Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2nds Challenge Completed


This was one of my favorite challenges last year, so I was happy to see Joy hosting this again for 2008 and didn’t hesitate to join again.

WHO: Anybody
WHAT: Read 4 books by authors that you have only read one other
WHERE: "Thoughts of Joy..."
WHEN: September, October, November and December, 2008WHY: Because we love to read...why else?
When scanning my TBR list for books for this challenge I found the same thing as last year – it took me all of about 3 minutes to find plenty of authors with book #1 marked as read and book #2 as not read.

These are the books I read for this year’s challenge:
  • The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel – her first novel is quite different from her memoir A Girl Named Zippy, but I really enjoyed it.
  • Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs – an interesting medical mystery series that can be a bit detail heavy at times, but the mystery is interesting.
  • The Treatment by Mo Hayder – Hayder’s books are not for the faint of heart, but if you survived Birdman, read this.
  • Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George – I’m wishing I started reading this series years ago, but it gives me lots to look forward to.

I had fun with this challenge and enjoyed all of the books I read. Thanks for hosting this one again, Joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A to Z Challenge Completed


Joy sucked me into this one. In 2006, way back before I started my blog and joined my first reading challenge, I did my own alphabetical challenge. I read (in order) an A to Z by title list of books, followed by an A to Z by Author list. It was fun and I said I probably wouldn’t do it again. Then last year, Joy posted that she was hosting an A to Z reading challenge for 2009. I wavered back and forth for a while and finally decided to give it a shot. I liked the idea of not limiting myself to reading the 52 books in order, but just filling in my list as I finished the books. The requirements really weren’t that strict.

~ align the author's last name or the title of a book (excluding "the", "a", etc.) with its corresponding letter in the alphabet
~ enter a different book for each author and title (total of 52 books)
~ complete the alphabet lists anyway that suits your fancy (i.e.: complete each list separately in alphabetical order, read both "A" entries, then "B" entries, fit whatever you're reading into either list, etc.)
~ complete the challenge in the year 2008
~ enjoy the experience!
Doing this for a second time was a fun experience. I enjoyed most of the books I read. I was able to include many books I was reading for other challenges and only had to really search for a few authors or titles to fill in the blanks.

My list of completed books is here (links are to the reviews on this blog)


Author List
  1. Atkins, Ace - Leavin’ Trunk Blues
  2. Barnes, Linda - The Snake Tattoo
  3. Cussler, Clive - White Death
  4. Dorsey, Tim - Florida Roadkill
  5. Ephron, G.H. - Amnesia
  6. Forster, E.M. - A Room with a View
  7. Gruen, Sarah - Water for Elephants
  8. Hammett, Dashiell - The Maltese Falcon
  9. Ishiguro, Kazuo - The Remains of the Day
  10. Jordan, Hillary - Mudbound
  11. Koryta, Michael - Tonight I Said Goodbye
  12. Levin, Ira - Rosemary’s Baby
  13. Macomber, Debbie - 74 Seaside Avenue
  14. Notaro, Laurie - The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club
  15. O’Farrell, Maggie - The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
  16. Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
  17. Quinlan, Patrick - Smoked
  18. Rosenfelt, David - Dead Center
  19. Schein, Elyse - Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
  20. Tarkington, Booth - The Magnificent Ambersons
  21. Uruburu, Paula - American Eve
  22. Van Ryn, Don and Susie - Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
  23. Wood, Patricia - Lottery
  24. Xi, Xu - The Unwalled City
  25. Yarbrough, Steve - The End of California
  26. Zellnik, M.J. - Murder at the Portland Variety

Title List
  1. Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed by Nancy Atherton
  2. Black Wind by Clive and Dirk Cussler
  3. City Boy by Herman Wouk
  4. The Diamond by Julie Baumgold
  5. Echo Burning by Lee Child
  6. Faithless by Karin Slaughter
  7. A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George
  8. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  9. The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  10. The Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs
  11. The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander
  12. London Bridges by James Patterson
  13. The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais
  14. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  15. Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer-Fleming
  16. Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie
  17. Queen Victoria: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert
  18. Rueful Death by Susan Wittig Albert
  19. Smonk by Tom Franklin
  20. Them Bones by Carolyn Haines
  21. Undercurrents by Ridley Pearson
  22. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
  23. The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin
  24. X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid
  25. The Yellow Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
  26. The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

