R.I.P. X Wrap-up

Art courtesy of Abigail Larson.

Art courtesy of Abigail Larson.

I’ve fallen so far behind on blogging (11 reviews behind, you guys!) that I forgot to do my wrap-up post for R.I.P. X! But better late than never, right? I ended up reading four books that fit within the challenge guidelines, thus completing Peril the First. Here’s what I read:

  1. Dorothy L. Sayers, Unnatural Death
  2. Deanna Raybourn, A Curious Beginning
  3. Rainbow Rowell, Carry On
  4. Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

I liked all the books, more or less, although A Curious Beginning was probably my least favorite (the heroine was far too modern). Six of Crows was my favorite for sheer entertainment value, and I also liked Carry On more than I was expecting to. Yet another fun year for this challenge, and I’m sure I’ll be participating again next year!

Once Upon a Time IX Challenge Wrap-up

once upon a time ixWell, I forgot to mention that the Once Upon a Time IX event at Stainless Steel Droppings ended last Sunday, June 21! The challenge was to read at least one book within the genres of fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and/or folklore. I committed to reading one book but actually read three:

  1. Juliet Marillier, Dreamer’s Pool
  2. Kiersten White, Illusions of Fate
  3. Naomi Novik, Uprooted

I really enjoyed all of these books, but Uprooted is the standout — it will undoubtedly end up on my top 10 books of the year! I haven’t had a chance to write my review yet, but trust me: if you like fairytale-inspired fantasy with a kickass heroine and a slow-burning romance, you should definitely read this book!

If you participated in this challenge, what books did you read? Which were your favorite and least favorite? Did you discover any great new authors or books to recommend?

Jazz Age January Wrap-up

2015 jazz age januaryWow, this first month of 2015 has just flown by! And with the end of the month comes the end of Jazz Age January, a challenge hosted by Books Speak Volumes in which participants were asked to read at least one book about or set during the 1920s. I only managed to read one book for this challenge — The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine — but I really enjoyed it! I also obtained a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Flappers and Philosophers, which I unfortunately didn’t get around to reading. But maybe now I’ll save it for next year’s challenge! 🙂 Did you participate in Jazz Age January? If so, what did you read?

2014 Historical Fiction Challenge Wrap-up

And finally, I completed the 2014 Historical Fiction Challenge at Historical Tapestry.

2014 historical fiction challenge
Participants were asked to read historical fiction from any subgenre: YA, romance, mystery, and fantasy were all fair game. I chose the Ancient History level, which set a goal of 25 books, and here’s what I read:

1. Mary Miley — The Impersonator
2. Julia Quinn — Just Like Heaven
3. Elizabeth Hay — Late Nights on Air
4. Alan Bradley — The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
5. Georgette Heyer — The Spanish Bride
6. Ellis Peters — The Raven in the Foregate
7. Elizabeth Blackwell — While Beauty Slept
8. Kathryn Miller Haines — The Girl Is Murder
9. Hannah March — The Complaint of the Dove
10. Kate Quinn — Mistress of Rome
11. Lauren Owen — The Quick
12. Ismail Kadare — Broken April
13. Sharon Kay Penman — The Sunne in Splendour
14. Juliet Marillier — Blade of Fortriu
15. Jessica Brockmole — Letters from Skye
16. Elizabeth Wein — Rose Under Fire
17. William Ritter — Jackaby
18. Robin LaFevers — Mortal Heart
19. Lauren Willig — That Summer
20. Caryl Brahms & S.J. Simon — No Bed for Bacon
21. Rhys Bowen — Naughty in Nice
22. Baroness Orczy — I Will Repay
23. Sara Gruen — Water for Elephants
24. Jennifer Robson — Somewhere in France
25. Carlos Ruiz Zafón — The Shadow of the Wind
26. Lauren Willig — The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla
27. Ashley Weaver — Murder at the Brightwell
28. Shusaku Endo — Silence
29. Roberto Ampuero — The Neruda Case
30. Diane Setterfield — Bellman & Black
31. Kate Lord Brown — The Beauty Chorus
32. Anthony Doerr — All the Light We Cannot See
33. Rose Lerner — In for a Penny
34. Charles Finch — The Laws of Murder
35. Rhys Bowen — The Twelve Clues of Christmas
36. Kate Ross — The Devil in Music

As always, check out my Review Index page for more info on any of these books. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so it’s always fun to give myself an excuse to read it! 🙂

2014 Monthly Motifs Challenge Wrap-up

I also completed the 2014 Monthly Motifs challenge, in which participants were asked to read at least one book per month that corresponded with that month’s assigned theme.

