Challenges Done

2011

The beginning
This year I've decided to participate in the m/m romance challenge, hosted in Anestheza's blog.
The link for the sign-up is here: http://iheartpaperbacks.com/the-mm-romance-challenge-2011-sign-up/
My challenge will be of 30 books this year and this is the list of authors I'll be reading. Some of them I know, but most of them will be a intro into their work.
I'll read 30 books, but I'm only posting 29, for the last one will be a surprise, even for me!
I tried to get author in alphabetical order, but of course to reach 30, I'd have to repeat some letters and as I didn't find an "X", there's 5 repeats, one of them being the surprise.
Anyway, here's the list. The books I'm not sure yet, I'll choose as I go.

Albright, Addison - Cultivating Love (read 13 April)
Beecroft, Alex - The Captain's Surrender (read 25 July)
Calmes, Mary - Trusted Bond (read 8 february)
Dahl, Kenn - Soaring with a Hawke (read 26 february)
Eastwick, Karma - Imitation of Life (read 10 July)
Ford, Catt - Extreme Bull (read 4 July)
Green, Amber - Bareback (read 5 october)
Hecht, Stephani - Offside Pass (read 12 May)
Izanaki, Miza - Riding the Tiger (read 11 november)
Johnson, Ava Rose - Breaking Ground (read 11 september)
Kimberling, Nicole - Primal Red (read 18 July)
Lane, Amy - Truth in the Dark (read 18 June)
Mitchell, KA - No Souvenirs (read 11 July)
Nichols, Zoe - As Good As it Gets (read 28 february)
Okati, Willa - Lovers, Dreamers and Me (read 12 november)
Payne, SA - Snowflakes and Embers (read 21 May)
Quinton, Chris - Dark Waters (read 22 May)
Rhodes, ML - True of Heart (read 17 september)
Sutherland, Fae - The Exceptions to the Rule (read 2 october)
Temple, Tory - Keeping Karma (read 4 february)
Urban, Madeleine (with Abigail Roux) - Warrior's Cross (read 7 August)
Veinglory, Emily - Wolfkin (read 9 june)
Winter, Mary - Riding Partner (read 12 August)
Yates, Serena - To Find and to Keep (read 11 June)
Zachary, Drew - Once Upon a Veterinarian (read 17 december)

The repeated letters
Amara, Astrid - The Archer's Heart (read 2 September)
Lanyon, Josh - Somebody Killed His Editor (read 15 october)
Langley, JL - With Abandon (read 22 february)
Martinez, Angel - Finn (read 20 november)

The surprise
Several Authors - Anthology Kegs and Dorms (read 27 december)

Summary
So, I've finally finished the challenge. It was a nice experience, a very interesting way of reading books.
I liked doing things this way, simply because I've never done it before and I wasn't sure how it would affect my reading, but thankfully everything went well. I preferred books with more romance than anything else. Of course it depends on several things like the writing style, the story itself, the characters, but usually this is what compels me the more to a book, whatever it's type or genre.
Of all the unknown authors (18 of them) some were good surprises, others weren't and to be honest, with such a big TBR list I just can't find the time to try again and again things I'll probably won't expect much of.
Of all the books, only 5 were a disappointment, whether because of the plot or the writing. This was the case of the books by Kenn Dahl, Amber Green, Ava Rose Johnson, Fae Sutherland and Serena Yates.
Then there are my favorites. My top 3 has the following books:
1. The Archer's Heart by Astrid Amara
2. Snowflakes and Embers by SA Payne
3. With Abandon by JL Langley.

I'm not repeating the experience this year, but I'll try to do it again in 2013 if possible. I think this is a great way to go through one's TBR list and even to find out about new authors.
I'm not sure what else to say about the challenge..if there's something you might want to know, feel free to do the suggestion.
The review post is here: http://iheartpaperbacks.com/the-mm-romance-challenge-2011-review-post/
I hope everyone can enjoy m/m and have as much fun as I did with this challenge!



