2018 Recap

Okay. I’m writing this on October 2, one year and one day after I posted the 2017 Recap. If I’m lucky, I’ll publish this post sometime next week. [Note from The Future: I was not lucky.] So I’m still horrifically behind, but joke’s on me, I have a handful of reviews actually written for books I’ve read in 2019, so maybe – maybe – 2019 is the year I get better? Maybe?

colbert fingers crossed

I read 29 books in 2018 – two better than 2017, and considering the fact that I spent the better part of September moving into a house, I’m going to totally mark that down in the WIN column. No, it’s not 30 books (which has been my benchmark for a few years), but it’s better than it was.

Take the wins as you can, folks – that’s definitely a Thing I Learned in 2018.

Of those 29, 24 had been marked as Never Read Before. Additionally, there was one book that I Did Not Finish; so yes, if I had finished it, I would have hit my 30 book goal, but also, I would have imploded from rage, so – again, count it as a win.

Here’s the full list, links to the reviews included. I’ve starred (*) books I’ve never read before. If you’re reading this on a laptop or desktop, you can hover over the links to read some snarky one-liners about the reviews; if not … I mean, the links still work.


1. A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain*
2. The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan*
3. Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick*

4. Shameless by Karen Robards*
Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard (Did Not Finish)

5. The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon
6. The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro*
7. Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton*
8. Straight by Dick Francis
9. Dancing for Degas by Kathryn Wagner*

Nothing read – I was reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and didn’t get to finish it before the month ended.

10. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
11. The Bookseller by Mark Pryor*

12. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman*
13. A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn*
14. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty*

15. Luck is No Lady by Amy Sandas*
16. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan*
17. Persuasion by Jane Austen

18. A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander*

19. Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir*
20. Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb*
21. If the Earl Only Knew by Amanda Forester*
22. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid*

I moved! And also, Dragonfly in Amber is LONG, y’all!

23. Do You Want To Start A Scandal by Tessa Dare*
24. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon*
25. Lost In A Good Book by Jasper Fforde*

26. The Husband’s Secret by Liane MOriarty*
27. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
28. Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt*
29. Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart*

2017 Recap

[Note From the Future: The following sentence was written in July, before A WHOLE LOT OF ~THINGS~ HAPPENED:]

Hey look you guys, I’m not posting this in September! I got better at something!

small miracles.gif

[Reaction .GIF From the Future:]

lana squint

[Additional Note From The Future: I probably could have posted this in September but … you guys, I bought a house. And then I had to move my stuff from where I was living to the new house. And guys — I have a lot of stuff. As I move into my late 30s [[oh god did I just type that out loud holy shit which box has the tequila in it]], I am going to try to be better at — oh, I don’t know. Everything? Does “everything” sound good? Like, getting rid of clothes that I don’t wear, and not buying clothes every three months, and maybe I don’t have to have the entire collection of Laurell K. Hamilton novels if I hate most of them so much, and — and also, once the material things are taken care of, actually posting to this blog on a somewhat regular basis! Maybe I can schedule them, in-between lawn-mowings or boiler maintenance or something.

Anyway. That’s why this is being posted in October.]

So. In 2017, I read 27 books – 5 fewer books than in 2016, and tied for my worst year on record. In my defense, the world has sucked for a good while now, and I did a lot to try and self-care my way through our current decline into fascism. I turned away from prestige TV (No, I haven’t watched Stranger Things yet. Or This is Us. Or anything else any of y’all have told me I *need* to watch). I did, however, get addicted to the CW reboot of Dynasty, and NO, I HAVE NO REGRETS.

The CW reboot of Dynasty is like cocaine puddin’, and this is how I react every time a new episode graces my TV:

cocaine yay.gif

[[oh shit the cable guy had better get the cable box squared away for me on Thursday because my cocaine puddin’ comes back for season 2 on Friday and I NEED EVERYONE TO WATCH IT WITH ME AND SAVE ITS RATINGS, OKAY?????]]

