Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mixing It Up Challenge 2012

Mixing It Up Challenge 2012
Feel like branching out a little for 2012? Then this challenge might just be for you!

Welcome to my first challenge! The premise is really very simple. It's all about mixing up your reading, pushing your boundaries and exploring new genres. Take a look at the categories below, and choose one book for each category. It's that easy! You can choose to try anything from a gentle 4 to the full 16 different genres, and the book you pick for each is entirely up to you!

Before we look at the boring stuff like Rules and How to Join In, check out...


This can be any classic work, from Alcott to Zola. Always fancied trying Great Expectations, or finally feel like tackling Jane Eyre? Now's your chance! From the fun to the frightening, the gentle satire to the all-out swashbuckling epic, there are hundreds of years' worth of books to choose from.

This can be modern or historical, biography or autobiography. From the latest celebrity autobiography to an academic biography of Henry VIII - it all counts! Perhaps you fancy a book on your favourite classic movie star, athlete or musician?

Ideas for this one range from a delectable cookery book to a food memoir (like Nigel Slater's Toast or Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential), a book on wine to the history of marmalade.

More scope to indulge a whole range of interests here, including local history, military history or world history. It might be a biography of Anne Boleyn, a book on World War II aircraft, a study of the American civil war, or something with a much smaller focus, like Bill Bryson's At Home or Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History. Whatever floats your boat!

This covers literary and popular fiction, so you can't really go wrong with this one. From Sophie Kinsella to Haruki Murakami, Wilbur Smith to Isabel Allende, Jenny Colgan to Kate Mosse, you should be able to find something to fit your tastes!

This will be an entirely new genre for me, but I'm looking forward to hitting the library to see what all the fuss is about! First on my 'to check out' list will be Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes and Alan Moore's V for Vendetta.

This category will cover everything from the genteel Agatha Christie and the scrummy Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke, through Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, to the gruesome forensics of Martina Cole and Val McDermid. You could even delve into some gritty true crime if that's more your style.
Kill Switch

One for Hallowe'en, perhaps! Maybe a modern writer like Stephen King or James Herbert, or you could turn to the classics with Edgar Allen Poe or the ghostly writings of M.R. James? Some YA novels would also fit into this category - Darren Shan, or Lindsey Barraclough's Long Lankin - but no paranormal romance!

I'd say the cheesier the better for this one, but it's up to you! Mills and Boon, paranormal romance, chick lit fluff, whatever. Personally I'll be browsing our Mills and Boon shelf at the shop and pulling out the trashiest title I can find! :)

Again, plenty of scope here. From the hilarious characters of Terry Pratchett's Discworld to Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings, Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries to Frank Herbert's Dune, you can go modern or classic, and pick from any number of sub-genres.
Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

The world is your oyster, as it were! Maybe you're going somewhere interesting on holiday and want to read up on it first? Rough Guides, Lonely Planet guides, that kind of thing. You could pick a Bill Bryson (always popular) or choose a book on a particular city, country or continent, like Francesco da Mosto's Venice or one of Michael Palin's books. Then there are all the delectable memoirs by people who've moved abroad and opened a taverna/olive farm/vineyard!

This could be a novelty collection of limericks, a collection by a particular poet, or if that sounds a bit daunting, a single, longer narrative poem. How about 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', 'Hiawatha' or 'The Waste Land'? My particular favourite is probably Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market', which is more like a simple fairytale that just happens to rhyme. Or you could choose a play - how about Ibsen, Miller, Shakespeare or the brilliantly witty Wilde?

This one might take a little more thinking about, but it should be a bit of fun! Journalism collections can range from Nick Hornby's Shakespeare Wrote for Money to Marian Keyes's Under the Duvet, Jeremy Clarkson's The World According to Clarkson to Bill Bryson's Notes from a Big Country. Anything that's been published in a newspaper or magazine first! Humour could be a book of cartoons, a novelty joke book or The Wicked Wit of Oscar Wilde!

