Time to look back on the new titles read over the course of the last 12 months...
It was a fairly modest year of reading--but what I lacked in quantity, well, I feel I made up for in quality.
Read a lot of good ones!
Without further ado, I give you...my reading list:
1 Callahan's Secret—Spider Robinson
2 Callahan's Lady—Spider Robinson
3 The Callahan Touch—Spider Robinson
Started off the year right! Finishing up the Callahan series by Spider Robinson. HIGHLY recommend. Can't recommend his work strongly enough, actually. The man knows how to write believable, compelling characters. Technically science fiction, but with a huge dosage of humanity and compassion. DEE-LIGHTFUL stuff. Humorous with heart.
4 The Fugitive Pigeon—Donald E. Westlake
5 The Busy Body—Donald E. Westlake
6 Somebody Owes Me Money—Donald E. Westlake
7 The Black Bird—Donald E. Westlake
8 Cops And Robbers—Donald E. Westlake
9 Bank Shot—Donald E. Westlake
10 Jimmy the Kid—Donald E. Westlake
11 Don't Ask—Donald E. Westlake
12 Dancing Aztecs—Donald E. Westlake
After holding off for as long as I could--several months--I read through every single Westlake novel I could find in the house. (It wasn't nearly enough.) I DEMAND THAT SOMEONE MAKE A SERIES OF DORTMUNDER MOVIES STARRING WILL ARNETT, HE IS SERIOUSLY THE EXACT PICTURE OF THE CHARACTER OF DORTMUNDER. EVERYTHING FROM THE VOICE TO THE FACE. SOMEONE DO IT NOW. PLZ.
13 Beyond the Pale—Mark Anthony
14 The Keep of Fire—Mark Anthony
15 The Dark Remains—Mark Anthony
16 Blood of Mystery—Mark Anthony
17 The Gates of Winter—Mark Anthony
18 The First Stone—Mark Anthony
Best "epic" fantasy series I've read. EVER. My older brother had originally read the first three aloud to me, back in the early-mid 2000s, and the series continued strong right up to the end. Hugely satisfying. With strong female characters, and a positive portrayal of gay/bisexual characters without having to make it into a big "thing". They were all just really damn good CHARACTERS. Also: magic is dangerous and monsters are flippin' SCARY. The second book involves a fire PLAGUE. It was somewhat horrifying. As were the Ironhearts throughout. Someone make a TV show of this one. Plz.
19 Dragon and Slave—Timothy Zahn
20 Dragon and Herdsman—Timothy Zahn
After too many years, I finally managed to read books 3 and 4 in this series...I'll be curious to see where it goes to/how it ends if I can find the rest. An underrated gem among young adult fiction, I think.
21 The Turing Option—Harry Harrison & Marvin Minsky
VERY interesting look at humanity and machine in this one. Also: a somewhat stark look at what could be the reality of the future for brain surgery.
22 Temeraire: In The Service Of The King—Naomi Novik
(His Majesty's Dragon)
(Throne of Jade)
(Black Powder War)
I definitely look forward to finding more books in this series. Alternate history fantasy where dragons are used against Napoleon. Very compelling, very cool. Flintlock fantasy! That's what the genre is called...'s cool.
23 Werewolf Smackdown—Mario Avecedo
Uh. Uh disappointing. Kinda lame and boring. I actually can't remember it.
24 Catspaw—Joan D. Vinge
VERY good read. A definite page-turner. Some light sci-fi-fluff. But with some hefty stuff as well. A hard look at empathy.
25 Magician's Ward—Patricia C. Wrede
Not nearly as good as the first book: Mairelon the Magician. Didn't have enough Mairelon for one thing, and Kim was practically a side character in the fact that she didn't get to DO much. A let down after the first book...
26 Swords Against Wizardry—Fritz Leiber
Classic sword&sorcery stuff.
27 Valley Thieves—Max Brand
A Max Brand western. What more can I say? I'll read 'em all eventually.
28 Survival Zero—Mickey Spillane
Um. I don't quiiiite remember this one. A Mike Hammer mystery, anyway. I usually enjoy 'em.
29 Royal Assassin—Robin Hobb
30 Assassin's Quest—Robin Hobb
31 Fool's Errand—Robin Hobb
Definite page-turners!!! A bit difficult to read at times, because they're like some sort of classic tragedy. I mean, they're not hugely HAPPY, per se...but they stay with a reader for a time after reading them. At least, I couldn't get them out of my mind!! I MUST find the rest of the series...Addictive to read.
