The Offical 2012 Book Challenge Wrap Up

Wow…I’m quite late on the official 2012 wrap up post for my book challenge results here at Stiletto Storytime. It feels like I have been constantly playing catch up in my life and especially in the blogging/reading/reviewing sector for the last year or so. A main course of kicking autism’s butt daily and focusing on returning your child to a full and  healthy existence with a side of stress induced auto-immune disorders for yourself will do that for you. It will knock you down but I have not let it knock me out. At times I have wished I could simply put out the above sticky and be done with it.There were even times in the last year when I will admit I have considered ending Stiletto Storytime which has been a labor of love over the last six years of my life. In the end luckily I decided I simply couldn’t do it. Reading has always been my most cherished escape and at this time in my life I truly need that escape more than ever. So here’s to looking forward to a fantastic year of books and blogging in 2013 but before we march on into a new year, let’s check out what I did achieve in 2012…..

Level I – Read 5 books from the 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation List

1.) Delirium by Lauren Oliver

2.) Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

3.) Paper Towns John Green

4.) An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

5.) Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Read any 10 books by a Debut YA or Middle Grade Author

1.) Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

2.) A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

3.) The Selection by Kiera Cass

4.) Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

5.) Partials by Dan Wells

6.) Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

7.) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

8.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

9.) Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

10.) The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

The Fun size YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels

1.) Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

2.) Crossed by Ally Condie

3.) Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl

4.) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Re-Read)

5.) Girl Meets Boy Edited by Kelly Milner Halls

6.) Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr

7.)  Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

8.) A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

9.) The Selection by Kiera Cass

10.) The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

11.)  2108: Eyes Open by K.L. Glanville

12.) Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

13.) Fallen by Lauren Kate (Re-Read)

14.) Torment by Lauren Kate (Re-Read)

15.) The Haunted by Jessica Verday (Audiobook)

16.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

17.) Partials by Dan Wells

18.) Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

19.) Delirium by Lauren Oliver

20.) Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

21.)  Stork by Wendy Delsol (Re-Read)

22.) Frost by Wendy Delsol (Re-Read)

23.) Flock by Wendy Delsol

24.) Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

25.) Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

26.) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

27.) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

28.) Paper Towns John Green

29.) The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

30.) An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

31.) Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Read Books of Historical Fiction at Level: Struggling the Addiction: 10 books

1.) Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

2.)  By a Lady by Amanda Elyot

3.) Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

4.) The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig

5.) Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

6.) The Taker by Alma Katsu

7.) The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

8.) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

9.) I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

10.) The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe

11.) The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

12.) Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

13.) Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Read 3 books about South Asia or written by a South Asian writer in 2012 

1.) The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

2.) Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

3.) And Laughter Fell from the Sky by Jyotsna Sreenivasan

4.) The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe

So how did I do? While I did complete all my reading challenges, I must admit to dropping down a few levels in some when allowed. I read a total of 81 books last year which I must admit is not much for me personally. I read 143 books in 2011 and 186 in 2010. Taking those numbers into account I had set a goal of 150 for 2012 but what can I say…life happens. So for this next year I am going to set the goal of 100 books. I have every reason to believe that this coming year will be one of healing and focus for myself and our family. That being said I will never forget those individuals and organizations that have stood by me and been such a pleasure to work with in the book blogging and publishing community. I truly learned over the last year who cared beyond books. I will never forget how those people have lifted me up and made me believe in myself when the world around me made me question everything. In closing if I missed a deadline, if I did not respond to your book pitch, if I did not get a certain review out…I apologize from the bottom of my heart. It has been the hardest year of my entire life but I survived and that gives me great pride and hope for 2013.

So how many books did you read in 2012? What was your goal? Are there any reading challenges that I simply cannot miss for 2013? I am making my list now and would love to hear of any great challenges out there. So let’s share and get the reading started…

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Filed under Book Blogs, Challenges, Events, Reading Challenge

Join the Pride & Prejudice 200th Anniversary Party Hop

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Can you believe it? In exactly two weeks or as Jane would say “in only a fortnight”, our beloved Pride & Prejudice is about to turn 200 years old! How can you let an event like that pass without a celebration of enormous proportions amongst all Janeites and even those who only have a passing relationship with the classic…the answer is….you can’t. That’s why when the very talented Jane Austen inspired author Alyssa Goodnight approached me about doing a 200th Anniversary Party Blog Hop, I simply couldn’t resist. 200 Austen lovers getting together to celebrate 200 years of Pride & Prejudice is our goal. That’s right 200 of you…I know that’s quite a large number but what can I say we’re optimists and this is a very big milestone indeed. How often does this type of anniversary come around after all?

