challenges, R.I.P.Challenge

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VIII

RIP8main300It’s here! Carl posted the sign-up post for R.I.P a few days ago. It’s one of the few events to get the blogisphere in a blogging frenzy. The R.I.P. Challenge is one of my favorite challenges. Even though the sun is shining out here in SoCal and the weather is still in the 90s, I had to sign up now.

From now until Halloween, participants will be reading books and watching movies in a variety of genres:




Dark Fantasy





The only two rules:

Have fun reading (and watching).

Share that fun with others.

rip8peril1stFor Peril the First, participants read four books that fit in with the challenge. I’ve ignored my own books most of this year in favor of library books and advanced reading copies, so for R.I.P., I’m reading strictly from my shelves. My reading pool:

RIP Collage1

RIP Collage2

Half World by Hiromi Goto

anything by Angela Carter

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Stepmother by Robert Coover

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Jinni and the Golem by Helene Wecker

rip8perilshortI love short stories but I don’t often read them. I’ll probably change that with a collection of short stories by Angela Carter.

rip8perilonscreenWhat would the challenge be without movies?! I have no idea what I’m going to watch just yet.

What are you reading (and watching) for R.I.P. VIII?



Fantasy, R.I.P.Challenge, reading challenges

R.I.P. Challenge VI

As I sit here typing, the sun is setting and the wind’s blowing. Outside my window the leaves on various trees have started to change from that brilliant green of summer to the crisp orange of fall. I can’t believe that I almost missed one of my favorite reading challenges: Carl’s Readers Imbibing Peril challenge. It’s hard to believe that this is my fifth year but it is.

This year I’m participating in a few perils:

  • Peril the First– four books of any length
  • Peril of the Short Story
  • Peril on the Screen – scary movies!

I also plan on participating in a peril you may not have heard of before: Peril of the Children. I love this challenge so much that I’m making letting my children participate too. I plan on reading one spooky picture book or story to them each night throughout October. The kids have already started putting some of their favorite Halloween tales on hold at our local library. I’m hoping to write a post a week on the stories we read together.

My pool of books:

  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol  (re-read)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (re-read)
  • Fish by Gregory Mone
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  • The Night Circus by Erin Mortensen
  • The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Beowulf
  • Under the Dome by Stephen King
  • Bradbury Stories by Ray Bradbury (re-read)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  • Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  • A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot
  • Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan
  • Hellboy series by Mike Mignola
  • Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

Have you read anything in this reading pool? Is there one book you think I should put at the top of my TBR list?


Readers Imbibing Peril 5

You guys may think I’m crazy but it has taken me more than a week to figure out what to read for this challenge. Like most of us, I was counting down until Carl announced the start of the 5th annual R.I.P. challenge. This is my fourth time participating in this challenge and I usually have my reading list ready to go before the start of the challenge.  Not so much this year. I had a few favorite stories I wanted to re-read but couldn’t make up my mind when it came to everything else.

After reading so many of my favorite bloggers’ lists for this challenge and compiling a huge list of books, I finally figure out what I wanted to read. I have more than two hundred unread books on my shelves, so I decided to pick my most of my reading pool from the books I already own. This year I’m participating in two perils:

Peril the Second only calls for two books but judging for my reading pool, I know I’m going to read way more than that. My list:

The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Amulet Book 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi

Sweet Hearts by Melanie Rae Thon
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski

The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales by Ray Bradbury
The Icarus Girl by Helene Oyeyemi

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot
Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman (re-read)

Not pictured:

Big Machine by Victor LaValle
A Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Revolver by Marcus Segwick
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (re-read)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Fledgling by Octavia Butler
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Edit: For some reason, the last few pictures aren’t showing. You can click on the icons to see the covers.

R.I.P.Challenge, reading, Reading Journal, reviews


Can you believe that I haven’t posted a new review in over a week? I don’t know if it’s this confusing California weather (thick fog in the morning and warm during the day) or what. I’m in the weirdest mood though November is supposed to be the month where I get so much done. The week fter the readathon, I didn’t read much. This week I’m in the middle of five books so the next review I write will probably be next week. I don’t have the energy desire time to write longer reviews so I thought shorter reviews would be a nice change for right now.


