Below: dashed off notes on the last dozen books I've either read or attempted.

  Slither (The Last Apprentice, Book 11) • Joseph Delaney
Trade paperback 432 pages ISBN-10: 0062192353 ISBN-13: 978-0062192356
This book is a marked departure from all the others in this series. This biggest change is that Tom Ward, the titular last apprentice, isn't even in the story. The only pre-established character from the series that appears is Grimalkin, and she only appears well into the second half of the story. Slither is a Kobalos haizda mage (there's an extensive glossary in this book). He's has three human women as his property and they're having a real bad time. The story is interesting and becomes much more so when Grimalkin enters the picture. But it was a bit off-putting to find this entry to be so different from all the other books in this series.
started 11 february 2014, finished 24 february 2015 amazon
Aimless Love

  Aimless Love New and Selected Poems • Billy Collins
HC 288 pages ISBN-10: 0679644059 ISBN-13: 978-0679644057
I really enjoyed a few of the poems in this book. But it took me a year to get through it. I don't think poetry is for me.
started 1 february 2014, finished 12 february 2015
As You Wish

  As You Wish Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
• Cary Elwes w/ Joe Layden
HC 272 pages ISBN-10: 1476764026 ISBN-13: 978-1476764023
Cary Elwes, who portrayed Westley (AKA the Dread Pirate Roberts) in the movie, recounts the time spent making the movie with various comments from others involved with the movie. I've read the original book twice now (and will probably read it again). I own the DVD of the movie, don't know how many times I've seen it. This was more interesting that I would've guessed. It was fun to read. Turns out The Princess Bride is author William Goldman's favorite of those he's written and this was the project closest to his heart. That's pretty big when you realize he's the writer behind The Marathon Man and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, among others. It was also fascinating hearing what it was like to meet and work with André the Giant who portrayed Fezzik. I had trouble putting this book down and read it in two days.
started 10 february 2015, finished 11 february 2015 amazon
The Creeps

  The Creeps A Samuel Johnson Tale • John Connolly
tpb 336 pages ISBN-10: 1476757100 ISBN-13: 978-1476757100
This is the third outing for Samuel Johnson, a young boy with a faithful little dog named Boswell. In his first adventure, recounted in The Gates, the Large Hadron Collider opened a portal to Hell and lots of weird bad things happened and Samuel averted a catastrophe. Now he's got two ineffectual demons living at his house, Nurd and Wormwood. And the craziness returns. Also returning for the craziness is an ex-ice cream truck vendor who represents four larcenous dwarves named Jolly, Dozy, Angry, and Mumbles. The story isn't as coherent as The Gates, and Samuel often takes a backseat to the dwarves. But that's mostly okay as the dwarves are hilarious. I can't tell you how often I was chuckling at the absurd goings-on and bizarre dialog. But it was fun. If you're at all interested, you have to check out The Gates. As in the previous two books, this one is chock full of funny footnotes as well.
started 2 february 2015, finished 10 february 2015 amazon
The Martian

  The Martian • Andy Weir
tpb 387 pages ISBN-10: 0553418025 ISBN-13: 978-0553418026
For a story about an astronaut stranded on Mars, this ranks very high on the plausibility meter. The author is a space geek who works out orbital trajectories and stuff like that for fun. When I first started this book, I was a little worried that I was just going to be bombarded with a list of technical problems, that the astronaut, Mark Watney, had to overcome. But it kept drawing me along and in the first two days of reading I realized I'd zipped through 150 pages. (Which is good for my fractured attention span). Then some plot twists enter in and the story just gets more interesting and even funny as Mark Watney got a decent sense of humor about his predicament. And the climax I had to read all in a rush. Should be a killer movie cuz it was a cool book.
started 21 january 2015, finished 2 february 2015 amazon
New Lands

