1. This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost (Immortal Reading Challenge)

I highly anticipated this book as I’ve enjoyed each of the previous submissions in the series. This was no disappointment. I may have wanted Cat’s abilities to be a bit different than what they are, but there is something to be said for a storyline that isn’t exactly as you’d write it yourself.

2. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (100+ Books in a Year Challenge)

I bought this on impulse at the used bookstore awhile back. Since then, it has been sitting on my shelf, staring at me each time I pick another read over it. “Why buy me if you weren’t ever going to read me?” Finally I sucked it up (mainly because I knew it would count for a challenge submission) and decided to read it, though I couldn’t figure out what had drawn me to purchase it in the first place. After reading the book, I hastily assigned it four stars. But after sitting back and thinking about it for a bit, I’ve decided it was only worth three. The subject material was tough, which was what made me decide to go with four stars. But at the end of the day, I was reading as quickly as I could so as to be finished, not because I wanted to find out what happened at the end. Then the ending turned out to be so anti-climatic that I left the book feeling like a balloon with the air let out, soggy and not feeling the hype.

3. River Marked by Patricia Briggs (Immortal Reading Challenge)

Maybe this year I ought to stick to the paranormal sub-genre. I absolutely loved this book. Werewolves are a favorite subject matter of mine and when you add in the fact that Briggs paints a world with an ease that I admire and covet, you come up with a book that I couldn’t put down for the life of me. Not to say that I never did, I was reading it on my Kindle app and my iPod is entertaining thoughts of giving up the ghost, so it was either take a break or make a new window in my apartment from slamming it through the wall… But back on subject. Mercy and Adam have one of those storybook love affairs. You know the one: the flaws that they each have are but a mild annoyance to one another, with their love outweighing all of the bad. Stories that make me smile are high up on my love list. Even though I own it in digital, I’m thinking of buying it in paperback too. It was just that good.

4. First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost (Immortal Reading Challenge)

From the Night Huntress world, I loved this book because it was built on a series that I loved. I have to admit, had I happened upon it first prior to reading the Night Huntress books, I’m not sure I would have loved it so much. Thankfully, though I bought it prior to to reading the other books, it has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I only happened upon it while looking through my shelves in an attempt to find books for the TBR Pile Challenge. Glad that I did though, it gave me a whole new side of Spade who was a minor character in the Night Huntress series.

5. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Immortal Reading Challenge)

Maybe I’m getting old. Over the course of the past couple years I’ve found that even if I find the subject matter interesting, YA books tend to need a little extra to keep me in it, I suppose the main problem is that I can’t help but yell at the kids in my head from time to time, “You’re only ___ years old! You don’t need to find your ‘one true love’ right now!!!” So yeah, I guess I am getting old. Ten years ago and that would have been right up my alley. Angst, lust, danger (um, can you tell that I have an ill-fated attraction to bad boys?)… All of that would have got my engines going. Instead I spent the majority of the pages wondering just when one of them was going to get smacked in the face. The age span between the main character and her love interest (or, better put, object of hormonal lust) was icky to me as well (yes, “icky”). Which seals the deal in regards to my tastes growing along with the number of candles on my cake, as when I was that age I liked the idea of ‘older men’. Except the difference is that now I can clearly see the vast difference between a teenager and a man in his twenties. Enter the ick factor. I won’t be reading anymore of these but as my objection was based purely upon the unfortunate fact that I am no longer 19, I did recommend the series to my sister who is still on the perkier side of 21.

6. Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs (Immortal Reading Challenge)

Well now, I’ve stated my love for everything that Briggs writes. I read the mini “Alpha and Omega” in a compilation book (totally ignoring the other submissions, though I may go back to them to see if my interest is sparked in a new, to me, author) and was hooked. I already love her Mercy Thompson series (waiting with baited breath for the next) and this is just a branch from the same tree. Hunting Ground was everything I’ve come to expect from Briggs. While I dearly missed my dosage of Adam (seriously, give me a bulky, growly, gentle-when-he’s-rough werewolf over a vamp any day. Team Jacob!!!) the storyline caught me within pages and led me on a voyage through the world of the paranormal. I absolutely loved this book. Patricia Briggs is steadily climbing up in my regard toward Auel’s place. Especially after a highly disappointing new submission in the Earth’s Children series, Briggs is definitely near to being named my favorite author.

7. Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy (Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge)

I picked this up on a whim at the bookstore. I’d actually gone in to search for the Mercy Thompson books that I don’t own but after finding only those I currently own in some format, I browsed and stumbled upon this. Some of the best books I’ve read have been discovered this way and Urban Shaman was no exception. Native American legends and Celtic mythology are both right up my alley. I love that the romance, while present, didn’t take up the bulk of the story. Some books focus on absolutely nothing else, leaving me thinking to myself that while the main character may be in love, she still has to work and live. And, you know, pee. But in Urban Shaman, the mundane activities of everyday life are acknowledged and romance takes a seat on the bench. Immediately after putting it down, I ordered the rest of the books in the series. Definitely going into the “best of 2012” category. The irony of saying that in January, while only 9 books in, does not escape me.