2012

I'm a member of a book club and some ladies there saw a challenge on goodreads and are going to do it so, although I didn't plan to participate in challenges this year, I gave in and I'm going to try it.
The challenge has a theme for each month and it's like this:

January - An european author (from England)

February - Main Character Has a Name Starting With the Same letter As Mine (an "s")

March - A Book With a Blue, Red or Green Cover (green)

April - The action (or part of it) is set in Asia or Africa (Egypt)

May - Something part of a series (the Downside Ghosts)

June - Something that was or is going to be adapted to a movie (was adapted in 1999)

July - A book with more than 350 pages (it has 473 pages)

August - A book published in the year you were born (1985)

September - A book by an author already deceased (1974)

October - Something by an author from your country (Portugal)

November - A book with less than 200 pages (90)

December - Something that was a gift (Christmas)

* * *

Summary: I've finished the challenge.
I did complete it during the year, but unfortunately only now I could come and talk about it...
It was fun, the best part in all this is to actually look for the books and try to match a god one to each theme.
Of the 12 of them, I obviously had my favorites...months of June and December in particular were great, wonderful reads. Two books I'll treasure forever.
I didn't care much for the books of April and November, but the one in April was the worst of them all, because I felt the story wasn't very balanced. By clicking on the links you'll be able to reach my comments about them.
This year I wanted to do it again, with different themes...I'll check and perhaps I'll join another challenge like this one. It was really fun.




2013



TBR List Challenge 2013



This year the challenge will be about all the books that await in the pile to be read, that were purchased, given and recommended so long ago and time made sure they would remain...
I heard about it in Hilcia's blog, but it's hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian, here's the post link:  http://wendythesuperlibrarian.blogspot.pt/2012/12/come-one-come-all-tbr-challenge-2013.html

-> The schedule is the following one:

January 16 - We Love Short Shorts! (Short stories, Novellas, category romance)
February 20 - Recommended Read (something recommended by a fellow reader)
March 20 - Series Catch-Up (pick a book from a series you're behind on)
April 17 - New-To-You Author
May 15 - More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile).
June 19 - Lovely RITA (RWA RITA nominees OR winners)
July 17 - The Classics (Something classic within the romance genre - an author, a specific book, a trope/theme - I'm open to wide interpretations here!)
August 21 - Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!)
September 18 - Western (Contemporary or historical)
October 16 - Paranormal or romantic suspense
November 20 - All About The Hype (a book that created such chatter that it was inescapable).
December 18 - Holiday themes (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, it's all good!)

I'll try to post accordingly, but I fear my weird monthly lists will ruin this, but I'll try to read and post in the right times.
I already chose some books, but not all of them, lol, to be honest I have to "study" what's in the pile because some books are a bit...sorry to say it, forgotten...yes, I'll flog myself later over this, my poor books.
I'll post soon about the books to fit each theme.

Note:  The image belongs to Wendy. 

Books Chosen

January: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan (novella)
February: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (recommended by friends)
March: Embrace Me at Dawn by Shayla Black (the most recent in the Doomsday Brethren series)
April: The Wild Marquis by Miranda Neville (new author to me)
May: The Naked Duke by Sally McKenzie (more than 1 book by her to read)
June: Morning Glory by Lavyrle Spencer (it won a RITA)
July: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (it's a classic romance alright)
August: Cooking Up the Storm by Emma Holly (erotica read)
September: Montana Man by RC Ryan (western)
October: Water Bound by Christine Feehan (paranormal suspense)
November: The Witness by Nora Roberts (a book very talked about when it was out)
December: Western Winter Wedding Bells by Cheryl St John, Jenna Kernan, Charlene Sands (in time for the holidays)

 -> The challenge is complete!
Summary: This wasn't a complicated challenge..it was more for fun, because reading isn't ever a challenge per se. I enjoyed the hunt for a book very much and it was the most funny things about this whole thing. I've tried to follow the themes because I liked the idea of looking for a specific book among the many I own.
As for my impressions, I was fairly happy with the choices I've made, except for the months of May and September which had books I didn't like much. If, in the case of May, I've wnrt with the series because I already had them and it would feel bad not to read them, I managed to find a couple of them very entertaining, but in the case of September I wasn't even a bit eager to read more, so this only one was enough for me.
The months that really made me smile were June and November, with two books perfect in their genre and something I had the most amazing time with!
The remaining months were good but not overly thrilling...maybe February...
I have good memories of this challenge, the care to pick a book, the juggling other books to make the one for the challenge ready by the time we had to post something up...all these things made it worth it and I will try again next year! 



2014


 

Another year of the TBR Challenge at Wendy's!
Here are the themes Wendy suggested for 2014:

January 15 - We Love Short Shorts! (Short stories, Novellas, category romance)  
February 19 - Series Catch-Up (pick a book from a series you're behind on)  
March 19 - New-To-You Author (an author you've never read before)
April 16 - Contemporary romance  
May 21 - More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile)  
June 18 - Romance Classics (classic book, classic author, classic trope/theme etc.)
July 16 - Lovely RITA (past RITA winners or nominees)
August 20 - Luscious Love Scenes (erotic romance, erotica, a "sensual" read - leave those "just kisses" books alone this month!)  
September 17 - Recommended read (a book recommended to you by someone)
October 15 - Paranormal or romantic suspense  
November 19 - Historical romance  
December 17 - Holiday themes (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, it's all good!)

