baronessekat: (book)
Ok, I am giving up on my last book of the year. I have been trying to read Frankenstein... Since April. I have spent the last 2 hours trying to force myself to read it and get this book done. But i have only achieved reading 2 paragraphs.

I love gothic horror stories, but I have re-affirmed that I hate gothic writing.

So i am declaring myself done. I did not manage to do a unique book for every category. But the two I did not (romance set in the future and book written more than 100 years before you were born) i can double and use books I read for other categories.

But... I got 39 unique books read. I consider that a success. I might have gotten the last two categories done if I hadn't fallen down the rabbit holes that were "read the first book in a series then have to go read/listen to the rest" that hit me in the middle of the year.

Here's the full list of what I read: Read more... )
Overall average rating for the books was 3.59

Summary as asked on Goodreads Forum:
Date you finished: 12/29/16
Favorite prompt (did something get you out of your comfort zone in a refreshing way?) Book guaranteed to bring you joy or A dystopian novel
Favorite book (could be different from the prompt) The Aeronaut's Windlass
Least favorite prompt: A book at least 100 years older than you
Least favorite book Open House and Frankenstein
"I hope they bring back this prompt in 2017" anything but Poetry or book at least 100 years older than you



I am now looking forward to next year's challenge
baronessekat: (book)
MacbethMacbeth by A.J. Hartley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am torn with giving this a 4 or a 5. If I could do a 4.5 I would. I thoroughly enjoyed this novelization of my all-time favorite Shakespearean play. I really liked how the authors brought more depth to the characters of Macbeth and his wife, added more eerie creep factor to the three witches and overall rounded out the story with more history and battles.

Add all that to the reading done by Alan Cummings and you have an utterly entertaining audiobook that I highly, highly recommend.



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The Rime of the Ancient MarinerThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I first read this back in high school and remembered enjoying it then. Now, 25ish years later, that has not changed.

I loved the overall tale, the imagery, the use of words. Returning to the tale after having experienced adulthood, I understand more of the cautionary tale the Ancient Mariner was trying to impart to the young Wedding Guest.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was, is and will always be a true classic and I hope they still have it as required reading in school these days



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Open House: Open House: by Elizabeth Berg

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


How in the world did anyone like this book?

I picked it for a reading challenge for a "book from Oprah's Book Club" and now rather wish I didn't. I found the main character of Sam annoying, self-obsessed, prone to flights of fancy only to become annoyed when those fantasies proved wrong, and down right in need of a good slap upside the head.

Half way through the audiobook I found myself actually saying "are you still yammering on about that?" Then there was the whole mini scene of she looks up Martha Stewart's phone number, calls and leaves a message for her and Martha calls her back... and they end up chatting! Seriously?!?!?!?

1 star is rather generous and most of that is for the actress who read it. Save your time, save your sanity and don't bother with this one.



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baronessekat: (book)
(recommended by woman I was sitting next to on my plane ride home from Thanksgiving - she was reading it and I asked if she would recommend it to another)

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This one is tough to pick a rating for. Part of this is my fault as, based on the title and descriptive blurb I went into this book thinking it was more of a murder mystery novel that happened to be set at the Chicago World's Fair. It is not.

But once I got past that, I felt torn. It really felt like the author wrote two separate books and once they were done he shuffled them together to combine one big one. There is the book all about the minute details of the World's Fair and the creation, building and running of it. Then there is the much smaller book that deals with the psychopathic Holmes and his grizzly deeds.

Because of the title of the book, I honestly expected much more content surrounding the murderer and his actions. Instead he almost felt much like an afterthought.

That being said, I found the book compelling and I learned a great deal about the World's Fair. For what the book turned out to be I'd give it a 4. For what I had expected it to be, I'd give it a 2, maybe a 2.5 so I compromised with my rating and gave it a 3.



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baronessekat: (book)
Let Me InLet Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The best way I can describe this book is a non-stop parade of "WTF?"

A Swedish Vampire story where the vampire is the least scary character, and we see that the truly scary people are tween age boys.

I found the book riveting and disturbing and one that I will never, ever read again, nor do I think I will look to watch the movie either.



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baronessekat: (book)
The Case of the Toxic Mutants (Dragonbreath, #9)The Case of the Toxic Mutants by Ursula Vernon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


And another delightful read.

This time someone has stolen Danny's grandfather's dentures and it's up to Danny, Wendel and their friend Christiana to find out who and why and get them back before Granddad causes trouble at the retirement community.

I look forward to the next book.



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baronessekat: (book)
No Way to Treat a First LadyNo Way to Treat a First Lady by Christopher Buckley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was my first introduction to Christopher Buckly and I can say that I am glad for it. It was a fun, quick book that points a spotlight on the American Judicial System, American Politics and event a bit on American Journalism/Sensationalism.



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Wolf's Empire: GladiatorWolf's Empire: Gladiator by Claudia Christian

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The best thing I can say is that I didn't HATE this book. But I certainly didn't like it.

The initial idea was interesting. The Roman Empire never fell and eventually created the Roman Galactic Empire. A girl from one of the noble families takes to the Gladiatorial Games to seek revenge for the deaths of her Mother and brother.

Sadly I found the main character to be a spoiled, self-centered teenage princess who always refused to look beyond her here-and-now, listen to the advice and council of others and just ended up doing what she wanted and thus getting herself embroiled in more than she could handle, end up addicted to drugs and causing more deaths to friends and family than she started out trying to avenge.

The story itself seemed to drag for me. I kept wondering "is it almost over?" only to discover that I had HOURS left to go in the listening.

