Shonna's 2014 Challenges

This is a summary list of all my reading challenges for 2014.


7th Canadian Reading Challenge

This challenge ran July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014

The Canadian Book Challenge is an annual online reading challenge in which participants from Canada and around the world aim to read and review 13 or more Canadian books in a one year span: Canada Day to Canada Day. Reviews must be posted online and participants are asked to share links to their reviews with other participants. More on reviews below.(It's also a lot of fun and collectively we've read and reviewed thousands of Canadian titles! Actually, the whole books, not just the titles.)

Books read: 45
  1. Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton. Finished July 4
  2. Ru by Kim Thúy. Finished July 9, 2013
  3. Evil in All Its Disguises by Hilary Davidson. Finished August 5, 2013
  4. The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright. Finished August 15, 2013
  5. Edith and Mr. Bear by Dare Wright. Finished August 15, 2013
  6. Edith and Midnight by Dare Wright. Finished August 15, 2013
  7. Edith and the Duckling by Dare Wright. Finished August 15, 2013
  8. The Doll and the Kitten by Dare Wright. Finished August 15, 2013
  9. Holiday for Edith and the Bears by Dare Wright. Finished August 15, 2013
  10. Barnacle Love by Anthony De Sa. Finished October 11, 2013
  11. Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa. Finished October 16, 2013
  12. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. Finished November 22, 2013
  13. Gwynneth Ever After by Linda Poitevin. Finished December 1, 2013
  14. The Whirlpool by Jane Urquhart. Finished December 3, 2013
  15. The Walker on the Cape by Mike Martin. Finished December 7, 2013
  16. An Irish Country Wedding by Patrick Taylor. Finished December 23
  17. Lona by Dare Wright. Finished December 23
  18. Sweetness from Ashes by Marlyn Horsdal. Finished January 5
  19. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley. Finished January 28
  20. Beautiful Goodbye by Nancy Runstedler. Finished January 31
  21. Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson. Finished February 2
  22. Kid Soldier by Jennifer Maruno. Finished February 3
  23. Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters. Finished February 8
  24. Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass. Finished February 9
  25. Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson. Finished February 10
  26. Lost Cause by John Wilson. Finished February 19
  27. Jump Cut by Ted Staunton. Finished February 23
  28. Up on the Roof by P.K. Page. Finished February 25
  29. Ink Me by Richard Scrimger. Finished February 28
  30. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Finished March 4
  31. Close to the Heel by Norah McClintock. Finished March 6
  32. The Bear by Claire Cameron. Finished March 7
  33. Devil's Pass by Sigmund Brouwer. Finished March 8
  34. The Middle Stories by Sheila Heti. Finished March 9
  35. The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. Finished March 15
  36. The Rule of Three by Eric Walters. Finished March 17
  37. The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton. Finished March 25
  38. Always Watching by Chevy Stevens. Finished March 28
  39. The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette. Finished April 3
  40. The Hole in The Middle by Kate Hilton. Finished April 12
  41. The Poisoned Pawn by Peggy Blair. Finished April 18
  42. An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James. Finished April 24
  43. Last Message by Shane Peacock. Finished April 26
  44. Blood Always Tells by Hilary Davidson. Finished May 11
  45. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrienne Harun. Finished May 17 (author isn't Canadian, but the setting and story is)

What's In a Name Challenge 2014



The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets):
  1. A reference to time (Eleven Minutes, Before Ever After)
    Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst. Finished June 23.
  2. A position of royalty (The People’s Queen, The Last Empress, The Curse Of The Pharaoh)
    The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney. Finished August 18
  3. A number written in letters (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, A Tale Of Two Cities)
    The Rule of Three by Eric Walters. Finished March 17
  4. A forename or names (Rebecca, Eleanor & Park, The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D.)
    Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. Finished January 18
  5. A type or element of weather (Gone With The Wind, Red Earth Pouring Rain)
    The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton. Finished March 25
This year there are only 5 categories.

But wait, a sixth category was added at the end of February:

6. A book with a school subject in the title. And yes, that does mean you can get creative and use a magical academic subject if you wish – Hogwarts is a school, after all.
Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon. Finished January 20

So I completed this challenge.

