I reached the promised land of completing my yearly challenges.
There were some great books but also some stinkers (IMO) but overall a great reading year.
December was so filled with Holiday events and preparations that I only finished 6 with 3 in progress.
December: 3 pre-owned: 2 borrowed: 0 new: 1 ARC - 6 books.
Best of the Month: [The mischief of the mistletoe]
The worst of the month - [The Most Dangerous Thing]

Here's What I read this month:
The Plantation ★★★★
Defending Angels ★★★★
Innocent traitor ★★★½
The mischief of the mistletoe ★★★★
The Most Dangerous Thing ★★½
Dark Angel ★★★

January: 5 pre-owned : 4 borrowed : 0 ARC - 9 books.
Best of the Month: [A Murderous Procession]
February: 3 pre-owned: 5 borrowed: 3 new: 0 ARC - 11 books.
Best of the Month: [StandIn Groom]
March: 4 pre-owned: 0 borrowed: 1 new: 3 ARC - 8 books.
Best of the Month: [Murder is Binding]
Favorite of the Quarter: A Murderous Procession
April: 3 pre-owned: 5 borrowed: 1 new: 0 ARC - 9 books.
Best of the Month: Buffalo West Wing
May: 1 pre-owned: 7 borrowed: 1 new: 2 ARC - 11 books.
Best of the Month: [Treacherous Teddy] followed by [The Princess and the Hound]
The worst of the month - [Altar of Bones]
June: 4 pre-owned: 6 borrowed: 1 new: 0 ARC - 11 books
Best of the Month: [The Last Song]
The worst of the month - No really bad book this month!
July: 4 pre-owned: 6 borrowed: 0 new: 1 ARC - 11 books.
Best of the Month: [A Summer in Sonoma]
The worst of the month - [Murder on Monday]
August: 1 pre-owned: 5 borrowed: 3 new: 3 ARC - 12 books.
Best of the Month: [Murder Most Persuasive]
The worst of the month - [The Last Boy]
September: 4 pre-owned: 4 borrowed: 1 new: 0 ARC - 11 books.
Best of the Month: [A Great Deliverance]
The worst of the month - [Edward's Eyes] not really bad but it could have been more expanded.
October: 2 pre-owned: 4 borrowed: 2 new: 1 ARC - 9 books.
Best of the Month: [Case Histories]
The worst of the month - [Secret Lives of the Supreme Court]
November: 5 pre-owned: 4 borrowed: 0 new: 0 ARC - 9 books.
Best of the Month: [The Necklace]
The worst of the month - [April 1865: The Month That Saved America]
December: 3 pre-owned: 2 borrowed: 0 new: 1 ARC - 6 books.
Best of the Month: [The mischief of the mistletoe]
The worst of the month - [The Most Dangerous Thing]

Best of 2011:

Buffalo West Wing ★★★★½
The Necklace ★★★★½
A Murderous Procession ★★★★
A Great Deliverance ★★★★
Lumby on the Air ★★★★
Summer in Sonoma ★★★★
Murder with Peacocks ★★★★
Murder is binding ★★★★
The Mournful Teddy ★★★★
Stand-in Groom ★★★★
The Plantation ★★★★
Sew Deadly ★★★★
Princess and the Hound ★★★★
Defending Angels ★★★★

Yearly total
Books Read Owned 65 (Pages: 23,080)
Books Read Borrowed 12 (Pages: 7,345 )
Audio Books heard 31 (376¼ hours, 13,625 equivalent pages )
Total 117 books 44,050 pages

Challenge progress
75 book Challenge 117/75
11 in 11 Challenge completed
50 State Challenge 31/50 + DC
Endless European Challenge 11/48
BOYS 2011 65/60

Total Completed
64 books, 17 Nook Books and 36 audio books - 44,050 pages
104 fiction; 13 nonfiction

Genre Summary

11 books History
1 book Health
1 instructional

Novels: 13
Youth/Children/fantasy: 11
Mystery: 46
Historical Fiction: 30
Classic: 4

New Series started
Pink Carnation Mysteries
Bear Collector's Mysteries
Cheese Shop Mysteries
Booktown Mysteries
Lynley/Havers Mysteries
Dublin Murder Squad
Anna Travis Mysteries
Elizabeth Parker Mysteries
Meg Langslow Mysteries
Poisoner Mysteries
Pet Rescue Mysteries
Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries
Dorothy Martin Mysteries
Giordano Bruno Mysteries
Lois Meade Mysteries
Jackson Brodie Mysteries
Miniature Mysteries
Memphis BBQ Mysteries
The Mitford Series
Black Cobra Quartet
Trap Trilogy
Keys to the Kingdom
The Princess and . . .
The Heroes of Olympus
Kane Chronicles

Challenge results

75 Challenge - 117 books were completed
11 in 11 Challenge - completed with only 4 overlaps
BOYS (Books Off Your Shelves) goal 60/read 65
2 books were read for the Endless European Challenge
No books were read toward my 50 State Challenge
USPC has progressed through Abraham Lincoln

Other stats
84 of the 117 books read were candidates on my list at the beginning of 2011.
104 books were read for TIOLI Challenges.


The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman

Read: November 24 - December 22
Format: Hardback 352 pages
Source: LibraryThing ER
Subject: spousal abuse, mistaken identity, marriage for profit
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Something New - books acquired in 2011
Genre: Fiction
Stars: ★★½

Laura Lippman is one of my favorite authors so when I was given this book to review, I thought "great" I'll have a good book to read and a easy review to write. Nope. For me, this book fell short of Ms. Lippman's usual great stories.