Of the 27 books I read last year, 26 were books I’d never read before. Take *that* Dad, who told me years ago to broaden my horizons and read new stuff! LOOK AT ME NOW

So. Here’s the list. The only book I re-read last year was Moonraker, so everything else is new. If you’re on a laptop or other form of computer, hover over the links to the previous reviews; otherwise, please enjoy.

1. Trouble in High Heels by Christina Dodd
2. Moonraker by Ian Fleming

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

4. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
5. All The President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
6. Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

7. Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III
8. The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan

9. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
10. An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards
11. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

12. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne DuMaurier

13. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
14. The Queen’s Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler

15. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
16. A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
17. A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

18. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

19. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
20. A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes
21. A Dangerous Love by Sabrina Jeffries

22. Incendiary by Michael Cannell
23. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
24. The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini
25. The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue

26. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
27. The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

2016 Recap

Hey, remember when I said this last year?:

So I’m doing this during the Oscars, which is probably going to end up a horrible decision. Another horrible decision? I’m not drinking. [Note from the future: I started drinking.]

I brought up the 2014 recap for last year (because I can never remember how to format these dang things), and that was posted on January 28. And my first sentence was “Well, this is the latest I’ve ever done my year-end recap.”

So my main goal for 2016 is to make sure I don’t post my 2016 recap in March 2017. I mean, seriously, Alaina, what the fuck?


*phew* Okay, now that that’s out of the way …

So yeah. Yeah. 2016 lasted an extra eight months, because I apparently didn’t want to let the worst year on record go. (Also, I got super busy, you guys. A lot of TV was binged, and things were crocheted for people. And other stuff and also, things.)

On the one hand, I didn’t post my 2016 recap in March 2017. On the other … seriously, Alaina, what the fuck?

Without further ado, my 2016 recap, and let us never speak of that horrid year again. Unless we all die in the cleansing thermonuclear fire that is most likely going to come and we need to be able to look back at a year fondly.

In 2016, I read a total of 32 books – the same amount of books I had read in 2015, so – at least I didn’t stop reading? Of those 32 titles, 21 were ones that I had never read before, handily marked with an asterisk. That’s a pretty good ratio, if I do say so myself.

You know the drill – click the link to go back to the review, and if you’re viewing this on a device that allows you to hover over a link (like, a computer or laptop – not a phone), I try to be funny in coding.

1. The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
2. The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig
3. The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton*
4. Room by Emma Donoghue*
5. The Big Short by Michael Lewis*

6. The Martian by Andy Weir*
7. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin*
8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

10. Veronika Decides to Die by Paolo Coehlo*
11. The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen*
12. Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn*

13. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood*

No books read, because my sister was getting married and I was fucking busy.

14. What a Pirate Desires by Michelle Beattie*
15. Sex Criminals: Volume One by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky*
16. Bonk by Mary Roach*

17. The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean*
18. The Witches by Stacy Schiff*
19. Seduction in Death by J.D. Robb*

20. The Maze by Catherine Coulter
21. Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt*
22. Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff

23. Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhold*


Okay, so, I was re-reading the above review to try and come up with a funny line to put in the html code, and it’s no wonder I couldn’t remember what the hell that book was about – it was so boring even when I reviewed it, that I spent the majority of the review subtweeting a friend of mine who doesn’t have internet:


For context: This review was posted April 12, 2017. The last day I knew the vehicle in question was driven was December 13, 2016. I saw Passengers with the friend in question on January 3, as proven by this tweet that I just advanced!searched for:

So SOMETIME between December 13, 2016 and January 3, 2017, the vehicle in question broke down.

math lady

The median date would be December 24, 2016. MERRY CHRISTMAS, PAL!

