Category: Readathons

Romanceopoly

Romanceopoly is a reading challenge game hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.

The game is based loosely on Monopoly and set in the fictional city of Romanceopolis. You can roll a die to make your way around the board or just do each task which is how I’m going to play.

The website the creators have made is so helpful with tasks. They have a list of recommendations for each task here which I have found great because there are a few tasks that require books I wouldn’t normally read.

Tasks & TBR

LEATHER LANE Urban Fantasy Read an urban fantasy where the series is already completed

Alpha (Shifters, #6)

KICKASS LANE Urban Fantasy Read an urban fantasy with a picture of a kickass heroine on the cover

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6)

DOWNTOWN Subway Read a rock star romance

Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1)

GROWING PAINS PLACE Young Adult Read a young adult book (fantasy or contemporary)

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4)

MEMORY LANE Historical Fiction Read a historical fiction novel

With This Ring  (Vanza, #1)

WOMEN’S AVE Women’s Fiction Read a women’s fiction novel

The Woman Who Stole My Life

DUNGEON Corner Read a book with a hero in prison or who is an ex-con – OR – Read a book on UTC’s or PLB’s Book Boyfriends List.

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)

COLLEGE ROW New Adult Read a new adult book set in college

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

BUS Transport Read a book where the character(s) have to go on a journey
which involves travel (this includes fantasy)

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark, #18)

LGBT LANE LGBT Read a new adult LGBT romance

Him (Him #1)

FREEDOM FRIARS LGBT Read an adult LGBT romance

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)

SWEET STREET Contemporary Romance Read a sweet or small town contemporary romance

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)

BAD BOY CIRCUS Contemporary Romance Read a contemporary romance with a bad boy hero or bad gal heroine

The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles, #5)

EROTIC EAVES Erotic Romance Read a smoking hot erotic contemporary romance

The Master (The Game Maker, #2)

FIRESTATION Corner Read a book with a firefighter hero/heroine – OR – Read an ON FIRE HOT erotic romance (can be other than contemporary)

Consumed (Firefighters, #1)

WARRIORS WAY Paranormal Romance Read a paranormal romance that involves a band of warriors

Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8)

MAGIC ROW Paranormal Romance Read a paranormal romance where the hero/heroine can wield magic

Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld, #11)

CREATURE CRESCENT Paranormal Romance Read a paranormal romance where the hero/heroine isn’t human (shifters, vamps, angels, demons, gargoyles, etc)

River Marked (Mercy Thompson, #6)

COZY CORNER Mystery Read a mystery or cozy mystery

For the Love of Mike (Molly Murphy, #3)

MILITARY MEWS Romantic Suspense Read a romantic suspense with a military hero/heroine

Deadly Game (GhostWalkers, #5)

TAXI Transport Read a book on UTC’s or PLB’s Recs List (any genre).

Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1)

MURDER MILL Thriller Read a thriller or romantic thriller

Final Girls

HEARTBREAK HOSPITAL Corner Read a book with a doctor hero/heroine – OR – Read a tearjerker

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9)

FARAWAY LAND Fantasy Read a fantasy romance or a fantasy novel

Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10)

LONDON STREET Steampunk Read a steampunk romance or steampunk novel

Heart of Steel (The Iron Seas #2)

ALIEN AVENUE Sci Fi Read a sci fi romance or a sci fi novel

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin, #1)

AUSTEN ROW Historical Romance Read a classic romance – OR – Read a historical romance on UTC’s or PLB’s Recs List.

Jane Eyre

UPTOWN Subway Read a chef/foodie romance

Hyde and Seek (Hyde #1)

MAYFAIR Historical Romance Read a historical romance where there is a class disparity

Beauty and the Blacksmith  (Spindle Cove, #3.5)

Be sure to check out the website if you’re interested in the challenge. It is seriously the most informative site I’ve seen for a reading challenge.

2019 Reading Challenges

Happy 2019 everyone!! I hope the new year treats you well.


I’ve signed up to a few reading challenges for the new year to help me tackle my TBR. I use Goodreads to track most of my challenges so you won’t see them here but I’ve included links.

Goodreads Challenge – 80 Books

I decided to read less than usual this year because I want to focus more on creating instead of spending all of my spare time reading. I would normally read about 100 books in a year and this year I’m aiming for 80. I must be the only book blogger trying to read less 😅

The Pagemaster – 4 to 6 Series

The aim of this challenge is to complete series I’ve already started. I’m terrible for starting series and never finishing them. I would be delighted if I managed to complete 6 series in 2019.

Cover Love – 61 to 100 Books

This challenge is kind of like a treasure hunt where you have to find items on books covers. The listed items include things such as a coffee cup, sword, boots and bats. Thinking about it now it’s amazing how many books just have people on the cover so this one might actually be tricky.

