Friday, December 31, 2010

Because I'm Always Up for a Challenge!

In case you haven't picked up on it by now, I love a reading challenge! Since I posted a couple of weeks ago about how there were a bunch of challenges I wanted to sign up for, a few more have been posted that I wanted to sign up for that I couldn't resist, so why not!

1. Hosted by For the Love of YA, the 2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge sounds like a good one for me. This year I discovered a new love for the YA genre and just dipped my toe in it so I'd like to see how much more of it I can read in 2011. I'll be signing up for the Mini YA Reading Challenge Level which challenges you to read 12 YA books in 2011.
2.  Caribous Mom is hosting the 2011 Chunkster Reading Challenge. A chunckster is classified as an adult literature book (fiction or nonfiction) of 450 pages or more. Once you pick a level you can't change and audiobooks and e-books don't count. This challenge runs from Feb. 1, 2011 - Jan. 31. 2012. I am going to sign up for the Chubby Chunkster level which challenges me to read 4 tomes. Considering last year I read 9 books over 450 pages and I have quite a few more on my shelves I've been hoping to read that fit into this category this should be a breeze.

3. So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is hosting the 2011 ARC Reading Challenge. ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy and I have a huge pile of these to read and am constantly getting more so when I saw a challenge based on these, this seemed like an easy one for me to sign up for. I am going to sign up for Level Bronze which is 12. I think I will read more than that but I am not sure I will read 24 which is the next level. Who knows though, we'll have to wait and see!

4. I am happy to see that the Historical Fiction Challenge 2011 has returned! I really enjoyed this in 2010, doubling the amount I'd set up to read so when I saw that Historical Tapestry was going to host it, I jumped at the chance to sign up. Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres and I always wish I read more at the end of each year. I'm going to sign up for the Struggling the Addiction Level which challenges me to read 10 books. By the way, how beautiful is that button?

5. And finally, not exactly a challenge but I'm throwing this in the mix. I love Bloggiesta hosted by Maw Books Blog and I'm glad to see it's coming back January 21st - 23rd. For those of you who don't know it's a great time to work on your blog and make those much needed improvements you've been meaning to make but never find the time to. It's also a fantastic time to learn a bunch of stuff from other fabulous experienced bloggers out there and find a great sense of community so, yeah I can't wait!

Bring on the challenges!

We Have A Winner for the You Raising Your Child Audiobook Giveaway!

Congratulations go out to Janet who has one the brand new audiobook from Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz entitled 'You Raising Your Child' chosen via! Thanks to all who entered! I'll have more awesome giveaways in the New Year.

My Top 5 Favorite Covers of 2010

I love covers of books! They are often, outside of blogger recommendations, what makes me pick up a book and read it. When I have a ton of books vying for attention on my bookshelves all waiting to be read next, how do I choose which to read? Oh its a really scientific measure of which cover is more attractive to me! So without further ado, here are the covers of books that I read that I think were the most beautiful or most eye catching this year.

In alphabetical order, please click on the covers for my reviews:

What do you think of my picks? What are your favorite covers of the year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Back and Forward

This past week off from my blog has given me a lot of time for reflection. It has allowed me to realize how much satisfaction I really do gain from it and how much I really do enjoy chatting with you all everyday.

This was the first full year I had blogging and what a wonderful ride it was. I got to experience so many fabulous things. And with this first full year of blogging, it also meant it was the first full year of journaling everything I read. This meant I could really see what I read in full and whether or not I achieved the goals I set out to.

So let's look back: in 2009 I read 65 books. A great achievement I think. I set the goal of hoping to read 75 books in 2010. I also wasn't as good at picking reads I enjoyed, having almost an equal number of A and B rated books to C, D, and F rated books and I wanted to change that.

Without further ado here's my stats for 2010:
In total I read: 75 (I have one more review for the year to post). Yes, I achieved my goal!
Best reading month: November
Total Number of A and B rated books: 51 (woohoo!)
Total Number of C, D, and F rated books: 24
Total number of pages read: 24,343

Overall, I am impressed. I achieved both goals I set out to. The first was arbitrary really. Just a number that I wanted to achieve. The second though was more intrinsic. I wanted to get to know myself and my reading tastes better. I should be able to pick out the books I would like better than I was doing last year. I think through all the great blogger recommendations and better listening to what I would really like to read I was able to increase my higher rating rates and that makes me happy.

