Signing up for 2014 Challenges!

This year I’m only joining 3 challenges. I had browsed through the Novel Challenges blog many times and found quite a few that really intrigued me. However, I’m wanting to really focus on reading this year rather than trying to find books that fit categories. So I only decided on three; two of which I have participated in before and one new-to-me one.

So I’m officially signing up for:


This one is one of my favorites but I have yet to complete it. Maybe this year will be the year?! One can hope. Although I know that romantic comedy, alternate history, graphic novel and anthology are all going to give me problems… Here’s the categories:

    1. Award Winning
    2. True Crime (Non Fiction)
    3. Romantic Comedy
    4. Alternate History Fiction
    5. Graphic Novel
    6. Cosy Mystery Fiction
    7. Gothic Fiction
    8. War/Military Fiction
    9. Anthology
    10. Medical Thriller Fiction
    11. Travel (Non Fiction)
    12. Published in 2014


This one is new-to-me, even though it’s been around for a few years. I’ve always been a little intimidated because you have to make a list and stick to it. Those types of challenges always make me nervous, but I wanted to try that this year because there are a few books that I need to get off my shelves, it’s getting kind of ridiculous how many books have been there for years. The rules are simple, you pick 12 books (and 2 alternates) that have been on your shelves or your TBR “list” for at least 1 full year. That means no books published before 1/1/13. Easy enough for me, lol. I went through and picked out a few books that have been on my shelves for the longest as well as some new series books that I want to try out. Here’s my list (in no particular order):

  1. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl (which has been on my shelf since 2007, no joke)
  2. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
  3. The Hostage by W.E.B. Griffin
  4. The Hunt for Atlantis by Andy McDermott
  5. New York Dead by Stuart Woods
  6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  7. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
  8. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  9. Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
  10. Killing Floor by Lee Child
  11. The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry
  12. Bye Bye, Baby by Max Allan Collins


  1. Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O’Connell
  2. McNally’s Secret by Lawrence Sanders


I was excited to see that someone took this one over after Beth Fish Reads announced she wanted to pass it along to someone else. I’ve participated in this one about 4 times since its inception with Annie and thoroughly enjoy it, even though I didn’t finish it in 2013, I have high hopes that I can finish it in 2014! Here’s the categories:

  • A reference to time (Eleven Minutes, Before Ever After)
  • A position of royalty (The People’s Queen, The Last Empress, The Curse Of The Pharaoh)
  • A number written in letters (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, A Tale Of Two Cities)
  • A forename or names (Rebecca, Eleanor & Park, The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D.)
  • A type or element of weather (Gone With The Wind, Red Earth Pouring Rain)
End of Year Wrap-Up, Favorite Books

2013 Wrap Up: My top reads of the year

I find this list getting harder and harder to put together each and every year. Why? Because I read so much awesome stuff that I never know where to start. Ha, not really. It’s more because I just plain can’t decide, lol.

In the order that I read them this year (clicking on the cover will take you to my review):

The One I Left Behind This was my first read of 2013 and I knew the moment I finished it that it would undoubtedly make my top reads at the end of the year. It’s actually a book that I remember quite vividly – and that is saying a lot for me. I still highly recommend this book and I am giddy with excitement that I have an e-galley of Ms. McMahon’s 2014 release, The Winter People!



The Aviator's Wife I so fell in love with this book. It was just amazing. I can’t even begin to explain my feelings on this one. It’s another one that I knew once I finished it that it would be making this list (and I read it in January!). It’s just a beautifully written book and I loved it. Loved, loved, loved it.



The Boleyn King This was one of those impulse requests on Edelweiss. I don’t know why it initially interested me, but I know that I was intrigued throughout the entire book. And two words: That. Cliffhanger! AAH! I’m bummed because I managed to score an e-galley of the second book in the trilogy on NetGalley, but I let it expire before I could get to it … oh well, guess I’ll have to buy that one in the future so I can find out what happens next! Definitely a great historical fiction that I highly recommend!

If You Were Here This was my first time reading an Alafair Burke book (don’t ask me why) so I was uber-excited when I was approached by TLC Book Tours to be a part of the blog tour for this book. And what a fun roller coaster ride of a book it is! The characters are so well-developed you would have thought they were part of a long-running series. It has definitely made me excited to read more from Ms. Burke in my future!

Reconstructing Amelia The only thing I can say about this book … READ IT! It is so powerful and engaging. It’s just amazing. It was so real and thought-provoking. Every parent should read this book. Every teenager and pre-teen should read this book. And then discuss, discuss, discuss. There is so much to this book that needs to be talked about. Highly recommended.


The Widows of Braxton County When I was originally pitched this book I immediately jumped on it. I liked the idea of the family secrets theme that it promised. And what family secrets they were! Wow! The book switched back and forth between Kate in the present day and Hannah some 100 years before. On the same farm. Dealing with some very similar situations. If you like deep family secrets you will probably like this book. I know I enjoyed it a lot.


The Never List I saw this book somewhere online and knew I had to read it. I was just thrilled that my library had a copy with only 1 person ahead of me on the wait list. And let me tell you, it’s a story that will suck you in and spit you back out when you finish it. It would probably be a tough read for some people, but I never felt as if the author took any over-the-top gratuitous descriptions about what the characters went through. And the way that it was so similar to what happened in Cleveland this year … just creepy!


Dead Until Dark Why did I not start this series ages ago? What is wrong with me? Well at least I’ve started it and am looking forward to seeing what happens with Sookie. My review of this one was short and sweet because I assume everyone and their brother has already read this book. If not, I definitely recommend you giving it a shot. It’s a fun read that I really enjoyed.


The Edge of Normal I was sent an invitation to download this one on NetGalley. Boy was that the best random, unsolicited e-galley I’ve been sent in a long time! (Maybe ever?!) It’s such a dark book. And the characters, you will be so intrigued by them. I think that Ms. Norton can definitely carve a nice spot in the crime genre for herself if she so chooses. Highly recommended.



Living Dead in Dallas Surprised to see this one here? I was a little bit, too. But honestly, I think I enjoyed the second installment of the Sookie series even more than I did the first. It was a little darker and grittier than the first book. But oh so very intriguing. And it makes me kick myself for not having the 3rd book already on my shelf! Either way, as I stated in the blurb for the first Sookie book, I’m sure everyone has already read these books, but I’m new to the party and thoroughly enjoying them! Once again, give it a shot if you haven’t already!