09 February 2013

2013 Online Reading Challenge Round-up, Part V: Romance

The next genre I chose to feature is romance, starting with none other that Miss Jane Austen herself:

 The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge is hosted (where else) on Austenprose. As the title suggests, it is a celebration of the 200th publication anniversary of Jane Austen's most famous book.

This is a year-long challenge and sign-up ends on July 1. The aim is to read, listen to or watch between 1 and 12 books, audio books, movies, TV series or web series (there are 3 incremental levels) hat are adaptations, sequels or spin-offs of Pride and Prejudice. There are prizes to be won and more rules can be found in the sign-up post.

The Book Vixen is hosting two romance challenges I chose to feature (and a few more):

2013 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge hosted by The Book VixenThe Romantic Suspense challenge runs all year long and you can sign up whenever you want. The goal is simply to read 13 romances belonging to the suspense sub-genre.

Any format is allowed, as are re-reads and crossovers from other challenges, and novellas over 100 pages are eligible. There are 37 participants so far. More rules after the click.

2013 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge hosted by The Book VixenThe Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge is also a year-long challenge with no sign-up deadline. The goal is to read 10 contemporary romances. They can be adult or young adult and must be about romance between a man and a woman, and the following sub-genres are not allowed: paranormal, historical, time-travel, fantasy, science fiction, or mystery/suspense/thriller. Other than this, the same rules apply as for the Romantic suspense challenge. 69 participants so far.

The "strictly male/female" romance rule in the above challenge led me to try to find any and lesbian reading challenges, but I found none, although I imagine the first two challenges in this list and the one below must allow such books because they do not expressly forbid them. Do you know of one? Then by all means post a comment and let me know. 

reading romances reading challenge 2013
Finally, there is the Reading Romances Challenge, hosted by Reading Romances.  The challenge there is variety, with a different theme each month (see the sign-up post for more information).

The challenge runs all year and the sign-up deadline is December 15. Tracking is a must, but blog ownership is not. Everyone who is actively participating is eligible for monthly giveaway drawings. 24 participants so far and details to be found in the sign-up post.

06 February 2013

2013 Online Reading Challenge Round-up, Part IV: Paranormal challenges

The craze for paranormal literature is still going strong and this is reflected in the growing number of reading challenges being offered. By the way, if you see a bloody mess of images and text on the screen, blame Blogger. I have given up trying to fix it.

We begin with the Paranormal Fiction 2013 Reading Challenge, hosted by Reading with Martinis. This is a year-long challenge with no sign-up deadline and 4 levels. Reviewing does not seem to be required, but some kind of online tracking is.
There are only 4 participants so far, but I see an opportunity for someone who is doing the Reading Challenge Addict challenge to combine it with the next challenge - or even all of the following challenges - for extra points:
The Paranormal Reading Challenge is hosted by Auntie Spinelli Reads and Megan Likes Books. This is a challenge to read books featuring several different paranormal creatures. It is a year-long challenge with sign-ups open until December 1. Posting reviews is a must, since every month there is a giveaway for those who have posted, and the more reviews you post, the more entries you have in the giveaway drawing. And at the end of the year there will be a grand prize drawing. There are 152 participants already, and you can find more rules and information at the sign-up page.

And now lets move on to more narrowly defined challenges.

2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
First up is the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge, hosted by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.It's a year-long challenge, with sign-up open until December 15. Cross-overs are allowed and reviewing is not necessary - however, there is an incentive to review: for each review you publish and link to, you get an entry into a prize drawing that will take place in January 2014.

There are 4 levels and you must commit to read between 1 and 20 books which, as the host puts it include "a witch as a main character or major witchcraft elements". 110 people have joined already.

Then we have the Immortal Reading Challenge. This is hosted by Under the Covers and runs all year long with no sign-up deadline.
There are 4 categories, covering different kinds of immortal beings: vampires, angels/demons, fae/magic and shapeshifters. For any category you are expected to read at least three books and you decide how many categories you choose to participate in. More rules can be found in the sign-up post.

Finally, we have zombies. The Zombie Challenge is hosted by Book Chick City and runs all year long with no sign-up deadline. The challenge is simple: read about zombies. There are 4 levels and depending on which one you choose, you pledge to read between 6 and 24 zombie books. Crossovers are allowed and reviewing is not expected but is encouraged, but you will be expected to keep track of what you read online. There are 39 participants already. More rules can be found in the sign-up post.

