Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release date: September 20, 2011
Source: ARC received for review from NetGalley
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Summary: (from Goodreads) Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She canâ??t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king â?? a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And heâ??s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his peopleâ??s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesnâ??t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

First impressions: I had a hard time getting into this book. The opening third is slow paced, not very interesting, and Elisa is really down in the dumps. Despite this, however, I wanted to keep reading.

Lasting impressions: It may have started off slow, but by the end I could hardly turn the pages fast enough. I will remember this book for its ability to completely shock me.

Conflicting impressions: Some of the concepts didn’t really work for me (a magical stone in her bellybutton? Really?) and I felt the religious aspects drew too much focus.

Overall impressions: One of the first things we learn about our heroine, Elisa, is that she is fat. She is trying to squeeze herself into her wedding gown, and it ends up ripping. She consoles herself with pastries and hopes that her husband-to-be is ugly and old so she doesn’t have to feel inferior. It’s a refreshing change of pace from most books where the hero/heroine is devastatingly attractive.

What I thought would be a questing fantasy tale about Elisa fulfilling her fate turned out to be more of a book about Elisa finding herself. Throughout the course of the book she discovers that she is more than capable of being a leader – and an inspiring one at that. She becomes a completely different woman by the end of the book with changed attitudes about the world, politics, war, and even love. It’s a fascinating journey.

Though the first third of the book is a lot of Elisa moping and worrying about her destiny as the bearer of a Godstone, the story picks up after she is kidnapped. She is stolen away from her new husband’s home and dragged across the desert by residents of a war-torn area of the kingdom that is getting little help from Elisa’s husband, the king, and as the bearer of the Godstone they are convinced she is the only one who can help them.

The Godstone is a jewel placed by God in Elisa’s belly as an infant – a sign that she is the chosen one who will fulfill a Service to God. Elisa is fairly ignorant of all this entails, and as a result, so are we. We don’t know what kind of Service this means. We don’t know much about past Godstone bearers. All we know is that it responds to prayer and senses enemies. As a result, a LOT of time is spent in prayer, and at times the religious aspects seemed a bit heavy-handed.

Religion is an important player in this story, though. Elisa witnesses many different groups of people use God’s will as their reasoning behind opposing actions. She is frustrated that they are hiding behind this in order to justify their actions, but as a religious woman and a bearer, she also struggles to figure out God’s will and how it should influence her own actions. This really doesn’t get explored beyond the superficial, and I wondered why it wasn’t delved into more deeply. I wanted to know how she felt about religion impacting differing groups feeling “right” about their actions and not have her just sort of passively observe it.

Once Elisa gets fully immersed in war and comes into her own, the narrative really picks up. Though we still don’t know what she will do to save the day, we suspect that she will, and as more pieces of the puzzle fall into place it’s fun to try and anticipate what it will be. Maybe because I was so focused on the end game is why one particular event floored me. There is a SHOCKING scene that I absolutely did not see coming. It was a pleasant surprise in that I always like books that can do things differently but I was saddened by this event because I’m not sure how it served the story. It’s the kind of thing that should have rocked Elisa’s world a bit more, and when it didn’t seem to impact her trajectory or have any more influence on her choices than any other event, it cheapened what happened and made it seem unnecessary and purely for shock value. I’m curious to know what others thought, but try not to spoil it in the comments.

This was an interesting book with lots of unique elements. Rae Carson has an engaging writing style that pulls you along through slow parts and keeps you riveted through fast ones. I think this would be a great book for people interested in personal journeys of self-discovery. This is purely Elisa’s story, that happens to take place in a fantasy setting, and this is by no means a book only for fantasy lovers. If you haven’t given much fantasy a try, I suggest you start with this one.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 27, 2011
Source: ARC received from Around the World Tours
Series: Untitled sequel planned for Fall 2012

Summary: (from Goodreads) Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grow dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languagesâ??not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangersâ??beautiful, haunted Akivaâ??fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

First impressions: There are some books that make their greatness known from the first sentence. This is one of those books.

Lasting impressions: I will never be able to do this book justice through my clumsy attempts at a review. Laini Taylor’s work stands on its own, and this is definitely my favorite book of the year.

Conflicting impressions: Ha! It is absolutely laughable that I could even think of offering up a criticism of this phenomenal book.

Overall impressions: As I said on Twitter last night, JUST GO BUY IT!

