6 BLOGGERS, 12 MINI-CHALLENGES, 24 BOOKS TO WIN!!!
We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they’re gifted to us. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we’ll finally decide to pick them up.
Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you’ve been telling yourself you’ll read next time you’ll get a chance. This is your chance! And we’ve got PRIZES!!!
This challenge is definitely one that I need! I have an entire bookshelf in my dining room dedicated to books I have not yet read. Several of them are books I brought home from BEA last summer! Shameful, I know. And yes – I’m planning to bring home just as many this year. But at least this challenge will help me clear up some space for them!
I think I’m going to choose A Sweet Kiss (21-30) as the level to shoot for. I haven’t yet decided what those books will be – it’s way too early to decide what I’m going to want to read next December. Plus, my reading moods change way too much for that.
Scroll down for the deets of this challenge, in case you want to join too!
This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013.
Anyone can enter! You don’t have to be a blogger, as long as you review the book you’ve read! (On your blog, Amazon or Goodreads/Shelfari!)
Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that’s been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2012 and earlier! NO 2013 ARCs and 2013 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2013 TBR PILE Reading Challenge. (If you don’t have a blog, post about it on Facebook or Tweet!)
You can move up levels, but no moving down.
Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
On the 20th of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it’s unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It’s open to INTERNATIONALS. The giveaway will be open until the next wrap up post goes up! (i.e. the entire month)
If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking
December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you’ll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway – a box of books.
You don’t have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!
(how many books you’re planning to read for this challenge in 2013)
1-10 – A Firm Handshake
11-20 – A Friendly Hug
21-30 – A Sweet Kiss
31-40 – Love At First Sight
41-50 – Married With Children
From the Publisher: Eve Levine — half-demon, black witch and devoted mother — has been dead for three years. She has a great house, an interesting love life and can’t be killed again — which comes in handy when you’ve made as many enemies as Eve. Yes, the afterlife isn’t too bad — all she needs to do is find a way to communicate with her daughter, Savannah, and she’ll be happy.
But fate — or more exactly, the Fates — have other plans. Eve owes them a favor, and they’ve just called it in. An evil spirit called the Nix has escaped from hell. She feeds on chaos and death, and is very good at persuading people to kill for her. The Fates want Eve to hunt her down before she does any more damage, but the Nix is a dangerous enemy — previous hunters have been driven insane in the process. As if that’s not problem enough, the only way to stop her is with an angel’s sword. And Eve is no angel. . .
Eve. Another of my favorites. It’s probably no surprise that it’s all of the witches that stay at the top of my list. Of course, I love all of the women in this series – they’re strong, independent, and capable women. Is it any wonder that I love them? There’s a reason I love Buffy and Xena too. And they all fit the same bill.
And frankly, Eve is the most BAMF of all of the Otherworld Women. She’s a half-demon/witch/ghost/<CENSORED FOR SPOILERS>. I mean really – it doesn’t get any more BAMF than that! And on top of that – she will do anything to protect those she loves.
The setting of this book is quite different from the previous ones; it takes places almost entirely in the afterlife. That is – in the plane of existence where supernaturals go when they die. This adds an entirely new dimension (pun intended) to the world that Armstrong has created.
While I don’t want to be Eve (I like living, thankyouverymuch), I certainly admire her and I am glad that our folks in the Otherworld have her on their team. Especially when there’s a mystery that needs solving or a demon spirit that needs catching!
From the Publisher: Paige Winterbourne, a headstrong young woman haunted by a dark legacy, is now put to the ultimate test as she fights to save innocents from the most insidious evil of all…
In the aftermath of her mother’s murder, Paige broke with the elite, ultraconservative American Coven of Witches. Now her goal is to start a new Coven for a new generation. But while Paige pitches her vision to uptight thirty-something witches in business suits, a more urgent matter commands her attention.
Someone is murdering the teenage offspring of the underworld’s most influential Cabals—a circle of families that makes the mob look like amateurs. And none is more powerful than the Cortez Cabal, a faction Paige is intimately acquainted with. Lucas Cortez, the rebel son and unwilling heir, is none other than her boyfriend. But love isn’t blind, and Paige has her eyes wide open as she is drawn into a hunt for an unnatural-born killer. Pitted against shamans, demons, and goons, it’s a battle chilling enough to make a wild young woman grow up in a hurry. If she gets the chance.
I honestly can’t get enough of this world. Paige is finally growing up, and now I remember why she became one of my favorite characters of the series. I love her determination and her convictions. No matter if something isn’t easy (or if it’s super dangerous), she will always do the right thing.
