Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading Challenge Update: December 2013

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):

Graphic Novels (7/12)
6. Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Standalone (6/15)
6. The Howling Heart by April Bostic

Elsewhere Online: December 2013

As you know from my Stacking the Shelves posts, I review for two other websites (bookloons.com and bittenbybooks.com). 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: Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl
Author: David Barnett
Challenges: n/a

Title: The Boy Recession
Author: Flynn Meaney
Challenges: n/a

Title: Sky Shifter
Author: L. A, Miller
Challenges: n/a

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Title: Sidekicks
Author: Dan Santat
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine
ISBN: 978-0-439-29811-7
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Graphic Novels

Thoughts: Looking at the cover, Sidekicks looks like it would appeal most to kids.  Really, though, it is a great all-ages superhero graphic novel about super-powered pets.  It has the perfect mix of humor and meaning, and Santat's artwork is just right.

Rating: 5 stars

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: 12/22-12/28

Everybody's Suspect in Georgia by Cecil Murphey

Received in Book Riot Quarterly:
Lexicon by Max Barry

Received for Christmas:
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Bought on Amazon:
The Electro-Addictive Moth-Flame by Daniel Ausema

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam

Title: The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam
Author: Ann Marie Fleming
Publisher: Riverhead
ISBN: 978-1-59448-264-9
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: Not only is this a graphic novel made of a mix of illustrations and actual pictures, it is also both a biography and a memoir.  Fleming details her search for the history of her famous great-grandfather, Long Tack Sam, the Chinese magician known all over the world during vaudeville days.  A very interesting and informative read.

Rating: 5 stars

In the Woods

Title: In the Woods
Author: Tana French
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-14-311349-2
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: This is a wonderful work of literary mystery.  However, as compelling as the story and characters were, there were still two things about the ending that bothered me.  First, the loose ends about the main character's cold case are never solved.  Second, despite the first, there is nothing left open for a sequel, yet there is a whole series.

Rating: 4 stars

2013 Paranormal Fiction Challenge Recap

Challenge: Paranormal Fiction Challenge
Host: Reading with Martinis
2013 Level: Spooked (6 books)
Thoughts:  So, so close!
1. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
2. Summer Spirit by G. Jay
3. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
4. Ghostly Summons by John A. Karr
5. ParaNorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Adapted Victor Hugo

Title: The Adapted Victor Hugo
Author: Comics Poetry
Publisher: NBM ComicsLit
ISBN: 1-56163-390-9
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: I was really hoping this would be like Graphic Classics, but it was not.  13 of Hugo's poems are collected in this volume.  Each is given in poem form and then in comic form word-for-word (except for "Oceano Nox" which is condensed).  Each poem is also accompanied by a few paragraphs of biography written in a very poetic present tense, which just did not jive with me.  The poem I liked best was "The Beggar" and the graphic adaptation I liked best was "Tonight in clouds the sun has gone to bed..." by Francois Duprat.  Otherwise, I was rather underwhelmed.

Rating: 2 stars

2013 Amish Fiction Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Amish Fiction Challenge
Host:  Amish Fiction Reviews
2013 Level: Inspired (6 books) - FAILED!
Thoughts:  This challenge seemed to disappear a week or so after it went up, so I just kinda forgot about it.1. Keeping Secrets by Linda Byler

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Witches & Witchcraft Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Witches and Witchcraft Challenge
Host:  Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
2013 Level:  Maiden (10 books) - FAILED!
Thoughts:  Love this topic, but I just don't read enough to go higher than 5.
1. The Thirteen by Susie Moloney
2. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Magic by Emily Croy Barker
3. ParaNorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
4. The Conjuring Glass by Brian Knight
5. Spell Check by Ariella Moon

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Self-Published Challenge Recap

Challenge:  Self-Published Challenge
Host:  Workaday Reads
2013 Level: Paragraph (10 books) - FAILED!
Thoughts:  Didn't make it, but still didn't do too bad for not seeking out self-pubs.
1. Echoes from the Infantry by Frank Nappi
2. Thrift by Phil Church
3. The Circle of Tivedon by Ryan Shorten
4. The Grace Painter by Mark Romang
5. Running into the Darkness by D. A. Bale
6. The Sound and the Echo by Dew Pellucid
7. Chasing Memories by Tia Silverthorne Bach

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 A to Z Challenge Recap

Challenge:  A to Z Challenge
Host:  Babies, Books, and Signs
2013 Level: 26 books - FAILED!
Thoughts:  Q, X, and Y stymied me this time.
A. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
B. Blowing Embers by Lauri J. Owen
C. Cinder by Marissa Marr
D. The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough
E. Echoes from the Infantry by Frank Nappi
F. Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke
G. The Game of the Gods by E. J. Dabel
H. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
I.  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
J. Jump Cut by Ted Staunton
K. Keeping Secrets by Linda Byler
L. The Legend of Mickey Tussler by Frank Nappi
M. Many Bloody Returns by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner, eds.
N. The Namesake by Steven Parlato
O. Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart
P.  The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
R.  Rennefarre by Tamara Ramsey
S.  Sophomore Campaign by Frank Nappi
T.  Tempestuous by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes
U. Untimed by Andy Gavin
V.  The Visitor by Roert G. Pielke
W. The Woman from Paris by Santa Montefiore
Z. Zen of Wonder by Frank Beddor

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Free Reads Challenged Update

