Monday, December 31, 2012

100+ Book Challenge 2013

I haven't found an official 100+ Book Challenge yet, but I am a avid reader and I will challenge myself to read 100+ books in 2013.
I am confident that I will be able to do that since I hit 103 in 2012. That list is on a page at the top of my blog, but until I figure out how to show all my pages under my header you will have to wait to access that page to see which books I actually read in 2012. I know, I know who cares what you read in 2012, but if you take a look you might find something that you might be interested in that you hadn't previously known about.
So, in the next couple of days I will be fooling around in blogger trying to figure out how to get all my pages to show up at the top of my blog under the header.

Happy New Year!!!
Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Chunkster Book Challenge 2013

I'm signing up for The Plump Primer part of the challenge again this year. I have already got my books picked out. I intend to complete the rest of the Fantasy series I started at the end of 2012.
You'll find the logo and link on my side bar and below you will find all the rules and regs you will need to get started also.

Definition of a chunkster:
A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature, whether non-fiction or fiction. A chunkster should be a challenge.

If you read books in large print, your books will need to be 525 pages or more. The average large type book is 10-15% larger or more so it’s a fair estimate.

The rules:
  • No audio books. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • No e-books allowed. This was discussed in much detail in the 2011 challenge. The short version: a chunkster isn’t a challenge if you’re reading it on an e-reader. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • Essay, poetry, and short story collections will be allowed. Collections have to be read in their entirety to count. If you’ve needed a reason to finally pick up your copy of The Collected Works Of ____ now is the time.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone may join. (If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment on this post with your challenge level and your progress throughout the challenge.) 
  • You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you’ve picked a level, that’s it. You’re committed to it!
You must pick a level of participation:
  1. The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the readers who want to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn't want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.
  2. The Plump Primer - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months. 
  3. Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the reader who can't resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 - 550 pages in length2 books which are 551 - 750 pages in length2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions page for some books which fit into these categories).
  4. Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings.
Want Suggestions of what to read? 

Check out the Chunky Book Suggestions page. Throughout the year, we will be adding new books to this page.

To review or not to review, that is the quesion...
Reviews are not mandatory, but they are strongly encouraged. We will be putting up a Mr. Linky at the beginning of the challenge for links to your reviews. We will also be posting a Mr. Linky for wrap up posts at the end of the challenge.

To sign up, please use Mr. Linky below by linking DIRECTLY to your post about the challenge (please, please - do NOT link to your main blog page!!). If you do not have a blog, please just leave a comment telling me you are joining the challenge. Thanks! There is NO deadline for sign ups - sign up whenever you want through the end of the challenge period.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Completed The Chunkster Challenge

I have successfully completed the Chunkster Challenge for 2012 with the last book on the list below:

1. The Scottich Prisoner---Diana Gabaldon--534 pgs.
2. Rebels & Traitors---Lindsey Davis--742 pgs.
3. 1632---Eric Flint--552 pgs.
4. Time Spike---Eric Flint & Marilyn Kosmatka--467 pgs.
5. Wizards First Rule---Terry Goodkind--820 pgs.
6. Stone of Tears---Terry Goodkind--979 pgs.

The last book Stone of Tears is the longest so far and it is the second in a series of 8. The rest of the series are all Chunksters and I plan on using them for my entries in next years contest.
If you are a fan of Fantasy Fiction this is a good series to invest in. The characters are good and evil. So far good has prevailed. There is lots of adventure and dire fixes that the characters get themselves into and have to figure out solutions for. My only complaint with this second book was toward the middle it got a little too much description of every little thing and then when I got past that the author picked up the pace again and came in with a smashing finish to lead you to the next book in the series.
I still liked it well enough that I will continue with the series so far.
Sometimes I just need a little bit of magic and fantasy to relieve the stresses of everyday life.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥ 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wizard's First Rule by: Terry Goodkind

I just got through reading my 5th Chunkster, I have one more to go before Dec. 31st. I think I will read the second in this series to finish off my Chunkster list for this year.
I've become a big fan of Diana Galbadon and I have been a fan of Christopher Paolini for a long time. Not only did I like Wizard's First Rule, but I found that Terry Goodkind has a very similar writing style.
Good characters with personalities that make you empathize with them sometimes even the mean characters, which is good because there is a little bit of bad in all of us.
I liked the way the story evolved over the 820 pages and for me it had a very satisfying ending. Even though I know this is quite a long series if for some reason I did not know that or was unable to get the next books the author brought all events and characters to an ending that would be happy enough to be a stand alone book. However, since by the time you're finished you're so invested in the characters that it's nice to know there's more to the story.
There is magic, monsters, and even a special dragon. If you're a fan of Fantasy you'll like this one.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Time Spike by: Eric Flint & Marilyn Kosmatka