Another great thing about this year was I discovered two new forms of books that I had previously left alone: Young Adult and Audio Books. The are two types of books that I now love and I have book bloggers to thank for that so you'll be seeing more of those on this blog next year.

Now for my goals for next year. They are pretty simple. To keep reading what I love. I joined a challenge that I said I would read 5 more than this year so, with that I have set my goal at 80 books for next year. As always, continue to try to hone my skills at picking books for myself that I will love yet try new genres so that I can find out what else I might like. And above all, have fun!

In the coming days, I will be bringing my top covers of the year and then my top books of the year so look for those!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I’m off to spend some much needed time with my family up North for the Holidays so you won’t be hearing from me for the next week. I’ve had a great year blogging in 2010 and I want to thank you all for making it something truly special. I hope to continue to be just as active a blogger in 2011 and so this time with my family will be for me to recuperate and remember those who mean the most to me and those who have gone before me.

In a week’s time, I’ll be back with posts about whether or not I’ve achieved my 2010 blogging goals and to make some new ones for 2011 and to post my top reads of 2010! I’m really looking forward to it.

Here’s wishing you all a happy and blessed holiday season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winner of Louisa May Alcott DVD!

We have a winner of the Louisa May Alcott DVD! Using, Melissa of One Librarian's Book Review has been chosen. Congratulations! Thanks to all who entered.

Don't forget you still have until Dec. 30th to enter to win the 'You, Raising Your Child Audio Book'!

Challenge Completed - Reading From My Shelves Project

When Bibliophile by the Sea announced her 2010 Reading From My Shelves Challenge I readily jumped at the chance to clear off some books. The goal of this challenge was to read a book and then get rid of it. The thing is, for me, every book I read I either immediately swap it or give it away so yes my bookshelves are still totally overflowing but I still clear them off once I read a book. So I needed to add an extra level to this one. So what did I do? I challenged myself to read and get rid of 20 books that were brought into this house BEFORE 2010! It was hard but I did it and I am glad I did. It's hard not to want to reach for the newest and most exciting read but some of the older ones that you've brought into your home are just as good, believe me!

1. 'Millie's Fling' by Jill Mansell
2. 'In a Sunburned Country' by Bill Bryson
4. 'The Cinderella Pact' by Sarah Strohmeyer
5. 'I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti' by Giulia Melucci
6. 'The House on Tradd Street' by Karen White
7. 'River's Edge' by Marie Bostwick
8. 'American Wife' by Curtis Sittenfeld
9. 'Animal Husbandry' by Laura Zigman
10. 'The Piano Teacher' by Janice Y.K. Lee
11. 'Olive Kitteridge' by Elizabeth Strout
12. 'The Condition' by Jennifer Haigh
13. 'Beautiful Creatures' by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
15. 'The Lacuna' by Barbara Kingslover
16. 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett
17. 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel
18. 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum' by Kate Atkinson
19. 'Cotillion' by Georgette Heyer

So many good reads in this bunch as well but if I had to pick a favorite I'd probably say 'The Help' and 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum'. 

This also marks the completion of my last challenge of 2010. I completed 8 out of the 9 challenges. Many of them surpassing the levels I signed up for which really encourages me for the amount I signed up for next year, and heck I think they are fun! How are you doing with those you still have left in 2010?

Challenge Completed - Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!

One of my favorite genres is Historical Fiction so I readily signed up for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge Hosted by The Royal Reviews and The Queen of Happy Endings. I signed up for the 'Fascinated' level which challenged me to read 6 books. I ended up doubling that, reading 12 so I am quite happy with my progress this year and would readily sign up again if it's hosted in 2011! 

1. 'The Lacuna' by Barbara Kingslover
2. 'River's Edge' by Marie Bostwick
3. 'Lady Macbeth' by Susan Fraser King
4. 'Wolf Hall' by Hillary Mantel
5. 'The Piano Teacher' by Janice Y.K. Lee
6. 'The Blind Contessa's New Machine' by Carey Wallace
7. 'The Book of Unholy Mischief' by Elle Newmark
8. 'The Jewel of St. Petersburg' by Kate Furnivall
10. 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum' by Kate Atkinson
11. 'Cotillion' by Georgette Heyer
12. 'Lonesome Dove' by Larry McMurtry

It's hard to pick a favorite from this bunch because I loved so many of them but if I had to it might have to be either 'The Piano Teacher' or River's Edge'. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting Crafty

'Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-To-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration'
By: Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Format: Hardback
Published: Potter Craft; Mar. 2009
Pages: 416

Synopsis: Organized by topic from A to Z, Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts contains complete instructions and brief histories for more than 30 techniques, detailed descriptions of the necessary tools and materials, and easy-to-copy templates. Martha and her team of crafts editors guide readers through each subject, from botanical pressing and decoupage to rubber stamping and wreaths, with characteristic clarity and unparalleled attention to detail.
In addition, each entry in Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts is chock-full of tips and advice. Handy glossaries in the entries--such as a comprehensive gem glossary, a glitter glossary, and a color glossary for making tinted wax--are valuable references that crafters will refer to again and again. What’s more, the Tools and Materials section outlines the best essential supplies that every crafter needs to have on hand, and the Sources pages clue readers in to the vendors and suppliers that the magazine’s crafts editors rely on most.
Filled with solid technical know-how, and presented with gorgeous color photographs, this handy guide can be read page by page and kept as a lasting reference by crafters and artisans alike.

My Take: No I don't make a lot of crafts. That's not to say that I don't wish I could. It's just, well, I don't have the space, the time, the patience, etc. So let's back it up and tell you how this book/story came into being. Long before this book even came out, my mom, who is a HUGE Martha Stewart fan emailed me and was like, I want this book! So being a good little daughter I got it for her for mother's day laughing to myself like 'mom's! they want the silliest things!'. Months went by and then Thanksgiving rolled around and I was at my mom's house and this very book was on her coffee table and I was idly flipping through it and exclaimed 'holy crap this book is amazing!' because it is! It details every kind of craft you can think of, or well, that my pea size brain when it comes to crafts can think of. It's huge, I swear, and beautiful, and well laid out, and I HAD TO HAVE ONE.

Calendar made from scratch!
So I went home and ordered two. One for me and one for a friend that was getting married whose birthday was coming up. I thought maybe this would provide some ideas for a bridal shower or something. Then it promptly sat on our shelves for close to a year because that's what happens. Life. People get married, people pass away, people work long hours, hang out with friends, pay bills and generally forget about Martha and then one day you are hanging out with your friend and you look at each other with that knowing glean in your eye and exclaim....'Let's Get Crafty!' Because why not, you have a Saturday,  you have a book to inspire you, you've been meaning to do it for like, a year, and you have each other to cheer you on. 

We decide upon our crafts of choice, get up and the crack of dawn (8:30am), pile into the car and head to Michael's, where we drive around the massive parking lot because we don't know where it is. I've been to the Target but I don't get my craft on much. Side note, who knew so many people went to Target so early on a Saturday? Once locating the Michael's in a dejected corner of the parking lot we head inside to be greeted by none other than Martha Stewart coming over the loud speaker instructing us what to buy. It was as if a sign from God! Or Martha.

Being a dork with my first finished coaster!
After flipping through the massive tome we had decided on making two projects: 'Painted Tile Coasters' and a 'Botanical Calendar'. We pretty much found what we needed for the coasters quickly but the calendars, well that was harder. Martha suggested rice paper. We could find newspaper, regular paper, card stock, etc but no Japanese rice paper. We were starting to get frantic. What we were going to do? Then we stumbled on some calendar kits in the scrapbooking section and those looked like fun and so we decided to make those. We then headed to Home Depot to buy our tiles for the coasters and we were off to craft.

The coasters we made first because we figured those would need to dry and they turned out pretty awesome. Considering neither of us have really done anything like it before we were pretty pleased. Then we started on the calendars. We have to design 12 months, that's a lot of creativity. The fact that we are sitting their crafting and chatting is probably something we never would have done if we didn't have this book and even though the calendars are absolutely nothing like Martha's original design they are our inspiration and isn't that the point. To get us crafting? And having fun? And it was fun. So much so that we've scheduled another day next month!

Cover Lust: As with all things Martha, the cover has her face on it but don't you want to look at it? She is the reason you are inspired to buy this book after all, right? Right? :)

(I bought this book)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Dec. 13th - 18th, 2010

It's Mailbox Monday time! Mailbox Monday is going on tour and October is being hosted by Let Them Read Books! Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Well the end of the year is quickly approaching and it feels like things are moving faster and faster and there is just more to get done all the time! We had family visiting this weekend which was wonderful and we got a chance to take a break from the madness and enjoy lots of fun family time instead. 

