Friday, December 27, 2013

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014

I will be participating in the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge again this year. I always read historical fiction, but I don't always post my reviews to the challenge blog. I will try to do better this year! Anyway, here is the scoop on the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Historical Tapestry:

The challenge runs from 1 January to 31 December 2014. Any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...)
During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels: 

20th century reader - 2 books
Victorian reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books - I usually read at least 10 historical fiction books per year, so this is the level for me.
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books

To join the challenge you only need to make a post about it, go to Historical Tapestry and add your link in Mr. Linky or just leave a link to your blog if you are not yet ready to post about it yet. If you don't have a blog you can just leave a comment that you are joining.
Happy Reading!

Back to the Classics Challenge 2014

This Challenge is hosted by Books and Chocolate - how could you go wrong with that?

I have been slacking on reading my Classics, so I thought I would participate in this challenge to get a nudge to read some. Here are the details of the challenge:

There will be six required categories that all participants must complete.  Everyone who reads and reviews six eligible books and writes a wrap-up post will automatically be entered into the drawing for an Amazon gift card for $30 (U.S) or a choice of book(s) from The Book Depository.
There will also be five optional categories for additional entries.  Participants who complete three of those (with corresponding posts) will also get an additional entry into the prize drawing;  those completing posts in all five categories will get another entry, for a total of three.  To receive the maximum of three entries, you would need to post eleven times.  

Here is the definition of a classic according to our hostess: "A classic is a book that has endured for some reason ; therefore, I am defining a classic as a book that was published at least 50 years ago.  Therefore, any book published after 1964 is ineligible." 
Here are the rest of the guidelines:

  • All books must be read in 2014.  Books started prior to January 1, 2014 are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2014.
  • E-books and audiobooks are eligible!  Books can count for other challenges you may be working on.  However, books may NOT crossover categories within this challenge.  You may NOT count the same book twice for different categories in this challenge.  
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicly accessible online format.  
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE MARCH 1, 2014.  Please link to your sign-up announcement post (if possible/applicable).
  • You do not have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it is more fun that way :).  You can always change your list at any time.  You can read the books in any order (including mixing in the optional categories at any time).
  • You can decide to attempt the optional categories at any point (you can also bow out of the optional categories at any point as well).
  • Please identify the categories you've read in your wrap-up post so that I can easily add up your entries for the prize drawing! Adding links within the post would also be greatly appreciated. 
And finally. . . . The 2014 categories:
  1. A 20th Century Classic
  2. A 19th Century Classic
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author
  4. A Classic in Translation  If English is not your primary language, then books originally published in English are acceptable.  You could also read the book in its original language if you are willing and able to do so.
  5. A Classic About War  2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  Any book relating to a war is fine -- WWI, WWII, the French Revolution, the War of the Worlds -- your choice.
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You This can be any author whose works you have not read before.  It doesn't necessarily have to be an author you've never heard of.  
Optional Categories:
  1. An American Classic
  2. A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller 
  3. A Historical Fiction Classic.  This is any classic set at least 50 years before the time when it was written.  For example, Margaret Mitchell published Gone with the Wind 70 years after the end of the Civil War; therefore, it is considered a historical novel.  A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Letter are also historical novels.  However, older classics set during the period in which they were written are not considered historical; for example, the novels of Jane Austen.
  4. A Classic That's Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series.  Any period, any genre!  This is practically a free choice category.  However, it's a separate category than the required categories.
  5. Extra Fun Category:  Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category #4.  This should be some kind of posting reviewing the book read for the previous optional category above.  It can be any adaptation -- does not have to be adapted before 1964.  For example, if you chose Pride and Prejudice as your the optional classic above, you could review any adaptation -- 1940, 1980, 1995, 2005, etc. These two optional categories go together, but this must be a separate blog posting -- no fair just mentioning it in the book review!
And to clarify, you have to read different books for each category -- you can repeat authors or genres, but no fair using the same book multiple times within this challenge! The only book that you can repeat is in the movie/TV adaptation review.  
There you have it! There will be a list of possible choices over at Books and Chocolate, so go over there to sign up and look for the list. Good luck!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Very Different Challenge - Expand Your Horizons

