Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Where are You Reading Challenge 2015

2015 WHERE Are You Reading Challenge

Where Are You Reading
The sign up for this challenge is here.
I don't live in the United States, but since I already do both a Canadian Reading Challenge and a European one, it made sense to try to see how far I'd get covering US geography.
This post will act as both my signup page and my progress page, adding the links to reviews as I do them. I also added a spot for the D.C. area.  

Alaska: The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello. Finished March 7
California: Frameshift by Robert J. Sawyer. Finished March 14
Colorado: Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley. Finished September 27
Connecticut: The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine. Finished September 21
District of Columbia: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman. Finished February 25
Florida: Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews. Finished March 28
Georgia: Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green. Finished September 4
Illinois: C.O.W.L Volume 1 Principles of Power by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis.     
     Finished May 4
Iowa: Early Warning by Jane Smiley. Finished October 18
Kentucky: Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy. Finished July 7
Maine: The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron. Finished November 10
Maryland: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. Finished April 10
Massachusetts: Enon by Paul Harding. Finished January 1
Minnesota: Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich. Finished May 7
Missouri: The Ragtime Fool by Larry Karp. Finished October 5
Montana: The Wild Inside by Christine Carbo. Finished December 5
New Hampshire:
New Jersey:  Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight. Finished July 20
New Mexico
New York: A House on the Heights by Truman Capote. Finished January 31
North Carolina: Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash. Finished December 21
North Dakota
Oklahoma: Make Me by Lee Child. Finished November 18
Oregon: The Wilding by Benjamin Percy. Finished June 17
Pennsylvania: Road to Reckoning by Robert Lautner. Finished May 7
Rhode Island
South Carolina:
South Dakota
Tennessee: We Were Brothers by Barry Moser. Finished December 31
Texas: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Finished April 12
Utah: The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. Finished June 17
Vermont: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. Finished April 27
West Virginia
Wisconsin: Shoot the Lawyer Twice by Michael A. Bowen. Finished February 7

What an Animal Reading Challenge 2014 Wrap Up Post

What an Animal Reading Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up Post

This one featured animals and is called the What An Animal Reading Challenge.


1. Read at least 6 books that have any of the following requirements:

a. there is an animal in the title of the book

b. there is an animal on the cover of the book

c. an animal plays a major role in the book

d. a main character is (or turns into) an animal (define that however you'd like).

Level 1 - Read up to 6 books
Level 2 - Read 7-12
Level 3 - Read 13 or more

2. The animal can be any type of animal (real or fictitious)--dog, cat, monkey, wolf, snake, insect, hedgehog, aardvark...dragon, mermaid, centaur, vampire, get the idea...

3. Challenge runs from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. That’s a full year to read at least 6 books (you can read more if you’d like). 

4. Books can be fiction or nonfiction.

5. You may make a list of books at the beginning of the challenge or you can just list them as you find them.

6. Book titles may be swapped out at anytime (assuming you made a list to begin with).

7. Crossovers with other challenges are permitted and encouraged.

8. You don't have to have a blog or write a review, but you can if you want to.
 If you don't have a blog, just post in the comment section that you'd like to join. You can post your books in there. Or you can sign up by joining the group on Goodreads for this challenge by clicking here.

9. Books can be in any format of your choice (print, audio, ebooks)

I went for Level 3 and was successful.

Books Read:
1. Teatime for the Firefly
2. Death of a Nightingale
3. Bigfoot Dreams
4. The Bear
5. Vicky Swanky is a Beauty (chicken on cover)
6. The Boy in the Snow (dog on cover and big part of plot)
7. Murder Strikes a Pose (dog on cover and big part of plot)
8. The Stowaways (mice on cover and main characters)
9. In the Orchard, the Swallows 
10. Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter (rabbit on cover and most characters animals)
11. The Blue Fox
12. The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial
13. Slam (stork on cover)
14.Vanishing Wildlife (otter on cover, all wildlife noises)
15. Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee (dog on cover)
16. Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather 
17 and 18. The Rat and The Slug by Elise Gravel. 
19. Summertime, All the Cats are Bored by Philippe Georget.
20. Tomorrow City by Kirk Kjeldsen (tiger on cover)
21. Made That Way by Susan Ketchan (horse on cover)
22. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (dog on cover and dogs main part of plot)
23. The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee (dog on cover)

2015 European Reading Challenge


The European Reading Challenge
January 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016

I love this challenge, trying to find books from different countries, so will be doing this challenge again this year.