There’s really not much more I can say other than that. Go buy it. You won’t be disappointed.

Karou does double duty in this one, functioning as both a normal art student in Prague and an errand girl for the mysterious monsters who summon her to fetch teeth. Yes, teeth. This is not your average paranormal.

And that is why I fell in love so hard. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Is there any greater compliment you can pay a writer than telling them their work is inspiringly unique?

Laini Taylor, I bow down to you.

Karou and the bizarre world she inhabits are intensely captivating. I could barely stand to put this book down. I relished every word, and the suspense of not knowing what would happen at any given moment was exhilarating. Finally, a book that can genuinely surprise me!

Who is Karou? Why did Brimstone raise her? Why does she gather teeth from all over the world for him? Why is Akiva out to destroy her?

The answers to these questions are half the fun of the novel. I was in no hurry to find this information, and waited patiently for our blue-haired heroine to figure it out for herself. In the last third we are treated to a glimpse into lost memories, as Karou starts to put the pieces of her disjointed life together. There is more emotion packed into the final pages of this book than in the last 10 books I read combined.

This book is haunting, magical, strange, glorious, and beautiful.


Rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Book: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: February 1, 2010
Source: Ebook purchased from Amazon
Series: The Iron Fey #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

First impressions: Meghan is a sweet girl, although somewhat invisible to the people around her. She’s ignored or taunted at school, she lives on a hog farm thanks to her new stepdad, and she has a quirky male best friend who never lets her see where he lives. With her 16th birthday coming up, her life felt vaguely reminiscent of a Molly Ringwald movie (or, say, all of them).

Lasting impressions: Though the book felt like a mishmash of beloved ideas from lots of other sources, the ending was compelling enough to make me want to read on in the series.

Conflicting impressions: The plot lacked any kind of urgency for me. Meghan meanders her way through fairy land, and though time doesn’t really exist there, I kept wishing for there to be a deadline of sorts for her to be up against so the story kept moving forward. Instead, it felt like it dragged at parts because she didn’t know what she was doing, where she was going, or when she would eventually get there.

Overall impressions: If you like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Labyrinth, Wicked Lovely, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then you’ll like this book. If you took these books/play/movie and tossed them in a blender, out would pop The Iron King. That isn’t to say there weren’t cool ideas here, it’s just that certain scenes seemed to remind me of other material, which was both comforting and disconcerting.

Meghan Chase is having a rough go at teenagerdom, and her life is quickly thrown into new territory when she comes home on her 16th birthday to find her brother replaced with a vicious changeling. Her best friend Robbie Goodfell, that merry prankster, uses this opportunity to reveal his true self, which of course is Puck. He introduces her to the hidden fairy world where he exists because he lives on in the hearts, minds, and legends of the human world.

From here, we learn of Meghan’s own ties to the fey, and she sets out to find her brother with the help of an often disappearing Puck, and a cat sidhe named Grimalkin. She encounters King Oberon and Queen Titania’s Seelie/Summer Court, and also is introduced to Queen Mab and Prince Ash of the Unseelie/Winter Court. As she continues to fumble her way around the land of the fey, she makes a lot of mistakes and deals and as a result, starts to figure out how things work down here. She’s resourceful, but too trusting and loyal – a fault Prince Ash warns her will be her downfall.

Ash is a bit of an enigma. I didn’t feel I got to know him very well in this book. In fact, most of the characters seemed to be held at a bit of a distance, so I didn’t truly connect with any of them. I liked Puck more because he’s, well, Puck. I’ve studied Puck and Claudius more than any other Shakespearean characters, and he’s very true to form here. I just wish he wasn’t a gawky redhead so I could find him as attractive as the dark and dreamy Ash. So for this book, at least, I’m calling Team Puck.

Meghan wanders in and out of dangerous situations, back and forth between the fey world and the mortal world, and there is no sense of how much time she has to rescue her brother, Ethan. If there had been a timeframe in which she had to find him, I think it would have pushed the urgency and created real consequences for Meghan’s failures. Instead, she got wrapped up in different battles and guessed her way toward finding him. She doesn’t find out who has him, or why, until the last few chapters of the book. This was very off putting for the middle section when I wanted someone to have some information that would drive the story.

