Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Reading Challenges

Ok, so this is the time of year that I sign up for a whole bunch of challenges that usually fall to wayside about May - but I always have good intentions!  They have become like my New Year's Resolutions - and every year I say this is going to be the year that I stick with them - so without further ado - here they are.

I found a HUGE list of challenges at Feed your Fiction Addiction so I attribute my picks to Nicole.  To see all of the challenges that she has found - go to this post.  I assure you, there are many many more than those I have chosen to participate in below.

Cover/Title-Based Challenges

12 Months, 12 (or 24) Covers @ The Hufflepuff Basement on Goodreads – Read books with certain items on the covers.
January: snow, feather = Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan  1/13/18
February: hearts, chocolate/cake
March: flowers, book/paper
April: rain, umbrella
May: clouds/fog, ship/boat
June: dog/cat, bicycle
July: water, stairs
August: sun, hat/crown
September: fire, chair/throne
October: moon, skull
November: leaves, lock/key
December: shoes, mask 
Color Coded Challenge @ My Reader’s Block – Read books that feature a specific color in the title or where the color is dominant on the cover.
*Read nine books in the following categories.
1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title/on the cover. 
2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgandy, etc) in the title/on the cover.
3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)in the title/on the cover.
4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title/on the cover.
5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Beige, Sand etc) in the title/on the cover.
6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title/on the cover.
7. A book with "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc)in the title/on the cover.
8. A book with any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.).
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).
Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge @ My Reader’s Block – For this challenge, there are six keywords associated with each month in 2016. Your task is to read one book each month whose title includes one or more of the keywords for that month.
Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge @ Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book – Read books with titles from every letter of the alphabet.
A -
B -
C -
D - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (1/13/18)
E - Erased by Jennifer Rush (1/4/18)
F -
G -
H -
I -
J -
K -
L -
M -
N -
O -
P -
Q -
R - The Rules by Stacey Kade (1/11/18)
S -
T -
U -
V -
W -
X -
Y -
Z - 
  1. What’s In A Name Challenge @ The Worm Hole – Choose a book to read from several categories (click on the link to see them).

  • The word ‘the’ used twice (The Secret By The Lake; The End Of The Day, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time)
  • A fruit or vegetable (The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society; The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake)
  • A shape (The Ninth Circle, The Square Root Of Summer, Circle Of Friends)
  • A title that begins with Z – can be after ‘The’ or ‘A’ (Zen In The Art Of Writing; The Zookeeper’s Wife, Zelda)
  • A nationality (Anna And The French Kiss; How To Be A Kosovan Bride; Norwegian Wood)
  • A season (White Truffles In Winter; The Spring Of Kasper Meier; The Summer Queen; Before I Fall; The Autumn Throne)

Location-Based Challenges

Literary Escapes Challenge @ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Try to read 1 book set in each of the 50 states + the District of Columbia. There will be prizes, which will be announced later.  I will be keeping track on a Google Map here.

Wisconsin - The Rules by Stacey Kade
New York - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan
Bingo or List Style
Popsugar Reading Challenge – A checklist of 40 different categories of books to read!  Download the printable list here.

 - The next book in a series you started - Erased (Altered Book 2) - Jennifer Rush
- A book by a local author - The Rules by Stacey Kade (Chicago Suburbs)
- A book by two authors - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan

Super Hero
Debut Author
Contemporary - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (1/13/18)
Over 500 pages
Norse Mythology
Black Cover
Set in Space
Star Crossed Lovers
Not set in the USA

 Challenges for Specific Genres
Literary Pickers Reading Challenge @ Delighted Reader – A scavenger hunt style romance book challenge where you see if you can find a list of items as you read. Can use romance books or any book with a strong romance.