01 February 2013

Reading report for January 2013

Edit: Have I ever mentioned that I !#*&>"% hate it that the Undo command on Blogger is utterly  useless and that certain actions can not be undone at all, such as retrieval of accidentally deleted posts and pages? I think I have.
I wrote this post at home last night and published it this morning from work and then went to write a post that I then decided to delete. I must have had a cross-eyed moment, because I deleted this post accidentally instead. Arrrrgggghhhhh!
However: I am fortunately not completely helpless around computers and was able to retrieve it from my home computer's cache. Imagine if I'd had to write it all over again. Somehow such writings never seem as good as the lost original. 
Folks: I heartily recommend setting Blogger to send you a copy of all your blog posts by e-mail, which is what I have done now and should have done much sooner. It may save you a lot of time and prevent panic in the future. And now we resume regular programming:

My reading tally for the first month of 2013 comes to a whooping 25 (oops! forgot one) 26 books. I did not set out to read so many books in January, but once I had started it was hard to slow down.

The explanation is simple: January tends to be a difficult month for me.
The dark clouds that constantly hover on my mental horizon usually get pushed all the way to the edges over the Christmas holidays, but around mid-January they tend to start creeping back. One of the ways I use to battle this cloud-bank of depression is reading, especially something I can immerse myself in – series are always good for this – and with guaranteed happy endings. And what could be better for this purpose than romance novels?

As luck would have it, some weeks ago I acquired a trove of (mostly) short romance novels by Nora Roberts, most of them from the time when she was still writing category romances for Silhouette books. I read a number of them in December and continued in January. There were several series in this collection, including four loosely interconnected ones that led me from one to the next until I had finished three of them, a total of 12 books. By the time I‘d finished those and one trilogy more, I‘d finally had enough of Nora for the time being and turned to other matters.

The Roberts novels were entertaining enough, but I didn‘t find one single keeper among them, neither cover nor book. They were unfortunately mostly reissues with boring covers, which was a pity because I have an appreciation for the old Silhouette covers that always have the couple looking like they are either on the verge of an orgasm or suffering from acute stomach pains. If the covers had been more interesting, I might have kept some of them even if I had no plans to reread them. Therefore they have gone to the charity shop where they have hopefully already been picked up by other readers. As the TBR challenge is to read books that have been languishing in my TBR stack (the rule of thumb is 6 months or more), they didn‘t count towards that challenge – I didn‘t even enter them into my library database before reading them.

I got started on my goal to read more Icelandic books, with 2 finished, and I‘m back to reading poetry, with 2 books finished.

Of the 25 26 books I read in January, 8 were TBR, which puts me just about on course for finishing 50 TBR books before the end of June (if I can keep it up). I decided to focus on finishing the short books in the stack first, but without letting that goal stop me from reading longer books should I get the urge to read a particular book. I am also going to try to finish some of the many, many books that are collecting dust in odd corners of my apartment with bookmarks sticking out of them.

My two favourite reads of the month both came from the TBR stack. The first was Georgette Heyer‘s An Infamous Army, which I wish I had read much, much sooner, because it has shot into the top 5 list of my favourite Heyer books (along with Venetia, These Old Shades, Devil‘s Cub and The Unknown Ajax).

The other was Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. I was already familiar with this poetic play from the animated version, which of course meant that when I read the familiar lines I kept hearing the voices of Richard Burton (who narrated it) and the actors who provided the voices for the characters. The edition I read was a critical edition, with a background history of the piece and a textual history of the changes it went through. Thomas died before it was (perhaps) fully polished, and it was fascinating to see how he kept polishing and moulding it right to the end.

The Books:
  • Georgette Heyer: An Infamous Army - Historical novel (romantic)
  • Alan Hunter: Gently Through the Woods - Murder mystery (police detective)
  • Ed McBain: Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here - Police procedural
  • Terry Pratchett: The Dark Side of the Sun - Science fiction/Space fantasy
  • Nora Roberts: Taming Natasha; Luring a Lady; Falling for Rachel; Convincing Alex; Waiting for Nick; Considering Kate - Romance, contemporary
  • Nora Roberts: Reflections; Dance of Dreams - Romance, contemporary
  • Nora Roberts: The Last Honest Woman; Dance to the Piper; Skin Deep; Without a Trace - Romance, contemporary (1st 2 books) and Romantic suspense (2nd 2 books)
  • Nora Roberts: Dance Upon the Air; Heaven and Earth; Face the Fire - Paranormal romance
  • John Michael Scalzi: Uncle John's Presents: The Book of the Dumb - Trivia
  • Sigurður Þórarinsson (texti) & Gunnar Hannesson (ljósm.) : Vatnajökull: Tignarheimur frosts og funa - Geography/geology; photo book
  • Stefán Sigurðsson frá Hvítadal : Ljóðmæli (formáli: Sveinn Bergsveinsson) - Poetry
  • John Steinbeck: The Short Regn of Pippin IV - Satire
  • Amy Stewart: Wicked Plants: The weed that killed Lincoln's mother and other botanical atrocities - Botany/toxicology
  • Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood - Verse play
  • J.R.R. Tolkien; read by Rob Inglis : The Hobbit - Fantasy, children‘s book (audio)