I wish I could say I have been. But it's rained 14 of the last 23 days...most of those being pretty impressive thunderstorms. I love a good thunderstorm as much as (and probably more than) the next person, but I'm very tired of the humidity that just won't let up. I'm sure most people wouldn't think humidity when they're thinking Wisconsin. And yet I can't remember a summer without it. It's a damp climate up here, so while our heat and humidity doesn't begin to touch on most of the southern climes, it's certainly more than enough for me.
It's been a fairly good year for me so far. I've had time to read, watch movies, see the end of favorite television shows, or story arcs (and get hooked on some new ones) and go to a couple of great concerts.
Earlier this year I took on two challenges for reading, and I think I'm doing pretty well at this point. So here's the update:
2010 Reading Challenge
I've read one book beginning with each letter, except for E, N, Q, X and Y. I haven't been purposefully searching out books that begin with the letters, just reading what's come naturally to me. Here's my list as it stands right now:
A - Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunters 4) by Nalini Singh
B - Breaking Free (Masters of the Shadowlands 3) by Cherise Sinclair
C - Candy Coated Passion by Kat Alexis
D - Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark 6) by Kresley Cole
F - From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse 8) by Charlaine Harris
G - Graceful Submission by Melinda Barron
H - He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan
I - Ice Cream, You Scream by Kat Alexis
J - Judgement in Death (In Death 12) by JD Robb
K - A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
L - Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood 2) by JR Ward
M - Mistral's Kiss (Merry Gentry 5) by Laurell K. Hamilton
O - An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons 3) by Julia Quinn
P - The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
R - Roping the Wind (Turner Brothers 1) by Kate Pearce
S - A Spanking for Valentine by Evangeline Anderson
T - The Turning (Blood Ties 1) by Jennifer Armintrout
U - Undercover Submission by Melinda Barron
V - Veil of Midnight (Midnight Breeds 5) by Lara Adrian
W - Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? (Turner Brothers 2) by Kate Pearce
Z - Zane's Way by Maggie Casper
New Author Challenge
The other challenge I took on was a retry from last year. I never did manage to even get more than one or two new-to-me authors tried last year. And while I'm not at the halfway point yet this year, I have expanded my horizons by 15 authors already. Here's the list as of today:
1. Jennifer Armintrout - The Turning
The Turning is the first book in Jennifer's Blood Ties series. I loved this first book, and pretty quickly went through the other three. And picked up the first book in her next series: Lightworld/Darkworld.
2. Kate Pearce - Roping the Wind
Roping the Wind is the first book in Kate's Turner Brothers series. It was a really good, fun cowboy read. I supremely enjoyed it. And quickly read the other two. I look forward to reading more of hers.
3. Lauren Dane - Giving Chase
A good fun read. I'm definitely gonna get to some more of her work.
4. Susan Donovan - He Loves Lucy
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the love story between Lucy and Theo was not only touching, but believable.
5. Melinda Barron - Graceful Submission
This was a fantastic book. I loved the development of the characters, and how BDSM was handled in it. I will definitely be looking for more of her books.
6. Kat Alexis - Candy Coated Passion
To be honest the sex scenes got a bit tedious, and it felt like there was little to no growth with the characters. I'd love to see the author do more with them, so it's not just sex scene after sex scene.
7. Maggie Casper - Zane's Way
Hmm. It had the potential for a really good book. The characters were interesting, the storyline was interesting, but it just seemed to rushed. I didn't get enough time of them together, much more time of them apart. Not enough time to see how their relationship grew. Pity, because I missed that.
8. Julia Quinn - The Duke and I
I absolutely adored this book. The characters are lively, quick, smart and interesting. People that I would love to know. The romance is sweet, hot, and beautiful. The dialogue is fabulous. The secondary characters (coming up in future books) are absolutely fascinating. I can't wait to read more from Julia Quinn. (Yes - I know I'm quite late to this party...lol)
9. Jennifer Ashley - The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie
What a fantastic book. I love the way that the author showed the hero having AS. How it wasn't a passed over part of the story, how it was completely integrated into the love story and the overall story. Fantastic romance with a real hero and heroine. I couldn't put it down, and can't wait to read more in this series.
10. Stacia Kane - Unholy Ghosts
Read my review here
11. Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark
I really enjoyed this first novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Enough that it made me immediately get the following 9 full length novels and devour them in a week.
12. Desiree Holt - Double Entry
This was a decent book that had some likable characters, although I can't remember much specifically about them. It was a short story, heavy on sex, and light on conflict. I did have some problems with one scene in particular that was just beyond unrealistic for me - not in that it couldn't be done, but in that it definitely shouldn't, and any woman would know that. There was also some unrealistic dialogue that felt more like the author trying to give distinctive personalities rather than the characters actually having distinctive personalities. Other than that, I'd be willing to try another novel by her sometime.
13. Kasey MacKenzie - Red Hot Fury
A debut author with a fresh new look at urban fantasy. I've been working on a review for this. The concept is awesome and intriguing, but there were some definite debut-novel issues I had.
14. Gena Showalter - The Darkest Night
First book in the Lords of the Underworld series. Interesting premise, good characters. A good read, and I look forward to seeing where she takes the series.
15. Cherise Sinclair - Club Shadowlands
The best thing I can say about this author is that as soon as I finished Club Shadowlands I immediately read everything else she has available. I find her characters believable, charming, interesting and hot. The end of Master of the Mountain still strikes me as perfect - just because of how realistic it was. And beautiful. I eagerly await anything and everything Cherise sends my way.
