2011 in review

Late as usual, thanks to the holidays plus a bout post-Christmas stomach fun (note: there was no actual fun had).  I’m still considering doing a belated “best of 2011”  (with the obvious caveat being “things I’ve read/listened/played” which is a frighteningly small percentage of actual things released in 2011).  Meanwhile I’m prepping for MAGFest X.  Hopefully this year I’ll get some stuff posted from the show itself.  The fun starts tomorrow and word is there are still tickets at the door; so if you’re a fan of games and are in the DC area you should definitely give it a shot.  Anyway, hit the jump for some statistical fun…

Continue reading “2011 in review”

Aug/Sep 2011 Summary

Things are a bit busy at work since we are down one staffer and prepping for our annual booksale not to mention the fact that my allergies (not helped by the move to fall nor the handling of moldy old books) make me want to curl up and sleep the mucus away.  So, while I slowly plink away at my excessive backlog of reviews here is a summary of what I reviewed in August and September.

August

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

The Ghosts of Watt of Hugh by Steven S. Drachman

Ashes of the Earth by Eliot Pattison

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

September

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurdsdottir

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis

Since it is now October I’m also scouring the “shelves” (or internet) for some horror to read. I’ve actually had a better time of it this year and I’ve started reading Southern Gods (Blues + Lovecraft = Win) by John Horner Jacobs and I’m particularly looking to giving Black Light a shot, despite the fact that it is written by the guys who did Saw.

July Summary

A slow month in the midst of several slow months.  Packing all the George R. R. Martin books more-or-less back to back may not have been the most brilliant of ideas.  I’m about a third of the way through A Dance With Dragons and will probably finish while I’m on vacation at the end of this week.  I have a rather cumbersome stack of books on my desk but I’ll be browsing for some serendipitous finds before I leave.  For a summer vacation I need at least one horror novel so I’ll see what I can dig up.

July’s Reviews:

7th Sigma by Steven Gould

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My obsession with all things SMod has stymied my audiobook listening.  I’ve started a stopped listening to The Broken Sword, and Hexed (the latter was actually rather disappointing) but am maybe 25% through the latest Dresden Files book: Ghost Story.  I did a nice little twitter shout out from Kevin Smith for my post about SModcast/SIR, which gave me a nice little geek high.

June Summary

The Last Page by Anthony Huso

The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larsen

Dreadnought by Jack Campbell

Star Wars: Conviction (FotJ #7) by Aaron Allston

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

City of Ruins by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Evermore by Alyson Noel

June looks a lot more productive than it felt.  I really fell off the wagon with the 30 Day Challenge Posts, I might still do a catch all for the last couple, but I think its time might be past.  Summer is always a bit rough, what with the siren call of sun and fun but I’ve been trying to keep up with my reading.  I’ve also been playing a lot of  Dragon Age II.  Despite my grumbling during pre-release I’ve really been enjoying it.  With some minor exceptions Dragon Age II is in many ways an improvement over the first game.  I’m almost done with A Clash of Kings which leaves me at sort of a crossroads.  I had initially pegged A Dance With Dragons as a late July release but everywhere now says July 12.  My ability to hold off and wait is extremely suspect so I don’t know if I’m going to attempt to buckle down and power through A Storm of Swords  and A Feast for Crows (that’s a lot of pages for 13 days of reading).  This will likely be a last minute decision.  The bizarre decision on my part to read Evermore will tie into a few more YA reads starting with a review of Stephen Gould’s 7th Sigma; on deck are The Dead-Tossed Waves and Rot & Ruin.  I am also in the middle of Hexed by Kevin Hearne (in audio) and even took a detour to checkout Preston and Child’s latest Gideon’s Sword (not-sff) in audio.

May Summary

A day early but I figured I’d get a jump on this now.

The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

The Wolf Age by James Enge

The Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumiere

Sleepless by Charlie Huston

In June on I plan on powering through A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows in order to be ready for A Dance with Dragons when it releases in July. I have a couple of reviews in the works for The Last Page by Anthony Huso (challenging and interesting), The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larson (semi post-apocalyptic thriller noir), Leviathan Wakes by S. A. Corey (crunchy space opera awesomesauce), 7th Sigma by Steven Gould (slick YA read), and Dreadnaught by Jack Campbell (new Lost Fleet series but I never finished reviewing the original Lost Fleet series). I’m almost finished with the audio version of Robert J Sawyer’s WWW: Wake and I’m chomping at the bit to move onto the next book in the Fate of the Jedi series (I hate the irregular publishing schedule with a fiery passion).  I’ll also be trying to make it through my 30 Day Video Game Challenge which is slightly longer than 30 days since I missed a couple of days and I tend to take weekends off.