I have checked my challenges and I'm close to my 100 books for the year but after reading Time Spike I've got 2 more Chunksters to read.
I'm back into Sci-Fi and Fantasy right now. I find I need a little escape reading and escape is what you do when you read Time Spike.
Eric and his co-author Marilyn have created a very interesting scenario for us. Lots of people, animals, and decisions of what to do about good guys, bad guys, animals, and plants they don't know much about.
There are quite a mix of characters in this book so you need to keep your thinking cap on to keep everyone straight as to who belongs with whom, but even though we love to root for the good guys in stories and real life, you might be surprised, you might end up rooting for some of the bad guys in this one.
The book starts out in a prison, but don't be put off by the first 5 to 10 pages keep reading for some adventure and surprising situations.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Silver Shawl by: Elisabeth Grace Foley

The Silver Shawl is set in Colorado in the late 1800's. As you may or may not know back in that time of history when people went West in the U.S. they didn't necessarily give out a lot of information about themselves. So it's no surprise that our heroine's intended doesn't know that much about her when she turns up missing and the local sheriff and a detective start asking questions trying to help find her.
However, her astute neighbor across the hall of her rooming house, Mrs. Meade, seems to be able to suss out clues the men in charge don't seem to catch onto.
This is a plot that has been dressed up in many different kinds of times, clothes, and  characters, but the author has given it a fresh perspective with the introduction of Mrs. Meade.
A quick read with some interesting twists and turns, but I won't tell about the ending. You'll have to read to see how the story turns out.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥ 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Bowl of Souls Series by: Trevor H. Cooley

This is a YA Series, but as I've said before I'm just a big kid at heart and I love to read about good triumphing over evil.
Unfortunately, if you don't have an E-Reader you won't be able to pick this one up. Mr. Cooley has had to E Publish himself. Shame on the big publishing houses for not saying yes to this author.
I never thought I would enjoy my Kindle Fire because I have been a reader of real books all my life. There's just something about opening a new book, the smell of the ink on paper, just no description for that since I'm not a writer.
The first in the series is Eye of the Moonrat, the second: Messenger of the Dark Prophet, and the third is: Hunt of the Bandham.
All the good characters are very likeable, and all the bad characters are very bad. Just the right mix to keep you rooting for the good guys throughout the series.
Mr. Cooley story has good flow which keeps you turning the pages and when you get to the end of one book you're wanting to read the next. When I got to the end of #3 I was so glad to find that he is working on #4.
If you're up for a bit of fantasy adventure this is a series you might want to check into.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Jade Queen by: Jack Conner

I happened to get this book free on my Kindle, but after opening it up, by the time I got to the third page I knew this was going to be quite a page turner and by the time I got to the end, I would have paid for it.
If you decide to pick this one up and read it I suggest you block off some free time because you won't want to put it down.
I happen to be a big fan of Preston and Child, their Agent Pendergast series especially. This book reminded me very strongly of their style of writing that series. Lots of action, a little bit of creepiness, a little romance, and some mystery thrown in for spice.
I wasn't quite sure how to categorize this book, but I read one of the reviews on Amazon and Jane from Austin, TX said she thought it fell into the Historical/Mythical genre. Without giving away any spoilers on this one maybe that will peak you interest to give this one a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Farewell, Miss Zukas by: Jo Dereske

Well, all good things must come to an end and I must say Jo Dereske ended the Miss Zukas series on a high note and with a happy ending. I love happy endings.
We've been reading the Miss Zukas series from the beginning, 11 years. That's hard to believe. Miss Zukas has been one of those characters that you could totally believe in even with all her eccentricities. That and her wild friend Ruth, what a pair. They do say opposites attract.
Miss Zukas is a logical thinker and has her way of working through life.
I would highly recommend this series, but I suggest you start from the beginning to get the full benefit of Miss Zukas's family, friends, co-workers, and last but not least the reason we all read mysteries is the great way Miss Zukas helps solve all the mysteries she gets involved in.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries Series by: Karen MacInerney