Level 2 for me (25 items/places)
Around the House 
Patio Furniture
Walk-In Closet
Dust or Cobwebs
Gaming System
Grandmother’s China/any dishes past down
Porch light
Area Rug
Pots and Pans
Fruit Trees/Orchard
Keys - Erased (Altered #2) by Jennifer Rush 1/4/18
Rocking Chair
Bathroom Mirror
Toy Chest/bin
Mixing bowl

Around the World
New Zealand

It Goes Zoom Zoom
Navy Ship
Roller blades/skateboard
Riding Horse
Shuttle/small space ship
Classic Car

Elements to Factor
Friends to lovers/Bestfriend
Love at First Sight
Arranged Marriage/Marriage of Convenience
Threesome/Love Triangle
Gender bender/Role Reversal
Office Romance
Enemies to Lovers
Small Town
Rocker Romance
A Murder
Secret baby/accidental baby
Another dimension/fantasy world
First time author/narrator
On your TBR stack for more than a Year

All Terrain 
Volcano/Hot Spring
Blizzard or Polar Region
City streets

Bon Appetit 
Vegetarian/Vegan fare
Campfire Cooking
Saute it (veggie or meat)
Fresh Catch (fish/seafood)
Tortilla/flat bread
Tropical Fruit
Specialty Tea or Coffee

Tools of the Trade
Fire hose
Gas can/pump
Scuba gear
Laptop Computer

Space suit
Uniform   Hammer
High Heels - The Rules by Stacey Kade (1/11/18)
Engagement Ring
Boots - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (1/13/18)

Cover Clues
A number in the title
Mostly Yellow
No people
A season in the title
No face/hidden features
Holiday theme
A hat
Just a guy
Just a gal
A paranormal or sci-fi element

The Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-Along @ One Catholic Life – Did you know that Les Mis has exactly 365 chapters? Read a chapter a day and get the book read in 2018!  I have always wanted to read this book, but have found it quite daunting, so am excited that I found this Read-Along.
Science Fiction vs Fantasy Bingo @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm – This fun challenge has a giveaway on the sign-up page and may have more throughout the year.

The Squares

Wibbly Wobbly Time Travel
It's the End of the World As We Know It
Alien Invasion - The Rules by Stacey Kade 1/11/18
Alternate Reality
This is Totally Going to Happen One Day
South American
Fantastic Beasts
Bite Me
Kings, Queens and Long, Lost Relatives
Kids/MG/YA Challenges
Picture Book Challenge @ Becky’s Book Reviews – Read at least 6 picture books, with an optional checklist of categories.
_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
_5. Title beginning with C
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
_16. Author beginning with H
_17. Title beginning with I
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
_26. Author beginning with M
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
_41. Title or Author beginning with V or W
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_46. An alphabet book
_47. A counting book
_48. A color word in the title
_49. A number word in the title
_50. Concept book of your choice— picture book
_51. Concept book of your choice — board book
_52. bedtime book —board book
_53. bedtime book — picture book
_54. book that rhymes —picture book
_55. book that rhymes — early reader OR board book
_56. holiday of your choice — board book or early reader
_57. holiday of your choice — picture book
_58. wordless picture book
_59. new to you author
_60. new to you illustrator
_61. favorite author
_62. favorite illustrator
_63. free choice
_64. fairy or folk tale adaptation
_65. fairy or folk tale traditional
_66. a title with the word “first” in it 
_67. a book set in the state you live
_68. a book set in a place you’d like to visit
_69. a book set in an imaginary place
_70. a book set in the past — fiction or nonfiction
_71. a book set in the present
_72. picture book for older readers — fiction
_73. picture book for older readers — nonfiction
_74. early reader — fiction
_75. early reader — nonfiction
_76. picture book with photographs
_77. one word title
_78. long title (four or more words)
_79. oversized book
_80. tiny book
_81. a book about playing (hide and seek, tag, or peekaboo, etc.)
_82. a book about school
_83. a book about hobbies (art, dance, music, crafts, sports)
_84. a title that is a question
_85. a title that is an exclamation
_86. an award winner or an honor book
_87. a collection (of poems OR stories)
_88. a book with animals (fiction)
_89. a book with animals (nonfiction)
_90. a book about books or reading
_91. a book celebrating family
_92. first book in a series
_93. any book in a series
_94. book with an adventure or misadventure
_95. a book about a pet
_96. A title with the word “yes” or “no” in it
_97. A title with the word “big” or “little” in it
_98. a classic published before 1968
_99. a book you think should be considered a classic
_100. Out of print
_101. Library book
_102. Impulse Pick
_ 103. Board book published in 2018
_ 104. Picture book published in 2018 
Book Bingo Reading Challenge @ Fundamental Children’s Books – A Bingo-style challenge that works with picture books or chapter books. There will be a (reportedly huge) prize pack giveaway.  I didn't post the bingo page here, as they would like you to sign up to receive the Bingo page. 