Which reminds me of…

8. Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs (Immortal Reading Challenge)

Not sure when I finished this one. I know it was sometime after closing the pages on the prequel Alpha and Omega and prior to coming up for air to search out the third in the series. As I gushed on above, I’ll leave it to your imaginations to tell you how much I adored this book.

9. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Immortal Reading Challenge)

For fast, fluffy novels, I don’t think I could do much better than the Sookie Stackhouse books. Still, I had to push through this one, knowing better things were to come.

10. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris (Immortal Reading Challenge)

Honestly, had I not watched (and loved) the TV show based on these books, I would have never gotten past the first book. The second is much the same. I seriously dislike Bill.

11. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris (Immortal Reading Challenge)

I actually started enjoying the books for their own sake with this one. Bill was noticeably absent for the majority of it which pleased me to no end. I don’t like Bill. Additionally, the author seemed to relax into her writing style which made it read more smoothly.

12. Matched by Ally Condie

I read this one to take a break from the paranormal overload I was going through at the time. Additionally, I’d run out of Sookie Stackhouse books in my possession and didn’t feel like filling the space with another vamp. Normally a fan of dystopian fiction (I believe Uglies
was the series that introduced me to the genre), I admit that perhaps I shouldn’t have read this book while filing my taxes. It made me look at the information gathering in a whole new light. But other than the odd bit of paranoia, I enjoyed this book (and I am fully aware that it is YA as well… What to say, I’m a fickle being). I’ve read others compare it to The Giver or The Hunger Games by not having read either, I think it heavily similar to the Uglies series. However, whomever had the idea first matters not to me. I just enjoyed the book for what it was: a good story.

13. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris (Immortal Reading Challenge)

This is what I’ve been waiting for in the Sookie Stackhouse (or, as I think of them, True Blood) series. Eric is sweet but sexy, and just all around the kind of guy I’d pick over Bill. The romance is there, the sex is there, and Bill isn’t. Oh happy day…

14-19. Book of Shadows, The Coven, Blood Witch, Dark Magick, Awakening, Spellbound by Cate Tiernan (Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge)

I read all of these back to back, over the course of a few days, only stopping when I got to the end of the books I had in my possession (but happily enough, not the end of the series!). Thus, I can’t review each by themselves as they blur into each other for me. But let me just say, these books are incredible. I joined the Witchcraft Challenge hoping to expand my horizons in the witchcraft fiction genre and boy howdy it did. Another YA series but while I did think the character was being a bit of an idiot at times, I felt more of a remembered kinship than a cringe of disapproval at her actions. These were borrowed from the library but each and every one is going on my wish list. I must own these to read over and over.

20. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris (Immortal Reading Challenge)

This book made me sit back on my heels as I considered the fact that Ms. Harris wrote a story better than HBO adapted. I’m unclear as to why the TV series took the turn it did as this version was so much better.

21. Witch Fire by Anya Bast (Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge)

I’d put this firmly into the erotic novel section. I’m not sure why it was shelved under paranormal romance at my local bookstore, other than the fact that the characters practiced magic, this was a complete erotic read. In fact, once it leaves my nightstand, it will find itself housed near my Zane novels (which is to say, at the back of a high shelf, where curious little eyes can’t see it). Now, that said, I liked it. It wasn’t well-written at all, I mean to say it wasn’t well-written. The book was written badly. Alright, I’m sorry. I just had to give you a taste of the constant repetition. It was as if the author had no editor or the editor had no thesaurus… Alright, I’m done. Will I read the others in the series? Yes. Will I purchase these as opposed to ordering from the library? Hellz yeah (I don’t rent porn either). Will I make eye contact with the cashier when I’m buying it? No.

22. Nightwalker by Jocelyn Drake (Immortal Reading Challenge)

After my previous read, this book seemed positively cerebral. Drake has no shortage of verbs at her disposal and she isn’t afraid to use them. Some call it “trite”‘ and claim the main character isn’t acting her age but I call bull poop on that. First off, how the hell do people claim to know what a 600 year old would act like? Additionally, the whole “I’m so broody, watch my face emote” thing is highly overrated. You know who I want to spend Saturday night with? Not the dude sulking in the corner. I want the bad ass who is happy to be alive and not afraid to have some fun. Enter Mira.

So I’m ahead of pace in the reading department. Now, if I could just manage to blog more often than once a month or two, I’d be good!

Currently reading: Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness, Grave Dance (which, for some reason I thought I had already read and only discovered my error when packing up books to take back to the library), and a book that I’m almost too ashamed to count towards my goal.

As for the disclosure you’ll see at the bottom of my post: I’m trying out the Amazon Associates thing. Basically, I link through AA and if you purchase the book/item through my link, I get credit or a piece of profit or something (yeah, obviously I didn’t read those policy terms and conditions very closely). Doesn’t change my review of the item and I won’t be linking all willy-nilly. I figured that if I’m linking anyway, I may as well be able to receive something from it.

Disclosure: This post may contain one or more links from which the blog author may receive profit.