Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reading Challenges Update - December

Here is where I stand with the challenges I have joined after the month of December (only challenges that I read books for this month are featured here):

Chick Lit (5/8)
5. Fool's Mate by Laura Pedersen

Eastern Europe (3/4)
2. The Chalice of Immortality by Erica Kirov
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Classics (5/5) - COMPLETED!
5. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

International (10/10) - COMPLETED!

9. The Chalice of Immortality by Erica Kirov
10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Vampire (5/20)
5. Nightschool: The Weirn Books 2 by Svetlana Chmakova

Chunkster (2/4)
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

In My Mailbox: 12/25-12/31

For review (Bookloons):
The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan

Swaps on Swap-Bot:
Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux

Trades on Paperbackswap:
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Christmas gifts:
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman

This fun weekly meme comes from The Story Siren.
All images come from Goodreads.

Vacation Reads Recap

Last recap post of 2011!  The Vacation Reads challenge was a fun one.  Reading stories set in other locations is always a good "trip" and I even enjoyed mentioning why I would want to visit.  Here's what I read:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
3. The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar
4. A Bride's Story 1 by Kaoru Mori
5. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
6. Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Elsewhere Online: December 2011

As you may have guessed from my In My Mailbox posts, I review for two other websites ( and As I cannot post my reviews there and here, but I would still like to count the books I read for the challenges, I am going to have a post like this at the end of the every month listing the books I reviewed and what challenges the went towards.

Author: Jane Yolen & Rebecca Guay
Challenges: n/a

Title: Fool's Mate
Author: Laura Pedersen
Challenges: Chick Lit

Title: The End of the World Club
Author: J&P Vogel
Challenges: n/a

Author: Erica Kirov
Challenges: Eastern Europe, International

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Challenges: Eastern Europe, International

Title: Winter Town
Author: Stephen Emond
Challenges: n/a

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Nine Lives of Christmas

Title: The Nine Lives of Christmas
Author: Shelia Roberts
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ISBN: 9781427214188
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: This was so cute!  I normally avoid animal stories, but I thought this one might be happy, and I was right.  It's a sweet romance, but what really makes the story is Ambrose, the cat.  The parts from his point of view are priceless!
Rating: 4 stars

Books to Movies Challenge Recap

Where did I fail in the Books to Movies Challenge?  It certainly wasn't the books.  I just don't get out to see enough movies.  I did the Straight to Video level (2 books/movies) and only managed 1 set:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

1st Blogoversary!

Reading Challenge has been around for 1 year!  It's been fun and I never thought that at the end of the year, I would have so many followers.  Therefore, I'm having a little giveaway.  Since this is my 1st blogoversary, there will be 1 winner, and that winner will get a book of choice $10 or under from The Book Depository.  The only rules are you must be a follower (this is to thank them afterall), and TBD must ship free to your country.  To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alice the 101st Vol. 1

Title: Alice the 101st 1
Author: Chigusa Kawai
Publisher: Doki Doki
ISBN: 978-1-56970-166-9
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: It took me longer than normal to get into Alice the 101st, but by the last chapter of this volume, I really did like it.  By that point, the characters were really coming into their own, and that made me want to continue with the series.
Rating: 3 stars

All-Male Review Recap

Another mini challenge that I really loved was the All-Male Review.  The challenge was to read 1 book written by a male author or with a male protagonist within the month of May, and I managed 3.  I do wish it were a little longer and with different levels, but I will definitely be participating again.  Here's what I read:

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
2. Trevor's Song by Susan Helene Gottfried
3. The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Steig Larsson
Publisher: Vintage Crime
ISBN: 978-0-307-45454-6
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: Chunkster

Thoughts: I know everyone seems to love this book, but I just found it so-so.  The first 200 pages or so were so slow, as were the last 100.  Also, I did not really care for Lisbeth.  What I did like was the mystery of Harriet's disappearance, and those parts of the book read fast and did somewhat make up for the slow parts.
Rating: 3 stars

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway WINNERS! has spoken and a big congrats go out to...

