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December challenge

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message 1: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 74 comments Mod
I know I'm late. It has been a whirlwind of activity this weekend. Hope everyone is doing well.

1. Read a book by an author whose surname begins with J.
2. Read a book about fairs.
3. Read a book about a holiday.
4. Read a book that's been sitting on your shelf for a while.
5. Finish a book that you started and didn't finish.
6. Read a classic.
7. Read a favorite author.
8. Read a book that's on the top of your TBR pile.
9. Your choice.


message 2: by Sheila (last edited Dec 31, 2015 03:35PM) (new)

Sheila | 74 comments Mod
Hope I make it this month but here's my list so far:

2/9, 23 book

1. Read a book by an author whose surname begins with J.
2. Read a book about fairs--My Renaissance Romance by Sahara Kelly--finished 12/3/15.
3. Read a book about a holiday--How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagen--finished 12/12/15.
4. Read a book that's been sitting on your shelf for a while--Cut, Crop, and Die by Joanna Campbell Slan--finished 12/7/15..
5. Finish a book that you started and didn't finish.
6. Read a classic.
7. Read a favorite author--Sinner's Steel by Sarah Castille--finished 12/24/15.
8. Read a book that's on the top of your TBR pile--Snowbound at Christmas by Debbie Mason--finished 12/18/15.
9. Your choice--Mommy, Carry Me Please? by Jane Cabrera--finished 12/12/15

Bonus:
Boom Boom Go Away by Laura Geringer--finished 12/12/15
The Little Blue Truck Christmas by Alice Schertle--finished 12/12/15
Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Gray--finished 12/12/15
Seven Sneezes by Olga Cabral--finished 12/12/15
The Little Snowplow by Lora Koehler--finished 12/12/15
I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal--finished 12/12/15
Lively Elizabeth: What Happens When You Push--finished 12/12/15
How to Catch a Fish by John Frank--finished 12/12/15
Circus Fantastico by Lynn Gordon--finished 12/12/15
Scarecrow Pete by Mark Kimball Moulton--finished 12/12/15
Blackbeard's Last Fight by Eric Kimmel--finished 12/12/15
Monsters Mind Your Manners by Elizabeth Spurr--finished 12/12/15
That's Not My Snowman by Fiona West--finished 12/12/15
The Vacationers by Emma Straub--finished 12/15/15
Two Weddings and a Fugitive by Donna Joy Usher--finished 12/22/15
Chocolat Chaud Murder by Harper Lin--finished 12/26/15
When to Rob a Bank by Stephen Dubner and Steven Leavitt--finished 12/31/15


message 3: by Chuck (new)

Chuck | 86 comments It's December already and I just can't believe it! Not much time for reading books this month with all the activity going on. Anyhow, this what my December reading looks like;

1. Read a book by an author whose surname begins with J.
2. Read a book about fairs.
3. Read a book about a holiday.
4. Read a book that's been sitting on your shelf for a while.
"A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness
5. Finish a book that you started and didn't finish.
6. Read a classic.
7. Read a favorite author.
8. Read a book that's on the top of your TBR pile.
"Four Summoner's Tales" by Kelly Armstrong, Christopher Golden, David Liss and Jonathan Maberry
9. Your choice.


message 4: by Rachel (last edited Dec 07, 2015 08:14AM) (new)

Rachel River Angel by A. Manette Ansay -A. Manette Ansay 12-2-15
This was a well-written novel with some rather eclectic but well-drawn characters. I would classify the book as a coming-of-age novel, more-or-less, because even though a death takes places in it, it isn't a murder, so I wouldn't call it a real mystery or suspense novel. Regardless of its genre placement however, I would have to say that this is an interesting novel even though I found the story line to be a bit strange. This is more of a spiritual novel than a Christian one despite the fact that the book is full of "Christians" and focuses on the belief or disbelief in the supernatural and in angels specifically because the author states in her note at the beginning that she is not a believer and brings it up in her "coda" at the end just in case you missed her denial the first time. In any case, it was a fairly good albeit a sad novel.

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer -Kim Vogel Sawyer 12-4-15
This was a fun and fairly well written historical Christian romance. I enjoyed the characters and their growth, and I thought the plot was both interesting and suspenseful. I enjoyed the novel and will probably read more of the series.