Rapunzel’s Revenge (2008)
Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale
144 pages

I first heard about this book during last year’s Cybil’s awards. My library just bought a copy last month and I’ve finally been able to read it. The Hales have taken the Rapunzel fairy tale and turned it on its head! After escaping from Mother Gothel, Rapunzel decides to go back and get her revenge on the witch and free her mother from enslaved in a mine camp. On the way she meets Jack of the Beanstalk fame and the two start on a daring adventure.

This was a great read. In this retelling Rapunzel is a daring young girl who won’t take no for an answer. With Jack by her side the duo chases off coyotes, wrestle with giant snakes, and rescue a spoil brat from a group of bandits. This is a book that has a place in my permanent library.

kubuishi 1

Amulet Vol 1: The Stonkeeper (2008)
Amulet Vol. 2; The Stonekeeper’s Curse (2009)
by Kazu Kibuishi

Kibuishi is the genius behind the fabulous Flight graphic series. Last year I found out about Amulet and read the first book in the series. The problem with reading books in a series is that you have to wait until the next volume comes out. Just last month volume 2 arrived and I dove in. Both books are about siblings Navin and Emily. With their mother they move to an old family home to start over after losing their father in a car accident. Only days after arriving, strange things start to happen and their mother is kidnapped by a strange creature and taken to another world.

Book two starts where the first book left off with Navin and Emily trying to rescue their mother. Filled with more action and adventure than book one, you can’t put this book down until you turn the last page. The graphics are so great, there were a few I wanted to blow up and put on my wall. Great read for all ages.


Peter and Max: A Fables Novel (2009)
Bill Willingham
400 pages

I have been a fan of  Bill Willingham’s graphic novel series, Fables, for years. Peter is a Fable who lives with his wife Bo (Little Bo Peep). When Bigby Wolf, Beast, and Frau Totenkinder informs Peter that his older brother Max has returned, Peter knows he has to go and finish the fight that started between the two brother centuries before.

With that said, I have to tell you this was an excellent read. Because I’ve already read the graphic novels I found the beginning slow-going and almost set the book down. After a while, the book picked up and I set aside almost everything to read it. The plot goes back and forth between the past explaining how Max became the Pied Piper and his jealousy with Peter, and the present as Max flies across the world to confront his brother.Willingham did a fantastic job providing the background information. Bigby and Frau Totenkinder both appear in the brothers’ past and readers find out more about Frau Totenkinder and the life she lead before coming to our world.

The fight that happened between the two brothers wasn’t what I expected after the build-up of so much suspense. It was a pretty crafty fight though. If you love fairy tales and/or love the Fables series, this is a great book for you.

R.I.P.Challenge, reading

R.I.P. Challenge


R.I.P. Challenge

Sept. 1, 2009– October 31, 2009

One of the things I did while on my blogging break was that I started to count down for the start of Carl’s fantastic Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Challenge. Fall is one of my favorite seasons and for the last couple of years, I’ve marked the start of the season with Carl’s challenge, reading spooky stories while curling up with a cup of coffee and listening to the wind blow as the weather cools down. The R.I.P. Challenge is as much a part of autumn as falling leaves are.

You can imagine my surprise when I checked Twitter a few days ago and learned that though the fourth annual R.I.P. Challenge doesn’t officially start until the 1st of September, Carl went ahead and started it this past Monday! After I finished screaming in excitement and receiving funny looks from my family, I started scouring my bookshelves and wish lists for books I want to read.

This year I’m signing up for the Short Story Peril and also Peril the 1st, which is to read four books of any length in the subgenres: mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, and supernatural.

Monday I read Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzgerald. Hush, Hush is the story of a young girl who gets caught up with a fallen angel. She’s also being stalked by a mysterious girl, a guy in a ski mask, and has a ton of weird things happen to her. It’s becoming a fast favorite among bloggers.

My Reading Pool:

1. Angel of Forgetfulness – Steve Stern
2. Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafron
3. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
4. Something Wicked this Way Comes – Ray Bardbury
5. Sweethearts– Melanie Rae Thon
6. Forever – Peter Hamill
7. The Lace Reader – Brunonia Barry
8. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Katherine Howe
9. The Gargoyle – Andew Davidson
10.  The Late, Lamented Molly Marx – Sally Koslow
11.  Tigerheart – Peter David
12.  The Good Thief – Hannah Tinti
13.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
14.  Re-reading Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
15.  Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
16.  Full Dark House – Christopher Fowler
17.  A Fine and Private Place – Peter Beagle
18.  Nights at the Circus – Angela Carter
19.  Tender Morsels – Margo Lanagan
20.  Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
21.  Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
22.  Re-reading The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
23.  Various children’s books
24.  Finishing The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter
25.  Perfume – Patrick Suskind

Have you joined Carl’s R.I.P. Challenge?

nanowrimo, R.I.P.Challenge, writing

Nanowrimo and The Bloody Chamber

I am not a writer.