Can't wait to start...
As always, the image belongs to Wendy.


Books Chosen:

January - The Untamed Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (short story)
February - Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair (series catch-up)
March - Devil's Honor by Debra Dier (new to you author)
April - Sex and the Single Fireman by Jennifer Bernard (contemporary read)
May - Forever and Ever by Patricia Gaffney (more than one book by the author)
June - Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas (romance classics)
July - It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (RITA winner)
August - I Never by Lena Matthews (erotic story)
September - Wife By Wednesday by Catherine Bybee (recommended read)
October - Crash Into Me by Jill Sorensen ( romantic suspense)
November - The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin (historical romance)
December - Snowflakes and Stetsons anthology (Christmas)

Comments:
The challenge is done. I managed to fit some interesting books into some themes and, as always happens, some unknown titles weren't as amazing as I hoped for.
My favorite months were January, July and October, although June, September and November were good too. The ones I felt disappointed in were March and December and of them all, only August was a complete failure for me.
I think this challenge is funny, it makes me think about the pile of books to read and I like to take a peek at other's lists.
The thing I like the most in this challenge is to try to find books to fit each theme because for me that is the most challenging thing in all this, reading isn't a challenge per se.
I already signed up for the next year and can't wait to start finding titles forgotten in my pile.


Challenges 2015

This year I'm joining two challenges. I don't know which titles I'll read for each but I know it will be fun to read and pick them.

1) Once again, I'm doing Wendy's TBR Challenge!
Here's the page link and rules.
Image belongs to Wendy too.



 Monthly Commentary Dates + Suggest Themes

January 21 - We Love Short Shorts! (Category romance, novellas, short stories)
February 18 - Recommended Read (A book recommended to you by another reader/blogger etc.)
March 18 - Series Catch-Up (A book in a series you are behind on)
April 15 - Contemporary
May 20 - Kickin' It Old School (Copyright date is 10 years or older)
June 17 - More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile)
July 15 - Lovely RITA (past RWA RITA winner and/or nominees - links to lists will be provided at later date)
August 19 - Impulse Read (The book you bought because of the cover or The book you bought on impulse or The book you cannot remember why you bought in the first place!)
September 16 - Historical
October 21 - Paranormal or romantic suspense
November 18 - It's All About The Hype (a book or author that got everybody talking)

December 16 - Holiday Themes (Christmas, Valentine's Day, any holiday!)

Here are the titles:
January: Alpha and Omega - Patricia Briggs (short story)
February: The Mane Event - Shelly Laurenston (recommended read)
March: Winterblaze - Kristen Callihan (series catch-up)
April: Bad Things - RK Lilley ( contemporary)
May: Simple Jess - Pamela Morsi (Kickin' old school)
June: Jake - Beth Williamson (More than One)
July: A Kiss to Remember - Teresa Medeiros (RITA nominee)
August: The Gamble by Kristen Ashley (bought on impulse)
September: I Do, I Do, I Do, by Maggie Osborne (historical)
October: Die Again - Tess Gerritsen (romantic? suspense)
November: The Legend of Lyon Redmond - Julie Anne Long (a long time coming and awaited book)
December: Western Winter Wonderland anthology (Christmas holidays)

Challenge completed!
Summary: Again, it was so much fun to do this challenge, I love that moment when I start looking at the titles I wish to read and see which ones are better suited for each theme. This year I've read some good books, like January, October and November were, many average ones and the ones that let me down, like April and June. Part of the fun is to try to find the titles and see if, eventually, they will be good picks or not. If I were to choose only perfect books where would be the fun in that? Hopefully, though, I'll pick better ones next year because I'll definitely will be doing this again.

*  *  *


2) And this year I'm trying this challenge as well.
It's hosted here:  http://www.escapewithdollycas.com/
I knew about it through another blog. I am curious to see if I can manage to find titles to suit each letter.
Rules here.
Image belongs to Dollycas.


Alphabet Soup Challenge!


