Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Author Mini-Challenge: The League

Jackie over at Literary Escapism is hosting this mini-challenge.  Here's Jackie's description and rules for the challenge:

Has everyone heard of the League of Reluctant Adults? It’s a group of UF/PNR authors who are simply hilarious if you follow them at all. I’ve talked with quite a few of them, but I haven’t tried nearly enough of them. I keep hearing all these great things about their novels and I’m way beyond feeling that I’m missing out and my excuse of “needing to get through my review stack” is no longer acceptable. So for the month of February, I’m challenging everyone to join me and try a few of the different authors from the League.

If you haven’t tried anything in the UF/PNR genre yet, then now is definitely the time to do it. Here are the pertinent details for the challenge:
  1. You do not have to be a participant of the New Authors Challenge, but if you’re not, why not?
  2. The Challenge will run from February 1st through the 28th. All reviews must have a February 2010 date.
  3. The goal is to read up to 5 different authors from the above list. There are 20 different authors, so inding three shouldn’t be too hard.
  4. The idea is to try a new author (it is a New Author mini-challenge), however, if you’ve already read all 20 of them, you can still participant, but don’t re-read a novel. Try something new. Not only is this an excuse to try a certain group of authors, but it’s also a great chance to help promote them.
To add a little incentive for this mini-challenge, I’m going to offer up a prize too. At the end of February, for every review posted, I’ll give each participant an entry (up to 5) to win their book of choice from one of the above authors. The contest is open to wherever the Book Depository delivers.

If you are trying a new author, make sure you include them in your list for the main New Authors Challenge.

Update:  The Leaguers seem to love this idea and have offered a great list of prizes (some of which you’ll see in the comments). As such, I’m going to be putting up a new post on February 1st for all reviews for the mini challenge. There’s going to be an extra chance for everyone to get their names in the hat and in order to do that, I’ll need a fresh comment stream. *grin* It’ll make it easier on me at the end. Happy reading everyone!

Reading List:
  • The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo
  • Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper
  • Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding
  • Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
  • Once Bitten Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin
  • Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Yeah, I know the challenge only requires 5.  What can I say?  I'm an overachiever.)


And here's how I did:

2 / 6 books. 33% done!

I guess I should be happy I wasn't getting graded on this.  =/

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Title:  Soulless
Author:  Gail Carriger
Genre:  Steampunk
Publisher:  Orbit Books
Publication Date:  October 1, 2009
Series Info:  Book 1 in the Parasol Protectorate series
Cover Artist:  Lauren Panepinto
Who/What/Why/Where/How:  Purchased a copy with my own chump change.
Where to Buy:  Amazon

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Bear with me folks. This is my first attempt at a book review and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I’ve spent the last couple of days typing and retyping this and this is pretty much as ready as I’ll ever be so here we go.

I typically don’t read anything that hints at historical or Victorian era fiction. It’s not my cup of tea so to speak. So when I joined the Dirty Sexy Book Club and noticed that the first read for 2010 was Soulless, I may or may not have cringed a little. Aesthetically, the cover is beautiful. But I wasn’t sure if I was ready to dip my toe in that pool just yet. I promised myself I’d be more open to different genres so I picked up a copy. I found it strange that I found the book in the science fiction/fantasy section. What was stranger was the spine of the book was labeled Fantasy/Horror. At this point I was curious.

So I hunkered down and dove in. I think someone missed the mark when they suggested that the book be labeled Fantasy/Horror. Was there Romance? Absolutely. Was it Paranormal? Definitely. Was it Fantasy? Eh, I guess. Was it Horror? Not so much. Not even a tiny bit. I guess I can see where it might be considered a little bit scary. But it definitely wasn’t enough to slap a horror label on it. Then again it takes something really disturbing and gruesome to give me that ‘sleep with the lights on and with one eye open’ kind of vibe. So I may not be the best person to ask. It was even a tiny bit steampunky (that’s probably not a word but, it should be). It’s a definite plus if you’re wanting to dabble with the steampunk genre but not ready for the hardcore stuff just yet.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Every time I put it down I wanted to get back to it to see how Alexia would handle the various obstacles thrown at her. The cast of characters played well off each other and led to some funny interactions. So if you’re looking for a Victorian era, action filled, fun romance with a witty heroine this will probably work out for you.