I am a reader.

A lover of the real and the bizarre, great plots and even better sentences.

But since I think everyone should get step out of their comfort zone for a minute, I’m participating in this year’s Nanowrimo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. Nanowrimo starts every year on November 1st and for the whole month, thousands of people will write a novel, word by word, while trying to accomplishing their total word count. The prize: the ability to say honestly that you wrote a novel.

This will be the third year I’ve participated and I am determined to accomplish my word count of 50,000 words. What is my book about or its title, you ask? I have no idea. I barely have my protagonist’s name.

But that will not stop me.

I will write word after word until I reach my goal despite tests, studying, family, and life in general. I will get to 50, 000 words by writing 1,667 words a day. I just have no idea what I’m going to reward myself with at the end. Maybe with a nice book.

It’s Halloween night and not one child has knocked on my door. I’m glad I’m not the one who bought the candy this year. But no worries; I have Angela Carter’s fairy tale masterpiece The Bloody Chamber to keep me company on this spooky night.

I heard about Angela Carter through a review by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. Then recently I read a great essay called “The Angela Carter Workshop” in Tin House. The essay’s author, Ricky Moody, described what it was like to be a student in one of her workshops and to have an ongoing correspondence with her.

Carter went and retold old stories in a way that leaves the reader in awe. I know I held my breath several times while reading “The Company of Wolves,” a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Once I finished reading it, I had to read the story over again. Highly recommended.

R.I.P.Challenge, reading

Halloween and the R.I.P. Challenge

All Hallows Eve is almost here and so is the end of the R.I.P. challenge hosted by Carl. This was my second time participating in the challenge and I had so much fun. I signed up for Peril the First, which was to read four books of any length, but I read a little more than that. My only regrets are that several of the books on my list I’m still waiting for my library to get in and that the weather is finally starting to feel like fall. Today started out so cold and foggy but then the sun came out late morning and a cool wind started to blow. A lot of Californians call it “earthquake weather” but I call it fall.

I read:

  1. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – The Pearl Poet
  2. The Halloween Tree – Ray Bradbury
  3. Gloom Cookie – Serena Valentino
  4. Wanted – Mark Millar
  5. The Sisters Grimm Volume 1 – Michael Buckley
  6. The Bearskinner: A Tale of the Brothers Grimm – Laura Amy Schiltz

I just received today The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter and Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago from the library. Both books go perfectly with this challenge. I’m spending the next week devouring both while studying for a test.

I’m still waiting for Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Y: The Last Man Volume 2. But until then, I will spend the rest of winter reading the books on my list.

2008 Ban on spending book challenge, books, challenges, Classics Challenge, R.I.P.Challenge

Sunday Salon: Breaking All the Rules

This month has been very bookish despite the fact that fall semester has started for me out here in California. So even though I have almost no spare time to read that hasn’t stopped me from acquiring books in any way that I can. Which really sucks since just last Saturday I signed up for J. Kaye’s Ban-on-Spending Book Challenge. The premise of the challenge is not to spend another dime on books until you read the books you already own that are on your TBR list. I tried, I really did. But within a couple of days I had books in my mailbox from Paperbackswap and Amazon. Having a $1 bookstore just down the street from where I live doesn’t help matters either. Every single book in the store is only one dollar and you can always find great finds.

Friday I promised my younger siblings and my kids that if they behaved well while we were school shopping, I would take them to our local $1 bookstore. Mind you, I forgot all about the the ban on spending. We went in and I came out with seven books for myself, which brings this month’s total of books bought or traded to 26, a record for me. But can I really complain when I acquired Munro, Welty, Lutz, Smith, O’Brien, Hoffman, and the many other book covers you see throughout this post for one dollar each or for free? You will hear no complaints from me.

I felt guilty for about three seconds before hugging my new books protectively and pushing the thought out of my mind. I’ll try the challenge again September 1st. Not a day before.