This is also the first book where we get an in depth look at the inner workings of cabals. This is important for later series by Armstrong.
What always strikes me about this series is how intricate the world building is. New characters are introduced, old characters come visit, and everything about the world makes sense and flows together. It’s quite baffling to me, someone who is not a writer or world builder. Awe-inspiring, even.
All I know is that with each new book, I find myself wanting to live in the world she has created. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Release Date: October 1, 2012 Title: Skinny Author: Donna Cooner
Available: Barnes and Noble I got this ARC from BEA 2012
From the Publisher: Find your voice.
Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.
But there is another voice: Ever’s singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical – and partly to try and save her own life – Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.
With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own.
Donna Cooner brings warmth, wit, and startling insight to this unforgettable debut.
This ended up being a very difficult book for me to read. In the end, it inspired a blog post that triggered a bout of depression that left me in a funk for days. For a book to have that kind of effect on me, it absolutely deserves a 5.
I turn thirty this year, yet I still see myself in this fifteen year old girl. The way she looks at herself is the way that I look at myself. The way that she pushes away the world is the same way that I push away the world.
Ever is me.
And the thing I learned the most from reading this book is that just because your outside changes doesn’t mean your inside does. And your insides don’t always match your outsides. It sounds like common sense, but this is something that so many young girls – and even young adults – struggle with. It’s always if I can lose 5 more pounds. Or my life will begin once such and such happens.
Ever’s story is about embracing who you are while you strive towards becoming the best you that you can be.
Release Date: June 12, 2012 Title: Lies Beneath Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher: Random House/Delacorte
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother’s death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family’s homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock’s daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there’s more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.
Mermaids are the new vampire.
Or so the publishing world would have us believe.
I’m not quite convinced of that. And I think that has somewhat colored my perception of this book.
The mermaid mythology in this book is certainly not of Disney lore. These vampires mermaids prey on humans, killing them to absorb their emotions. The story is a good one, I must admit. But it wasn’t the kind of story that grabbed and held my attention. It was easy for me to put down and do other things without thinking of the book at all.
And that cover? Why is it of a girl when the main character, Calder, is male?
The love story was predictable. The action was vague and mostly nonexistent.
Overall it was just a very mediocre read. Though I will probably read the sequel at some point once it’s released.
From the Publisher: “There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.
Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out.
When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her.
What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made.
Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?
I’m sad to say that while the premise of this book held promise, the execution didn’t really work for me.
Once Kate goes through the portal, there is no hesitation on her part to accept the truth and her role in saving this new (to her) world. She just embraces it and has no normal person freak out that 1) there’s another world/dimension 2) her family is from said world and lied to her all of her life and 3) she is supposed to be a super hero who will save it.
I just can’t suspend disbelief that much.
THEN. On top of all of that, she falls in love with Arland immediately since she’d been dreaming about him all of her life. And it’s unclear if he’d been dreaming about her or not (I think not), but he falls in love with her within 2 seconds as well. Then they kiss, bathe together, and share a bed for weeks – but they never sleep together.
Sorry. Uh uh. I just can’t get there. Everything in this book happened way way too fast.
Character development. World building. These are basic building blocks of a great book that were simply missing from this one.
However, it was still a somewhat enjoyable read because the premise of the story was interesting to me. I won’t actively seek the next in the series, but if I happened upon it I would read it.
Release Date: April 27, 2004 Title: Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld #3) Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Random House/Bantam
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: From one of today’s most original writers comes the mesmerizing tale of an exceptional young woman caught up in an otherworldly realm where some will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world’s most powerful elite organizations-the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige’s wildest antics can’t hold a candle to those of her new charge-an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil…and evil is all too willing to claim her. For this girl is being pursued by a dark faction of the supernatural underworld. They are a vicious group who will do anything to woo the young, malleable, and extremely powerful neophyte, including commit murder-and frame Paige for the crime. It’s an initiation into adulthood, womanhood, and the brutal side of magic that Paige will have to do everything within her power to make sure they both survive.
Gah! Paige! Why are you SO DAMNED STUBBORN?! Your damned ego just keeps getting in your way.
Erm, hi! So yeah… that’s what I was thinking about for the entire first half of this book.
The other half was Yay! It’s Paige and Lucas! I lurve Paige and Lucas!
With a few moments of oh em gee Savannah, stop being such a brat! But I was thirteen once, so I get it. Really, I do.
