Monday, December 31, 2012

Reading Challenges Update: December 2012

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):

Mystery & Suspense (14/24)
14. Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi

Horror & Urban Fantasy (34/48)
34. Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

Multi-Cultural (7/12)
7. The Steam Mole by David Freer

Elsewhere Online: December 2012

As you know from my Stacking the Shelves 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.

Title: The Jericho River
Author: David Carthage
Challenges: Debut Author

Title: The Steam Mole
Author: David Greer
Challenges: Steampunk, Multi-Cultural

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2nd Blogoversary!

Reading Challenge has been around for 2 years!  So that means, it's giveaway time!  There will be 1 winner, and that winner will get a book of choice $11 or under from The Book Depository.  The only rule is TBD must ship free to your country.  To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: 12/23-12/29

For possible review (on Bookloons):
The Tragedy Paper by  Elizabeth Laban

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Transfusion by Nikki Jefford
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Swaps on Swap-Bot:
Penpal by Dathan Auerbach
The Other Lover by Sarah Jackman
A Heart So White by Javier Marias

Requested from Paperbackswap:
Faithful Place by Tana French
Victims by Jonathan Kellerman

Bought on Amazon:
The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Bought on Kobo:
Vlad: The Last Confession by C. C. Humphreys
Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson
A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
Mariana by Susana Kearsley
The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

Received for Christmas:
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Friday, December 28, 2012

The All Male Review Challenge Recap

Challenge:  All-Male Review
Host:  Bewitched BookwormsBooks and ThingsIn the Closet with a BibliophileSupernatural Snark, & The Unread Reader
Dates:  July 1st-31st
2012 Level:  At least 1 book - FAILED!
Thoughts:  Not even one male-narrated or male-written YA book in the month of July!  Oh well, there is always next year.Books:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Once Upon a Time Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Once Upon a Time IV
Host:  Stainless Steel Droppings
Dates:  March 21st-June 19th
2012 Level:  Quest the First (5 books) - FAILED
Thoughts:  I love "Once Upon a Time Books", but five in two months was a bit of a challenge, but I will try again!
1. Until Next Time by Amy Lignor
2. Entwined by Heather Dixon

Nobody Has to Know

Nobody Has to Know
by Frank Nappi
published by author
ISBN n/a
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: Mystery & Suspense

Frank Nappi once again shows off his prowess at writing with his newest work, Nobody Has to Know.  This also marks a departure for him from the historical fiction genre and into suspense.

Cameron Baldridge is a young English teacher who loves to enrich his student's classroom experience.  As is the case with most young high school teachers, many of his students have developed a crush on him.  This would not be a problem except Cam finds himself feeling the same way about one girl, Nikki.  The two start texting and eventually find themselves alone in a motel room while Cam's fiance, Haley, is out of town.  Unfortunately, Nikki winds up dead, and Cam runs away.  Cam thinks he has covered his tracks, but someone saw him...and that person is now blackmailing him as his life spins out of control.

Nappi does a remarkable job with characterization.  While Cam makes some remarkably ill-advised decisions, the reader still feels for him, empathizing with the panic he feels as the tension builds.  The story does start off a little slow, but this lets the reader get to know Cam and sets the stage for the escalating suspense. The ending is also one hell of a twist, and while I am not sure how I feel about the outcome, I applaud Nappi for his bold choice.  Normally I would not comment on grammar, but really the only problem with this novel is the lack of commas when addressing other characters.

Frank Nappi uses a lot of rich detail in his historical fiction, and he carries that talent over to Nobody Has to Know.  I hope Nappi has more suspense in store for his fans, both present and future.
Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Middle Grade March Madness Recap

Challenge:  Middle Grade March Madness
Host:  Starry Sky Books & The Non-Reluctant Reader
Dates:  March 1st-March 31st
2012 Level:  Citizen (1-3 books) - FAILED!
Thoughts:  I love MGs, but I don't read as many as YAs, but it is always fun to try.Books:
1. Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Concubine's Daughter

Title: The Concubine's Daughter
Author:  Pai Kit Fai
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 978-0-312-35521-0
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: Fai's imagery is beautiful and does manage to transport the reader to China in the early twentieth century.  However, the book is divided into two parts, and it would have been better - and helped with pacing - if it was two seperate books, one focusing on Li-Xia, the title character, and the other on Siu-Sing, her daughter.

Rating: 3 stars

Monday, December 24, 2012

Paranormal Fantasy Challenged Recap

Challenge:  Paranormal Fantasy Challenge
Host:  Goldilox and the Three Weres
2012 Level:  Magic's Kind of Interesting (10 books) - COMPLETED!
Thoughts:  I love paranormal fantasy, so this one was a cinch.  I'll definitely go higher next year.Books:1. Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
2. Broken by David H. Burton
3. Veil of the Unknown by Kelly Leigh & Terri Lucas
4. Die for Me by Amy Plum
5. Spectral by Shannon Duffy
6. Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
7. Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
8. Wraith's Forest by L. J. Leger
9. The Crimson Z by Robert Cloud, et al.
10. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ghostly Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Ghostly Challenge
Host:  Babbling About Books and Stuff
2012 Level:  Still Living (6 books)  - COMPLETED!
Thoughts:  I LOVE ghost stories!  Loved, loved, loved this challenge.Books:
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
2. Fire of My Heart by Erin Grace
3. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
4. Brody's Ghost 1 by Mark Crilley
5. The Reaper of St. George Street by Andre R. Frattino
6. The Ridge by Michael Koryta

