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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 E-Book Reading Challenge

The 2012 E-Book reading challenge is being hosted by Workaday Reads and will run from January 1 - December 31st, 2012. Signup and Rules

My E-Books are starting to pile up as well, and since they aren't taking up room anywhere, it's easy to forget about them, so I think this is a great challenge for me!

I read about 20 e-books/novellas this year so I'm going to declare the DVD level which is 25.

I will keep track of my accomplishments here: My E-Book Progress

2012 Mount TBR Reading Challenge

The Mount TBR Challenge is hosted by My Reader's Block and will run from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012. Sign up and rules

I not only have a Mount TBR, I have a TBR Mountain Range! I'm not trying to brag, it's more that I look around and start to think that maybe I have a problem... My husband says no, but I'm not so sure! At any rate, this is a great challenge for me!

I'm going to declare the El Toro level, which is 75 books. I was about to declare Mt. Everest, but realized that of the about 110 books I've read in 2011, almost 45 of them were audiobooks and e-books, which I'm not going to count since they're not taking up space, and that's my goal here is to work on the books that are taking up room!

I will keep track of my books here: My Mount TBR Progress

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

January 2012 Read-a-thons

Just Deb is hosting the Marvelous Middle Grade Read-a-thon, here are the Signup and details. It will take place January 2 - 8, 2012

Bout of Books 3.0 Read-a-thon takes place January 9th-15th, here is the Sign-up.

The Winter Mini Readathon hosted by Sarah Says Read is a one day event on January 22, 2012. Signup and details

A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon hosted by The True Book Addict takes place January 23-29th 2012, Signup and details, we will use Twitter hashtag #WintersRespite

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Spirit Challenge - The Day After Christmas

It's the day after Christmas, which is my favorite time if I'm lucky enough to take the day off because that means all the before work is done, all the presents are open, and it's time to play and relax! My favorite online game, Guild Wars always hosts a Holiday event where they have special missions, holiday drops from monsters and festival hats and costumes for your characters to wear. The towns are always decorated too. Here are a couple pictures from the game:

Since my last update we have also been to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert which has sort of become a tradition for us at this time of year. If you don't know who they are you should really check them out, you may have heard some of their music being used in synchronized Christmas light displays. Here is a video of one of their more well-known songs.

Neither of those count for our challenge of course, but in the interest of sharing all things Christmas, I decided to report in!

Today I watched Snow with Tom Cavanaugh, very cute and I recommend it as a fun holiday movie. Tom starred as Ed Stevens on the TV series Ed. In Snow, Tom plays Nick Snowden who has inherited the role of Santa Claus from his father. Buck, the villain has captured one of Nick's younger reindeer who has not yet learned to fly, and is hiding him at the local zoo, where Sandy works. Nick must get Buddy the reindeer back in time for Christmas because he's not able to pull the sleigh with only 7 reindeer. He tracks Buddy down at the zoo and has to try and get him back safely. In the meantime he falls in love with Sandy and tries several times to let her know who he really is but the timing is never quite right. Buck finally brings his own plan to fruition, which was to sell Buddy to a rich hunter as a premium game experience since he's able to jump very high, though not yet fly. It's during the rescue attempt that Nick is finally able to show Sandy who he is as they escape from Buck themselves. Of course is must end happily, so Buddy takes care of escaping himself, getting the best of Buck, and learns to fly at the last minute, saving Christmas. I had actually watched the sequel Snow 2: Brain Freeze first, in which Nick has amnesia and Sandy must help him to regain his memory of being Santa Claus. I really enjoyed them both, they were ABC Family titles.

As for reading, I did finish A Dixie Christmas, which was two novellas by Sandra Hill. The rating on Goodreads isn't too high, but I enjoyed them both, they were light and humorous. In Blue Suede Suites a rich business man falls (quite literally) for a farm girl and finds out what is really important in life. This one sports an Elvis theme, and I can only imagine the nativity scene that is described there! In Jinx Christmas a NASCAR driver gets the help of a matchmaker to win his ex-wife's love back and ends up as the star of a bad boy strip show. I picked this up free for Kindle, though I think it's not on the free list anymore.

