My Year in Books 2014

December 31, 2014
I set myself an ambitious goal this year, 30 books (because, where was I going to find the time to read, right?) Apparently I found the time to complete 34 and I am in the middle of 35, but I don't think I will finish Drums of Autumn before midnight tonight. There should be more here, I started a lot of free ones that turned out to be rubbish and a waste of time, but the ones that I did finish, I at least rated so I could go back later and write reviews for. Maybe that should be my resolution for 2015 -- to finish everything I start writing.

As much as I love real books, my tablet is infinitely more portable. I read almost entirely on my Nexus 7 using either the Kindle app, Google Play Books, or Overdrive. At the beginning of the year I used the library a LOT (until I forgot to return some dead tree books ... and, some of you may know how that goes). My goal this year was to actually read more than listen to books, though sometimes audiobooks are the only way I can get through my workday. I think I read and listened to at least four of Jim Butcher's books this way.

Speaking of Butcher, I started the year off with a determination to finish the Alera Codex while I waited for Skin Game to be published. I also thought about getting into True Blood (the HBO Series) and read a few of the books to get an idea of what the hype was about; after the third one the pattern was fairly predictable, so I haven't read any more about Sookie Stackhouse and her adventures. Neither did I start watching the series, I mean, Orphan Black is on!

Next I thought I would try the Sword and Laser Book Club. It was great until Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs Novels) came up. I was vividly reminded why I stopped reading cyberpunk, despite loving noir detective novels. It took me over two months to finish, but I was determined to get through it. By then I was behind schedule and ready for some lighter fare. The Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy fit the bill ... and didn't. I went into it with an open mind, but towards the end, I had to agree with some other reviewers that it was just too long. Some of the stories are incredibly written and I loved them, while others had me scratching my head or trying to hurry through to the next one.

Rather than recap each book here at the end (which I was about to do it seems, but lucky for you my battery is almost dead), I guess I should go back and write my book reviews.

Overall, best new author discovered this year, Patrick Rothfuss. OMG, can we get the third installment of Kvoth's story already? In the meantime, since I didn't get the autographed version of The Slow Regard of Silent Things for Christmas, I'll finish out Drums of Autumn and then switch back to my new favorite world. Best new sci-fi of the year, hands-down, thumbs up, read this book NOW - The Martian. So glad I listened to peer pressure to read this one.

So, what did you read this year?

2014 Completed Books

Neverwhere: BBC Dramatization
Bigfoot Trilogy
The Martian
Dragonfly in Amber
The Wise Man's Fear
The Monarch of the Glen
First Person Peculiar
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Name of the Wind
Skin Game
Doctor Who: Summer Falls and Other Stories
The Bishop Witches
Bones: The Complete Apocalypse Saga
Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy
Altered Carbon
The Long Earth

Annette's favorite books »

Nerdvember Recap

Unlike the smart people who made time to do weekly recaps, I thought it would be easy to do a recap at the end of the month. But you know what? Instagram doesn't exactly make it easy, even with the ability to embed. But, thanks to Google-fu, I found a few nifty tools to help me through the consequences of my procrastination.

Collage created by (thanks for the heads up BonjourBlogger) and LoupeCollage

Now, the fun part (if I dressed up well enough). The collage above is not in order. If you weren't following my antics before, you should be able to hover over and match the photos to the descriptions below.

  1. Tiana as Naveen (Cross-play)
  2. Zoe Washburn t-shirt
  3. T.A.R.D.I.S.
  4. Eeyore
  5. Jedi in training
  6. Cosima (Orphan Black, if you have not watched this show, get on it! New season starts soon!)
  7. Wonder Woman #1
  8. Big Bang Theory
  9. Paternoster Gang/Powerpuff Girls
  10. Mrs. Doubtfire
  11. Steve Rogers (Capt. America in street wear)
  12. River Song
  13. I tried and failed to do John Watson to my satisfaction, so no photo on November 13th.
  14. Wash's Dinosaur (Firefly)
  15. Incredible Hulk (friends on Facebook thought I looked constipated)...
  16. Zoe Washburn
  17. I was feeling a little ... Grumpy
  18. Star Trek
  19. Game of Thrones
  20. Yoda
  21. I can't wait to get back to Disneyland and see the new and improved show
  22. Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man
  23. I wasn't feeling it today ...
  24. Princess Bride
  25. BBC version of Being Human (cosplaying while traveling Day 1)
  26. Wonder Woman #2
  27. Eeyore #2
  28. Muppets
  29. Star Wars - The Dark Side/Vader
  30. Harry Potter
All in all, I wasn't sure that I would have the mental capacity (or the wardrobe) to pull off 30 looks, but I did pretty damn well with 28. I should have done Castiel from Supernatural on one of the other days, I have the trench coat and everything. I was also considering doing Dresden, but didn't have the right boots.

This challenge taught me a lot about creativity, how lacking in geeky accessories my collection is (care to help a girl out? I have a ThinkGeek wishlist) and why some women have so many different purses and shoes! They really do make a difference to the outfit. It also reminded me why I don't own any white shirts on purpose and that, if I'm the subject of a photo, my makeup must be damn close to perfect. You'll find me behind the camera again.

Menu Plan Monday: Cooking for One

December 15, 2014
I hate hate hate hate hate cooking for only myself!

Last week I pretty much refused to, since getting lunch was usually large enough to be two portions. But, by the weekend I was down for the count. No energy, back problems, not completely attributed to the change in weather, but more likely to the increased gluten (bread) intake (yes, I have been emo-eating again. Peppermint brownies, can you blame me?).

So, yesterday I started cooking for myself again and clean eating.
Sunday: Ghetto Fabulous Claim Jumpers Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Monday: Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders (no breading) with steamed veggies
Tuesday: Tilapia with green beans and grape tomatoes
Wednesday: Cedar Planked Maple Salmon - or leftovers from work holiday party. I'll be making Sweet Potato Pie. No, it does not taste like pumpkin pie, it tastes MUCH better.

Thursday: Curry Shrimp and Spinach
Friday:  Something with steak.
Saturday: Primal Jambalaya

Throwback Thursday: Disneyland 2003

December 11, 2014
 photo Mark_Twain_group.jpg
On the Mark Twain, back when my son was shorter than me and I was skinny.
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