Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review: The Emperor of the Last Days by Ron Goulart

Synopsis: They Held the Fate of Freedom in Their Hands. Dan Farleigh: a pleasant young fellow with a kinky craving for the company of computers. Janis Trummond: a beautiful young woman reporter out to dig up the dirtiest secrets of man’s world. Professor Supermind:  mental master of machines. Tin Lizzie: a gifted if ungainly bionic teenager. Deadend: A Chicago thug whose thoughts were deadly weapons.  No imagination could have conceived this oddly twisted team – and no human imagination had. Their master and mentor used the Bernard Maze. But to friends he was Barney – a computer who decided to take charge before it was too late to save the world from – The Emperor of the Last Days. (from the back of the book)

Review: Ron Goulart is known for both his writing of pulp fiction and his study of it. This is clearly of that genre. With cheeky supercomputers, dastardly men of power, sexy women, teleporters, bionic arms that shot lasers, fractured governments and robots galore, this is the pulpiest of pulp fiction. Humorous, with likable characters and fast-paced action, it’s a fun, easy read. And, given that is was written in 1977, his treatment of gender is done well – the women have intelligence, actives parts, and demonstrate logic and reason. It won’t win any awards, mind you. Goulart has a bad habit of jumping scenes with no warning, which can be disorienting. There are no great morals or explorations of the human condition. But that is what makes it pulp fiction, right? Worth reading, just for fun. 

Bookmarks: 3 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-03201-4
Year Published: 1977
Date Finished: 1-29-2017
Pages: 189

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Synopsis: The united 'Second Empire of Man' spans vast distances, due to the Alderson Drive which has enabled humans to travel easily between the stars. After an alien probe is discovered, the Navy dispatches two ships to determine whether the aliens pose a threat… Called by Robert A. Heinlein: "Possibly the greatest science fiction novel ever written," this magnificent exploration of first contact and a truly alien society is a "must read" for science fiction fans. (from the online description)

Review: First contact stories tend to fall into two tropes: either the benevolent aliens come to help to poor humans or Independence Day. Niven and Pournelle deftly side step these tropes and give us a first contact story both riveting and real. Moties, as they are named, are both benevolent and dangerous. And it falls to a diverse, flawed sortie of humans to determine the fate of both the Moties – and the human race.
A fast-paced plot, combined with complex characters and an intricate world of limiting technologies, create a story both mind-expanding and heart-wrenching. There are no good guys and bad guys, simple creatures, Motie and Human alike, working towards the survival of their species.
My only complaint is, once again, is the portrayal women. Only one female with speaking lines, but she is an integral part of the story, mostly. She could be replaced with a male and the story wouldn’t change much, despite her being presented as an educated woman with intelligence. She is often the “heart” of the discussion, favoring emotion-driven benevolence over logic. There are remarks to a male-centric society and she seems accepting, even supporting, of that institution.  One of the few shallows characters, sadly, but better than most women in pre-1980s sci-fi/fantasy novels.

It will up to the individual to determine if this book lives up to the hype, but for my part, I think it does. Worth the time to read. 

Bookmarks: 5 of 5

Awards:  Nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, Hugo Award for Best Novel, and Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1975)

ISBN: 0-671-43403-9
Year Published: 1974
Date Finished: 1-25-2017
Pages: 560

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Review: A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card (An Ender Story)

Synopsis: Orson Scott Card offers a Christmas gift to his millions of fans with A War of Gifts, a short novel set during Ender's first years at the Battle School where it is forbidden to celebrate religious holidays. The children come from many nations, many religions; while they are being trained for war, religious conflict between them is not on the curriculum. But Dink Meeker, one of the older students, doesn't see it that way. He thinks that giving gifts isn't exactly a religious observation, and on Sinterklaas Day he tucks a present into another student's shoe. This small act of rebellion sets off a battle royal between the students and the staff, but some surprising alliances form when Ender comes up against a new student, Zeck Morgan. The War over Santa Claus will force everyone to make a choice. (from the online description)

Review: Set during Ender Wiggin's time at Battle School, this short novel centers on other characters. While Wiggin is an integral part to the story, he isn't the main character. The main character, Zeck, hails from a fundamentalist abusive home, and it is his growth, brought about by the subtle rebellion of Dink Meeker, that we follow. Although this lacks the depth of Card's other stories, it carries water and is most certainly worth reading.

Bookmarks: 4 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-7653-5899-8
Year Published: 2007
Date Finished: 1-23-2017
Pages: 196

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Synopsis: Can a bear's vacation, with more rain than sun, end up being, the one that's most fun?