It was enjoyable to do this alphabetical challenge a second time. I probably won’t do it again any time soon since I’ve now done it in slightly different formats twice within 3 years. For those who haven’t tried this yet, I’d encourage you to give it a shot at least once. You’d be surprised how many you’d get just by random selection of your normal reading and you never know when you’ll discover a very good title or author you wouldn’t have read without needing “that letter”.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This challenge was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I love big fat chunky books. I remember when I was a kid I’d go to the library and browse the shelves for the fat books. I think that’s what helped develop my liking for biographies and historical fiction

Dana hosted this year’s version of THE CHUNKSTER CHALLENGE 2008

These were the guidelines:
To qualify the book must be 450 pps regular type OR 750 pps large text.
You must read FOUR chunksters (one each quarter), you OBVIOUSLY may read more
The Challenge will run Jan 7th, 2008 - Dec 20th, 2008 . . . BUT any chunkster started after Jan 1 qualifies.

I listed 6 books to read for this challenge. I’ve actually read 12 books so far this year that were longer than 450 pages, (and have at least one and maybe two more before the year is out) but I’ll post the ones I had specified to read for the challenge here.

  • Faithless by Karin Slaughter – book # 5 in her Grant County series. It’s a brutal but well written series that I continue to enjoy despite the cringeworthy aspects and one character that I really don’t like at all.
  • Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - a classic that I’d never read (nor have I seen any movie version). I thoroughly enjoyed it. A great wintertime read.
  • Peter the Great by Robert Massie - a huge sweeping biography of a fascinating man.
  • Black Wind by Clive and Dirk Cussler – another one of my brain candy series.
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone - Biographical fiction about Michelangelo and his work.
  • Trinity by Leon Uris - big fat chunky historical fiction about Ireland in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s

Thanks Dana – this was an easy challenge for me to complete. I appreciate you taking it on and hosting it this yearl

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Decades 08 Challenge Completed


3M hosted another Decades Challenge this year – appropriately named Decades 08. I didn’t participate in the 2007 version of this, but the rules for the 2008 version made it just too hard to pass up:
The rules were simple:
1. Read a minimum of 8 books in 8 consecutive decades in ‘08.
2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.
3. Titles could be cross-posted with any other challenge.
4. You could change your list at any time.

I started with a list of 11 books from the 1880’s through the 1980’s. I knew that somewhere along the way I’d read a 1990’s book to round out a dozen decades.

These are the books I read for this challenge:
  • 1880’s - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – a fun classic.
  • 1890’s - The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells - A Science Fiction Classic that I’m very glad I finally read.
  • 1900’s - A Room With a View by E.M Forster - I really enjoyed this book and the movie too.
  • 1910’s - The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington - an American classic about changing times.
  • 1920’s - The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - lighthearted humor that has withstood the test of time.
  • 1930’s - The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - a classic of noir detective fiction that I should have read ages ago.
  • 1940’s - City Boy by Herman Wouk - a charming tale of growing up with a bit of humor tossed in with the heartwarming stuff and nostalgia.
  • 1950’s - Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - a classic that I’d never read (nor have I seen any movie version). I thoroughly enjoyed it. A great wintertime read.
  • 1960’s - The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone - Biographical fiction about Michelangelo and his work.
  • 1970’s - Trinity by Leon Uris - big fat chunky historical fiction about Ireland in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
  • 1980’s - Peter the Great by Robert Massie - a huge sweeping biography of a fascinating man.
  • 1990’s - Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey - Pulp Fiction takes Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through Florida – only for those with a twisted sense of humor


Many, many thanks to 3M for a wonderfully organized challenge and challenge blog. I had a great time. If you haven’t done a Decades challenge yet, I strongly encourage you to give it a try with Decades 09.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Medical Mystery Challenge Completed

I was happy to do this challenge again this year. Last year’s challenge was a lot of fun and introduced me to several new authors. This year’s challenge gave me incentive to read more of their books.

WHAT: Pick anywhere from 3 or more medical mysteries/thrillers to read and discuss with fellow medical thriller fans. (Last year was 2 - this year I'm upping it to 3 :-)
WHEN: June 1 to November 1WHO: AnyoneWHERE: Hosted by Twiga
WHY: Seeing others' lists would give us more ideas of other medical thrillers out there that we might not be aware of yet. Those that want to read the same books can do buddy reads if they'd like.
HOW: Post the list of medical thrillers that you plan to read on your blog and then sign up in the comments to this post.