April Summary

April saw the following reviews:

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

The Crawling Sky by Joe R. Lansdale

The Thief by  Megan Walen Turner

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman

I’ve actually finished a couple of other titles that should be up in the next few weeks including The Wolf Age by James Enge (awesome) and The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (audio, fun!).  I’m almost done listening to the audio version of The Drawing of the Three (the second Dark Tower book).  My copy of The Door to Lost Pages arrived last week and I should blaze through that pretty quickly.  I should also make my way through A Clash of Kings this month so expect more musings on Martin’s epic as I gear up for the release of A Dance With Dragons come July.  Also, the newest issue of Black Gate  should be on its way!

March Summary

Read (or listened to) and reviewed in March:

The Ginger Star by Leigh Brackett

The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones

The Black God’s Kiss by C. L. Moore

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

Not too much else to say here.  I’m currently working on a reread of Martin’s Game of Thrones.  I finished The Crippled God and should have a review up later this week, though like The Wise Man’s Fear above, this is a difficult title to review.  Once I’m done with Game of Thrones I have every intent in digging into Abraham’s The Dragon’s Path.

February ’11 Summary

I’m still having a struggle finding time and energy to blog.  Maybe as we get closer to spring the tantalizing thought of sunny days and soothing sight of blue skies will increase my energy.  Here is what I reviewed this past month:

Among Others by Jo Walton

Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

Clementine by Cherie Priest (audio)

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

Fearless by Jack Campbell (audio)

Courageous by Jack Campbell (audio)

Black Gate 14

I’ve been delving into some older swords and sorcery titles over the last month but haven’t had a real chance to sit down and write any reviews. I’m just about done with the Planet Stories edition of Black God’s Kiss by C. L. Moore and read through The Ginger Star by Leigh Brackett (more swords, planets and sorcery). I also ready Howard Andrew Jones The Desert of Souls, which was every bit as awesome as I thought it would be so expect a review soon. March has a number of sequels coming out namely Erikson’s The Crippled God and Rothfus’ Wise Man’s Fear (which I actually forgot about).  I also have a number of arcs to take a look at (most with April release dates) and I sort of want to re-read Game of Thrones before April 17.  I also want to get back to my Erikson re-read.  I do plan on continuing to read more swords and sorcery titles as opportunity arises.  I’m also going to be away for PAX East 2011 next week so things will be quiet(er) here during that time as well.

January Summary

I swear I frickin’ clicked publish!!!!!!  Argh!  This should have been up Wednesday.  Here it is now.

Read and reviewed in January:

The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Dauntless by Jack Campbell

Stonewielder by Ian Cameron Esslemont

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley

Coming up towards the end of this week I should have a review up for Among Others by Jo Walton and next week I should have something to say on Bloodshot by Cherie Priest (I’m also listening to the audio version of Clementine). I don’t have anything big in the works at the moment and am pretty much grabbing books at whim.  I will tell you that I plan to grab Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones as soon as I am physically (or digitally) able to ( Jones is on the editorial staff of Black Gate which deserves a post all its own) since a swords and sorcery tale of Arabian adventuring sounds just about right.  I’ve paused in my reading through Stealer of Souls (the first Elric anthology) but plan to get back to that soon.  I guess, given my excitement for Desert of Souls and frequent perusal of the massive Black Gate issue 14 I’m sort of on a sword’s and sorcery kick.  I definitely want more and I’ve been hearing the silent call of those Conan and Lankhmar anthologies sitting on my bookshelf.  I mean check out this gorgeous cover:  

That is how you frickin’ do “dude with sword” on a fantasy cover.

A Quick Look Back at 2010 (also…December Summary)

No big year end posts for me.  No choices for best-ofs, I’ve enjoyed too much over the course of year to make some sort of arbitrary decision about which was best.  Some interesting stats…

In 2010 the blog had  aprox. 41,000  hits.  An increase over 2009’s 29,159 hits.  A fairly substantial increase.  I have no way to determine how that increase came about, but there it is (I suspect robots).  I made 127 new posts in 2010.  Not a bad number, but I have nothing to really compare it to so it is something of a meaningless stat.   I also had sort-of a semi-anniversary this year.  Technically speaking, on the basest of levels, I started this blog 2005.  Of course in 2005 it really wasn’t “this blog” and a was a much sadder, sorrier, thing than what you see now.  So while, technically it has been 5 years, in reality it has been closer to 3 (I moved the blog to wordpress in May of 2007).  However I didn’t really start posting reviews, or even posting regularly until October 2007 (there was a one paragraph semi-review of The Lies of Locke Lamora in August 2006).  As you can see determining when to celebrate my this thing’s inception is a bit difficult.

In terms of reading 2010 was pretty similar to 2009 with 73 books (more or less) read and reviewed over 2009’s 70.  I’m hoping in 2011 I can inch that number a bit higher.  What will 2011 bring?  Even I don’t know.  But I’m pretty excited to find out.

A quick take on December:

The Last Colony by John Scalzi

An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

At the Queen’s Command by Michael A Stackpole

SW: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex by Troy Denning

The Emerald Storm by Michael A Sullivan

Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding