Summer TBR Wipeout 2017: Wrap-Up

 

The Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge ends today so it’s time to wrap up and take stock of how I did.  Can you believe I actually ended up reading all 12 of the books I had chosen for the challenge?!  After my last update, I still had 7 left on my list and was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through all 12, but I really kicked it into high gear and finished the final book this morning.  I’m excited because it actually put a visible dent in the pile of books stacked up in the corner of my office.  I’ll definitely be looking for a similar reading challenge as we move into the fall months.

 

BOOKS I READ FOR THIS UPDATE:

 

   
      
 

I adored This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. I’m working on a review for this one right now so I won’t say too much here, but it was a fantastic read full of creepy monsters.  It’s everything I hope for when I pick up one of Schwab’s novels.  This was a 5 star read for me.

Cress by Marissa Meyer.  My love for The Lunar Chronicles series has only continued to grow with my reading of Cress.  I’m forever amazed how Meyer managed to keep weaving new versions of these classic fairy tale characters into her unique narrative.  I keep thinking it’s going to start to get hokey at any moment, but it never does.  Cress adds a Rapunzel-like characters to the narrative who takes a liking to my favorite character from the series, Carswell Thorne. (Man, I just love that guy!)  The action really ramps up in Cress too as our fairy tale-inspired characters get closer and closer to taking out the evil Queen Levana.  This was also a 5 star read for me and I can’t wait to get my hands on Winter, the next book in the series.

Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast As I Can was a quick and fun read for me.  Its similar in style to Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody in terms of it being a collection of humorous essays, but I enjoyed Lauren’s.  I don’t know if it’s because Lauren is closer to my age and so I found some of it more relatable or if I just liked that Lauren reminds me so much of her most famous character, Lorelai Gilmore, but it was just a delight to follow her on this journey.  I especially loved the parts of the book where she talked about writing both of her books – her writing process, meeting deadlines, etc. My absolute favorite part was the section where she talks about the Gilmore Girls Netflix revival series and even includes some of the journal entries she wrote while filming it.  I loved that she was experiencing so many of the same emotions that most fans were feeling at first hearing the news that there would be a revival and then actually sitting down and finally watching it.  She was as much of a blubbering mess as I was, lol.  This was such a fun read, 4 stars.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was another quick read for me.  I loved the characters, Maddy and Olly, and watching how they were able to forge a beautiful relationship in spite of a rare and potentially deadly illness that has kept Maddy locked in her home and home-schooled, completely isolated for most of her life.  She’s basically the girl in the bubble.  Olly is Maddy’s new next door neighbor.  After seeing Maddy watching him from her window a few times and then being turned away at the front door by Maddy’s mom when he tries to come and introduce himself, Olly decides to get creative and puts his email address on his window.  Maddy writes to him and they immediately click.  The more they talk, the more Maddy desperately wants to meet him in person, even if it could compromise her health.  Her nurse secretly helps her set up a short meeting, and as soon as she and Olly finally meet in person, Maddy realizes that this life in a safe bubble is just not what she wants anymore even if it means she doesn’t live long.  I just thought this was such a beautiful story and then the plot twist near the end is just OMG, WOW!  I don’t want to give that away, but needless to say, it completely blew me away.  This was a 4-star read for me and I’m really looking forward to watching the film when it comes out.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  What a heart-wrenching story this is! I think this is one of those books best read not knowing too much about it ahead of time, so I’m not going to say too much about it.  I’ll just say that it’s about monsters, both literal and figurative, and it’s about the lies we sometimes tell ourselves to help us through difficult times and what happens when those lies are shattered and the hard truth is all that’s left.  Filled with incredible illustrations, this is a read unlike any other.  4.5 Stars.

