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End Of Year Tally: Pt. 2

Was going to try and make it to 100 books read this year, but don't think it's going to happen--I'm still 4, or 5 books away from that and will more than likely only manage to finish one more before January 1st.

So, something to aim for next year already.

In the mean time:

1. Zombies: The Recent Dead (Anthology)--by Various: While there were a few good stories in this one, over-all it was a bit of a chore to get through, however, for those few good stories I will give it 3 stars.

2. Sparrow Rock--by Nate Kenyon: One of those Apocalyptic-Style books I like. This time around we have nuclear bombs being launched, and a group of friends who just happened to have chosen the night this happens to party in the bomb shelter one of the friend's grandparent has had built. After the explosions, they have to deal with genetically altered insects needing human hosts to live on. It was another OK read, but I didn't find myself identifying, or caring what happened to any individual character, or the group over-all. 3 Stars.

3. Bones of Faerie--by Janni Lee Simner: This too was an Apocalyptic-Style story, only it takes place after a war between Humans and the Fey. Really interesting storyline and characters I did come to care about, so, this one gets 4 stars.

4. The True Meaning of Smekday--by Adem Rex: I loved this!--it was a bit Invader ZIM-meets-Douglas Adams: Crazy, hilarious, Alien-Invasion Fun! 4 Stars.

5. I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas--by Adam Roberts: Took this to work with me on Christmas Eve, as I'd been looking forward to reading it, you know, Scrooge and Zombies: How could that NOT be good?--Well, let me tell you, it wasn't. It's only a 125, or so, page book and I managed to make it to page 85 before I just couldn't force myself to go any further. The author tried to be funny but, to me anyway, the jokes fell flat and the story jumped around too much. DNF.

Gearing Up For The End Of Year Tally

Got lazy in keeping up with this, since opening a Goodreads account, so, 'quickie' account of what I've read since I last posted in preparation for the End Of Year Total:

(In no particular order)

01. Under the Dome: Stephen King--4 Stars
02. Full Dark, No stars: Stephen King--4 Stars
03. Bloodthirsty: Flynn Meany--5 Stars, despite the total missed opportunity to parody a particular scene from Twilight with the toy car crash! 
04. The Sugar Queen: Sarah Allen Addison--5 Stars, I guessed the plot twist right away, but this was still a beautiful book.
05. Hungry For Your Love (Zombie Romance Anthology): Various--3 Stars, nothing really 'romantic' here, but was a nice mix of stories.
06. Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage: Jennifer Ashley--3 Stars, good, but not as good as the first book in series.
07. Cherise the Niece: Jim Benton--3 Stars
08. Spidey Legs Lana Retribution: Tessa LaRock--1 Star, just as awful as the first two and, again, I ended up reading these because a friend loaned them to me!
09. The Apocalypse Shift: Derek J. Goodman--3 Stars, not quite what I hoped it would be, but for the most part a funny/entertaining read.
10. Play Of Passion (Psy-Changeling): Nalini Singh--4 Stars
11. R.I.P.: Harrison Howe--5 Stars
13. Flu: Wayne Simmons--3 Stars, not what I hoped it would be, but not bad overall.
14. Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs: Molly Harper--5 Stars
15. Pariah: Bob Fingerman--3 Stars
16. Lullabies for Little Criminals: Heather O'Neill--4 Stars
17. Married with Zombies: Jesse Petersen--4 Stars
18. Blameless: Gail Carriger--4 Stars
19. Wicked Intentions: Elizabeth Hoyt--5 Stars
20. Promise of Pleasure: Cheryl Hold--3 Stars
21. Eternal Kiss of Darkness: Jeaniene Frost--4 Stars
22. Shatnerquake: Jeff Burk--5 Stars

Last of July and August, so far..

The Loving Dead- by Amelia Beamer: This could have been an excellent zombie novel, however, after a strong start it got to a point towards the middle of the story where it just seemed like the characters were just wandering around talking about what they should be doing, instead of actually doing any of it. However, then it picked up again just before the end of the story...and, had it ended with the final scene at the prison it would have been great, but the author decided to take on a few extra pages summing up what happened next, which kinda' ruined it for me. So, I did like it, but it's not one I would want to read again. I give it 3 stars.