Extra information
  • Books can be any format (print, audio, ebook).
  • It’s preferred that the books don’t overlap with other challenges, but not a requirement at all.
  • Books cannot overlap categories (for instance my first example, Eleven Minutes, could be used for category 1 or 3 but not both).
  • Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!
  • You don’t have to make your list of books beforehand, you can choose them as you go.
  • You don’t have to read your chosen books in any particular order.
My signup page.



Postal Challenge Wrap-up 2014

Postal Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up
I was so glad to see this challenge again, but sadly didn't follow up by doing the necessary reading.



What was the Challenge?


The key was to read and review books with a postal theme. These could be non-fiction on the subject of letter writing, collections of real letters, or epistolary fiction of any era. Be creative! 


The challenge ran from January 1st, 2014 to December 31st, 2014.  



Air Mail Express Level:   Read and review 12 books with a postal theme AND commit to sending more old fashioned letters this year. At least 12 pieces of mail (or more!), and you can share numbers or even images of your mail art in the quarterly roundups.
--
I'm going for the Air Mail Express level. I will be trying to do more letters this year, but didn't find that it worked for me in 2013 in terms of reporting on this. So, to help me do this, I bought Postcards from Penguin, a lovely boxed collection of 100 Penguin book cover as postcards. If you'd like one, let me know and I'll get your address from you. Let's see if I can get all 100 sent!

My signup post.

My books:

1. Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole. Finished March 31
2. The Stonehenge Letters by Harry Karlinsky. Finished July 2
3. Just Send Me Word by Orlando Figes. Finished October 11

Yes, that was all!
I did send quite a few of the postcards, but not even half. But definitely more than 12. So at least I made that part of the challenge. 


TBR Challenge

2014TBRbutton
The Goal: To finally read 12 books from my “to be read” pile (within 12 months).
Specifics:
Each of these 12 books must have been on my bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2013 or later (any book published in the year 2012 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on my TBR pile – the host WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates were allowed, just in case one or two of the books ended up in the “can’t get through” pile.
My complete and final list had to be posted by January 15th, 2014.
Crossovers from other challenges were totally acceptable, as long as I had never read the book before and it was published before 2013!
Link to my list.

1. The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books that Matter Most to Them edited by Roxanne J Coady (currently the book in my purse, only a couple of chapters in)
2. Drowning Anna by Sue Mayfield. Finished October 31
3. Mental Traps: the Overthinker's Guide to a Happy Life by Andre Kukla (about half done, 124 pages of 240) Reading this in bits because I have to think about each of the traps.
4. Bizarre Books by Russell Ash. Finished December 10
5. Dry Store Room No. 1 by Richard Fortey. Finished December 28
6. Serious Things by Gregory Norminton. Finished November 8
7. Dead Men by Stephen Leather. Finished November 18
8. Slam by Nick Hornby. Finished May 22
9. The Unfree French: Life under the Occupation by Richard Vinen. (Beside the bed, currently 144 pages in) This one is a slower read than I'd thought. But still interesting.
10. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Finished October 31
11. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. Finished December 15
12.Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee. Finished May 29

Alternates:
1. Lauchlin of the Bad Heart by D.R. MacDonald
2. Drivetime by James Meek


So not finished, but at least started on all of them and should finish them soon.

Global Reading Challenge


So, didn't finish again. Closer though, only three books short this year. I would like it if this challenge let me include non-fiction as well, but I don't think that would have made a whole lot of difference to the outcome this year.

I was glad to see this one going again and thought maybe this year, I would actually complete it! I went for the Expert level again.


As in the past, the 2014 Global Reading Challenge (2014GRC) challenged you to expand your reading boundaries, go where you haven't been before, move a little outside your comfort zone.



You could read any genre so long as the books are fiction.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Expert Challenge
Read three novels from each of these continents in the course of 2014:

Africa, Asia, Australasia/Oceania, Europe, North America, South America (please include Central America where it is most convenient for you)

The Seventh Continent (here you can either choose Antarctica or your own ´seventh´ setting, eg the sea, the space, a supernatural/paranormal world, history, the future – you name it). 

From your own continent: try to find a country, state or author that is new to you.

