Oh dear, I’m playing with words and phrases. I believe this reading thing has run away with my brain!

Never fear, I will track down my brain long enough to get through this blog entry! Perhaps… You just never know with me!

To say my May was going to be busy? Understatement. BIG understatement. A look at my calendar said that I’d be in Baltimore 12 days out of 31. Oh and not in a row, either. No! That would be far too easy! Four days there, five days home… you get the idea. Sure there were going to be fun times, but where would I find the ability to read nine books?

Throughout April I hoped the May challenge would be easy. Maybe I could grab some of these little books off the shelves. Or ones I knew I could blow through fast. Yeah!

Alas, that was not to be for May’s challenge. At first glance it doesn’t sound too bad. One book for each year of the decade. That’s easy, after all I have an entire bookcase of things to pick from. Surely I can find enough things to cover me from ’01-’09!

Except I wasn’t going to be home. What if I grabbed something and it didn’t work out for me? I wouldn’t be able to go grab something else! Yikes.

Then inspiration struck! Looking at my shelves, which were super packed, I noticed Harry Dresden taking up a heck of a lot of real estate. As it turns out, there’s eleven of those books. I’d only read two. That means… NINE! But… they took up a lot of real estate… Yay! I can free up some much needed space! Yikes! How can I plow through those!

I checked the books out… more than 3600 pages. I looked at the calendar again… roughly 15 days. Nineteen if I could read on the business trip. I would have to read over 160 pages a day without fail in order to finish.

Maybe I could get by without any big projects, right? After all, my sewing would be done! Costume Con started on the 1st of May. Anything not completed for that? Tough! Too late! I didn’t realize that I’d get all sucked into the joy of costuming even more at the convention. Ooops. I came home and in a fit of insanity decided I could make an entirely new costume before leaving for Balticon on May 22nd.

I’m a glutton for punishment.

I really needed to get those books off my shelves. All four were completely double stacked again. How many books do I currently have? I just counted. 244. That’s right. How is this happening? I started off the year with just over 200 and I’ve already read over 60. Simple math says the number should be more like 140ish. How do I have 100 more books than that?

I can tell you how. Books breed like a hybrid between a tribble and a rabbit. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Of course things like “Hey hon! I’m taking two and dropping off three!” coming from my mother really not helpful to the great “get through the TBR and reclaim my bookcase” plan of 2009. On the bright note it DOES help the “I can’t die if I still have books to read” plan!

Did I mention that glutton for punishment thing?

I finished two other books in May as well. See, I told you! My mother says it is the dancer in me. She claims anyone as masochistic as someone that dances on pointe has got to be a little crazy and an absolute glutton for punishment. I’d like to point (haha pun ABSOLUTELY intended) that SHE was the one who ponied up the cash and kept me going to dance classes. I blame any inanity on her. Dr Freud says that’s OK.

Really, what happened was I needed something to read to tide me over until May hit and I could start working on the May challenge. I knew the Maximum Ride books wouldn’t take very long so I went ahead and started it. I just didn’t finish it until a few days into May. (I did mention Costume Con… right?) After finishing the Dresden books, I needed something to kind of cleanse my pallet. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed them… but by the time I was done I was DONE. I just needed something to unwind and get my brain reset. You know, like smelling coffee after checking out perfumes. What better than a Jane Green book. They are fluffy, they are different, and they are QUICK. So there I was on the evening of the 31st of May zipping through a Green novel.

Because I read nine books that were all in one series, I’m going to do this entry a little different. (Besides, it’s long enough already, right?) I’m going to lump them together into one review. Yay!

May 9 in ’09 Challenge
2001: Grave Peril
2002: Summer Knight
2003: Death Masks
2004: Blood Rites
2005: Dead Beat
2006: Proven Guilty
2007: White Night
2008: Small Favor
2009: Turn Coat

All by Jim Butcher. These are the Harry Dresden books, The Dresden Files 3-11.

I also read:
Book 10: Maximum Ride: The Final Warning by James Patterson
Book 11: The Other Woman by Jane Green

One good thing? I managed to add to my Alphabet Challenge, too! YAY! I’m nearing completion with that! I’ll list it at the end under the stats for May.

