Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 IMMORTAL READING CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post




Vampires, angels, demons, werewolves and fae. If you can’t pick a favourite, then that’s okay!  At UTC, we love them all! So let’s celebrate our love for all things immortal with 2014’s Immortal Reading Challenge.

I have participated in this challenge for the past two years and had a blast with it.  Can't wait to do it again this year!

How It Works:
1. The Immortals Reading Challenge runs from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. You can join at anytime from now and throughout the year. This is a 2014 challenge, so books read before January 1 will not count to your progress.
2. You pick your goal! Read as many books as you’d like for each species. This means that you can do just one category or all five or a combination of. The choice depends on you and your reading pace.
*We have chosen to have a three book per species standard. However, if this is a breeze for you, then feel free to tackle on the additional bonus entries of two more books of the same level.
3. Re-reads are acceptable.
4. Books chosen can be of any genre.
5. To participate, all you have to do is join the Goodreads book club, The League of Lusty Ladies and check in with updates on your progress regularly on the 2014 Immortals Reading Challenge thread. That’s it!

Every month during 2014 we will make an effort to update on how you’re doing with your challenge. We hope you’ll join us!

Personal Goals (and book listing):
Like last year, I am going to try to read five adult books for each category.  Here are the books that I am hoping to read for this particular challenge.

Category 1: Vampires
1.  Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
2. My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster
3. Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
4. The King by JR Ward
5. Chained by Night by Larissa Ione

Category 2: Angels and Demons
1. Angels Blood by Nalini Singh
2. The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter
3. World After by Susan Ee
4. Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter
5. Revenant by Larissa Ione

Category 3: Fae and Magic
1. Iced by Karen Marie Moning
2. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
3. Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan
4. Warrior by Zoe Archer
5. Dark Skye by Kresley Cole

Category 4: Shifters/Werewolves
1. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
2. Hunger Untamed by Pamela Palmer
3. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
4. Written in Red by Anne Bishop
5. How to Run with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Historical Romances I Read in 2013


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~TOP TEN HISTORICAL ROMANCES I READ IN 2013~


I've already done my favorite books with Fiktshun's Top 10 of 2013 event so I decided to focus on historical romance since that is the genre I read the most in this year.  As always, there is no order to the following list.

The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2)  The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3)
1. The Heiress Effect and The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan
Books 2 and 3 in the Brothers Sinister series which continues to be so refreshing in this genre especially when it comes to female characters.  The Heiress Effect deals with a heroine willing to do anything to remain unmarried while The Countess Conspiracy focuses on a lady scientist and her efforts to keep her identity a secret.

Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, #1)
2. Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
A debut that completely blew me away at the beginning of this year.  This series takes place in a steampunk version of Victorian London with vampires, shifters, and plenty of cyber technology.  The hero of this book, Blade, is one of my new fictional boyfriends and his heroine is almost as intriguing.

Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5)  Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6)
3. Lord of Darkness and Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt
Another case of an author that had two amazing books I couldn't choose from.  These are the latest in the fabulous Maiden Lane series.  These two specifically deal with the mysterious Ghost of St. Giles whose identity has gotten more complex.  

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4)
4. Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
The conclusion of the Spindle Cove series which gives Dare a perfect 4/4 on five star ratings for me when it comes to these books.  This one specifically deals with an across-the-tracks romance between a barmaid and a wealthy duke.  It is just as charming and satisfying as Dare's other books.

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2)
5. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
Second in the Rules of Scoundrels series which deals with the owners of a popular gaming club, The Fallen Angel.  This specific book focuses on the bookkeeper of the club (Cross) and the science-minded Lady Philippa who is trying to research the more scandalous side of London.

Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
6. Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks
The conclusion to the popular McCabe trilogy that I won't go into too much detail about since the identity of the heroine is supposed to be a surprise.  This entire series was amazing, but this one was easily the best.  Highly recommended for fans of Highland romance.

Winterblaze (Darkest London, #3)
7. Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan
An amazing mix of historical and paranormal romance that focuses on couple that has been married for years, but have some major secrets.  Poppy Lane is one of my favorite heroines of 2013 and her attempts to discover the truth about her mother's past is worth the time.

Lord of Wicked Intentions (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #3)
8. Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath
Easily my favorite of this trilogy about three aristocratic brothers who were cruelly separated as children and spent their years apart very differently.  This is the conclusion and focuses on the most intriguing brother, Rafe, who runs a gaming hell despite his noble background.

