Clocks, Cogs, and Mechanisms 1st Check-in

Welcome to the first time I have actually managed to get a check-in published for my reading challenges! Hurray!!

 
Let me start this post with a little confession, I have yet to finish my first Steampunk read of the year. I had planned to start my year with a pile of reading, and several posts on this blog. What happened instead was a series of events that kept me so busy I have not even completed my first challenge read, or any book for that matter. I could be discouraged by how chaotic things have been, but I choose instead to be optimistic. I have half a month left and I plan to dig into some reading over the course of it. This weekend looks to be a good opportunity with its dark clouds already gathering and a forecast of rain that will last till Tuesday.

I want to encourage anybody else who is struggling to get started on their reading, or even struggling with their New Years resolutions to not give up because of a bad beginning. Improving yourself does not have to start with a new year and making mistakes is part of the process. Good habits are not formed in a day, they take time, effort, and a lot of trial and error. In particular signing up for a reading challenge like mine that lasts all year, it is really easy to try to front load it and pack all of your reading in as early as possible. Not only does it make it harder to accomplish your goals, but it is really easy to burn out. For anyone who is doing a challenge with a monthly theme, it is okay if you miss a month. You can always make up for it the following month, or just try your best to do the rest of them.

I know all of that is a little off the topic of steampunk, but it is really easy to be on the outside looking in and thinking someone you follow on social media has it all together. I wanted to let you know that sometimes things don’t go as planned, or even close to it. Please do not compare how your reading is going with how someone else is doing. I am the host for this challenge and am only partly through my first book, on the other hand my mom has already finished more than one steampunk book. I refuse to feel bad because she is doing good, remember the reading community should be supportive through the ups and downs.

With all of that said, thank you for participating in my reading challenge. If you have read and reviewed a book, please feel free to share a link in the comments below. If you just want to share what you’ve read, I would love to know what you are reading in the comments. For anyone like me who has had a little bit of a rough start, know you are not alone. I would love for you to comment if you need a little encouragement or even just want say what you plan to read.

Thank you again for joining my challenge and reading this rambling post.

Happy Reading,
R.A. Vucci

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Reading Challenges 2017

A new year will begin in less than 48 hours and with it, reading challenges.  Every year for over five years, I and several friends and family members eagerly scour for different challenges and even host our own. Unfortunately I have a terrible habit of signing up for way too many challenges. This year I have majorly simplified and plan to only participate in five different challenges including my own. I am already feeling a lot less overwhelmed and I have some book lists to help get me started. With these challenges I only have to read 4-6 related books per month to accomplish all of them, which is a much easier amount then some of the years past where I have signed up for a dozen or more challenges. I never want to sign up for so many challenges that I do not feel the freedom to read books outside of those challenges.  Neither do I want to take the fun out these challenges by them becoming a to do list I am forcing myself to complete.  This year is going to include a lot more relaxed and sometimes spontaneous reading, with just enough structure to make sure I accomplish some good reading.

Without further ado, the reading challenges for 2017:

1. Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

– I have not hosted this challenge in a long time and hesitated about bringing it back, but after talking to my Mom and sister, I decided to go for it. This challenge is all about customization and I am planning on doing two levels of it, Foxglove (1-3) and Monkshood (12+). I will be sharing all about how I customized my PYP categories and what some books that I am reading for it on my very first check-in March 2nd.

2. Clocks, Cogs, and Mechanisms Reading Challenge

– Steampunk is a genre that I greatly enjoy, but definitely do not read as much of as I would like. This year I am going for Flight Goggles (4-7) as a starting point with hopes of surpassing it. My first CCM check-in is planned for January 12th so I will probably starting the new reading year with a steampunk book so I have something under my belt for it.

3. What Would Jane Do? Reading Challenge

– I have loved her works since the first time I read Pride and Prejudice as a preteen. This expanded from there as I read through her other books and watched the movies. I am going for the official What Would Jane Do level and I look forward to reading her books, watching the movies and expanding from there towards spin-off, biographies, and other Jane themed works. The first check-in for this challenge will be on February 9th.

4. Monthly Motif Challenge hosted by GirlXOXO

– The first of the two fun challenges I am doing, that I do not run. I am very excited to do this challenge as it will be a little bit like a book treasure/scavenger hunt. Each month has a theme and I will need to find one book that falls into the theme. I typically do not sign up for challenges like this because trying to fill in all of the categories on top of completing all my other challenges typically is just too stressful. Since this year I have simplified both of my challenges that I have taken on (aside from the three I run), are like this. I am looking forward to what books I am going to find for each theme and hopefully making some new discoveries.

5. Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading For Fun Challenge

– After already reading what a big Austen fan I am, it is probably not surprising that I signed up for a challenge hosted by a site called Modern Mrs. Darcy. She has two different tracks this year, one for fun and one for growth. I really thought about signing up for the growth one since I have some serious growth related book lists I want to talk this year, but in the end decided against it. As I have said before this year is about simplifying and not over committing on these challenges, so I decided to stick with the for fun one which I will still be reading some great books to help me expand my view.
Those are my five challenges this year, and I am ready to get started. I hope everyone else is as excited as I am for this new year and have big plans for it.

Happy reading in the new year,

R.A. Vucci

Clocks, Cogs, and Mechanisms Reading Challenge 2017

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Welcome to the 5th annual Clocks, Cogs, and Mechanisms Reading challenge. Huzzah! The location has changed over the years but the challenge has endured. When this challenge was first created, the world of steampunk was still fairly unknown, but not new. This is a genre that has been inspired by the works of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and H.P. Lovecraft to name a few. For those who have never experienced steampunk, a typical steampunk novel takes place in the Victorian era and involves lots of steam-powered technologies ahead of their time. There are variations and other time periods that fall into this category, but the Victorian era ones are the most common. I hope to do a post in the future digging deeper into the genre along with some recommendations.

Here are the levels to this challenge:

Brass Gears: Read 1-3 books
Flight Goggles: Read 4-7 books
Button-up Boots: Read 8-11 books
Clockwork Corset: Read 12+ books

The books you read for this challenge can count towards other challenges. Ebooks, Audiobooks, and Traditional formats all count along with rereads.
This challenge will run from January 1st, 2017-December 31st, 2017. Sign-up begins now and will run through September 30th, 2017. To join simply comment below with what level you are doing and a link to your blog post. I will be doing a bimonthly check-in starting in January.

I hope everyone enjoys this challenge,
Happy Reading!

-R.A. Vucci

Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge 2017

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Six years ago I was encouraged by some family members to create my very first reading challenge and this year I am bringing it back. We had looked and couldn’t find challenges for some of the lesser known sub-genres. So here is to you dystopian loving readers, the cat mystery readers or the supernatural warfare novel enthusiasts. In this you get to create your own challenge by deciding if you want to read books only about Dragons or if you want to read those obscure fantasy books you added to your Goodreads list. Mix and match to make your perfect combo.

There are four levels of Pick Your Poison:

Foxglove: Read 1-3 books of each of your categories.

Nightshade: Read 4-7 books of each of your categories.

Hemlock: Read 8-11 books of each of your categories.

Monkshood: Read 12+ books in each of your categories.

This challenge is all about choice, so customize it to what fits your needs. If you want to do Monkshood for Dystopian fiction and Foxglove for Cyberpunk, do it.

Here are some ideas to get you started. Business memoirs, epic fantasy, gothic mysteries, Shakespeare’s sonnets, locked room mysteries, 18th century female authors, a list of books ‘everyone’ should read before they die, or even every book read by a character on a tv show or movie. Have fun with it.

These books can count towards other challenges. Ebooks, audiobooks, traditional, and rereads all count towards the challenge.

This challenge runs January 1st, 2017 – December 31st, 2017. Sign up is open until September 30th, 2017. To sign up just comment below with what level you are doing, what category/s you have chosen, and a link to your blog post. There will be a quarterly check-ins where you can let me know how you are doing starting in March.

I hope you have a lot of fun with this challenge. Happy Reading!

-R.A. Vucci

What Would Jane Do? Reading Challenge 2017

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Welcome to the 5th annual What Would Jane Do reading challenge! *Confetti exploding in the background* I have been a huge fan of Jane Austen’s books, movies, spin-offs, and works inspired by the woman herself. This is the challenge for all the lovers of Jane Austen’s literature or people who have always wanted to experience her works.

Challenge Categories:

Books only written by Jane Austen herself:

Levels:
A Touch of Pride: Read 1-3 books
Learning Sense: Read 4+ books

Books Written by Austen, spin-offs, sequels, and books that use her as a fictional character:

Expanding Emmagination: Read 1-3 books by Jane Austen and 1-3 books that fall into one of the other categories
Jane’s Persuasion: Read 4+ books by Jane Austen and 4+ books from the other categories

The final two levels of dedication go above and beyond all the other ones. The books can either be hers or a spin-off, sequel, use her as a fictional character, non-fiction about her, and the movies based off of her, her books, or that use her books as a key element.

Jane’s Wisdom: Read 3-5 books, Watch 3-5 movies
What Would Jane Do Official Challenge: Read 8+ books, Watch 8+ Movies

The books you read can count for other challenges. Ebooks, audiobooks, and traditional formats all count.
This challenge will run from January 1st, 2017 to December 31st, 2017. Sign-up will be running from now until Sept. 30th, 2017. To join simply comment below with what level you are doing, and a link to your blog post if you have one. I plan to do a check-in bimonthly starting in February.

I am really looking forward to this challenge as always,
Happy reading!

-R.A. Vucci