These are the books I read for this challenge:

  • Private Practices by Stephen White – The second in a series featuring psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory. I enjoy both the characters and the Colorado setting.
  • Addiction by G.H. Ephron – another second in a series featuring a psychologist (looks like a trend). This one is Dr. Peter Zaks and is set in the Boston area.
  • Side Effects by Michael Palmer – not the best nor the worst medical thriller I’ve read, but OK for a vacation book.
  • Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs – yet another second in a series, this time around it’s a forensic anthropologist. Scientifically detailed, but a series I’ll definitely continue.

The only disappointment was Side Effects. All the others were second in series books and I’ll be continuing with all three of those series. If this challenge shows up again next year, that will be the perfect opportunity.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2008 TBR Challenge Completed

For the second year I’ve joined and completed MiizBooks’ TBR Challenge. This is one I enjoy and one of the few I plan on doing again next year.



The rules were:

** Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2008 - that you've been wanting to read (that have been on your "To Be Read" list) for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to.

** OPTIONAL: Create a list of "Alternates" (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn't grab you at the time)

** Then, starting January 1, 2008, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31, 2008. :o)
Obviously I opted to ignore the one a month part. I did that the first year and it bugged me to want to read a book but have to wait. So this time I picked 12 books for my primary list and 12 alternates. I managed to read 4 of my alternates before finishing the primary list. Now that I’ve read all the books on my primary list I’m calling this one completed.

These are the books I read for this challenge.
The Primary 12:
  • Faithless by Karin Slaughter – this is a series that can be pretty brutal, but I really like it
  • The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander – enjoyable speculative historical fiction about the last Russian Tsar and his family
  • Peter the Great by Robert Massie – a huge sweeping biography of a fascinating man
  • Smonk by Tom Franklin – skip it and read Hell at the Breech instead
  • The Diamond by Julie Baumgold – I expected more from this one and felt that it dragged a lot
  • Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs – this is a cozy mystery series about a teashop owner/ amateur sleuth in Charleston, SC
  • London Bridges by James Patterson – when I want a fast read with lots of action I turn to James Patterson
  • Black Wind by Clive Cussler – The Dirk Pitt series is being handed off to the second generation both in characters and authors
  • The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington – an American classic about changing times
  • Tonight I Said Goodbye by Michael Koryta – a new author for me that I enjoyed
  • Diana Lively is Falling Down by Sheila Curran – funny and entertaining in parts, puzzling in others
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – a fun classic


Alternates:

  • Aunt Dimity's Good Deed by Nancy Atherton – another cozy series, this one with a ghost
  • Rueful Death by Susan Wittig Albert – more cozy mystery with an interesting main character who is a former lawyer turned herb shop owner
  • Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult – she consistently manages to make me consider alternative viewpoints
  • Pawley's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank – summer reading that makes me feel the sand in my toes and smell the ocean.

Several of these were the next book in one of the many series I’m reading. Others were just books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. Most of them were either good or very good. None of them were excellent, which is probably why they’d been on the TBR list for a while.

The only read disappointments were The Diamond which didn’t live up to my expectations and Smonk which was awful and a huge let down from an author I really like.

I’ve already decided that for next years TBR challenge, I’m going to ignore the one a month rule

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Initials Challenge Completed

Another Challenge in the ‘done’ column. The Initials Challenge was hosted by Becky, who routinely manages to come up with interesting and fun challenge ideas. The Rules were simple and flexible – I like that in a challenge (in fact it’s not too late to join in if you want):
April 1, 2008 - November 30, 2008
Read five to eight books by authors who publish under their initials.
No lists are necessary.Sign up at any time between now and November 1, 2008.
Read as many books as you like, as long as you meet the minimum requirement of five books.

I had no trouble finding 5 books on my TBR and current challenge lists.

These are the five books I read:

  • A Room with a View by E. M. Forster – I had a bit of a hard time getting into it at first, but ended up really liking it.
  • War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells – loved it. Wells was a genius.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – I know I’m way behind the rest of the world on this series, but it doesn’t keep me from enjoying the heck out of it.
  • Seduction in Death by J.D. Robb – “Brain Candy” or “Mental Popcorn” but at the same time a fun mix of romance, light science fiction and crime procedural. Besides, it’s got Roarke.
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – Thanks so much to all the book bloggers (AKA “enablers”) who convinced me that I needed to read Wodehouse.
Thanks Becky! It was another fun challenge.