There are 4 books in this series so far:
               Murder on the Rocks
               Dead and Berried
               Murder most Maine
               Berried to the Hilt

The series starts with our heroine Natalie dumping her cheating fiance in Austin, TX and moving to Maine to invest her life savings in the Gray Whale Inn. She had summered on the island and has fond memories of the place.
The first book of course is Natalie getting to know the neighbors and trying to fit in, but trouble seems to follow Natalie. Natalie cooks up breakfasts and ends up having her niece Gwen come to stay for the summer to help out with housekeeping. Gwen enrolls in art classes with the resident artist, much to her Mother's chagrin, but Gwen and Natalie end up hitting it off famously.
Natalie solves the mystery, no spoiler there, she's our heroine, and as each book progresses Natalie's story along she finds new love, and many interesting mysteries on the island that her inn inhabits.
There is just enough description of the landscape, weather, and people to keep your interest, and the recipes are a bonus.
Cozy, fun reads, and I recommend that you read the series in order. I happened to have all of them at hand and read one right after the other so I never lost the continuity of the story. Some series you need a breather in between books, but this is a good series to read straight through if you can.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

1632 by: Eric Flint

1632, is actually the title of this book. An alternate history, set in Europe during the 30 Years War. A group of West Virginia people are picked up and plunked down in the middle of the action and action there was during that time period.
The author has created some wonderful characters that you will get invested in, which will keep you reading this chunkster til the very end and the very end is where you will want to go for all the juicy details of these peoples lives.
The author has done a credible job of incorporating modern technology, politics, and peoples attitudes to adversity.
If I say anymore there will be spoilers and I don't want to spoil the story for you.
This is the beginning of a series that you'll want to read if you enjoy action, adventure, politics, and just plain old American ingenuity.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Murder on Waverly Place by: Victoria Thompson

Here is another series we have been reading for a long time and have never tired of it. Since, 1999, as a matter of fact.
Sarah Brandt, mid-wife and confirmed sleuth along with her neighbor, Mrs. Ellsworth, and Maeve, one of the girls she has rescued from the Mission where she helps out from time to time, tend to drive Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy crazy with their meddling in one case after another. However, over the years he and Sarah have forged a friendship of sorts, so he is becoming more resigned to their help.
This is another good read in this series and another book where you need to get comfortable because you'll be reading to the very end to get the full solution.
Ms. Thompson always leaves us wanting the next book because we are still anticipating a deeper relationship between Sarah and Frank.
If you enjoy reading about the Victorian Gaslight era, this would be a series to immerse yourself in.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Tell Me, Pretty Maiden by: Rhys Bowen

We've been reading Molly Murphy Mysteries since 2002 when the series began.  There are two more books after this one.
Molly has been through thick and thin throughout this series and in this installment it is no different. She is a woman and as most of us women she is still having to prove that she has an intelligent mind.
She meets up with the famous Nellie Bly who happens to be friends with her neighbors across the way, which she finds exciting and decides she can get herself in and out of just as many scrapes as Nellie.
Ms. Bowen's got you on the edge of your seat until the very end in this one, so snuggle in and be prepared to read to the very last page.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

The Black Widow Agency by: Felicia Donovan

Four ladies with some not everyday things in common. It's fun to see how their personalities impact each other and the Agency they have formed to catch men who cause havoc in women's lives.
This turned out to be a fast paced read with a happy conclusion.
I liked it well enough to search out the second one:  Spun Tales.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beverly G (Rebels & Traitors--742 pgs)

Rebels & Traitors     by: Lindsey Davis

Lindsey Davis has given us a good view of the English Civil War. She takes us from 1634 all the way to 1657. We follow basically 4 main sets of characters and the people who revolve around them including their interactions with famous people of the time. Remembering this is a work of fiction and these are events that could have happened.
Wars are always horrible, but they have seemed to fuel the world since the beginning of time. Families are torn apart for reasons of differing ideologies and  having to scratch out a living with all the carnage going on around them.
Ms. Davis has addressed all these issues with an interesting mix of how real people of the time might have handled these events surrounding their lives.
I happened to know some about the reign of Charles I and the ascension of  Oliver Cromwell so I was able to follow the events very easily. If you're looking to read a book about this time period without a dry history lesson this would be a good read for you. This book is filled with lots of intrigue, adventure, sad , and happy times, with my favorite characters still alive at the end.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Harper's Quine by: Pat McIntosh