I did appreciate the world created here, especially the conflict between the courts and the introduction of the titular Iron King. I’m very curious how this war will play out and what role Meghan will fill in its battles, especially given the binding agreements she had to make with some of the fey while trying to rescue Ethan. I found the book enjoyable in the end, and the overall reading experience was above average, so I give it four stars, though I hope the next books live up to the hype of being better than this one.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Book: Rampant
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: August 25, 2009
Source: Ebook borrowed from library
Series: Killer Unicorns #1
Summary: (from Goodreads) Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns… Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. Or not. Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriendâ??thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the promâ??Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters toâ??perhaps most dangerously of allâ??her growing attraction to a handsome art student … an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

First impressions: From page one, I knew I was going to like this book. Astrid is reading a gag-inducing unicorn tale to her babysitting charges, and introduces us to her feelings on the subject. She’s snarky, irreverent, and convinced that her possibly crazy mother has warped her with tales of man-eating unicorns while growing up. I. Love. Astrid.

Lasting impressions: Diana Peterfreund has managed to blend the most ridiculous fantasy element of all time – unicorns – with the most realistic portrayal of a teen I’ve ever read. Sheer genius.

Conflicting impressions: Virgins! Again with the virgins! Puh-lease. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Overall impressions: One of my favorite scenes in all of comedic film is in the movie Dodgeball, when Vince Vaughn’s character goes to Christine Taylor’s character’s house for the first time and discovers her eerie obsession with unicorns. Do you know why that scene is so damn funny? Because no self-respecting grown woman would surround herself with that much lavender, sparkles, and horned white horses. It would be like carrying a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper into a business meeting.

Astrid would find that scene funny. She practically chokes on the words while reciting that same kind of fluffy unicorn tale to the kids she’s babysitting. You see, in Astrid’s mother’s world, unicorns are fearsome fanged beasts that survive on the flesh of mammals. Astrid, of course, thinks her mother is a whack-job. While everyone else grew up thinking unicorns were majestic, beautiful creatures, she wound up with the mom whose unicorn stories were completely terrifying.

I loved Astrid’s healthy skepticism. It made the story more believable, and allowed her to make all of the snide, disparaging remarks we readers are wont to do when confronted with reading material about unicorns. When I gleefully showed off the cover and first page to my husband, I think he actually considered divorce.

Once I settled into the narrative, things moved right along. Astrid almost immediately encounters a breed of unicorn called a zhi, which not only doesn’t attack her, but bows. Like, might as well wear a skirt and curtsy, bows down to her. Right before lunging its fanged mouth at her boyfriend and roughing him up pretty good. After this near-death experience, Astrid’s boy toy ostracizes her and her mother sends her to Rome for unicorn huntress camp.

I know. Stay with me.

Because Astrid has managed to stay a virgin (sigh), and because she comes from a long line of fancy pants unicorn huntresses, she dutifully goes off to Rome. She figures she’ll spend her time learning Italian and seeing the sights. When she arrives, she’s in for a rude awakening. Her roommate is an even more emphatic huntress than her mother, excitedly blabbing about killing and training and displays an act of Pure Crazy so shocking I almost stopped reading. I’m glad I didn’t.

This book is not lacking in the blood-and-guts department. It’s a book about hunters. They hunt and kill. It’s what they do. So there should be no surprises on the violence front. Perhaps the thing I struggled with the most, however, was how easily Astrid came to accept this part of her duty. Natural instinct kicks in when she gets around unicorns, and I get that killing a beast that’s trying to kill you is easier than killing an innocent puppy. But although she experiences remorse after her first kill, she did seem overly accepting of her killer instince and the training aspects of her time in Rome. I was surprised at how quickly she just jumped on in, especially given her prior skepticism.

Don’t get me wrong. Astrid struggles with this decision. She doesn’t want to commit her entire life to remaining a virgin and hunting unicorns. The difference is that while I bought her struggle over the decision to commit to a life of hunting, I didn’t buy her lack of real rebellion at going to unicorn camp in the first place and killing lots of animals once she got there, despite her life being endangered several times. I wanted her to be a bit more rebellious, other than sneaking out to make out with cute boys.

Which brings me to Giovanni. He’s an American student studying in Rome, who along with his friend, starts double dating Astrid and her cousin, Philippa aka Phil. Giovanni represents all that she can’t have if she hunts – love, sex, companionship. She flirts with using him to take her virginity so she can avoid hunting, and also agonizes over accepting her destiny while still truly loving him.