I am also really excited about all of the fun reads I received this past week in the mail. Please let me know what you think of them!

From St. Martin's Griffin:
1. 'There's Cake in My Future' by Kim Gruenenfelder

From the author:
2. 'By Fire, By Water' by Mitchell James Kaplan

From Random House:
3. 'The Matchmaker of Kenmare' by Frank Delaney

From PBS:
4. 'Meeting Mr. Wrong: The Romantic Misadventures of a Southern Belle' by Stephanie Snowe

5. 'The Difference a Day Makes' by Carole Matthews

What did you get?

Friday, December 17, 2010

You Are The One That I Want

'My Name is Memory'
By: Ann Brashares

Format: ARC
Published: Riverhead Hardcover; June 2010
Pages: 336

Synopsis: A romance that stretches across centuries and past lives constitutes the core of Brashares's varied second adult novel, the first in a planned trilogy. The story is primarily that of Daniel, as, in the present, he pursues Lucy (whom he knows as Sophia in a previous life) and attempts to persuade her of their history and destiny, but his passion initially and understandably scares her off. He disappears, presumed dead, but Lucy, unable to forget him, investigates his claims of their history until she discovers the truth. Meanwhile, Daniel takes readers on a tour of romantic near-misses, from sixth-century Africa through eighth-century Turkey to WWI.

My Take: This is my first Brashares novel. Don't get me wrong, I know all about 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants,' I just never read them but man, did I love those movies! I was just a little too old when they came out to have wanted to read them and then I saw the movies so didn't feel the need to go back and read them so when this book came out I was excited to read a book by her.

I think we've all read a time traveling love story at this point so there isn't too much that's new here. Daniel, whom the story centers on travels forwards not forwards and backwards. He remembers all of his previous lives. The theory in this book is that we are reincarnated and most people don't remember their previous lives. Daniel is unique because he can. He remembers his lives all the way from ancient Africa until now so that's a lot of lives and people to remember! His anchor to this world is a woman by the name of Sophia. He is, you might say, obsessed with finding her and getting her to love him. She is not blessed by the gift of memory like he is although she is constantly reincarnated. Sometimes they don't see each other for hundreds of years and sometimes they come back at vastly different ages, however finally, in the present they are only a couple of years apart and Daniel is determined to get Sophia (now Lucy) to remember the love they've shared over the centuries.

There were some things I really liked and some things that bothered me about this novel. First, the positive. I enjoyed the trips down memory lane. They reminded me of a historical fiction novel, yet only shown in quick bursts. It was interesting to see how Daniel built upon his lives to survive and it was an interesting theory on the lives we lead. To me, it was also pretty simple to figure out what was happening. Unlike, say 'The Time Traveler's Wife' which was hard for me to follow, this one, I knew where and when they were, no problem.

What bothered me about it was that I was surprised to learn this was not written for teenagers because the love story was so overwrought. Granted, Daniel had been searching for his love for hundreds of years but maybe my passion just wasn't quite there for them. It was just a little too much. He never once, would have loved someone else? It's a little, well, unrealistic. 

However, I enjoyed it and would recommend it. It's billed as becoming two more books so if you like it, you may just get a couple more books out of it the coming years too!

Cover Lust: Honestly, this cover also led me to believe it was for the young adult market. It's got a butterfly on it. Not that I have anything against butterflies, it's just that I'm a grown woman and this book is written from a male point of view for adults and their is a butterfly on the cover. See where I am going with this?

(Thank you to Crazy Book Tours for sending me this book)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Giveaway: You Raising Your Child Audio Book!

I have a great giveaway to offer to you today. Courtesy of Simon and Schuster Audio, is the audio book 'You Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade' by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. The audio is read by the authors with Michele Pawk and it is 5 cds.