Illuminate (Gilded Wings, #1) by Aimee Agresti -Aimee Agresti 12-7-15
This was an extremely interesting and entertaining YA paranormal (and very clean) novel. (view spoiler) I really liked Haven and her growth as a "person," and her friends were also interesting and strong characters in the novel. I truly enjoyed the battle of good versus evil in the novel and plan on reading more of the series.

Tales of Adam by Daniel Quinn -Daniel Quinn 12-7-15
This is a short collection of tales where Adam is teaching his son Abel things he needs to know in order to be a hunter and a man. In that regard, it rather reminded me of Aesop's Fables because each of Adam's tales has a lesson in it. However, this book is full of pagan/New Age ideas about "the gods" and how everything and everyone are part of "the gods" and are destined to return to "the flames" or the force of life and then return as something else, more or less. It also espouses the ideas of evolution within the idea of creation, which reduces man to being just another "predator," no different than any other animal. There are a few ideas in the book that saved it from a one star rating though, which I'll post right here so that you don't have to bother reading this novella.
"When you act, act wholeheartedly and with an undivided will, but leave your ears open to the message of events and don't force the gods to topple mountains onto you before you understand."
"...the person standing in your tracks is you. Never say, like a child, 'My brother made me do this' or 'My wife made me do this' or 'The gods made me do this.' The tracks you make are your own. Stand in them bravely."
"A child can no more learn to be an adult before he's an adult than a man can learn to be a hunter before he hunts. This is why everything is permitted to you today, because you're still a child. But tomorrow, when you're a man, the things permitted to you as a child will be permitted no longer. If today you smash your spear against a rock in a fit of temper, I will laugh and make you a new one because today you're still a child. But if you do the same tomorrow you'll make a new spear for yourself or go hungry, because tomorrow you'll be a man, even as I am, and must begin to be responsible for your life.
This is the meaning of the rites of initiation into adulthood: not that you have learned to be an adult, but that you must begin to learn. The day after your initiation, your thoughts will be the same as those of the day before, but you will nevertheless be accorded the rights of an adult and be expected to fulfill the obligations of an adult. And you will learn to cope with both in the same way you learned to be a hunter: by beginning."


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Washed Up by Susan Koefod -Susan Koefod 12-9-15
This was such a well written and interesting mystery novel that also dealt with the topic of child abuse and other types of dysfunction. I thought the main characters were portrayed well, and their development throughout the novel was good. The plot was highly intriguing and entertaining despite dealing with hard topics and involving a very heinous crime. The reason that I gave this novel four rather than five stars is because of how full of vulgar language it was and how there was a completely gratuitous sex scene in it, but otherwise, I really loved it.


message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit -TaraShea Nesbit 12-12-15
This was an interesting novel written from the perspective of the wives of the scientists who developed the atomic bomb during World War II. It is actually written in the viewpoint of "we" and "us" rather than "I" and "me," which was quite unique and interesting, so there was no real protagonist or character development but rather a collective set of memories and observations from those three years that they lived their secretive lives in Los Alamos, New Mexico; in addition, there was almost no dialogue. I rather liked it because of how unique it was, but since there was no way to connect to any of the characters as there were no individuals who were truly focused on, I didn't really care much for them and their lives; however, I did find the descriptions of the land rather informative and slightly entertaining.


message 7: by Rachel (last edited Dec 31, 2015 03:12PM) (new)

Rachel December's challenge:

1. Read a book by an author whose surname begins with J. N/A
2. Read a book about fairs. N/A
3. Read a book about a holiday. River Angel-A. Manette Ansay 12-2-15 (begins with Christmas)
4. Read a book that's been sitting on your shelf for a while. N/A
5. Finish a book that you started and didn't finish. N/A
6. Read a classic. Ender's Game-Orson Scott Card 12-23-15
7. Read a favorite author. N/A
8. Read a book that's on the top of your TBR pile. N/A
9. Your choice. Echoes of Mercy-Kim Vogel Sawyer 12-4-15, Illuminate-Aimee Agresti 12-7-15, Tales of Adam-Daniel Quinn 12-7-15, Washed Up-Susan Koefod 12-9-15, The Wives of Los Alamos-TaraShea Nesbit 12-12-15, Dead Until Dark-Charlaine Harris 12-13-15, Once Upon a River-Bonnie Jo Campbell 12-14-15, True Confessions-Rachel Gibson 12-16-15, The Quiet Game-Greg Iles 12-20-15, X Isle-Steve Augarde 12-26-15, Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love-Xinran 12-28-15, The Night Stages-Jane Urquhart 12-31-15