The gist: The idea is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries (no matter where the author comes from). The books can be anything – novels, short stories, memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, biography, poetry, or any other genre. You can participate at different levels, but each book must be by a different author and set in a different country – it's supposed to be a tour. (See note about the UK, below)

What counts as "Europe"? It looked like the list might change for 2015, what with Scotland voting on independenceCatalonia coming close, and Russia trying to take back the Ukraine. But for now, we will stick with the same list of 50 sovereign statesthat fall (at least partially) within the geographic territory of the continent of Europe and/or enjoy membership in international European organizations such as the Council of Europe. This list includes the obvious (the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy), the really huge Russia, the tiny Vatican City, and the mixed bag of Baltic, Balkan, and former Soviet states.

Note: Technically, the United Kingdom is one country that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  So one book from any one of these four should count as your one book for that one country. I'm not going to be a stickler about it because challenges should be about fun not about rules. However, when it comes to winning the Jet Setter prize, only one book from one of the UK countries will count.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.


Five Star (Deluxe Entourage): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

Four Star (Honeymooner): Read four qualifying books.

Three Star (Business Traveler): Read three qualifying books.

Two Star (Adventurer): Read two qualifying books.

One Star (Pensione Weekender): Read just one qualifying book.


The participant who reads and reviews the greatest number of qualifying books (more than five) will get a $25 gift card to Powell's Books (can be used in store or on line).  Participants living in Europe will get a $25-equivalent gift card to the Amazon store in your country, if possible. If you live in a country where neither Powell's nor Amazon will work, then sorry, you are out of luck.

Each book must be by a different author and set in a different country. This means that only one book from one of the four UK countries will count.  Only books reviewed count towards the prize.
I am going for the Five Star Level again this year, and again try to get some of the less common countries. I seemed to do a lot of books set in France last year. 

Color Coded Reading Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up Post

Color Coded Reading Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up Post

My post.
Here is the page where one signs up Color Coded Challenge.  
Here are the rules:

*Read nine books in the following categories.
1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title. 
   The Blue Fox by Sjon. Finished May 9
2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgandy, etc) in the title.
3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)in the title.
  The Golden Egg by Donna Leon. Finished June 22
4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title.
5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Chocolate, Beige, etc) in the title.
6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title.
7. A book with "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc)in the title.
8. A book with any other color in the title (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.).
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).
    The Night Rainbow by Claire King. Finished May 27
* Any book read from January 1 through December 31, 2014 will count.
*Crossovers with other challenges are fine.

As you can see, I didn't do very well, despite having many books that would have worked on my shelves. 

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014 Wrap Up Post

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014 Wrap Up Post

Discovered this challenge partway through the year and couldn't resist.

Here are the details.
  • any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...)
During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels: 
20th century reader - 2 books
Victorian reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books

I chose Ancient History for my level. Here is my signup page. And I succeeded in this challenge.

My Books:
1. The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood (1900s and 1960) Finished January 3
2. Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel. (1940s) Finished January 5 
3. A Jew Must Die by Jacques Chessex. (1940s) Finished January 17
4. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley. (1951) Finished January 28
5. Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. (Part in 1920s) Finished January 30
6. Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson. Finished February 2
7. Kid Soldier by Jennifer Maruno. Finished February 3 (1939-40)
8. Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass. Finished February 9 (1947)
9. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Finished March 4 (1870s and 1880s)
10. The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton. Finished March 25 (1940s)
11. The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit. Finished March 26 (1940s)
12. Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole. Finished March 31 (1910s and 1940)
13. The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory. Finished March 31 (Tudor England)
14. The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini. Finished April 1 (1860s)
15. A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz. Finished April 14 (1903)
16. An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James. Finished April 24 (1924)
17. The Blue Fox by Sjon. Finished May 9 (1883)
18. Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman. Finished May 9 (1878-1882)
19. The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by Peter Goodchild. Finished May 15 (1925)
20. The Secret Purposes by David Baddiel. Finished May 18 (World War II)
21. Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin. Finished May 19 (World War I through World War II)
22. Death on the Ladies Mile by Diana Haviland. Finished May 24 (1882)
23. When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell. Finished May 31 (1943)
24. Saigon by Anthony Grey. Finished June 8 (1925-1975)
25. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Finished July 9 (1803-1838)
26. Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James. Finished 14 (1919)
27. The Web and the Wing by Teresa Raftery. Finished July 26 (1918-1930)
28. The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd. Finished August 10 (1769 and 1812)
29. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Finished August 20 (Colonial Africa in Victorian age)
30. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks. Finished August 29 (1920s)
31. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Finished October 31 (12th century)