Jane Austen Journal

So you want to be a part of the party? It’s simple really. Just sign up and post on January 28, 2013 about the anniversary of Pride & Prejudice. You can post about anything you would like as long as it is P & P related…write a letter to Jane herself about how she’s affected your life with her most treasured tome, reminisce about the first time you saw your favorite embodiment of Mr. Darcy whether it be Colin Firth (as it should be) or any other I suppose (wink) on the big or small screen. You could even write a bit of fan fiction yourself if you felt so inclined. Also if you’d like you can host a giveaway or mini-challenge event as we hope people will be hopping around the participant blogs and having a grand ole time.

Here at Stiletto Storytime I will be posting about Pride & Prejudice as well as hosting a fun little game for all my devoted Janeite friends. The prize will be a lovely Jane Austen journal for you to jot your favorite Austen quotes into in the future. So get fun, get creative and get excited as we celebrate a classic that has made all our live richer in so many ways. And remember begin to prepare for the party coming up in two weeks but sign up now here.

So you’re formally invited ladies and gentlemen. Won’t you please honor us and dearest Jane with your online presence?

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, Book Blogs, Contests, Events, Jane Austen

Merry Christmas from Stiletto Storytime

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Merry Christmas from Stiletto Storytime!

Another year has passed here at Stiletto Storytime and I find myself thankful for another year of books, blogging and of course fabulous readers like yourself. I wish you and yours the merriest of Christmas’ and/or any other holiday that you may celebrate. Enjoy being with family and friends, great food and if you are so inclined a bit of a good book on the side. Later today I will be cuddling up with a good book under a nice cozy blanket while sipping some white hot chocolate and I hope wherever you are in the world you may join me in this tradition. If you so please share with us all here at Stiletto Storytime…what book will you be cuddling up with?

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It’s Another Happy Birthday Dearest Jane!

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Happy Birthday to Jane Austen!

I am always reminded as I trim my tree with one special ornament flown in all the way from Bath, England ….It’s that time of year again. Once again it is time to celebrate the birth of my favorite and undoubtedly one of the most influential and talented authors in all of history: Ms. Jane Austen herself. I always love talking about Jane especially with other Janeites who love her just as much as I do…mostly because she seems to cross all barriers and holds such a dear place in my own heart. She is beloved around the world and even non-readers know her name and work through various forms of media that now make her even more immortal. She continues to inspire and create for one simple reason: she is truly timeless. Her work is such an exquisite study of human nature that it can fit in  any time period or place in history in which one might try and place it. Beyond that she continues to inspire writers today in amazingly large numbers whether their work be connected to her characters, herself or her memory. To help commemorate Ms. Austen’s birthday here at Stiletto Storytime I have invited two of my favorite Austen loving authors to share what Jane has meant to them personally. So fellow Janeites enjoy and do light a candle tonight in celebration while your peruse your favorite Austen masterpiece, giggle along with Bridget Jones or dream of Colin Firth….in any case have a fabulous Austen evening!

Happy birthday, dear Jane!  I wish I could give you a gift, for you’ve given me so many over the years, from six of the best novels a girl could ever ask for, to one of the best pieces of writing advice a girl could ever wish for:  

“Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on,” you counseled your niece a long time ago.  I hope you don’t mind that I took your words to heart, too.  They helped steer my Mother-Daughter Book Club series, which I set in my old hometown of Concord, Massachusetts — a village of which you would have heartily approved.  I had such fun writing those stories that I’m diving in all over again with a new book set in another village, the fictional town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire.

So thank you, Jane, for blazing a trail for so many of us who have followed you, pen in hand.  We may never measure up to your inimitable genius, but we’ll nevertheless delight in every step of the way.

Respectfully yours,
Heather Vogel Frederick

What Jane Austen Means To Me…

Hmmm…tough question.  What Jane Austen means to me is almost indefinable, perhaps because she is so many things that I simply can’t consolidate.  She is wit, silliness, and romance—lovely, memorable romance—and certainly, she is comfort.  Her own novels bring back a simpler time, even with all the rules and restrictions.  And the fictions written by all of her fans offer another connection to that charming setting that was never truly imaginary: The World of Jane Austen.  She has infused her novels with such substance that they feel real and relevant even centuries later.  That is magic—she is magic, perhaps that’s the best way to describe what she means to me.  Jane has a sparkle that I hope will never dim in the eyes of the world’s readers.