Armstrong writes her characters so damn realistically. I love it! This was the first book I ever read by Kelley Armstrong. I didn’t realize it wasn’t the first book in the series- how that happened, I have no idea. Apparently I neglected to look inside the book jacket to see the series book order. But she weaves the story in such a way that if you missed the first two books, it’s okay. There’s enough backstory to fill in the details that are necessary, but for the most part it’s a brand new story that stands on its own.
That’s what makes this series so awesome. It never gets old or boring because the characters are all old friends but the series isn’t one endless story arc.
Now, off to read the next one! (I wish… I’ll have to wait til next month)
Release Date: September 27, 2011 Title: If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: The entire school’s talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee’s no ordinary high-school junior. She’s a banshee—she screams when someone dies.
But the next scream might be for Kaylee.
Yeah—it’s a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee’s going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend’s needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren’t quite human, either.
But Kaylee’s borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.
This is one of the most spoilery reviews I’ve ever written.
If you have not read this book, PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
What is this I don’t even.
Yeah, so that was pretty much reaction last night when I finished. I was left completely speechless by the turn of events. It was one of those books that had me grinning like a goof and then at the end I was making all of these incoherent sounds that were very positive- I swear. Not that anyone who heard me last night would believe me.
Let me first say- I still hate Sabine. A lot. And that makes me happy. And isn’t completely shocking, considering how much I hated her in the last one.
But in what is a shocking turn of events, I am now 100% irrevocably Team Tod. And I never thought that would happen. Ever.
In a million years.
But it did. I still don’t completely understand it. I can’t pinpoint a moment the moment it happened.
Oh wait- yes I can.
“There’s a good kind of crazy, Kaylee,” he insisted softly, reaching out to wrap his warm hand around mind. “It’s the kind that makes you think about things that make your head hurt, because not thinking about them is the coward’s way out. The kind that makes you touch people who bruise your soul, just because they need to be touched. This is the kind of crazy that lets you stare out into the darkness and rage at eternity, while it stares back at you, ready to swallow you whole.”
“I’ve seen you fight, Kaylee. I’ve seen you step into that darkness for someone else, then claw your way out, bruised but still standing. You’re that kind of crazy, and I live in that darkness. Together, we’d take crazy to a whole new level.”
Seriously, where the hell did that come from?
It doesn’t matter. I loved it. And quite frankly, the ending was one of my favorite endings ever.
This is, hands down, the best book in the series so far.
Release Date: January 4, 2011 Title: My Soul to Steal (Soul Screamers #4) Author: Rachel Vincent
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: Trying to work things out with Nash-her maybe boyfriend-is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.
See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears-and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.
And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever-and whoever-she wants.
I didn’t think a book in this series could be more infuriating than the last one. I was wrong.
Nash has begun to redeem himself. But I was so obsessed with hating Sabine that I almost didn’t see it. That girl is a real piece of work. And yet, I understand her. I admire her for the strength and determination she has when it comes to getting what she wants. I don’t have nearly the balls she does. But I hated her for how she treated Kaylee. There is no other word to describe her than bitch.
Tod is getting close to crossing a line. It’s becoming more and more evident that he has feelings for Kaylee (like I haven’t seen that coming since the first book). And telling Kaylee to let Nash go was so self-serving that I’m not sure what I think about it. On the one hand, he made some very logical points (as did Sabine) about why Kaylee and Nash shouldn’t be together.
But dammit- LOVE IS NOT LOGICAL.
Trying to use your head and think about love is just about one of the worst things you can do.
And sure- I do think Tod and Kaylee could make a good couple; I just don’t want them to because, despite his mistakes, I adore Nash. Plus, I’m not sure Kaylee would ever be able to see Tod that way.
The most annoying thing about the book, however, is that I have a suspicion that I’m going to end up liking Sabine in future books.
Release Date: May 10, 2011 Title: One for the Murphys Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt Pages: 256 Publisher: Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books Available:Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: A moving debut novel about a foster child learning to open her heart to a family’s love
Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she’s blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong–until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She’s not really a Murphy, but the gifts they’ve given her have opened up a new future.
I was honestly surprised at how well Hunt was able to write the internal monologue of a teenager going through hell. My reaction to it was different from most books. Ordinarily, I become the characters I’m reading about (in my head at least). And no, I’m not crazy.
But that didn’t happen with Carley. I saw Carley. I felt her pain, but it was not internalized as reading a character would normally be. Hunt made me see Carley as a separate being; someone hurting and in need of love, compassion, and for something good to happen in her life.
I even shed a few tears.
But you’ll have to read it yourself to find out if they were good tears or bad ones.
And trust me, if you like Contemporary YA, you should read this one.