 I've decided to write down each letter and add titles and dates after reading them.
A- Alex by Sawyer Bennett (December 9th)
B- Beyond the Shadows by Jess Granger (May 7th)
C- Can't Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards (December 24th)
D- Dear Committe Members by Julie Schumacher ( April 12th)
E- Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young (September 5th)
F- Fiancé by Friday by Catherine Bybee ( March 17th)
G- Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard (March 29th)
H- Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (January 17th)
I- In for a Penny by Rose Lerner (October 23rd)
J- Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin (February 11th)
K- Kraken King by Meljean Brook (January 28th)
L- Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (July 29th)
M- Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok (November 25th)
N- Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper (April 29th)
O- One Night of Scandal by Teresa Medeiros (August 27th)
P- Prudence by Gail Carriger (September 22nd)
Q- Quod Tam Sitio by Am Riley (August 11th)
R- Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (May 27th)
S- Sweet Lullaby by Lorraine Heath (April 20th)
T- Thief of Hearts by Patricia Gaffney (June 27th)
U- Unleashed by Sara Humphreys (June 15th)
V- Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers ( October 15th)
W- Wallbanger by Alice Clayton (February 10th)
X- Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton (October 29th)
Y- Yellowstone Heart Song by Peggy L. Henderson (November 13th)
Z- Zeke by Beth Williamson (August 4th)


Challenge completed.
Summary: I have mixed feelings about this challenge. I liked doing it, it was fun to look for titles to suit the alphabet letters but the difficult ones were the real challenge and I had to look for out of my TBR list for them. In a way this sort of "ruined" my intent of only using books I already had and to have to go get other books on purpose - despite the fact I don't mind getting new books - spoiled part of my fun and my wish to get over the books I already got. In the end, despite the interest of picking and suiting titles, I wasn't as thrilled as I imagined. The idea is amazing and I see countless variations of the challenge everywhere but I don't feel like doing it again in 2016. Maybe after that I might feel like trying again.

Challenge 2016

 
This year I'm doing the TBR Challenge again!
Once again, Wendy, the Super librarian is hosting this amazing challenge, with some repeated themes and new ones as well. I can't wait to start picking titles!
If you don't have a challenge, try this one. it's the best :)
Here is the page about it: http://wendythesuperlibrarian.blogspot.pt/p/tbr-challenge-2016.html
And here are this year's themes:
Commentary "due dates" and themes for next year are below.January 20 - We Love Short Shorts! (category romance, short stories, novella etc.)
February 17 - Series Catch-Up (a book from a series you are behind on)
March 16 - Recommended Read (a book that was recommended to you)
April 20 - Contemporary
May 18 - Something Different (outside your comfort zone, unusual setting, non-romance etc.)
June 15 - Favorite Trope (a favorite theme - amnesia? secret baby? fairy tale? friends-to-lovers? etc.)
July 20 - Award Nominee or Winner (links to past RITA finalists and winners TBA)
August 17 - Kicking It Old School (publication date 10 years or older)
September 21 - Random Pick (a built-in off-theme month - go where your mood takes you!)
October 19 - Paranormal or Romantic Suspense
November 16 - Historical
December 21 - Holiday Themes
Many people have signed up already and part of the fun is to go and check everyone's choices for each month.
Have fun, everyone, I know I will.
Image belongs to Wendy!
Happy reading! ;)

My List

JanuaryA Mackenzie Clan Gathering by Jennifer Ashley (short story)
February: Light My Fire by GA Aiken (series catch-up)
March: The Duke's Tattoo by Miranda Davis (recommended read)
April: Country Roads by Nancy Herkness (contemporary)
May: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (something different)
June: Hero by Samantha Young (favorite trope)
July: The Vixen and the Vet by Katy Regnery ( RITA finalist)
August: Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks ( Kicking old school)
September: Trade Me by Courtney Milan (Random Pick)
October: Savage Awakening by JD Tyler (Paranormal suspense)
November: Harper's Bride by Alexis Harrington (Historical)
December: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas (holidays)  

Comment: Challenge is completed.
This was, again, a great challenge to be part of. I love the hunting for the book to be read in the specific month and the eagerness and expectation it will be a good one. Of course, when it isn't, it's not as fun but books are always mysteries!

This year, I've had some good reads, I was kind of expecting to like some of them and january, february, september and december were reads I wasn't surpried by.
I was positively surprised by march, august and october because I didn't think I'd end up enjoying them as much.  
I think, now that some time has gone by, that june was actually the worst read although I gave it a positive grade. It's not much that I didn't like it because I did, but I wanted more from it, that's for sure.
November and april were good reads, not wonderful. May and july were interesting new authors to me and I might read more by them in the future.

I already signed up for the 2017 edition and, hopefully, I'll read more interesting books. Can't wait to see other participant's choices!
Happy reading!

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