Series Info:

Stalk the Author:

Friday, January 1, 2010

A to Z Challenge

This challenge is pretty self-explanatory.  It gives you a few options on how to go about completing 26 or 52 books in alphabetical order.  For more detail click on the lounging lady.

Level of participation:
  • Titles - Read alphabetically by title. Commit to 26 books.
I will post my reading list as I go along.

A:  and Falling, fly by Skyler White
C:  Cry Sanctuary by Moira Rogers
D:  The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
H:  Harvest Moon by Krista D. Ball
J:  Just Watch Me edited by Violet Blue
K:  Killing Time by Linda Howard
L:  Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
M:  Maximum Ride:  The Angel Experiment
N:  The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo
T:  Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
U:  Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy
W:  Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend

15 / 26 books. 58% done!

Reading From My Shelves Project Challenge

Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea came up with a great concept for a challenge.  She's hosting the Reading From My Shelves Project.  The idea behind the challenge is to try to lessen the weight of your bookshelves, by reading books from your shelves, and then passing the books on to someone else: a friend, relative, the library, used book store, swap them, etc.  For more details click on the challenge button.

Level of participation:
  • Read and giveaway 20 books
Books to be read and given away:
  1. TBD

0 / 20 books. 0% done!

What's in a Name Challenge

Beth Fish Reads is hosting the What's in a Name 3 Challange.  This challenge has a really interesting premise behind it.  To learn more click on the button.

Level of participation:
  • Read a book in each of the six theme categories

Category 1:  Food
A book with a food in the title: Clockwork Orange, Grapes of Wrath, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Category 2:  Body of Water
A book with a body of water in the title: A River Runs through It, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, The Lake House

Category 3:  Title
A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: The Murder of King Tut, The Count of Monte Cristo, Lady Susan

  • Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Category 4:  Plant
A book with a plant in the title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Wind in the Willows, The Name of the Rose

Category 5:  Place Name
A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Out of Africa; London; Between, Georgia

Category 6:  Music Term
A book with a music term in the title: Song of Solomon, Ragtime, The Piano Teacher

1 / 6 books. 17% done!

Take Another Chance Challenge

The Take Another Chance Challenge is hosted by Jenners over at Find Your Next Book Here.  This is one of the more unique challenges I signed up for.  There are 12 different challenges.  The number of challenges you need to complete depends on which participation level you choose.  For more detailed information click on the roulette table.

Level of participation:
  • A Small Gamble:  Complete any 3 of the 12 challenges
Challenges I decided to participate in:

Challenge 1: Read Your Doppelganger

Find an author who has either the same initials, the same first name, the same last name, or the exact same name as you. Read a book by this author and write a post about it. (If you try to keep your identity anonymous on your blog, you don't have to reveal what part of the author's name is the same as your name).

Example: If your name is Susan Kasischke, you might read a book by Stephen King (same initials), Susan Donovan (same first name), Laura Kasischke (same last name) or Susan Kasischke (same exact name).

Challenge Book:

Challenge 7:  Break A Prejudice

We all have reading prejudices--authors we don't like, genres we don't like, or even publishers we don't like. For this challenge, think of a reading prejudice you have and then find a book that is an example of this type of book. Read the book and then write about the reading prejudice you had BEFORE you read the book and how reading the book either changed your prejudice or reinforced it.

