2021 & 2022 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2013 > Melanie's 2013 challenge - 450

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) I started 2012 with a goal of 200, ended up raising it to 400, and will probably exceed that anyways...

So, my goal for 2013 will be 450! Let's see how that goes.


message 2: by Melanie (last edited Jan 04, 2013 07:17AM) (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 1. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, 3 stars

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1) by Cherie Priest

I loved the world-building here - we have a mix of alternate history, some steampunk, pirates, zombies, all great things. The history of the place, or the beginning of the zombies, of the cause of all their troubles, is fully fleshed out, and is interesting. But slow. It started off a bit too slow for me, and while the story was really interesting, and the main plot line was entirely plausible, I never really connected to the characters. So, by the end, I wasn't all that excited for the big reveal in the end.


message 3: by Melanie (last edited Jan 04, 2013 07:17AM) (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 2. Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst, 4 stars

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

This is probably my least favorite of the Sarah Beth Durst novels that I've read, but it is still enjoyable. It's definitely an interesting spin on the vampire mythology, while still keeping all the old tropes. I started reading it, thinking I would get through a couple of chapters before I went to sleep, and about 300 pages later had to put it down so I would be able to wake up in time for work!

Pearl is a vampire, a born vampire, and her Family are all like her. Plus they are kinda vampire aristocracy - rich and influential. When her father comes home with the news that their king (the King of New England) has left them in charge of the Fealty Feast (which only happens every 100 years), the entire family is thrilled. Unfortunately, this also happens at about the same time that Pearl is staked in the chest. By a unicorn.

Pearl is kinda awesome. She is strong, fast, and kickass. She has no qualms about what she does - it is perfectly normal for her to hunt humans. Though in general, her family doesn't kill - it causes too many problems, not for any moral reason. As she changes throughout the book, she becomes a fully-fleshed out character. Some of her new classmates are also nicely 3-D, and she gets to see some of the results of her actions, both good and bad. Her growth is pretty fascinating.

However, I did have a problem with how it happened, and how it was resolved. (view spoiler)

But, despite what I didn't like, I did enjoy the book a lot. I certainly didn't want to stop reading it!


message 4: by Adriana (new)

Adriana | 3888 comments That's too bad about Boneshaker but it seems that you must have liked some part of it.


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) Adriana wrote: "That's too bad about Boneshaker but it seems that you must have liked some part of it."

I did - I actually enjoyed most of the book, it was just the beginning and the end that I wasn't as fond of. I may read some of the subsequent books in the future.


message 6: by Melanie (last edited Jan 04, 2013 07:17AM) (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 3. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King, 5 stars

A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, #2) by Laurie R. King

I do so love this series! Mary Russell is the perfect balance for Sherlock Holmes, and their interactions are quite brilliant. I loved their interaction in the beginning, (view spoiler) and how that sets the tone for the rest of the book. It also gives their subsequent meetings and discussions an edge to them, where neither one is quite comfortable. It works beautifully.

The mystery involved is typical Sherlock Holmes fare - it seems so much more complicated than it truly is. The introduction of Margery Childe, a minister of sorts and, as decided by Mary later on, a mystic, gives the plot its additional twists and turns. The hidden villain adds the danger.

Overall, loved it. Looking for the next one now!


message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 4. Demon Princess: Reign Check by Michelle Rowen, 3 stars

Reign Check (Demon Princess, #2) by Michelle Rowen

That was cute. The love triangle (quadrangle? more?) was interesting, if a little expected, and Nikki's reaction to the situations she finds herself in are both understandable and interesting. I find myself liking her a lot.

I did feel, however, that it was just too short. The entire story moves quickly, but there are a lot of things that aren't resolved, or at least resolved enough to be satisfying. There were a couple of things I was expecting to happen that just didn't, and when I reached the last page, it was pretty jarring. It didn't feel like it should be finished just yet.


message 8: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) Sarajayne wrote: "I read the first one in the series at Christmas time and totally fell in love with it! I've got A Monstrous Regiment on my tbr list and hope to get to it next month some time :) "

My favorite so far is the 2nd (I just finished the 3rd this past weekend) - I hope you love it!


message 9: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 5. Cardboard by Doug Ten Napel, 4 stars

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

This was surprisingly wonderful! I really enjoyed the story (although it did feel a bit young most of the time, and the ending, while lovely, seemed a bit Disney-fied), and made me think of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli - always a good thing!