message 8: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris -Charlaine Harris 12-13-15
This is a well-written and entertaining paranormal mystery/suspense novel meant for adults since it has a large vein of romance running through it. The characters were interesting, and I enjoyed the twists and turns the novel took on its way to the conclusion of the mystery. I look forward to reading more of the series.

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell -Bonnie Jo Campbell 12-14-15
I thought this was a fairly well written coming-of-age novel that deals with several really tough issues, but I found it rather disturbing how Margo had such an odd view of what is right and what is wrong. I realize that people who are abandoned by a parent and have had other forms of abuse in their childhood struggle in life, but I have never met a person who kept doing wrong things and not knowing deep down that they were wrong things. She has such a skewed view of the world, but seeing her life from her viewpoint and what she does as a result of not only her particular view of the world and its people but also of what has happened to her by the time she's a young teenager does make for an interesting albeit a slightly disturbing story. Overall, it wasn't a terrible novel to have spent my time on, but I'm unlikely to read it again.


message 9: by Rachel (new)

Rachel True Confessions by Rachel Gibson -Rachel Gibson 12-16-15
This is a secular romance novel, so it's not to everyone's liking and is definitely a book for adults. That being said, however, I really enjoyed the book. The characters are well drawn, and I enjoyed the plot, which is ultimately about how you have to have honesty and trust in a relationship.

The Quiet Game (Penn Cage, #1) by Greg Iles -Greg Iles 12-20-15
This was an action-packed mystery/suspense novel full of political and legal intrigue. I really enjoyed the plot, and the characters were well drawn. I really enjoyed this first book of what will likely be a very good series, which I look forward to reading more of; this novel has certainly earned a place on my favorites' list.


message 10: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1) by Orson Scott Card -Orson Scott Card 12-23-15
I had previously listened to this book on CD, and I think that I just can't follow plots that are read aloud because I barely understood it at that time. Upon actually reading it in a written format this time, I had a much easier time comprehending what was going on as well as who was who. So, while reading sci-fi will never be a preference for me, I did find this book to be well-written and fairly entertaining with well-drawn characters. I rather liked it and might read some more of the series later on.

X Isle by Steve Augarde -Steve Augarde 12-26-15
This book was a YA dystopian novel that would likely appeal to teenage boys a lot more than to girls of any age because of the type of humor employed in the book. However, I would be hesitant to recommend the book to anyone. I did find the concept and setting interesting, but I found the main focus of the plot to be truly disturbing. While I know that dystopian novels are usually disturbing, this book didn't use the typically awful elements that normally characterize a dystopian novel; instead, the plot depends entirely on the craziness of a man whose understanding and application of the Bible is beyond insane. While I didn't like the fact that the bad guy was religious, styling himself a preacher, the reason that I found the portrayal of the character as well as the meat of the plot so disturbing was because it felt too possible--the world is flooded, people are doing whatever is necessary to survive, and a religious man has gone off the deep end and enslaves young boys (view spoiler) to atone for the people's sins so that the flood waters would recede.

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother Stories of Loss and Love by Xinran -Xinran 12-28-15
This was a well-written nonfiction book about Chinese women who have given up their daughters at birth or shortly afterward and about the culture and legal standards that cause this to happen. Even more heartbreaking is the fact that in primitive, poverty-stricken areas of the country baby girls are not merely left out to die of exposure but instead are forcibly smothered, drowned in water that would've lovingly washed a son, or thrown into the slop pail--all because daughters can't carry on the family name and light incense to the ancestors or gain their family any additional land while still needing to be fed. Primarily the author's purpose for this book is to assure adopted Chinese daughters that their mothers didn't casually abandon them because they didn't love them but rather their mothers sacrificed their own feelings for the sake of their daughters' lives and futures. I learned a great deal about China's culture and political rights, especially related to the one-child policy and to adoption.


