The Reading List Archive – 2013

This is the archive of the books I read (or started) in 2013.  For the books I’ve read or am currently reading, check out The Reading List.
I’ll put an X behind those that I recommend and a XX behind those that I highly recommend. Books with one X will likely only be popular with those who are fans of the genre, while XXs are those I’d recommend regardless of genre preference.
106.  Dreamsongs: Volume I by George R. R. Martin (28 Dec 2013) – XX
—–A great collection of short stories.
105.  The Thief of Always by Clive Barker (21 Dec 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of The Thief of Always
104.  Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake (6 Dec 2013) – X
—–Interesting, but rather repetitive.  I guess that’s to be expected when the book is trying to convince us that it’s a mostly usable roadmap for a national U. S. cyber security policy.
103.  Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, book 11) by Robert Jordan (7 Nov 2013) [re-reading to review- still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of Knife of Dreams
102.  Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega, book 2) by Patricia Briggs (30 Oct 2013) – X
———-Read:  My review of Hunting Ground
101.  Cry Wolf  (Alpha and Omega, book 1) by Patricia Briggs (21 Oct 2013) – X
———-Read:  My review of Cry Wolf
100.  On The Prowl by Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, & Sunny (7 Oct 2013)
—–Other than “Alpha and Omega”, which kicks off Briggs’ series, I found nothing worth reading in this book.
———-Read:  My review of On The Prowl
99.  Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time, book 10) by Robert Jordan (7 Sep 2013) [re-read to write a review – still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of Crossroads of Twilight
98.  The Cleric Quintet by R. A. Salvatore (23 Jul 2013) – X
—–A great early book by Salvatore, but not likely for non-fantasy readers.
[read Head First HTML & CSS, 2nd Edition in between Winter’s Heart and The Cleric Quintet]
97.  Winter’s Heart (The Wheel of Time, book 9) by Robert Jordan (6 Jun 2013) [re-read to write a review – still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of Winter’s Heart
96.  The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe by Brandon Mull (29 May 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of Arcade Catastrophe
95.  The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull (19 May 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of The Candy Shop War
94.  The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, book 8) by Robert Jordan (19 Apr 2013) [re-read to write a review – still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of The Path of Daggers
93. Tomb Seven by Gene Snyder (9 Apr 2013)
—–Tomb Seven was fairly predictable, with little worthwhile action.
———-Read:  My review of Tomb Seven
92. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (31 Mar 2013)
—–While this story had some interesting parallels to the non-fiction book “How the Irish Saved Civilization”, it was very slow going, and a bit difficult to follow at times.
91.  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (22 Feb 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of Beautiful Creatures
90.  A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time, book 7) (20 Feb 2013) [re-reading to write a review]
———-Read:  My review of A Crown of Swords
89.  Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (2 Feb 2013)
—–Slow going.  Couldn’t get into this one.  Was like work to get through it.
———-Read:  My review of Labyrinth
88.  The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card (28 Jan 2013) – X
—–An interesting system of magic, a young protagonist, but not a young adult book
———-Read:  My review of The Lost Gate
87.  The Legend of Drizzt Anthology, The Collected Stories by R.A. Salvatore, Edited by Philip Athas (22 Jan 2013) – XX
—–A collection of short stories centered around Drizzt and the Companions of the Hall, as well as a few focused on Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri.
86.  A Memory of Light (the Wheel of Time, book 14) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (10 Jan 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of A Memory of Light
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The Reading List Archive – 2012

This is the archive of the books I read (or started) in 2012.  For the books I’ve read or am currently reading, check out The Reading List.
I’ll put an X behind those that I recommend and a XX behind those that I highly recommend. Books with one X will likely only be popular with those who are fans of the genre, while XXs are those I’d recommend regardless of genre preference.