I'm not sure what holiday read I'll settle on next, I'm reading for the Wrap Up 2011 Read-a-thon right now, trying to finish a non-holiday book, so I'll check in later on that!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011 Read-a-thon

It's time for the Wrapping Up 2011 Read-a-thon hosted by Jessie's Remarkable Reads This read-a-thon lasts from December 22nd - January 1st. There is also a Twitter Hashtag to use: #WU2011R

I will do all my updating in this post.

First up is Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale, one of my absolute favorite romance authors!

Start: page 60
EOD1: page 113
EOD2: page 184
EOD3: page 240
EOD4: page 264
EOD5: page 373
EOD6: page 447 - finished
Start Day 6: page 1
EOD6: page 13
EOD7: page 92
EOD8: page 109
EOD9: page 165 - finished
Start Day 6: page 1
EOD6: page 35
EOD7: page 66
EOD10: page 128

Total Pages: 680
Books Finished: 2.5

And we're done! You would think I could have done better in 10 days! I managed a fairly typical 68 pages per day. At least I wasn't a lot worse than normal, and considering we had a major holiday in there, I think I did pretty well!

Thanks for hosting Jessie! I'll definitely look forward to future read-a-thon's!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2012 Reading Challenges

What to do, what to do? I did miserably on my reading challenges this year, my own and all the others I signed up for, even though they were for the type of books I read all the time! The only one I finished was the Mystery and Suspense Challenge hosted by Book Chick City, and that probably doesn't really count because while I read the books, I haven't gotten reviews for all of them posted. I know, there's technically still time, but the likelihood that I'll get them done is slim to none, especially this time of year!

Even so, I get that little thrill of excitement at the idea of NEW challenges for a NEW year, getting to start all over with a clean slate! I tell myself that I shouldn't join, that it's too much pressure etc., but then I think, okay, but if I don't, then I have to wait another whole year before I can join again! The whole point is to keep you reading, right? Right!

Here are the ones I'm considering, and I'll do formal posts later if I decide for sure:

Book Chick City has a bunch:
The Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
The Mystery and Suspense Challenge
The Speculative Romance Challenge
There are others, so be sure to check out the right hand sidebar when you visit!

Workaday Reads is hosting the 2012 E-book Challenge

BaffledBooks/Adventures of 2.0 is hosting the 2012 Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge

Bitten by Paranormal Romance is hosting the 2012 Paranormal Romance Challenge

Romance Book Junkies is hosting the 2012 Historical Romance Challenge

Literary Escapism is hosting the 2012 New Authors Challenge

The Eclectic Bookshelf is hosting the 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge

Luckily a lot of these will overlap. I'm going to mull it over for a few more days before committing!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Spirit Challenge - Week 3 1/2

I'm a little late reporting in for the Christmas Spirit Challenge this week, but my excuse is that I was putting up the rest of my outside decorations on Sunday.

I finished up We Three Dragons, an anthology of 3 holiday stories centered around dragons. I was thrilled to get a hold of this one when I saw it offered up in a Bookcrossing trade box because you just don't see many holiday themed fantasy novels. I enjoyed all three stories, but the last and longest of the three was basically a dragon centered version of A Christmas Carol, where a mean old dragon is re-awakened to the joys of love. I've already passed it along to Bookcrossing friend and hope she enjoys it too!

I've next started reading A Dixie Christmas by Sandra Hill, two novellas packaged together. The first one is very funny so far, the Elvis themed Nativity Scene was a hilarious idea! It's just the kind of light and humorous story I wanted!