Select novels from twenty-one different countries or states if possible. (For Australasia, selecting a different state for your last book will be acceptable)



Africa

1. Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters (Tanzania) Finished February 8
2. The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer (Egypt) Finished June 30
3. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi (Ghana) Finished July 6

Asia

1. Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel (India) Finished January 5
2. Touch by Adania Shibli (Palestine) Finished January 13
3. In the Orchard, The Swallows (Pakistan) Finished April 18

Australasia/Oceania

1. A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Australia) Finished September 29
2.
3.

Europe

1. Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis (Denmark) Finished January 11
2. Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie (England) Finished January 12
3. The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten (Netherlands) Finished January 15

North America

1. The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood (United States) Finished January 3
2. Sweetness from Ashes by Marlyn Horsdal (Canada) Finished January 5
3. The Poisoned Pawn by Peggy Blair (Cuba) Finished April 18

South America

1. Archipelago by Monique Roffey (Trinidad; Margarita Island, Venezuala; Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba, Netherlands Antilles; Cartagena, Colombia; San Blas Islands, Panama; Panama Canal; Galapagos Islands) Finished September 27
2.Kilometer 99 by Tyler McMahon. Finished November 8 (El Salvador)
3.

Seventh Continent

1. A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz (Steampunk) Finished April 14
2. The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney (fantasy city of Ironbridge) Finished August 17
3. The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee (unnamed land) Finished September 5


European Reading Challenge 2014

I love this challenge, and tackle it every year I've seen it offered.


The gist: The idea was 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 could 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"? For this challenge, they use the list of 50 sovereign states that 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. The host isn't 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.


JET SETTER PRIZE

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.


Details
  • Read all books between January 1, 2014 and January 31, 2015. The host offers 13 months so there is extra time to finish after the holidays.  However, if you participated in the 2013 European Reading Challenge, you can only count books read in January 2014 for one year -- either the end of the 2013 challenge or the start of the 2014 challenge -- you don't get to count one book for both challenges. And since I do it every year, I generally stop each year at the end of December.
  • You do not have to commit to your choices at the beginning of the year; you can change your mind about books at any time.
  • Overlap with other challenges is allowed -- and encouraged! Have ideas for good overlapping challenge opportunities? Please leave links in comments.
  • Re-reads count. Audiobooks count.  E-books count.  Self-published books count.

I went for the Five Star level this year again, and tried to get some of those countries I hadn't got before.

My books:
1. Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis (Denmark) Finished January 11
2. Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie (England) Finished January 12
3. The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten (Netherlands) Finished January 15
4. A Jew Must Die by Jacques Chessex (Switzerland) Finished January 17
5. Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon (Italy) Finished January 20
6. Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson (France) Finished February 2
7. Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass (Germany) Finished February 9
8. In the Darkness by Karen Fossum (Norway) Finished February 16
9. Lost Cause by John Wilson (Spain) Finished February 19
10. Close to the Heel by Norah McClintock. (Iceland) Finished March 6
11. Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin (Ireland) Finished May 19
12. Attack in the Library by George Arion (Romania) Finished June 11
13. Little Bastards in Springtime by Katja Rudolph (Bosnia) Finished September 10
14. Petrified by Barbara Nadel (Turkey) Finished September 13
15. Just Send Me Word by Orlando Figes (Russia) Finished October 11

Chunkster Challenge 2014




Wondering what’s a chunkster? A chunkster is an adult or YA book, non-fiction or fiction, that’s 450 pages or more. 

Rules for this challenge:
  • Audio books and e-books are now allowed.  
  • Essay, short story, and poetry collections are allowed but they have to be read in their entirety to count.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone can join.
  • You don’t have to list your books ahead of time.
  • Graphic novels don’t count. 
There were no levels this year, but ebooks and audiobooks were allowed so I tried for 15 chunksters with at least 4 over 750 pages. I only made 13 chunksters, with only 2 over 750 pages. 

