Tag Archives: challenges

Mothman Reading Challenge

For someone who has very little time to read, I keep constructing reading challenges for myself. But I like to get them down on paper when they occur to me. So, with that in mind, let me introduce you to my newest reading goal, the Romantic Mothman Challenge.

Yep, it’s totally random. And I’ll tell you how it came to be. But first, let me preface this with the fact that I’ve been very into Monster Romances lately. So, I was a little predisposed toward a cryptid challenge in the first place.

mothman challenge

Ok, it started when I innocently downloaded a copy of Emory Moon‘s Canary and the Mothman from a Bookfunnel event. Then I got an email saying I’d won a copy of Paige Lavoie‘s I’m in Love With Mothman. (I don’t even remember entering the giveaway. So, that was a complete bonus.)

Two books featuring the Mothman within a day or two of one another got my attention. So, I searched my considerable TBR to see if I had any more. Turns out I did have one—C.M Nascota‘s Sweet Berries. Three Mothman books; now I was well and truly invested.

Then, I picked up Vera Valintine‘s Carnal Cryptids: East Coast in a Stuff Your Kindle freebie event and, finally, I had a few dollars of Amazon cash. So, I bought a copy of Clio EvansDoves & Demons. Though, I bet if I’d been a little more strategic, I could find that one at Hoopla and bought an additional one for the challenge. Too bad I’m thinking of that now.

Speaking of Hoopla, there are two more there that I could borrow. There is Peter Passenger and the Mothman, by Rafe Jadison, and Gateway Mothman, by Jay Noel, which also happens to be set in my city. (I’ve been meaning to do a Saint Louis reading challenge. But picking out all the books set in STL will take a lot more time than I have available.)

There’s also Run & Hide by Beatrix Hollow, which I’m told has Mothman in it but I don’t own, and the Mothman Mysteries. But I meant to go by book titles, not series titles. So, I’m not counting it.

I’m sure that there are quite a few more out there; these are just the ones I currently know about. But I generally form challenges as an incentive to read the books already on my shelves. I’m already stretching a little to include Hoopla books. So, I’m going to limit myself to these seven and only add to the list if the universe tosses another free Mothman book in my path. (Feel free to facilitate that if you know of one. LOL.)

Edit: Well after I’d posted this, Like Mothman to a Flame came up on the freebie list. So, I grabbed it, too.

skulls-Image by minh huynh tan from Pixabay

I decided to bring my reviews back here as updates rather than do a separate challenge wrap-up. so…
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Zero Reviews Challenge.

I have a new challenge for myself, and this one is a little dangerous. Dangerous in the sense that there is a large potential to be unenjoyable. As such, I’m setting it as a long-term challenge. I don’t have a lot of reading time right now (because of university). So, I’m reluctant to donate any of it to read that I won’t enjoy. Despite that, I still want to try this. (You never know, I might love each of these books, after all.)

What is this? Reading the books on my Goodreads shelves with zero reviews. I was inspired to check this by someone I saw over on Tiktok (that I can’t seem to find again, so I can’t give credit to). But they said that sometimes when they have trouble deciding what to read, they order their books by review numbers and read the book with the fewest. This way, they can give a small-time or new author some attention.

I liked the idea and was somewhat surprised by how many books I have with no reviews. Then I thought about it a little more and was no longer surprised. This is for the same reason that this challenge has the potential to be either a lot of fun or none at all.

You see, I collect signed books. And one of my absolute favorite ways to find them is at charity shops. I always feel like I’m rescuing a book when I buy one from Goodwill or Savers. And sometimes I buy them because they are signed, not because they look good. (Though I try to fight my impulses on this habit.) The problem is that a lot of times, they are actually quite old—from back when self-publishing was still considered vanity publishing, and editing was often iffier than it is today.

Obviously, this isn’t the case for all of them. I am a magpie when it comes to collecting books. They come from everywhere. But the same kind of gotta-collect-them-all mindset accounts for a lot of them. So, while I love owning them, reading them is a real crap shoot. Some have been great, others every bad vanity press stereotype you can imagine. But I alway want to give them a try.

In terms challenge of logistics, I’m going by Goodreads review numbers. So, some of these might have Amazon or other reviews (though I doubt it). I’m not going to take the time to look. Similarly, I suspect some might be re-publications of older books that, if I looked hard enough, I might find history for. But, again, I’m not going to do that work. If it has no reviews on Goodreads and I own it, It qualifies for the challenge.

I’m not going to count anything that is brand new and can, therefore, be expected to garner reviews in the near future. I’m really going to focus on anything older than a year with no current reviews. And I’ll make decisions on books that are later books in a series on a book-by-book basis. The same will go for some of the odd non-fiction (don’t judge).