I love Claudia Christian and am a huge fan. But I had a hard time separating her iconic role of Susan Ivanova from Accalla and comparing the two. I don't know if this was actually a case of where the reader was a detriment to the book instead of a help.

Regardless, I do not see myself actively seeking out the sequel when it comes out.



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baronessekat: (book)
Nightmare of the Iguana (Dragonbreath, #8)Nightmare of the Iguana by Ursula Vernon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I absolutely love this series of books and have been a fan of Ursula Vernon for almost 15 years when she was barely a known artist.

In this installment Danny Dragonbreath has to save his best friend Wendell from horrible dreams and stop the fearful Dream Wasp from laying eggs in Wendell's subconscious and making his already odd friend insane.

The humor makes even adults laugh, the pictures are great and I am always recommending this series of books to people with kids.



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baronessekat: (book)
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to DoThe Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do by Sarah Knight

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is actually a 2.5 star rating.

I realize this book was written as a parody of "the life-changing magic of tidying up" but this did have good points on how to better handle personal obligations as well as mental, emotional and physical energy. I equate the advice of this book to that of the idea of spoon theory.

I did find myself getting very tired of the constant use of the f-word through out it, especially because she would say "you know what" instead of sh*t.

I don't know if I would recommend this book to others but it did cause me to do some thinking on the way I do things.



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Directions to the Beach of the DeadDirections to the Beach of the Dead by Richard Blanco

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am not generally one for poetry, having had it rammed down my throat in high school and college English classes.

But a reading challenge had the category "a book of poetry". I wandered the stacks of my library and saw this little book that somehow caught my eye.

This is something about Blanco's writing that spoke to me. His imagery with words enabled me to see the places he talked about, feel the emotions he was trying to convey. The poems "The Return from El Cerrado" and "How Can You Love New York" each made me pause in my readings to just absorb the emotions and images.

I can see what this poet was selected as the "2013 Inaugural poet" by President Barack Obama.



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baronessekat: (book)
The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


No other way to begin but "wow".

I did this as an audiobook and am really glad I did. I think the reader helped draw me in and keep me completely enthralled with the story the whole time. I seriously kept finding reasons to listen to this book as I wanted... no needed to find out what came next.

The language of the book makes the time era and the cultures come alive. I loved how the author made two mythical beings relatable and at times endearing. I don't know if the author plans to write more in this world or not. If she does, I will happily and whole-heartedly return.


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Daybreak (Fate's Forsaken, #4)Daybreak by Shae Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


*note: this review has been written months after I finished the book, as I did not realize it fit a category for the challenge*

I thought this was a good wrap up for the series, though parts felt a bit rushed in order to tie up all the ends.

It was not as intense as previous books in the series but it worked for me.

As an ending, it left me satisfied and not wishing there were more in this particular tale, though I would happily return to the world, either as prequels or follow ups in another time or place.



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baronessekat: (book)
HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Marissa Meyer does it again with a wonderful fairy tale. This time the prequel to Alice Through the Looking Glass and the telling of how the Queen of Hearts came to be.

I found myself constantly wanting to return to the book in order to find out what was next in the story. Well done, and I highly recommend it to all.



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The Girl with the Lower Back TattooThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I went into this book knowing very little about Schumer other than she was a comic. But I enjoyed her vignettes about aspects of her life and found her very relatable. the book itself was a bit reminiscent of "Let's pretend this never happened" by Jenny Lawson, another book that I really liked.

Schumer's humor comes through in every chapter, even the serious and sometimes gut wrenching ones. I don't know if I would read/listen to it again, but I am glad I did and may actually look into her comedic work.



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baronessekat: (book)
I Am MalalaI Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I enjoyed this book and the reading of it. I found myself more in awe of Malala as the book progressed.

I fully recognize that I had and have so much more than many people in the world do. I intellectually knew of the persecution of women and the denial of many to education. But hearing it in the words of one who experienced it made it more real.

This was indeed a book I am glad I read/listened to and would recommend to another.



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Something Wicked This Way ComesSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I can see how others liked this book. And I think if I had come to it earlier in my life (pre-teen/teenager) I would have liked it more. That being said, it was ok.

I did like that it was more or less from the viewpoint of the boys. It was mostly when we got an inner look at Charles that I felt ambivalent. I couldn't feel any sympathy for the character.

The overall plot was interesting, but the ending felt rather contrived to me.

I would recommend this book for a pre-teen/teenager but probably not for an adult. And I will not be seeking out others by Bradbury. Just not my cup of tea.



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A Brief History Of Time: From The Big Bang To Black HolesA Brief History Of Time: From The Big Bang To Black Holes by Stephen Hawking

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I came to this book because of a reading challenge and this fell into the category of "A book recommended by a family member" (in this case my Mom's cousin) and it is not something I would have picked up on my own accord.

I was leery because my knowledge of physics comes from the TV show "The Big Bang Theory" and I stopped taking math in high school as soon as I was able to.

That being said, I enjoyed this book. I found it educational and surprisingly funny. This book made the topic approachable to the lay person who has no, or next to no, knowledge of physics and all the scientific theories about the creation of the universe.

I am glad I was challenged to read it and would recommend it to another.



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Poison: The Fate's Forsaken Prequel NovellaPoison: The Fate's Forsaken Prequel Novella by Shae Ford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I enjoyed this brief glimpse into the world before Harbinger happened. That ever so brief vignette into the backstory of one of the characters, specifically the Countess, has me intrigued and hoping that Ford writes more of these little backstories.

This and the first two books in the series have my attention enough that I will certainly finish the series and be on the look out in hopes we get more prequel novellas.



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