Geek Love- by Katherine Dunn: I had read all the hype about this one, and how good it was, but for some reason despite even having picked it up off the shelf at the bookstore I didn't end up getting it until recently. I absolutely loved it. It was filled with the kind of damaged, quirky, dark characters and events that I so enjoy. I give it 5 stars.

The Road- by Cormac McCarthy: This was another one I had read good things about, but some bad as well. So, being that I love apocalyptic-style fiction, and thought the preview for the film adaptation looked really good, I added it to my Netflix queue and then enjoyed the movie enough to want to read the book as well. This was a rare case, however, of the film actually doing justice to the book it was based on and aside from a few minor things having watched the film, I really didn't even need to read the book. I give it 4 stars.

Married by Morning- by Lisa Kleypas: Fourth book in her Hathaway family series, and just as much of a treat as the others...well, perhaps with the exception of the 'downer' that was the majority of the 2nd book. 5 stars.

Bonds of Justice- by Nalini Singh: Most recent entry in her Psy-Changeling series. This is another series that just seems to get better-and-better with every story. 4 Stars. 

Night of the Living Trekkies: Oh. My. God--I adored this! There wasn't two pages that went by in which I wasn't giggling like crazy. Most definitely 5 stars.

July, cont...

Tokyo Superpunch: A Billy Chaka Adventure- by Isaac Adamson: In a word--Quirky, which was why I enjoyed it. I give it 3 stars, but don't know if I want to read the whole series, as by the last two chapters I'd had enough and was ready to move on to something else.

Syrup- by Maxx Barry: From the same author who wrote Jennifer Government and Company, just with and extra 'X' on his first name, which is funny if you read the book as there is a comment about doing things like adding an extra 'X' to your name if you want to be remembered/famous. 5 Stars.

Xombies: Apocalypticon- by Walter Greatshell: I read the book that this is the sequel to, before it was re-issued with a longer title. This story picks up where that one left off and was as enjoyable a read. I give it 4 stars, instead of 5, simply because I like the first book a tiny bit more.

Fluke- by Christopher Moore: I can't believe I'm writing this, but this was a DNF for me. I've found that while I really enjoy this author, I'm more a fan of his Paranormal-based books, with the exception of Coyote Blue which I didn't hate, but it seemed to take me forever to get through and seemed like a bit of a chore--this one had the feel of that one, so after the story didn't draw me in after a few chapters I did some skimming and nothing I stopped on made me want to continue, so I opted to pass the book on to someone who would enjoy it. So: Did Not Finish.

Ten Things I Love About You- by Julia Quinn: I enjoyed the heck out of this one, and read it in one day..giggling madly through most of it. I love me some J. Quinn, let me tell you, and her utterly charming tales. 5 Stars.
The Stolen Child- by Keith Donohue: Based on my favourite poem, by Yeats, this is the story of Henry Day who as a small child runs away from home one day and finds himself thrust into the world of The Changlings--one of who exchanges his place in the Changeling Society for Henry's life and from then on the original Henry is known as Aniday. Really beautiful story, told form chapter-to-chapter from the the one who changes places with Henry and his fears of being discovered for who he really is, and the real Henry, who over time forgets not only his real name, but who was. 5 Stars.

The Darkest Lie (Lords of the Underworld
)- by Gena Showalter:  Another great installment of this series. Loads of interesting subplots involving the other Lords as well as the story of Scarlet (Keeper of Nightmares) and Gideon (Keeper of Lies); Scarlet claims to be Gideon's wife, but he has no memory of their time together. 4 Stars.

The Book of Lost Things- by John Connolly: Another beautiful fairy-tale-like story, taking place in the time of WWII about a boy who after losing his mother, and resenting both his step-mother and new baby brother ends up in a world populated by twisted versions of the stories he loves to read, and on a quest to find his mother. 5 Stars.