Review: Being an avid reader of the Berenstain Bears as a child, I'm always on the lookout for ones I don't own. This one, while not the best one, is cute and amusing. The Bears go on vacation with high expectations, but they suffer one disappointment after another. But by keeping a good attitude and sticking together, they manage to turn what could have been bad memories into fun ones. This is a fine lesson for kids on how to handle disappointment, that it is your attitude that matters most. With color pictures and simple, clear, prose, this is a fine read for young kids.

Bookmarks: 3 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 679-80060-3
Year Published: 1989
Date Finished: 1-19-2017
Pages: 32

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (Trans. in English by Stephen Snyder)

Synopsis: He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem―ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.
She is an astute young Housekeeper―with a ten-year-old son―who is hired to care for the Professor.
And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor's mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities―like the Housekeeper's shoe size―and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.
Yoko Ogawa's The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family. (from the inside cover of the book)

Review: This is a gently, lyrics story that deals with memory, family, and what makes a good life. With only an 80 minute window of memory, the Professor is stuck in a loop of uncertainty. He clings to his numbers, his beautiful mathematics, for security. The Housekeeper, a woman whose life is closed and colorless, learns from him about a wider place for the soul, and his relationship with her son opens the world for both the Professor and the boy. The math, woven like a scarlet thread through the story, adds an interesting tone to the narrative.
While I enjoyed this book, it didn’t strike me as deep as others, or perhaps, as I expected. It is a good story: gentle, pleasing, peaceful. It’s an excellent read for a quiet rainy day, with a cup of tea at your side. But I did not find the magic of the narrative that others described. Worth reading, even so. 

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: Hon'ya Taisho Award (Japan Booksellers Award)

ISBN: 978-0-312-42780-1
Year Published: 2003 (English Edition, 2009)
Date Finished: 1-17-2016
Pages: 180

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Synopsis: Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart. From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her--and you, too--on a moving, funny, and unforgettable journey to . . . Where the Heart Is. (from the back of the book)

Review: I watched the movie adaption of this many years ago, and despite the horrid reviews, enjoyed it. It’s a sappy, sentimental, sometimes gritty, story rife with warm-fuzzies and heartbreak. There is an edge of intelligence to it, as the characters, particular Forney Hull, quote authors well-known and not. And the overarching idea that some lies changes the entire course of our life. Billed as a Young Adults novel, it must be stated that it contains subjects, like rape and death, which must be considered before choosing to read this. These things have a place in the story, and aren’t gratuitous or for shock value, thankfully, and do enhance the story in some ways, if only to give the story a bite and a dose of reality that prevents it from just being sappy. While it won’t win any literary awards, it a pleasant read, saccharine, and yet, just gritty enough that one doesn’t toss it aside for sugar shock.  Worth reading. 

Bookmarks: 4 of 5

Awards: Does Oprah's Book Club count?

ISBN: 0-446-67221-1
Year Published: 1995
Date Finished: 1-11-2016
Pages: 376

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Review: Dorsai! by Gordon R. Dickson

Synopsis: Throughout the Fourteen Worlds of humanity, no race is as feared and respected as the Dorsai. The ultimate warriors, they are known for their deadly rages, unbreakable honor, and fierce independence. No man rules the Dorsai, but their mastery of the art of war has made them the most valuable mercenaries in the known universe. Donal Graeme is Dorsai, taller and harder than any ordinary man. But he is different as well, with talents that maze even his fellow Dorsai. And once he ventures out into the stars, the future will never be the same.... (from the online description)
Review: Dickson’s famous Childe Cycle began with Dorsai! I read this as part of Vintage Sci-Fi Month, sponsored by RedStarReviews. Held up as a prominent example of military science fiction, Dorsai! was nominated for the 1960 Hugo Award, but lost to Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein.
While the overarching plot is the Donal’s interactions with Prince William of Ceta, this is only the stage for the true story – Donal’s growth as a person and the discovering his extra human abilities. This is setting up the reader for the future books.
Flaws: As others have stated, most science fiction and fantasy pre-1980s is rampant with misogyny. This one is not overtly so, but sadly, of the few female characters, only one has any true part in the story, and she is stereotypical: emotional, illogical, and capricious. Her purpose in the story was as trophy to the strongest male or, for one character, a promised reward. This is disappointing.  You could have replaced her with a box of gold and the story would have been the same. Shame on Dickson for not creating female characters as rich and complex as his male characters.  
Good points: I greatly enjoyed Donal’s tactics, plans, and the way he executed his life. The way he outsmarted William of Ceta amused me greatly. He was clever and far-thinking. Dickson created a character who was smart and complex, and sat in a complex and well-built world. The FTL method, the concept of professional or talent being the commodity to trade between worlds, the specializations of human professions – this was brilliant! It captured my thinking, and seemed plausible and possible in our future.