I loved the downright cartoonish look to the panels, and how the cardboards are not just fully fleshed characters, they are more real than the real people.


message 10: by Melanie (last edited Jan 14, 2013 02:39PM) (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 6. The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman, 4 stars

The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman

Of course the story is wonderful - I mean, it is Neil Gaiman - and the only thing detracting from this at all is the rather annoying Tim Hunter, protagonist and annoying teenager. We get to see some old friends (Dream! How I miss you!), and see them through new eyes as Tim wanders his way through this world.

The art is also lovely. I really enjoyed how each world had a definite feel and style to it. It further separated the past, the future, the mundane, the faery, all of it.


message 11: by Melanie (last edited Jan 14, 2013 02:39PM) (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 7. Wild about you by Kerrelyn Sparks, 3 stars

Wild About You (Love at Stake, #13) by Kerrelyn Sparks

I think I've read most of this series at this point, and Howard is definitely one of my favorite characters. He's that lovely mix of cuddly teddy bear (snort!) and berserker. Gotta love it.

Elsa was an interesting character as well, though I wanted more about her family's background. Also, it seemed to rush a bit for the last few chapters. There was a lot of back and forth from Elsa to Howard, and the story slowed as a result. I didn't really like the effect here - it just didn't work as well as in some of the other stories.


message 12: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 8. Undead to the world by D. D. Barant, 3 stars

Undead to the World (The Bloodhound Files, #6) by D.D. Barant

This was actually really fun! I have to be honest, I haven't read any of the books in this series, and just picked up this one because we start out with a heroine who is diagnosed schizophrenic. It was too intriguing to pass up!

Overall, I enjoyed the story, and how we get little bits of information as the MC figures it all out. What I need to do now is go back and read some of the previous books in this series so I can get it to make a little more sense!


message 13: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 9. Unforgiven by B. J. Daniels, 2 stars

Unforgiven by B.J. Daniels

This was kinda disappointing. While the story itself has potential, it was seriously rushed, and not developed anywhere near close enough. It was basically a bunch of little stories that didn't really lead anywhere. The drama was seriously overdone, and flat out uncomfortable. At first, I thought that maybe I had been dropped in the middle of a series, but no, it is just written like that. It is set up, though, to be part of a series.


message 14: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 10. Seraphina by Rachel Harman, 4 stars

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1) by Rachel Hartman

This is, quite simply, a fascinating story. Seraphina, a strange and musical girl with some sort of mystery to her background and her mother, lives and works in the palace as a music assistant. There are dragons that live alongside the humans, but it is an uneasy peace at best. There are several factions that seem determined to rid the world of the other, and Seraphina and her friends (to use the term loosely - she's the very definition of a loner) are caught in the middle of it.

I loved the way this book was written - it flows wonderfully, and the first-person narrative really helps you get inside this girl's head and figure out what her world is like. Seraphina could easily be an unlikable character, but there is a vulnerability beneath that we get to see.

In some ways, it is rather trite - a girl who feels she doesn't fit in anywhere, who has the one thing she loves/is good at (music in this case, but I've seen it with art, photography, writing, usually something creative), discovers there are people she can connect to, and that even those who are different can be allies and friends. But honestly? As common as it is, it works. Seraphina is smart and savvy, and her musical ability has little to do with her overall success in the end.

To sum it up: I really enjoyed this, and am looking forward to the next in this series.


message 15: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 11. Run the risk by Lori Foster, 3 stars

Run the Risk (Love Undercover, #1) by Lori Foster

This was a fun read, though not particularly engrossing. Our Romantic Couple are both pretty interesting, and I like how each is basically doing the same thing to the other. Though the heroine's reaction to it is a little annoying - she can only complain so much, since she wasn't exactly being truthful herself. You know, at all.


message 16: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 12. Running Wild by Linda Howard, 4 stars

Running Wild (The Men from Battle Ridge, #1) by Linda Howard

This book really surprised me. I really liked it! Normally I'm not too big on contemporary romance, or cowboy romance, but both our hero and heroine were really interesting, there was an edge of danger that made sense and worked really well, and the setting was the perfect backdrop to the whole story. I think I will be looking for subsequent books in this series!


message 17: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 13. A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King, 4 stars

A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell, #3) by Laurie R. King

I absolutely loved the mystery in this one. The questions about what the bad guys are really after, and how everything plays out in the end, was fascinating. All of the Mary Russel books have all these little strings that come together, and this one did it beautifully. There were a few things I didn't really like (flashbacks are not my favorite in stories, just in general), and I felt Mary was a bit off in this.


message 18: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 14. Dark Storm by Christine Feehan, 3 stars

Dark Storm (Dark #23) by Christine Feehan

I enjoyed this one much more than the last few in this series. The hero (while still very much an alpha male) was a lot more approachable, and a lot less "you are my woman so do what I say." It was a nice change. And for what happens to the heroine right off the bat? You feel really sorry for her! And she is a strong character, even with what happens.