Empire- by David Dunwoody: The concept sounded great--Death comes to earth and fights zombies with a band of survivors--whoever, this was totally not what I was expecting, and was rather a mess...at least as far as this reader is concerned. There were bits I did enjoy, but the story jumped around too much and I never really felt I got to know any of the characters enough to really find myself caring about what happened to them. Also, a lot of it was like reading one of Brian Keene's zombie tales, what with talk of The Old Ones wanting bodies to inhabit and animals becoming undead creatures as well. I give it 3 stars, but had it put up for trade on paperbackswap.com before I'd finished it, as I knew I wouldn't want to be reading this one again. 3 Stars, because I have read worse and, as I said, there were bits I did enjoy.

Memorial Day and June, so far....

Beast Behaving Badly- by Shelly Laurenston:  This author has yet to disappoint me, and his was no exception. I read the book in one setting, on Memorial Day, since my family wasn't doing anything due to our wacky work schedules. I give it 4 stars, only because I enjoyed the last book just a tiny bit more.

Spidey Legs Lana- by Tessa LaRock: My friend Lisa loaned this to me, basically because she didn't want to have suffered the reading of it alone, I suppose. I won't get into all the problems I had with this, but will name a few: There were a few grammatical things errors that bugged me, (for example the word 'Florid' is used to describe a mottled flushing of the face, NOT a scent), the characters were very one dimensional--no one acted in a way that made any kind of sense...I mean, if someone started to turn into a spider-creature in front of me the last thing I would be thinking is: "Hey!-I could sell this person on ebay and become rich!" The Heroine was annoying. I, also, did not understand how, basically, everyone who became one of these spider-creatures learned to master their new abilities so much faster than she did. I give it 2 stars.

Forget About It- by Caprice Crane: I really like this author, and her books Stupid and Contagious was my favourite read of, I believe it was, last year. This book was just as enjoyable/funny. The main character hates her life and after a freak accident manages to fake amnesia and get a bit of a 'do-over' on her life...only things get even more complicated when she suffers, yet another, accident and suffers amnesia for real. 4 Stars.

Black Widow: Spidey Legs Lana Bk 2- by Tessa LaRock: My friend bought both these books, when the author had a signing at our local Borders. This was, basically, more of the same from the first book. Again, 2 stars.

The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld Bk 5)- by Gena Showalter:  This series just keeps getting better and better. So much going on in this one, that I can't wait to read the next installment, which comes out tomorrow. 5 Stars.

Darkness on the Edge of Town- by Brian Keene: I loved his Zombie books, and while this one was a perfectly enjoyable read it just lacked a little 'something'. It wasn't a particularly long story, but at times it did seem to be dragging on and by the time it got to the ending, I was more than ready to be finished with it. I think a large part of this, at least for me, had to do with the Lovecraft-ian feel of the tale; I've never been a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft. 3 stars.

Sunset and Sawdust- by Joe R. Lansdale: I was amazed at how good this was. I, literally, had a hard time putting it down for any length of time, wanting to know how it was all going to end. I really like this author's writing style. 5 stars.

Confessions of a Cineplex Heckler-by Joe Queenan: I'd never heard of this author, but I really enjoyed this book. He comes across like the Anthony Bourdain of movie critics. Although it is one of those books that you read once, and then can't see yourself reading again, which is why I'm glad I have a friend who I know will enjoy this as much as I did and can pass it on. 4 stars.

The Complete Drive-In- by Joe R. Lansdale: This is the 3 Drive-In novels in one collection, and I'm sure I let out a little squeal of joy when I came across it in the bookstore, as I've been wanting to read the 2nd and 3rd books in the series, since having read the first one a few years back. Naturally, both of these stories were as crazy as the first. 4 stars.

Beastial (Werewolf Apocalypse)- by William D. Carl: This is the best Werewolf book I've read in a while, at least in the Horror genre. The author took something that should have been a rather far-fetched concept and made it work. 4 Stars.

The Last of May...

Tombs of the Dead: Tide of Souls- by Simon Bestwick: Out of my stack of 5 Zombie books, purchased at Borders earlier in the month, 2 of them really stood out: This was one of the two. It was action-packed, had a interesting story and characters that you did end up caring about. It. 4 Stars.

