What I Read in 2013

I’m a reader.  I always have a book going, though only one at a time – I just can’t concentrate on more than one story at a time.  Here’s what I read in 2013.  I read 22 books (well, 21.5, I’m not finished with the 21st yet) in 2013, which is less than I usually read in a year.  However, I read some massive books.  The one I’m on now is over 800 pages, and a lot of them were over 600, and a couple were around 1000.  Anyway, on to the books:

1. Into The Wilderness by Sara Donati

This was recommended to me on http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/ because I like love Diana Gabaldon’s books.  This didn’t disappoint.  I was sucked in almost immediately, and continued on with the rest of the series throughout the year.  Loved the nod in the book to Gabaldon’s characters.

2. Dawn on a Distant Shore by Sara Donati

Book 2, same series.  Loved it too.  Let’s just say I spent the first half of the year obsessed with these books.

3. Winter of the World by Ken Follett

I started this one while I waited for book 3 of the Donati series to arrive from amazon.  It was a 960 page behemoth.  It was good.  I’m not sure it was as good as the first in the series, but it was worth reading, and made me think as well.  Provided an entirely new perspective on WWII (though I’m not a history buff at all, so that’s not hard to do).

4. Guns by Stephen King

Super quick kindle single – only 25 pages.  But I loved this book.  King put into words most of what I was feeling about the need for gun reform after Sandy Hook.  It’s on my read again list.

5. Under the Dome by Stephen King

Continuing in my behemoth books, this was 1088 pages.  I’m glad I read it on my kindle, or I might have sprained my wrists holding it up.  I enjoyed this book.  It’s one of the weird King books, not one of the scary ones.  (I can’t handle scary anymore.)  Great, if long (though that’s hardly a surprise with King), read.  Though I’m horribly disappointed in the subsequent mini-series, which was practically painful to watch after reading the book.  I’m pretty sure they have only the title in common.

6. Lake in the Clouds by Sara Donati

Continuing the series.  Loved this one too.

7. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

I adored this book.  I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed it.  I spent part of it bawling my eyes out, and still loved the whole thing.  I’d love a sequel.  This is one of those books that takes over your life while you’re reading it and leaves you unable to move on when you’re finished.  Seriously, if you’re going to read one book on this list, read this one.  You won’t regret it.

8. Fire Along the Sky by Sara Donati

4th in the series.  It’s hard to describe it much without giving away too much of the previous books, but this one ends with a cliffhanger.  Which is why book #9 this year was….

9. Queen of Swords by Sara Donati

Yup.  Still loved it.

10. The Endless Forest by Sara Donati

The last one in the series.  As enjoyable, in my mind, as the first.  Possibly my favorite.  Does a really great job wrapping it all up, but I still wish it wasn’t the last book.  I miss that family!

11. Bossypants by Tina Fey

I bought this one when it was on sale for the kindle.  I didn’t love it.  I almost didn’t finish it, but I powered through.  There were parts I loved and parts I didn’t care about.  It didn’t have me laughing out loud as often as I expected it would.  If you’re a Tina Fey fan, read it, though I’m guessing you already have.  If not, skip it.

12. Extraction by Preston and Child

I love the Pendergast books by Preston and Child.  Actually I love all their books.  This kindle single was a quick read, and fans of the series will enjoy it.  It fits in almost anywhere in the series, which is good, because I’m a few books behind.

13. Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

I happened upon this book kind of by accident.  We were on vacation and I was searching for something to read on my kindle.  I enjoyed Hidden City with Marcus Sakey on the travel channel, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Plus it was free for Prime members.  I loved this book.  It was interesting, fast paced, and just enough humor to really make me smile.  I can’t wait until the next one comes out.

14. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I’d heard so much about this book.  How amazing it was, yadda yadda.  I wanted to like it.  I just didn’t.  It wasn’t bad, really.  It was just long, nothing happened, and there wasn’t much of a point to it.  Definitely not my favorite of 2013.

15. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Clearly, 2013 was the year of series for me.  This one was enjoyable, but not as great as a friend of mine had lead me to believe.  Don’t get me wrong – I liked it, and read all the sequels (and the prequel) but I think the first was probably the weakest in the series.  Honestly I didn’t care too much if the kids made it out of the maze or not.

16. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

This one totally hooked me.  It was beyond weird, but I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

17. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This is the 3rd time I’ve read this book.  Clearly I love it.  I was waiting to get the next Maze Runner book from the library, and I already had this on my kindle.  Plus they’d just started casting the mini series that will air in 2014 on Starz, so I read it again.  It never disappoints.  I’m planning on re-reading them all before the next book in the series comes out in June (I think it’s June).

18. The Death Cure by James Dashner

#3.  I liked it.  I liked the ending, and I know a lot of people didn’t.  But it left far too many unanswered questions about the whole series.  I was hoping they’d get cleared up in the prequel…

19. Two Graves by Preston and Child

The next (for me) in the Pendergast series.  I enjoyed it just like I enjoyed the rest.  And, like them all, I’m left hanging until I can get my hands on the next book.

20. Inferno by Dan Brown

This book was textbook Dan Brown.  Fairly predictable, but suspenseful nonetheless.  It was an enjoyable and entertaining read, but hardly earth-shattering.

21. The Kill Order by James Dashner

I had high hopes for this book.  Surely it would answer all the questions I had after reading the other books in the series.  Nope.  Don’t get me wrong – it was an interesting story, but hardly answered all the questions I had.

22. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This is the book that will not end.  I’ve been reading it since the week of Thanksgiving.  I’m about 60% finished.  It’s LONG.  It’s interesting and I’m enjoying it (with the exception of one character, who I’d like to stab in the eyes with a fork), but good lord, I’m not sure I’ll ever finish it.  (I’m joking, but it is taking an awfully long time to get through.)  I’m torn between really wanting to know what happens and just wishing I could move on to something else.  2014 will start with this book, and then I’m moving on to something much shorter.

Note –  the links in this post are affiliate links.  If you click them and buy something, I earn money, which lets me buy more books.  

Bye, Red Guy

Today is always a sad morning for the boys. We head out of town to day to go spend Christmas with the in-laws and Red Guy goes back to the North Pole. The boys are always so sad to say goodbye. As much as they love going to see their grandparents, they miss the elf. But he always brings them a special treat for the trip, and today was no different.

Here’s the note he’s holding:

Bye Red Guy! We’ll see you next year!

Hard to Find Elf

I’ve started to notice that our elf can’t always be creative.  Sometimes he’s playing tricks, or bringing treats, and sometimes he just can’t get it together.  Maybe he needs to buy something at target.  Maybe he hasn’t had time to create the necessary props yet.  Sometimes he just has to find a hiding spot.  Last night was apparently one of those nights.