Today I’m taking a look back on what I did in 2018. It’s mostly about my reading stats, but there’s some other info, too.
I worked as a precinct inspector for three elections this year. The last two elections I had really awesome clerks. As much as this introvert hates dealing with that many people, I love working the elections. I love seeing all these people come out and participate in the system, and I especially love watching new voters vote for the very first time.
This is my Instagram Top 9. As you can see, there’s a lot of my Wonder Woman scarf. And, my favorite, is Jo and I during the trip to San Diego right in the middle. It’s mostly knitting-related photos, which is funny because I didn’t knit much this year.
Speaking of what I knit this year, I only finished 4 things this year. My Antarktis shawl, Wonder Woman scarf, Honey cowl, and my Find Your Fade shawl. I wear my fade shawl A LOT. It’s pretty much with me everywhere. Because I did the scarf pattern, but used a lot more yarn, mine is more shawl-like than scarf-like.
Here are a few of the things I’ve started knitting this year and are still languishing on the needles. And of course my Citron is still in progress. I’d knit on it more, but the rows are SO DAMN LONG at this point. Ugh.
I also did some cross stitch at the end of the year. Just a couple ornaments, and I can’t find the Santa I finished, darn it! It’s really cute, too.
Professionally, I edited/proofed 479,269 words. And for series bibles it was 772,287 words. Which means for work I read 1,251,556 words. That…seems like a lot. But really it wasn’t. I’m shooting for more for next year.
SHAMELESS PLUG: I have openings for edits in February, or if anyone needs a series bible done, e-mail me for rates and info.
As for my reading, I have a bunch of interesting stats. At least they’re interesting to me. LOL. I read 228 books this year. My original goal was 250, but sometime in September I knew I wouldn’t hit that, so I changed my goal to 200. Out of the 228 books, 104 were new reads and 124 were re-reads. I knew it would be close between new and re-reads, but I think this is the first year I re-read more than read new.
38 books of the 228 were from authors of color. There may have been more, but those are the only authors I know for sure. I wish I could say I read more individual authors, but really most of those were me glomming Shelly Laurenston and Holley Trent. And now I have Farrah Rochon’s backlist to go through in 2019.
I read 42 audio books, 182 digital books (mostly Kindle and the rest ARCs/manuscripts), and 4 physical books which total over 64,000 pages.
My shortest book was Tabula Rasa by Ophelia Bell (30 pages) and my longest is the Desert Guards compilation by Holley Trent (1,175 pages). The oldest book I read was The Vow by Dallas Schulze, which is a Silhouette Intimate Moments from 1989. The most popular book I read was Becoming by Michelle Obama. No surprise there. LOL. According to GR, 45,850 other people also read it.
The books I’ve read twice this year are:
Dana Marie Bell: Sorry, Charlie
Lila Rose: Breakout
A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.
For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.
I have friends (and bloggers/reviewers) I know personally and trust who loved this book. Who swore it was Linda Howard returning to when she was awesome. I have one thing to say to all of them…
Were we reading the same book?
I listened to this book, and I was bored out of my freaking mind. When the best character in the book is the DOG, maybe Ms. Howard needed a better beta reader or editor.
Most of this book is told via the Morgan (hero) and Bo’s (heroine) thoughts. And if you can believe it, I finished this book less than 24 hours ago and I couldn’t remember their names. I just had to look them up, they were THAT forgettable.
There’s very little dialogue between the two. It starts out with Morgan getting shot, he goes to recuperate at Bo’s, and WEEKS (months?) pass. Lots of walking the dog, watching the dog do tricks, watching the townspeople adore the dog, and Bo whining in her head about cooking. Oh, and her scowling and swearing about how much she hates her stepbrother (Morgan’s boss) though we never find out why, other than some vague reference to him being a bratty older stepbrother for 6 months when they were kids. Bo needs to get over it or get a therapist.
The mystery as to who shot Morgan was never really investigated, that we saw. Lots of talks of traps set by Morgan’s boss, and waiting, but Morgan was pretty passive through this entire book, which I didn’t totally buy.
There was more time spent focused on a subplot of a divorce between two townspeople than there was about who was trying to kill Morgan. And that question was answered after a quick conversation that takes place in the last 60 or so pages. Maybe if Morgan had spent more time spent going through his memories and less time spent admiring the dog, the book might be more suspenseful. And interesting.
The only part of this book that felt like Classic Linda Howard was the sex. Once they FINALLY got started it was plentiful and hot. Here Morgan’s a stereotypical LH hero: Has the largest dick the heroine’s ever played with, and he knows how to use it. It’s the best sex the heroine ever had, and she’s walking a little funny.