Tonight, in the interest of blog integrity (and yeah, I know that’s an oxymoron, idgaf), I drove to the next town up and just … just peeked in the garage.


lack of surprise

THIS CAR. HAS BEEN PARKED. IN THE SAME. GODDAMNED. SPOT. FOR EIGHT FUCKING MONTHS. And before you try to tell me again, Friend, that the car has been towed to the dealer/mechanic a few times to try and get fixed before being traded in —

more lies.gif

“The tire can be inflated and driven on, it just deflates really quickly.” OH REALLY? YOU DRIVE ON THAT BUSTED-ASS RIM half a mile to a gas station to put air in it, and then DRIVE FOR A DAY? REALLY? Then you bring it back to the PUBLIC PARKING GARAGE – not your apartment, but a PUBLIC PARKING GARAGE – and park it in the EXACT SAME SPOT THAT IT WAS IN BACK ON JANUARY 3? Really?! Do you also keep a spare tub of ABANDONED VEHICLE DUST that you spread OVER the car before LOCKING IT and then WALKING BACK TO YOUR APARTMENT?? IS THAT WHAT YOU DO? IS THAT HOW YOU DRIVE IT AROUND? REALLY?!

really with seth & amy.gif

REALLY. WHAT THE FUCK. You have until October 30, pal. And let me warn you – in public, on the internet – that if that car is STILL IN ITS PARKING SPOT on October 30, I am going to PLASTER THE FUCK out of it in Jerry Maguire VHS tapes. I will buy Jerry Maguire posters and just … wallpaper it.


Okay. *phew* I got that out of my system. Thank you. And now, back to the review links.

24. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
25. Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky*

26. The Pirate Bride by Shannon Drake*

27. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
28. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
29. Moneyball by Michael Lewis

30. Publish & Perish by James Hynes
31. A Rake’s Vow by Stephanie Laurens*
32. The Duchess War by Courtney Milan*

So there you have it. 2016, without the political terror and celebrity deaths. I promise to update everyone with regards to the abandoned vehicle, and yes, I have bookmarked “jerry maguire posters” on Amazon.

2015 Recap

So I’m doing this during the Oscars, which is probably going to end up a horrible decision. Another horrible decision? I’m not drinking. [Note from the future: I started drinking.]

I brought up the 2014 recap for last year (because I can never remember how to format these dang things), and that was posted on January 28. And my first sentence was “Well, this is the latest I’ve ever done my year-end recap.”

So my main goal for 2016 is to make sure I don’t post my 2016 recap in March 2017. I mean, seriously, Alaina, what the fuck?

My other big goal is to try and break 40 books. I didn’t get there last year (*thanks*, Mysteries of Udolpho), but I’ve actually started 2016 off at a good pace, so this is a Thing that could happen.

Here’s how 2015 shook out: I ended the year with 32 books read, which really, isn’t too shabby. And 18 of those were ones I’ve never read before (handily denoted with an asterisk), and that’s more than half, so again – not too shabs.

1. Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton*
2. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

3. Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming*
4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth*

5. Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire*
[see the pre-review as part of The Collaborators here!]
6. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
7. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

8. Blue Lonesome by Bill Pronzini
9. Babayaga by Toby Barlow*
10. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn*

Bupkis. Fucking Mysteries of Udolpho.

11. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
12. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe*
13. Knockdown by Dick Francis

14. Proof by Dick Francis
15. Hannibal by Thomas Harris

16. Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart
17. The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain*
18. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
19. Lady in Waiting by Nicole Byrd*
20. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day*

21. India Black by Carol K. Carr*
22. A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander*
23. The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory*

24. The Intern’s Handbook by Shane Kuhn*
25. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn*
26. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

27. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
28. Betrayal in Death by J.D. Robb*
29. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

30. Festival of Deaths by Jane Haddam
31. I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
32. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh*

And that’s it; that’s everything. The door is officially closed on 2015, and I’m looking forward to 2016. But what I’m really looking forward to right now is grabbing a beer and hoping and praying that The fucking Revenant doesn’t take home Best Picture.

Ride eternal, shiny, and chrome. Witness me.

11:56 p.m.: Well, Leonardo DiCaprio just won his goddamned award (as Dear Friend Sarah calls it, his Participation Trophy), and I figure I might as well wait and see who takes home Best Picture. I’m almost done with one Stella Artois, but I can probably chug another one before bedtime.