Kim S.!

Emails have been sent. Winners have 48 hrs to respond before a new winner is chosen.

YA LGBT Paranormal Challenge Recap

The YA LGBT Paranormal Challenge was another mini challenge that I really enjoyed.  I had only done the Just Curious level (1 book) because there really are not too many books out that that fit into this category.  I would like to find a more generic YA LGBT challenge for next year.  Here's the book I read:

1. Huntress by Malinda Lo

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Once Upon a Time Challenge Recap

I love fairytales and books based on them, so I was very excited to join the Once Upon a Time Challenge.  I only did the lowest level of The Journey (1 book), but I know I would do longer if it was a year-long challenged.  Here's what I read:

1. Huntress by Malinda Lo

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cozy Mystery Challenge

One of the mini-challenges that I struggled with was the Cozy Mystery Challenge.  While I do have plenty of cozies on my shelf, most of what I read this year was for review and I simply do not get to review many cozies.  I did manage to read 2, though, in the allot 6-month period:

1. Missing Persons by Clare O'Donohue
2. Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Aside from year-long challenges, I also participated in a couple of mini challenges.  One of my favorites was the  Mini-Challenge.  Why it did not have a creative name, it had a creative theme - four books, each corresponding to a line in the old wedding rhyme: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."  This was a very one one to complete and here is what I read:

1. Something Old - The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
2. Something New - Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
3. Something Borrowed - Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
4. Something Blue - Maid Sama! 4 by Hiro Fujiwara

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Publisher: Dial
ISBN: 978-0-385-34100-4
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: This is  such a sweet and leisurely read.  While it does discuss some of the hardships of World War II, it is so hopeful and warming to read.  I love the epistolary style.
Rating: 5 stars

In My Mailbox: 12/18-12/24

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian 1 by Michael Rex
Nameless by Kyle Chais

The Nine Lives of Christmas (audiobook) by Shelia Roberts
Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
A Knowing Look and Other Stories by Rebecca Emin
New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin

Swaps on Swap-Bot:
Medalon by Jennifer Fallon

Requested from Paperbackswap:
Oracle of the Morrigan by Tiffany Trent & Paul Crilley

Bought on Kobo:
Entwined (ebook) by Heather Dixon

This fun weekly meme comes from The Story Siren.
All images come from Goodreads.

Chinese Literature Challenge Recap

I knew the Chinese Literature Challenge would be a challenge, but I am glad I did it and would do it again.  I do like to diversify my reading, and this is a part of the world I do not read too much about.  I did not have any books by Chinese authors from China on my shelf, but I was glad that books set in China also counted.  I signed up for the Merchant level (1-3 books), and I did manage 1:

1. Huntress by Malinda Lo

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chunkster Challenge Recap

The Chunkster Challenge proved way harder than I thought.  The reason?  YA books didn't count.  I have read a ton of those that were over 500 pages, but so far, only 1 adult book (although I am almost finished with another).  Needless to say, I didn't come close to reaching the level of Chubby Chunkster (4 books) Here's what I did manage:

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fantasy Challenge Recap

Yesterday I recapped the challenge I did the worst on; today, I talk about the best.  Yes, for the Fantasy Challenge, I did only go with the lowest level of Curious (3 books), but I surpassed that a few times over.  I am definitely doing this one again and going up a level.  Here are the 3 I read:

1. Blue by Lou Aronica
2. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
3. Huntress by Malinda Lo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Summoner Girl Vol. 1

Title: Summoner Girl 1
Author: Hiroshi Kubota
Publisher: Tokyopoo
ISBN: 978-1-4278-1568-2
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: This is a fun and crazy manga, but I am not really sure what I think of it.  The humor was good but I had a hard time telling the Shikigama (little animal-like thingies) apart.   Also, I cannot tell if it is shojo or shonen - strong female heroine but the rest seemed closer to shonen.
Rating: 3 stars