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie.  Fractured is a thriller in the vein of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and The Party by Robyn Harding.  You know the type — something horrible has happened and the reader spends the entire book trying to figure out who’s telling the truth, who’s lying, and who’s ultimately responsible.  Yeah, that kind of book.  Fractured was great because even though you find out almost immediately that someone has died – it’s not until the closing pages that you find out who and how.  This was also one of those books where I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, but the story was so compelling, I still couldn’t put it down.  Instead, I actually hated a couple of the characters so much, that I spent most of the book hoping they were the ones who turned up dead during the reveal.  If you read this and meet Cindy, you’ll know exactly what I mean, lol.  If you like a plot filled with twists and turns and lots of domestic drama (OMG, you went jogging with my husband, you whore! – I’m paraphrasing here but that’s the gist anyway), then you’ll love Fractured.  It’s a wild ride for sure.  4 Stars from me.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess.  I just read this yesterday and absolutely devoured it.  In some ways it reminded me of the Harry Potter series almost as soon as I started reading. Since I adore HP so much, I was hooked by this story immediately.   Henrietta Howell learns that she is a sorcerer and that she fits the description of a prophecy that says she will be the one to help defeat a group of ancient monsters who are hell-bent on wreaking havoc and destroying London.  When the Sorcerer’s order finds her, they bring her to London so that she can begin training to be a sorcerer because they want her to join Her Majesty’s sorcerers as soon as possible because the ancient monsters have been attacking the city more and more frequently.  It’s a race against the clock to get the ‘Chosen One’ up to speed before the Ancients are able to break through the protective ward that has been placed around the heart of the city.  Most of the book is centered around Henrietta’s training, which doesn’t go all that well.  Henrietta soon finds out why her training isn’t going well and what she learns throws into question everything –  she may not be the Chosen One after all and may not even really be a sorcerer for that matter.  Lots of twists and turns in this story as she tries to figure out who she really is and how she fits into the Prophecy, if at all.  I loved watching Henrietta go through her training and interact with her classmates, all of whom were male. This leads me to my one gripe about the book. Henrietta is the first female sorcerer to come along in 400 years and these boys act like idiots gawking at her.  It’s like the love triangle/love square from The Red Queen where everyone who sees Henrietta is immediately infatuated with her.  Can we stop doing that, please?  Thankfully there was lots of action, bloody battles, and wild sorcerer magic tricks to distract me from these ridiculous boys and keep this at a 4 star read for me.

 

* * * * * *

So, there you have it.  Challenge completed!  Thanks so much to The Candid Cover for hosting it!  And now it’s time to move on to the rest of the books piled high on my TBR pile. 12 down, countless more to go….

Update Post # 2: Summer TBR Wipeout 2017

 

It’s time to post my update for the first leg of the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge.  So, how am I doing?  Not as great as I had hoped because I had to get some ARCs read that I hadn’t put on my list.  This time around I have managed to knock a couple off my TBR that had been on there for way too long though so I am happy about that.  Out of the twelve books I had originally put on my challenge list, I’ve managed to read 5 so far.

 

BOOKS I READ FOR THIS UPDATE…

 

 
 

Of these two, Heartless was definitely my favorite.  It was just so whimsical and fun, and I think if I lived in the sexist environment that Cath did, I’d probably turn into a raging ‘Off with his head!’ kind of girl myself, haha.  Caraval, which was one of my most anticipated reads of this year, didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, although I still thought it was an entertaining read.  It just seemed to drag out the ending. I’m curious to see how that one will be turned into a series because I felt like the story was pretty well wrapped up by the time I finally reached the end.

 

BOOKS STILL LEFT ON MY CHALLENGE LIST…

 

   
      
I don’t know if I’ll make it through all 7 by the end of the challenge or not, but we’ll see how it goes!  Hope everyone else is doing great with their challenge!

Update Post # 1: Summer TBR Wipeout 2017

It’s time to post my update for the first leg of the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge.  So, how am I doing?  Not too bad actually.  Out of the twelve books I had put on my challenge list, I’ve managed to read three so far.  I started with some of the longest books on my TBR to get those out of the way first, which will hopefully make it a littler easier to make it to the finish line later in the challenge.

