Reading Challenges 2012

So, last year was the first time I'd participated in blog-based challenges (having done a few small challenges on GoodReads before that), and I had an absolutely wonderful time. This year, I'd like to participate in some challenges that either get me to either further explore genres I love, or help me discover genres and themes that I'm not quite familiar with. So without further ado, here are the challenges that I've decided to participate in throughout the year (my progress can be tracked on my Challenges page):

Steampunk Reading Challenge
hosted by the ladies at Dark Faerie Tales

Of all the subgenres out there, I think I'm most fascinated by that of steampunk. There's something about the mix of historical settings and futuristic tropes that intrigues me every time. This year, I'm making sure that steampunk doesn't get relegated to the bottom of my TBR pile.

This challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. Pretty straightforward, this one. You simply need to read books from the steampunk sub-genre. One need not have a blog in order to particpate; you just leave a comment with your book selection. There's a nice list of books already provided, so that you don't have to go scouring the earth to get started. There are four different "levels" of possible participation:

  • Gaslight – Choose 6 books to read
  • Gears – Choose 12 books to read
  • Gadgets – Choose 18 books to read
  • Greased – Choose 24 books to read
  • Steamed – Choose 30+ books to read 

No need to select books in advance; just list 'em as you go. If you're interested in doing this challenge yourself, more information can be found HERE (you can join anytime before December 31, 2011).

Krazy Kleypas Reading Challenge
hosted by the ladies at Under the Covers

So, last year I did the Historical Romance Challenge by Romance Book Junkies, and it went well! I started to read HR, and I have no plan to look back. This time, I think I'd like to focus the challenge a little bit by trying to read books by Lisa Kleypas in particular, whom I'd discovered as part of the HR Challenge. Yep, that'd be the author that many consider to be the current queen of HR--or of romantic fiction in general, depending on whom you ask. I've read only one Kleypas so far, and I'm looking forward to exploring this celebrated author's other works!

There are six levels of participation in this one:
  • Category One: 1-3 Books
  • Category Two: 4-8 Books
  • Category Three: 8-12 Books
  • Category Four: 12-16 Books
  • Category Five: 16-20 Books
  • Category Six: Read Every Lisa Kleypas ever published.

A blog is not necessary for this one; instead, you can just note the read on the challenge linky or post to your Goodreads/Shelfari/LibraryThing account (you have one). Re-reads are A-Okay, and all of Kleypas's books are valid for inclusion in the challenge. If this sounds like an interesting one to you, go HERE for information and sign-ups.

New Author Challenge
hosted by the fine folks at Literary Escapism

This particular challenge has been around for four years now, and I've seen so many other book buds find great new favorites through it. So I'm all in for 2012! It basically involves finding authors that are new to you--in any genre. Obviously, re-reads don't count (because they aren't new to you), so this challenge is meant to do just that: challenge you to branch out a bit.

The levels of committment are pretty straighforward: you can choose to read 15, 25 or 50 new authors. Non-bloggers are welcome, though reviews are encouraged. The LE gals note that, if you read your goal, keep on going! The idea is to explore as much as possible. For sign-ups and challenge details, click HERE.

Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge
hosted by the gals at Book Chick City

Though I love all types of themes under the umbrella of genre fiction, I'm a big fan of urban fantasy. I'd like to read more "dark urban fantasy" and horror, so I'm looking forward to participating in this challenge. My interest is particularly in the horror aspect; I've recently discovered that, while I am a scaredy cat, it can be quite exhilarating to read a book that's meant to spook or unnerve you a bit.
  • Read TWENTY FOUR (24) horror & urban fantasy novels in 2012
  • Read FORTY EIGHT (48) horror & urban fantasy novels in 2012

Pretty straightforward, right? Crossover with other challenges is fine, but audiobooks and nonfiction are not. Non-bloggers are encouraged to participate, as well. Click HERE for more information.

Authors After Dark 2012 Reading Challenge
hosted by Midnyte Reader


So, as of right now, I'm registered to attend the 2012 Authors After Dark summer camp in New Orleans, LA. While I'm familiar with several of the participating authors, I would love to familiarize myself with more of them, so that I can give props where they're due in August! ^_^ As Midnyte so astutely puts it: "Sometimes I go to conferences that feature authors who I am unfamiliar with. Then, when I read their books later I want to kick myself for not reading their work sooner, so I could have talked to them about their stories, gotten a book signed or just gushed properly." I could not agree with her more.   

This challenge has no "levels"; you simply provide a list of books from any authors participating in AAD 2012. Such a list is definitely not set in stone; it's more of a loose plan of attack.