I did watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians from 1964, and it was bad, but fun, honestly a lot more enjoyable than the Santa Claus movie with the devil wandering around. The theme song was pretty catchy too. It definitely had that 60's feel to it! The Martian suits were very silly, and the polar bear was great too, in a cheesy but fun kind of way. The premise is that all the Martian children are watching Earth television and becoming obsessed with the idea of Santa Claus. In order to make their children happy, they go and kidnap and couple of children and Santa Claus and bring them back to Mars, where they intend to keep them forever. Of course there are good Martians and bad Martians, and there is sabotage, but good triumphs, and everyone parts as friends, Santa and the human children going home to Earth, and one of the Martians taking up the reins of the Santa role on Mars. It was fun, and bad, but definitely worth a laugh, even if you don't watch it all the way through.

Believe it or not, I had never seen more than the most famous bank scene of It's a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart. We watched that this past weekend while visiting friends and playing cards. I have to admit I wasn't watching it closely, but at least I have seen more of it than I did before! I should probably watch it again when I'm actually paying attention!

We also watched a Barry Manilow Christmas special Barry Manilow: Happy Holiday from 2009. It was a smaller audience setting where he was taking requests, and there were definitely some superfans there! He's just got such a wonderful voice, and along with John Denver, he was one of my favorites as a child.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas reading and watching! I need to get around and visit!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Snow Days Read-a-thon Dec. 5 - 7, 2011

Next up we have the first time Snowy Days Read-a-thon Dec. 5th - 7th (Mon - Wed) hosted by Turning the Pages. We'll be using the Twitter Hashtag #SDRAT. I will post my starting line and updates here, all in the same post.

Starting line - Dec. 5th - Monday

Starting point Day 1: page 142
EOD1: page 163
EOD2: page 202
EOD3: page 240
Starting point Day 1: Page 110
EOD1: page 126
EOD2: 184 - finished
Starting Point Day 1: 0:0:0
EOD1: 0:41:00
EOD2: 1:20:00
EOD3: 2:02:00

Day 1 Stats

Pages read: 37
Time listened: 0:41:00
Books Finished: 0

Day 2 Stats

Pages read: 97
Time listened: 0:39:00
Books Finished: 1

Day 3 Stats

Pages read: 38
Time listened: 0:42:00
Books Finished: 0


Total pages read: 172
Total time listened: 2:02:00
Books Finished: 1

Not my best ever, but every page read is a page farther along! ;)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Christmas Spirit Challenge - Week 2

I participated in a Holiday Readathon this weekend, which helped me to finish up An Enchanted Season, which I really enjoyed.

This is a collection of 4 short stories by Nalini Singh, Maggie Shayne, Erin McCarthy and Jean Johnson, all known for Paranormal Romances.

In Melting Frosty Matt and Holly both suffered the loss of their parents, but it affected each very differently. Holly keeps Christmas traditions alive to honor her Mother, while Matt tries to avoid Christmas altogether if he can because memories of his father, and the loss of a keepsake hat are too painful. The grow to care for each other when they are stuck together in Holly's old house during a snow storm. They both receive a few unmistakable signs that they are meant to be together.

In Charlotte's Web Charlotte has long been in love with her best friend Will, but doesn't think he returns her feelings. Though her sister insists they are witches, Charlotte has never believed it to be so, until her powers awaken quite humorously. She then goes along with her sister's idea of casting a lust spell on Will, but then she is left wondering if his actions are because of the spell, or because he really feels for her.

Beat of Temptation was my favorite of the collection as it dealt with characters I had read about before in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series. Tamsyn returns from medical school for Christmas, to a mate who believes she is too young to handle his true feelings, so he forces them back. Tamsyn needs to make him understand that though she is young, she's more than ready to take him on, and wants nothing more than for them to be together as true mates should.

Gifts of the Magi is another story where a group of people thrown together in a snowstorm learn about themselves and each other, guided by a group of magical travelers from out of town.

I really enjoyed all of these short stories and highly recommend this as a Christmas read! The paranormal aspect, while important, is fairly light in all stories except Beat of Temptation, and they focus more on relationships, and the magic of cherishing another.