2014 monthly motifs

Here’s what I read for each month, along with a short explanation of why it fits:

January (Around the World — a book set in, or by an author from, a country different than your own):
Julia Quinn — Just Like Heaven (U.K. – England)
Elizabeth Hay — Late Nights on Air (Canada)
D.E. Stevenson — The Two Mrs. Abbotts (U.K. – England)
Susanna Kearsley — The Shadowy Horses (U.K. – Scotland)

February (Award Winner):
Lois Lowry — The Giver (Newbery)

March (Fairytales or Fairy Creatures):
Elizabeth Blackwell — While Beauty Slept (Sleeping Beauty)

April (Short & Sweet — short stories or anthologies):
B.J. Novak — One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

May (Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem):
Elizabeth Peters — Borrower of the Night
Michael Innes — Death at the President’s Lodging
William Ritter — Jackaby

June (A Long Journey):
J.R.R. Tolkien — The Hobbit

July (Assassins, Warriors, Rebels):
Richard Stark — The Hunter (Parker is a criminal and trained killer)
Baroness Orczy — I Will Repay (set during the French Revolution)
Chris Wooding — The Black Lung Captain (the crew of the Ketty Jay are rebels)

August (Alternate Reality):
Jo Walton — Farthing (England makes a separate peace with Hitler)

September (Book to Movie):
Philip K. Dick — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (became the movie “Bladerunner”)

October (The Witching Hour — book with a witch in it):
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett — Good Omens (there are multiple witches in this one!)

November (Oldie but Goodie — a book published and/or set before the year 2000):
D.E. Stevenson — Mrs. Tim of the Regiment (published in the 1930s)

December (That’s a Wrap — finish a series or read the next book in a series):
Rhys Bowen — The Twelve Clues of Christmas (next book in the Royal Spyness series)
Kate Ross — The Devil in Music (last book in the Julian Kestrel series)

For more information on any of these books, check out my Review Index page. And if the challenge looks interesting to you, be sure to sign up for the 2015 version!

2014 TBR Pile Challenge Wrap-up

2014 TBR Pile Challenge

At the beginning of last year, I signed up for the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge at Bookish, which asked participants to read books they owned prior to the beginning of 2014. The challenge itself kind of petered out, but I continued to document the books I read from my own shelves. I had originally aimed for 21-30 books, so I’m happy I managed to surpass that goal! Here’s what I read from my TBR pile in 2014, along with the date I acquired each book:

1. Mary Miley — The Impersonator (11/10/13)
2. Julia Quinn — Just Like Heaven (1/1/13)
3. Chris Wooding — Retribution Falls (9/3/11)
4. Emma Newman — Between Two Thorns (4/1/13)
5. Susanna Kearsley — The Shadowy Horses (1/20/13)
6. Charlotte Mosley, ed. — The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh (10/22/11)
7. Sarra Manning — Unsticky (12/16/13)
8. Lois McMaster Bujold — Young Miles (12/4/13)
9. Georgette Heyer — The Spanish Bride (4/12/08)
10. P.G. Wodehouse — The World of Jeeves (4/23/10)
11. Caprice Crane — With a Little Luck (8/20/11)
12. Hannah March — The Complaint of the Dove (10/9/13)
13. Frank Baker — Miss Hargreaves (4/8/11)
14. Polly Shulman — The Grimm Legacy (4/20/13)
15. Anne Sexton — Transformations (9/3/11)
16. Sharon Kay Penman — The Sunne in Splendour (8/8/06)
17. Juliet Marillier — Blade of Fortriu (4/28/13)
18. Michael Innes — Death at the President’s Lodging (9/29/13)
19. Elizabeth Wein — Rose Under Fire (9/21/13)
20. E.F. Benson — Mrs. Ames (8/6/13)
21. Ben Macintyre — Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies (6/15/13)
22. M.M. Kaye — Death in the Andamans (6/24/13)
23. Tana French — In the Woods (8/16/10)
24. Georgette Heyer — A Blunt Instrument (4/21/11)
25. Julie James — Love Irresistibly (4/8/13)
26. Richard Stark — The Hunter (9/29/12)
27. Christopher Morley — The Haunted Bookshop (4/28/13)
28. D.E. Stevenson — The Young Clementina (7/4/13)
29. Charlotte Mosley, ed. — In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor (4/28/13)
30. A.A. Milne — The Red House Mystery (4/13/13)
31. Sara Gruen — Water for Elephants (3/16/11)
32. Karin Lowachee — The Gaslight Dogs (5/30/10)
33. Carlos Ruiz Zafón — The Shadow of the Wind (10/2/10)
34. Ada Leverson — Love’s Shadow (9/25/11)
35. Shusaku Endo — Silence (4/28/13)
36. Kate Lord Brown — The Beauty Chorus (4/2/12)
37. Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett — Good Omens (1/14/10)
38. Norton Juster — The Phantom Tollbooth (7/28/11)
39. Rachel Ferguson — The Brontës Went to Woolworths (10/2/10)
40. Ben H. Winters — The Last Policeman (9/28/13)
41. D.E. Stevenson — Mrs. Tim of the Regiment (3/16/11)
42. Kate Ross — The Devil in Music (4/23/10)
43. Connie Willis — Miracle and Other Christmas Stories (3/14/12)

For more information about any of the books, check out the Review Index page! Did anyone else do this or a similar challenge? How many of your own books did you manage to read this year?