My Sign-up Post


Books Read:

1. Chronicle of a Working Life by Monica Dickens. Finished February 9 (658 pages)
2. Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George. Finished February 21 (24 CDs, 723 pages)
3. Die Trying by Lee Child. Finished March 14 (552 pages)
4. The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory. Finished March 31 (520 pages)
5. Hope Deferred edited by Peter Orner and Annie Holmes (511 pages)
6. Saigon by Anthony Grey. Finished June 8 (798 pages)
7. The Plantagenets by Dan Jones. Finished July 20 (632 pages)
8. The Enemy by Lee Child. Finished August 23 (464 pages)
9. No Safe House by Linwood Barclay. Finished September 20 (453 pages)
10. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. Finished September 26 (561 pages)
11. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Finished October 31 (983 pages)
12. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Finished October 31 (562 pages)
13. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. Finished December 15 (511 pages)



2014 War Challenge With a Twist

For 2014 at War Through the Generations, they decided to mix things up a bit.
They focussed on 1 war for 2 months rather than a full or half year.
In other words, read books from any of the listed wars during the entire year, then come back and post your reviews in the linky for the designated month.
Here’s the schedule:
  • Jan./Feb.: Gulf Wars (Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm and Iraq War/Operation Iraqi Freedom)
    1. 
  • March/April: French and Indian War
  • May/June: Korean War
  • July/August: WWI (100th Anniversary)
  • Sept./Oct.: WWII
  • Nov./Dec.: Vietnam War
Level of Participation:
  • Dip Your Toes: Read 1 book for any war
  • Novice: Read 1 book per war throughout the year for a total of 6 books on 6 different wars
  • Intermediate: Read 2+ books for 1 war, and 1 book for each of the others for a total of 7 books
  • Expert: Read 2+ books for each war for a total of 12 books
I tried for at least the Novice level for the year, but thought I might do more for some of the wars. 
I didn't read any books for the French and Indian War, but got at least one for all the others.

My books:
A Jew Must Die by Jacques Chessex. Finished January 17 (World War II)
Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson. Finished February 2 (World War I)
Kid Soldier by Jennifer Maruno. Finished February 3 (World War II)
Night by Elie Wiesel. Finished March 17 (World War II)
The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton. Finished March 25 (World War II)
The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit. Finished March 26 (World War II)
Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole. Finished March 31 (World War I)
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. Finished May 4 (Gulf Wars)
The Secret Purposes by David Baddiel. Finished May 18 (World War II)
Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin. Finished May 19 (World War I and World War II)
Saigon by Anthony Grey. Finished June 8 (World War II and Vietnam War)
Give Me Tomorrow by Patrick O'Donnell (Korean War)


50 Books Challenge



I have actually pledged to read 200 books this year. My profile and shelves and I succeeded.


Eclectic Reader Challenge 




This was a new challenge for me, but I think I read pretty broadly so I thought it should be quite doable. I was wrong. I missed two categories. 


Here is the info about it.
In it’s third year, the aim of The Eclectic Reader 2014 Challenge is to push you outside your comfort zone by reading up to 12 books during the year from 12 different categories.

The challenge ran from January 1st to December 31st 2014.

  • Select, read and review a book from each genre listed below during the year for a total of 12 books. A book may be in print, electronic or audio format.
*  You can choose your books as you go or create a list in advance. You may combine this challenge with others if you wish.
*  Where a book is identified by more than one genre eg historical romance, it may only count for either the historical fiction or romantic fiction genres – not both.
*  You can read your chosen titles in any order, at any pace, just complete the challenge by December 31st 2014 to be eligible for the prize drawing.

Categories

1. Award Winning
     Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Finished January 30
2. True Crime (Non Fiction)
     The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Alison Hoover Bartlett. Finished January 22.
3. Romantic Comedy
     Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather by Pierre Szalowski. Finished July 30 or
     The Beaux' Stratagem by George Farquhar. Finished August 11
4. Alternate History Fiction
     Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson. Finished February 10
5. Graphic Novel
     Sand Castle by Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Levy. Finished May 21
6. Cosy Mystery Fiction
     Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee. Finished May 29
7. Gothic Fiction
     Nothing for this category.
8. War/Military Fiction
     Kid Soldier by Jennifer Maruno. Finished February 3
9. Anthology
     The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed. Finished August 19
10. Medical Thriller Fiction
     Nothing for this category.
11. Travel (Non Fiction)
     The 8.55 to Baghdad by Andrew Eames. Finished April 17
12. Published in 2014
     Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber. Finished March 30

