Book Challenge Update

Not too long ago I shared that I was doing multiple reading challenges this year. Yes, I know that sounds a little nuts but it’s actually going pretty well so far. Mostly because I’ve read books that fit at least one category in multiple challenges. Here’s a quick run-down of the titles I’ve completed so far.

**Disclaimer of sorts – I always start my new reading challenges the day after Christmas. It allows me to take advantage of the down time during Christmas Break and get a good start on my reading.

Here are the titles I’ve read so far, the categories that each book “qualified for”, and my brief reaction to the book. So far I’m very lucky that I’ve not run into anything that was completely awful!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I enjoyed the “sci-fi” take on the classic tale of the stepsister who had no friends in her home. Haven’t decided if I’m adding the rest of the series to my TBR – but I’m kinda dying to know how the whole thing ends since the ending was VERY open-ended.

  • Popsugar – set in space (took some liberties with this one since a kingdom on the moon factors into the story)
  • Reading Women Challenge – from a series
  • 52 Books, 52 Weeks – teen as main character
  • Color Coded – red
  • Ragdoll – been meaning to read (had a friend mention this one a couple years ago; it’s been on my TBR since then!)

Where’d You Go Bernadette?  by Maria Semple

This one was fun! It’s written in a different format. Rather than traditional chapters, the story is told through emails, letters, conversations, and the occasional interjection from Bernadette’s daughter as she seeks to prove why her mother, the title character, went missing and figure out where she might be.

  • Popsugar – question in title
  • Reading Women – woman with mental illness
  • 52 Books, 52 Weeks – discusses mental health
  • Color Coded – Blue
  • Ragdoll – award winning book or author

Scarlet – Stephen R. Lawhead

I had already read the first book in this series. I actually like this one just a smidge better! But it’s really not a fair comparison since this book didn’t need to deal with as much expositions/backstory/explanation as the first novel did!

  • Popsugar – inspired by myth/folk tale/legend
  • 52 Books, 52 Weeks – re-telling of a well-known story
  • Color Coded – any random color
  • Ragdoll Reading Challenge – color in title

Boneman’s Daughters – Ted Dekker

I’ve read this one before but that was a while ago! Still in love with Dekker’s ability to develop complex, believable characters!

  • 52 Books, 52 Weeks – military related
  • Ragdoll – “blood”, “bones”, or fear in title

Rogue Fae – Ashley McLeo

I discovered McLeo’s work because of random conversation on Twitter. And I’ve fallen completely in love with her Starseed Trilogy. This title is a prequel novella. But don’t let the size fool you – it’s a great story!

  • Popsugar – someone with a superpower
  • Reading Women – novella
  • 52 Books, 52 Weeks – self-published
  • Color Coded – green

Rising of Three – Ashley McLeo

This is the final book in her Starseed Trilogy. Remember that random Twitter encounter I mentioned? I not only discovered her work, I got to chatting with her and have become a part of her “street team” which means ARCs and other goodies! This is probably the last of her books that will find itself on my list!

  • Popsugar – should be a movie (really, the entire series should be a movie series, in my humble opinion)
  • Reading Women – religion other than mine
  • Ragdoll – passes the Bechdel Test (actually, the whole series passes the test!)
  • Monthly Challenge – I took liberties with the word “top” for the month of January

My Favorite Thing is Monsters – Emil Ferris

Graphic novels are a genre I’ve not ventured into much. The artwork was impressive, the story had some really captivating moments. It’s the first of a series so I may or may not complete the story someday!

  • Popsugar – no chapter headings/weird chapter headings
  • Reading Women – Lambda Literary Award Winner
  • 52 Books, 52 Weeks – Graphic Novel
  • Ragdoll – Graphic Novel

So there you have it – 7 books and right around 28 categories covered. AT present, I’m reading “Escaping from Houdini” by Kerri Maniscalco and “Dune” by Frank Herbert. I KNEW I would love the Maniscalco novel (it’s the third in a four book series – title number 4 comes out later this year!) but I’m delightfully surprised by how quickly I became engaged with Dune. Sci-Fi is kind of a hit or miss category for me – some titles I’ve loved, others have been too “tech speak” heavy for me. I’m REALLY enjoying Dune.

Reading Challenge Addict?

I love to read.

No, I mean I REALLY LOVE to read.

As a kid, I always participated in those summer reading programs that the library hosted. I solved crimes with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys or rode in a covered wagon with Laura Ingalls and her family.

Today I’m still sleuthing it up in my imagination but now I’m “working” with Lucas Davenport or Virgil Flowers. Maybe I’m cruising around “the Burg” with Stephanie Plum and Lula. Possibly watching Kay Scarpetta at work in the lab.