This is a tale of love, deceit, greed, and murder most foul. It's hard to believe as you read this book that human nature and the things that drive humans to be good or bad haven't changed since the beginning of time. I guess that's part of what keeps the universe in balance.
It looks like there are seven more books in this series. I will be reading through the series as the year progresses. I enjoyed the characters and the time frame of this book. Ms. McIntosh gives just enough description to go along with the action to keep the story moving along at a good pace.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Last Dickens by: Matthew Pearl

The Last Dickens is a fictionalized account of what might have happened before, during, and after Charles Dickens died suddenly after writing 6 serialized chapters of his last book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
This book contains some interesting facts concerning the publishing business in the 1800's that I wasn't aware of. We modern people of the 21st century are lucky to have so much access to books of all kinds from all over the world. Back in those days there were people called Bookeneers who hung around the docks waiting for versions of books from their authors to come across from Europe on their way to publishers here.
Of course, I have to say I don't know that much about how publishing works today, but I'm sure there is just as much fierce competition as there was back in those days.
Charles Dickens was wildly popular, just like our movie stars of today. People flocked to see him when he came over for his American tour of readings of books he had already published.
No ending was ever found to The Mystery of Edwin Drood and as you can see by this book, people are still speculating on how it might have ended.
This is the third book in this series, each one a stand alone. The first is The Dante Club. I confess I tried to read it a couple of times, but it was a little dry for me. The second, The Poe Shadow, I have not attempted yet.
The Last Dickens has enough twists and turns to hold your attention and keep you wondering how it will end.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Miss Julia Throws a Wedding by: Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia is a typical, sweet, Southern Lady, who likes to have her finger in all her friends pies. She has a little bit of an unusual living arrangement with the woman who was her late husband's mistress and the mistresses son by the late husband. They have become best friends and of course, she loves the little boy.
For some reason when I started this book I thought it was another cozy mystery. Where I got that idea I don't know, but that's o.k., it's a novel.
Even though there is no murder, there is an escaped prisoner, whom the police can't seem to recover, an unexpected miracle happens, and Miss Julia plans and pulls off a wedding in just under a week.
The wedding is for the chief deputy, who also is a boarder in her home and his girlfriend a local attorney. They met and fell in love at first sight at Miss Julia's house, so who more appropriate to handle their wedding especially since their busy schedules barely allow them time to get married and have a quickie honeymoon.
If you like sweet love stories, filled with nice people with good intentions, you'll like this story, and it has a happy ending.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chunkster Reading Challenge

I have decided to take part in the Chunkster Reading Challenge this year. I participated in 2010, but somehow forgot to sign up last year. It's probably a good thing I didn't because of my Mom's stroke, hospital stay, and nursing home stay I didn't meet as many of my personal goals last year as I had hoped. However, she is much improved and back home so I'm going to give this challenge a go.
I've decided I'm going to sign up at The Plump Primer level, that will be 6 books with 450 or more pages, and by the way those have to be real books, no Kindle or audio books.When you click over to the Chunkster Reading Challenge blog you can read all the rules in detail. I just love Wendy and Vasilly's blog header this year.
I've become a fan of Diana Gabaldon, so with the release of The Scottish Prisoner, 534 pages I already have the 1st book on my list read. This is the latest in the Lord John Series.
As with the other challenge that I am participating in I will put the clickable blog blinkie on my side bar and create a page at the top of my blog to keep the running list of the Chunksters that I read.
This year at the Chunkster Reading Challenge they have a book club challenge that you can sign up for and they've been very helpful and given us a list of Chunkster suggestions. I took a look at that list and there are some on there that I think I might give a try.
One that caught my attention is The Mill on the Floss  by: George Eliot. I read Silas Marner in high school, so I'm familiar with George Eliot. The time frame for The Mill on the Floss is a favorite of mine.
If you are an avid reader this would be a good challenge for you to try out this year, especially if you haven't tried it out before. It's still early enough in the year that you can accomplish this goal.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Dead as a Scone & The Final Crumpet by: Janet and Ron Benrey

