Saturday, December 31, 2011

XCIX of XCIX in MMXI - Bye-Bye 2011

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Welcome to
XCIX of XCIX in MMXI - Bye-Bye 2011

This is definitely the last post in 2011. In the past days I delivered you several posts. Did I surprise you with my top 15 reads in 2011? Compared to other blogs the list looks different. Maybe I could animate you to read one of these books.

On January 1st 2011 I posted:

"Did you ever think about how you spend an average day? How much time can you spend for reading?
I estimate I can spend an average of two hours per day for reading within a year.
One year = 365 days
Two hours reading per day multiplied by 365 days equals 730 hours
I'm not the fastest reader. My limit is around 35 pages per hour.
730 hours multiplied by 35 pages equals 25550 pages

25550 pages mean how many books? It is impossible to say because the umber of pages per book differ a lot.
Let's assume an average of 375 pages per book.
Then I would read 25550 pages divided by 375 pages = 68 books - never read so many books within one year.
Anyway it does not matter how many books ..... I'm totally nosy how many pages I will read in 2011.
You can follow my progress. I added the information in the right column of the blog. It will be updated weekly."
As far as I can see I delivered my weekly progress which is a satisfying result at the end of a year.

But there is something which I'm really, really proud of: I read in sum 26627 pages in 2011!!
I have had doubts when I posted the text above. In case you followed my blog throughout the year you know my reading progress has been like roller coaster.
To be honest I did it without pressure and I still enjoy reading.

And what will I do in 2012? You will find the answer in the first 2012 post.

I also learned several things like:
- be really careful with your promises; you never know what will happen tomorrow.

- It is possible to keep a blog alive with one regularly post per week for a certain period of time.

- It is impossible for me to write a full review for every book I read. That is sad for authors and readers. But everything else as to be honest with myself in this case would be a mirage.

- An eReader is boon and bane at once. Anyway I like the eReader which I share with my wife.

- Nobody can force you to read a book you do not like.

- I do not easily accept book recommendations. I prefer to choose on my own.

- Try new things; gain experience; give your blog an individual touch.

- Be kind to your readers. If you get feedback in form of a comment let you readers know you read the comments.

I think that is not bad for one year. Most important will be the consequences. And yes, there will be a few. Don't worry, I will be back in 2012.

As in previous years there have been up and downs in 2011.

On the downside is the loss of a highly appreciated colleague after a heart attack. He was just 57. I can tell you that you start to think about your way of life when you are only a few years younger.

But there have been also good things.
My wife and I have had our best holiday ever. We are still in love after more than 20 years of marriage. I can't imagine what I would do without her.

She gave me the power and Alex J. Cavanaugh forced me in a kind way to write a guest post which in return offered me an unexpected positive feedback.

I think that should be enough.
What is the best solution to end the last post of a book blog? Any ideas? I don't know what you would do. Therefore you have cope with my solution.

"Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex... other things, runs the Red Lantern, the best brothel in the city. She's got elves using sex magic upstairs, S&M in the basement and a large green troll cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and she'd love you to visit,except...
She's not having a good week. The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, girls are disappearing, and if she can't pay her taxes, Babylon's going tolose the Lantern. She'd given up the mercenary life, but when the mysterious DaraskFain pays her to find a missing heiress, she has to take the job. And then her past starts to catch up with her in other, more dangerous ways." [Back of the book]
This is no joke. To be honest I never expected I would buy a copy of a book about someone who runs a brothel; about sex and sexuality in a fantasy setting.

Want to know what the author is saying about her book:
"I never expected that I would write about someone who runs a brothel; about sex and sexuality in a fantasy setting. Heavens, I wasn't even brought up to think about such things in any setting. But there. There's probably some apt saying about this, and if I ever find it, I shall quote it." [Source]

Sounds similar. So I received my copy on December 29th. When will you get your copy of Babylon Steel (544p., pb, 2011] [ISBN-13: 978-1907992384] by Gaie Sebold.