Overall, I enjoyed this vintage sci-fi book, despite his disappointing female characters, and will probably read more by Dickson and more in these series. 

Bookmarks: 4 of 5

Awards: Nominated, Hugo Award, 1960

Year Published: 1960
Date Finished: 1-10-2017
Pages: 272

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: The Cold Cash War by Robert Asprin

Synopsis: The corporate wars were on! They were sophisticated games played with all the subtlety and skill technology could devise. Until saving costs became more important than life itself. At the corporate negotiations table, beautiful Judy Simmons announced the change in rules. Beneath her tough exterior she was shaken – shaken enough to confide in Fred Willard, her most dangerous rival. They would come to share the horror of what lay ahead. But even they had never heard of Steve Tidwell. He had been picked from the world’s best fighting men and given an offer he couldn’t refuse. What began as an exercise in tactics leapt out of control, as a mercenary army trained for the ultimate confrontation between the corporations and the rest of the world! (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked this up for $1 because of the cover. It looked so ridiculous. Turned out, the story was intriguing, with odd twists and turns. The idea is simple: corporations battle in simulated conflict, with a pre-negotiated agreement of what winning means and what the winner gets. As two corporations, a Communications firm and an Oil company battle it out, the outcome has repercussions for the entire world.
First, the tech is awesome. The idea of kill-suits and time-stamped bombs – war without bloodshed. The characters, each active in a part of the whole, collide in the end, and see the whole for what it is. For some, it means wealth and power – and for others, it means death.
Fast-paced, with lots of turns, it kept me hooked. The characters are bit shallow, but defined enough, and there isn’t enough time to really develop them. The story moves quickly and some of the details are left out, but given this is based on a short story, it makes sense. I recommend as a fun read, with some depth. The book is slightly terrifying in that it could happen - someday our corporations could take over the world, issue their own currency, and make governments obsolete. It’s not unthinkable…

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 10

Awards: None

Year Published: 1977
Date Finished: 1-09-2016
Pages: 187

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ramble: Book Sorting!

We're snowed in, so in between the naps and snow treks, I sorted a section of my bookshelves. My goal, starting last year, was to sort and purge each section. So far, the sorting is going well. But...I haven't gotten as rid of as many books as I thought I would. Shocker, right?

This is the Before Picture:

We also see my habit of setting items on the shelf. The Three Fat Buddahs, which belonged to my Gram. The Duck we got from the Chrysler Museum when they hosted the World's Largest Duck. The postcards and game cards I found at a shop, with the characters from the Sweet Pickle Books on them. And the green bag my Mama sent from Powell's, when she went there on her trip to Oregon. And a gray stetson, which belongs to my husband and neither of know where it came from.

Here is the After Picture:

The books are neat and orderly, and the random objects put away. The next step, is to read them!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Review: Earthmen and Strangers edited by Robert Silverberg

Synopsis: Robert Silverberg gathered a unique collection of short stories by several well known authors. Each explores the subject of human / non-human interaction. But even deeper, what these stories explore is the basics of what makes us human - and how that would hinder or help us as we collide with intelligent species from other worlds.

There are nine stories:

Dear Devil by Eric Frank Russell
The Best Policy by Randall Garrett
Alaree by Robert Silverberg
Life Cycles by Poul Anderson
The Gentle Vultures by Isaas Asimov
Stranger Station by Damon Knight
Lower than Angels by Algis Budrys
Blind Lightning by Harlan Ellison
Out of the Sun by Arthur C. Clarke