Season of Rot- by Eric S. Brown: Another from the Zombie pile, this was a collection of 5 Novellas dealing with different sets of circumstances that make the Dead rise up and attack the Living. I give it 3 stars.

Dead End- by Anthony Giangregorio: Saved this one for last, having started the Zombie marathon with another book by this author. I thought this was the better of the two. The Survivors had to not only watch out for the Zombies, but their fellow Survivors as well. 3 stars.

Eternal- by Cynthia Leitich Smith: Teenage girl gets turned into a Vampire Princess, against her will, but quickly gets used to the lifestyle. Meanwhile, her Guardian Angel, who is not only in love with her, but part of the reason she was chosen to become the current 'King of the Vamps' new daughter and is now being punished for by being earthbound until he rights the wrong, and saves the girl before it's too late for her soul to be saved. I wanted to like this, but, it was a bit too dry for me....I mean, don't get me wrong, I can appreciate a dark tale, but would have preferred a bit of humour tossed in, and it really shouldn't have been marketed as a romance either, as there isn't a whole heck of a lot of that going on either. Yes, there is some mutual lusting, but I didn't get that the two characters were destined to be together, eventually, kinda' vibe. I didn't really care what happened to either one of them, but the story was just interesting enough that I saw it through to the end and I will give it 3 stars.

They Hunger- by Scott Nichols: This was another one in which there was a group of characters, but not a one of them that I could really connect with and root for. The story itself was interesting, even with the slow build up until the 'monsters' arrive. I could have done with a bit more gore, considering this was supposed to be a horror novel. Truth be told, it came off as more of an adventure story with some Vampire-like creatures tossed into the mix. I give it 3 stars as well.

May...

Into The Dark- by Gena Showalter: This was a short, quick, read featuring 3 stories that tie in with 2 of her Series--Lords of the Underworld and Atlantis--They were all 3 enjoyable, but lacking in humour and a bit too much on the Sappy side for me. So, while I'm glad I read it, it's not one that I'd find myself wanting to re-read. 3 Stars.

Bite Me- by Christopher Moore: This is the 3rd book in his Vampire series and just as crazy/hilarious as his other books...as well as a little sad. 4 Stars.

The Rage Plague- by Anthony Giangrgoria: I bought myself a small stack of zombie books that last time I was at Borders, this was one of them and reads a bit like 28 Days Later only set in American vs. England. 3 Stars.

Lion's Heat- by Lora Leigh: Latest in her Feline Breeds series, better than I'd hoped it would be, considering how long we've been waiting for this particular characters story..also a bit more plot than sex this time around, which was nice. 3 Stars.

Wild Fire- by Christine Feehan: I was rather disappointed in this, as there seemed to be more plodding though the Rain Forest trying to elude the 'Bad Guys' with some Angst-ridden romance tossed in. Also, one of the problems I have with this author's writing style is that she'll pick a descriptive phrase for something and then over-use the Hell out of it. I still give it 3 stars though, as it wasn't a terrible book, just not as good as the last few stories in this series.

Ex-Heros- by Peter Clines: The Watchmen-Meets-Dawn of the Dead..fun, clever and totally enjoyable. 4 Stars.

Red- by Jordan Summers: Even better than I'd heard it was--was part Horror novel, Paranormal Romance and Sci-Fi all rolled into one. 4 Stars.

The Rest Of April

Hero At Large- by Janet Evanovich: Another one of those re-issued/updated, fun, quick reads by this author. I give it 3 stars.

Beyond the Darkness- by Alexandra Ivy: For the most part I enjoyed this, though I hadn't read the 2 books before it, having quit this series after the 3rd book, which wasn't a bad book, just a 'Eh' one. This particular story, however, featured characters from that 3rd book and the main male character here was, essentially, the 'Bad Guy' of that tale. As I said, I did enjoy this and in the beginning it was moving along at a nice pace, but then as it went on it just seemed to go on-and-on, without a lot really going on and by the time I finished with it I was feeling as though a good 50 pages, or so, could have been cut. I give it 3 stars.