Read a book with a female main character - Erased (Altered #2) by Jennifer Rush 1/4/18
Read a book by a female author - The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade 1/11/18
Your Choice - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan 1/13/18
YA Reading Challenge @ Whole Latte Ideas

1.  Erased (Altered #2) by Jennifer Rush 1/4/18
2.  The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade 1/11/18
3.  Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan 1/13/18
Other Genres
The Second Star Society @ The Frozen Book Blog – This challenge is being run as an online book club. Each month you will read a retelling of a particular classic. You can either read the “official” retelling for that month or any other retelling of the classic.
January - The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse (Or any Peter Pan retelling)
TBR or Review Book Challenges
Review Writing Challenge @ Delighted Reader – Let’s get those reviews written!  I would like to write at least 1 review a week. . . 
New Release Challenges
2018 New Release Challenge @ (un)Conventional Book Views – Read and review books released in 2018. Link up quarterly for the giveaway
I am a New Release Newbie (1-30 books)
Debut Author Challenge @ That Artsy Reader Girl – Read books from 2018 debut authors! There is a bi-annual giveaway.
Format/Publisher Challenges
Audiobook Challenge @ Hot Listens & Caffeinated Book Reviewer – Listen to audiobooks! There will be two giveaways during the year.
Weekend Warrior - 5-10 Audiobooks
Topical Challenges
What an Animal Reading Challenge @ Socrates’ Book Reviews – Read books that involve animals in some way.
Level 1 - 6 books
Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge @ Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Any full length book that includes a witch as a main character or includes major witchcraft elements counts. They may be fiction or non-fiction. There will be a giveaway at the end of the year.
Initiate - 1-5 Witchy Books
 Misc. Challenges
Share a Tea Reading Challenge @ Becky’s Book Reviews – Love drinking tea while you read? This challenge is for you!
1 - Erased (Altered 2) by Jennifer Rush - 1/4/18
2. - The Rules (Project Paper Doll 1) by Stacey Kade 1/11/18
3. - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan 1/13/18 (mostly drank coffee with this one)
Reading Challenge Addicts 2018 @ Reading Challenge Addict – Enter and complete reading challenges!
Newbery Reading Challenge @ Smiling Shelves – Read Newbery and Caldecott books!
Book to Movie Reading Challenge @ Gather Together and Read – Read books that have been/are being made into movies and TV series!
Level 1a: 1-3 books

Library Love Challenge @ Angel's Guilty Pleasure
1 - Erased (Altered 2) by Jennifer Rush - 1/4/18
2 - The Rules (Project Paper Doll 1) by Stacey Kade - 1/11/18
3 - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan - 1/13/18

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Readathon Update - Hour 19

Yay - finished another book.  The Sunshine Sisters by Jane French.  This would be classified as chick lit - but it was about family and what pushes them apart - and pulls them together - especially sisters.  Good book - look for a review soon.

Starting another ebook - My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood.  I see a theme about sisters developing here.  I am sure that I will be asleep before I finish this one though!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Readathon Update - Hour 15

Ok - so am 75% of the way through my second book - had a 2 hour break this morning for my son's soccer game.  Then tonight, went out to dinner and to a concert at the Genessee Theater in Waukegan.  We saw Led Zeppelin 2.  Good time was had by all.  But now - back to reading!

Readathon Update - Hour 3

So - just finished my first book (and yes - it was the one I had started already. . . )  so thought I would do some of the memes/challenges/updates etc. 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  I am reading in Northern Illinois
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  Didn't prepare a stack this year, so just going to go to where I keep all my tbr books and see what strikes my fancy.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  Chocolate, of course.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I am a mom of three, grandmother of two and work in a school library and a public library.  I also needlepoint, so might do some of that today while listening to an audio book!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I have participated in a few of the read-a-thons and tend to get too caught up in the online stuff.  Going to try to read more today - but will be breaking for a soccer game this morning and a concert tonight. . . 