Books 1-9: The Harry Dresden books. Harry is a PI/Wizard in modern day Chicago. Yes, wizard. Look in the phone book and you’ll see one listed. Him. He’s got a checkered past, as all good PI’s do. He’s hell(fire) on wheels. He has taken it upon himself to keep the mean streets of Chicago safe from the likes of The Godfather, I mean Marcone, as well as all manners of things that go bump in the night.

The bad thing about reading a series like that in such a little time span is repetiveness. Most series have a bit of a formula to them, and Dresden is no different. In every book his car, the Blue Beetle gets impounded. Somewhere along the way he’s stomping around in his magically warded duster, throwing up a shield from his bracelet, blasting fire at something, and getting the living daylights and the snot beat out of him.

The good thing is that Butcher has a definite story arc going. While there are things you almost look forward to in each book, the characters have all developed. Time is passing in Harry’s Chicago. You learn more and more about the very rich world that Butcher has set up as well as the various players in the giant chess game that is Dresden’s life. There are problems that span several books. Each could stand on its own, yet there are story arcs.

I really liked that. A lot. For example, in one book, Harry burned his left hand. Bad. So bad the doctors recommended amputation. Harry, being rather attached (yes! Pun ABSOLUTELY intended) to his arm – refused! By the end of the eleventh book you can see that it has begun healing, he’s even got some movement back. Sure it’s not 100%, but it’s slowly getting there. Another example is through several books the wizards are at battle with the vampires.

Now I must say, my favourite was Dead Beat. It was the first Dresden book I gave 5 stars to on goodreads. Why? Excellent use of necromancy on a T-Rex which was then ridden through the streets of Chicago. I mean… how do you go wrong? Sue the T-Rex really stole the show. I gotta say, my biggest complaint was Harry didn’t magick her until the very end. If ever a Dresden is made into a movie… I want it to be THIS one!

Overall I’d recommend the series. I really do like how things are progressing. Characters are all growing, sometimes in surprising ways. Even the characters you think might be throw aways. You won’t see them for four or five books and then boom… there they are! Complete with appropriate changes. Kudos to Butcher on that one. I stand firmly in the “Skip Storm Front” though. It was so painful I wanted to scrape my eyes out with a spork. I didn’t pick up Harry again for eight years. It was so abysmal. But starting in book two, they are great and they only get better! I look forward to what happens next!

10: Final Warning by James Patterson – OK, this Max Ride book had the same humour, the same quirkyness as the other three. I love that there are new evil scientist sorts chasing after The Flock. Poor bird kids will never get any peace! But, this took a different turn. It got way too preachy on Global Warming. Now I’ll admit in a heartbeat I’m a tree hugger and I hate the changes in our environment. However, it seems EVERYONE has gone all preachy and this was overly so. That aside, I did really have a good time reading it. My kids want the new book that just came out and I’ll probably read it as well.

11: The Other Woman by Jane Green – Did you see Monster in Law? It’s like that only set in England. The main character is actually really thrilled that her mother-in-law to be is so excited about everything! It’s like having the mother she never had. The sob story is… mummy died when she was a little girl. The lesson learned is no one can replace your mother and so the poor gal starts to feel smothered. It might even ruin the marriage. I enjoyed this Jane Green book as I do all her books. There’s just something about her books that make them just an absolute fun thing to read. They are perfect for a rainy afternoon. Grab a quilt, a cup of cocoa, and curl up for some reading.

There you have my reads for May 2009! Until next time, I’ll leave you with the stats and update on the ABC Challenge!

Stats for May:

Books completed in May: 11
Books completed in 2009: 66
Books completed for alphabet challenge: 19

ABC Challenge Titles Read:
The) Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy
Blueberry Muffin Murder by JoAnne Fluke
Circus of the Darned by Katie Maxwell
Dead Over Heels by Mary Janice Davidson
Echoes by Nathan P Butler
Fudge Cupcake Murder by JoAnne Fluke
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
Heaven by Mur Lafferty
I Love You To Death by Amy Garvey
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by JoAnne Fluke
My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon by Various
(The) Other Woman by Jane Green
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
(Doctor Who: The) Resurrection Casket
(The) Scot, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Annette Blair
Tall, Dark and Dead by Tate Hallaway
(The) Vampire of Venice Beach by Jennifer Colt
Welcome to the Jungle
Your Planet or Mine by Susan Grant

See you in about a month with June’s reading list! I’m hoping to break the 75 books read mark!

–Lady O