Challenge:  Free Reads Challenge
Host:  Bookish Ardour
2012 Level:  For Me? (5 books) - COMPLETED!
2013 Level: On the Cheap (15 books)

1. The Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
2. Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang by April W. Gardner
3. A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
4. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
5. The Key to Love by Meg Mims
6. Jump Cut by Ted Staunton
7. Trouble on His Wings by L. Ron Hubbard
8. Legend of the Oceina Dragon by J. F. Jenkins
9. Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate & Michael Grant
10. Spontaneous Performance by Marsh Cassady
11. Olivia's Journey by B. G. Lashbrooks
12. The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard
13. Cold Colors by Neil Gaiman
14. Shoggoth's Old Familiar by Neil Gaiman
15. Making Waves by Nell Dixon

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: 12/15-12/21

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Enders by Lissa Price

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

First Reads from Goodreads:
Rising by Wade Hanna

Bought on Amazon:
Cambridge Blue by Alison Bruce

2013 British Books Challenge

Challenge:  British Book Challenge
Host:  Feeling Fictional
2013 Level:  12 books - COMPLETED!
Thoughts:  The reason I don't count the UK in the European challenge is because I always read enough British books to complete the British challenge.1.  The Woman from Paris by Santa Montefiore
2. Thrift by Phil Church
3. Ill Met by Moonlight by Sarah A. Hoyt
4. The Map of Time by Feliz J. Palma
5. Cold Colors by Neil Gaiman
6. Shoggoth's Old Peculiar by Neil Gaiman
7. Making Waves by Nell Dixon
8. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extense
9. The House at the End of Hope Street by Meena van Praag
10. A Bright Particular Star by Elizabeth Hanbury
11. Romance at the Royal Menagerie by Ruth J. Hartman
12. The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Book of Elves and Fairies

Title: The Book of Elves and Fairies
Author: Frances Jenkins Olcott
Publisher: Dover
ISBN: 0-486-42364-6
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: This is a book of fairy tales in the truest sense of the word - every single one of the tales that Olcott collected from all over the world contains some member of the fae.  It was refreshing that tales from the Eastern hemisphere were also included.

Rating: 4 stars

2013 Telling Tales Challenge Recap

2013 Telling Tales Reading Challenge

Challenge:  Telling Tales Challenge
Host:  An Armchair by the Sea
2013 Level: Princess (10 books) - FAILED!
Thoughts:  I love this subgenre, but I didn't get to many at all this year :(
1. Rennefarre by Tamara Ramsey
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. Scottish Wonder Tales from Myths and Legends by Donald A. Mackenzie

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Raven Boys

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
ISBN: 9780545530491
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: At first, I thought I knew where this story was going and exactly what would happen.  However, which each chapter, Stiefvater threw is twist after twist, creating a dark fantasy unlike any other.  I am very interested to see where The Raven Cycle goes.

Rating: 5 stars

The Howling Heart

The Howling Heart
by April Bostic
published by Eternal
ISBN 978-1-62929-019-5
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: Standalone

The Howling Heart is a paranormal romance, but author April Bostic takes it further than some readers of this genre may be comfortable with.  Hardcore shifter fans, though, will probably love it.

Paige is working her way up at Elle magazine.  Right after a huge promotion, though, two other things happen that completely change her life.  First, she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her.  Even worse, her father dies expectantly and leaves her a cabin in Black River, Colorado.  Needing a change of scenery, Paige takes her bereavement leave and sets out for Colorado to check on the cabin.  Her first night there, a wolf visits her just like one did when her family vacationed there when she was ten.  Trying to leave, she flips her car trying to avoid a large animal.  She is taken in by Riley, the hottest guy in town, and his twin sister, Quinn.  Their father is the sheriff who is none too happy with Riley's infatuation with Paige.  See, the town of Black River harbors a secret, one that Paige cannot easily comprehend.

I do not have a problem reading shifter romances, but I do have a problem with bestiality, which Bostic alludes to though never quite goes there.   This is what really pulled me out of The Howling Heart.  Also, Paige was rather well-rounded, but Riley was a tad too much of a sex-god stereotype, making him somewhat unbelievable.  Quinn was also a very notably developed character.  Also, even though the characters were in their early twenties, some of their actions just did not seem to fit with that generation.

As I mentioned at the beginning, certain aspects of The Howling Heart might not sit well with some readers.  However, those who really love shifters will enjoy April Bostic's work.

Rating 2/5

2013 European Challenge Recap

Challenge:  European Challenge
Host:  Rose City Reader
2013 Level: 2 Star - Adventurer (2 books) - COMPLETED!
Thoughts:  I can definitely go up a level and it is fun to read books set in Europe (and I don't count the UK).
1. The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Alden-Olsen
2. City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013 Immortal Challenged Recap

Challenge:  Immortal Challenge
Host:  Under the Covers
2013 Level:3 per species (12 books) - FAILED!
Thoughts:  Last year, I didn't complete the Shifters; this year, it was pretty much everything else (I will always be able to complete the Fae).Vampire
1. Many Bloody Returns by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner, eds.

Angels & Demons

1. Ill Met by Moonlight by Sarah A. Hoyt
2. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Magic by Emily Croy Barker
3. Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz & Michael Johnston

1. Blowing Embers by Lauri J. Owen
2. Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke
3. Legend of the Oceina Dragon by J. F. Jenkins