85.  Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time, boook13) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (10 Dec 2012) – XX
———-Read:  My review of Towers of Midnight
84.  The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time, book 12) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (21 Nov 2012) – XX
———-Read:  My review of The Gathering Storm
83.  Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, book 11) by Robert Jordan (31 Oct 2012) – XX
82.  Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time, book 10) by Robert Jordan (4 Oct 2012) – XX
81.  Winter’s Heart (The Wheel of Time, book 9) by Robert Jordan (9 Sep 2012) – XX
80.  The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, book 8) by Robert Jordan (19 Aug 2012) – XX
79.  A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time, book 7) by Robert Jordan (31 Jul 2012) – XX
———-Read: My review of A Crown of Swords
78.  Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time, book 6) by Robert Jordan (6 Jul 2012) – XX
———-Read: My review of Lord of Chaos
77.  The Hunger Pains: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon (4 Jul 2012)
—–I didn’t like this book at all.  I tried to imagine it being like a Mel Brooks movie…like Space Balls was to Star Wars, but it didn’t help.  I found one or two places that made me smirk, but nothing that made me really laugh.  Maybe my sense of humor isn’t highbrow enough to get Harvard Lampoon, but I’m glad it was just a loaner from a friend.
76.  The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time, book 5) by Robert Jordan (17 Jun 2012) – XX
———-Read: My review of The Fires of Heaven
75.  The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, book 4) by Robert Jordan (31 May 2012) – XX
———-Read: My review of The Shadow Rising
74.  The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, book 3) by Robert Jordan (17 May 2012) – XX
———-Read: My review of The Dragon Reborn
73.  The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time, book 2) by Robert Jordan (3 May 2012) – XX
———-Read: My review of The Great Hunt
72.  The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, book 1) by Robert Jordan (14 Apr 2012) – XX
—–Great start to my favorite Fantasy series
———-Read: My review of The Eye of the World
71.  Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz  (2 Apr 2012) – XX
—–a great book on how Schultz decided to come back to Starbucks as CEO and turn Starbucks back around
70.  Inheritance by Christopher Paolini  (5 Mar 2012) – XX
—–The final book in the Inheritance Cycle, but not the last book to be set in Alagaesia.  The XX is if you’ve ready the previous books.  If you haven’t read the previous books, I recommend skipping this one and checking out Eragon, the first in the series.
———-Read:  My review of Inheritance
69.  Forever Odd by Dean Koontz  (26 Feb 2012) – XX
———-Read:  My review of Forever Odd
68.  Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz  (12 Feb 2012) – XX
—–Somewhere between a thriller and a horror, it’s got quirky characters and not too much spook or violence to be a turn off to folks who aren’t fans of these genres.
———-Read:  My review of Odd Thomas
67.  Hooked:  Write Fiction that Grab Readers at Page One by Les Edgerton  (2 Feb 2012) – X
—–An in-depth book on how to begin a story
66.  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins  (18 Jan 2012) – XX
—–An excellent end to a great trilogy.
———-> Read:  My review of Mockingjay
65.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins  (15 Jan 2012) – XX
—–Continues on where The Hunger Games left off.  A must read if you started the trilogy.
———-> Read:  My review of Catching Fire
64.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  (10 Jan 2012) – XX
———-> Read:  My review of The Hunger Games

The Reading List Archive – 2011

This is the archive of the books I read (or started) in 2011.  For the books I’ve read or am currently reading, check out The Reading List.
I’ll put an X behind those that I recommend and a XX behind those that I highly recommend. Books with one X will likely only be popular with those who are fans of the genre, while XXs are those I’d recommend regardless of genre preference.
63.  What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz (27 Dec 2011) – X
———-> Read: My review of What the Night Knows
62.  Blockade Billy by Stephen King (26 Dec 2011) – X
—–This is a very small book with two short stories.  Blockade Billy, a baseball story that reads somewhat like an interview, and Morality, a very short story that delves a little into deciding what you can live with doing for money and then trying to live with it.
61.  Four Past Midnight by Stephen King (27 Nov 2011) – X
—–It’s a safe bet that anything King writes will get at least one X from me.
60.  Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (1 Nov 2011)
—–I didn’t like this book of “Short Fictions and Wonders.”  There were a couple that I found interesting, but I had to force myself to slug through most of it.
59.  Neverwinter:  The Neverwinter Saga, Book II by R. A. Salvatore (19 Oct 2011) – XX
———-> Read: My review of Neverwinter
58.  The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, Book Two) by Rick Riordin (5 Oct 2011) – XX
———-> Read: My review of The Throne of Fire
—–I liked this one.  It lays out 38 things to avoid and some suggestions on how to accomplish them.  Very concise.  Only one X because if you aren’t a writer, there’s likely no interest.
