This is the first year I've done this; kept a monthly tally of the books I've read, and I will definitely be making this an annual thing. I just kept a list in the back of my diary with the titles and authors of the books and a tally at the end of each month of how many books read. (My favourites from each month are highlighted in bold.)
So here goes:
- Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) : Laini Taylor
- Revealed (House of Night #11) : P C & Kristen Cast
- Last Blood (House of Camarre #5) : Kristen Painter
- The Invisible Man: H G Wells.
- Fire: Kate Cann
- The War of the Worlds: H G Wells
- The Vampire of Highgate: Asa Bailey
- Love Minus Eighty: Will Mcintosh
Four of these were Christmas presents, one was borrowed from a friend and three were from the library. I think my favourite book of January would have to be Last Blood: Kristen Painter, as it was the final in the House of Comarre series and a long awaited end to a great fantasy saga.
- Rivers of London: Ben Aaronovitch
- Dr Zhivago: Boris Pasternak
- Fortunately, the Milk: Neil Gaiman
- The Bride's Farewell: Meg Rosoff
- My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece: Annabel Pitcher
- She is not Invisible: Marcus Sedgewick
- Noble Conflict: Malorie Blackman
- The Graveyard Book: Neil Gaiman
- Odd Thomas: Dean Koontz
Of February's books, two of them were Christmas presents that I hadn't got around to in January, five were borrowed from the library, one I bought, and one was recommended by a family I was babysitting for, so I read it whilst the kids were asleep. My favourite book of February had to be the incredible, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. A beautifully emotive story of loss and prejudice and friendship.
- 77 Shadow Street: Dean Koontz
- The Crane Wife: Patrick Ness
- Day of the Triffids: John Wyndham
- Hollow Pike: James Dawson
- Essential Meteorology: Donald Ahrens
- Forever Odd (Odd Thomas #2) : Dean Koontz
- Clockwork Angel (TID #1) : Cassandra Clare
- Clockwork Prince (TID #2) : Cassandra Clare
- Clockwork Princess (TID #3) : Cassandra Clare
Ah, I do love a Cassie Clare re-read, and so sometimes the whole trilogy gets another outing. Four of these books were borrowed from the library, three of them re-read, one of them was research for one of my novels - I think you'll guess which one - and the other two I bought. My favourite book of March was definitely the quirky new adult book from Patrick Ness: The Crane Wife. Extraordinarily fantastical, yet still so human, I highly recommend this!
- The Humans: Matt Haig
- Panic: Lauren Oliver
- Delirium (Delirium Trilogy #1) : Lauren Oliver
- The Red House: Mark Haddon
- The Three Musketeers: Alexandre Dumas
- Divergent: Veronica Roth
- Infinite Sky: C J Flood
The first five were borrowed from the library, definitely a good haul, and they allowed me the discovery of a new author whom I now love: Lauren Oliver. Thank you Kentish Town Library. The final two were lovely YA treats, both Easter gifts. Who the hell needs chocolate? It's a tricky month to pick a favourite, but I think it just leans towards Panic: Lauren Oliver, with The Humans: Matt Haig, very close behind.
- The Shock of the Fall: Nathan Filer
- Holes: Louis Sacher
- Handmaid's Tale: Margaret Atwood
- The Traitor Game: B R Collins
- Poems of John Keats: Complied by Claire Tomalin
- Full Dark, No Stars: Stephen King
- Marina: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Neil Gaiman
- American Psycho: Bret Easton Ellis
- Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging: Louise Rennison
- Submarine: Joe Dunthorne
Wow, May was a good month for reading, and reading a variety as I think you'll agree. There were some absolute belters this month, and eight of them borrowed from the library. Two were Easter presents and one I bought from the lovely Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town. (Keep your local independent book stores alive!)