Examples: I always say I can't stand James Patterson; therefore, I might read a James Patterson book for this challenge. Or, if you sneer at "chick lit" books, you might read a "chick lit" book. Or, if you think books published by Harlequin are pure drivel, you might read a book published by Harlequin. If you turn up your nose at the Twilight books, then you might read one of the Twilight books.

Challenge book:

The mere mention of historical romance made me throw up a little in my mouth but, after reading Sherry Thomas' book it's safe to say that I've had a change of heart.  I've actually pick up some authors in this genre to give them a try.

Challenge 12:  Author Anthology Pick

Find an anthology of your choice. Read at least 5 entries in the anthology. Of the 5 entries you've read, pick your favorite one and then find a book by that writer and read it. (If your first choice doesn't have a book, then pick your next favorite until you find a writer that has a book.) Write about the anthology, your favorite pick from the anthology, and the book you read by your favorite pick. Because of having to obtain and read two books, this challenge is worth two entries.

Example: If you choose a poetry anthology, you would at least 5 different poems, pick your favorite, and then seek out a book of poetry by that poet. If you read a short story anthology, you would read at least 5 different short stories, pick your favorite, and then seek out either a novel or another book of short stories by that writer.

Challenge books:

1 / 4 books. 25% done!

100+ Reading Challenge

Another J. Kaye reading challenge.  The rules are pretty simple.  Read 100+ books before December 31, 2010.

Level of participation:
  • 100 books
I'll add books to this list as I finish them.
  1. Soulless by Gail Carriger
  2. A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix
  3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  4. The Sandman Vol. 1:  Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  5. The Sandman Vol. 2:  The Doll's House
  6. Fables:  Legends in Exile Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham
  7. Dusk:  Vol. 1 by David Doub
  8. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo
  9. and Falling, fly by Skyler White
  10. Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
  11. Sex, Straight Up by Kathleen O'Reilly
  12. Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy
  13. Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
  14. The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
  15. Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
  16. Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
  17. Night Myst by Yasmine Galenorn
  18. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
  19. Maximum Ride:  The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
  20. Killing Time by Linda Howard
  21. Cry Sanctuary by Moira Rogers
  22. Afterlife by Merrie Destefano
  23. Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James
  24. Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend
  25. Just Watch Me edited by Violet Blue
  26. Fairy Tale Lust edited by Kristina Wright
  27. Harvest Moon by Krista D. Ball
  28. Colter's Woman by Maya Banks

28 / 100 books. 28% done!

Support Your Local Library Challenge

As mentioned in an earlier post, J. Kaye is hosting the Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge.  This will probably be one of the harder challenges for me because my library has funky hours but I'm all for giving it a try.  For further challenge details please click on the banner.

Level of participation:
  • The Mini - Check out and read 25 library books
This list will be a work in progress.  I'll list the books as I read them.
  1. The Sandman Vol. 1:  Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  2. The Sandman Vol. 2:  The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman
  3. Maximum Ride:  The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
  4. Killing Time by Linda Howard
  5. Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

6 / 25 books. 24% done!

Young Adult Challenge

J. Kaye hosts the Young Adult Reading Challenge.  J. Kaye also hosts the 100+ Reading Challenge and the Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge which I also plan to participate in.  I'll list each one in it's own post.

Level of participation:
  •  The Mini YA Reading Challenge - Read 12 Young Adult novels
Here's my reading list:
  1. Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine
  2. Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine
  3. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  5. Evermore by Alyson Noel
  6. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  8. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  9. Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
  10. Betrayals by Lili St. Crow
  11. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
  12. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

0 / 12 books. 0% done!

New Author Challenge

Jackie over at Literary Escapism hosts the New Author Challenge.  She's one of my favorite book bloggers so naturally I couldn't not sign up for her challenge.  For further challenge details click on the banner. 