Again, this one throws the doors wide open for you to follow your interests. Always fancied learning more about space? Are you curious about the life of Charles Darwin? Or got a lifelong love for a particular animal? There are some wonderful 'popular science' books around too, including things like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, David Attenborough's natural history books, and the entire works of the brilliantly funny Mary Roach.

This leaves the way open for pretty much anything, whether it's reading The Hungry Caterpillar or The Magical Faraway Tree to your kids, revisiting the joys of The Secret Garden or Treasure Island, or devouring something from the modern tide of YA. Lots of dystopian fiction, coming-of-age novels and supernatural shenanigans to choose from!

Another wide area! Books on society and women (Female Chauvinist Pigs, Living Dolls), books on society and children (Toxic Childhood, Nurtureshock), books on how television and the internet are affecting our lives, Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World, books on Freud or Marx...

Hopefully that's started a few ideas bouncing around and whetted your appetite for 2012!


MEASURING JUG: Playing it safe with 1-4 categories - this is what I'm aiming for
CUPCAKE MIX: Livening things up with 5-8 categories
MIXING BOWL: Branching out with 9-12 categories
TWO-TIER CAKE: Getting ambitious with 13-15 categories
ALL THE TRIMMINGS AND A CHERRY ON TOP: Going for gold with the full 16!

Read one book from each of the challenge categories, using the guidelines above. Don't use the same book for more than one category!
The challenge will run until December 31st 2012, so you can sign up any time during the year.
Create a blog post for the challenge, to keep track of what you've read. Add review links for each completed book so we can see how you're getting on. My post, for example, looks like THIS.
The URL you leave in the Mr Linky MUST be a direct link to your challenge post, not to your blog homepage - I don't have time to comb through several months' worth of posts searching for it as the year wears on!
Leave a comment on this post with your blog name (so I can match you to your Linky entry) and your chosen level of participation.
Bookmark this post so you can come back later! I'll be adding links to update posts over the year, plus you'll have the category guidelines handy if you need them!
At the end of the year, everyone who has read along and hit their chosen target will be entered into a bookish giveaway. Prizes to be determined!

Antonym Reading Challenge

January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012

Are you ready to take the challenge!?!

The goal of this challenge is to read books by matching antonyms in the title. To help you out, here is a link to a couple of web sites to get you started: Opposite Word and Thesaurus.

Your books can be of any genre and any format (ie. paperback, ebook, audiobook, etc.). No short stories. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine. (Re-read reviews must be written within the year 2012; you can not use old reviews.)

You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them. The idea of this challenge came from a Goodreads group.

**Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
**Non-Bloggers: Sign up in the comments section. Post your reviews with other book sites (ie. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.) and post the link in the comments section of the Antonym Reading Challenge Review Link. (will post January 1).

Hot: Hot Ice by Nora Roberts
Cold: Cold Fire by Dean Koontz
Bonus: Hot Flashes and Cold Cream by Diann Hunt

Mean: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
Generous: The Generous Wife by Lori Byerly

**the bonus is not required. it's totally up to you if you want to complete a bonus**

Diploma: 6 – 10 books
Bachelors: 12 – 20 books
Masters: 22 – 30 books
Doctorate: 32+

When you sign up on Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your blog post about this challenge. Include a link to this post, so that your followers can sign up too! You can either list your books on your challenge post, sidebar, or a page dedicated to your challenges.

Feel free to sign the Mister Linky with your name and blog name. (ie. Tasha (Book Obsessed)) or just your blog name (ie. Book Obsessed) You are welcome to sign up now, but please check back on January 1, 2012 for the Antonym Reading Challenge Review Link! (You will be able to link your review of the book for others to read and drive traffic to your blog.)

2012 Paranormal Reading Challenge

January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012

The challenge is for ANY paranormal with the exception of vampires. They have their own challenge.