32 Magic's Pawn—Mercedes Lackey
I really like the character of Vanyel. This one was interesting to read because I'd actually read the second book (Magic's Promise) beforehand. Which stood alone as a very decent introduction to the character. This was a lot more heavy-handed with the drama, but since he was a teen...I guess it balances out. But the age jump between books 1 and 2 may leave a reader wondering at the stuff in between.
33 Krondor: The Betrayal—Raymond E. Feist
34 Prince of the Blood—Raymond E. Feist
35 The King's Buccaneer—Raymond E. Feist
36 Shadow of a Dark Queen—Raymond E. Feist
37 Rise of a Merchant Prince—Raymond E. Feist
This was the year of rereading The Riftwar Saga! I'd originally read Magician, Silverthorn, and A Darkness At Sethanon about 8-10 years ago, so going back to them with an adult's perspective was rather telling. The thing it told me is that Raymond E. Feist isn't a GREAT writer. Not bad, but...uh, his "epic" fantasies can be somewhat tedious when he goes into the whole "big scope" thing. My favorite has been Silverthorn because it's more of a standalone and has a nicely epic feel without getting...um, stupid. Also: Jimmy the Hand. Favorite character. Also also: Arutha. Second favorite character. Thirdly also: Martin. Third favorite character. Altogether, Silverthorn was the best book of the original Saga. Krondor reads better as a GAME than a book. Prince of the Blood wasn't bad, but The King's Buccaneer was a liiittle bit better. (Except for the ending. And the Deus Ex Machina I won't spoil for any of you who've yet to read it.) The two titles there in the Serpentwar Saga have left me unimpressed and not really looking forward to the third book.
38 Feet of Clay—Terry Pratchett
TERRY PRATCHETT. DISCWORLD. NUFF SAID. One of the City Watch, Sam Vimes books. One of my favorite characters to read about!!
39 Storm Front—Jim Butcher
After reading books 2, 3, 4, 9, and 12, I finally got to read book number 1 in this series! (Note: I started with book number 9, White Night.) Okay, Jim Butcher is NOT a great writer. But his books are very addictive. Like popcorn reading. Light, easy to pick up, and before you know it--BAM! You read a whole book in one day. They're page turners, but not great works. He has no strong female characters, he follows certain paranormal tropes to a T, and side characters often seem interesting, but are never used to great effect because it's a first-person narrative. So it makes you wonder why he bothers. Karrin Murphy COULD be a strong female character, but she's wasted in every single book that's not he 2nd. And I don't wanna spoil anything, but she still didn't get a whole lot of screen time in Fool Moon. The first book was fun enough, but again, not a super piece of fiction.
40 The Tomb—F. Paul Wilson
My mom, sister, and older brother have all read this book before me, and now I can understand why they seem reluctant to read any others in the series. This one works really WELL as a stand-alone. It would make for a good movie.
41 Crashcourse—Wilhelmina Baird
Do NOT recommend. Starts off really strong, with a female character that I find intriguing, competent, and compelling. The first half is really GOOD. And then it falls to pieces. With a complete character turn around that leaves you going WTF?! She goes from tough, competent, street savvy thief, to teary girl being lead around by the MALE characters. She doesn't make any major decisions for herself and she's constantly on the verge of tears or so it seems. I mean, jeez, one of the male characters is this pacifist no-getter type, and by the end he's being all assertive and stuff. It just made no sense in context with the first half of the book. Like it was written by two completely different people. Maybe it was. The copyright was under a different name than "Wilhelmina Baird".
42 Warrior: En Garde—Michael A. Stackpole
43 Warrior: Riposte—Michael A. Stackpole
MECH-WARRIORS!!! I coulda done without some of the technical jargon--the mech battle scenes could go a bit overboard with description in technical specs--but these were a pretty decent read, and I look forward to finding the next book.
44 Cheyenne Gold—Max Brand
Another Max Brand western. This one had an interesting take on faith/belief and coincidence. I dunno if he was being ironic, or what. It was fun tho'. Except the ending was a little bit "typical" in its lack of definite resolution for the the characters. And the female characters weren't written in the strongest light. But hey, he's had other, better, female characters in past books.
And that was 2014! As usual, I don't bother counting the titles I RE-read, except for the case of the first three books in the Last Rune series by Mark Anthony. Since Joey had read them aloud to me, and it'd been YEARS ago. Right now I'm re-reading The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie, but I look forward to many new books in 2015. Hope y'all have some good reads!