When the urge for fantasy or “alternate universe” strikes, I turn to Ted Dekker or Tosca Lee. Want to take on legendary bad guys? Kerri Maniscalco’s “Stalking Jack the Ripper” series fits the bill quite nicely (and the last installment – coming out in 2019 – will have Audrey and Thomas taking on the bad guy to end all bad guys!).

Get the idea? I could talk for hours about books. Or their authors. I have favorites in just about every genre and have recently found some Indie/Self-Published authors that are AMAZING. I’m very aware, however, that not everyone shares my attitude towards reading and they are definitely not interested in listening to me ramble on!

Thankfully, it’s very easy to find like-minded folk on the internet or social media apps! And what are many of the hardcore book lovers like me chatting about as we look forward to a New Year?

Reading Challenges!

It’s possible that someone will create a group on Goodreads (or maybe even Facebook) to give those who have taken on the same challenge a designated space to track what we’ve read (or what we’re planning to read), share suggestions, or ask for recommendations. The really serious readers even create spreadsheet templates to track their progress, keep a list of possible books, etc. They are even generous enough to share them! And some of us just might take on more than a few reading challenges just to see how far we get!

In an attempt to occupy my downtime more constructively in the coming year, I’m personally tracking my reading across nine different reading challenges. Yes, I said nine. (Truth be told, I blame the book loving folks over at Reading Challenge Addict for this!) And while I consider these my challenges for 2019, I actually start the challenge the day after Christmas. I’ve done this the last few years since that week between Christmas and New Year’s is usually a great time to get a couple books read since I’m on Christmas Break. That way I feel like I’ve gotten a strong start!

And no, I’m not crazy. I mean, 9 reading challenges at one time doesn’t prove that I’m crazy.

As I said, I start my yearly challenges the day after Christmas so I am already underway! Finished two titles to be exact. And each of those books covered an empty spot in four of those challenges. In other words, two titles down and I’ve filled in eight spots. Not bad! With some careful planning and clever choosing, I’ll find more ways to cover several slots with just one book!

I thought I’d share the challenges I’m working on just in case someone reading this is intrigued and would like to join the fun! If you click on the title of each challenge, you’ll be taken directly to the webpage for the particular challenge.

Happy reading!

2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge – this is probably one of the most well-known annual reading challenges out there. I’ve done this one three out of the last four years and I’m always impressed with the creativity of some of the categories! They always include a few “advanced” book prompts for the truly adventurous. Struggling to come up with ideas for some of the prompts? No worries! There is a discussion group specifically for this challenge hosted on Goodreads – you can find it here.  (Quick note – this is the only one on my list I’ve ever done before. Everything below this is new to me!)

Reading Women Challenge – It’s probably not going to surprise you that many of the categories in this challenge focus on women – women authors, female characters engaged in specific careers or facing specific challenges. Some of the categories have forced me to do some exploring outside of my usual reading preferences so I’m excited!

52 Books in 52 Weeks – Some of these categories are simple (and similar to a couple of the other challenges) and the number is doable for me. Although there might be weeks I don’t complete a book. Guess I’ll have to double up on other weeks!

Color Coded – This is one of SEVERAL that are hosted on My Reader’s Block. And it’s the simplest challenge out there! It only asks for nine books, each with a specific color in the title or on the cover. How easy is that?!

2019 Ragdoll Reading Challenge – This site actually has two versions of their challenge. The link is for the “Book Dragon” version (more book prompts for the serious bookworm!) but there is also a “lite” version of the challenge for those who don’t want to feel overwhelmed! Again, some of these prompts are similar to prompts found in some of the other challenges.

Monthly Key Word – (My Reader’s Block also has a link to this one.) This one took me a second to figure out! Under each month, there are nine words listed. Your goal is to find a book that includes ONE of those key words. In other words, it takes just 12 books to complete this challenge!

Just the Facts, Ma’am 2019 (Vintage Mystery Challenge) – This is actually a “choose your preference” challenge and it’s genre specific – mystery/crime books ONLY. There is a Gold level challenge and a Silver level challenge. For the Gold level challenge, only books written before 1960 are eligible. For the Silver level, you are looking for titles published from 1960 – 1989. You can read as many or as few as you wish BUT this one has a prize drawing at the end of the year and you must read a minimum of six (all six books have to be in just ONE of the challenges) to qualify for the drawing. If you choose to do one of these, there are very clear directions given on the site so be sure to check it out!

Calendar of Crime – This is another mystery book only challenge and it also has a prize drawing at the end of the year. Much like the Monthly Key Word challenge, you pick one of the prompts for each month and read a book that fulfills that category. It only takes 12 mystery books to complete this challenge!