I actually wanted there to be more to this - something more to connect them with the other books. Hopefully they will show up again in subsequent novels.


message 19: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 15. I bring the fire Part I: Wolves by Carolynn Gockel, 3 stars

I Bring the Fire Part I ~ Wolves by Carolynn Gockel

This was an interesting novel, though definitely too short. It didn't feel like a complete story (although yes, I know it's part of a larger series). Also, there was a lot of time devoted to flashbacks which, while both interesting and informative, took a lot from the current narrative, and slowed everything down a bit much.

I liked the play on the Norse mythology, and how Loki is portrayed here (though it was definitely hard to picture him as a redhead, rather than as Tom Hiddleston's dark-haired Loki). His story is heartbreaking, and is portrayed as such. Amy Lewis is an interesting character, though I hope we get to learn more about her in the future books - I feel as if we only got a cursory look at her as an individual.


message 20: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 16. Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen, 3 stars

Reign or Shine (Demon Princess, #1) by Michelle Rowen

This series is surprisingly cute! Nikki is typically teenager, and only slightly annoying as such, has a lovely relationship with her mother, and is, apparently, a demon princess. Which she is just now finding out about. It's an interesting premise. Some of the other characters are pretty well-rounded as well, though fairly typical (the queen bee, the hot guy, etc). I liked Nikki's interactions with her aunt, but her reaction to her father seems fairly weak.


message 21: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 17. The Dark Hour by Robin Burcell, 3 stars

The Dark Hour by Robin Burcell

Interesting thriller - FBI, CIA, political thriller. There is a lot going on here, and it is fast-paced and interesting. You follow the main characters back and forth across the Atlantic as you try to match up what is going on in Europe with the conspiracies in Washington, DC. To me it reads a lot like a movie - would probably make a pretty interesting movie, actually.


message 22: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 18. The Devil's Rooming House: The True Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer by M. William Phelps, 4 stars

The Devil's Rooming House The True Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer by M. William Phelps

While this story is the historical basis for the movie and play "Arsenic and Old Lace" there is nothing light-hearted or comic about it. Amy Archer-Gilligan was the first Black Widow and Angel of Death serial killer, and did so while under investigation - even after people were starting to suspect something was wrong, she was killing people. And actually increased her rate of killing.

The book itself starts off fairly slow, and took me a bit to really get into, but once the author gives more background about the actual historical period, he is able to get more into Amy Archer's story, and that of the Archer Home for Elderly People and Chronic Invalids. Fascinating stuff.


message 23: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 19. Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst, 4 stars

Into the Wild (Into the Wild, #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

This is a little younger than a traditional YA book (the main character is in middle school, not high school), but works well for any age, really.

Julie's a wonderful character. She is smart, resourceful, and pretty perfectly pre-teen. She wants more than anything for her family to be normal, but that's pretty hard to do with her mom being Rapunzel, and her brother a talking cat. Wearing boots. She knows enough about the fairy tale world, The Wild, and now it lives under her bed.

Overall, the book is fun and entertaining, a quick read, and kinda fascinating - what if the fairy tale world was real? Would the characters have to live and die over and over? Are they trapped? And added to the thought of modern-day fairy tale characters, it makes a pretty intriguing storyline.


message 24: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniebopp) 20. Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst, 4 stars

Out of the Wild (Into the Wild, #2) by Sarah Beth Durst

I thought this one was actually better than the first.

Starting not long after the first book ends, Julie's experience with The Wild has changed how she sees the world and her family. People haven't forgotten what happened before, and now Julie's hometown is none as the Fairy Tale Capital. Unfortunately, not all the fairy tale characters are happy to be mundane, and after Julie's dad pops out of The Wild (after being there for over 500 years), he causes problems simply being himself - he doesn't know the modern world, only how to be a fairy tale hero. And walks right into the bad guys' plans.

Again, this book is a fast read, and is fun and entertaining. I think it was a great finish to the overall story. There is even a bit of romance, bringing it more firmly into the Young Adult territory.


message 25: by Adriana (new)

Adriana | 3888 comments Hmm... I read Into the Wild awhile back. I thought it was a bit too childish or something. I haven't seen the book in ages. Maybe I should try it again.


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