Royal Tunbridge Wells is a real place in Great Britain, but the museum is a work of fiction by this writing team. However, they fitted a charming tea museum into a charming setting.
I recommend that you read these two books one after the other, the story flows.
You know the old adage you shouldn't fall in love at work, well it shouldn't apply here. Felicity Adams a woman with a degree in food chemistry, several tea books published and an extensive knowledge of tea is hired to be the head Curator of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tea Museum. Nigel Owens is the acting head of the same museum after the last head man retired.
Felicity aka Flick to all her friends and Nigel make a perfect couple. Their strengths and weakness mesh, their combined credentials allow them to be a wonderfully modern amateur detective team.
In each of these books the welfare of the museum is in jeopardy, so of course, there is always a deadline that has to be met which gives the stories pace.  Flick and Nigel step up to the plate to save the museum, the employees, and the pets, they have come to think of as family.
Two good reads, with two interesting mysteries that get solved and two happy endings.
I just love a mystery solved and a happy ending.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Sherlockian by: Graham Moore

I finished The Sherlockian last night. For fans of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle, you'll find this a very fun read.
Mr. Moore goes from present to past, present to past with a deft hand. He handles the language of both eras to perfection. There are real places and some real people, but the general gist of the story is fiction, but not very far into the book you feel it's all real.
There is a new fresh take with a good twist on this present and past tale.
I recommend that you pick this one up for a good Sherlockian read.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bryant & May Off The Rails by: Christopher Fowler

A riveting mystery with murder and a twisted game involved . After our detectives get their Peculiar Crimes Unit reinstated for almost sure with funding even, they find that they have one week to find and arrest the mysterious Mr. Fox whom they have already had in the custody, but true to his alias, he manages to break out of the holding room and kill the newest member of their unit.
The game is afoot now--no pun intended--because as some other crimes are committed the team has added another 6 suspects to their list.
Working with a deadline this turns out to be one of their most convoluted cases ever, but have no fear the team continues to work together even though they think Mr. Bryant is pretty kooky sometimes.
The case gets solved in the nick of time with lots of action and reactions in by all parties concerned.
Mr. Bryant and Mr. May bring their years of life experience on and off the job to this intellectual murder mystery series.
You should add this series to your To Be Read Pile is you are a murder mystery fan, but I personally would recommend that you start it from the beginning and read through to get the full impact of everyone's personality involved in these stories.

Happy Reading,
Beverly G ♥

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bryant & May on the Loose by: Christopher Fowler

I started reading The Peculiar Crimes Unit series by Christopher Fowler late in 2010 and with any series that you like you become attached to the characters.
This time we find Bryant & May the main detectives and all their team scattered. The Home Office is trying to shut them down. Everyone is worried about Arthur Bryant because he won't see anyone or take any calls. John May and the team have halfheartedly tried to keep in touch. They just need a good murder with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle attached to get the powers that be to reinstate their unit.
Mr. Fowler comes up with just the situation they need. We love the eccentric Bryant and the down to earth conservative May. They may be getting older, but they still have what it takes to inspire their team of misfits to pull together to solve this latest crime for Queen and Country.
By the end of the story, the run down offices they have chosen for their head quarters will be their new home and Mr. Fowler has left us with the crime solved but the killer on the loose, so of course, we want to immediately read the next book in the series. Fortunately, I have it already downloaded on my Kindle, so I'm off to begin Bryant & May's next adventure.

Happy Reading--
Beverly G ♥

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A New Year--A New List

The Scottish Prisoner---by: Diana Gabaldon

This is the latest book in the continuing saga of the Outlander and Lord John Grey series.
I found the Lord John Grey series on my own, but I came late to the Outlander series through a friend of mine. The fans of the Outlander series are passionate about these novels. They talk about the characters like they are real people and now that I have read them, yes, they do become like real people.
Ms. Gabaldon is a writer who grabs your attention from page one of any book or novella she is writing. I know some of you out there would not like these books, but that goes with all writers and genres, we all have our favorites. Needless to say, I am now a big fan of Ms. Gabaldon's.
Lord John Grey has come into possession of papers left to him by a former friend and lover, but we have to keep that part on the QT. He has taken the papers to his brother Hal, who is high up in the government, to see if they can use the papers to expose an officer who is discrediting the army. As you read these books you will come to know that Lord John and his brother are big on honor.
In reading through the papers they discover a poem written in Gaelic, I'm using the modern term for the language, consequently they feel they need to enlist the help of Jamie Fraser, who is a prisoner on the estate of Helwater.
This is another book filled with adventure, plots, plots to be foiled, and the continuing exploration of the relationship between Lord John and Jamie Fraser.
As usual, if you are a fan, when you finish reading one of Ms. Gabaldon's books you are left with the thought, when is the next one coming out.