Monday, October 13, 2008

WRAPUP: Read Around the Genre Challenge 2008

Wow! My first completed reading challenge ever!

This one was a list of genres, with the challenge to read 1 from each genre, and write a review for each one read. I managed to do all 10 books by today, October 13, with a total of 3,566 pages (using the paperback equivalent for audio books) and 9 authors.

I am reading about 1 book-a-day but did have an 11 day vacation in the middle of this that put me a little off my stride. However, I felt like maybe I could have finished it sooner, but got caught on 2 genres: Time Travel and Vampire. I like Time Travel - after all, I'm a major Outlander fan and loved The Time Traveler's Wife, which I actually credit with my new, near-obsessive reading habit. But I didn't have any time travel in my TBR pile, and have already read a lot of the popular titles (Son of the Morning by Linda Howard, Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux) so I had to sorta scrounge around for a time travel one.

And I've developed this Thang about vampire romance from my unfortunate encounter with Feehan's Dark series on audio book early in my romance reading (which, admittedly, was maybe only 1 year or so ago). See - I hated HATED the narration on them, even though I forced myself to buy and listen to two of them. I actually jerked the earphones out repeatedly, cursing at her pronunciations. I even made a LIST of them. OOOOooo they made me so mad! And I tried to tell myself I liked the stories anyway - but then, over time, couldn't bring myself to even consider paranormal at all for a long time.

This challenge actually forced me to consider another vampire story (Dead Until Dark, which doesn't exactly qualify for romance status, but is sorta close). So I finally wrapped it up, saving vampires for last.

Here is the list, and here is the original post from which you can link to all the individual reviews I wrote for each one.

1. Pirate or Viking - A Lady At Last by Brenda Joyce - READ 9/11, 376 pp ***
2. Vampire - Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, downloaded audio book READ 10/13 (304 pp in paperback) *****
3. Contemporary - Beguiled by Lori Foster - audio, 9/3, 250 pages? ****
4. Chick Lit - A Little Help from Above by Saralee Rosenberg, loaned to me by a friend - READ 9/2 (334 pp) ***
5. Medieval - The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux- READ 9/5 376 pages ****
6. Time Travel - Time Enough For Love by Suzanne Brockmann, READ 10/7, (240 pp in the orig paperback; 179 in this edition) ***
7. Romantic Suspense - downloaded Death Angel by Linda Howard from - READ 9/1 (352 pp) *****
8. Inspirational - downloaded Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers from - READ 9/8 (464 pp in book form) *****
9. Historical - Seaswept Abandon by Jo Goodman - READ 9/9 *** 508 pp
10. Paranormal - Remembrance by Jude Deveraux - READ 9/6 (423 pp) ****

What did I learn from this challenge... Well, I ended up liking the Chick Lit one ok, not great, and maybe I'll try Chick Lit again some day - after I finish all the good straight romance novels in the world (in English, anyway). I'm not Inspired to read more Inspirational, although the one I read (listened to) was really good. I continue to love contemporary and historical romance equally - a good story teller can make either of these my favorite at the time. I also like suspense done well, even when it manages to somewhat overshadow the relationship that is really the core of good romance.

Of the paranormals (which I think could generously include time travel, vampires, world-building, anything that doesn't really fit our current physical world as we know it), I'll try to remain open-minded. When the author makes up the "rules" of her world and is consistent and credible, I jump on behind her and follow her anywhere. If she says time travel is a genetic trait, I'm there, as long as her rules are consistently applied. If a past-life regressionist is used and the heroine is sucked back into time, I go there with her. Vampires are really formerly humans with an unfortunate virus? Ok! (although once you've read the first book, you start to learn the Real Truth.)

As far as pirates and vikings - oh yeah, I love Swash Buckling adventures! I've got Marsha Canham books left to read, and she does Swash Buckling so well! Hmmm - next challenge, note to self: stick to TBR pile! I'm building it back up again, with my AAR Top 100 Quest books. I have recently discovered that many of them are going to be hard to find, so there's an additional Quest: Find them, then Read them.

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