 

BOOKS I’VE READ SO FAR…

      

 

Out of these three, Illuminae was definitely my favorite read.  I haven’t written a proper review for it yet, but it was just such an action-packed read. I loved the unique format, the dialogue, and the ultra creepy premise about an AI that tries to take over control of a spaceship from the humans.  I had mixed feelings about about both A Court of Wings and Ruin, which I reviewed yesterday, and Scrappy Little Nobody.  ACOWAR, while a good solid read, just left me a little underwhelmed after the sheer epic nature of the second book in the series.  I rated the first two books in the series 5 stars each, but this one only got 3.5.  Scrappy Little Nobody was a fun read but one that just didn’t have as much substance or behind-the-scenes information as I had hoped it would.  I actually think I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had done the audio version instead of the print.  The writing style is very conversational and I think hearing it in Anna’s voice would have made it more entertaining than trying to read it for myself.

 

CHALLENGE BOOKS I’M PLANNING TO READ NEXT…

 

       

That might be an overly ambitious list since I do have a few ARCs I need to get read by the beginning of August, but we’ll see how it goes.  It’s so hot outside right now and there’s so little on TV that I’m spending nearly all of my free time reading anyway.  Hope everyone else is doing great with their challenge!

Summer Reading Challenge: Summer TBR Wipeout 2017 – Intro Post

 

I seem to have an endless list of books that I say I’m dying to read but never quite seem to ever get around to actually reading them.  I’m really trying to push myself to finally get some of those lingering books off my TBR, so I was thrilled to come across this challenge, which is hosted by The Candid Cover.  I feel like this challenge is exactly what I need to focus my attention on cleaning out the backlog of books.  I had originally thought about purging, but I do truly still want to read all of these books so that’s not going to cut it.  Below is the very ambitious list of books that I would love to knock off my TBR this summer.  It will probably end up being more like early fall before I get to them all, but even getting half of these read would be a major accomplishment for me at this point!

THE BOOKS

 

      
                        
   

Are you looking to finally knock some backlisted books off your TBR this summer?  Maybe you should consider taking the Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge too.

#ReReadIt 2017 Reading Challenge – My TBR

Wishing all of my followers a Happy New Year!  May 2017 be all that you want it to be!

I’m finishing out 2016 by signing up for one more challenge for the upcoming year.  Ashley @ Inside My Minds created the #ReReadIt Challenge and the goal is to re-read one book a month throughout 2017.  The primary requirement is that the books have to be at least 120 pages in length. Today is the last day to sign up for this challenge as it starts tomorrow.  I chose this challenge because I’m horrible about going back and re-reading books no matter how much I love them.  I’m hoping this challenge will push me to be better about re-reading. I’ve also chosen a few titles that I want to share with my son, so I’m hoping that will be extra motivation for me to successfully complete the challenge.

 

Below are my chosen titles for the #ReReadIt Challenge:

January – Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

February – The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

March – Matilda by Roald Dahl

April – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

May – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

June – 1984 by George Orwell

July – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

August – Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

September – The Color Purple by Alice Walker

October – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

November – Watership Down by Richard Adams

December – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

 

Best of luck to all who are participating in the challenge!

Beat the Backlist 2017 Reading Challenge: My TBR

 

The Beat the Backlist Challenge is hosted by Austine at NovelKnight.com and its focus is to encourage readers to finally get through some titles that have been on your TBR for a while, or even those that have gotten pushed aside for new releases.  The primary guideline for the challenge is that the books you choose must have been published prior to 2017.  Also, this challenge  runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2017 so you have a whole year to work on that TBR.  Post updates throughout the year with #beatthebacklist.

This will be the first challenge I’ve participated in since I joined the blogging community so I’m pretty excited about it.  My TBR is also out of control so I think this challenge is perfect for me.  I’m forever shoving aside books I still really want to read in favor of newer releases.  It’s time to take control of my TBR!

Below is my tentative (and possibly overly ambitious) list of books that I want to get off my backlist this year. May the force be with me!

  1.  A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  5. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  6. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  9. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  11. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
  12. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  13. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  14. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  15. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
  16. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  17. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  18. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
  19. When We Collided by Emery Lord
  20. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
  21. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng 
  22. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  23. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  24. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
  25. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

 

 

I also signed up for the optional Hogwarts House mini challenge because it sounded like fun.  The house I chose to represent is Gryffindor.  Thanks so much to Austine for hosting such a great challenge and good luck to everyone who is participating!