The boys manage to complicate things in meaningful, and also hurtful, ways. It’s in the exploration of these relationships that Peterfreund shines. Astrid is a teenager – nervous around boys, overanalyzing their every move, questioning the path to physical intimacy. She is insecure about reading the right signals or how to communicate what she wants. I absolutely loved the time she spent with Giovanni, and her internal thoughts just made me want to hug her and tell her that when she grows up she’ll look back on this with a smile. Of course, what dogs Astrid is that she might not grow up with that kind of knowledge. It’s very bittersweet.

The action ebbs and flows, and at times I found the narrative a bit confusing and wandering for me, but I still give it a solid four stars. I liked the exploration of teen sexuality (minus the emphasis on virginity) and the mythology built around the unicorns. There were lots of surprises throughout the pages that made for an exciting read, and I recommend this one to those who like their fantasy with just a hint of mocking.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Book & TV Show Review: A Game of Thrones

Click the cover to purchase at Amazon
Book: A Game of Thrones
Author: George R. R. Martin
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Release date: August 6, 1996
Source: Bought for Kindle
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

First impressions: I love a good prologue – it sets the stage, gets you interested, and dives right into the action. Believe me, Martin gives good prologue here. It gave me important information about the northern area of the country, was full of suspense, and made me want to learn more. What else could you ask for?

Lasting impressions: This is undoubtedly an epic story. It covers lots of characters over a long period of time in a vast world. At times this was overwhelming, particularly to someone who doesn’t read a lot of epic fantasy, but ultimately the story was powerful and satisfying.

Conflicting impressions: Having spent so much time lately reading first person intimate narratives, the switch to a more distant third person point of view was a big change up. I was frustrated at times by how Martin seemed to power through difficult moments and present them so matter of factly. Where was all the angst and hand wringing I love? Oh, right. Not that kind of book, so no real points off from me.

Overall impressions: I have to emphasize again that I am not normally an epic fantasy reader. That, in and of itself, is a huge reason I did not rate this book higher. It’s just not my preferred genre. I love fantasy stories, I love swords and action and betrayal and lots of other fantasy elements, it’s just that slogging through 850 pages is not my idea of a good time. It takes me months to get through one of Diana Gabaldon’s behemoths, and I love them, but the process itself is a struggle. I have a short attention span.

That said, I struggled to get through this one. If it weren’t for the HBO premiere, I don’t think I would have had the motivation to finish. As much as I liked the characters and the story, it didn’t quite move fast enough to keep me engaged. It took me three weeks to read the first half of the book, and the second half I simply forced myself to sit down and read in a marathon 4 hour reading session on Friday night.

Am I glad I did? Absolutely. Like I said, it’s a great book. The characters were fantastic, and with the revolving POVs, you really get a chance to get to know them individually. My favorites by far were Arya, the 10 year old (I think) daughter of House Stark, and Tyrion Lannister, dwarf brother to the Queen. Arya is a tomboy who only wants to fight and be outside, though custom dictates she must learn sewing and act a lady. Tyrion is called “the Imp” by his countrymen, a nickname he despises, and because of his perceived deformity, is looked down upon by nearly everyone he encounters.

The beauty of the story is that all of the characters are deeply flawed, so as events quickly get out of their control, these flaws dictate devastating consequences. Martin is truly not afraid to show the darkest sides of people, nor is he afraid to take things from the characters we love so dearly. This book was frustrating often because I just wanted things to get better instead of get worse, and that is not usually the plan.

I highly recommend the book to fantasy fans, although most of them have probably already read it. Although it’s not my particular cup of tea, I still enjoyed the story and am glad it is getting a well deserved boost in publicity thanks to the HBO series. For my thoughts on the show, read on.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

First, I just have to say how much I love the posters and publicity materials circulating for the series. The production design of the entire show is exquisite, and the posters are equally amazing.

I was quickly swept up into the TV show hooplah around this premiere. After seeing a pre-movie ad for it months ago, I vowed to read the book. I followed the show’s Twitter feed, scoured the Wikipedia pages, and dove into the novel with a few weeks to spare.

Last night, it finally arrived.

I was impressed with the level of fidelity to the source material. Of course, having Martin as a consultant probably helped, but HBO really pulled out all the stops. The world was richly designed, down to the smallest details. The opening credit sequence was beautifully done, with House sigils next to the actors’ names designating their characters’ alliance, and an overview of the map of the world, giving us an idea of where we were. My husband, who hadn’t read the book, felt this was really helpful.