Sweet Revenge (Nemesis, Unlimited, #1)
9. Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer
My first Archer book that showed me what I have been missing for all this years.  This the beginning of a new series about a group trying to gain justice for the unfortunate in London society.  The hero is a convicted felon who is broken out of prison by the heroine in one of the best beginnings I've read in awhile.

When She Said I Do (Worthington, #1)
10. When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley
I love a good fairy tale retelling and Bradley does an admirable job with this Beauty and the Beast-inspired romance.  The hero is appropriately tortured, the heroine is spunky though never annoying, and there is also a complicated family just to spice things up even more.

Honorable Mentions: Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James, Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton, When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton, The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 END OF THE YEAR BOOK SURVEY

best books 2013 end of year survey
Hosted by Jamie at Perpetual Page-Turner.

~BEST BOOKS IN 2013~

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (by genre)
The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister, #3) Heart of Obsidian  (Psy-Changeling, #12)  Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, #1) My Bluegrass Baby (Bluegrass, #1) Illumination Fangirl The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4) Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)
Historical Romance: The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Steampunk: Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Contemporary Romance: My Bluegrass Baby by Molly Harper
Male/Male Romance: Illumination by Rowan Speedwell
Young Adult Contemporary: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Young Adult Dystopian/Science Fiction: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy, #5)
Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep -- It was good, but not what I was expecting based on the earlier books in the series.

3. Most Surprising (in a good way!) Book of 2013?
The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1) Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1)
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani -- Fantastic fairy tale world with a dark twist.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion -- I'm not a zombie fan at all, but I loved this one.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Fangirl
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell -- I think almost anyone could find someone to relate to in this book.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

London Steampunk series by Bec McMaster -- Vivid setting, wonderful characters, and gothic romance.
The Ghost and the Goth trilogy by Stacey Kade -- So funny and entertaining.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2013?
Bec McMaster
Zoe Archer
Rainbow Rowell

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? 
Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion -- Again I'm not a zombie/horror fan, but this was fabulous.
The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth -- I rarely read nonfiction, but I loved the TV series based on this book and it was an interesting read.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013? 
Heart of Obsidian  (Psy-Changeling, #12) Reaver  (Lords of Deliverance, #5; Demonica, #10) Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3) Origin (Lux, #4)
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Reaver by Larissa Ione
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 
My Bluegrass Baby (Bluegrass, #1)
My Bluegrass Baby by Molly Harper -- Definitely will be a go-to comfort read next year.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Fangirl Lord of Wicked Intentions (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #3)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell -- Cutesy and fun.
Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath -- I want this dress so badly!

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 
Artemis Greaves -- Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt -- Poor spinster with a spine.
Violet Waterfield -- The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan -- Female scientists in the Victorian era.
The Ghost -- Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh -- Mysterious, but so worth the wait.
Darian Taylor -- Glitterland by Alexis Hall -- Loud, fashion-obsessed, but one of the most genuine I've ever read.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013? 
A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Fangirl
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
 
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
I know how mirrors work. They're all in league with the cosmetics trade. They tell a woman lies. Drawing her gaze from one imagined flaw to another, until all she sees is a constellation of imperfections. If you could get outside yourself, borrow my eyes for just an instant... There is only beauty. (Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare)
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (239 pages)
Longest: Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon (836 pages)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?
Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run, #7)
Touch & Geaux by Abigail Roux -- That ending killed me!!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Romance: Sydney/Adrian -- The Indigo Spell & The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead; Ty/Zane -- Touch & Geaux by Abigail Roux; Jon/Cole--Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding by Marie Sexton
Friendship: Blade and Will -- Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster; Cath and Reagan -- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Familial:  The Bridgertons from The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn

19. Favorite Books You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously 
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Reaver by Larissa Ione

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else
A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Historical romance

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
The Ghost -- Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Revenant -- Reaver by Larissa Ione
Blade -- Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1) Glitterland
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Glitterland by Alexis Hall

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Heart of Obsidian  (Psy-Changeling, #12)
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013? 
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes, #1)
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy -- It was so creative and had me laughing from beginning to end.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013? 
Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #22)
Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
Sweet Revenge (Nemesis, Unlimited, #1) The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)
Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

~LOOKING AHEAD~
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
Allegiant by Veronica Roth

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3) Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Must Love Dukes (Tricks of the Ton, #1)
Must Love Dukes by Elizabeth Michels

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
Up From the Grave (Night Huntress, #7) Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, #6) Sweet Reckoning (The Sweet Trilogy, #3)
Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
Minimize the size of my TBR shelf (last count: 93 books)