Hour 3 Challenge - 


Actually - this is the book I just finished - but like my Halloween cup?  :)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

It has been awhile since I posted - gonna try and change that in the future.  I have a stack of 6 books sitting next to the computer that need reviews - as well as some ebooks that need reviews.  But for now, I am going to post about Dewey's readathon which starts tomorrow!  Just another chance to read some more books that will need reviews!

I am not going to post a list of books, as I always do that and never seem to make a dent - which doesn't make me have a very accomplished feeling.  So this year we are going to start with the book I am currently reading (unless I finish it tonight. . . ) called Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson.  I am enjoying it, so it might not make it until tomorrow.  But if it does, I will feel accomplishment very early as I am almost finished with it already!

So until tomorrow - my other reads are going to be a mystery - even to me!  Happy reading!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Review: Final Demand by Deborah Moggach

Title: Final Demand
Author: Deborah Moggach
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication Date: June 6, 2017 (originally published Jan 1, 2005)

About the book:  Praised as "extraordinarily skillful" by award-winning novelist Anita Brookner, Deborah Moggach delivers in Final Demand an extremely powerful novel about the consequences of greed and deceit.  Natalie is a girl who should be going somewhere.  Although beautiful, bright, and ambitious, she's stuck in a dead-end job in the accounts department of a telecommunications company, living her life through wild weekends and yearning for something more.  While processing the final notice payments on customer's accounts, Natalie devises a simple little scam that could change her life in a major way.  And since it's only a minor crime -- nobody's going to get hurt -- she doesn't hesitate to follow through her scheme.

But when Natalie's selfish actions have tragic consequences, she learns there's no such thing as a victimless crime.  Emotionally taut and beautifully written, Final Demand is a cautionary tale about misguided aspirations, the battle between love and envy, and our own frailty in the face of temptation.

My thoughts: When I was offered this book to read for review from the publisher, I didn't hesitate.  I had just finished Tulip Fever, which I had devoured.  Tulip Fever was not really my style of book, but I had read it because of the upcoming movie.  I fell in love with the author's style of writing, so knew that I wanted to read Final Demand.

I was reading some other reviews on this book and saw it called Chick Lit and "a light read".  I disagree.  This book is not a light read.  To me, it was more of a psychological drama.  There is not a lot of physical action in the book.  It is told from a few different points of view, with Natalie, the protaganist, being the main one.  She has heard of a scheme to pilfer customer's checks and thinks she has the perfect cover.  She will just divert some of the money from the larger companies bills to cover the individual customer's bills - so that the customer's bills appear to be paid, and she then deposits their checks into her own account.  The extent that she goes to get the scheme going is outrageous though, and you will have to read the book to find out what she does.

On one afternoon though, the computers go down before she has a chance to transfer money to cover the customer's bills.  She doesn't think anything of it and figures she will do it the next day - except that she forgets.   This is the small ripple that will affect not only her life, but the customer's lives as well.

I love the way that the author gets inside the heads of the characters.  In this way, you see all of their flaws - even the ones that they don't think or know that they have.  I also read my own meaning into the title - Final Demand.  I always like to try to figure out why the author used that title.  In this case, the obvious one is that Natalie was stealing the payments and this caused some customers to receive their final notice - or final demand for payment.  I also thought it could reference what some of the characters went through, and what the final demand in their lives were because of their actions, or inactions.  

Even though I generally like a book with a lot of action, I found this to be a very good read.  The characters were well developed, and I thought they were believable.  Someone in a review noted that this wasn't a believable crime - and I have to disagree.  This is very much a believable scenario, but one you just don't hear as much about because of the violent crimes that over shadow the white collar ones.

If you haven't read anything by Deborah Moggach - this is a good place to start!

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lauren at The Overlook Press in exchange for my unbiased review.~


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