My 2010 Challenge Failures

OK, here comes the truth.  I signed up for 12 reading challenges this year, knowing full well that I would be unable to finish them all.  But it was meant to challenge me, right?  I was challenged and finished 9 out of 12 challenges.  Not a bad record, so I’m not going to feel too bad about it.

My biggest failure was the 2010 All About the Brontes Challenge for which I read ZERO books by the June 30th deadline.

However, I gave myself an extension through the end of the year, and I still only read 1 book of poetry.

My second failure is the Vampire Series Challenge.  I read 4 books for this challenge, though most of them were in the Sookie Stackhouse Series.  I did read the short novella from the Twilight series and the latest Christopher Moore book in his vampire series.  I only missed completing this one by 2 books.

My third failure is the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge, though for this one, I actually read 4 out of 10 books in the series.

I’m likely to finish reading all of these books at some point, so I’m sure you’ll see reviews of these in the new year.

What challenges did you finish?  Which challenges did you fail to finish?

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer‘s The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a short novella that takes a glimpse at the other side of vampirism . . . the darker side.  Written as a companion to the Eclipse novel and the release of the movie, readers will experience what it truly is to be a newborn vampire, to crave the blood, and to think of nothing else.

“She opened her mouth to scream, but my teeth crushed her windpipe before a sound could come out.  There was just the gurgle of air and blood in her lungs, and the low moans I could not control.”  (Page 10)

Bree Tanner is a young teen turned vampire thrust into a vicious world of vampire gangs, who hides behind Fred, a young vampire with the power to repel others.  She’s timid and fearful of the new world she’s in, but she cannot control her thirst any more than her other counterparts.  Bree meets an older vampire teen, Diego who takes her under his wing and allows her to find comfort with her new life.

Overall, the novella is a quick read and helps shed light on the vampire world not seen in the Twilight series, but it lacked the gruesome and detailed slashing that one would expect from newborn vampires.  Much of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner focuses on teen angst about fitting in and finding one’s way in the world, and naturally about a budding love.  Meyer is a gifted storyteller, but her timidity with regard to the vicious nature of vampires will leave many fans feeling flat.

***I borrowed my copy of Meyer’s novella from the local library.  I’d also like to thank Not Enough Books for the recommendation.***

This is my 4th book for the 2010 Vampire Series Challenge.

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris‘s Dead to the World is the fourth book in the Sookie Stackhouse southern vampire mystery series, a series that gets better and better.  Sookie faces more obstacles in this novel, but mostly because there are new enemies in town — witches — and her brother has disappeared.  These witches are stronger than the local Wiccans because they are shifters, possibly Weres, and drink vampire blood, which only makes them stronger.

Harris carefully weaves in the main plot and the subplot, while peppering her prose with ethical and emotional complications.  All the while, readers are immersed in backwoods and old world atmosphere of Bon Temps.  The dialogue between the characters is full of humor, and readers will enjoy the author’s sense of fun with shape shifters like Debbie Pelt whose names resemble their two-natured state.

Bill, her former boyfriend and intimate vampire, has left town for Peru, leaving her to mull over their past relationship.  Wallowing a bit in self pity, Sookie soon finds a a half-naked man by the side of the road, and it is none other than Eric, but he’s not so much the Eric she knows.  Their tentative friendship blossoms, but only in a surface kind of way.

Will Sookie find her brother?  Will the vampires and the shape-shifters save Bon Temps and Shreveport from the more powerful intruders?  You’ll have to read Dead to the World to find out.  Looking for a great summer read to kick back in the lounger with, Charlaine Harris is your author.

This is book four out of 10.

This is my 3rd book for the 2010 Vampire Series Challenge.

Challenges Completed! Others Not so Much!

I joined this challenge a bit late last year, but it ran from May 2009 through May 2010 (click on the image for more information).  I completed the deep end of the challenge, which required me to read and review 11-15 books of contemporary poetry and poetics.

See the books I reviewed here.

I joined the 2010 Ireland Reading Challenge (click on the image for more information) at the Shamrock Level for 2 books.

Check out my book reviews here.

I’ve completed this challenge by reading 3 books.  Check them out here.

Ok, that’s it for the completed challenges.  For the other challenges and my progress, here you go:

I’ve read 34 out of 50 books for this challenge.  Check them out here.

I’ve read 3 out of 10 books for this challenge.  Check them out here.

I’ve read 5 out of 11 books for this challenge.  Check them out here.

I’ve read 9 out of 12 books for this challenge.  Check them out here.

I haven’t even started this challenge.  It ends June 30 and you have to read, listen or watch between 3 and 6 items.

I’ve read 4 out of 5 spinoffs/rewrites and 0 out of 6 Jane Austen originals.  Check them out here.

I’ve met the requirement to read 2 books of poetry, but I’m not sure I’ve finished a badge yet.  I’ve read 5 contemporary poetry books, which I think qualifies for a badge.  Check them out here.

I’ve read 2 out of 6 vampire books from any series.  Check them out here.

I have not started this challenge either.  I think this one is perpetual, so I may be good on this front.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris‘s Club Dead is the third book in the southern vampire series, which I’m reading for the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge and the Vampire Series Reading Challenge that I’m incredibly behind on.  In this installment, Sookie’s new boyfriend/vampire Bill has become distant and has informed her that he will be taking a “business” trip to Seattle to complete a project for the Queen of Louisiana.  Unfortunately, Sookie soon finds out that after Bill leaves town that her boyfriend’s project places her in the cross hairs of the vampire kingdoms.