On top of these I thought it'd be fun to keep track of all the books I've read this year. It's been awhile since I've kept an eye on that sort of thing, and it's definitely been fun. I've already read 83 books. 2010 Year In Books.
Here's my list at this point. Some of these were re-reads, but not many. I've bolded the ones that I'd previously read.
- Veil of Midnight (Midnight Breeds 5) by Lara Adrian
- Ashes of Midnight (Midnight Breeds 6) by Lara Adrian
- Shades of Midnight (Midnight Breeds 7) by Lara Adrian
- Candy Coated Passion (1) by Kat Alexis
- Ice Cream, You Scream (2) by Kat Alexis
- A Spanking for Valentine by Evangeline Anderson
- Deal with the Devil by Evangeline Anderson
- The Turning (Blood Ties 1) by Jennifer Armintrout
- Possession (Blood Ties 2) by Jennifer Armintrout
- Ashes to Ashes (Blood Ties 3) by Jennifer Armintrout
- All Soul's Night (Blood Ties 4) by Jennifer Armintrout
- The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie (Highland Pleasures 1) by Jennifer Ashley
- Graceful Submission (1) by Melinda Barron
- Graceful Mischief (2) by Melinda Barron
- Undercover Submission (3) by Melinda Barron
- Sweet Vibrations by Melinda Barron
- Amethyst Eyes by Melinda Barron
- Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson 5) by Patricia Briggs
- Zane's Way by Maggie Casper
- Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark 6) by Kresley Cole
- Kiss of a Demon King (Immortals After Dark 7) by Kresley Cole
- Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark 9) by Kresley Cole
- He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan
- Mistral's Kiss (Merry Gentry 5) by Laurell K. Hamilton
- A Lick of Frost (Merry Gentry 6) by Laurell K. Hamilton
- Swallowing Darkness (Merry Gentry 7) by Laurell K. Hamilton
- Divine Misdemeanors (Merry Gentry 8) by Laurell K. Hamilton
- Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse 1) by Charlaine Harris
- Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse 2) by Charlaine Harris
- Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse 3) by Charlaine Harris
- Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse 4) by Charlaine Harris
- Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse 5) by Charlaine Harris
- Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse 6) by Charlaine Harris
- All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse 7) by Charlaine Harris
- From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse 8) by Charlaine Harris
- Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse 9) by Charlaine Harris
- Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse 10) by Charlaine Harris
- A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse collection of shorts) by Charlaine Harris
- Double Entry by Desire Holt
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts 1) by Stacia Kane
- A Tapestry of Spells (Nine Kingdoms 6) by Lynn Kurland
- Red Hot Fury (Shades of Fury 1) by Kasey MacKenzie
- A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
- Roping the Wind (Turner Brothers 1) by Kate Pearce
- Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? (Turner Brothers 2) by Kate Pearce
- Riding the Line (Turner Brothers 3) by Kate Pearce
- The Duke and I (Bridgertons 1) by Julia Quinn
- The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons 2) by Julia Quinn
- An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons 3) by Julia Quinn
- Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Bridgertons 4) by Julia Quinn
- To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons 5) by Julia Quinn
- When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons 6) by Julia Quinn
- It's In His Kiss (Bridgertons 7) by Julia Quinn
- On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons 8) by Julia Quinn
- Glory in Death (In Death 2) by JD Robb
- Immortal in Death (In Death 3) by JD Robb
- Rapture in Death (In Death 4) by JD Robb
- Ceremony in Death (In Death 5) by JD Robb
- Vengeance in Death (In Death 6) by JD Robb
- Holiday in Death (In Death 7) by JD Robb
- Midnight in Death (In Death 8) by JD Robb
- Conspiracy in Death (In Death 9) by JD Robb
- Loyalty in Death (In Death 10) by JD Robb
- Witness in Death (In Death 11) by JD Robb
- Judgement in Death (In Death 12) by JD Robb
- The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld 1) by Gena Showalter
- The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld 2) by Gena Showalter
- Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands 1) by Cherise Sinclair
- Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands 2) by Cherise Sinclair
- Breaking Free (Masters of the Shadowlands 3) by Cherise Sinclair
- Lean on Me (Masters of the Shadowlands 4) by Cherise Sinclair
- "Simon Says" in Doms of the Dark Haven by Cherise Sinclair
- Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair
- Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunters 4) by Nalini Singh
- Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood 1) by JR Ward
- Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood 2) by JR Ward
- Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood 3) by JR Ward
- Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood 4) by JR Ward
- Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood 5) by JR Ward
- Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood 6) by JR Ward
- Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood 7) by JR Ward
- Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood 8) by JR Ward
I also managed to be here more frequently, and posted 3 new reviews. Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane - and after even more time passing, I have to say I'm looking forward to seeing where Stacia takes us (and Chess) in the next book (Unholy Magic due out July 6, 2010). Red Hot Fury by Kasey Mackenzie. And last (but most assuredly not least) Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh. Which is one of my top 5 reads of the year.
Speaking of top reads for the year so far, here are my top ten...in no particular order, because that's just too hard.
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh
Silver Born by Patricia Briggs
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
Breaking Free by Cherise Sinclair
Lover Mine by JR Ward
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole
Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair
The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout
This is getting a little long, so maybe I'll leave the movies, tv and music for another post ;)
How has your reading been this year? I'm pretty happy with mine so far, and look forward to finding a lot more great books in the second half of it.