All in all, though, I was bored and I should have skipped this one. I’ve read worse, but I always expect so much more out of Linda Howard. Now I’m off to re-listen to Mr. Perfect.
RATING: 2 Stars.
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks
I’m starting a new feature here at FishWithSticks. I’ll be posting book deals (and maybe some other deals) hopefully weekly. I’m still trying to figure out when is the best time for deals, so you’ll have to bear with me!
This deal is available as of today, February 23, 2016, and subject to change at any time by the retailer. Be sure to double check the price before you click BUY.
Today, I’m posting Moira Rogers’ Red Rock Pass series. Moira Rogers is also published as Kit Rocha, and I love those books, so I’m looking forward to reading these, too.
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….
My transition into being someone who reads Paranormal (Shifter) romance has been long and slow. You could say it has kind of snuck up on me. First there was Vivian Arend, then Shelly Laurenston, Dana Marie Bell, and now Nalini Singh.
I know. I can hear you all now. “What do you mean you didn’t read Nalini Singh?!” Yup. I hadn’t. It has taken my friend Lillie almost a year of
nagging gentle nudging before I would finally try it. And, honestly, it might have even taken me longer, except this opportunity came up to review Slave to Sensation.
As someone who isn’t a fan of alternate worlds/realities, this series has me hooked. I started this on Sunday and I’ve now read the first four books, and to no one’s surprise, the shifters, especially Lucas, are my favorite.
Ms. Singh has created a slightly futuristic world with an alternate timeline, and she’s done it in a way I totally buy into it. There are the unemotional unfeeling Psy, the predatory changelings, and the humans. There was a lot of world building in this book, but it never overwhelmed the story, nor did it feel like she was throwing details in to set us up. In fact, in later books she’s layered in more details about the different races and their abilities.
There’s a desperation in this story between Lucas and Sascha. Lucas is determined Sascha will be his, free and able to feel. Sascha believes her fate is worse than death and there’s no hope.
For one instant, their minds were one and he saw how desperately, how wildly, how unreasonably she loved him—enough to break a promise, to choose death so he could live.She saw how much her panther adored her, how his heart beat for her alone, how life would turn into death after she was gone. The beast was angry at her for attempting to deny him his mate, and the man was beyond angry, but beneath the anger was hunger, need, love. Such intense, furious love that it had no beginning and no end.
If you can read that and NOT fall in love with Lucas (and his Panther), then your a better person than I am.
I loved seeing Sascha come into her own, on all levels, and embrace her abilities. She really discovered who she truly is and did the difficult, scary, and dangerous thing because of her love for Lucas.
Lucas, for his part, is all predator. He’s the alpha of his pack and he wields his power well. At first he sees Sascha as prey of a sort, but once he realizes who she is to him, he pulls out all the stops to make her his permanently.
So the TL;DR version: Go read this book. You’ll be hooked.
Rating: 4 Stars
Lynda the Guppy
A PNR Reader
aka The Fish With Sticks
Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.
In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life–but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.
But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.
I’m not a big Paranormal Romance reader. I’ve always liked psychics, but things with witches and vampires and shape shifters were never really my thing. Luckily I have good friends who give EXCELLENT book recommendations, and I got hooked on Shelly Laurenston’s shifter books. When I received the ARC I was both excited and trepidatious. The good was YAY! New Shelly Laurenston book! The bad was Hmm. Birds? Really?
I’m not a fan of birds. They creep me out. And they’re pretty evil, but that theory could be because I saw The Birds when I was young and impressionable. *shudder*
I finally had the time and the inclination to read this one and see what it was about. I was as surprised as anyone when I discovered I really enjoyed myself. Kera was the typical Laurenston heroine: Snarky, funny, and not about to take anything from anyone. She’ll stand on her own, thankyouverymuch, and if someone doesn’t like it, there’s the door. It was interesting to see a woman who was, more or less, a total loner adjust to living in a house full of women. Not to mention adjusting to becoming a Crow.
As for Vig, our hero, he was adorable. Quiet and strong and willing to do what was necessary to help Kera become everything he always knew she could be. He is gruff and scary to everyone but her, and he’s been lusting after her for AGES. He is her stability and safety in a world gone mad, and he helps her figure out her place in it. He’s got his “brothers” and she has her “sisters” and watching the two of them deal with it all was fun to watch.
I also LOVED the little bits with Kera’s dog, Brodie Hawaii.