A lot of these are physical books that have befallen the all too common fate of books in my house. They got put on a shelf, which puts them out of sight and, therefore, out of mind. So, clearing some shelf space is a nice little bonus to the challenge too. But I’ll warn you now, being slotted in, spine out is a blessing for some of these books. There are some bad covers in the lot!

The goal is to list them below, and as I read them (no doubt slowly), I’ll come back and link to the reviews. Wish me luck. I very well might need it.

no reviews challenge books

The Coming of the Light & Piercing the Darkness, by J.W. Baccaro
The Clubhouse, by Frederic W. Baue
The Bones Dance the Foxtrot, by Donan Berg
Good as You, by B.A. Braxton
Feast of Darkness, Part II, by Christian A. Brown
The Queer Magician in Europe, by Brand Doubell
Paracord Knife Handle Wraps, by Jan Dox
Unwilling Bride, by M.J. Drakkon
Lost Faith, by Maia Dylan
Unmarked Trails, by Jane Flink
Cursed, by Athena Floras
Dust of a Moth’s Wing, by R. Ramey Guerrero
Star Crossed, by Eden Hudson
By Light of Phoenix, by Shade Jalo
Tom and Me, by Robert Lowe
Ankle to the Soul, by Shelly McDuffie
To Save My Father’s Soul, by Michael William Molden
The Wisdom Seeker, by Amy Peterson
Corporeal, by Danielle Powers
The Companions, by Michael Rader
Dragon of the Hesperides, by Dean Reavey
Gloaming, by Addison Taylor Rich
Sex, Intimacy, Love, and Romance in Elderly and Alzheimer’s Patients, by Sandy Sanbar & Judy Rector
For the People I Love and Can’t Forget, by Maria Szapszewicz
Gotta Be Down!, by Booker T.
Blood Revenge, by Robert F. Thompson
To Ocean’s End, by S.M. Welles
Reckless Dreams, by J.R. White
Defiled, by Elskidor Xell

So, there you have it. Those are the 29 books I own that Goodreads says have no reviews, the oldest being Tom and Me from 2016. (How can it have no reviews?) I’m fairly sure at least two of the authors have passed, one of which was a local-to-me author. Several are parts of series, the rest of the series’ books have few reviews too. And, honestly, none of them light me on fire with excitement. But that’s part of what makes this a challenge.

As always, you’re welcome to join in. Let me know how it goes.

2021 christmas reading challenge banner

A Christmas Reading Challenge

I’m putting together a new reading challenge for myself, a Christmas themed one…well, more a holiday themed one since it includes a few Hanukkah themed books and a Solstice story. But it’s mostly Christmas themed.

It’s only September, so it feels way too early to be thinking about the holidays. But if I want to finish a holiday challenge by Christmas, I have to give myself time to actually read the books. Which means starting about now. I’ve done this sort of thing before, though on a smaller scale.

I picked out the books with the super scientific method of scrolling through my TBR on Goodreads and picking out all that had obvious holiday themed covers or titles. I’m sure I missed some, but it still added up to a not insignificant number.

snowball-Image by StockSnap from PixabayWhat tends to happen over time is that I pick a few Christmasy titles up every year, thinking I’ll bask in the season. But, if I don’t read them immediately, they get dropped onto my TBR and forgotten about until the next Christmas. When I might or might not remember them. Then I pick up a few more, repeating the cycle. Thus, the pile of unread Christmas books snowballs, getting bigger every year.

The oldest on this list has been on my TBR since 2013! It will be especially satisfying to mark some of those titles that have been hanging around for while as ‘read.’

This year, I found 62 Christmas stories languishing on my shelves. Well, 58 Christmas, 3 Hanukkah ones, and 1 set during the Solstice. I don’t have enough to make a Hanukkah or Solstice challenge of their own. So, I’m including them here. Luckily, most of these 62 ‘books’ are pretty short (stories more than books, honestly). When I first thought to do this challenge the plan was to read all my holiday themed books. But then I saw how many there actually are. So, my revised goal is to read and review as many of them as I can by Dec. 25th.

I’ve broken them into batches, by length (Under 100 pages, 100-200, 200+). Let’s see what we have. (I know some have newer covers, but these are the editions I have.)