Toonopolis: Gemini

Title: Toonopolis: Gemini
Author: Jeremy Rodden
Publisher: Portmanteau
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: This was a rather uneven read.  The concept was very original and it actually read like a series of Saturday morning cartoon episodes, which was fun.  It was also filled with puns and other jokes that left me chuckling, but also left me wondering if the younger readers for which this was intended would get it.  And then there were some plot points that seemed to take giant leaps that I couldn't follow.  The twist at the end was great, though.  However, as this is the first in the Toonopolis Files, I am not really sure where the next book would go given the ending.
Rating: 3 stars

Wilde Challenge Recap

I love Oscar Wilde, but I didn't read any this year :(  I know I will read at least one next year, so maybe I will try again.  Not only was the Wilde Challenge a fail, it was an epic fail!  See, here's my list of nothing:


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop (INT)

It's time for the holidays and another giveaway hop!  Since it is the time for giving, I will be giving away three ecopies of Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology by Larissa Hinton.  This is a wonderful collection of stories and poems that run the gambit of emotions and really make you think.  I will be gifting these from Amazon, so this giveaway is open to anyone who can receive Kindle ebooks.  To enter, just fill out the FORM (and you can follow me via GFC and/or Goodreads for an extra point each), then be sure to check out the rest of the giveaways.

This Is Your Brain on Music

Title: This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
Author: Daniel J. Levitin
Publisher: Plume
ISBN: 978-0-452-28852-2
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: I am not one for Science books, but I do love music, so I thought I would give this a try.  Levitin does a wonderful job of explaining both music and the brain for the lay reader.  Very in-depth and informative, but still very readable and enjoyable.
Rating: 4 stars

Vampire Challenge Recap

I knew the Vampire Challenge would be hard, but I didn't think it was impossible.  I thought I read close to 20 vampire books a year, but in actually, I only managed 5.  I think I'll stick with challenges that encompass a wider variety of supes.  Here's what I read:

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
2. A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
3. Nightschool: The Weirn Books 1 by Svetlana Chmakova
4. Primal Desires by Susan Sizemore
5. Nightschool: The Weirn Books 2 by Svetlana Chmakova

Monday, December 19, 2011

Show Me the Free Challenge Recap

Even though I didn't meet the goal of 12, I loved the Show Me the Free Challenge.  I was not sure if free meant  just those downloaded for free or if ebook that were won also counted.  If they did, I would have almost completed this challenge.  I'll definitely participate again next year (the challenge is being renamed Why Buy the Cow), and here is what I read this year:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
3. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
5. An Unholy Alliance by Judy Nedry
6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. 2

Title: Nightschool: The Weirn Books 2
Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Publisher: Yen
ISBN: 978-0-7595-2860-4
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Vampire

Thoughts: Svetlana Chmakova has got to be one of my favorite English-language manga-kas.  Her work is so much fun with a style that is all her own!  In the second installment of Nightschool, the mystery just keeps getting deeper and we learn a little more about all of the characters and the school itself.  I cannot wait to read volume 3.
Rating: 5 stars

iChallenge Recap

I never really understood the thought behind the iChallenge, but I do love reading books with paranormal and fantasy creatures, so I knew I could read 10, and read 10 I did:

1. Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
2. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
3. Huntress by Malinda Lo
4. A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
5. Nightschool: The Weirn Books 1 by Svetlana Chmakova
6. Spellweaver by Lynn Kurland
7. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
8. Primal Desires by Susan Sizemore
9. The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
10. Nightshade by Maryrose Wood

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In My Mailbox: 12/11-12/17

For possible review (on bookloons):
Wicked Circle by Linda Robertson
Shadow City by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Uglies: Shay's Story by Scott Westerfeld, Devin Grayson & Steven Cummings

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
For the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar
The Dragons of Hazlett by Michelle Scott
Promises, Promises by Erica James

Swaps on Swap-bot:
True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
1st to Die by James Patterson
Acacia by David Anthony Durham

This fun weekly meme comes from The Story Siren.
All images come from Goodreads.