The Push Your Boundaries Reading Challenge 2014
This Challenge will possibly make you uncomfortable - reading books that are out of your comfort zone! But it may open your eyes to something you might enjoy! You never know.
Here is my chart - I couldn't get it to line up in a table:
In My Zone: Debut Authors, YA Fiction/YA Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction, Time Travel/Historical Romance, Classics
Read On Occasion: Made Into A Movie, Urban Fantasy/Dystopian, Inspirational Fiction, Set Outside U.S./U.K./Canada, Fantasy, Literary Fiction                
A Bit Of A Stretch: Humor, Sci Fi, Historical Mystery, Memoir/Autobiography, Romantic Suspense, Translated                                   
Pushing It: Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal Fantasy, Poetry, Biography/History, Action/Adventure, A Play
Out Of My Comfort Zone: Horror, Political Nonfiction, Sports, War Novel, Book I am Intimidated By, Graphic Novel
Just For Fun: Book From Birth Year, Reread From Childhood, Short Stories, Food & Cookbooks, 500+ Pager, Banned Book                                        
There it is! I'm planning to track my reads on Pinterest as well. I have to set that up, so I will post about it when I have that done.
If you want to sign up for this challenge, go to Roni Loren Greetings From The Ranch.

The first 2014 Reading Challenge - Book to Broadway

This is a new challenge for me. It's all about books to musicals! The challenge is to read a book or play with a musical based on it. Then, you watch or listen to the musical! What could be more fun! The Book to Broadway Challenge is being hosted by Debz Bookshelf and you can sign up here.

Here are a few more details:

  • This doesn’t actually have a specific start or end time, unless it would be simpler to stick to January 2014 – December 2014. I’m not picky!
  • Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, fairy tales, and short stories all count.
  • I’m personally only going to be reading/watching things which have made it to Broadway or West End, mainly because it’s a lot harder to track down recordings/soundtracks of shows that were only ever off-Broadway or regional productions.
  • Each book DOES NOT count until you’ve seen/listened to the musical.
It doesn't look like there are any levels or anything - just read and watch/listen as many selections as you can! Sounds good!

Book Review: Comment Le Grinch A Volé Noël by Dr. Suess

Title: Comment Le Grinch A Volé Noël
Author: Dr. Seuss
Hardcover edition: 64 pages
Published: October 8, 2013 by Ulysses Press

from Goodreads:
Brilliant, lighthearted, and endearing, Dr. Seuss's timeless books have won over generation after generation. Even today when parents and teachers need a beginner book for a new reader, they turn to Dr. Seuss more than any other author. So what better book to help a child learn to read French than this widely popular holiday favorite.

Every holiday season children love to read about the Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small. He hates Whoville's holiday celebrations and plans to steal all the presents to ruin Christmas for everyone. To his astonishment, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday. Comment le Grinch a volé Noël offers a true-to-the-author presentation of this classic.

Alleluialu's Review:
My daughter bought this for me for Christmas this year so I could read it IN FRENCH!!! It was so much fun! I love it!                  
I loved this book - obviously - and you can get your copy here. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review: The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

Title: The Christmas Bus
Author: Melody Carlson
Hardcover: 176 pages
Published: October 1, 2006
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company

from Goodreads:
The people of Christmas Valley always celebrate Christmas to the fullest extent. The mayor plays Santa, every business is holiday themed, and there's a nativity for the kids each Christmas Eve. This town knows Christmas. But this year nothing goes according to plan. Shepherd's Inn is full of strangers, Mad Myrtle is causing problems, and a young couple with a baby due any minute rolls in to the middle of town in their Partridge Family-style bus. It's hardly the holiday Christmas Valley wanted--but it may be just what they need. This charming novella is sure to become a new Christmas tradition for readers who love a great holiday story.

Alleluialu's Review

This book only has 176 pages, but it is definitely full of stories. As you read in the synopsis, Edith and Charles open their Bed & Breakfast to strangers for Christmas after learning that their children will not be coming home. Charles, the pastor of the local church, gives a sermon on practicing hospitality and remembering that you may be entertaining angels unawares. Along comes Myrtle out of nowhere - a crochety old woman who gets in everyone's face and certainly affects all the guests and townspeople. Then there is the young couple, Collin and Amy, in their hippie-style painted Christmas Bus. Amy is pregnant and about to give birth any day. That outcome is predictable. Actually, it's a Christmas book, so the outcome is predictable, but the way it comes about is interesting and entertaining. The characters have such distinct personalities and there are so many little side stories to read. This was a delightful book. I may have to look for one of the other 149 books Melody Carlson has written. Very well done!

I gave this book 5 stars. It was a very clean, charming Christmas read. You can get your copy from your local library or here.