And this is the cover:


I know I should no make any promises but this book definitely scream for a review.
Maybe I should tell you that is Gaie Sebold a client of literary agent John Jarrold ...


See you in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

XCVIII of XCIX in MMXI - 2011 in Books and Reviews

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Welcome to
XCVIII of XCIX in MMXI - 2011 in Books and Reviews

The Baenglish runaway from Germany with his 2011 annotations

Facts Summary
- I wanted to read books in 2011 (94)
- I did not finish books in 2011 (2)
- I failed to read Books I wanted to read in 2011 (21)
- I read books in 2011 (70)
- I will continue reading books in 2012 which I started in 2011 (1)
- I posted a half time report including a ranking (top five)
- I wanted to review all the books I read in 2011 (70)
- I reviewed books I read in 2011 (24)
- I failed to review books I read in 2011 (46)
- In 2011 I read six books more than in 2010
- Regarding reviews October to December have been a mess (2)
- For the first time I did an "early" review and received a lot of feedback (1)

Top Five End of June 2011
5.) Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
4.) Prinz der Dunkelheit by Mark Lawrence (my review in German)
3.) Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham
2.) The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder (my review)
1.)Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent (my review)

Top 15 Reads 2011 (by December 30th 2011)
15) Phoenix Rising by Pipa Ballantine & Tee Morris
14.) Exiled: Autumn's Peril by Rosalie Skinner (my review)
13.) The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden
12.) Honour and the Sword by A.L. Berridge (my review)
11.) Debris by Jo Anderton,
10.) The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer
9.) Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
8.) A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
7.) Prinz der Dunkelheit by Mark Lawrence (my review in German)
6.) Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent (my review)
5.) A Place Called Armageddon by C.C. Humphreys
4.) Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
3.) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
2.) The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder (my review)
1.) Leviathan's Wake by Daniel Abraham

This list is based on the 70 books I read. You may wonder why I ranked George R.R. Martin on eight. I think I expected far too much.

Conclusion: To read 70 of 94 books was satisfying for me. Only 24 reviews is not acceptable for me.
Reading outlook: Continue reading on a high level and write more reviews.

The "early" review of CassaFirE (February 28th, 2012, pb, 240 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0982713945] by Alex J. Cavanaugh received a lot more feedback than my other reviews in 2011. CassaFirE does not appear in my Top 15 Reads End of December 2011 because it will be published in 2012.


That was 2011 in books and reviews delivered from a German by using the KISS rule.
Keep It Short and Simple

See you in 2012


You look quite surprised. Did you expect more? I did not want to waste your time. But in case you would like to get some meat on the bones just scroll down a bit or klick on MEAT






















MEAT

- I wanted to read books in 2011 (94)
I will show the cover of the books which include a link to Goodreads. That means just click on a pic and you get more information. Whenever I found it worth or necessary I added a comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- I did not finish books in 2011 (2)

The  PassageThe  Unremembered

There has been a lot of hype around these books and again in walked into the "hype" trap.

The Lies by Justin Cronin
My comment:
"I stopped reading after 218 pages which is a quarter of the book.
So far I found only two passages interesting for me. I could not connect to any of the characters. the story went along slowly and partially as tough as leather.
I have had high expectations after all the hype and I have been disappointed.
It seems I should should stay away from hyped books."
The Unremembered by Peter Orullian
My comment:
"I know there is some hype around THE UNREMEMBERED and Tor is pushing it a lot.

I stopped reading after 98 pages.

I remember when I read the blurb for the first time. I decided that I did not want to read this book. So I did not make it to my list. Then I received an ARC from Tor and I still did not want to read it. Finally my wife convinced me to give THE UNREMEMBERED a try and I did. I should have trusted my first impression ...

It started promising with the prologue but then ...
- I never got any connection to one of the characters
- I did not find the rhythm of the book
- I felt separated from the story
- The style of the author was not my cup of tea "
I hope I have learned my lesson and do not follow any hype.