56.  City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, Book 1) by Cassandra Clare (18 Sep 2011) – XX
—–Interesting story with good pacing and characters.
———-> Read: My review of City of Bones
55.  Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1) by Jeaniene Frost (11 Sep 2011) – X
———-> Read:  My review of Halfway to the Grave
54.  Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (4 September 2011) – XX
———-> Read: My review of Neverwhere
53.  A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (13 August 2011) – XX
———-> Read: My review of A Dance with Dragons
52.  Creating Characters Kids Will Love by Elaine Marie Alphin (22 July 2011)
—–I’m conflicted about this one.  I didn’t get much out of it.  There were a couple nuggets, but at times it also seemed like too much time was spent pumping her own books/stories.  Now, to be honest, I didn’t do the activities suggested in the chapters.  Maybe, I’d have gotten more out of it, if I had.
51.  The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (10 Jul 2011) – XX
50.  The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design by Flint Dille & John Zuur Platten (25 Jun 2011) – X
—–Having not read any other books on “how to write” for video games, this book was quite informative with a lot of exercises to do and sample documents based on the authors’ real-world experience.
49.  Songs of Love & Death:  All Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (7 Jun 2011)
—–At first glance, you may wonder if I just missed putting an X down since most of the books I’ve read (on this list) I’ve given at least one X.  Nope, I didn’t miss a thing.  Out of all the stories in the book, two or three really had my interest.  I forced myself to complete the book, even though I skipped most of one of the stories and skimmed through another.  I am very glad I picked this up at a huge discount when my local Borders was closing.  I’d have been bummed if I’d have paid more than $5-6 for it.
48.  A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (17 May 2011) – XX
—–New Point of View characters, more death, at least one character I used to dislike, I’ve come to like.
47.  A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (25 Apr 2011) – XX
—–More characters die, more grow, and still ‘Winter is Coming’
46.  A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (10 Apr 2011) – XX
—–Continuing on where A Game of Thrones left off… don’t get too attached to all the characters, nor expect them to never change.
45b.  Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (26 Mar 2011)
—–started reading this while still in Game of Thrones because I didn’t want to risk dropping GoT in the water while reading in the tub.  GoT is hardback. This is paperback…less costly to replace.
—–The best of the Mercy Thompson series so far.
45a.  A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (20 Mar 2011) – XX
—–I think it’s highly possible that people who don’t normally read fantasy could like this book.  It isn’t heavy on the magic or the supernatural.  It really is very heavily character driven…and those characters are very well-defined.
44.  Masques by Patricia Briggs (12 Mar 2011) – X
—–a nice little story–heavy on the relationship building of the protagonists, light on fighting
#33, revisited:  A Tale of two Cities (13 Feb 2011)
—–gave up again.  Made it about a third of the way through it before putting it down, though.  Then caught up on some backlogged issues of Writer’s Digest before moving on to #44 above.
43.  Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs (8 Feb 2011) – X
—–With the exception of the contrived ending, this one is again a decent outing.
42.  Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs (4 Feb 2011) – X
—–The third book in the Mercedes Thompson series finally hits stride with a good combination of action, characters, and story.
41.  Gauntlgrym: Neverwinter Book I by R.A. Salvatore (30 Jan 2011) – XX
—–A fantastic start to a new series.  Closing some chapters in Drizzt’s life, opening new ones.
———-> Read: My review of Gauntlgrym
40.  Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (26 Jan 2011)
—–Better than the last one, but still can’t bring myself to recommend it
39.  Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (22 Jan 2011)
—–Light-weight, vamp, wolf, witch stuff.  Only one relatively complex character.
38.  Percy Jackson & The Olympians:  The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (17 Jan 2011) – X
—–Great wrap-up to a superb series.  Very good momentum and pacing.
37.  The Difference Maker by John C. Maxwell (11 Jan 2011) – X
—–While a positive attitude isn’t all that’s necessary to be successful, it is a huge factor in success.  A great book about what a positive attitude can and can’t do for you.