Around the World in 12 Books Challenge 2014
This was another new one for me. It is more flexible than the Global Reading Challenge as it also allows nonfiction, and I can read from more countries in particular regions. I also like the emphasis on the country in terms of significant setting or subject.
My signup post
I went going for the Seasoned Traveller level
Seasoned Traveller 2014
Level 4: The Seasoned Traveller
- The Seasoned Traveller doesn’t do anything by half-measures: they go the whole hog and the more obscure the better!
- Read 12 books over the course of the year, each set in a DIFFERENT country
- Books selected should include ones set in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia+New Zealand, North America and South America. The Middle East is a bonus
- You do not need to plan ahead but it might help you keep on track
- No re-reads
- Any genre is okay (including non-fiction) BUT books MUST be set in a specific country or region with a noticeable attention to the location or environment; some genre books won’t be much use for this challenge
Details
Unlike previous years, we are no longer reading a book every month. You can read your selected titles whenever you like throughout the year (hell, you can read them all in January and be done if you like!) and you can take as long as you like to finish them
Unlike previous years, the countries to visit are no longer decided upon ahead of time. We will all be visiting different countries, at different times. The choice is all yours! (You can “visit” countries we’ve covered before in the challenge, too)
My books:
1. Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel. Finished January 5 (Assam, India) [Asia]
2. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Finished March 4 (Paris, France) [Europe]
3. The Bear by Claire Cameron. Finished March 7 (Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada) [North America]
4. The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka. Finished March 16 (San Benedetto, Italy) 
5. The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit. Finished March 26 (Los Alamos, New Mexico)
6. Hope Deferred edited by Peter Orner and Annie Holmes. Finished April 13 (Zimbabwe) [Africa]
7. The Blue Fox by Sjon. Finished May 9 (Iceland)
A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrienne Harun. Finished May 17 (northern BC) [oops, same country as #3 so doesn't count]
8. Saigon by Anthony Grey. Finished June 8 (Vietnam)
9. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Finished August 20 (Nigeria)
10. Petrified by Barbara Nadel. Finished September 13 (Turkey)
11. Kilometer 99 by Tyler McMahon. Finished November 8 (El Salvador) [South America]

So I came up a book short, I missed a book for the Australia/New Zealand category, and I didn't get one for the Middle East. I did read books that were set in both those areas, but didn't feel that they covered the "noticeable attention to the location or environment" that was specified in the challenge. Better luck next year.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BOOKS READING CHALLENGE 2014!




Just heard about this challenge and decided to try it as well. This one is just fiction, but has a few sub-challenges to it as well.

Since I read 115 fiction books last year, I thought 80 was doable, but I only made it to 71.

Also the host seemed to lose interest gradually over the year, putting up the monthly posts late, then not posting at all for the last few months.  


Here are the details:
  • You collect gems for each part of the challenge you complete.


The red gem
  • Read 80 books in 2014. They can be any fiction genre and any length, as long as they are published and are available to purchase.
  • Since this challenge is about going round the world, read books set in different locations of the world. For example, there shouldn't be two books set New York. 
  • Complete this mini-challenge and collect the rare red gem. I did not complete this one.
   The green gem   

  • Read at least one book set on each continent –Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America and Antarctica. If you need help finding books set in Antarctica check out this Goodreads List.
  • Complete this mini-challenge and collect all 7 green gems. I collected 6 of these, as I didn't do a book from Antarctica
   The yellow gem   
  • Read our selected book of the month. There will be one each month. Complete this mini-challenge and collect the 12 yellow gems. They only actually gave out 6 Book of the Months, and I got 4 of them. 
The blue gem



  • The coveted blue gem will be awarded to all those who complete all the mini-challenges and collect all the green, yellow and red gems. Obviously, I did not get this one. 
My books:
1. The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood. Finished January 3 (Napa, California and Rhode Island)
2. Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel. Finished January 5 (Assam, India)
3. Sweetness from Ashes by Marlyn Horsdal. Finished January 5 (Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada)
4. Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. Finished January 11 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
5. Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie. Finished January 12 (Brick Lane, London, England)
6. Touch by Adania Shibli. Finished January 13 (Palestine)
7. The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten. Finished January 15 (Netherlands)
8. A Jew Must Die by Jacques Chessex. Finished January 17 (Payerne, Switzerland)
9. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. Finished January 18 (New York City) 

10. Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon. Finished January 20 (Venice)
11. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley. Finished January 29 (Bishop's Lacey, England)
12. Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Finished January 30 (Sitapur, India) (January book of the month)
13. Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson. Finished February 2 (Merville, France)
14. Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters. Finished February 8. (Tanzania)
15. Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass. Finished February 9. (Leipzig, Germany)
16. The Wanting by Michael Lavigne. Finished February 12. (Israel and Palestine)
17. In the Darkness by Karin Fossum. Finished February 16. (Norway)
18. Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn. Finished February 17 (Laguna Beach, California)
19. Lost Cause by John Wilson. Finished February 19. (Barcelona, Spain)
20. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Finished March 1 (Quantico, Virginia)
21. Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith. Finished March 3 (Portland, Oregon)
22. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Finished March 4 (Paris, France)
23. Close to the Heel by Norah McClintock. Finished March 6 (Iceland)
24. The Bear by Claire Cameron. Finished March 7 (Algonquin Park, Canada)
25. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. Finished March 10 (West Hall, Vermont)
26. The Runaway Wife by Rowan Coleman. Finished March 11 (Lake Country, England)
27. The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. Finished March 15 (Chicago)
28. The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka. Finished March 16 (San Benedetto, Italy) 

29. Morning Glory by Sarah Jio. Finished March 20 (Seattle)
30. Cataract City by Craig Davidson. Finished March 22 (Niagara Falls)
31. The Boy in the Snow by M.J. McGrath. Finished March 23 (Alaska)
32. The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton. Finished March 25 (Aleutian Islands)
33. The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit. Finished March 26 (Los Alamos)
34. Always Watching by Chevy Stevens. Finished March 28 (Vancouver Island)
35. The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory. Finished March 31 (English moors) (March book of the month)
36. The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini. Finished April 1 (Richmond, Virginia)
37. After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman. Finished April 9 (Baltimore, Maryland)
38. In the Orchard, the Swallows by Peter Hobbs. Finished April 18 (Pakistan)
39. An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James. Finished April 24 (Rothewell, England)
** Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. Finished April 28 (April Book of the Month - LGBT)
40. The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by Peter Goodchild. Finished May 15. (Tennessee) (Any book read in May counted as a May Book of the Month, so we'll count this one)
41. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrienne Harun. Finished May 17 (Northern BC)
42. Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin. Finished May 19 (Ireland)
43. Somebody to Love by Lori Wilde. Finished May 27 (Cupid, Texas)
44. Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee. Finished May 29 (Tallulah Falls, Oregon)
45. Saigon by Anthony Grey. Finished June 8 (Vietnam)
46. Attack in the Library by George Arion. Finished June 11 (Romania)
47. The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer. Finished June 30 (Cairo, Egypt)
48. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. Finished July 6 (Ghana)
49. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Finished July 9 (Charleston, South Carolina)
50. A Small Weeping by Alex Gray. Finished July 21 (Glasgow, Scotland)
51. Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather by Pierre Szalowski. Finished July 30 (Montreal)
52. Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler. Finished August 12 (Wisconsin)
53. Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews. Finished August 14 (Passcoe, North Carolina)
54. The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri. Finished August 17 (Sicily)
55. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Finished August 20 (Nigeria)
56. The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen. Finished August 27 (Tarrytown, New York)
57. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. Finished September 5 (St. Louis, Missouri)
58. Little Bastards in Springtime by Katja Rudolph. Finished September 10 (Sarajevo, Bosnia)
59. Petrified by Barbara Nadel. Finished September 13 (Istanbul, Turkey)
60. No Safe House by Linwood Barclay. Finished September 20 (Milford, Connecticut)
61. Archipelago by Monique Roffey. Finished September 26 (Trinidad, Venezuela, Netherlands Antilles, Colombia, Panama, Galapagos Islands)
62. Summertime, All the Cats are Bored by Philippe Georget. Finished September 27 (Perpignan, France)
63. A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. Finished September 29 (New South Wales, Australia)
64. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Finished October 3 (Branwell, Ohio)
65. Tomorrow City by Kirk Kjeldsen. Finished October 9 (Shanghai)
66. Just the Way You Are by Christina Dodd. Finished October 29 (Boston)
67. Kilometer 99 by Tyler McMahon. Finished November 8 (El Salvador)
68. The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill. Finished December 14 (Lafferton, England)
69. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. Finished December 15 (Provence, France)
70. If Books Could Kill by Kate Carlisle. Finished December 21 (Edinburgh)
71. Funny How Things Change by Melissa . Finished December 31 (West Virginia)



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  
    Challenge)
* A Book Set in Another World
* A Book with an Epic Love Story
* A Book with Music


Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014



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)



Color Coded Reading Challenge 2014


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. 