Dear Landlady: I apologize for screaming just now, but I’m very excited.

Okay, I have to be at work in 8 hours. But at least I can sleep easy, knowing that enough people out there in the world agreed with me that The Revenant is not worthy of Best Picture.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

2014 Recap

Well, this is the latest I’ve ever done my year-end recap. I mean, on the one hand, I had my best December on record, so that pushed my reviews back about a month. On the other hand, holy hell, I’ve got this to do and I’ve read two books in January, and I’m on track to finish a third, so being behind might turn into a Thing.

When I wrote my 2013 Recap, I set myself a goal:

I have two goals for 2014:

1. Break 30 books read, dammit!

2. For a stretch goal: looking back through my records (because yes, I have records, shut up), mybest year on-record is 2008 (which predates That’s What She Read by a whole year), in which I read 46 books.  As a stretch goal, I would love to read 46 books again.

So what was my final result?

37. I read 37 books last year.


"C'mon, Yzma, put your hands in the air!"

You guys, 2014 was my best year here at That’s What She Read. 37 books! That’s amazing! I have every right to do a little Dance of Awesome right now.

In addition, thanks to being parked across from the main branch of the Portland Public Library for six months, 26 of those books were ones I’d never read before. Man, I’m proud of me right now.

ANYWAY. What am I looking forward to in 2015? Well, I want to break 40 books. I can do it. This is a thing I can do. In addition, there’ll be a few more Collaborations between myself and Erica, and we’ve got my 200th reviewed book coming up fairly shortly. Plus, I may have a couple of other things up my sleeve.

So now, the breakdown. And remember, if it has an asterisk next to it, it was a book I’d never read before.

Also, I don’t say this often, mainly because I still operate under the impression that I’m the only one that reads this, but to all my readers: thanks. You guys are awesome.

1. Some Like to Shock by Carole Mortimer*
2. And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander*
3. Hawkeye: My Life As a Weapon Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction*
4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs*

5. Redwall by Brian Jacques*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]
6. Susannah Morrow by Megan Chance*

7. A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James*
8. Deadlock by Sara Paretsky
9. Prima Donna by Megan Chance*

10. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen*
11. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]

12. The Race Underground by Doug Most*
13. Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain*

14. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez*
15. Divergent by Veronica Roth*
16. Judgment in Death by J.D. Robb*

17. Heat Rises by “Richard Castle”*
18. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
19. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King **
20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King**
[** As I said in the combined post (linked here), I didn’t want to do a re-review of books I’ve already read twice (or more) in my time doing this blog.]

22. The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]
23. A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King**
24. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle*
25. The Moor by Laurie R. King*

26. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams*
27. The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
28. Demon Rumm by Sandra Brown*
29. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich*

30. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
31. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
[As stated in my review for Mockingjay, I again declined to re-review these books because I didn’t really have anything else to add. Their original reviews can be found here and here.]

32. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton*
33. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins*

34. Roman Blood by Steven Saylor
35. Death at Gallows Green by Robin Paige*
36. Gypsy Lord by Kat Martin*
37. Charade by Sandra Brown*

Also, in case you want to get into A Game of Thrones but want to know how the first two hundred pages end up, you can get a fun refresher of the plot here and here. (I have no idea if the Game of Thrones Project will continue – I’d like it to, but I need to double-check with my partner.)

Finally, I wouldn’t be a good friend unless I told you to BUY MY FRIEND JEN’S BOOK.

And that’s a wrap. Bring on the new year! … er, one month late. Well, what else is new.

2013 Recap

As stated in my review for H is for Homicide, 2013 is now my worst year on-record reading-wise.  I read 27 books last year, down from the 2012 total of 29.  17 of those 27 books were ones I had not read before, which is down from 2012’s 21 new-to-me-at-that-time count.  But it’s still more than half, so, take that, broadened horizons!