Level of participation:
  • 15 New Authors
I don't have this list finalized so I'll update it as time goes by.  Here's what I have so far:
  1. Gail Carriger (Soulless)
  2. Adrian Phoenix (A Rush of Wings)
  3. Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands of Teeth)
  4. Christine Feehan (Dark Prince)
  5. Gena Showalter (The Darkest Night)
  6. Nicole Peeler (Tempest Rising)
  7. C.E. Murphy (Urban Shaman)
  8. Kathleen O'Reilly (Sex, Straight Up)
  9. Simone Elkeles (Leaving Paradise)
  10. Skyler White (and Falling, fly)
  11. Mario Acevedo (The Nymphos of Rocky Flats)
  12. David Doub (Dusk:  Vol. 1)
  13. Bill Willingham (Fables:  Legends in Exile Vol. 1)
  14. Neil Gaiman (The Sandman Vol. 1:  Preludes & Nocturnes)
  15. Yasmine Galenorn (Night Myst)

15 / 15 authors. 100% done!

Fantasy Reading Challenge

Royal Reviews is hosting the Fantasy Reading Challenge.  I have quite a few fantasy books collecting dust on my shelf so I thought this challenge was a good way to get the ball rolling.  For further challenge details click on the banner with the pretty lady.

Level of participation:
  • Curious - Read 3 Fantasy Fiction novels
As of right now, the list looks something like this:
  1. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
However, this might change or one more book may be added.  We'll see how my reading progresses.

0 / 3 books. 0% done!

The Anita Blake Reading Challenge

Book Chick City is hosting the Anita Blake Reading Challenge.  The goal is to read or re-read the entire Anita Blake series in 2010.

Anita Blake series reading order:
  1. Guilty Pleasures
  2. The Laughing Corpse
  3. Circus of the Damned
  4. The Lunatic Cafe
  5. Bloody Bones
  6. The Killing Dance
  7. Burnt Offerings
  8. Blue Moon
  9. Obsidian Butterfly
  10. Narcissus in Chains
  11. Cerulean
  12. Incubus Dreams
  13. Micah
  14. Danse Macabre
  15. The Harlequinn
  16. Blood Noir
  17. Skin Trade
  18. Flirt
  19. Bullet (June 2010)
I'm looking forward to this challenge.  I've read a lot of debate online regarding this series and I'm interested to see what the hype is about.

0 / 19 books. 0% done!

Graphic Novels Challenge

The Graphic Novels Challenge is being hosted by Nymeth from things mean a lot and Chris from Stuff As Dreams Are Made On.  Full challenge details can be found here.

Level of participation:
  • Intermediate (3-10)
I'm going with 7 on this one. Here's my reading list:
  1. The Sandman Vol. 1:  Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  2. The Sandman Vol. 2:  The Doll's House
  3. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
  4. Jack of Fables Vol. 1: The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham
  5. Hack/Slash Vol. 1: First Cut by Tim Seeley, Stefano Caselli and Federica Manfredi
  6. The Walking Dead Compendium One by Robert Kirkman
  7. Dusk:  Vol. 1 by David Doub

4 / 7 books. 57% done!

Cybils Award Challenge

Michelle over at Galleysmith is hosting the Cybils Award Challenge.  Participants are encouraged to read from categories of Cybils Award nominees for the given year.  For full challenge details click here.

Level of participation:
  • Pick A Number – choose to read a specific number of books in a category
Category I chose to read from:
I decided on the following 5 books:
  1. Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine
  2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  3. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  4. Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
  5. Fire by Kristin Cashore

0 / 5 books. 0% done!

2010 Reading Challenges (aka My First Blog Post)

Welcome to my little corner of the internets.  I figured my first post should be dedicated to the reason I started this blog in the first place - Reading Challenges.  As one of my New Year resolutions, I decided to participate in a few (and by few I mean a ton) of reading challenges to help reduce my mountainous TBR pile.  I guess the best way to tackle this is to create a post for each challenge so that I can track my progress.  I'll also post reviews as I go along if the challenge requires it.

Thanks for stumbling onto my blog.

Wishing you and yours the best for 2010.