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April 2013 Book Challenge

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

So, just by way of clarification (for comers both new and old), guidelines for the Book Challenge Thread are as follows:

1) Post the books you read ... or not
2) Post a recommendation ... or not
3) Number your book ... or not
4) Make a goal for how many books you want to read in 2013 ... or not
5) Have fun with books (This one, unfortunately, is MANDATORY)



Can you believe it's April!!!  Wowee, spring is here!  :)  

post #2 of 15

Oh I'll join! I hadn't seen any of the other threads...where was I!? I am trying to read 52 books this year.  My siggy has a note of where I am, and I'm keeping track on goodreads :) 

post #3 of 15

I'm trying to read more.



Jan- nothing

Feb- nothing



1.A Bright Red Scream - M Strong

2. Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse - G. Jantz

3.Healing and Transformation Through Self-Guided Imagery -L. Davenport

post #4 of 15

Beekeeper's Apprentice, King



In the early years of WW I, 15-year-old American Mary Russell encounters Holmes, retired in Sussex Downs where Conan Doyle left him raising bees. Mary, an orphan rebelling against her guardian aunt's strictures, impresses the sleuth with her intelligence and acumen. Holmes initiates her into the mysteries of detection, allowing her to participate in a few cases when she comes home from her studies at Oxford. The collaboration is ignited by the kidnapping in Wales of Jessica Simpson, daughter of an American senator. The sleuthing duo find signs of the hand of a master criminal, and after Russell rescues the child, attempts are made on their lives (and on Watson's), with evidence piling up that the master criminal is out to get Holmes and all he holds dear.


An excellent Sherlock Holmes mystery with an engaging female counterpart.


The Midwife's Confession, Chamberlain


What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.


How well do we know even those we love the most?  A compelling look at the questions that bind friends and families.



A King of Infinite Space, Dilts

Elizabeth Williams, a teacher at nearby Warren High School, has been brutally murdered in her classroom. When Danny arrives at the school, the blood-spattered crime scene turns even his veteran stomach. What could this young woman have done to make her the target of such a violent attack? And what is the significance of the victim’s left hand, taken by the killer as a grisly trophy? Beckett delves into the case with his usual tenacious cool, yet as he pieces together the facts, long-suppressed anguish from his own past rises up with stunning force. His hunt for the murderer soon morphs into a personal quest for atonement as he struggles to come to terms with the loss of his wife and family.
post #5 of 15

I'm working on several and just replying so I don't lose track of the thread. Right now I'm reading a crime novel, The Mercy Seat, which is a little grim, but well-written. 

post #6 of 15

When the Killing's Done, Boyle



Principally set on the wild Channel Islands off the coast of California, T.C. Boyle's new novel is a gripping adventure with a timely theme. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist spearheading the efforts to save the islands' native creatures from invasive species. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a local businessman who is fiercely opposed to the killing of any animals whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert her plans. As their confrontation plays out in a series of scenes escalating in violence, drama, and danger, When the Killing's Done relates a richly humane tale about the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world.


Very interesting look at how two individuals with the same goal can have such vastly opposing methods of reaching it.



Pervical's Planet, Byers


In 1928, the boy who will discover Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh, is on the family farm, grinding a lens for his own telescope under the immense Kansas sky. In Flagstaff, Arizona, the staff of Lowell Observatory is about to resume the late Percival Lowell's interrupted search for Planet X. Meanwhile, the immensely rich heir to a chemical fortune has decided to go west to hunt for dinosaurs and in Cambridge, Massachussetts, the most beautiful girl in America is going slowly insane while her ex-heavyweight champion boyfriend stands by helplessly, desperate to do anything to keep her. Inspired by the true story of Tombaugh and set in the last gin-soaked months of the flapper era, Percival's Planet tells the story of the intertwining lives of half a dozen dreamers, schemers, and madmen.


Just couldn't get myself involved in this one.

post #7 of 15

The Mercy Seat by Martyn Waites


When journalist Joe Donovan's six-year-old son disappears in a crowded department store, his marriage falls apart, he loses his high-profile newspaper job, and he retreats to rural Northumberland. Two years later, the top editor of Donovan's former newspaper (a touchingly believable woman) and a shrewd lawyer somewhat short on scruples seek Donovan's aid in discovering why an ace reporter has vanished. The pair promise in return to help Donovan in his obsessive search for his lost son. Raw violence explodes on almost every page (the titular mercy seat is an especially vicious instrument of torture), and there are some artfully awful villains. But what readers are likely to take away from this potent first of a new series is the resilient power of Donovan's feelings, especially for the female editor and a lost street boy named Jamal.(Apr.)


I'll give this one 3.5 stars, which means I liked it and might read more in the series, but I'm not rushing out to track the next installment down. It was fairly brutal in places, and the main character was so screwed up I had trouble pinning all my hopes on him.



Life After Life by Kate Atkinson


What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? 

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. 

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she?


I give this one 4 stars. No Jackson Brodie in this one. It was an interesting exploration of getting a do-over to try the other path in life-changing events. The main character, Ursula, keeps dying and is reborn into the same family as herself again — just a complete do-over. It's really not as magical as it sounds. She has very strong deja-vu, but doesn't really know for sure what's going on. We follow her lives from when she's born thru life-changing events which often change depending on which time around it is until she dies. Since she dies so very many times, in childbirth, from illness or accident as a young child, etc, etc, I found it a little hard to invest myself in her character. It's all muddled and you're never really sure what the real story is because they're all the real story I guess. Thought provoking and well worth reading. Makes you think what would our lives look like if we married someone else, went to a different college, turned left instead of right, etc.

Edited by beanma - 4/22/13 at 6:47pm
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Momsteader View Post

Oh I'll join! I hadn't seen any of the other threads...where was I!? I am trying to read 52 books this year.  My siggy has a note of where I am, and I'm keeping track on goodreads :) 


Welcome Momsteader!!



Originally Posted by kofduke View Post

Beekeeper's Apprentice, King




An excellent Sherlock Holmes mystery with an engaging female counterpart.


The Midwife's Confession, Chamberlain


How well do we know even those we love the most?  A compelling look at the questions that bind friends and families.



A King of Infinite Space, Dilts


Oh, I LOVE those Mary Russell books.  I've read 2 or 3.  

Just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  So so good.  I see what all the hype is about.  I requested two other books with the hope they will measure up. :)

post #9 of 15

I missed March's thread, so here's what I read for both that month and so far in April.



8. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

9. The Tin Can Tree - Anne Tyler

10. A Breath of Snow and Ashes - Diana Gabaldon



11. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett

12. UnEnchanted - Chanda Hahn

13. The Basic School: A Community for Learning - Ernest L. Boyer

14. Hoot - Carl Hiaasen

15. John Crow's Devil - James Marlon (this is for my long-term Reading Across Borders Personal Challenge. I can now cross Jamaica off the list!)


Currently Reading: The Long Song - Andrea Levy

post #10 of 15

The Great Mysteries, Greeley



Father Andrew Greeley's "The Great Mysteries" responds with rare passion and skill to the growing concerns of both spiritual seekers and those who teach the Catholic Christian faith.


I really needed to read this when I did...beautifully written.  Several of the chapters had my teary-eyed by the end.


Stardust, Gaiman


Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

post #11 of 15

Sandcastle Girls, Bohjalian



When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. It’s 1915, and Elizabeth has volunteered to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. After leaving Aleppo and traveling into Egypt to join the British Army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, realizing that he has fallen in love with the wealthy young American.
Years later, their American granddaughter, Laura, embarks on a journey back through her family’s history, uncovering a story of love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.



Iced, moning

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.


As always, I liked the story and the characters (especially the unseelie).  However, Dani's age is unsettling.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

I've got lots of books to post, but just got a new job and hardly have a spare minute!  I'll come back and post them soon!


What's everyone's favorite book right now?

post #13 of 15

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

One of the most important Christian books of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis’s classic, Mere Christianity.. A timeless and thought-provoking spiritual work from the author of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters—one of the leading Christian writers and thinkers of our age—this beautifully illustrated anniversary edition includes a new foreword and fascinating background information on the story behind the book, and remains fresh and relevant for the modern reader.



A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor



In 1955, with this short story collection, Flannery O'Connor firmly laid claim to her place as one of the most original and provocative writers of her generation. Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life-- infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation.


Wonderful collection of short stories...my favorite is Temple of the Holy Spirit.



Girl Hunter, Pellegrini

What happens when a classically-trained New York chef and fearless omnivore heads out of the city and into the wild to track down the ingredients for her meals? After abandoning Wall Street to embrace her lifelong love of cooking, Georgia Pellegrini comes face to face with her first kill. From honoring that first turkey to realizing that the only way we truly know where our meat comes from is if we hunt it ourselves, Pellegrini embarks on a wild ride into the real world of local, organic, and sustainable food.


Was not what I was expecting...short essays about her major hunts followed by a collection of recipies for the various animals.  As I'm not expecting to cook elk anytime soon, I skimmed much of it.

Edited by kofduke - 6/1/13 at 4:36am
post #14 of 15

Inferno, Dan Brown

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.


Fast-paced, enjoyable Langdon novel.  I always enjoy reading the portrayals of places he goes, and the art he decodes to solve the mysteries, and find myself looking up the original source material.  I think I may have to find Dante's Inferno...


One Crazy Summer, Williams-Garcia

n the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.


I really enjoyed the relationship between the children and their mother, and how it develops.


Giving Up the Ghost, Nuzum

Eric Nuzum is afraid of the supernatural, and for good reason: As a high school oddball in Canton, Ohio, during the early 1980s, he became convinced that he was being haunted by the ghost of a little girl in a blue dress who lived in his parents’ attic. It began as a weird premonition during his dreams, something that his quickly diminishing circle of friends chalked up as a way to get attention. It ended with Eric in a mental ward, having apparently destroyed his life before it truly began.


More a story of Nuzum's early adulthood than any kind of haunting, it is still a fascinating read.


Wonder, Palacio

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?


Wonderful, heartrendering look at a fifth grader with a facial deformity, and how he integrates himself into a school...please read this!

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Started the new thread, over a month and a half late.  Sorry about that!



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