For 2016, I set a reading goal of 52 books. What was I thinking? That was definitely an over reach, since I didn’t even make it to 30. In 2016, I managed to read 29 books. Which surprised me since it felt like I was reading quite a lot. In reality though, it wasn’t until the latter part of the year that my reading seemed to pick up.That was when I discovered the Coffeehouse Mystery series and I have been chewing through that as fast as possible.
There are 15 books so far in the Coffeehouse Mystery series, which is authored by a husband & wife team under the pen name, Cleo Coyle. The books are set in modern day New York and revolve around the life of coffeehouse manager, Claire Cossi. This seemingly innocuous barista somehow manages to become ensconced in a variety of murder mysteries to which she is drawn like a moth to a flame. Since I am not a book reviewer by trade, let me just say that I find Claire Cossi thoroughly entertaining and, so far, have had a hard time putting each book down.
Of course every year I spend time in Mercyverse, a world created by Patricia Briggs, which encompasses the series Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega. Both series take place in a world where vampires and fairies exist in the shadows while werewolves are out in public. The Mercy Thompson series follows the life of mechanic Mercy Thompson who lives in Washington and, due to her status as a shape shifter, is constantly engulfed in the affairs of the vampire/werewolf/fairy community. Alpha & Omega takes place in the same universe, and follows the lives of two werewolves, Charles and Anna. Both series are amazing and there are many characters that crossover from one series into the another, as well as several short stories that highlight different individual characters from within the universe. This year I started off with the ninth book in the Mercy Thompson series, which is titled Fire Touched and was released in March. As is typical with any of Patricia Briggs books, I believe I read Fire Touched in a matter of a couple of days. Naturally, once I step foot in Mercyverse I don’t want to leave. So after I finished Fire Touched, I went ahead and read through the Alpha & Omega series, again.
After spending quality time in Mercyverse, I decided to begin my introduction to The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. This series falls into the Urban Fantasy category, of which I really only read Patricia Briggs, however, many fans of Briggs also read Butcher, so I thought I would give the series a try. The Dresden Files follow the life of Harry Dresden, wizard for hire in Chicago, where magic and wizardry is surfacing from the shadows. While this world does give off a feeling of familiarity to Briggs fans, it is a story of a very different tone; much darker focusing on some seedier elements. So far, I managed to get through six of the Dresden Files books. Unfortunately, I did begin to lose interest around book five, mainly due to some of the repetitive nature of the story. Butcher gives a lot of the background information on Harry Dresden repeatedly in each book and, since I was reading the series back to back, I started to get a little bored. With that in mind, I’ve decided to space out how often I read the series, almost as if I was reading them as they were being released. That aside the story itself is interesting and Harry Dresden is a character that captures your attention from the start. (Of course my heart will always belong in Mercyverse.)
In the summer I took my annual sabbatical from all my typical genres to read Nora Roberts’ The Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy. This will be the third consecutive year that I have read this trilogy over the summer as it seems to have become a tradition of mine. The Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy tells the story of three cousins from Ireland and their magical witchcraft heritage, including the evil dark force that is hunting them across time through generations. For the most part, I do not read Nora Roberts, nor do I read romance novels in general, however, when I picked up the first book in the trilogy, Dark Witch, the story synopsis grabbed my attention long before I took note of the author or genre. Truly, I thought I discovered another urban fantasy story and was caught off guard when realizing it was written by Nora Roberts. Beyond that, I was further caught off guard at how captivated I was by the story. This trilogy is a series that I read in hardcopy, and value that tactile connection to the words. When I read the story, with book in hand, I am transported to Ireland and the cottage where the cousins fight for freedom from the dark forces that are destroying the generational ties that bind their family. There is no doubt that I will be reading this trilogy every year probably about the same time every year for as long as I’m able to read. It is quite like that old familiar movie that you only watch once a year but it still brings you comfort and enjoyment time after time.
While I ended my year with cozy mysteries and peculiar children, it did not start off that way. The beginning of the year I spent some time reading some memoirs and other non-fictional stories, however spending too much time in reality makes me want to jump right back into cozy mysteries and urban fantasy tails. This year I’m heading down a similar reading path. My reading goal is 40, hopefully more reasonable, and my initial to be read pile includes the last 2 books of Skeleton Family series, the last 2 books of the Peculiar Children series, the next Coffeehouse Mystery book, and a different Nora Roberts trilogy, the Gallaghers of Ardmore, once again based in Ireland.
Here is the complete list of books I read in 2016:
If you like you can check out the GoodReads breakdown of my year in books here
Thanks for reading, see you in the stacks.