36.  The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Philip Athans (6 Jan 2011) – X
—–Fantastic book.  I’d give it a ‘XX’, but if you aren’t interested in becoming a Fantasy and/or Science Fiction Writer, you won’t have much use for this one.
———->  Read: My review of The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction

The Reading List Archive – 2010

With the exception of number one, which I started in 2009, this is the archive of the books I read (or started) in 2010.  For the books I’ve read or am currently reading, check out The Reading List.
I’ll put an X behind those that I recommend and a XX behind those that I highly recommend. Books with one X will likely only be popular with those who are fans of the genre, while XXs are those I’d recommend regardless of genre preference.
35.  Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (23 Dec 2010) – XX (but read the first 12 first) —–This is the thirteenth volume in The Wheel of Time series — the whole series is fantastic.  I am eagerly awaiting the fourteenth and final book.
34.  Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (18 Dec 2010) – X
—–A great collection of four stories by the Master, who gets his Dark on.  As the title implies, there is not much happy happy, joy joy here.
33.  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (17 Dec 2010)
—–Kind of difficult to get into this as it was written in 1859 and that English and style of writing doesn’t flow as easily to my eyes.  Taking a break for my new Stephen King book at no. 34.  Will likely come back to this one at some point.
32.  Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (8 Dec 2010) – XX
—–Year Seven –but mostly not at Hogwarts.  A fantastic finish to a grand series of adventures.
31.  Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (30 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year Six –Another great book brings the death of a main character and a discovery of a way to potentially defeat Voldemort for good.
30.  Harry Potter & The Order of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (18 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year five –Have you seen the 101 Dalmations with Jeff Daniels where the little kid tells him that a good villain in a video game doesn’t just make you dislike him, he makes you want to utterly destroy him?  D. J. Umbridge fits that role of villain perfectly.
29.  Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (9 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year four –The introduction of other wizarding schools, The Tri-Wizard Cup, murder, and “He’s” back… in the flesh.
28.  Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (2 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year three — things are getting a bit darker.  Still good stuff.
27.  Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (25 Oct 2010) – XX
—–Year two for Harry at Hogwarts.  Doesn’t matter how many times I read these, they are great stories.
26.  Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (22 Oct 2010) – X
—–Michael Crichton tells very good tales –this one based on real people.  Once the action gets started, it’s one thing after another for Captain Hunter and his crew.
25.  unclean:  The Haunted Lands Book 1 by Richard Lee Byers (17 Oct 2010) – X
—–The Haunted Lands trilogy is off to a good start.  Good fighting, multiple plot lines.  While I’m not crazy about his writing style at times, it’s worth reading if you’re into D&D-based fantasy.
24.  Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (12 Oct 2010) – XX
—–Fantastic book that launched the 7 book series and introduced “The Boy Who Lived” to the world.
23.  Kingdom of Fear:  The World of Stephen King edited by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller (1 Oct 2010) – X
—–17 Essays on Stephen King’s writing through about 1985 with brief commentary between essays by Mr. King.  He also provides the foreward.  Interesting to read what these folks had to say over 20 years ago about Stephen King, his writing, and the movies made from those works.
22.  On Writing by Stephen King (22 Sep 2010) – X
—–I read this first about 10 years ago when it was newly published and I’d love to give this two Xs, but the casual reader probably isn’t going to find this exciting.  Honestly, it won’t have much appeal to fans of Stephen King’s work unless they are also writers/aspiring writers.  I liked it very much, though.
21.  Write Great Fiction:  Dialogue by Gloria Kempton (12 Sep 2010) – X
—–I almost didn’t give this book an X as a recommended read.  My problem is that there seemed to be a lot of repetition in this book.  There weren’t many times that struck me as “hadn’t thought of that” or “good point” moments.  There are lots of exercises at the end of every chapter, a Do and Don’t chapter, and a checklist with which to gauge your dialogue.  I don’t usually have a difficult time with dialogue.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t find a lot of “Aha!” moments.  I can see that it might be helpful to those looking for tips on how to use dialogue, though, which is why I went ahead and gave it an X.