I'm currently reading We Three Dragons, which is another anthology of 3 holiday stories centered around dragons, something you just don't see too much of! Fantasy and Sci-Fi rarely have holiday based stories in the way that romance and mystery do. I do recommend Orson Scott Card's A War of Gifts if you're looking for a Sci-fi holiday read, it was excellent!

I've only seen part of a movie this week, and I don't think I'll be finishing it! LOL! When I saw the following cover on Netflix, I had to give it a try, wouldn't you?

It's just called Santa Claus, here's the synopsis from Netflix: José Elías Moreno stars as Santa Claus in this decidedly dark take on the Christmas season, a bizarre tale involving the devil, a demon named Pitch (José Luis Aguirre "Trotsky") and a plot to derail yuletide cheer with pure, unadulterated evil. But there's another big twist worth mentioning: This Santa Claus lives in outer space, and his only hope for saving Christmas lies in the hands of Merlin the Magician (Armando Arriola).

I do not recommend this one, unless you just like really bad sci-fi-esque older films (it's from 1959), because that's exactly what it is! (My husband is nodding in agreement, it was really bad!) Just in case you want to judge for yourself, it's available for instant watching on Netflix.

I have another one that I just can't resist trying out, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians from 1964, I expect this one will be bad as well, but with a title like that, I have to check it out!

I'll report in again next week!

Friday, December 02, 2011

2nd Annual Holiday Read-a-thon Dec. 2 - 4, 2011

It's time for the Second Annual Holiday #Readathon hosted by WhoRuBlog. This one runs from Dec. 2nd - 4th (Fri - Sun). We'll be using Twitter Hashtag #readathon for this one. I will post my starting line and updates here, all in the same post.

Starting line - Dec. 2nd - Friday

I'm in the middle of 3 books right now, so I'm going to keep going on those and try to finish them up!

Starting point Day 1: page 153
EOD1: page 264
EOD2: page 330 - finished
Starting point Day 1: Page 117
EOD1: Page 125
EOD2: page 142
Starting point Day 1: 5:15:32
EOD1: 6:31:37
EOD2: 8:52:34 - finished
Starting point Day 2: Page 1
EOD2: page 47
EOD3: page 110

Day 1 Stats

Pages read: 119
Time listened: 1:16:05
Books Finished: 0

Day 2 Stats

Pages read: 130 (so much for my big boast of reading a lot more today! lol!)
Time listened: 2:20:57
Books Finished: 2

Day 3 Stats

Pages read: 63 (not so good today, but it was still a great read-a-thon!)
Time listened: none

Total pages read: 312
Total time listened: 3:37:02
Books Finished: 2

Thursday, December 01, 2011

3 December Read-a-thons

I've found 3 read-a-thons in December so far that I'm going to participate in! It's typically a pretty busy month with the holidays, so I don't expect to get a lot done, but I do enjoy the read-a-thon vibe.

The first one is the Second Annual Holiday #Readathon hosted by WhoRuBlog. This one runs from Dec. 2nd - 4th (Fri - Sun) so it starts tomorrow! There is a charity component to this one, so what I'm going to do is donate for all three read-a-thons, to make my donation better, and I've chosen Wayside Waifs, a local no-kill animal shelter, as my charity of choice for this month! I will pledge $5 for each book I finish during these three read-a-thon's. We'll be using Twitter Hashtag #readathon for this one.

Next up we have the first time Snowy Days Read-a-thon Dec. 5th - 7th (Mon - Wed) hosted by Turning the Pages. We'll be using the Twitter Hashtag #SDRAT. I'm hoping we don't get any snow, since I have to work anyway, but if we do that's okay! ;)

I've posted about this one once already but wanted to include it again. This is the Wrapping Up 2011 Read-a-thon hosted by Jessie's Remarkable Reads It's her first time hosting, so lets make it a great one so she'll keep on doing it! The read-a-thon lasts from December 22nd - January 1st. There is also a Twitter Hashtag to use: #WU2011R

So there we go! Come join us for some reading in December! Maybe it will help you finish up those reading challenges! Not me, I'm way too far behind for that!
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