I have two goals for 2014:

1. Break 30 books read, dammit!
2. For a stretch goal: looking back through my records (because yes, I have records, shut up), my best year on-record is 2008 (which predates That’s What She Read by a whole year), in which I read 46 books.  As a stretch goal, I would love to read 46 books again.  And the next time I bitch about how reading classic literature takes longer (see: Dracula, Great Expectations), I would like to have one of my readers point me back to 2008 because that was the year I read all six of Jane Austen’s novels.  SIX.  IN ONE YEAR.  GODDAMMIT.

So anyway — now comes one of the best times of the year: the time I scroll back through my feed and link to all the reviews I wrote in the past year, in case y’all missed one or something.  But I enjoy it because I get to make in-jokes with the hyperlinks.  Look, you guys, I am easily amused.

If a book has an asterisk after it (*), it means I had not read it prior to 2013.

1. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl*
2. Killing Floor by Lee Child*

3. The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton
4. The Runaway Jury by John Grisham

5. Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell*
6. After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries*
7. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
8. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams*

9. Nerve by Dick Francis

10. Island of Vice by Richard Zacks*
11. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
12. My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander*

13. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
14. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare*

15. Gilligan’s Wake by Tom Carson
16. Dear Old Dead by Jane Haddam

17. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris*
18. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn*
19. Moonraker by Ian Fleming*
[NOW with bonus tie-in at Movies Alaina’s Never Seen!]

20. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]

21. Beyond Innocence by Emma Holly*
22. Witness in Death by J.D. Robb*
23. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]

24. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins*

25. Dracula by Bram Stoker
26. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]
27. H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton

An Interruption: Take my survey!!

Hi everyone!  I haven’t stopped reading; in fact, I’ve got a review in the queue that I’m polishing before posting, so stay tuned!

But if you happened to turn in before I got off my ass and did that, here’s the thing.  I’ve been contemplating ideas on how to … not change, or improve, or even enhance the blog, but … I dunno, maybe something to switch things up?  Don’t get me wrong, I like the way the blog is formatted and its appearance (and WordPress?  Unless that Able theme can give me three columns and different colors for free, suck it, I’m keeping my Andreas09 theme!  So maybe stop asking?), but maybe adding something new to the mix won’t be a bad thing?

To be honest, this stems from when I remembered that the past two Aprils, I kind of maybe invited Alaina’s American History Month when I read the Roosevelt biography and also Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  In an attempt to keep up the tradition I made on accident (much like watching Goldfinger on Christmas Eve for so long, or now saying “Scomps” whenever I make a toast), I went to Books-a-Million yesterday and found a bunch of actual history books so I don’t break it.

And I thought: what if I do a different theme every month?  Maybe May becomes Classic Literature month?  Not that that’s all I’m going to read in that month, but at least one book will fall under that category?

Or, what if I decide to read Game of Thrones a chapter at a time and write/Tweet about it?  (Much like Muggle Hustle – and if you haven’t read that, GO CATCH UP, THAT GUY’S THE SHIT)  Would people think it’s funny?  Would it just end up being a waste of time?  What if my friend Jen and I worked together and we turned Game of Thrones into a saucy puppet show?  WHAT ABOUT THAT?

So … I created a survey.  Yay!  Because I’m open to feedback, and this seems to be the best way to solicit it.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, the survey also covers my other blog, Movies Alaina’s Never Seen.  If you don’t frequent that site, that’s okay – but if you want to fill out the answers based on what you think it’s like, that’s not only also cool, but most likely also hilarious.)

So if you love me — and even if you only feel some fairly strong platonic feelings — hell, even if you hate me but don’t quite wish me dead, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback.  It doesn’t mean I’ll follow the advice (I’m quite like Alice in Wonderland in that regard), but it’ll make me think critically about the choices I make.

Plus, some of the answers to the questions are HILARIOUS.  You don’t want to miss out on that.

So … Please take my Feedback survey!

Thank you very much for participating.  And I promise, I’ll get back to my reviews posthaste.