Monday, March 3, 2014

A YEAR??!!! (Long post warning!!!)

I can't believe that it's been a year since I last posted here.  I know I'm not the best one at posting but seriously --- a year?  It's kind of odd because I do keep several journals.  One at work that I write to my wife every day I'm there.  Just little notes on how the drive is was and what animals I saw or if I expect to be busy or not.  I've been doing that since I first started talking with her back in 97.  One journal a year.  I even went so far as to go out and order 50 journals, all with the same wolf on white background cover so they would all match.  Just recently I've started another journal.  This one more of running commentary to myself on what I've read, done, hope to do.  I've go the first one pretty much filled and I find it surprising I'm really keeping up with it.  I've started journals a number of times and never really kept up with them.  A page here or there and then I'd forget about them.  Recently though I've really surprised myself with the way I have been adding entries on a very regular basis.  Which brings me back here.  I'm just as surprised that it has been a year since I last posted.  Odd because one way or another I am always in front of a pc.  It should be so easy to just pop on and add a note here and there.  Should be .... obviously it hasn't been.  I feel bad about that.  There's so much I've been doing lately and so much that I've read over the past year and am still reading!

 Also I've been doing a lot of audio books.  My ride back and forth to work is about an hour and a half one way so I've plenty of time to listen.  I don't do the radio much.  Too much current music I don't really enjoy.  I was listening to the music I have on my iPod but I really do prefer to listen to stories rather than just music.  According to my Audible app I have 153 titles in my library and have added 23 title in 2014.  I've almost reached my Master level in Audible listening.  Only 565 hours to go! LOL!  Recently I've been listening to David Weber's Honor Harrington series.  I'm on book 9, Ashes of Victory and have the next three books queued up and ready to go.  I've found this series easy to get as if you purchase the e-book on Amazon you can purchase the audio book for $1.99 rather than the usual $17+.  Most of these books are around $6.15 or so on Amazon so for around $8 I get both the e-book and audio book.  Very nice!  As I've said before I do a lot of re-reading and I've read this particular series a half-dozen times or more easily and now I'm doing the audio.  This also goes for Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion series, J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lynsay Sands Argeneau series, Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series and Jeaniene Frost's Kat & Bones series among others.

This year I've also began listening to Kerrelyn Sparks' Vampire novels.  Add to this audio books by Radclyffe, Gerri Hill, R.E. Bradshaw & Karis Walsh.

Here's a short list of what I've listened to lately:
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock series #1)
Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock)
Blood Cross by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock) 
      This is an interesting series with nicely developed characters.  I've had the first book for some time but never got around to reading it.  Listening to it was excellent and very enjoyable.

Honor Harrington:
On Basilisk Station #1
The Honor of the Queen #2
The Short Victorious War #3
Field of Dishonor #4
Flag in Exile #5
Honor Among Enemies #6
In Enemy Hands #7
Echoes of Honor #8
Ashes of Victory #9 (in progress)
War of Honor #10 (in queue)
At All Costs #11 (in queue)
Mission of Honor #12 (in queue)
       I love Honor Harrington.  She is such a strong and charismatic character.  Honor is one of those officers you would love to follow and is such a rare creature in real life.  Anyone who has been in the military will be able to tell you there are only very rare occasions where you can find a leader that has those qualities.  Honor helps build the other characters in the story.  They thrive and play off of her and her ethics and strengths.  It is a wonderful series that carries you through many years and situations that build this persona that is Honor Harrington.  I really enjoy this series and being able to listen to it is an excellent way to enjoy it again and again while doing other things that would normally preclude being able to read.

Moon Dance by J. Rain 
     Interesting character and story. 

Hounded by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Chronicles Book 1)
     This was a fun, tongue-in-cheek, story with a funny yet interesting main character.  It had me laughing many times while listening to it and was a very enjoyable way to pass a few hours on my drives.

96 Hours by Georgia Beers 
     This was a wonderful story set in the aftermath of  9/11.  Good characters, good story. 

Curious Wine by Katherine Forrest
     A wonderful coming out story with good characters and great interplay with minor characters that made it all that much more real and believable. 

Safe Harbor by Radclyffe
      Part of the Provincetown series this was a great story with wonderfully strong and vulnerable characters.  This is book 1 of the series and a great introduction to a town full of wonderfully unique people.

When Dreams Tremble by Radclyffe
      Wonderful story and great characters.  Environmentalist vs corporate lawyer defending big companies.  Old friendships come rushing to the fore and old feelings bring fresh conflict between two very strong and capable people.  A great story and read very nicely by Coleen Mario.

Sea Glass Inn by Karis Walsh
      A good story with strong characters and their vulnerabilities. Wonderful listening and excellent interplay.

Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
     A Dark Hunter novel.  An amazing story with characters that are strong yet vulnerable and with flaws to match their strengths.  This is Acheron's tale.  A tale of betrayal, desperation, hatred, pain and sorrow and in the end a tale of love strong enough to overcome it all.  Excellent story.