Picking a favourite from this month is impossible. The best I could do was my favourite three: The Shock of the Fall: Nathan Filer. This is phenomenal! The Handmaid's Tale: Margaret Atwood. This is terrifying and one of the most incredible books I've ever read. Think dystopian but written in the '80s. Full Dark, No stars: Stephen King. This anthology of short stories is at times harrowing, funny, scary and down right freaky, but the way it is written keeps you glued to the pages.
Number 10 on the list was needed after number 9 on the list, just for a little light relief. Jeez American Psycho will freak you out as well as making you laugh out loud and squirm in discomfort. Read it!
- City of Lost Souls (TMI #5) : Cassandra Clare
- City of Heavenly Fire (TMI #6) : Cassandra Clare
- The Cloud Hunters: Alex Shearer
- Jamaica Inn: Daphne De Maurier
- As I Walked Out One Evening: W H Auden
- Brother Odd (Odd Thomas #3) : Dean Koontz
- Haunt Dead Scared: Curtis Jobling
- To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee
- The Wasp Factory: Ian Banks
- Picture Me Gone: Meg Rosoff
Another good haul this month with five hailing from the library. The Mortal Instruments series was completed with the fabulous: City of Heavenly Fire, which warranted a re-read of the preceding book in the series, just for a recap. (Any excuse. I love Cassie Clare.) And June also saw first reads of two classics that I probably should have already read but hadn't. But now I have. I think it's only fair that my favourite book of June goes to Harper Lee and the incredible: To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes it took me a long time to get round to reading it, and no I was not lucky enough to study it in high school, but it was well worth the wait, and I know it will be a book that remains on the shelf, always, waiting to be read again.
- Selected Poetry: Rudyard Kipling
- Seven Second Delay: Tom Easton
- Chicago: Lonely Planet Travel Guide
- It's OK, I'm wearing Big Knickers: Louise Rennison
- Jessica Cole, Model Spy: Sarah Sky
- Wisconsin: Moon Travel Guide
- More Than This: Patrick Ness
- Sky Run: Alex Shearer
- Attachments: Rainbow Rowell
- Humbling: Patrick Roth
July saw the inclusion of a couple of travel guides, as I started to plan for the September US/Canada trip, very exciting. And the other eight were library triumphs. A good selection this month and after the YALC - Young Adult Literature Conference - and all the talk of Rainbow Rowell, I found Attachments in the adult section of the library. Oh my word, you have to read this book. She has such a handle of dialogue. It is so real. And I just love the way she writes. There is nothing forced, it is just so natural and you feel totally in safe hands. I wasn't going to jump on the RR band wagon, but after barely a page or two, I was on it and speeding away. I think it's safe to say she won my favourite book of July, but Patrick Ness' latest YA was very close behind. I also thoroughly enjoyed - weirdly - the depressively, dark, Humbling by Patrick Roth.
- The Machine: James Smythe
- The Penelopiad: Margaret Atwood
- Cat's Cradle: Kurt Vonnegut
- Turn of the Screw: Henry James
- Everything's Eventual: Stephen King
A less productive reading month, but a very productive writing month. I wrote several thousands of words of a new novel this month and that took most of my brain capacity, but on a brief holiday I managed a few extras. Three of these were borrowed from my partner and two were from the library. I think my favourite of the month would go to James Smythe: The Machine. This is dystopia at its bleakest and when I think about it, August's reading was pretty bleak at best. The sun may be shining outside........
- The Weirdstone of Brisengamen: Alan Garner
- Odd Hours (Odd Thomas #4) : Dean Koontz
- Eleanor and Park: Rainbow Rowell
- Shadow and Bone (Grisha Book 1) : Leigh Bardugo
- Flowers in the Attic: Virginia Andrews
- Echo Boy: Matt Haig
- Zom - B: Darren Shan
- Heat Wave: Richard Castle (TV tie in: Castle)
September's haul was made up of a combination of Birthday gifts, Birthday money purchases and one library steal. This was another month where it was impossible to pick just one favourite, so I narrowed it down to three. Eleanor and Park. I'm sorry but Rainbow Rowell can do no wrong at the moment. Two books down and two books devoured and loved. Shadow and Bone (Grisha Book 1) was the enlightening opening of a trilogy, of which I am desperate to get my hands on books 2 and 3. Fantasy, magic, a war of epic proportions, and all set in Russia. Awesome! Flowers in the Attic - which I hate to reveal I'd already seen the film of - is more terrifying than any horror book I've ever read. This isn't about monsters and supernatural beings, this is about how evil real people can be, and how the innocent are punished for someone else's crimes. Absolute terror and injustice and it's almost impossible to put the book down.