Review: This collection starts out warm and happy and fuzzy and then slips easily and quietly into hard, gritty, tough stories.
In Dear Devil, a gentle alien, a poet, asks to be left behind on a post-apocalyptic earth. Through his patient and gentle, he brings about a new life for the savage humans, which in turn, saves his own people.  Sweet and happy.
In The Best Policy, alien conquerors snatch up a lone human, who uses the absolute truth to convince the aliens of our terrible horrible powers of the mind.  Humorous and enjoyable.
In Alaree, humans accidentally teach an alien about individuality, to disastrous consequences. Sad and cautionary
In Life Cycle, humans must change the entire way of thinking of a matriarchal society in order to save their own lives. Adventurous and fast-paced.
In The Gentle Vultures, aliens discuss the impending destruction of the human race, and how they might help it along – until an encounter with a human shakes the aliens to their core. Insightful and thought-provoking.
In Stranger Station, a lone human waits for a rendezvous with a strange alien – unaware of the galaxy-altering change he will witness. Confusing and Mind-bending.
In Lower than Angels, a human encounters a primitive race, who worship him as a god, which could mean the end of their race. He takes drastic action to prevent that from happening. Realistic and gritty.
In Blind Lightning, a human encounters a telepathic primate, and risks his life to protect the primate from his own harmful thoughts. Bittersweet and hopeful.
In Out of the Sun, humans witness the death of an alien, helpless to save the life they just discovered. Profound and lyrical.
Of all these, The Gentle Vultures was my favorite. The Aliens, so certain in themselves and their methods, are jarred to the core when they see themselves through human eyes. What is an Ideology of Benevolence to one species may be Absolute Slavery to another. I thought about it long after the story was over.
My least favorite was Life Cycle or Alaree, not because they were bad, but because they were….forgettable? Blah? They lacked something a spark or something. Not sure. Worthy of being in the collection, but not as good as the other entries.

Bookmarks: 4 of 5

Awards: None

Year Published: 1966
Date Finished: 1-6-2017
Pages: 191

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ramble: Changes to the Blog

Part of my unofficial I-don't-make-resolutions resolutions was to be more active in the online book community.

Part of that was to be more active here.

I started this blog about five years ago, more as a form of discipline for myself. I wanted to be mindful when I read and record those thoughts.

I pulled the name from my first blog, on Xanga. I had a section on the blog called Theading Roughts, a spoonerism of Reading Thoughts. It fit because the audience for that blog was camp people, among whom spoonerism was a standard form of communication.

But over the last few years, I've grown to detest the name. It no longer applies and the incorrect spelling bothered me immensely.

So, I've changed the name to Empress Reads, after my online name, empress8411, which I have used forever (or since 1998, when I first got an email address)

The only other real change is much less complex. Instead of a 1-10 rating system, I'm moving to a 1-5 system.

5: Face-melting Awesome
4: Good, with a one-two flaws
3: Balanced, neither bad nor good, flawed but readable
2: Blah. One-two good points among the morass of stupid.
1: Terrible. How did this even get published?

Other possible changes will be diverse content, more book hauls, covers, collections, and bookstores.

Let the Year of the Books Begin!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ramble: Christian Book Read 2016

My audacious goal for 2016 was to read 50 Christian Books, I read 26. The original goal was as unrealistic as I thought. But 26, or 2 per month, was a fine pace and one I will attempt to duplicate in 2017.

Of the 26, the both Willard books were my favorite, followed closely by Can Man Live Without God? by Ravi Zacharias. As for the ones I liked lease, the third Tara Leigh Cobble book (but only because she blathered about romance more than anything else) and the Levi Lusko and Lysa Terkeurst, both because I felt they had some theological errors, But the one that I like the least was the Lenya Heitzig Bible Study.

The Best:  The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

The Worst:  Live Reflectively: Lessons from the Watershed Moments of Moses by Lenya Heitzig

The topics ranged from apologetics to instructional to prayer to history to general prose. I enjoyed seeing the different authors connect in unexpected ways. Several have lend me to purchase further books on the topic and will show up in my 2017 read.

Here is what I read:

1.  In the Heart of The Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers by John Chryssavgis

2. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan

3. Named by God: Overcoming Your Past, Transforming Your Present, Embracing Your Future by Kasey Van Norman

4. A Song and A Prayer: Devotional Thoughts From L'Abri by Betty Carlson

5. The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ by Lee Strobel

6. Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard (Updated and Expanded Edition)

7. Here's to Hindsight by Tara Leigh Cobble

8. Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

9. It Hurts So Bad, Lord: What to Do When the Pain is Almost More than You Can Bear by Andrew D. Lester

10.Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power by Levi Lusko

11. The Poems of St. John of the Cross trans by John Frederick Nims

12. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

Crowded Skies: Letters to Manhattan by Tara Leigh Cobble

14. Orange Jumpsuit: Letters to the God of Freedom by Tara Leigh Cobble

15. Stories of God by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by M.D. Herter Norton

16. Under God by Toby Mac and Michael Tait

17. Made to Crave: 60 Day Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

18. The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle

19. The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

20. The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle

21. Tozer on the Almighty God: A 366-Day Devotional compiled by Ron Eggert

22. Can Man Live Without God? by Ravi Zacharias

23. Has Christianity Failed You? by Ravi Zacharias

24. Live Reflectively: Lessons from the Watershed Moments of Moses by Lenya Heitzig

25. The Power of the Blood of Christ by Andrew Murray

26. Diary of an Old Soul by George MacDonald

Monday, January 2, 2017

Ramble: Goals for 2017

Being a goal-orientated person of mostly sound mind, I set forth for your consideration my 2017 Reading Goals:

Total Read Goal: 100  

While I read 140-150 books the last two years, I am dissatisfied with the quality. Far too many were picture or elementary level books. This year, I want to read books with more meat and grit and higher thinking. By reducing my goal by 1/3, I think I can accomplish this. Quality over quantity.  