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- I failed to read Books I wanted to read in 2011 (21)
I commented on most of these books in my Picks for rest of 2011 post.
Anyway I will move these books to my 2012 to read list. Then I have to think about how to combine these books with the new ones. Time will tell ...


The Darkness that Comes  BeforeRed  Seas Under Red SkiesDark FireA Magic  of TwilightSasha
Den of ThievesA Thief in  the NightHonor Among  ThievesExpedition to the Mountains of the MoonRoil
Rise of  EmpireProphecySynarchy Book 2In the Name of the KingThe Feaster From the Stars
The Doomsday  VaultRastAntiquitas Lost: The Last of the ShamalansSpellboundThe Highest Frontier
Hearts of Smoke & Steam


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- I will continue reading books in 2012 which I started in 2011 (1)

The Wise Man's Fear

It is a strange thing with The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. There is nothing wrong with the book except the pace is sometimes a bit slow. I must say that in this case the reading progress really depends on my mood. xxx belongs to the kind of book where you really have to get into it 100%. That means for me I must read it exclusively. Will see how I can manage this.

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Unbelievable but true I read a few books within in 2011. And tomorrow (December 31st) I will finish book LXX which is by the way A Place called Armageddon (pb, October 2011)[ISBN-13: 978-1409121602] by CC Humphreys.

Place Called ArmageddonNecropathSliding VoidDämonengeburt / Das Blutkreuz der  TemplerDebris
CassaFireThe  Whitefire CrossingTheft  of SwordsExiled: The Legacy of Lathraine's Pledge,The Eternal War
The Metalmark ContractExiled: Winter's Curse,VeteranThe Hero Always WinsPhoenix Rising
The Viscount and the  WitchA  Dance With DragonsThe Lion Of CairoOutpostExiled: Autumn's Peril
Honour and the Sword The Moon Maze GameKing's EnvoyVarangian: The Stone  of Babylon7th Sigma
Leviathan WakesThe RevisionistsSynarchy Book 1: The  AwakeningThe Straight Razor Cure Bricks: A Novel
Ghosts of WarLegends Reborn: The Light of Epertase, Book OneFistful of ReeferRiver of ShadowsThe  Immorality Engine
The  Lies of Locke LamoraGetting Old Can Kill YouRedheartCelebrity  SpaceThe  Quantum Thief
The  Dragon's PathHeresy Anno FrankensteinThe Martian AmbassadorInfernal Devices
Prinz der DunkelheitShameless WondersOut of the DarkAmong ThievesThirteen Years  Later: Russia, 1825.
Dark JennyFirst Rider's  CallThe Horns of RuinThe  Falling MachineDream of Legends
Dreams of SteamDissolutionHellholePax Britannia #6:  Gods of ManhattanThe Doomsday Code
The  Buntline SpecialThe Curious Case of the Clockwork ManDay Of The  PredatorThe Lost GateDoomsday Book
ThrallVEINSDark SideThe GreyfriarCentury of  the Soldier

As you can see it is a "wild" mix of old and new ones, small publishers and big publishers, several sub genres, real books and digital ones and two books in German.

I hat a lot of fun reading these books and to read books parallel is a fascinating experience.

----------------------------------------------------
Finally I would like to talk a bit of my top five and top fifteen book list.
This list is based on the 70 books I read. You may wonder why I ranked George R.R. Martin on eight. I think I expected far too much from him. Number 3.) from June - Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham - dropped dramatically. That does not mean it is a bad book. I just read books which I liked more.

The top five from end of December definitely reflect my current book taste:
Epic fantasy, science fiction, steampunk and historical fiction.