Timbuktu- by Paul Auster: When I was in Elementary school there was a book in our school library called Abandoned that I discovered when I was in 3rd/4th grade which was the life story of a, fictional, abandoned kitten and this book has stuck with me all these years, it was just that powerful. This book was, essentially, the canine version of that book only in this one the dog is owned by a homeless man, who is dying. It's told from the dog's POV and while a very enjoyable read, is also incredibly depressing. I give it 5 stars.

Company- by Max Barry: I'm really loving this author, though this is only the second book I've read by him and, from what I've found, he only has three books out. Basically, anyone who works, especially in an office-type setting, will see not only shades of the types of people they are forced to work with day-in/day-out, but unfortunately, you will also see a bit of yourself as well. 5 stars.

Silver Borne (Mercedes Thompson Bk 5)- by Patricia Briggs: Still loving this series, and this was better than the last book. There was a lot of closure here, and it would make the perfect ending to the series, but, I don't know if that is the plan, or if there will be more books coming. 4 stars.

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate Bk 2)- by Gail Carriger: Hilarious...as I said about the first book in this series: It's like my favourite Regency Era and Paranormal Romance novels got together and made a baby. 4 stars.

Burning Lamp- Amanda Quick: I was so disappointed in this! The word that popped into my head, as I was halfway through the story was "Tedious". It had it's moments, but over-all it wasn't worth my having bought it, as I got it on the weekend and posted it for trade on Monday. I give it 2 stars.

Bengal's Heart- by Lora Leigh: I quit keeping up with this series several books back, but had been looking forward to this and finally managed to get my hands on a copy last week. As with all the Breed  books there was lots and lots of sex, to the point where I started skipping past those parts, but as far as the story itself, I did enjoy it. 3 stars.

End of March, April...So Far

Jennifer Government- by Max Barry: LOVED this! It started out slow, while characters were being introduced and then how their lives started to intertwine as events unfolded, but by the 3rd chapter this sucker was hard to put down--Had it all: Action, Romance, Violence, Intrigue, Good vs. Evil..etc... Definitely 5 stars.

Tag, You're It!- by Penny McCall: This was a sequel, of sorts, to All Jacked Up and about another FBI Agent who plops into an unsuspecting woman's life and turns it upside down. I can't say I enjoyed this one quite as much as I did the first one, but it had it's moments and was an enjoyable, quick, read. I give it 3 stars.

Beg For Mercy- by Toni Andrews: When I had originally come across this one in the store, I thought it looked interesting, but opted to pass on it, as believe it or not, I do try to control myself when it comes to buying books, and not buy every single one that seems interesting. So, when I found it on Paperbackswap I used one of my credits for it....and, well, I'm glad it only cost me a credit instead of the cover price, as while it wasn't a bad book, the story wasn't anything spectacular and over-all I found the writing style on the 'dry' side and I didn't find myself relating, or caring about any of the characters. I still give it 3 stars, however, as I didn't hate it and did stick it out until the end.

Lord of Scoundrels- by Loretta Chase: This one surprised the heck out of me. I found it at the thrift store and thought it looked good--it was more than that, it was wonderful! Lots of witty dialogue, and in a bit of a twist, it was the Hero who had self-esteem issues, not the Heroine. 5 Stars.

Zombie Queen of Newbury High- by Amanda Ashby: I couldn't resist purchasing two YA Zombie novels, I came across on Amazon.com and while both were more along the lines of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, than Daniel Walters' Generation Dead YA Zombie series, which I love, both of them were a lot of fun to read. This one was about a girl who casts what she thinks is a Love Spell, when it looks like she may be losing her prom date to one of the more popular girls in her class..and then finds out the Spell she actually ended up casting is going to turn everyone who had been near her into flesh eating zombies, and as their Queen, she's first up on the menu. 4 stars.

My So-Called Death- by Stacey Jay: After falling from the top of a Cheer Pyramid, during a football game, Karen Vera discovers that she's one of the "Death Challenged" and has to transfer to a special school for the Undead. No sooner does she settle in when she finds herself caught up in trying to solve the mystery of who is stealing the brains of other students and hoping it's not the cutest boy at school, despite the fact that all evidence is pointing his way. 4 stars.