message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart -Jane Urquhart 12-31-15
This was a long, rollicking story told from the perspectives of several different characters, which gradually revealed their connections to one another, however minor they were. Besides which the book was told entirely in past tense and primarily from the perspective of a woman sitting in an airport analyzing a mural painted on the wall and remembering her affair with a married man who was obsessed with trying to find his brother because it was his fault that the young man had seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.The writing style rambled too much for my taste, taking forever to reveal what in essence was a very simplistic plot; it's not until the last several chapters that the whole tale is explained in a way that makes any sense, but even then the conclusion is irritatingly unfinished. In addition, most of the characters didn't have any depth at all, meaning that I didn't develop any sympathy for them. I will definitely never read this novel again.


message 12: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 74 comments Mod
Manda wrote: "Hi all, are you continuing next year, if so would love to rejoin xx"

We are but we'll move to a new group and call it Read 100+ books in 2016. I look forward to seeing you there.


message 13: by Sheila (last edited Dec 31, 2015 03:37PM) (new)

Sheila | 74 comments Mod
It's been a busy month for me. Between the holidays, Painting with a Twist, and retiring today I haven't been able to get into the group much this month. Okay, not at all. Next month will, I hope, be different. Hope to see you all in the new group I'll be setting up tonight for 2016.

I've been reading a lot of children's books. I wanted to make sure what I bought for my sister's grandchildren were age appropriate since they are all under 5. Only one was not age appropriate so, needless to say, that one stayed here until they get older.


message 14: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Mertens | 21 comments Looking forward to next year's group. Spent most of this month reading Christmas stories which I love to do at this time of the year. My favorite from this year's group was "A Gift from Bob" by James Bowen about his life with his cat. They are known from their blogs. Loved their adventures. Also read "Twelve Days" about taking in foster children for the holidays and their affect on a family. "A Lonely Dog for Christmas" gave a pet's eye view to the holidays. That was fun to read. It would be good to read to pet loving kids.
"Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy" by Debbie Macomber was a fun tale of angels and their adventures at this time of year. Cute little book to read. "Checkout Girl" was a cute angel story for Christmas as well. Also read the collection by Marjorie Holmes called "At Christmas the Heart Goes Home". It collected stories she wrote over the years for magazines. It was interesting. On the non-Christmas front I read "Girl Meets Change" about coping with and learning to like change by Kirsten Strong. " The Isle of the Lost" was the prequel to the Disney movie Descendants. It is an interesting story about the lives of the children of the villains in Disney movies. Very good set up for the movie. Loved that book. But most importantly I read "Darth Vader and Friends" which was great and saw the new movie. It is awesome. Looking forward to the reads of 2016. Starting with "The Crystal Star", another Star Wars book. Happy New Year's Eve to you all.


message 15: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 74 comments Mod
Manda wrote: "Sheila wrote: "It's been a busy month for me. Between the holidays, Painting with a Twist, and retiring today I haven't been able to get into the group much this month. Okay, not at all. Next month..."

Thank you. After 40 years I'm ready. I especially look forward to staying in bed in the morning when a snow storm hits overnight.


message 16: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 74 comments Mod
Manda wrote: "Sheila wrote: "Manda wrote: "Hi all, are you continuing next year, if so would love to rejoin xx"

We are but we'll move to a new group and call it Read 100+ books in 2016. I look forward to seeing..."


Happy New Year! 4 hours until the New Year hits here on the East Coast of the U.S.


message 17: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Mertens | 21 comments Sheila wrote: "Manda wrote: "Sheila wrote: "Manda wrote: "Hi all, are you continuing next year, if so would love to rejoin xx"

We are but we'll move to a new group and call it Read 100+ books in 2016. I look for..."


Is it up yet?


message 18: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 74 comments Mod
Colleen wrote: "Sheila wrote: "Manda wrote: "Sheila wrote: "Manda wrote: "Hi all, are you continuing next year, if so would love to rejoin xx"

We are but we'll move to a new group and call it Read 100+ books in 2..."


Yes.


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