The one complaint I had is there is a lot of world building in this book. I mean A LOT. While it is interesting and cleverly done, this book is obviously a set up for her new series, and even though there IS a HEA for Vig and Kera, there are threads and plots running through The Unleashing which are left unresolved and will be picked up in the next book. I’m looking forward to that one, as hopefully we’ll get more time with the main couple (whoever they may be) and less world building.
Still, all in all, I enjoyed it and will happily pick up book 2.
Rating: 3 Stars
Lynda the Guppy
Here we go again! I’m participating in the Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-A-Thon. You can check out my participation last year HERE.
Just like last time, I’ll be updating this post throughout the 24 hours. I’ll have a separate post up for any mini-challenges I’ve completed.
Want to compare what’s on my TBR list with what I’m actually reading? I have a Goodreads shelf just for this Readathon. I have 24 books listed ON MY SHELF, and no, that wasn’t deliberate. There are some novellas on there, and some shorter category books I’ve been meaning to get to, along with at least one advance copy of a book. Maybe more.
So wish me luck! The Readathon will begin at 5 a.m. my time (Los Angeles), and if you want to cheer me and all the others on, you can find us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Readathon.
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Reading Machine
Well, it’s over. Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-A-Thon. I spent the better part of 24 hours doing nothing but reading. I realize I read fast, but sometimes it’s funny to see just HOW fast. I remember reading each of the Harry Potter books in a day. Even Order of the Phoenix which I think is the longest. I’m the third generation woman in my family to get kicked out of a speed reading class for reading TOO FAST. LOLOL.
This was a shocking amount of fun. I realize I was home alone with just me and the cat, but there was still a wonderful social aspect to this whole thing. There were mini-challenges I could do and blog updates to write and a Goodreads account to update. And there were over 900 people doing it with me, and a whole other group of people who were cheering us all on. Like I said. Shocking amount of fun.
Here are my personal totals:
What Was Read: 5 Books & 4 Short Stories. I have the full list of titles below.
Pages Read: 1,147 pages
Time Spent Reading: About 18 hours, probably. I started at 5:00 a.m. and finished at 4:30 a.m.. In between I took a 4 hour nap, plus did all the blog stuff and checked Twitter periodically, etc. So all in all I probably spent about 18 hours actually reading. That’s about 64 pages an hour. LOL Not too shabby.
Books Purchased Today: 2. (Well, 3 if you count a book I bought for tomorrow. LOL)
Blog Updates: 6 updates to my original post, and 2 Mini-Challenges.
Full List of Books (in the order I read them):
Jennifer Greene, Trouble in Paradise
Jennifer Greene, Quicksand
Anne Rainey, What She Wants
Anne Rainey, What She Craves
Anne Rainey, What She Needs
Victoria Dahl, Fanning the Flames
Cynthia Eden, Mine to Take
Cynthia Eden, Mine to Keep
Katie Reus, Breaking Her Rules
While I enjoyed all the books on this list, two books stand out as particular favorites. The first is Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl. That is one HOT fireman hero. VERY sexy. The second is Jennifer Greene’s Quicksand. It was nice to rediscover what was an old favorite. (Trigger warning: In Quicksand They do deal, in an offhand roundabout way, with a character’s past date rape. Nothing graphic and they don’t go into specifics, but there you go.)
While this WAS fun, It’s now 5:00 a.m. and I’m exhausted. So I’m going to get myself to bed. I’m scheduling this post to go up later in the morning, and hopefully by the time it does I’ll be fast asleep and dreaming dreams of hot firemen and librarians in pencil skirts, thanks to Victoria Dahl.
Lynda the Guppy
aka A Sleepy Guppy
aka A Fish With Sticks
I’ve decided to leave that other Read-A-Thon post for my book updates, and use this one strictly for any Mini-Challenges I participate in.
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I’m in Los Angeles, CA. The San Fernando Valley, to be more specific.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Hmm.Tough choice. I’m not sure. I’m looking forward to reading a bunch of Jennifer Greene’s older categories. Also, I’ve got some holiday novellas on the list, and those are always a favorite. Not sure I can pick just one. I guess the first one, really, because OMG I WANT TO START. LOL.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I have none picked out. LOL.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I love reading romance and knitting, and thanks to audiobooks can sometimes do both at once. I’m addicted to Twitter and love talking about books. And knitting. It’s always a happy surprise when my book friends are also knitters. LOL.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? It’s not my first, so the biggest change this time from last is I’ve chosen shorter books. LOL Last time I was in the middle of a long series and the books themselves were lengthy, so because of the book and family stuff, I ended up only reading part of one book.
