I read a book or two this summer.  Try dozens.  This post is going to be a big one.  The good news? A lot of what I read? Complete series. Awesome. That should shorten things up a bit.  I’m up to 70 books read for the year, 39 of those over the last three months.  It was obviously the summer of reading.

This is partly because I got a terrible case of heat stroke that knocked me down for pretty much the first half of the summer season. Never fun.  I also picked up several YA series so went through the reads fairly quick. Always nice. Anything to tear down the TBR which is STILL over 260 books. ACK.  Will I ever catch up?

So here goes my reviews, done by series whenever possible:

The Mediator series by Mag Cabot – I actually began this six book series just prior to the Summer Solstice, but finished the series while at Girls Camp getting heat stroke.  The series follows a high school student that can interact with ghosts. Like most YA books of the type, she has a love interest on the "wrong side of the ether".  Her goal is to help cross the spirits over no matter if they want to or not so sometimes there’s some heavy need of her pulling out a can of kick ectoplasm on their ghostly behinds.  She, of course, meets her antithesis and needs to duke it out with him.  Don’t ya know, the anti-her is of course a guy and we complete the requisite love triangle.  Her mentor is the principle, a Catholic priest that has the same gift as she. Hilarity, hijinks, ghostly fights all while having fun in the California sun. What’s not to enjoy? Meg Cabot is famous for the Princess Diaries books and writes to the teen audience quite well. I’ve enjoyed her jaunt into the paranormal, which I only just discovered. Fun summer read!

Percy Jackson – Now a major motion picture which I have not seen.  My entire family blew through this series this summer.  (OK, so I think Joram is still wrapping up the series…) What’s not to love? Greek gods, modern day, brand new generation of heroes, epic adventures across America. This is just all around made of the win. You can’t go wrong. Sorry, my mother grew up in Greece and thus I was nursed on ancient mythology.  I knew going in that unless these books were just so abysmal as to be painful, I’d enjoy them.  Now that our family completed the series (except for Joram who’s been distracted by Tom Swift), we plan to enjoy a family night with the DVD. I look forward to it.  Once more… it’s going to be pretty darn hard for me to not enjoy the movie. I like Clash of the Titans. And I mean the original.  Hmmm, maybe we’ll put the new Clash of the Titans with the Percy Jackson movie and make a day of it…  Five stars. If you haven’t read, well you must be under a rock. Crawl out and get the books and read them!  I think it took me a week to read all five. While super sick with heat stroke.

Vintage Magic by Anette Blair – So far there are three in this series.  The main character can touch a vintage garment and "see" things from the life of the previous owner. Of course these visions aren’t just random. The universe throws her visions that will help her discover the secret to the classic whodunit because these are Cozy mysteries.  As with any good cozy, the typically female character is like the angel of death that people just keep inviting around.  Queue tripping over dead body here. Then she runs around trying to solve the crime before her copy buddy/possible love interest for the triangle and her on again off again FBI boyfriend can crack the case on their own.  Throw in a splash of haute couture and you have this series set in New England. Fun. Paranormal Cozy mysteries rock!

Beth Frasier by Julie Kenner – I love Julie Kenner. She wrote the Demon Hunting Soccer Mom books. They rule. These are fun and geared toward YA. Beth gets vamped and is pretty cheesed about it. She’s not going to take this stuff laying down. She’s out to get the jerkface popular boy that vamped her and make him pay. She teems up with a vamp hunter or two (ha! more love triangles!) and they are bound and determined to fix things and return her from the undead.  And to think, just last week she was worried about how her high school transcript was going to look.  Think schools would take "began my unlife as a vampire" as a sign of a well rounded student?

Last but not least – The Hunger Games series – Holy smokes. Burned this trilogy out in a week. Halfway through the week I finished book two and was completely useless between the few simple hours before I sat down and purchased the ebook. Go District 12! Wow. I gotta say I was leery.  I mean it’s kids killing kids.  But this isn’t crappy and make you want to kill yourself like the freaking nightmarish read of like Lord of the Flies. There’s a book I’d like to scrub from my brain. GAAAH.  The dystopian series was scary in its realism, frightening when you consider the possibilities, and historic with it’s ample borrowing from ancient Rome.  (Though I’m not so sure that people caught half of those Roman references.)  A read for youth and a read for adults. There’s a reason why these things are insanely popular.  Warning, it is quite Dystopian.  It hearkens back to the dystopian classics of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.  Both excellent reads as well.

