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Reading Challenge: December Update

December Book Challenge List

So I finally did it! Actually I surpassed every expectation I had for my reading this year. My goal was to read 75 books this year and I finished the year with 189 books read or reread. As for my reading challenge, I’ll admit that I waited until the last minute on some of my final challenges. Truth is, I had a hard time trying to figure out which books would fit a few of the harder ones. Then when it came to the one published the year I was born, The Polar Express didn’t come in through the library until just a few days ago. Talk about cutting it close.

I kind of feel like I cheated this month. I read a lot of smaller/easier books. But after my concussion, I have to limit my time with the computer and even after reading one e-book, I have to take a day or two off because it hurts my eyes so much. Things are slowly getting better, but I’m still trying to not push it too far. I want nothing more than to be able to get back to work full time.

I have signed up for several reading challenges this year, so I look forward to getting started on those. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and I can’t wait to see what kind of books 2016 will bring my way.

For the month of December, I read the following books:

The BetrayalThe Betrayal by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book with magic

Review: Out of all of the Fear Street books, this particular trilogy is my favorite. Much of the series is dealing with the bizarre happenings around Shadyside and particularly around Fear Street, the Fear Woods and Fear Lake. However, the Fear Street Saga explains how it all begins… Read More

Intrusion 1Intrusion by Réal Laplaine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book with one word title, book set in a different country, book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: When it comes to an action-packed thriller, you need a strong lead character who is willing to put his own life on the line for the greater good. Fortunately Intrusion features just the right character to fill this role. Keeno McCole is more than just a wanna be James Bond, he’s intelligent, strategic and a physical force to be reckoned with… Read More

Cross JusticeCross Justice by James Patterson

Challenge: A book published this year, mystery/thriller

Review: When it comes to an Alex Cross book, there are a few things you can always count on. One, nothing truly bad ever happens to his family. They can be kidnapped, have a tumor, etc. and they still will come out of the whole ordeal unscathed. Two, Alex has either a fairy godmother or a magic wand, because there will be at least one time during the book, when he will magically put something together with no proof or evidence… Read More

The Children of DarknessThe Children of Darkness by David Litwack

Challenge: A book published this year, book based entirely on its cover, book set in the future, book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: Imagine a world where you weren’t allowed to think for yourself, at all. Where any individual thought would be considered darkness and could endanger you and those around you. This is the world in which Orah, Nathaniel and Thomas live in. In their small village of Little Pond, they each serve their own purpose to help their families and community. Little changes in their daily schedule, but yet the three friends find themselves a safe haven to discuss their ideas/beliefs in private… Read More

GuardedBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Guarded by Joss Whedon

Challenge: A book with nonhuman characters, book with one word title, book you can finish in a day, book with magic, graphic novel, book based on TV show

Review: This is probably one of the few times I really don’t have anything to say about what I’ve read. This particular volume was… just a bit of filler. I didn’t really understand how it fit in the scheme of things, but I think that’s more of an observation about season nine as a whole. It’s jumped from Buffy being pregnant, to being a robot, to now working for Kennedy as a body guard. There’s no cohesion and I’m afraid it’s really leaving me not interested… Read More

Death with an Ocean ViewDeath With An Ocean View by Noreen Wald

Challenge: A book by a female character, mystery/thriller, book based entirely on its cover, book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: Have you ever found yourself having a love/hate relationship with a book? Well, that wasn’t the case with this particular book. I didn’t particularly love or hate the book at any point in time. If anything, my feelings towards it very seldom wavered from feeling neutral in regards to the story. I’m not saying others won’t absolutely love this book, just as what seems to verge on being seen as a cozy mystery, it just didn’t have the same light, airy quality that comes with those kinds of books… Read More

The SecretThe Secret by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book with magic

Review: I continued on with my favorite Fear Street trilogy in between other books this week. It was a nice break to relive the saga of the Fier/Fear legacy. Picking up with Ezra Fier’s son, Jonathan, we find the remaining Fier’s traveling from village to village in order to find the Goode family… Read More