Mt. TBR 2019 – 20 Books

For this challenge you can only read books added to your TBR before Jan 2019. I plan on only reading books that I already own and not include ones that I added to my wishlist during the year. There are a bunch of different tasks to help you narrow down what books to read.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2019 Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge – 25 Books

I’m tracking this one here on my blog. I really enjoy historical fiction but don’t read nearly enough so I’d like to up my count this year. I have some books I’d like to read listed in my announcement post.


Those are all of the year long challenges I’ve signed up to for 2019. I will be doing monthly, 3 month and 6 month ones as well cause I am crazy for reading challenges!!

Are you taking part in any reading challenges this year?

2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

It’s time for New Year reading challenges, yay! The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by Passages to the Past which is an amazing blog focusing on historical fiction. All subgenres of historical fiction are welcome so romance, young adult, mystery, whatever, all are welcome 🙂

The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st 2019 and has 6 levels.

20th Century Reader – 2 books
Victorian Reader – 5 books
Renaissance Reader – 10 books
Medieval – 15 books
Ancient History – 25 books
Prehistoric – 50+ books

I’m going to aim for Ancient History – 25 books. In 2018 I read about 20 historical books so 25 should be attainable. 

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Historical Fiction MBR

MBR stands for “might be read”.

I often see classics being tagged historical fiction so I’m including them in my list. I’m just going to pick out 5 books now because I will most likely discover some new ones throughout 2019.

The-Lighthouse-Keepers-Daughter-by-Hazel-Gaynor-Elaine-Howlin-Literary-Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter

“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

I received this book from Harper Collins a few months ago, started reading it, liked it but stopped for whatever reason. I recently listened to the audio of Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and loved it so. I’m really excited to read more by both of them. Heather Webb has a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera that I will likely pick up in 2019 as well.


With This Ring (Vanza #1) by Amanda Quick

With This Ring  (Vanza, #1)

Leo Drake, the “Mad Monk of Monkcrest,” is notoriously eccentric and unquestionably reclusive. But he is also a noted antiquities expert, which is why Beatrice Poole has demanded his reluctant assistance. The freethinking authoress of “horrid novels,” Beatrice is searching for the Forbidden Rings of Aphrodite, a mythic treasure she suspects played a role in her uncle’s death. Beatrice finds Leo every bit as fascinating as one of the heroes in her novels-and she’s convinced he’s the only one who can help her. But after only five minutes in her company, Leo is sure he’s never met a woman more infuriating…and more likely to rescue him from boredom. Yet the alliance may well prove to be the biggest mistake of their lives. For a villain lurks in London, waiting for the pair to unearth the Forbidden Rings-knowing that when they do, that day will be their last….

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

So, I did the unspeakable and read the second and third books in this series before reading the first book. It seems like a strange thing to do but I had those two and had to wait for this one. I also read a review on the second book that said there was no tangible connection between them and could be read as a stand-alone so I went with it. Now I can read the first one and get the series straightened up.


Notorious Pleasure (Maiden Lane #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2)

Their lives were perfect…
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn’t bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother…

Until they met each other.
Lord Griffin Reading is far from perfect – and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire—desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero’s wedding nears, and Griffin’s enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

I read the first book in this series in 2016 and loved it. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to decide to continue with the series but here we are.


Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell

Gothic Tales

‘Such whispered tales, such old temptations and hauntings, and devilish terrors’

Elizabeth Gaskell’s chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. ‘Disappearances’, inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; ‘Lois the Witch’, a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ a mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors. Whether darkly surreal, such as ‘The Poor Clare’, where an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman’s bitter curse, or mischievous like ‘Curious, if True’, a playful reworking of fairy tales, all the pieces in this volume form a start contrast to the social realism of Gaskell’s novels, revealing a darker and more unsettling style of writing.

Laura Kranzler’s introduction discusses how Gaskell’s tales, with their ghostly doublings and transgressive passions, show the Gothic underside of female identity, domestic relations and male authority. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading and explanatory notes.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

This one I will probably hold out reading until #victober in October which is a Victorian literature readathon. It’s perfect for that time of year.


Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

Our Man in Havana

Graham Greene’s classic Cuban spy story, now with a new package and a new introduction

First published in 1959, Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire that still resonates to this day. Conceived as one of Graham Greene’s ‘entertainments,’ it tells of MI6’s man in Havana, Wormold, a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity. To keep his job, he files bogus reports based on Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and dreams up military installations from vacuum-cleaner designs. Then his stories start coming disturbingly true.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

I read The End of the Affair by Greene in 2018 and loved it so I want to pick up some more books by him. 


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Do you have any historical fiction recommendations?

Cloak & Dagger Christmas Readathon TBR

Cloak and Dagger Christmas is a mystery genre readathon hosted by Kate HoweCarolyn’s Reading Ramblings, The Novel Nomad, and Mel’s Bookland Adventures.