Top Five End of June 2011
5.) Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
4.) Prinz der Dunkelheit by Mark Lawrence (my review in German)
3.) Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham
2.) The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder (my review)
1.)Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent (my review)


Top 15 Reads 2011 (by December 30th 2011)
15) Phoenix Rising by Pipa Ballantine & Tee Morris
"An action paced steampunk adventure with a lot of humor.
Loveable characters and an interesting story.
I hope there will be more adventures with Wellington Thornhill Books and Eliza D. Braun.
"


14.) Exiled: Autumn's Peril by Rosalie Skinner (my review)
"I like books where the main character is not always loveable and where most of the characters are neither black nor white. Mixed with a fascinating background story which is revealed slowly, fantasy and science fiction, supernatural, magic and tech, Autumn's Peril is a great start for a new eight book series. "


13.) The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden
" A great read. Ancient Cairo comes alive and the Emir of the Knife is an impressive character. "

12.) Honour and the Sword by A.L. Berridge (my review)
"The title of the book - Honour and the Sword - is the shortest summary you can get which includes all you get.
In the tradition of Alxandre Dumas, Honour and the Sword offers with André de Roland the French answer to Robin Hood. Enter a time where honour was something completely different and the rapier the weapon of the nobleman.
Remember the time when you read first Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers. You can't turn back the time but instead you can read Honour and the Sword and feel young again.
"


11.) Debris by Jo Anderton
"I own an electronic review copy which means "food" for our eReader. I started to read and I could not stop.I read the book in a few days. It has something special.
I'm not sure how to describe it. It is compelling. I did not expect that after reading the blurb.
Anyway it was a fascinating read. Even there are a few confusing parts I gave five stars. "



10.) The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer
"Beside all the stress I finished reading another great fantasy reading.
There is more behind the story as you think at first sight.
Mountain climbing plays an important part in the book. I do not have any experience in this area but Courtney created breathtaking scenes.
I liked the two main characters - Dev and Kiran - more and more after every revelation.
I look forward to read the next book in the series. I hope I will write and finish my full review before the publishing date of the next book.
"


9.) Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
"The best fantasy debut in 2011 so far (2011-04-25) .
As you can see I read some more great books. So the book dropped a bit."


8.) A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
" I did it. I did it. I finally finished A Dance with Dragons.
For me it was a great read because I could follow some of my favorite characters.
A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons form a unit.
I expect a lot from the next two books. And I hope it will not take so many years until we get the next book.
"


7.) Prinz der Dunkelheit by Mark Lawrence (my review in German)
"I read the German edition. What a great debut. I compared the German and the Englich edition and must say the translator did a great job."


6.) Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent (my review)
"What a great read! The mix of historical facts of Russian history supernatural horror is brilliant. I have been emotionally touched by Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov's fate.
The second book in the Danilov Quintet is more than a worth sequel."



5.) A Place Called Armageddon by C.C. Humphreys
"Absolutely awesome!
Read the review by Liviu Suciu over at Fantasy Book Critic.
He found the right words to describe this book.."

Is it fair to add a book to the list even I have not finished it? From my point of view it is no problem. I read a large part and it is as good as Liviu described it.


4.) Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
"DONE! I finished Theft of Swords.
What a great and entertaining read. A story with twists and turns and loveable characters.
If you are looking for an extraordinary good traditional epic fantasy then read
the Riyria Revelations series.
"


3.) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
"What a great read!! I did not expect that.
It delivers all what you can expect from an epic fantasy book.
I fully agree with the George R.R. Martin quote on the cover:
"FRESH, ORIGINAL, AND ENGROSSING ... GORGEOUSLY REALIZED"
I can't wait to read the sequel Red Seas under Red Skies
"



2.) The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder (my review)
" Awesome, Awesome Awesome!!!

Can't wait to read the next Burton & Swinburne adventure

It started with an excellent debut.
The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack
is the intelligent, terrific, magnificent
and fulminating hooray into the world of steampunk novels.

And now it continues with a sequel on the next level of inventiveness and execution.
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
is a world full of bizarre characters, phat steam-driven technology, mysterious mysteries and unbelievable conspiracies."



1.) Leviathan's Wake by Daniel Abraham
"That is space opera at its best!!!
One of the best books I read in 2011 so far!!"



And now I continue to read the rest of A Place called Armageddon (pb, October 2011)[ISBN-13: 978-1409121602] by CC Humphreys.
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