SparkedSparked by Sheena Snow

Challenge: A book published this year, a book by someone under 30, book with nonhuman characters, book by a female character, book with one word title, book based entirely on its cover, book set in the future, book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: It’s not often that I read book descriptions, but this was one of the few times when I did. The book cover immediately caught my attention and when I read the description I was really intrigued. But no matter how good the cover is or how interesting the description may be, this book failed to be worth the time I spent trying to read it… Read More

Welcome to the TeamBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Welcome to the Team by Joss Whedon

Challenge: A book with nonhuman characters, book you can finish in a day, book with magic, graphic novel, book based on a TV show

Review: So after the oddness of the last volume, a few things began to make a little more sense in this one. For one, I wish I had paid more attention to the Billy the Vampire Slayer as he is now officially a member of Buffy’s slaying brigade. But in truth, I paid enough attention so that I wasn’t completely lost when I picked up this book, so that’s all that matters, right?… Read More

Waiting to be heardWaiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox

Challenge: A book by a female character, a nonfiction book, book based on a true story, memoir

Review: I’ve read a few books about the trial of Amanda Knox and I figured it was time to dust this library book off and finally see what was inside. Now, before I continue with this review, I will point out that I am not convinced Amanda Knox is innocent in the murder of Meredith Kercher. I’m not claiming she’s guilty, but there was evidence and events that lead her to look as if she is. Truth is, no one will ever know the extent to her involvement (if any) in this crime. But I’ll also point out, she’s not the innocent victim she tries to portray herself. Even if she were completely innocent, she lied time and time again to the police… Read More

Claudia and the New GirlClaudia and the New Girl by Ann M. Martin

Challenge: A book by a female character, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood

Review: As I continue my journey down memory lane, I realize these books actually offered a lot of sound advice when it comes to friendship. Though I never encountered anyone as dedicated as Ashley, there were times as a teenager that I found myself on the outs with my friends. Though it was years after I had stopped reading the series, at those moments I could relate to how Claudia feels when she’s on the outs with the rest of the club… Read More

PinesPines by Blake Crouch

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book with one word title, a trilogy, book set in the future, book by an author I’ve never read before, book turned into TV show

Review: So like so many books before it, this book was turned into a show that I watched and loved. When I discovered it was a trilogy, I couldn’t resist at least trying to read them all. But some time has passed and I have to say I’m glad. I fear if I had read this book too close to when I watched the show, I would judge it as a comparison to that. That would be a travesty, because this is actually a really good book… Read More

One Wish in ManhattenOne Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

Challenge: A book with a number in the title, book by a female character, book set in a different country, book based entirely on its cover, book by an author I’ve never read before, book set during Christmas

Review: This book is a great holiday romance that is guaranteed to leave you smiling and crying at the end. Most importantly, the true love story is that of a mother and her daughter. But the book is more than a romance, it’s a story of acceptance and moving forward after allowing yourself to be held back for so long. It’s inspiring, especially when it’s well known that the holidays tend to be the hardest time of year for most people… Read More

The BurningThe Burning by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book with magic

Review: In the final installment of the Fear Street Saga, Nora begins to tell the tale of Simon Fear and how the Fear mansion mysteriously burned down one evening. This is my least favorite of the three books. It claims Simon’s story is the evilest of all, but in truth, you get only samplings of his life. To be honest, I wish Stine had a companion series of the Goodes during these same years. It would be extremely interesting to discover how the timelines converge the way they do throughout the books and what happened to the Goode family during the years away from the Fiers/Fears… Read More

The MineThe Mine by John A. Heldt

Challenge: A book that made you cry, book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: Sometimes when you pick up a book, you never really know where it’s going to take you. Will you struggle for weeks to stumble through the chapters? Or will you find yourself so captivated, that you wind up staying up all night long, internally fighting the urge to go to bed, so you can see what happens next. For me, this book is the latter. I was captivated by the story and wound up staying up until 3 AM just so I could read it… Read More