Too bad none of the books fit into any of the challenges I signed up for this week: Lambda Challenge and Carl V’s 3rd annual Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Challenge. The Lambda Challenge is an ongoing challenge based on the Lambda Literary Foundation awards. Every year the foundation gives out awards to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender literature. Since this is a genre I totally forgot about, I’m in. I have no idea what I’m going to read yet.

Carl’s R.I.P. Challenge is one of my favorite challenges. Every year I count down to fall and the chance to sign up and read as many scary stories as I can. I’m a chicken so I read more mysteries than thrillers. Because my list of potential reads is long, I won’t list it here. You can read it here though.

This week I managed to finish three books and a couple of essays. Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby is a collection of essays about the books he’s read for The Believer magazine. The collection is smart and funny, a great collection for any book lover’s shelf. I’ve read several books by Hornby including About a Boy, How to be Good, The Polysyllabic Spree, and currently High Fidelity. You cannot go wrong reading Hornby.

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg was this month’s re-read. It’s a pretty simple story about a woman named Nan who leaves her husband, home, and life as she knows it to figure out who she is and what she wants. Along the way she talks to strangers who are almost always women to see how their own lives turned out and are they living the life they want. Written as letters to Nan’s husband and also as diary entries, the book is a quick and enjoyable read.
Also read this week was Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by the Pearl Poet. This was required reading for my British Lit class, but I’m glad I read it. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is thought to have been written in the 14th-century by an anonymous writer. It’s about a mysterious, huge, green knight coming to King Arthur’s court to challenge any knight to a game he had in mind: he would let them strike a blow to him with his large, scary axe in exhange that in one year and a day that same knight will find him and stand a blow from the green knight. There’s a lot of embrassment because no one was stupid enough to volunteer. Arthur ended up volunteering and before he could strike a blow to the green knight, his cousin Sir Gawain, offered to take Arthur’s place. Gawain cuts the knight’s head off thinking that would be the end of the game only for the green knight to pick up his rolling head, tell Gawain who he was and the name of his manor, before riding on his large green horse with his head in his hands. The rest of the poem had to do with Gawain’s journey and what happens. I have to thank my professor for requiring this and holding my class’s hands through this. For a minute I thought about changing my major from English to accounting.

Yesterday I started reading Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. I was kind of wary about reading it since every book after Twilight hasn’t been as fulfilling. But Breaking Dawn is proving to be as much of a page-turner as the three books before it. I plan on finishing this morning so I can start on my many pages of homework. I’ll post my review later on this week.

Okay this post is so long. So I’m off to drink too much coffee and read while shouting at Bella to quit being so selfish. Have a great week.


R.I.P. Challenge

It’s back!! Carl’s annual Readers Imbibing Peril or R.I.P. Challenge is back. I have been waiting for this challenge all year long. I am so happy.
The R.I.P. Challenge runs from September 1st through October 31st. The theme is to scare yourself silly reading books from the mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, and/or supernatural genres. You can even start reading now if you wanted to.
This is my favorite peril. I plan on reading at least four books from my pool of potential reads.

1. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

2. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
3. I am legend – Richard Matheson
4. Dracula – Bram Stoker
5. Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
6. Fragile Things – Gaiman
7. 20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill
8. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

9. We have always lived in the castle – Shirley Jackson
10. The Haunting of Hill House- Shirley Jackson
11. The Best American Mystery Stories of 2006 & 2007
12. Case Histories – Kate Atkinson
13. Lasher – Anne Rice
14. Hellboy Vol. 1 – Mike Magnola
15. Y: The Last Man Vol. 2
16. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Readers in Peril (R.I.P.) Autumn Reading Challenge

Here’s one more challenge I’m signing up for! I really don’t read horror, but why not have nightmares? I’m tired of sunny California. I’m ready for winter. Mind you I don’t want the flooding that’s going on in other states, but can’t I have a little cold weather? I’m going to go for Peril the First and also the Sunday Short Story Peril. Here’s my list of possible suspects:

Bradbury Stories: 100 of his most celebrated tales -Ray Bradbury

Strange Happenings- Avi

Dracula – Bram Stoker

His Dark Materials Trilogy -Philip Pullman

Dreamcatcher – Stephen King

The Stand – Stephen King

Mayfair Witches Series- Anne Rice