20.  Duma Key by Stephen King (31 Aug 2010) – XX
—–A great read, or should I say, another great read by Stephen King.  The master of horror slowly builds the tension until it snaps and the horror is released.  It’s like you can see the train coming, but can’t get off the tracks fast enough.
19.  Ranger’s Apprentice – Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan (18 Aug 2010) – XX
—–I really like this series.  It is great for showing kids that they don’t have to be the big, strong, captain of the football team, type of guy to be a hero.  This may be my favorite of this series so far.
18.  The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing edited by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the editors of Writer’s Digest (11 Aug 2010) – X
———-> Read: My review of The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing
17. Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein (31 July 2010) – XX
—–This is a very interesting read.  It is a series of articles grouped together by subject to discuss a number of philosophical issues and how they can be argued for/against based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling  Harry Potter series.  There were a couple articles that I found dry and rather pointless, but overall, the article selection was thought-provoking.
16. Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner (7 July 2010) – X
—–William Shatner’s autobiography is both frank and funny.
15. Emerson (3 July 2010)
—–This is a collection of his writings and essays and speeches and …it wasn’t doing much for me.  While some of it was thought provoking, the parts I read were rather dry.  Maybe I’ll come back to this some time, but for now, I’m done with it.
14. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (29 June 2010) – X
—–I’ve read less direct translations of Don Quixote’s exploits and I thoroughly enjoy the stories, but this particular book seems to be a very direct translation and I just couldn’t get into the style of writing.  Maybe it’s the translation.  Either way, I recommend Don Quixote, but not this version.
13. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer (23 June 2010) – X
—–I re-read this book because the movie (when I read the book) was getting ready to be released.  I like to read the books again before I watch the movies so that I can better identify where the book and movie diverge.  Like the other books in the series, this one is well written and folks who like the first two will likely enjoy this one, as well.
12. Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull (16 June 2010) – XX
—–This is the fourth book in the Fablehaven series and I think I like it better than the first book.  The first book was great, too, but I like the pace, plot, and twists of this one better.
11. A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons (8 June 2010) – X
—–Another good horror story from Simmons. While not really a sequel, it follows up about 40 years after the events in Summer of Night.
10. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons (26 May 2010) – X
—–Good horror story. Kind of reminds me of Stephen King’s ‘It’ in the way it flows and builds suspense.
9. The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (5 May 2010) – X
—–The final chapter that began with Hyperion does a good job of bringing things to a close. Like the third book, Endymion, this story flows much better than the somewhat disjointed tales of the Hyperion Cantos. I liked it.
8. Endymion by Dan Simmons (21 Apr 2010) – X
—–The writing in this book is consistently good throughout. The story was good, as well. While it is beneficial to have read the previous two stories to understand a number of references, it wouldn’t be critical.
7. Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times by Radu R Florescu and Raymond McNally (31 Mar 2010)
—–It’s an interesting book about Dracula, his real life, and how that life has influenced the fiction about him.
6. Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons (23 Feb 2010) – X
—–This is actually two books: Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion
—–I’m not sure whether to recommend this book or not. It has some great moments, but it also has some very tedious, not-overly-original moments, as well. If you check out the reviews on Amazon they range from best Sci-Fi book ever to burn it. It was ok. I’ve now read it twice and will continue before long with the two others that follow it. All of this having been said, I do like Dan Simmons as a writer.
5. Under The Dome by Stephen King (8 Feb 2010) – XX
—–Very good and, although it is over 1,000 pages, it moves along well.
4. The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull (1 Feb 2010) – X
—–An entertaining read. Early teen is probably the target age, but I could probably let my (almost) 9 year old read it.
3. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (18 Jan 2010) – X
—–This is the third book in The Inheritance Cycle –don’t let the movie (Eragon) fool you, the story is great.
—–This is a good installment in the series. It moves the story along well and has some good action.
2. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (5 Jan 2010) – XX (but read the first 11 first)
—–This is the twelfth volume in The Wheel of Time series — the whole series is fantastic.
—–I would have to read the series again to be sure, but I think this may be my favorite, so far. I actually got a bit misty-eyed very near the end.
1. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (approx. 23 Dec 2009) – XX
—–if you’ve read the first two, and they’d both be XX, as well