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King

Challenge: A book with more than 500 pages, book with nonhuman characters, mystery/thriller, book turned into a TV show

Review: As a fan (or a reluctant one as of the finale) of Under of the Dome show, I knew I would need some time away from the show before I ever decided to take time to read the book. When it first came in at the library, I was extremely intimidated by the size of the book. It’s well over 1000 pages long and as much as I love to read, a lot of my reading time during the week is at work during my breaks and there was no way I could carry that book every day. I also didn’t like the idea of spending an entire week on a book. I typically spend about a day or two on a book. So a week seemed like forever… Read More

SwitchedSwitched by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book with one word title, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood

Review: As I started to read this particular Fear Street book, I had a sneaking feeling I had read it before. It’s been over a decade and a half since I last read one of the original Fear Streets and with some of the revamped ones, you just don’t know until you get into the book… Read More

The CoreBuffy the Vampire Slayer: The Core by Joss Whedon

Challenge: A book with nonhuman characters, book you can finish in a day, book with magic, graphic novel, book based on a TV show

Review: So in what is probably the least cohesive season, I have finally reached the end of the craziness. To be fair, this was an overall decent volume. For the first time in awhile, the goal at the beginning of the issue is fully resolved and the story line maintained focused on the task on hand. No random pregnancy scares or discovering you’re a robot moments. This is nice, because as I’ve expressed in some of my more recent reviews, this season bounced from one extreme to the next… Read More

Forever a BridesmaidForever a Bridesmaid by Courtney Hunt

Challenge: A book published this year, book by a female character, book by an author I’ve never read before, book set during Christmas

Review: This was an adorable start to what looks like a fun romantic series. From the beginning, as Erin and Matthew find themselves stranded in a Chicago airport due to snow, I was intrigued by their budding relationship. It didn’t matter to me how obvious it was that clearly, Erin, a professional bridesmaid, was going to wind up working the very same wedding that Matthew was so intent on stopping. Why? Because the author did a great job at making these characters likable. Not only that, she was able to establish real chemistry from the beginning… Read More

DrivenDriven by Kelley Armstrong

Challenge: A book with nonhuman characters, book by a female character, mystery/thriller, book with one word title, book you can finish in a day, book with magic, graphic novel, book turned into a TV show

Review: So let me begin by saying, I really enjoyed this novella and practically couldn’t put it down until I was finished with it. It’s been several years since the end of the series and Elena’s status as Pack Alpha may be cemented within her pack, but it’s still in question by the rest of the werewolf community. Most assume it’s a guise to protect Clay, while others assume it’s a joke… Read More

Playing With FirePlaying With Fire by Francine Pascal

Challenge: A book by a female character, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book set in high school

Review: As I continue to reread this series, I find myself disliking Jessica more and more. This character has nothing redeemable about her. She’s probably one of the most self-centered characters I’ve ever read. And that’s saying something when she’s worse than oh let’s say every literary villain I’ve read. It’s insulting, because at least they are supposed to be bad guys. Instead, she’s just a stuck up little girl who believes the whole world should revolve around her… Read More

Little WomenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

Challenge: A Classic Romance, book by a female character, book more than 100 years old, book set during Christmas

Review: This was one of my favorite books as a child. I had little to no knowledge of its existence until the movie was made in the early 90’s. From there, I yearned to read the actual book that inspired such a lovely tale of a group of sisters who strive to overcome so many obstacles. I’ve always had a soft spot for historical fiction, but classical fiction has always been a hit or miss for me. This was one of those cases, much like the Little House on the Prairie books, where I fell in love with both the story and the characters… Read More

The Best FriendThe Best Friend by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book set in high school