Starts January 1, 2012 and ends December 31, 2012
Anyone can join
You don’t have to have a blog to participate.
Non-Bloggers feel free to share your list of books in the comment section of the monthly link up post.
Reviews though not required are always nice.
Audio, E-books, Bound and re-reads all count
There is no need to come up with your list of books in advance.
Challenge crossovers ok
Create a sign up post and link up using the linky.

Level 1 – Read 1-5 Paranormal Novels
Level 2 – Read 6-10 Paranormal Novels
Level 3 – Read 11-20 Paranormal Novels
Level 4 – Read 21+ Paranormal Novels
Doing Level 1 (3 books)

First Truth by Dawn Cook

First Truth
Truth Series book 1
By Dawn Cook
Narrated by Marguerite Gavin
Audio book (MP3)
*Dawn Cook is also known as Kim Harrison
Rated 3

Alissa doesn't believe in magic. Her father's stories about the Hold, a legendary fortress where human Keepers learn magic from the enigmatic Masters, are just that—stories. But her mother insists Alissa has inherited her father's magical ability, so she must go to the Hold to be trained. On her way, she crosses paths with Strell, a wandering musician from the plains. Though Alissa is not sure she can trust a plainsman, Strell has something Alissa needs—one of her father's old maps. Traveling together, they can reach the Hold before the snow sets in. But they don't know that the Hold is nearly empty. The Keeper Bailic has sent the Masters on a fool's errand and systematically killed the other Keepers in his search for the First Truth, a book of magic that will give him ultimate power. And he believes that Alissa and Strell hold the secret of the book's hiding place.

The story starts off with Alissa getting the boot from her mother to go find the Hold. Strell has been wandering for the past six years and returns to the plains only to find out some devastating news. On his way back to the coast he runs into Alissa. Together they head out to the Hold. Useless, a master from the Hold tries to discourage Alissa from coming by making her relive her father’s death. Then there is Bailic. Bailic use to be a keeper at the Hold but has since killed almost all the masters in his quest to find the First Truth.

I didn’t like Alissa at first. I found her annoying. Though in the beginning her denial that magic exist is understandable, fairly soon in the book there are event that makes it pretty clear that there are supernatural things going on. Alissa never actually won me over. I continue to listen to the book because I did want to know the outcome but not necessarily because I wanted to know what would happen with her.
Strell, on the other hand, I liked. His character is a stand up guy. Who falls in love with Alissa (this in never stated but one can tell). If it wasn’t for Strell’s presence Alissa would’ve probably been tortured or killed upon entering the gates of the Hold. It is Strell’s presence that makes it so that Bailic doesn’t know which one is the actual keeper.

I really can say mush else about the book without ruining it for those of you who may want to read it so let’s move on to other notes and comments. Ready? Ok.

This is what is happening when you read Harry Potter. You find things to compare. It kind of not fair because let’s be real the Harry Potter series was written wonderfully. In Harry Potter, Harry doesn’t believe in magic but it is not a flat out denial, it is not an absolute I-wont-believe-what-is-right-in-my-face attitude. That is perhaps what irked me most about Alissa’s character.

Bailic is a Voldemort sort of character. He is a half breed you hates half breeds. In this case the two breeds are the Foothills and the Plains. The Plains are the upper class. They do all the skilled labor. And the Foothills are farmers. They, of course, supply all the food. The story does not get into why the two hate each other but it is an intense hatred. Each calling the other names and only tolerating each other enough to be able too trade goods on Market day.

Like Voldemort, Bailic doesn’t understand love. He is arrogant. He doesn’t like interbreeding. And he is consumed with power.

This is not a Harry Potter replacement but the story kept me interested as I said before. I’ll read book two and hope that Alissa will grow on me.

TBR list#4 Read when you get around to it.

Reading Challenges:
Hogwarts Reading Challenge 2012
2012 Paranormal Reading Challenges
Soundtrack Challenge:Dirty Dancing