I read several newer releases in series that I enjoy.  

Vampire Academy book 5 – Spirit Bound continues with the interesting story of a vampire society in modern day.  No they aren’t "out" which is ever so popular these days. I really like the intricate working of this society and the two different types of vampires.  The white hat and the red hat so to speak.  I look forward to book 6 to find out what happens next because things are NOT going well for our main character. No spoilers! Sorry!

Sizzling Sixteen – Right. Like that wasn’t going to be read? I ❤ the Stephanie Plum books and this one of course left me in stitches. Still sick with heat stroke, it was a good read for me. Come on, we all love the Plum.  From cars blowing up, to wrestling naked geezers to bring them to the police… Plum is where it is at. It’s all there is to love in crazy chicklit.

Max and Fang – I caught up with both books this summer and am now up to date with the Bird Kids. I will say I’m glad that with these two books, the story seems to be getting back on track.  That one book between the original series and these two really got a bit preachy.  They didn’t totally ignore it, but they are definitely getting past the preachy.  I’m all for loving the earth, but it was just heavy preachy. I think An Inconvenient Truth was more subtle and less preachy.  I’m just saying.  I can’t wait for the next installment to find out what happens next. No spoilers, but let’s just say the whole introduction of a new character and the reactions of The Flock? Oh yeah, I’m drooling for more!  Bird Kids FTW, Patterson. Bring us more!

Changes by Jim Butcher – Holy sock monkeys got a hold of Harry Dresden’s life and wow. Jim. You’ve been mean. You’ve beat the snot out of Harry. But you’ve taken abuse to a whole new level. Holy smokes. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t really say anything else because really? The whole book was so intense that to breathe anything more would be mega spoilers. Let’s just say this… The title is called Changes. It’s fitting.  Even the title is different because it took us from titles of two words, both words being the same amount of letters. BIG FREAKING STINKING GIANT CLUE RIGHT THERE.  OK? Yeah. By the time you close the book there is NOTHING that is the same. NOTHING.  EVERYTHING is different. And you can’t even begin to guess the half of it. If you haven’t caught up? Do so now.  Let’s just say I’m going to be at Marscon like a rabbid fangirl following Butcher around hoping to get any clues as to what is next.  Because really? WHAT IS NEXT?????  Five bazillion stars. Not enough stars on the planet earth for this book.  Yeah.

Ok, so I also read a few other books, but mostly I’m going to highlight two more that I read. Why? Because this post has been long enough.  I’ve covered the vast majority of the books I read.  Here’s the last two:

Escape by Carolyn Jessop – My number finally came up for this one on paperbackswap.  I’ve read blogs about people who’d read this book.  The story was all over the news a few years back. Interesting stuff.  It’s about a fundamentalist sect of Christianity practicing polygamy and pretty much bowbeating everyone. Talk about the exact opposite of everything good taught by Christianity. This is the story of Carolyn, forced into a marriage with a man far her senior and with odious sister wives.  How she fought to get ahead in a society that tried hard to keep anyone from getting ahead.  And finally how she escaped with her six kids.  I like hard luck cases. The fight that people have to survive and overcome is just amazing to me. Good read. Reminded me of the way I felt when reading Stolen Lives.

His Majesty’s Dragon – Book one in the Temeraire series – This is a alternate-history fiction series.  Frankly, I’d have burned through all of them except that this book was so awesome I decided the boys would read the series for school.  In an effort to stay closer to them in reading, I held off on starting book two for them to finish book one.  Since both are trying to read, it’s taking forever. Basically this is set in the Napoleanic Wars in Europe.  Historically speaking, the author keeps things the same as they really happened.  The writing style is a bit more formal but perfect for the series. The catch? It’s the Napoleonic Wars… with DRAGONS. Oh yeah. Dragonriders and talking dragons = suddenly the war is far more interesting! There’s a reason this is critically acclaimed. Get it. Read it. Love it.

There you have it… 

I think I’ll do a separate entry (because this is so long) outlining my status on several of my challenges.  For now, this is enough, don’t you think?

School has started up in full force, I’m feeling healthier, and the weather is nicer.  So I’ve been doing more and reading less.  Hopefully I can get through 30 more books though so I can complete 100 books this year. That would be nice.  Besides, I need to do something with this massive TBR!

–Lady O