The casting was superb as well. I thought all of the characters looked the way I had pictured them, as if they had walked right off the page and onto the screen. The acting is great so far, and likely to only get better as the plot thickens. There are some opportunities to do some incredible work with this material, and I have no doubt that every actor on board is capable of really going there. I imagine they are all very excited to have the chance to dive into a story of this scale and depth.

In a way, knowing the story takes some of the fun out of the big reveals of treachery. The cliffhangers will likely be a bit muted, but that hasn’t taken away from my enjoyment so far. This series is definitely living up to the hype and I cannot wait to see all of the book’s incredible scenes come to fruition on my television.

I’ve already said it to one friend, but it bears repeating: the HBO subscription price for the duration of the show is definitely worth it.

Giveaway Winner and MORE Challenges!

Thank you to everyone who participated in my Huntress/Hunted by the Others/Waterfall giveaway! has revealed the winner as:

Rebecca Mallary!
Congratulations Rebecca! I have emailed you at the address provided, and your books will be ordered for you by the end of the week. Enjoy!

I didn’t get any new books to report this week for In My Mailbox, so in my boredom I decided to just sign up for more challenges! Okay, boredom isn’t totally correct since I’m crazy busy with school at the moment, but I did spot some good ones for books I wanted to read anyway, so here goes!

First up is Bookaholic Does Blogging’s Black Dagger Brotherhood challenge. Starting April 1st, we’ll be reading all 9 of the BDB series books and discussing them. Ashley has set up a nice format where we can comment either at her blog or on a Goodreads group she set up, and I’m really looking forward to this interactive format. You can participate in the challenge, the book club, or both! I’m going to try to participate in both, although I have a tendency to not follow through well in Goodreads groups. Hopefully this one will break that curse!

Okay, this one looks quite challenging, but also like a really fun way to get some new reads. It’s Life with Books’ Take a Chance Challenge 3. The point is to find new books to read in different ways. There are ten categories to try and complete. Crossovers are accepted and books can be read in any format. Challenge runs January 1-December 31, 2011.

1: Staff  Memberâ??s Choice: Go to a bookstore or library that has a â??Staff Picksâ? section. Read one of the picks from that section.

2: Loved Oneâ??s Choice: Ask a loved one to pick a book for you to read. (If you can convince them to buy it for you, that is even better!)

3: Bloggerâ??s Choice: Find a â??Best Books Readâ? post from a favorite blogger. Read a book from their list.

4: Criticâ??s Choice: Find a â??Best of the Yearâ? list from a magazine, newspaper or professional critic. Read a book from their Top 10 list.

5: Blurb Book: Find a book that has a blurb on it from another author. Read a book by the author that wrote the blurb.

6: Book Seer Pick: Go to The Book Seer and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.

7: What Should I Read Next Pick : Go to What Should I Read Next and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.

8: Which Book Pick: Go to Which Book and use the software to generate a list of books. Read a book from that list.

9: LibraryThing Pick: Go to LibraryThingâ??s Zeitgeist page. Look at the lists for 25 Most Reviewed Books or Top Books and pick a book youâ??ve never read. Read the book. (Yes â?¦ you can click on MORE if you have to.)

10: Pick A Method: Pick a method for finding a book from the choices listed below (used in previous versions of the challenge).

  • Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)
  • Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.
  • Random Bestseller. Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2010 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.
  • Sounds hard, right? Well, if you finish them all, you enter a drawing to win a book of your choice, so all of that tough reading can pay off.

    I’m trying to broaden my horizons and read more fantasy books. Darlyn and Books is running this challenge. I am going to enter the Fascinated level and try to read 6 fantasy novels this year.

    I kept meaning to sign up for this one and never got around to it. I can’t think of many Gothic books I’ve read…ever…so this will be a good opportunity for me to explore some fiction I don’t usually read. I think I’m going to like it, though, since it’s lots of mystery, spooky castles and paranormal stuff. Count me in! I’m going to participate at The Darkness Within level and read 5 Gothic books this year.

    Reading Challenge Addict
    Also, since I am a CRAZY PERSON and signed up for all of these challenges, I felt obligated to sign up for the Reading Challenge Addict challenge as well. With entry into the Reading Challenge Addict challenge, it becomes my 16th challenge, putting me at the Out of this World level (16+ challenges). Yikes.

    Visit my Challenge Index page to keep track of all this craziness and leave me suggestions if you have titles to recommend!