Here's the description from the back of the book:
There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your little one healthy, teach her the difference between right and wrong, and make sure none of her little fingers find their way to the electrical outlets, the dog’s nose, or grandpop’s cup of coffee. In YOU: Raising Your Child, Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen, the New York Times #1 bestselling authors of the YOU health series, help you navigate the often tricky journey of parenting with the ultimate guide to raising a happy, healthy child.
Dr. Mehmet Oz—host of television’s The Dr. Oz Show—and Dr. Michael Roizen—chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic—have sold millions of books informing readers about healthy dieting, aging, and overall health. Picking up where their prior book, YOU: Having a Baby, left off, the docs provide oh-wow information and insider advice to help parents understand the biology and psychology of raising a child from birth to school age.
With humor and cutting-edge biological insights, the authors address everything from troubleshooting infant health issues to creating an environment that supports the emotional and intellectual development of your growing child. They talk about the various approaches to parenting—are you a Marshmallow Mommy or an Iron Maiden, passive or hyperinvolved? The docs help you identify your style of parenting, encouraging passive parents to create clear boundaries and hypervigilant ones to step back more often and let their kids develop. You will learn to become the ideal parent: firm but flexible. The docs also provide an extensive overview of nuts-and-bolts health problems— from asthma to fevers to emergency room visits and the sensitive issue of vaccinations.
In YOU: Raising Your Child, America’s most trusted doctors, who co-host a daily Sirius/XM radio program for Oprah Radio, once again come to the rescue with wisdom about how to provide an enriching environment with the ultimate goal of raising a child with a healthy body—and mind. As the docs say in their introduction: “Our goal is to teach you how to create the optimal environment for your child—an environment that’s most conducive to your child thriving in all areas of life, physically, emotionally, socially, and developmentally. Why? Because the latest research shows us that the environment—as defined not only by physical space but also by the behaviors of parents and caregivers—is the number-one determinant of your child’s future.

Giveaway Details:
So if this sounds perfect for you, here are the details! Simply fill out this form by midnight PST December 30th and I'll pick 1 winner. I can ship this anywhere in the United States. Good Luck!

Secret Santa Surprise!

Thank you!!
I was sitting at work today, la la la la la, and bam, I got this huge package all of a sudden at my desk! I was so excited! After enjoying participating and giving to a Secret Santa last year I was thrilled when it rolled around again this year and my Secret Santa (Tempting Persephone!) far outdid themselves!

I received a lot of lovely loot which included a darling stuffed reindeer, some really cool book markers that don't harm the book (never seen anything like them before!), some beautiful note cards, an ARC of Kate Morton's 'The Distant Hours', and A. S. Byatt's 'The Children's Book'. Both of these books I've been wanting for a long time. I hope there is a chunkster reading challenge next year because I need to participate with these two on my bookshelves. Thank you so much for my lovely loot.

And to my swappee, I hope you love your loot as much as I did! Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a Challenging World

I love Reading Challenges! In 2010, my first full year of blogging, I took the plunge and started signing up for them. I signed up for nine and only dropped out of one (and I think I will successfully complete the rest!). I find that it's fun to sign up for challenges in categories that I am already reading and then track how many I actually read. Here's the one's I'll be participating in so far for 2011.

Challenge #1:

Book Obsessed is hosting the 50 States Reading Challenge 2011. The goal is to read a book that is set in each and every state. This is challenge intrigues me, not because I think I will actually accomplish it but because it will be interesting to see how far I get and where I 'travel' next year. Any genre or format are fine and crossovers from other challenges are also fine. Of course, you don't have to be a blogger to participate!

Challenge #2:
The Book Vixen is hosting the 2011 Outdo Yourself Challenge. I am going to sign up for the Getting My Heart Rate Up level with the goal of reading 5 more books then I did in 2010.

  • Runs January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011(books read prior to 1/1/11 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. You can sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2011 than you did in 2010. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge.
  • Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate.
     Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books      Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books      Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books      I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books

Challenge #3:
One of my favorite challenges last year was Beth Fish Read's What's in a Name Challenge and she is hosting it again! So I am signing up! Below are the What's in a Name 4 levels and the potential books that I own that I may read for this one:

Between January 1 and December 31, 2011, read one book in each of the following categories:

  1. A book with a number in the title: 97 Orchard; Alistair Cook's American Journey: Life on the Home Front in the Second World War; The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Place in the Word; Hothouse Flower: and the Nine Plants of Desire; Mixed Doubles; One Day; One Good Affair; A Thousand Acres
  2. A book with jewelry or a gem in the title: 
  3. A book with a size in the title: A Fraction of the Whole; The Queen of the Big Time; A Short History of Nearly Everything; A Short History of Women; Such a Pretty Fat; 
  4. A book with travel or movement in the title: Alexandra, Gone; Alistair Cook's American Journey: Life on the Home Front in the Second World War; Bad Trips; Fly Away Home; Going Home; The Hundred Foot Journey; 
  5. A book with evil in the title: Almost a Crime; Bad Trips; City of Thieves
  6. A book with a life stage in the title: American Girls About Town; Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons; Babyface; The Children's Book; Daughter's of Fortune; The Deposition of Father McGreevy; The Emperor's Children; The Wives of Henry Oades; Yes, My Darling Daughter
So I've definitely got some choices for this challenge from my own current shelf if I get stuck in the year ... except for the jewelry or gem one. Anyone have a good book they can recommend to me for that category? 

Challenge #4
This year I've really discovered that I like audio books. I've never really gotten into them before but thanks to book bloggers I've found that they've can be another great avenue of reading and so when I discovered that Teresa's Reading Corner was hosting the 2011 Audio Book Challenge I knew I had to sign up!

The 2011 Audio Book Challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. I am signing up for the "Addicted" level which means I hope to read 12 Audio Books next year.

Challenge #5
I try to mix plenty of 'older' books in with the latest books coming out that I review. It can be hard to do because so many books that are the most tempting are those that are constantly advertised to us are the newest and best but some of the great books are ones that I haven't even read yet that have been sitting on my shelf over looked! When I saw the Into the Old World Reading Challenge announced I knew I would do it. Hosted by Splash of Our Worlds and My Love Affair With Books and book that you read in 2011 that is published BEFORE 2009 counts. 

Here's the thing, they want me to list ahead of time what books I plan on reading next year to fit in this category. That is way to much planning ahead for me. Let's just say that I'll read somewhere between 5-10 books that fit in this category and I'll review all of them here and post the links up and do a complete wrap up post which will then list them all. Hope that sounds good!

Challenge #6
I LOVED the 2010 New Author's New World's Challenge (so much so that I didn't even know my own strength!) so when it was announced again this year of course I had to sign up! Literary Escapism is once again hosting the 2011 New Author's New World's Challenge. Same rules apply as previous years. Any new to  you author counts that you read in the year 2011. Sign up levels are either 15, 25 or 50 new authors.  It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be.  For me, since I easily did 50 last year I'll be doing so again this year!

Challenge #7:
Memoirs are another favorite genre of mine so when I learned that the Betty and Boo Chronicles was hosting the Memorable Memoirs, 2011 Edition this was an easy choice for me.  There are no levels to sign up for, you just post your reviews of memoirs over at site of what you've read in 2011. Pretty simple I'd say and so how can I resist?!

Challenge #8:
Much like the memoirs challenge, sometimes challenges are just made for the types of books you like to read. Such is the case with Journey to the End of the TBR Pile's 2011 Chick Lit Challenge. Chick Lit is one of my favorite genres so when this one was announced it was a no-brainer. I was thinking of creating this challenge for myself it wasn't already out there even! The rules for this one are pretty simple too. The goal is to read at least 8 chick-lit books in 2011. Can do. In fact, I'll probably surpass that!

Challenge #9:
Well any book lover will tell you they love more than one genre so I am on a real roll now (that is if  you are actually still reading the ... longest ... post ... ever!) and another one of my favorite genres is anything to do with food. Yep I am food obsessed! I love to eat it, I love to read about it, I love to watch it being made on tv, and I love to talk about where we are going to eat next and tell people where they should be eating next! So when I say Joyfully Retired had announce the Foodie's Reading Challenge I thought perfect! 

Much like the other challenges, whatever you read that fits in the food book category in 2011 counts. And just so  you know, a food book is a book which is centered around food and/or drinks. That could be a cookbook, a food biography or memoir, a non-fiction book focused around a specific food, wine, chef or restaurant. Also allowed is a fictional story in which food plays a major role.

I am signing up for the Gourmet level which is 10-12 books, hoping that I will read 12!

Challenge #10:
Last year Book Chick City hosted the Typically British Reading Challenge and it was breeze for me to reach the top level of 8 British authors. Being a bit of an anglo-phile I think I finished this challenge in the summer. When I saw that The Bookette had revamped the challenge of course I would sign up! Now called the British Books Challenge 2011 you either sign up for the Home Grown levels if you live in England or the International Friend levels if you live outside.

As I live in San Fran I will be signing up for the International Friend level of The Royal Family - challenging myself to read 12 books by British authors in 2011.

Well there you have it! I may post a few more challenge sign ups but this should be the majority. Yes it's a lot but they allow for cross overs and, heck, I enjoy them. If you are signing up for any of these, let me know and I wish you all luck!
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