Happy Birthday Jane!  No candles necessary—you’re glowing! ~Alyssa Goodnight

Jane Austen Birthday Celebration Giveaway

What would a birthday be without gifts? And thanks to these two truly fabulous ladies two lucky Stiletto Storytime winners will walk away with a little Austen themed literary goodness to help celebrate the occasion. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick and another lucky winner will receive a copy Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight.

To enter please share below what Jane Austen has meant to you. When did she first come into your world? How did she make her entrance….do you think she’ll ever leave? 

Giveaway will end on December 23, 2012 at midnight EST. This giveaway is open to US/CAN addresses only please. Winners will be chosen by random number generator and notified by e-mail.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway at Stiletto Storytime (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Classic Literature, Events, Heather Vogel Frederick, Jane Austen

Blog Tour: Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo

“On the surface, Lunch with Buddha is a story about family.  Otto Ringling and his sister Cecelia could not be more different.   He’s just turned 50, an editor of food books at a prestigious New York publishing house, a man with a nice home in the suburbs, children he adores, and a sense of himself as being a mainstream, upper-middle-class American.  Cecelia is the last thing from mainstream.  For two decades she’s made a living reading palms and performing past-life regressions.  She believes firmly in our ability to communicate with those who have passed on.
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It will turn out, though, that they have more in common than just their North Dakota roots.
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In Lunch with Buddha, when Otto faces what might be the greatest of life’s difficulties, it is Cecelia who knows how to help him.   As she did years earlier in this book’s predecessor, Breakfast with Buddha, she arranges for her brother to travel with Volya Rinpoche, a famous spiritual teacher — who now also happens to be her husband.”

Sometimes a book comes along just when you need it….just what the Doctor ordered as they say. This book turned out to be one such for me. As Otto Ringling searches for meaning after his beloved wife’s death along a spiritual journey he couldn’t have possibly predicted….so have I searched for meaning since my son’s descent into autism. It’s in our very nature to try to find meaning when things happen in our lives that impact us in ways we don’t understand or cannot make sense of. Especially those events that devastate us to the very core of our beings. Some find meaning in religion…others in philosophy or even simple ideas like fate. Otto finds his in the most unlikely of places as he makes a life changing journey with his serene his brother-in-law in a beat up old pick up truck. Within the pages of this book I found more of a spiritual search that perhaps I myself truly needed…not really specific to any religion in my personal opinion but more of a look into the divine in general. It’s both simple and magical at the same time. While I have not read the first novel Breakfast with Buddha, I did not find myself at a loss. This book stands very firmly on it’s own. However I will be reading the first novel as soon as I get a chance. I also look forward to the other works of Roland Merullo in the future.

The thing I have to say that I enjoyed most was how comfortable the writing was, even the book itself just felt peaceful. It’s almost like a warm second skin to slip into during a storm. The writing is straight-forward, not flashy or overly deep and yet it still reaches you in places that only truth can. It was the perfect book for a certain time in my life and I think it would resonate with many on multiple levels.

TLC Book Tours  Book Giveaway

I’m happy to be able to share a copy of this book with one lucky reader at Stiletto Storytime. To enter just comment below and share how you reach a place of peace in hard times. It may be through religion, meditation, a favorite quote?  Giveaway will end midnight EST December, 19 2012 and is available to a US/CAN addresses only. The lucky winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower of TLC Book Tours on Twitter

Tweet and/or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Christmas Books Giveaway Hop with Author Heather Vogel Frederick

christmas books hopIt’s that time of year again folks! I’m not going to lie…I love Christmas. I always have and having a three year old now who is literally obsessed with Christmas has only made it more special. One of my favorite things about Christmas has also always been that extra reading time and if I am lucky bookstore gift cards coming my way or even that one special book under the tree on Christmas morning. So to celebrate I am participating in the Christmas Book Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer & Laurie Here. This great giveaway hop has over 120 blogs participating and giving away one or more Christmas themed tomes. Make sure to check out the participating blog list here.

This holiday season I decided to team up with the always lovely, talented and extremely generous Heather Vogel Frederick so we could provide some very lucky reader with copies of her fifth installment in the fabulous Mother- Daughter Book Club series:  Home for the Holidays. It’s the perfect read for Mom or Daughter…or even better Mom and Daughter together. It would also make a fantastic Christmas present and I know Heather would be more than happy to sign it to that special someone if you’d like. She’s just that kind of person. A true gem of an author indeed. I have honestly enjoyed every book in this series and each can be read alone or in order so don’t worry if you’re not all caught up!