These are but a few of the audible books that I've been listening to.  Well worth your time.

Now, here's what I've been reading lately.

Remember Me by Syd Parker (reading)

The Blush Factor by Gun Brooke
     This was an interesting story.  A younger woman, older woman romance that starts with a chance viewing of a young woman whose ability to connect with others regarding makeup and fashion through You-Tube videos catches the eye of a woman trying to rebuild the make-up company of her beloved aunt who died and that her father let run down simply because he had no knowledge or interest.  Good characters, good story and an enjoyable read.

Mythical by C.E. Martin
Stone Soldier by C.E. Martin
       Interesting story concept.  This is the first and prequel of the Stone Soldier series by C. E. Martin.  Here is a soldier who dies and then awakes to find himself something else.  A bit like the Invisible Man or a later version of the Incredible Hulk when the brain of Bruce Banner was uppermost in either form.  I found this an interesting read.  Kind of a break between more intense novels that generate more emotions and really drag you kicking and screaming to the end, this story was interesting and enjoyable but lacked the strong emotional pull.  This is, for me, one of those books that I'll read once and that's it.  Interesting but not captivating.  I may get more of this series but they are not a priority. 

Reaper's Run: A Plague War Novel by David Vandyke
      Currently reading.  Interesting concept. A virus that pretty much gets rid of hatred and all diseases.  Meant to create an almost perfect world but instead it was fought and  feared by the governments and some greedy business' because it took away their powers.  So far this is interesting but it hasn't grabbed my attention.  The main character is good but there's nothing especially gripping or exciting about her.  Still, I'm working my way through this, slowly, but surely.

Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands
      Another in the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands.  This one pulls Marcus Notte into the fore front and with a niece of Lucian Argeneau, Basha Argeneau into close contact while trying to remove the threat of the Rogue Leonius from the scene.  If you follow the Argeneau series this another good read. I have come to really enjoy the Argeneau clan and their search for their soul mates.  The interplay with each character and the others in the clan make for a fun and sometimes hilarious read.  These are strong stories, good characters and well laid plots that bring mystery, drama and romance together to make an interesting and fun read.

Empire's Advance: Book Two of the Corellian Guard Series by Prudence McLeod
Frankie by Prudence McLeod
      I enjoy Prudence McLeod and her writing.  I've heard others say her writing is simplistic or her use of language too flowery or sweet.  I've come to enjoy the whole package here.  Her romance stories as well as her Science Fiction and Paranormal stories are fun reads.  Truly, I find myself laughing and crying and pretty much just enjoying myself immensely when I read her books.  I love the characters and the interaction with others.  I use these books as wonderful fall-back reads when I want something that will lighten my spirit and bring a smile to my face.  Definitely my go-to books for having a good time.

Syncopated Rhythm by Erik Schubach
      This is the latest book in Erik Schubach's Music of the Soul series and I have to say I was not disappointed.  Since I read the first book "Music of the Soul" about disillusioned rocker Mandy Harris I have been hooked.  This series is another of my go-to reads when I want to feel good and have a story that pull at my heart and my mind.  I love the roller coaster ride of emotions that these books always bring about for me.  Laughter, tears, anger and joy is just such a wonderful experience.  Books that pull at your emotions, that make you cry and laugh and really drag you into the story and where you identify with the characters and their emotions are just awesome.  This latest book in the series is about Amber LaLanie and her rise to fame in the music scene.  This pulls in characters from many of the previous books and keeps everyone fresh in your mind.  I love how these stories take people with faults, vulnerabilities and challenges and brings out the best in all of them.  How they rise to the challenges of life and how they funnel their anger, their pain into something that makes beauty and love and joy the main focus in their lives. 

Other books in this series:
Music of the Soul
A Deafening Whisper
Dating Game
Karaoke Queen
Silent Bob
Five Feet or Less
Broken Song

All of these books are absolutely amazing and the stories and characters are strong and grab you right from the first page and keep you reading all the way to last word.  Awesome reading and definitely worth your time!

Now along with this series Erik also has a Science Fiction series:
The Valkyrie Chronicles:
Return of the Asgard #1
Bloodlines #2
Folkvangr #3
      This is another series that I can highly recommend.  Awesome characters, great story and plot and a wonderful emotion filled read that will bring tears of joy and sorrow and love to your eyes.

This is just a sample of what I've been reading and listening to lately.  There are many many more books that I've read, some so-so but the majority of they I've found very interesting and with great characters.  I'll add more of these later on.

Just to show I don't JUST read -- I've also started crocheting and doing Amigurami or the crocheting of small animals and characters that I'm having a total blast doing. I've made many pairs of fingerless gloves/hand-warmers this past few months as well with the cold and crazy weather we've been having.  My family thinks I'm awesome -- yeah me! LOL!

Yes I read, write, crochet, sew, knit, quilt and collect crystals.  A bit all over the place.  And most of all I love my life! 

Enjoy and have a great time doing what makes you most happy!

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