- Doctor Sleep: Stephen King
- Revealed (House of Night #12) : P C & Kristen Cast
- Wild Boy: Rob Lloyd Thomas
- City of Ashes (TMI #2) : Cassandra Clare
Rather slim pickings this month, but there was a rather epic holiday in there and the completion and first edit of the novel. Plus I was travelling less due to half term and the kids I look after being away.
Anyhoo, these were books I owned/had bought/had found and of course number 4 was a re-read because I'd been watching The City of Bones (TMI #1) on Amazon Prime, and even though it's shite compared to the book, I couldn't stop watching it. Anyhoo, my favourite book this month was the long awaited sequel to The Shining: Doctor Sleep. Thank you Mr King, it was well worth it.
But October also saw me finish - finally, I was running out of shelf space - the House of Night series. 12 books. 12 books. It's a good job they were all pretty tall and thin. They have their own shelf.
- A Natural History of Dragons: Marie Brennan
- Say Her Name: James Dawson
- Me Talk Pretty One Day: David Sedaris
- Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn
- The Great Gatsby: F Scott Fitzgerald
- The Iron Trial: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
- Sense and Sensibility: Jane Austen
A nice mixture of oldies and newbies this month, due to raiding the shelves at home, raiding the library and treating myself. November also saw me take part and complete NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words and a new novel done, as well as the novel I finished in October. Not bad in terms of productivity this year. My favourite of this month may be controversial for some - only because of the classics on there - but it was actually Say Her Name: James Dawson. The horror/thriller YA was a lot of fun and had me laughing out loud in places. it even managed to ruffle the neck hairs a little. It was also useful in terms of my own YA horror, to see how far you can go, and just exactly what is creepy on the page. Thanks James.
- Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) : James Dashner
- Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) : James Dashner
- Girl Interrupted: Susannah Kaysen
- Afterworlds: Scott Westerfeld
- Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) : James Dashner
This has been the ultimate YA month to finish off the year. Having seen the Maze Runner film over in Chicago, I was desperate to read the trilogy. It's good to see YA films with male protagonists and written by men, doing just as well as say The Hunger Games and Divergent. Scott Westerfeld's double book, Afterworlds is a real treat. I enjoyed all 600 pages of it. But I think my favourite this month, by the tiniest of margins was Girl Interrupted. Again, a film I have watched, almost oblivious at the time that it was based on a book. But wow. This was concise, yet it felt like you spent every moment of her two and half years trapped with her. Big love for this book.
And so, my final tally is a whopping: 93 books.
Of course I cannot choose a favourite. All these books have kept me gripped and turning the pages in their own very unique ways. They have all offered me something, whether terror, hope, despair, or sheer laughter. I have definitely expanded my 'classics' repertoire as I was - and still am - sadly lacking in that department. I will always be playing catch up. I will always be somewhat late to the party. But I will get there eventually by my own very unique route.
Whatever you're up to tonight, be safe and have fun! Just being with friends and family, with some good food is enough. We all know this is a slightly overrated occasion. But hopefully you've got the right people around you for a decent farewell to 2014 and a jolly welcoming of 2015. Sod the usual routine of promising to diet and exercise and all that nonsense. If you can and do, great, but no use in pressuring yourself from the off. Why not instead, just promise to read more books. Surely that is a New Year's promise that everyone can get on board with.
All the best.