Review: This is one of those books where you just want to smack the main character. From the start, I wanted nothing more than to strangle Becka. She’s a pathetic character who is unable to speak up for herself and basically quivers and cries at the drop of a hat. So when you are introduced to Honey, who is described as having been that way in grade school, I didn’t feel any sympathy for Becka… Read More

The Rich GirlThe Rich Girl by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book set in high school

Review: The thing I love about the Fear Street novels is the fact you never know which way they are going to turn out. Sometimes there really is a killer lurking around the corner. Sometimes it’s a psychological thriller. Sometimes it’s a plot against one of the characters and sometimes someone is really just freaking crazy. This is great, because as I went into this book, which I’m fairly certain is not one of the ones I’ve read before, I had no clue what the ending was going to be… Read More

Once a BridesmaidOnce a Bridesmaid by Courtney Hunt

Challenge: A book published this year, book with a number in the title, book by a female character, book set during Christmas

Review: So I’ll admit it, this series has turned even me, the world’s biggest romance Scrooge, into a softie. It’s clear that Courtney Hunt is great at creating likable characters that leave you completely invested in their story. This is such a great quality, that I don’t even care if the book is a romance story. I simply just enjoyed being along for the ride… Read More

poinsettiaPoinsettia by Tiffany Reisz

Challenge: A book published this year, book by a female character, book with one word title, book you can finish in a day, book set during Christmas

Review: One of the things I love about Tiffany Reisz is her absolute acceptance of all sexual orientation. She’s the only author I have found who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries and have all forms represented in her writing. This isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate how smartly she handles each situation with an elegance that is beautiful, especially in a time where most of these things are still considered perverse or taboo… Read More

The Little PrinceThe Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Challenge: A book set in a different country, book you can finish in a day, book by an author I’ve never read before, book originally written in another language

Review: For some reason, it’s odd that I had never heard of The Little Prince as a child. To be honest, I’m not surprised. My mother was never much of one to read to me and I highly doubt she’d invest in a book with so many pages. Having read this book, I actually don’t blame her. Before you assume I’m about to go into a tirade about the book, just give me a moment to explain… Read More

Scrapbook of SecretsScrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan

Challenge: A book by a female character, mystery/thriller, book with a love triangle

Review: I put this book on hold after reading Scrapbook of the Dead through Netgalley a month or two back. While I had enjoyed that particular book, I clearly felt as if I had missed a few things by not reading the first couple of books in the series. Thus, leading me to eventually placing the first book of the series and hold through my local library… Read More

Baby-sitters on BoardBaby-sitters on Board! by Ann M. Martin

Challenge: A book by a female character, book you can finish in a day, book with bad reviews, book from childhood

Review: I wasn’t entirely sure how to fit in the Super Specials when it came to my rereading schedule for this series. After some research, I discovered this book was released after book twelve in the series. Of course, this doesn’t exactly fit the timeline because it’s supposed to happen during the summer before the original five head into eighth grade. It doesn’t even fit the summer schedule because it takes place after Stacey and Mary Anne went to Sea City with the Pikes. But whatever… Read More

Monster Blood by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A book with nonhuman characters, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book turned into a TV show

Review: So I had the bright idea to read Goosebumps to my son. He loved the show and the movie, so why not the books? What a tremendously bad idea. We started this book on October 24 of this year and because my son whined about how long it took to read out loud, it took us until Christmas to finish it! … Read More

The Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers by Susan Riegar

Challenge: A book by a female character, book based entirely on its cover, book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: I picked this book up a few months ago because the cover caught my eye. But as overloaded as I have been these past few months, it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally got around to it. At first, I thought the first few memos and letters were entertaining. But I didn’t expect the entire book to be nothing but e-mails and legal documents. This was such a bad decision for this book. Especially when it claims:.. Read More

Ash and the PrinceAsh & The Prince by Katie Doyle

Challenge: A book published this year, book by a female character, book you can finish in a day, book with magic, book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: So I have to admit, I was a bit dense when it came to this particular novella. This happens from time to time, but as I read it, I couldn’t figure out how it was a reimagined version of Cinderella. This is actually a good thing, because it’s far too common for it to be overly obvious in books and I’m a bit fan of a book that can make you think… Read More

