I started last year with a little over 100 books in my closet that I wanted to read. Over the course of 12 months, I knocked through 55 books.

My status this January 1? Over 200 books. Wait, how did that happen? They breed, I tell you. Breed! Like bunnies. Wait, bunnies don’t breed fast enough. Like tribbles! Or maybe they are gremlins and they got wet?

In our last house I started with a stack of books by my bed that became two stacks that then got moved to a shelf in my closet. That shelf became double stacked and then triple stacked. It was getting worrisome. To say the least.

So when we moved, I sacrificed a bookcase. I lost a shelf in my closet, they had to go somewhere. An entire bookcase, double stacked. E-gads that’s a lot of books.

So my goal is to once more hit somewhere between 50-100 books. I’m well on my way, but I also have my own novel to edit, so we’ll see how the year turns out.

I needed to make things interesting. Because over 200 books isn’t interesting enough? Right. I noticed a great many of my friends working through the alphabet with the titles. I decided I wanted to join that bandwagon. Here’s the rules that I will abide by:
1. Read one book for each letter in the alphabet.
2. I will ignore any “the” or “an” or “a” in the title. If that’s the first word, I go to the next word to get my letter.
3. I will also ignore the series names. IE: A Hannah Swenson Novel or Doctor Who or Boxcar Children. (OK I haven’t read a boxcar book in forever. Nor do I plan to.)

As usual, my books will be an eclectic mix of classics, sci fi, fantasy, fiction, mystery, romance, and nonfiction. I have a big stack of audiobooks as well that i need to get through. Oh it never really ends, does it?

One of my groups at goodreads.com came up with a challenge: Read 9 books each month in 2009. Nine in 2009. Cute! Each month the way we meet this challenge is different. This month we were given nine topics that would fit the paranormal bill (it is a paranormal romance group), though we are lax and will take it even if it’s not romance. (For February it’s 9 books by authors we’ve never read before. I’ve already picked out my nine.)

That sounds like fun, so why not? I decided to go for it!

The final INSANE challenge I took was from my friend, Kate. Kate is a bit crazy and so am I. We decided for kicks, we would listen to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Unabridged. Have you seen this monstrosity? It’s could kill small children. Heck, it could probably kill a grown man. It’s huge. Think Webster’s. My iTunes states that this beast is a mean 1 day, 8 hours, 31 minutes, and 55 seconds long.

God save me. What WERE we thinking?

We’ll see on that one. I haven’t even started it and am skeptical.

So now you see my reading plans. I have a big load. So I spent a lot of time reading this month. Anything to get through those books. On the bright note, most of them are borrowed from my mother, so they get to leave my house! YAY!

Without further ado: Here’s my books that I read. I will end the post (and any subsequent monthly posts) with a line up of the challenges I am working on. I will keep my remarks on the books very brief, since I read a whopping TWENTY-FIVE books this month. Yes, 25 books. Go me!

1. The Scot, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Annette Blair. I enjoy her witchy romance books. Each one is a little better than the last. I still have two more to go on the TBR and look forward to them! This one was great because it had a Scot in it. Like from Scotland. Mmm yummy.

2. Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher. This was a fun graphic novel set in the Dresden World. Wizard PI in modern day Chicago. Things go crazy at the zoo. That’s just bound to be good! I’m actually glad I read this because I’ve had his Dresden collection on my shelf forever. I read the first one back in like 01/02 and while I liked the world… it was a first novel. Let’s just say… don’t read it. Skip to book 2. So I’ve been told. However the first was so hard for me to get through, I haven’t wanted to read the others even though they are on my shelf. Even though I like the world and the characters. This graphic novel (combined with watching the “hammered” tv show on sci-fi) made me actually WANT to pick up the other books.

3. Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke. OK, these books are great because they are fluffy, have great recipes for me to try, and I can read them in less than a day. Are they the best books on earth? No. But they are most enjoyable. I really like the cast of characters. Like the cookie lady who sells cookies for a living but worries about people’s weight. And who falls over dead bodies like there’s no tomorrow and then gets miffed when the cops tell her they can handle the investigation. HA! You go cookie lady, you are my hero!

4. Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke. Once more, I love these. They are just too much fun. I know, I shouldn’t have fun with a murder mystery, but I do!

5. Backup by Jim Butcher. This was a novella in the Dresden world, but it was from the point of view of Dresden’s half brother, a vampire. Once more, I enjoyed this tremendously. As this was an actual text book, it also encouraged me that the books on my shelf would probably be as great as I had originally hoped. So they will actually get read. In between challenges if not for one.

6. 84, Charing Cross Road. This was a fun book written as letters between an American writer and a used bookshop in the UK. They never met one another, but the staff at the bookstore and the writer had quite the relationship!

7. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke. I had to read another Cookie Lady book. I love that gal!

8. A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane. This is in the Young Wizards series. Think Harry Potter. But better. And around for like 25ish years. You get the picture. I love these YA books and am so glad that Diane Duane picked the series back up. Check it out! Seriously, a billion times better than HP.

9. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich. The. Best. Plum. Ever. Hands. Down. ‘Nuff Said. Next time I go to Jersey, I’m going looking for this place mentioned in the book. I wanna meet the fire farter, the yeti, and the easter bunny. Best of all? Stephanie didn’t just blow up a car. She blew up a mountain. A whole frigging mountain. OK, the fire farter technically blew it up, and it was a mine. But still. She was there and there was a big hill on top and it blew up. Hello, that’s just awesome.

10. Circus of the Darned by Katie Maxwell. Another YA book. This is set in a world of Katie Maxwell’s other pen name. Mostly it’s just fun. It has carnies and vikings giving dating advice and a hunky vamp. Where can you go wrong? Especially with viking dating advice. Perfect for every young girl on her first date!

11. The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy. This was a new series and a new author. And I gotta say, fantastic. Think your craziest Mary Kay lady experience. You get the heroine. And she’s accidentally bit by a werewolf. So she starts growing hair in weird places, her blonde highlights vanish, and the poor vegan girl is craving a t-bone. Oh she’s got issues. So does her tea cup poodle, Muffin, who makes nicey nice with hunka hunka werewolf love. Oh yeah. Read that one!

12. Dead Over Heels by Mary Janice Davidson. How did this slip through the cracks last year? Must have been the moved. Three short stories with MJD’s cranky mermaid, shoe obsessed vamp queen, and werewolves. Awesome.

13. My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon. This was a book of short stories. The title should tell you what they were all about. Some were good. Some were great. A few were a struggle. Thank the Lord there was no L. K. Hamilton.

14. American History Stories You Never Read but Should Have. Volume 1. We read this for school. It’s pretty good. Loved it. It’s a classic and about early America. Check it out, really. We’re going to read Volume 2 in a few months. The boys and I are really looking forward to it.

15. Doctor Who: The Resurrection Casket. This is set in the new series. It’s Doctor Who. It’s Steam Punk. It’s Pirates. Need I say more? Also, it is an insanely fast read. I think I read it in like an hour or an hour and a half.

16. Doctor Janeway’s Plauge. This was an audiobook. I don’t even know where to start. It was… interesting. A guy who can’t die, a weird plague somehow crossed by astronomical phenomenon. Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. Give it a listen. Free from podiobooks.com

17. Echoes. This was another audiobook from podiobooks.com. OK, I was in the middle of a wallpaper removal so I listened to a bunch of audiobooks. Cut me a break. This one was creepy. There were these ghosty ghouly things. A government conspiracy right ot the top. And dead bodies. You like conspiracy? You like speculative? This is it.

18. Drop Dead, Gorgeous by Mary Janice Davidson. OK spy mafia types in a cheesy romance. Well, it was a fast read. Major disappointment compared to her other books. Few good lines, but not sure I’d recommend it to anyone. I mostly enjoyed the reading contest Caramon and I were having while I read this. If not for that, I might not have finished. You really had to be there.