I had a very difficult time getting into it even though I was born and raised in Baltimore (where the story is set) and I was comfortable with the location/setting. The story lagged. A full hundred pages into it and I was still wondering what was going on. The characters seem 1 dimensional as if you could take them all and put them together to make one decent character. The story was choppy - bouncing from one time frame to another and never really getting any rhythm.

I'm really sorry to say that I didn't like it, but I will not abandon an author of MS. Lippman's talents just because of one book.


The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig

Read: December 16 - December 20
Format: Hardback 339 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: spies, dowerless women,
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Category: Honeymoon - foreign settings/thrillers & The good old days - Historical Fiction
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: ★★★★

This installment in the Pink Carnation is different than all the others in that the modern day characters are absent. The entire story takes place in the early 19th century with amusing characters that have flitted in and out of the previous books.

Turnip Fitzhugh and Arabella Dempsey are perfectly suited for each other because of how their personalities interact but what I enjoyed most was Turnip's realizations that the whole world didn't work the same for others as it did for him.

This was a fun read as well as an entertaining love story. My favorite so far in the series.

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

Read: November 30 - December 20
Format: Audiobook 16 CDs equivalent 679 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Tudor Dynasty, Reformation in England, succession
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL, AUDIO
Genre: Historical Fiction
Stars: ★★★½

The Tudor Dynasty is a part of history is frequently used as the background for historical fiction. The characters are full-bodied, stubborn, zealous in their belief of their own destiny.

This book which is a fictionalized biography of Lady Jane Grey shows her to be no different than other Tudors except for the fact that she did not believe that she should be queen.

Lady Jane Grey was the oldest daughter of the daughter of Henry VIII's younger sister, Mary Tudor. Early in her life, Jane's parents endeavored to arrange a marriage between Jane and Prince Edward, but that was never completed. Her parents instead married her off to the third son of the Duke Northumberland who was the head of Privy Council for King Edward during his minority.

Jane was a zealous Protestant and King Edward on his deathbed named Jane as his successor. He did not want his sister Mary because she was a fanatical Catholic and he could not exclude Mary without excluding Elizabeth, thereby put Jane in line for the throne.

The aftermath which has Jane condemned for treason, shows the ruthless of the period and Mary's obsession with Spain.

The book was an interesting depiction of what may actually occurred at that time. Whether it is true, we will never know, but it was entertaining and well-written.


Defending Angels by Mary Stanton

Read: December 5 - December 9
Format: Paperback 293 pages
Source: purchased through B&N
Subject: murder, hauntings, angels, personal independence
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Setting up Housekeeping/ Leftovers
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: ★★★★

Brianna Winston-Beaufort (Bree) is an attorney who having inherited her Uncle Franklin's law practice, moves from North Carolina to Savannah to escape from her family's law practice and strike out on her own. Needing temporary offices due to the fire that killed her uncle, Bree rents the first floor in an old Southern home in the historical district until repairs are complete at the regular offices.

However, the location that she has found, is a bit quirky… smack in the middle of an all-murderers cemetery. A great number of other strange occurrences continue as she is setting up shop - her landlady won't take a lease - just Bree's word is good enough, before she's walked out of the building, letterhead stationery arrives, and her first client calls after he's been declared dead.

This book was definitely a fun read with unusual characters and super writing. It does turn out to be, what I consider, a paranormal cozy mystery, but it was such fun, I'm going to have to keep it up.


I'm running out of time!

I'm running out of time so I've decided that I'm going to take advantage of a few overlaps to move me forward and closer to my goal. (the holidays - parties, shopping, decorating, baking all take time away from reading - so far I had 2 parties and been to 3 others - finished shopping and only partially finished wrapping - baking is done but visiting and parties aren't)

113. Defending Angels I've finished but haven't written the review yet.

114. Scones and Bones - recorded in Something New will double up in Setting up Housekeeping- cooking and crafts finishing that category

115. Outlander - recorded in Blind Date will double up in Love and Marriage (it was long enough for two books and went from meeting to marriage so it works) finishing up that category

I'm 2/3 done with Innocent traitor and will count that as Historical fiction as well as Honeymoon (it does have a foreign setting) so that will be 116 and 117. I'm trudging through The most Dangerous Thing (an ER) #118, having trouble with the download of The mischief of the mistletoe for #119, 120 (Historical fiction as well as Honeymoon)and lastly have Death in Vienna for #121(I swore to myself at the beginning of the y ear that I would get this one read - last book of course LOL)

SO 4 books (Innocent traitor,The most Dangerous Thing,The mischief of the mistletoe,Death in Vienna) and I reach the promise land! (last year I only had 1 overlap - this year 4 and next year as many as 32!) If there's time, I will try to erase the overlaps.


The Plantation by Chris Kuzneski

Read: November 10 - November 30
Format: e-book 416 pages
Source:purchased through B&N for Nook
Subject: slavery, revenge, sadism
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Something New - books acquired in 2011
Genre: Thriller
Stars: ★★★★

This book is not for the faint of heart. It is filled with action but also with many thought provoking concepts, most notably, slavery of whites by blacks as a revenge for their past history.

How would you react if you were expecting your handsome boyfriend at the door and instead when you answer you are drugged and kidnapped and when you awake you know not where, you are a slave to a sadistic black man who says that a remote branch of your family enslaved his before the Civil War and now it's payback time?

Does anyone know where you are? Ariane, the kidnapped damsel, is fortunate because her boyfriend before leaving the US service, was a member of an elite taskforce which could handle just about anything. Jonathan and his buddy DJ track down the kidnappers on THE PLANTATION and work to rescue Ariane and 21 others in the same situation.

This is the first installment of the Payne & Jones series. I received book 3 as an ER and knew after reading that one that I wanted to read the beginning books in the series. The book was exciting and kept your attention but at times was a bit graphic in the violence of the situation. Definitely not bedtime material, but definitely a great read.