Christian: 20+

More realistic than 2016, but the reasons are the same. Collecting the books without reading them does me no good. 

Evolution: 2+

I need to get reading these!

Writing: 2+

As a writer, I need to study my craft. Reading the advice of other writers is one way.

Science Fiction/Fantasy: 20+

 The goal is two-fold:

1) to read series that I have collected to completion
2) to read a stand-alone novels by authors I haven't read before. 

 - Series (Pick 3): 
     Vatta’s War by Elizabeth Moon (5)
     Sarantha Jax by Ann Aquirre (6)
     The Regiment by John Dalmas (4)
     In the Time of the Sixth Sun by Thomas Harlan (3)
     Confederation Series by Tanya Huff (7)
     Honor Harrington Series by David Weber (11+)
     The Uglies by Scott Westerfield (4)
     The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner (4)
     Song in the Silence Series by Elizabeth Kerner (3)

 - Authors (Pick 5) 
     Larry Niven
     David Brin
     Ray Bradbury
     Chris Bunch
     F. M. Busby
     Jack McDevitt
     Andre Norton
     Frederick Pohl
     H. G. Wells
     George Dickson

Classics: 5+

These must be books tagged as classic in my LibraryThing Catalog. In particular, I would like to a book by Honore de Balzac, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and a play by Shakespeare. 
     Other Possibilities include:
      Stephen Crane
      Dante's Divine Comendy
      Thoughts and Minor Works by Blaise Pascal
      Elizabeth Goudge
      Dashell Hammett
      Lady Mursaki
      Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
      John Steinbeck
      H. G. Wells

General Fiction: 5+

This must be books tagged as such in my LibraryThing Catalog. In particular, I want to read Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts, and at least two should be written by non-western authors .

Non-Fiction: 5+

Topic does not matter. Does not count for the Evolution reading. In particular, I want to read non-western philosophy, books on medicine and science, and at least two world history books. I suspect I will fulfill this in July when I do my annual American Revolution Reading. 

Young Adult / Newbery Winner: 5+:

I have stacks of these books that I need to read. I collect Newbery and have fallen behind on reading them 

This is a ridged reading list compared with previous years. But it is part of the overall goal to be more mindful about what I read. And, I like lists. 

To the Books!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ramble: 2016 Wrap-Up and Progress on Goals

 My Goals for 2016 were a bit audacious. A sum-up is as Follows:

Total Read Goal: 130


Christan Books: 50+
Evolution: 4+ books
Series: 5+ with 3/5 being Science Fiction or Fantasy

How Did I Do?

Total Read: 152


Christian Books: 26/50

This is slightly more than two a month, which turns out to be an excellent pace. Fifty was simply too many to read and expect to be able to absorb the idea and admonitions. I read Christian memiors, books on prayer, discipleship, apologetics, and general Christian self-help.

Evolution: Fail

I didn't read a single one.

Series: 5/5

I read five series, for a total of fourteen books, all of which were science fiction or fantasy.

Alien Affairs Book Series (2) by Katherine Allred
The Damned Trilogy (3) by Alan Dean Foster
Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies Series (3) by Seth Grahame-Smith / Steve Hockensmith
Lord of the Rings (3) by J. R. R. Tolkein
Cadre One Series (3) by Robert O'Riordan

Overall, I'm disappointed with my reading year. I read mostly mediocre books, only a a dozen or so 8-rated, and only four 9-rated. Those are as follows:

Tozer on the Almighty God: 365 Days of Devotions by A. W. Tozer
Hiroshima: A Novella by Laurence Yep
Fifteen Lanes by S. L. Laidlaw
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

I did read three new authors, thanks to Red Star Reviews. It was fun participating in those hosted readings and I plan to continue participating as they come along. 

My goals for 2017 involve changing my rating system, lowering my total read goal, and being mindful about what books I chose. But more on that in my next post. For 2016, I may have been not as mindful of my choices, but I still read extensively and widely, and that is important to me.