Now, the fact that this particular challenge is connected to a convention does not preclude non-attendees' participation; everyone's welcome. Likewise, even though the event occurs in August, the challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. Find more information and sign up HERE.

50 States Challenge
hosted by Tasha at Book Obsessed

I started this challenge last year, and I'm gonna treat it as a continuous one (even though it's a yearly on Book Obsessed). I've read my way through many of the states, but some are just elusive (and I don't want to read a book I know I might not like, just because it's in the state of choice). The goal of this challenge is to read books that are set in each of the fifty states. Books can be of any genre and any format (ie. paperback, ebook, audiobook, etc.). But no short stories. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine. One can list their books in advance or list them as they are read. If this challenge interests you, feel free to find more info and sign up for 2012 HERE.

Interview with Author Jerri Drennen

Greetings, funky fresh guys and gals! I'm very pleased to welcome author Jerri Drennan to MNtR today! We'll be chatting for a bit about the fun and wild super-agent world of Her Man Flint, Drennan's latest book release, as well as about some of her upcoming projects (here's a hint--romantic suspense with all the trimmings of excitement!). Many thanks to Ms. Drennan for visiting today, and a very hearty welcome! So without further ado...

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MNtR: Can you tell us a bit about Her Man Flint---Twitterstyle (140 characters or less)? ^_^

Jerri: The stories about two ex-lovers forced to work together to exonerate the other of murder and in the process learn to trust again.

MNtR: The cover of this book reflects perfectly the fun, frenetic, saucy tone of the story and its cast. How did the theme and tone of this tale come about, given its relative difference to some of the more serious romantic suspense you've written in the past?

Jerri: Actually, Her Man Flint was my very first romantic suspense. The last few stories I've written have a more serious tone.

MNtR: Main characters Adriana and Flint make for the perfect international agents--effective and deadly. Do you have any favorite secret agents or spies from pop culture?

Jerri: James Bond of course and on a more fun note, Austin Powers.

MNtR: Along with Flint, some of your other heroes are strong, intense agents of justice. And like Adriana, your heroines can more than keep up! Can you tell us what draws you to the these powerhouse, lawful characters?

Jerri: I'm like men and women of justice on television so I guess it's not a stretch to want to write about these types of characters. Though, I have to say, I love my cops and agents to be flawed, as you can tell by Flint.

MNtR: Your writing slogan is, "Heroes packing more than just handguns." A very accurate descriptor of your previous works. ^_^ Can you tell us about some of the heroes you have in mind for your future books?

Jerri: Right now I'm working on my Z series. Ex-Navy Seals who work for a private security group. Think Blackwater. More on the realm of your typical romantic suspense with blackmail, murder plots and revenge.

MNtR: Are there any other genres or tropes that you've not yet written stories for, but would like to try your hand at?

Jerri: I have to say I found my passion in writing romantic suspense and I'm going to stick with it.

MNtR: Thank you so much for stopping by today to answer my questions!

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Author Bio
Jerri Drennen was raised on a farm in a tiny town in Minnesota where the winters were long and being stuck inside awarded her the opportunity to read and tell stories. Years later, after moving away from family, marrying her husband of twenty-five years and having their four children, she started writing when her youngest was three. Eleven years and many manuscripts later, she has one contemporary romance and three romantic suspense novellas with Samhain Publishing, a category romantic suspense at The Wild Rose Press and two action-adventure romances at Liquid Silver Books. Now, she's trying her hand at self-publishing.

Her Man Flint
By Jerri Drennen

If James Bond and Cleopatra Jones had a daughter, Adriana Kent would kick her ass.

Everything Adriana knows about being a top-notch, undercover agent she's learned from her partner, Flint Morgan, in and out of the sheets. That is, until he's caught between those same bed linens with another woman. Heartbroken, Adriana refuses to forgive him. But when 'the other woman' is found dead in Flint's apartment, she steps up to prove his innocence--he might be a womanizer, but he's no killer.

As Adriana closes in on a suspect, she's kidnapped and sent overseas to a sadistic prince who collects women like priceless pieces of art. Now this tough as nails agent finds herself playing the helpless courtesan to a man hell-bent on breaking her spirit. Flint arrives in the nick of time, dressed as a harem girl, fighting off randy guards and surly camels to rescue Adriana so they can fly back to the states to find a way to exonerate him for murder. 

Hi hi! This is but one stop on the wild ride organized by Bewitching Book Tours. Click here to check out guest posts, interviews, reviews, and more!
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