  New Lands • Geoff Rodkey
pb 352 pages ISBN-10: 0147510643 ISBN-13: 978-0147510648
In the middle book of this trilogy, Egg and his new pal Guts find themselves on an adventure southward to new lands. Egg has memorized a symbol map to an old tribes mythical treasure. They meet up with characters new and old and Egg gets into some seriously dangerous predicaments. I read this book aloud to my daughter -- it took a while only because the nightly reading routine has been a lot more sporadic of late. I am nearing the end of an era. Although, not yet. My daughter has informed me that I will be reading the third book to her (just as soon as it released in paperback -- this April.)
started 22 september 2014, finished 24 january 2015 amazon
A Feast For Crows

  A Feast For Crows • George R. R. Martin
mmpb 1104 pages ISBN-10: 055358202X ISBN-13: 978-0553582024
Fourth in the Song of Ice and Fire series. And the second time I read it (first time was in 2006). Features Cersei, Jaime, Arya, Samwell, Sansa, Brienne, and Victarion Greyjoy.
finished 20 january 2015 (2nd time) amazon
Lure of the Dead

  Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice, Book 10) • Joseph Delaney
pb 448 pages ISBN-10: 006202762X ISBN-13: 978-0062027627
Always fun to get back to this series. Fast-moving, creepy horror that I gobble up like popcorn. I have only three more to go before the series is ended.
finished 9 november 2014 amazon
The Cuckoo's Calling

  The Cuckoo's Calling • Robert Galbraith
HC 464 pages ISBN-10: 0316330167 ISBN-13: 978-0316330169
A good crime story with an interestingly quirky detective and a finish you won't see coming. Looking forward to the next one.
started 21 september 2014, finished 2 october 2014 amazon
Deadweather and Sunrise

  Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, book 1) • Geoff Rodkey
pb 320 pages ISBN-10: 0142426628 ISBN-13: 978-0142426623
Read this aloud to my nine-year-old daughter, who, every time I announced that I was done reading for the night, told me that I must read more or she would kill me. The story concerns young Egbert (who prefers to be called Egg) who lives on the island of Deadweather with his father and two older mean siblings. When the family travels to the neighboring island of Sunrise (which is much nicer and not so infested with pirates), events take a dramatic turn for Egg. He's soon pining away for the spunky Millicent (about his age, 13, and much richer) and then on the run for his life. This story grabbed me from the get-go and I enjoyed reading it to my daughter who would often chuckle at some of the developments. This is fun yarn with pirates and young kids in trouble. We'll be reading part two of this trilogy next.
started 24 august 2014, finished 21 september 2014 amazon
A Storm of Swords

  A Storm of Swords • George R. R. Martin
pb 1128 pages ISBN-10: 055357342X
Third in the Song of Ice and Fire series. And the second time I read it (first time was in 2006). Some big deaths in this one and some serious changes of fortune for Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Jaime Lannister. Why did Tyrion say what he did to his brother at the end of this one? And that final surprise... whoa.
finished 20 september 2014 (2nd time)

  Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1) • Angie Sage
pb 640 pages ISBN-10: 006223692X ISBN-13: 978-0062236920
This is another book that I read aloud to my daughter but would not have finished otherwise. I am mystified by the plethora of good reviews for this one. The story is tired and scattershot; the so-called main character is largely missing; it's far longer than it needs to be; all the magic is of the deus ex machina variety; the writing style is by turns condescending, obtrusive, and dull; and the plot is hard to discern. Even with all that said, I've read (or attempted to read) others that were worse. My best indicator of how well it was received by my daughter is if she asks to immediately get to the next one in the series or not. She did not ask about this one (and if she did, there's no way I would've read it). This book held no surprises, moved at a snail's pace, and contained only cardboard characters. Next up will be a book of my choosing.
finished 24 august 2014, thank the gods!

last dozen books read
Slither ~ Joseph Delaney
Aimless Love ~ Billy Collins
As You Wish ~ Cary Elwes (w/ Joe Layden)
The Creeps ~ John Connolly
The Martian ~ Andy Weir
New Lands ~ Geoff Rodkey
A Feast For Crows ~ George R R Martin
Lure of the Dead ~ Joseph Delaney
The Cuckoo's Calling ~ Robert Galbraith
Deadweather and Sunrise ~ Geoff Rodkey
A Storm of Swords ~ George R R Martin
Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1)
~ Angie Sage