Finding the above challenge led me to another interesting one.
Gentle Spectrums, which has two parts. This challenge runs February 2014 to February 2015.


(A)  LIMITLESS PALLET
Pencil Crayon Notepaper

Share any 10 books entitled with a colour.
You may repeat the colour spectrums;  even exact hues.
A different book title is a different book title!
Funky lipstick or paint shades might be a stretch.
Well-established hues are at your leisure:  maroon, jade, emerald…

Books Read

1. The Blue Fox by Sjon. Finished May 9
2. The Golden Egg by Donna Leon. Finished June 22

 (B)  GENTLE SUBJECTS
Sparkling Tree & Daisies
Fit one book title into each category.
Here are abundant subjects to peruse together!

(1)  PLANTS
Trees, flowers, grass, gardening & crop-sowing references.
(2)  STRUCTURES
A building, rooms, a room or building’s parts.
(3)  NATIONS
Culture names, locations ~ lakes, towns, famous spots.
(4)  STONES
Synonyms, gems, ruins, geological formations.
(5)  FAMILIES
Types of relatives, last names, full names.
(6)  QUINTUPLED
A title of 5+ words (articles are fine).
(7)  CHEESY
Lame puns or quotations, outrageous, silly;  actual cheeses!
(8)  ENCHANTING
Mystical, eerie (enchanting content fulfills title;  no debunked ending).
(9)  WEATHER
Any words approximating weather or seasons.
(10)  CHEERFUL
Positive messages, conveys pleasant images!

Books Read

1. The Tulip Eaters (Plants)
4. Heat and Dust (Weather)
5. Up on the Roof (Structures)
6. The Frangipani Hotel (Plants)
7. The Winter People (Weather)
8. The Runaway Wife (Families)
9. The Silent Wife (Families)
10. Morning Glory (Plants)
11. The Boy in the Snow (Weather)
12. The Wind Is Not a River (Weather)
13. The Wives of Los Alamos (Nations)
14. Letters from Skye (Nations)
15. A Conspiracy of Alchemists (Enchanting)
16. In the Orchard, the Swallows (Plants)
17. An Inquiry into Love and Death (Quintupled)
18. Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper (Quintupled)
19. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain (Quintupled)
20. Sand Castle (Structures)
21. Haunt Me Still (Enchanting)
22. When Mountains Move (Stones)
23. Saigon (Nations)
24. The Cairo Affair (Nations)
25. The Stonehenge Letters (Stones)
26. Ghana Must Go (Nations)
27. No Safe House (Structures)
28. Summertime All the Cats are Bored (Quintupled)
29. The Weird Sisters (Families)
30. The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms (Quintupled)
31. The Pillars of the Earth (Structures)


What an Animal Reading Challenge

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


Rules

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, werewolf...you 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)


The 8th Canadian Book Challenge


The 8th Canadian Book Challenge goes from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 and the goal is to read 13 or more Canadian books in the year. Last year I tried for 50 and only got to 45, so will try for 50 again this year.

Here are my reads.
1. The Stonehenge Letters by Harry Karlinsky. Finished July 2
2. Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay. Finished July 11
3. Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James. Finished July 14
4. Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti. Finished July 25
5. A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay. Finished July 28
6. Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather by Pierre Szalowski. Finished July 30
7. Little Bastards in Springtime by Katja Rudolph. Finished September 10
8&9. The Rat and The Slug by Elise Gravel. Finished September 17
10. No Safe House by Linwood Barclay. Finished September 20
11. The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms by Ian Thornton. Finished October 7.
12. That Night by Chevy Stevens. Finished October 28
13. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. Finished December 15



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