The books don’t have to Christmasy but they do need to be mystery. I don’t really read a lot of mystery but I really liked the sound of this readathon. I’m due to receive Cocaine Blues (the first book in Karen Greenwoods Phryne Fisher series) from the library this month which I reserved in October so I might as well join in. There are four prompts for the readathon but they’re not to be taken as tasks and can be interpreted however you like.

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-Prompts-

Prompts can be interpreted any way you like

🗡 Sugar and Spice

For this prompt, I’m thinking a cosy mystery would suit. Since I’ve been patiently waiting on Miss Fisher I’ll read Cocaine Blues for this one. I think Phryne is a bit of a spicy character as well.

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1) by Karen Greenwood

The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the gray-green eyes and diamant garters—is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately upon settling into Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor, Phryne finds herself embroiled in mystery. From poisoned wives and cocaine smuggling, to police corruption and rampant communism—not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse—Cocaine Blues charts a crescendo of steamy intrigue, culminating in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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🗡 Summer and Winter

For this one, I’m thinking of reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris because it’s set in a hot place and it’s winter while I read it… I’m taking this prompt a bit loosely but feck it, it works for me. This will actually be a reread for me but it’s been about 10 years since I read it the first time so I don’t remember much.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out….

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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🗡 Old and New

With old and new I’m thinking a paranormal mystery with an old ass vampire and a modern PI should work nicely.

Blood Trail (Victoria Nelson, #2)Blood Trail (Vicki Nelson #2) by Tanya Huff

For centuries, the werewolves of Toronto have managed to live in peace and tranquility, hidden quietly away on their London, Ontario farm. But now, someone has learned their secret—and is systematically massacring this ancient race.

The only one they can turn to is Henry Fitzroy, Toronto-based vampire and writer of bodice rippers. Forced to hide from the light of day, Henry can’t hunt the killer alone, so he turns to Vicki Nelson for help. As they race against time to stop the murderer, they begin to fear that their combined talents may not be enough to prevent him from completing his deadly plan.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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🗡 Home and Travel

Home for me is Ireland and mystery set in Ireland tends to border a bit too closely to modern crime fiction which I’m not really in to (though I have heard great things about Tana French’s books). So I had to hunt down something for this and I found a cosy mystery series set in the 1900s about an Irish woman who travels to New York. Perfect 🙂

Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy Book 1)Murphy’s Law (Murphy’s Law #1) by Rhys Bowen

Meet Molly Murphy, a resourceful young woman who lives by her own set of laws…

Molly Murphy always knew she’d end up in trouble, just as her mother had predicted. So when she commits murder in self-defence, she flees her cherished Ireland for the anonymous shores of America. When she arrives in New York and sees the welcoming promise of freedom in the Statue of Liberty, Molly begins to breathe a little easier. But when a man is murdered on Ellis Island, a man Molly was seen arguing with, she becomes a prime suspect in the crime.

If she can’t clear her name, Molly will be sent back to Ireland where the gallows await, so using her Irish charm and sharp wit, she escapes Ellis Island and sets out to find the wily killer on her own. Pounding the notorious streets of Hell’s Kitchen and the Lower East Side, Molly undertakes a desperate mission to clear her name before her deadly past comes back to haunt her new future.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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I’ve chosen only four books but there are other things I want to read this month as well. I may not even read all of these. I’d be happy with just reading Cocaine Blues since I’ve been waiting for it for so long.

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Do you read mystery books? Are you taking part in any readathons in December?

Autumn Cosy Reading Night Vlog

Cosy Reading Night is a seasonal three-hour readathon hosted by Lauren and the Books. There are no tasks or challenges involved, you just have a nice evening reading and can chat with other people on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #cosyreadingnight.

Autumn Cosy Reading Night took place on Friday, November 2nd from 7 – 10pm.

For my night I planned to read an hour each of an ebook, a paperback and an audiobook. I set up my sitting room nice and cosy with candles and made some nachos. Watch my vlog above to see how my night went 🙂

My Books

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

BelindaBelinda by Maria Edgeworth

The lively comedy of this novel in which a young woman comes of age amid the distractions and temptations of London high society belies the challenges it poses to the conventions of courtship, the dependence of women, and the limitations of domesticity. Contending with the perils and the varied cast of characters of the marriage market, Belinda strides resolutely toward independence. Admired by her contemporary, Jane Austen, and later by Thackeray and Turgenev, Edgeworth tackles issues of gender and race in a manner at once comic and thought-provoking. The 1802 text used in this edition also confronts the difficult and fascinating issues of racism and mixed marriage, which Edgeworth toned down in later editions.

The English PatientThe English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Haunting and harrowing, as beautiful as it is disturbing, The English Patient tells the story of the entanglement of four damaged lives in an Italian monastery as World War II ends. The exhausted nurse, Hana; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless burn victim who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. In lyrical prose informed by a poetic consciousness, Michael Ondaatje weaves these characters together, pulls them tight, then unravels the threads with unsettling acumen.

Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?


Did you join in Cosy Reading Night on Friday? Have you joined in before or will you for the next one?

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_