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To enter to win just comment below and let us know your favorite book to read during this time of year…it doesn’t have to be Holiday related whatsoever. For instance I often re-read my favorite classics this time of year simply because I have the time. This year I am re-reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo in preparation for the release of the movie musical. So…as you sip hot cocoa, sit by the fire and maybe just maybe…watch it snow ( who am I kidding…I live in Georgia)…what book will you have in hand?

Three lucky winners will be chosen here at Stiletto Storytime to win their own copy of Home for the Holidays by Heather Vogel Frederick. This Giveaway Hop will end on December 9, 2012 at midnight EST. This giveaway is open to US/CAN addresses only. Winners will be chosen by random number generator and notified by e-mail.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Check out Heather Vogel Frederick’s Website & Share Something You Learned/Found Interesting

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway at Stiletto Storytime (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Book Blogs, Contests, Girly Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, Middle Grade, New Books, Reading Fun, Young Adult Books

Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange 2012

Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange

Last year I participated in one of my favorite Book Blogger events to date…The Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange. It was such a fun event…I loved getting cards from other book bloggers all over the world and sending out specialized cards for a few bloggers out there. It was so much fun that come early November of this year…I was looking forward to the event again. Imagine my disappointment in seeing that it was not set to take place this year! Well…I simply didn’t want to let this event go. It’s just too great to let pass so since it’s a worldwide event…I asked my favorite international blogger to help me save The Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange. And…

This year, the Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange is organised by Judith at Leeswammes’ Blog and by myself here at Stiletto Storytime. Anastasia of Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog has passed the baton on to us. Anastasia is the originator and ran this very popular event for two years. As we’re a little late announcing this event we’re more or less taking Anastasia’s text from last year, with her permission (thank you so much, Anastasia!).

The Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange is an event in which book bloggers send each other a holiday card around the Christmas period (the end of December). This isn’t just for people that celebrate Christmas, though! Everyone is can join in the fun.

Info

1. Sign up for the exchange by November 30, 2012.

2. Emails with partner info go out December 3, 2012 (please check your spam folder if you didn’t get the email, then contact us).

3. You have until December 13, 2012 to send your card(s).

4. Since it’s a book-lovers card exchange you have to include something book-related in your card. Some ideas:

  • Write about a book you’ve read recently.
  • Give a few book recommendations to your partner.
  • Tell a book-related story.
  • Something else book-related that you think up yourself.

5. Since this is a book blogger holiday card exchange, you need to be a blogger who blogs at least sometimes about books to participate.

6. The swap is open internationally. It’s too cumbersome trying to pair up people who do/do not want to send internationally, so everyone must be willing to send internationally.

7. You can exchange up to five cards. You won’t always get a card from the same people you send your cards to. It will nevertheless be an awesome thing.

Some Things to Remember

1. You HAVE to send a card. A card is something like this. You can make it yourself or buy it at the store. Everything you write must be contained in the card itself. Letters are not cards. The card doesn’t have to be book-themed OR holiday themed (but it might be nice if it was). We suggest you refrain from sending specifically religious-themed cards, because that sort of thing tends to offend people, even if you didn’t mean to offend them.

2. You HAVE to write something book-related in your card (see above). You can’t just say “happy holidays.” You COULD just write a list of books and that’s all, but I don’t think that’d be a lot of fun, do you?

3. You DON’T have to send anything else but the card, but if you want to stick in something else that’d be fine. A bookmark, for instance, would be really nice. Whatever you send: it has to be flat enough to fit in the envelope– no upgrading into package territory, here.

4. The most you should spend is $5. The point of the exchange is that it’s cheap enough for us money-less people to participate in, so everything should cost $5 and under. I don’t know if you can even buy a card that costs more than $5. Can you?

Quickie Privacy Policy

Courtney and Judith are the only ones who will see ALL the information. You partner(s) will be the only ones besides us who will see your address/email/etc. After the exchange is over all the info will be deleted.

Questions/Comments

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment here or email us about them!  leeswammes @ gmail dot com 

Also, please do spread around the link for this post! Feel free to take the graphic at the top of the post and post it on your blog, etc. The more people know about the BBHCE the more fun it’ll be!

So doesn’t it sound great? Trust me…this is a fabulous event and it only takes a little bit of thought and work to really enjoy something special this Holiday season from your fellow book bloggers. It’s such fun when you start to receive the cards in the mail! So please sign up here at Leeswammes’ Blog (scroll to the bottom for the entry form).

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Filed under Book Blogs, Events, Reading Fun