Short Story Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Short Story Challenge
Host:  Library of Clean Reads
2012 Level:  Tell Me a Story (3 books) - COMPLETED!
Thoughts:  I finished this one, but just barely.  I love shorts, though, so I will try again next year.
Books:1. The Crimson Z by Robert Cloud, et al.
2. War Stories by Elizabeth Doyle
3. A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends by Stacy Bierlein

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: 12/16-12/22

Bystander by James Preller
Clash of Wills by S. G. Rogers
The Sound and the Echoes by Dew Pellucid

Swaps on Swap-Bot:
The Snow Empress by Laura Joh Rowland

Requested from Paperbackswap:
Austenland by Shannon Hale

Bought on Amazon:
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Bought on Kobo:
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Cathedral Windows by Clare O'Donohue
Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham

Witches and Witchcraft Challenge

Challenge:  Witches and Witchcraft Challenge
Host:  Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
2012 Level:  Initiate (5 books)  - COMPLETED!
Thoughts:  This was a fun one as I enjoy these types of stories.  I will definitely go up a level next year.Books:
1. Sorceress by Lisa Jackson
2. Veil of the Unknown by Kelly Leigh & Terri Lucas
3. Immortal Quest by Alexandra MacKenzie
4. A Single Tear by Mae McCulloch
5. Spectral by Shannon Duffy

Friday, December 21, 2012

Multi-Cultural Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Multi-Cultural Challenge
Host:  Truly Bookish & One Page at a Time
2012 Level:  12 books - FAILED!
Thoughts:  I think I would have finished if this was for all books, not just YA.  I really did enjoy trying to try multi-cultrual reads.1. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
2. Night Sky by Jolene Perry
3. Sykosa by Justin Ordonez
4. Sufis at Culver by Richard Gwyn Davies
5. Cuttlefish by David Greer
6. A Lloyd Alexander Collection by Lloyd Alexander

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop

Hop: Midwinter's Eve
Host:  Am a Reader Not a Writer & Oasis for YA
Prize: eBook of Angel Diaries Volume One by Larissa Hinton (gifted through Kindle, Kobo, or Nook)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Self-Published Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Self-Published Challenge
Host:  Workaday Reads
2012 Level:  Sentence (5 books)  - FAILED!
Thought:  I am really close to finishing the one, and I might be able to do so in the next few weeks.
1. The Nameless One by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
2. Veil of the Unknown by Kelly Leigh & Terri Lucas
3. The Liberation of Max McTrue by Kim Culbertson
4. Wraith's Forest by L. J. Leger

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dean Koontz Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Dean Koontz Challenge
Host:  The Book Garden
2012 Level:  Odd Thomas's Mailman (3 books)  - FAILED!
Thoughts:  I normally do not do author-specific challenges, but as I had a few Koontz's on my shelf, I thought I would try.  I only managed one, although I am about a third through False Memory, I know I will not complete this challenge.Books:
1. The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

American Gods

Title: American Gods
Author:  Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 978-0-06-055812-3
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: Wow!  Gaiman sure can spin a yarn.  This is a highly imaginative mix of many different myths and legends, set against the backdrop of mainly small-town Midwest.  Definitely a book to make you think while taking you on an intoxicating journey.

Rating: 5 stars

The Fart That Saved Christmas

The Fart That Saved Christmas
by Jacob Morningside
published by Publish Green
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: n/a

The Fart That Saved Christmas is subtitled An Adults’ Christmas Tale, and that is exactly what Jacob Morningside and illustrator Nadja Andrasev have created.  This irreverent picture books tells a story about really goes on at the North Pole.  The reindeer are tired of carrying Santa’s drunken weight and decide to go on strike on Christmas Eve.  It looks like Christmas will be ruined until Santa lets one rip and they all fall down laughing.  Morningside’s poem is definitely adult oriented; Andrasev’s illustrations have a whimsical flair, and while nothing is really dirty, they are sure not for young readers.  The Fart That Save Christmas will give a chuckle to adult readers who can still enjoy childish humor.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Time Travel Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Time Travel Challenge
Host:  Library of Clean Reads
2012 Level:  Surprise Trip (3 books) - COMPLETED!
Thoughts:  I had no clue I would complete this challenge as I didn't think I read time travel books.  Surprise!  I do, and I will do so some more.
Books:1. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
2. by Evan Manderly
3. Sufis at Culver by Richard Gwyn Davies

Monday, December 17, 2012

Romance Challenged Recap

Challenge:  Romance Challenge
Host:  The Eclectic Bookshelf
2012 Level:  Level 1 (4 books) - COMPLETED!
Thoughts: Romance is not a genre I specifically seek out, but I do read some from time to time, and this challenged proved easier than I thought.Books:
1. Sorceress by Lisa Jackson
2. Broken by David H. Burton
3. Veil of the Unknown by Kelly Leigh & Terri Lucas
4. Fire of My Heart by Erin Grace

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A to Z Challenge Recap

Challenge:  A to Z Challenge
Host:  Babies, Books, and Signs
2012 Level:  26 books - FAILED!
Thoughts:  So, so close.  X, Y, and Z just stymied me this time.  I'll try again, though, because this was loads of fun.
Books:A. Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green
B. Broken by David H. Burton
C. Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar
D. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
E. Entwined by Heather Dixon
F. Fire of My Heart by Erin Grace
G. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
H. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
I. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
J. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
K. Knee Deep by Jolene Perry
L. Lunatics by Dave Barry & Alan Zweibel
M. Mongrel by K. Z. Snow
N. The Nameless One by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
O. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
P. The Priest and the Peaches by Larry Peterson
Q. The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker
R. Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers by Chris Grabenstein
S. Sorceress by Lisa Jackson
T. The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
U. Until Next Time by Amy Lignor
V. Veil of the Unknown by Kelly Leigh & Terri Lucas
W. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen