Tag Archives: challenge

Creating Some Shelf Space

I am creating a new reading challenge for myself, a two-part one. I have several long-term ones running at the moment. So, what I obviously need is one more. But I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, and it’s time.

My physical book shelves are out of control; completely overflowing their bounds, and this is entirely my own fault. I am really bad about putting a book on the self and then—out of sight, out of mind—totally forgetting about it. I end up reading almost entirely from newer books that are fresher in mind and older books sit around getting older.

So, what I did this morning was pick out five of the oldest books I’ve won over the years (be it from Goodreads, author websites, twitter, whatever). Some of them I’ve owned long enough to have packed and shipped them to England AND BACK with our international moves. It’s time to get them read and reviewed.

This turned out to be:

five oldest won books

  • Nikolai 2, by Roxie Rivera (I reviewed book 1 here)
  • A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine, by Walter Parchomenko (which seems especially timely given the state of Russia and the Ukraine right now)
  • Broken Point, by Donna K. Childree & Mike L. Hopper
  • Noughts & Crosses, by Malorie Blackman
  • The Angel of History, by Rabih Alameddine

Then, since physical shelf space is what is lacking, I grabbed the longest, most epic of epic books on the shelf. I accomplished this with the super scientific method of looking at the shelves and pulling out the fattest ones.


For the epic stack I pulled out six books. (I suppose, technically, Nikolai could cross over and fit either stack.) But the six I’m counting here are:

  • The Black Prism, by Brent Weeks
  • Dragon Mage, by M.L. Spencer
  • The Icewind Dale Trilogy, by R.A. Salvator
  • Macbeth, by Jo Nesbø
  • The Empire of Gold, by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Newcomer, by Mary Kay Andrews

And of course, The Empire of Gold is actually 3rd in its series. So, I’ll need to read the previous books first.

This is obviously a challenge that will take a while. I can’t even dive into it right away. I’ve committed myself to several reviews with deadlines that I have to get done first. But I’ve pulled the books from the anonymity of the general book shelf, which means I’ll hopefully remember to grab them when looking for my next read.

Plus, I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately. Which Goodreads just counts as a book. So, I feel like my Goodreads Challenge numbers are inflated. Reading some epics will balance the scales a little. Right?

I figure this aught to keep me busy for a while and free up a collective 2-foot, or so, of space. Success!

Edit: I’ve decided to simply add links to the reviews as I finish these books, rather than do a separate wrap-up post.

13 best fantasy romance books banner

The 13 Best Fantasy Romance Books of All Time Challenge

Dear Imaginary Book Recommenders,

Earlier today I stumbled across the 13 Best Fantasy Romance Books of All Time post (even updated for 2021, apparently). Now, this wasn’t a random blogger’s opinion of what qualifies as the best fantasy romance books. Instead, Most Recommended Books took a survey of other best-of lists and condensed them into one. (I think this is they’re shtick, what they do, essentially. And I’m not taking issue with it.)

13 Best Fantasy Romance Books of All Time according to Most reccommended booksHere’s their method in their words:

Our goal was to create the best list of Fantasy Romance books on the internet.

To remain objective and unbiased, we looked at the 5 most popular “best Fantasy Romance books” articles online (we chose 5 because anything more than that diluted our quality).

Our rationale was simple: If a book only appears in one article, it’s probably just the journalist’s opinion, but if it appears in two or more, it’s probably worth checking out!

And all of that would have been fine, except that of the 13 (what an odd number of choices, btw), I’d read 4 (and own one more that I’ve not read yet). 4! I’m a 200-300 books a year reader, mostly in the Fantasy/fantasy romance genres and I’d read 4 of what they deemed he best of fantasy romance. What’s more, of those 4, 1 I basically hated and the other 3 were passable, in my opinion. Not rave-about-them bad, but not best-of material either.  So, I was a bit shook by this list.

I realize that my tastes don’t always align with other readers’. And many of the books on the list have been quite popular. I also acknowledge that several of them are Young Adult and I’ve become increasingly picky in which YA books I read because, at 44, I’ve outgrown enjoying a lot of the angst many of them center on. But still, I was intrigued in a horrified sort of way; wondering what the rest of the books might be like if my opinion of the 4 I’ve read so was vastly different from others’.

If you’re curious, here are my reviews of the 4 I’ve read.

Book Review of A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1), by Amanda Bouchet

Book Review: The Awakening, by Nora Roberts

Book Review of Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely, by Brigid Kemmerer

What makes this a challenge, instead just a generalized post, is that I’m going to make a concerted effort to read the other 9 books on the list. It’s too late in the year to think I’ll finish this challenge before the new year. So, I’m not putting any sort of time frame on this. It’s pretty open. But I’m going to prioritize reading these whenever I’m not focusing on something else. We’ll see if I agree any more once I’ve read the rest of the list.


Mystified in Missouri

Awakening Challenge

Awakening: A New Mini Challenge

I haven’t done one in a while, but there have been several times over the years that I’ve noticed I have a bucket of books with the same title. Off the top of my head, I remember finding that I had 5 called Bound By Blood, 7 that included the phrase Blood Moon, 4 called Blood Lust…Geez, I don’t think I realized they’re all blood related. And because I enjoy finding unexpected patterns and reveling in them, I set these titles aside as reading challenges and read them all together.

I even did the same thing for a character model once, because I kept passing covers on my Goodreads shelves with the same face on them. I called it the Annoying Close-Up Guy Challenge.

‘Annoying close-up guy’ reading challenge wrap-up

I seem to remember not liking many of the books, but the challenge itself, all with essentially the same cover, was extra amusing.

Well, today, I’m setting a new reading challenge for myself. I recently read and reviewed Jennifer Leigh Pezzano’s Awakening. And while I was hunting it up on Goodreads to cross-post my review, I noticed that I have a lot of book with the word Awakening in the title.

Book Review: Awakening, by Jennifer Leigh Pezzano

Between titles and series names I have 25 books that include the word Awakening. And that’s just Awakening, not awakened, or awakens, or just awake. Now, some of these books I’ve read, one of them is on the Did Not Finish shelf, and I’m not prepared to commit to 25 books. (Here they are for reference though.)

books with awakening in the title

So, I’m going to whittle this challenge down to just titles that read Awakening and then stretch it a little to include the two called The Awakening (since they would be shelved as Awakening, The anyway.) That reduces us to 8 books, one of which is an audio book and one I’ve already recently read and reviewed, but I’m counting since it’s what started this challenge in the first place. I actually feel really lucky that these are all either stand-alone or first books in series. How blessed is that?

So, that gives us (in alphabetical order by author’s last name):


The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
Awakening (Talentborn, #1) by C.S. Churton
Awakening (Triorion, #1), by L.J. Hachmeister
The Awakening (Guardian of Spirits, #1), by Kaylee Johnston
Awakening (Covenant College, #1), by Amanda M. Lee
Awakening (The Luriel Cycle, #1), by Melanie Nilles
Awakening (The Shard Cycle, #)1, by Ono Northey
Awakening, by Jennifer Leigh Pezzano

I’ll come back and link the reviews as I finish the books. I am not, however, going to force myself to read them back-to-backwhich is what I usually dobecause I already promised myself to spend March reading books from my physical bookshelves.

So, I’ll start with the audio book (the Amanda M. Lee Awakening) since I need to fold laundry anyway. Then I’ll start hitting the rest of these between physical books. That way I’m not breaking my March promise to myself completely…just bending it a bit when a new, shiny idea came along.

Am I the only one who does this? I know accidentally having multiple books with the same title can only really happen once your library gets past a certain point. I have literally thousands of ebooks, so it’s less surprising to see this sort of thing happen that it would be if I owned 200 books. But still, anyone else set little mini-challenges for themselves?

Edit: Here is a link to the wrap-up post. I ended up reading 12, instead of 8, books called Awakening during the actual challenge. Then another three after the fact because it made me laugh to do so.