19. Doctor Who: The Price of Paradise. Also in the new series. Another quickie read. The Doctor follows an SOS and lands on a mythical paradise planet and then learns the planet is allergic to outsiders. Ooops. Oh, and there’s a native population that the planet can turn into scary, homicidal beasts. Cute.

20. Heaven by Mur Lafferty. Two friend meet an untimely demise and hit the afterlife together. They decide Heaven’s not all it is cracked up to be so they wander the afterlifes. I loved it. Really plays on the various mythos. Best of all, these two start bringing about the end of days to all the world religions. Score!

21. Hell by Mur Lafferty. It’s the sequel novella. Armageddon has come, the afterlife is jam packed, and now our two heroes find themselves searching for some lost souls. Don’t ask how God lost souls, he just did. So they are off to Hell, because obviously this had to be done by someone bad… Can I hear your best Church Lady voice?

22. Earth by Mur Lafferty. Oh yes, the novellas don’t stop. Our heroes have become gods themselves and they have to rebuild the earth. Yeah, you can sure imagine how that one goes.

23. Wasteland by Mur Lafferty. The last audio novella in the series (though she says she’s working on the next part of the story). The new earth got eaten by a demon when Hell invaded Heaven. Oh things are sticky. Now our heroes are banished to the wasteland between heaven and hell. What next? Listen and find out. Seriously, fantastic series and I highly recommend it! Once more http://www.podiobooks.com, people!

24. Accidentally Dead by Dakota Cassidy. OK, I had the sequel to the werewolf one. This has the snarky friend to the werewolf become a vampire in a freak dentistry accident. Who knew vamps had really sensitive teeth and strange side effects to anesthesia? Much better than the first one, and I’m anxious for the third one. It comes out later this year.

25. Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty. This is actually a full length book. Buy it. Download the podiobook. It’s fantastic. My kids were gasping for air. Premise is there’s superhuman powers. Those with cool ones get deemed worthy and become superheroes with all the fame and etc. Of course some think that is just poo-poo so they become super villians. Then there’s the 3rd wavers. These people have powers that don’t seem all that useful to the people in charge. They become worse than second class citizens. Well guess what. They just got something wanted by the heroes and the villians and they ain’t giving it up. It’s got destruction. It’s got a bar for a headquarters. It’s got a cast of people with the wackiest powers ever. It’s got the superheroes with their panties in a wad. The villians with their panties in a wad. And the heroes getting more panties into worse wads. Five stars. Seriously, one of the best superhero books ever.

So there you have it. I got to listen to lots of audiobooks removing wallpaper of doom. Yay! I got to read nine new authors. I got to read all sorts of stuff. So that’s it. Check out below for the challenges I completed:

Nine in ’09
One book from each category:
1. vampires – You saw several titles for that one
2. werewolves – Once more several
3. shifters – There was a mermaid in Dead Over Heels
4. demons – Hell/Earth/Wasteland
5. witches/wizards – Saw several of those, huh?
6. fae – The Supernatural Honeymoon had a story with a fae. Scary Sidhe!
7. aliens – Doctor Who and the Wizard Alone both had aliens
8. psychics/time travelers – The Scot, the Witch, and the Wardrobe among others
9. dragons or mythical creatures – I read several with mythical gods. Heaven had Zeus and Odin (and their friends). Also, The Plum book had the easter bunny and sasquatch.

The Alphabet Challenge:

(The) Accidental Werewolf
Blueberry Muffin Murder
Circus of the Darned
Dead Over Heels
Fudge Cupcake Murder
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder
My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
Plum Spooky
(Doctor Who: The) Resurrection Casket
(The) Scot, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Welcome to the Jungle

Wow, 13 of the 26 letters in the alphabet, done! Awesome!

Till next month, when I promise there won’t be 25 books. I don’t think. HA!

–Lady Ozma
(I should be reading… or getting a life. You pick!)