“Mama and Daddy died nearly twenty years before vampires had appeared on network television to announce the fact that they were actually present among us, an announcement that had followed on the Japanese development of synthetic blood that actually maintained a vampire’s life without the necessity of drinking from humans.”  (Page 4-5)

Thrown into a new mystery that leads her to Mississippi and a whole new set of vampires with their werewolf and were-animal minions, Sookie has to navigate not only her mixed feelings about Bill and his distance from her, but also the inner politics of the vampire kingdoms.  Harris does an incredible job of weaving in the Southern charm and manners that many readers enjoy in southern fiction with the darker side of vampires and all things supernatural.

“I have never seen one before, but the word ‘goblin’ popped into my mind as if I had a supernatural dictionary printed on the inside of my eyeballs.”  (Page 94)

“‘Bill,’ I said coldly.  Something was Up, with a capital U.  And it wasn’t Bill’s libido.  (Libido had just been on my Word-A-Day calendar.)”  (Page 3)

Club Dead will take readers into the exclusive vampire clubs where humans are merely accessories and into the compounds that resemble the cults on television that are raided by the FBI.  Looking for a fun, suspenseful summer read, check out Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books.

I purchased my copy of Club Dead.

This is the 3rd book I’ve read for the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge.

This is my 2nd book for the 2010 Vampire Series Challenge.

Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore‘s Bite Me: A Love Story continues to the trials of the Countess Jody, Lord Flood, and their minion Abby Normal.  It is the third book in the series set in San Francisco and focuses mainly on Goth teenager Abby Normal, her boy-toy and ultra-nerd Foo Dog (aka Steve), and her gay BFF Jared as they battle a city of vampyre cats . . . and rats.  The Emperor of San Francisco and Detectives Cavuto and Rivera return along with the Animals, Flood’s former colleagues of the Safeway stocking crew.

“I am Nosferatu, bee-yotch.”  (page 176)

“It just goes to show you, like Lord Byron says in the poem:  ‘Given enough weed and explosives, even a creature of most sophisticated and ancient dark power can be undone by a few stoners.’

I’m paraphrasing.  It may have been Shelley.”  (page 6-7)

Moore’s writing is crass and humorous and will have readers laughing out loud about how thick Abby is and yet so smart about the magical.  He has a way with language and creating and adopting slang for his characters, like booticuity, ownage, Mombot, va-jay-jay, and Skankenstein boots.   The vampyres are equally good and bad in this novel, but Abby and her friends are all that stand between San Francisco and total annihilation.  From katanas to LED sunlight jackets and UV lamps to flame throwers and Grandma’s special tea, these kids have tricked out rides and kung-fu skills like no one else.

“The outside city people live on, like, a different plane of existence, like they don’t even see the inside people either.  But when you’re a vampyre, the two cities are all lit up.  You can hear the people talking and eating and watching TV in their houses, and you can see and feel the people in the streets, behind the garbage cans, under the stairs.  All these auras show, sometimes right through walls.  Like life, glowing.” (page 226)

Even more enjoyable is how Moore intertwines other story lines from his previous books, particularly Dirty Job.  It is fun for readers to see how characters from other novels pop in and add spice to the vampyre mayhem.  Moore is a very talented writer with a gift for making readers laugh.  Those who love vampire novels should read the entire series — Bloodsucking Fiends and You SuckBite Me is another laugh-out-loud novel from Moore for those of us who need to step into another world, destress, and laugh intelligently.

This is my 1st book for the 2010 Vampire Series Challenge.


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FTC Disclosure:  I got my copy of the book from the local library!

2010 Vampire Series Challenge

I know. . . I said I wasn’t signing up for any more challenges, and then I went ahead and signed up for another poetry reading challenge. . . and then I found a Vampire Series Challenge!  How could I resist?

I’m waffling between option #3 and #4.  For now, I’m going to shoot for option #3 to read any 6 books from a series in which vampires are main characters.

Challenge runs from January 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2010.

Here’s the other options, if you are interested:

Level One: Vampire Newbie ~ read Book 1 of three (3) different vampire series (for a list of series’ featuring vampires, see my All In Order blog, or check out Kathrin’s list here –but note that some of the ones she mentions may not be series books). So, for example, you could read: “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer (book 1 in the “Twilight” series), “Evermore” by Alyson Noel (book 1 of the “Immortals” series), and “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare (book 1 of the “Mortal Instruments” series). NO re-reads allowed for this level, as you’re supposed to be introducing yourself to new vampire series. ;)

Level Two: Vampire Addict ~ Choose either to: reread 2 vampire series books you’ve already read; OR read 2 more books from a vampire series that you’ve already started reading. For example: if you’ve already read books 1 & 2 of the “Twilight” series, now go and read books 3 & 4. OR, if you’ve already read the whole “House of Night” series by P.C. Cast, go back and read 2 of the books from that series.

Level Three: Vampire Enthusiast ~ Read 6 books from any series featuring vampires as key/main characters. This can be a mix of different series, or you can read all 6 books from one series, or whatever.

Level Four: Vampire Lover ~ If you’re really feeling crazy about vampires, this is the level for you! Read 3 full series featuring vampires as key/main characters. Example: The whole “House of Night” series, the whole “Twilight” series, the whole “Vampire Academy” series, or whatever. Totally up to you. And, I don’t care if you’re re-reading them. So long as you read the whole series.

Go to the Mr. Linky to sign up! You know you want to.