Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Of 2015 - A look back at 10-ish book favorites....OK, more than 10!!

I can't believe that 2015 is just about at an end.  Where did the time go?  I've been thinking about the books I read and listened to this last year and considering which ones I remember best.  I've also been reading some very interesting 'Best of 2015' posts by all of you.  Some great, great books being talked about.

I read fewer books in 2015 than I did in 2014 and I don't think that was such a bad thing.  In one of my first posts on this blog, I said that I felt I rushed through my reading at times in 2014 and my large (for me) final total was a bit deceptive.  Does it count when you don't remember much about the book?  Not sure.

Total Books Read in 2015 - 113
Kindle Books - 51
Personal Books in Print - 12
Audiobooks - 50

Non-Fiction - 3
Fiction - 110

Male Author - 18
Female Author - 95

These numbers are just that - numbers.  Probably interesting only to me.  I do think it's of note that audio has crept up to almost 50% of my reading.  My male/female author ratio is about the same as previous years and I've mentioned more than once that non-fic is not my preferred book type. Tomorrow, I'll share a goal or two for 2016.

Here are the books that I enjoyed the most for 2015.  My link is to my review or if there wasn't a review, the post I mentioned the book or books.  I did cheat a bit by having a category for some series that I read in their entirety and loved.  These are not in any special order.

Kay's Best of 2015

Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

The Chessmen by Peter May

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Honorable Mention (because it was so fun to listen to)

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Best Series Read in 2015

There were four mystery series that I read in their entirety this year.  Each of them was new to me.  Well, even here I'm cheating a bit.  I read the first book in Jane Casey's series last year.  I'm listing the first book for each and linking to that review.  

Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler series (8 books)

Nicci French's Frieda Klein series (5 books)

Jane Casey's Maeve Kerrigan series (6 books)
The Reckoning (2nd book in series)

Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike series (3 books)

I had an excellent reading year.  So many great books - new series - new authors.  Lots and lots of fun.  Tomorrow, I'll be around to say 'Happy New Year' and talk a bit about what I'd like to do in 2016.  Thanks for stopping by and checking out my 'Best of 2015'!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bookish Nostalgia - December 2015

I know we are right at the end of the month, but let's go ahead and do this Bookish Nostalgia anyway.  Plus it will give me a chance to get my blog post writing legs under me again.  So to speak.  And it's also cold and windy outside.  My cough is better, but there's no sense in making things worse by heading out into the cedar pollen that my area is full of.  Oh yes, we were doing a nostalgia post.  For Decembers of the last 20 years, here's what I was reading:

December 1995 - Killer Pancake by Diane Mott Davidson - This is the 5th book in Davidson's Goldy Schulz, caterer deluxe, series.  In this episode, Goldy is catering a banquet for a cosmetics company.  The only problem is that there are animal rights activists protesting and soon, one of the cosmetics employees is dead.  Goldy, who was supposed to be providing low-fat and also delicious delights, finds herself in the middle of the investigation.  Have you ever read any of Diane Mott Davidson's mysteries?  There are 17 of them, but not one published since 2013.  I believe that this author might have been one of the first to include recipes along with her mystery stories.  When the initial book was published in 1990 (25 years now), I thought that was the most clever thing.  Still do and I always meant to try some of the recipes.  Recently, Ms. Davidson released a new book, which is a cookbook, that I want to read - Goldy's Kitchen Cookbook: Cooking, Writing, Family, Life.  Sounds like fun.

December 2000 - Death Comes As Epiphany by Sharan Newman - This is the 1st book in author Newman's Catherine LeVendeur series - which has 10 books.  Last series entry was published in 2004.  I remember really loving this book, but sadly did not continue reading the series.  I must remedy that.  Catherine LeVendeur is a scholar in 12th century France.  She comes to stay in a convent to consider her sin of pride.  She is then sent on a mission by the Abbess Heloise (yes, that Heloise).  The convent's reputation is at stake, along with the Abbess' and Catherine finds adventure on her quest.  Newman is herself a medieval scholar and this series might compare well with the Cadfael books.

December 2005 - The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini - This is a favorite book of mine that I have read more than once in the last 10 years.  Chiaverini has written many books using quilts and the Elm Creek Quilting group to tell tales and this is the first.  I think she might have finished this series, but she has now turned her attention to mostly historical fiction, which I suspect also contain quilt lore and needlework as part of her storylines.  In Quilter's Apprentice, we first meet Sarah McClure and an older lady who comes to be her mentor, Sylvia Compson.  I love this series and may think about rereading it this next year.  Each book has a bit of a mystery, a lot of drama, and usually relates events from the past through quilting.

December 2010 - Blood Memory by Greg Iles - This is a stand alone book by Iles, though a couple of characters show up in other books.  Cat Ferry is a forensic odontologist and very well thought of.  She has a panic attack at the scene of a crime in New Orleans and goes home to Mississippi to rest.  No rest for the weary or panic stricken though.  What she finds are secrets from her family's past and Greg Iles, being the master Southern storyteller that he is, well, things get complicated.  As is usual for me with this author, I loved it.  I'm not sure he can write a bad book, in my opinion anyway.  The South is full of creepy when you visit it with Greg Iles.

Well, that's it for this edition of Bookish Nostalgia.  As this feature continues in January, our years will move forward as well to 1996-2011.  Looking forward to revisiting my old notebooks to see what I might find.  See you in a week or so for the January 2016 Bookish Nostalgia.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hello again!! I'm back...

Hello everyone!  I hope you've had a joyful, peaceful holiday time while I've been on my break.  Merry Christmas belatedly to all who have celebrated.  I'm looking forward to getting back to blogging and thought I would check in and say 'hi'.

We hosted my husband's family for Christmas Day and it went pretty well.  I've been battling a laryngitis/sinus thing for a week and I'm still not over it.  However, the hubby stepped up and was amazing in doing all those last minute things - like baking cookies and picking up ham and turkey, making dressing, even setting tables and hosting pretty much solo.  I was in the background croaking and blowing my nose.  Honestly, my husband is really the best.

I've been reading pretty steadily, although the usual holiday doldrums came in that regard.  What is it about busy times that makes it so hard to settle to reading?  Anyway, I'm in the midst of a quilting mystery series that I'm having a good time with at the moment.  I'm on book #3, Quilt As You Go, which features a Civil War reenactment and quilt patterns from that era.  I don't sew or quilt, but I've always wished I did.  Reading about it is my compromise.  This series is set in Washington State and so I'm enjoying the descriptions of the scenery as well.  I'll probably write about the series as a whole at a later date.

I'm listening to Asta's Book, written by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell).  My mystery group is having a Rendell/Vine reading month for January and I'm planning on listening to two of her books.  I read this one years ago and remember liking it.  It has a slow start, but that suits me right now.  Any book that includes a mystery and a diary is OK by me.

I'll return later this week to share my December Bookish Nostalgia and also, if I get it put together, my 2015 'Best Of' list.  Next week, I'm planning on getting back to normal in a lot of areas and, hopefully, this sinus thing will be gone by then.  I have been reading your blog posts, although not commenting much at all.  That will change a bit, the commenting part, and I'm looking forward to 2016 and talking books and life with all of you.  I've had a good break, but have missed the chatter and book talk.  Ready to go again??