The Perfect DateThe Perfect Date by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book set in high school

Review: Ever since I began (re)reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street novels, none of the older books have featured anything that was paranormal. This is the first book that I’ve found that actually features a supernatural reason for why strange things are happening and I loved it. Too often the books have featured people who have died, but weren’t really dead. Either because it was a prank or a hallucination… Read More

Cat on a Hot Tin RoofCat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

Challenge: A book that became a movie, Pulitzer-Prize winner, a play

Review: I’ll admit, the extent I knew about this particular play came from seeing the episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 where Brenda and Kelly go after the part of Maggie the Cat. However, I needed a Pulitzer Prize winner and a play to complete my 2015 Reading Challenge and I thought this might be an excellent time to see what it was all about… Read More

All the ColoursAll the Colours by Lo-arna Green

Challenge: A book published this year, book by a female character, book set in a different country, book set some place you wish you could visit, book with a love triangle, book set in high school, book by an author I’ve never read before, book set during Christmas

Review: This was an interesting read for me. I’ll admit, as I’ve gotten older (yes, even at the ripe old age of 30, I feel old), I’ve noticed my enjoyment for young adult and new adult books has begun to waiver. But not with this book and I’m happy for that. It was enjoyable read about a young woman whose life is suddenly upended on her. First, her sister disappears after a car accident and then her mother vanishes. Though she knows her mother is probably on a bender, Jazz can’t help but reach out to her beloved aunt for help… Read More

A New FearA New Fear by R.L. Stine

Challenge: A mystery/thriller, book you can finish in a day, book from childhood, book with magic

Review: This is yet another of those Fear Street stories that I read as a child. It’s actually amazing how many of them were hit and miss with me. I guess I probably should have taken advantage of my access to them when I was younger. But with me rebuilding my collection in full, I suppose it doesn’t matter… Read More

Polar ExpressThe Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Challenge: A book made into a movie, book with nonhuman characters, book you can finish in a day, book that came out the year you were born, book with magic, book by an author I’ve never read before, book set during Christmas

Review: This is a wonderful Christmas story and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was published the year I was born. This wouldn’t seem like such a big thing, but it serves to help me finish my final reading challenge of 2015. I only wish the book would have come in last week so we could have read it on Christmas Eve. Not that it matters, we still enjoyed having the opportunity to curl up and read it together. But now I know which book to invest in… Read More

Books read to date (Total): 189

Challenges completed: 50 of 50

Goosebumps Reread (Total): 3

Fear Street Reread (Total): 11

House of Night Reread (Total): 9

Sweet Valley High Reread (Total): 3

The Baby-sitters Club Reread (Total): 13

 

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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

6 comments on “Reading Challenge: December Update

  1. 189 books? Wow! I managed 20 and I thought that was a decent score. Amazing! https://sukanyaramanujan.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/the-annual-book-mosaic-2015/

  2. Congratulations on completing your goals, and I hope your head starts feeling better. Concussions suck. Happy 2016!

  3. Wow, I had no idea you had a concussion! I hope you are recovering well. It is incredible how much you read! Congratulations!

    • Thanks! I’ve been slowly getting better. I can go about 3-4 hours before I need a break (i.e. nap, lay down close my eyes) and it depends on the symptoms. It’s the nausea and constant migraines that I need to overcome. But hopefully soon enough I can go back to work full time or find a more permanent office job/freelance job.

  4. Congratulations on meeting your goals! 189 books? WOWZERS! I am trying harder this year to meet some of the ones I just miss the mark on. Happy New Year!

    • Don’t be too impressed. That includes short stories and all those Fear Street/BSB books. I’m sticking to simpler goals this year. I don’t want to have to hunt down a book I probably won’t like, just because the author’s initials are the same as mine (or reversed).

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