holmes adaptations, but this one took way too many liberties with Holmes’ basic personality.  Five chapters. October, 2015
17. Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez.  This is another book which everyone claims is good just because it has a non-white protagonist.  It does take more than that to make a book good, you know.  This book tries to be a Dan Brown novel for kids, but it just doesn’t work; it’s too unbelievable to have a girl watch her dad get shot and not freak out, to have her friend just happen to know a bunch of secret passages in Italy.  Nope.  This doesn’t work with kids.  four chapters. October, 2015
18. The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. I guess I just don’t care about Venice that much. 17 pages. October, 2015
19. Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson.  I didn’t like the premise after just a few pages, which is weird, because I love her other books. October, 2015
20. The Story Spinner by Becky Wallace.  I’ve tried and tried to read this, but it jumps around so much that I can’t make myself care about any of the characters. October, 2015
21. Six of Crows by Leigh Barduga. I really, really wanted to like this, but it’s depressing and violent, and I don’t like the world.  134 pages. October, 2015
22. Lockwood & Co: the Screaming Staircase by Johnathan Stroud. 27 pages of silliness were all I could stomach. 11/13/15
23. Robbie Forester & the Outlaws of Sherwood Street by Peter Abrahams.  I guess I should’ve expected as much from a Robin Hood story, but the whole successful-business-people-are-evil/homeless-people-are-good thing was a bit too Socialist for me.  Gag. 45 pages. Nov. 2015.
24. Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch.  I guess it’s been too long since I read the first book in the series.  I’d totally lost the story and it was not worth the effort to find it again.  After 22 pages, I found I didn’t care at all about the characters anymore. Nove. 2015.
25. Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher.  It sounded great, but the fantasy world made no sense and had way too much chasing arround with no plot.  52 pages. November, 2015

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you read so many books! We don't have many authors in common - I guess many are known mainly in the US. Good reading in 2016, Lisa!