Reading Bingo Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up Post

Wrap Up Post for Reading Bingo Challenge (Thanks to Random House)

Came across this challenge from Random House and couldn't resist. I tried to do the whole card, but missed two squares. 

* A Book with More than 500 Pages
     Chronicle of a Working Life by Monica Dickens. Finished February 9 (658 pages)
* A Forgotten Classic
     Saigon by Anthony Grey. Finished June 8 (first published 1983)
* A Book that Became a Movie

* A Book Published This Year
     The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley. Finished January 28
* A Book with a Number in the Title
     Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George. Finished January 21
* A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty

* A Book With Non-Human Characters
     The Blue Fox by Sjon. Finished May 9 (Fox)
* A Funny Book
     Rude Bitches Make Me Tired by Celia Rivenbark. Finished February 17
* A Book by a Female Author
     Bigfoot Dreams by Francine Prose. Finished January 23
* A Book with a Mystery
     Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon. Finished January 20
* A Book with a One Word Title
     Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith. Finished March 3
* A Book of Short Stories
     Up on the Roof by P.K. Page. Finished February 25
* Free Square
* A Book Set on a Different Continent
     Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel. Finished January 5 (Asia)
* A Book of Non Fiction
     The Man Who Loves Books Too Much by Alison Hoover Bartlett. Finished January 22
* The First Book by a Favourite Author
     In the Darkness by Karin Fossum. Finished February 16
* A Book You Heard about Online
     Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. Finished January 18 
     (Was featured book on the 50 Book Challenge site)
* A Best-Selling Book
     The Bear by Claire Cameron. Finished March 7
* A Book Based on a True Story:
     A Jew Must Die by Jacques Chessex. Finished January 17
* A Book at the Bottom of Your To-Be-Read Pile
     The Secret Purposes by David Baddiel. Finished May 18
* A Book Your Friend Loves
     Little Bastards in Springtime by Katja Rudolph. Finished September 10
* A Book That Scares You
     Sand Castle by Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Levy. Finished May 21
* A Book That is More Than Ten Years Old
     Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Finished January 30 (Published 1975)
* The Second Book in a Series
     The Boy in the Snow by M.J. McGrath. Finished March 23
* A Book with a Blue Cover
     Touch by Adania Shibli. Finished January 13 (Can't get much bluer than that)

And of course since they have a YA version as well and I do read some YA, I thought I might as well try for that too. Unfortunately the YA I read often didn't seem to fit into these categories. I didn't even get a regular Bingo.

So here are my reads
* A Book with a Female Heroine
     A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka. Finished June 15
* A Book Set in a High School
* The Last book of a Trilogy
* A Book with a Colour in the Title
* The First Book in a Series
     Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters. Finished February 8 (Series: Seven)
* A Book Set in the Future
* A Book with a Break Up
     Slam by Nick Hornby. Finished May 22
* A Book without a Love Triangle
     Jump Cut by Ted Staunton. Finished February 23
* A Book that Became a Movie
* A Book Set in Paris
* A Book Set in the Past
     Kid Soldier by Jennifer Maruno. Finished February 3 (World War II)
* A Book with Magic
     The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney. Finished August 18
* Free Square
* A Book Set in the Summer
* A Book with a Dragon
* A Book that Made You Cry
     The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. Finished May 4
* A Graphic Novel
* A Book Based on a Myth
* A "Classic" YA Book
* A Book with a Lion, a Witch, or a Wardrobe
* A Book with an Incredible Fight Scene
     The Rule of Three by Eric Walters. Finished March 17 (Firefight in the air)
* A Book You Heard about Online
    Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. Finished April 28 (Heard about on Love Bites and Silks Reading  
* A Book Set in Another World
* A Book with an Epic Love Story
* A Book with Music