Under 100 pages:

2021 less than 100 pages christmas

Haunted by the Holidays, by Kathryn Blanche
A Private Miscellany, by K.J. Charles
Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus, by Bey Deckard
Illicit Activity, by J.R. Gray
Christmas at the Wellands, by Liz Jacobs
Chasing Christmas Past, by Melanie Karsak
A Wizard for Christmas, by Dorothy McFalls
The Christmas Prince, by Liv Rancourt
God Rest Ye Merry Vampires, by Liv Rancourt
The Santa Drag, by Liv Rancourt
The Ugliest Sweater, by Gillian St. Kevern
Fred and Ginger, by Isobel Starling
The Greatest Gift, by Felice Stevens
Family, by Brigham Vaughn
Winter Spirit, by Indra Vaughn
Twist of the Magi, by Caren J. Werlinger
63 Days Later, by Adrienne Wilder

Plus, The Eighth Night, by Jenna Kendrick, as a bonus

100-200 page

2021 christmas 100-200 pages
Gingerbread Mistletoe, by Amy Aislin
In Case of Emergency, by Keira Andrews
A Wedding in Twinkle Falls, by Freda Ann
Will & Patrick Do the Holidays, by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths
Charley’s Christmas Wolf, by C.D. Gorri
Mischief & Mistletoe, by Tanya Anne Crosby
Holiday Haunts, Wendy Dalrymple & Imogen Markwell-Tweed
Christmas Lites anthology, by Amy Eye and others
His Christmas Bride, by Merry Farmer
To Linzer & to Cherish, by Jen FitzGerald
A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong, by Cecilia Grant
Second Chances, by Kiska Gray
Cabin Love, by Hayden Hunt
Winter Blom, by D.J. Jamison
Bittersweets Christmas, by Suzanne Jenkins
Christmasly Obedient, by Julia Kent
Cold Feet, by Jay Northcote
Mine to Five, by Tara September
From out in the Cold, by L.A. Witt

Plus Solstice Surrender by Tracy Cooper-Posey and Highland Stranger by Kerrigan Byrne as Solstice bonuses.

200+ pages

christmas 2021 200+ pages

A Hopeful Christmas, by Anneka R. Walker, Sian Ann Bessey, Carla Kelly & Krista Lynne Jensen
The Problem With Mistletoe, Bring Me Edeweiss & Mistletoe in the Marigny, by Kyle Baxter
Mr. Frosty Pants & Mr. Naughty List, by Leta Blake
Merry Elf-ing Christmas, by Beth Bolden
The Christmas Lights Battle, by Skylar M. Cates
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, by Jenny Colgan
Fighting for Us, by Bella Emy
Sleigh Spells, Bella Falls
A Wolf is not Just for Christmas, J.F. Holland
A Christmas Date, by Camilla Isley
Frosting Her Christmas Cookies, by Alina Jacobs
Naughty & Nice, by D.J. Jamison
Where We Begin, by Janey King
Last Blue Christmas, by Rose Prendeville
Smokin’ Hot Cowboy Christmas, by Kim Redford
Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas, by Terry Spears
The Plight Before Christmas, by KateStewart
Shrewd Angel, by Anyta Sunday
A Christmas Promise, by K.C. Wells

Plus, Eight Kinky Nights by Xan West and The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish as Hanukkah bonuses.

While ‘read all your holiday themed books and short stories’ sounds deceptively easy, the challenge isn’t without it’s…well, challenges. First, very few of these happen to conveniently be the beginnings of series. The short stories especially tend to be bonuses for existing series. Mostly series I’ve read at least some of, otherwise I wouldn’t have picked up the short. But few in series I’m caught up with or have read recently. Most are contemporary romances and, frankly, I’ve not been reading much contemporary anything lately. So, many are outside my current reading preferences.  At least one of these I picked up on an Amazon free day because I thought the blurb sounded so problematic I wondered how the author would rescue it (if she could rescue it). One or two I’m not 100% are actually holiday themed, as opposed to just being set during late Winter. And there are just so many more than I expected when I thought up this challenge. Plus, I fully expect I’ll add a few more books to the list before I call the challenge finished on Christmas day. Either because I find them in my TBR between now and then or because I pick them up new this holiday season. Regardless, I’m going to do the best I can.  **ganbatte**

Other than knowing that I’ll review all of the short stories in a single post and that I’m going to prioritize physical books over ebooks, I’ve not entirely decided how I’ll be running the rest of this particular challenge—if I want to post reviews individually, in batches, one a day over a set time, all at once on Christmas day, etc. But I have time to figure that out. Regardless, I’ve got enough holiday cheer to keep me busy for a while. How about you? Anyone else have an unreasonable number of holiday themed books sitting around and want to join me getting them read this year?

Note: I’ve edited this post since first publishing it to add a few books and keep the tally up to date. I found some that I owned but had missed in Calibre and (because I have no self control), I picked up a few freebies this year.

santa-claus-Image by Igor Link from Pixabay

Just because he made me laugh