Here’s Rani, slightly annoyed I’m disturbing her to take her picture. LOL. She’s been with me pretty much all day, though. She LOVES it when I stay home and read. It means lots of Mom Cuddle Time.
And just because I think she’s cute, here’s a pic of us as the Read-A-Thon was starting at 5 a.m. my time.
There’s a 24-hour readathon that goes on twice a year, I think. It’s called Dewey’s Read-A-Thon. The goal is to read as much as you can in a 24-hour period.
I’ve tried it before, but I didn’t plan my books well, and so I didn’t get through too much last time. Now I’ve stockpiled a bunch of holiday novellas and some ARCs and I’m going to cuddle with the cat, leave the TV off and just read for the entire day.
I’ve put this post up as a placeholder. I’ll be updating it throughout the 24-hours (which starts at 5 a.m. my time on Saturday) with what books I’ve read and anything else Read-A-Thon related, so be sure to check back frequently.
And, because this is me, I’ll also be tweeting throughout the day.
Update 4:00 a.m.: We’re an hour from the official start, and I’ve finally chosen my first book. It’s Jennifer Greene’s Trouble in Paradise. An older category which has been reissued digitally. Greene is one of my favorite authors, and I’m working my way through her backlist, so I think you’ll see a bunch of her stuff today. This one is a Marriage in Jeopardy book. And y’all know I eat those up like candy.
Update 8:00 a.m.: My first book is done! Trouble in Paradise by Jennifer Greene. I enjoyed it. I would have liked to have seen maybe 1 more chapter just to really show how things are better now, but I liked Griff and Susan and their relationship a lot. I had to laugh at them using a phone book to find the numbers of Tom’s friends. LOL. Other than that, though, the book never felt dated, as some category books can after a time. I’ve always found Jennifer Greene’s books to stand up well over time. Not sure what’s next. Maybe a nap. Maybe some breakfast. Back in a bit.
Update 3:00 p.m.: Well. I’ve had a little breakfast and a nap and I’ve gone on to finish book 2. Another Jennifer Greene book, Quicksand. Turns out I’ve already read it, but it was nice to reconnect with a book I had forgotten about, and one I enjoyed. So what to read next? Hmmm…
Update 8:00 p.m.: Another 3 stories down. I hesitate to call them “books” because, really, they’re just little quickies. But ever so satisfying. I read Anne Rainey’s Cape May series. The first one, What She Wants was about Summer and Gage. Summer owns a B&B and Gage, a P.I., has come to visit his aunt. The attraction is immediate. The next two books, What She Craves and What She Needs are both about Tory (Summer’s friend and part-time assistant) and her to best friends Devon and Con. In What She Craves, we find out that Devon and Con have been in love with her for a while and the timing is right this New Year’s Eve to show her how they feel. The last book, What She Needs, is all about Con, Devon, and Tory dealing with some unexpected jealousy just days before Valentine’s Day. I haven’t read all of Ms. Rainey’s books, but I’ve loved what I’ve read. These were quick, sexy little stories and perfect for the Read-A-Thon.
Update 12 a.m.: I’ve finished two more. The first was Victoria Dahl’s Fanning the Flames. Early in the book is this quote: “He smelled the way a man should smell when he was in your bed and working hard for it.” WHY have I not devoured everything she’s written?! I’ve read her before and really enjoyed her books. Her heroes are sexy and wonderful and her heroines are smart and funny and not ashamed to go after what they want and need. This one was a short story which is the start of her Jackson Girls’ Night Out series. I’ve already downloaded the next book. The next book I read was Cynthia Eden’s Mine to Take. This hero is dangerous and obsessive and alpha. Yes, please. WE know he’s no threat to the heroine. But is she convinced? It was fantastic and I actually peeked at the ending because I was worried about who her stalker was. LOL. I was wrong. Thankfully, Trace wasn’t. I’m about to start Mine to Keep, which is the next book in the Mine series, and also about Skye and Trace, but this time it’s HIS secrets putting them in danger.
Update 4:30 a.m.: My final two books today are Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden. The sequel to the last book I read. And also Katie Reus’ Breaking Her Rules, which is book 6 of her Red Stone Security series. A series I’ve enjoyed and didn’t realize I was so far behind on. I have three more books to read before I’m all caught up.
I’ll post my final thoughts in a separate post tomorrow, but in the meantime let me just say I’m looking forward to April.
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish Without Sleep
aka The Fish With Sticks
Just letting you all know I did a guest post over at my friend Limecello’s blog on Saturday. It’s all about asking who are your favorite writers. Want to find out mine? Head on over to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet to see!
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks