Saturday, August 20, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge Update: Halfway There

I hit 20 out of 40 right here at summer's end. That leaves me five months to do 20 more. I might be able to complete it if I choose shorter books, but I keep grabbing these leviathan sized books. I must be a glutton for punishment, but I do so love them. I did switch up where I listed some of these from last time, but I am highlighting the new books in blue. The older ones are in red. 

* = meh ** = decent *** = read it

1. Based on a fairytale- Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas *** based off of the fairy tale Cinderella, it takes a heroine who has been orphaned and turns her into an assassin, full of fairies and drama with some immature writing and character idiosyncrasies but I enjoyed it none the less

3. YA Bestseller- Magnus Chase by Rick Riodan *** if you like a fun, light headed punny YA series

6. Translated to English- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky *** a beefy book that took me several weeks to ingest but well worth the time to experience such a heart felt and melancholy story of love and choices

7. Romance set in the future- Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness *** this was the last book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, humans settle a new planet at the expense of resident aliens

8. Set in Europe- Girl Reading by Katie Ward *** a chronicle of various girls/women through snap shots of time, their stories, struggles, and always present, a book of some sort, the seemingly choppy short stories are tied at the end, a unique and enjoyable read

13. Self-improvement- Redirecting Children's Behavior by Kvols and Riedler * I had to read it for work, but as a book from a parenting point of view it seems redundant, a lot of it seems common sense though I did like the "annoying phases" kids go through by age in the back just for peace of mind and "oh so that IS normal" moments

14. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Rowling, Thorne, Tiffany *** yes I loved it, yes it was only the bones of the books in the past but it still made me laugh and cry and be thrilled to learn more about Harry's story as a father

15. Celebrity authored- Fragrant by Mandy Aftel *** for the scent enchanted, Mandy educates and enthralls using the power of aroma, best if read while using her companion scent box of actual 
essences and absolutes and resins, she is absolutely a celebrity in the world of natural perfumery, heck Leonard Cohen comes to visit her (love that man)

18. More than 600 pages- (I feel like most of them have been!) Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare ** it probably would have gotten 3 stars but it was just a bit too long and drawn out and I could predict who was behind the mayhem too easy, still a great new series that takes us back into the shadowhunter realm with returning characters, new ones and a cliffhanger in the end

22. Graphic novel- Loki's Wolves by Armstrong and Marr ** while not entirely a graphic novel, there are several illustrations throughout, giving it a graphic feel... a fun lighthearted Norse mythology based read that is a nice pallet cleanser after reading heavy material... looking at you Anna Karenina...

23. Published in 2016- The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater *** the last book in the Raven Boys Cycle, which I totally became engrossed within the pages of, there are elements of witchcraft, psychics, ley lines, paranormal, people who can dream things and pull them out into reality, and the story of four friends, five if you count the ghost

24. Protagonist with your occupation (teacher)- The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll ** a unique book that straddles paranormal Stephen King with good vs evil quirky Dean Koonz

25. Summer Setting- The Sibyl in Her Grave by Sarah Caudwell ** I am only halfway through this one but it takes place during midsummer in the UK, and it is actually #4 in a series about a female detective type and it is totally out of character for me to start a series with a book other than the first but it seems to stand alone pretty easy, it is a quick mystery read and I love anything British 

26. Book & it's prequel- (so technically two books?) The Book of Speculation and "The Mermaid Girl" by Erika Swyler *** I am still not sure if I read them in the right order, "The Mermaid Girl" is obviously the prequal but I also feel like it would have been equally effective if read last, a more in depth review is here 

29. Dystopian- Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood *** mind twisting story along the lines of Animal Farm but resonates powerfully for me as a woman

30. Blue cover- Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli ** a great story for young people about the power of peer pressure and how subtle or forceful it can be

31. Poetry- Hurricane Dancer by Margarita Engle *** a short story about hispanic slaves and pirates and native tribes and their war with one another for freedom written in poetic style

34. Checked out from the library- Queen of Shadows by Sarah Maas *** this is part of the Throne of Glass series and carries on with the heroine's tale, this is not the final book but the next to last, the final book is out in September

36. Road Trip- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova *** ok, so not a teenage carefree road trip but many, many road trips, and flights, and train rides across Europe to search out a multi-generational quest to rescue someone from.... Dracula, if you enjoy Dracula, you may well love this

39. Island setting- Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta ** a fast paced but semi-predictable fantasy story of a kingdom torn apart by greed and a curse, must read for fantasy fans

Hoping I can make my reading challenge goals this year. The rest of the categories I need to fill are: --National Book Award
-haven't read since High school was thinking Great Expectations
-set in home state
-under 150 pages
-made into a movie soon
-recommended by a new friend help new friends! I need one!
-political memoir ewwww
-100 years older than you
-Oprah Book Club White Oleander for this one
- Sci-fi
-recommended by family member
-murder mystery
-comedian author kinda want to read Amy Poehler's book
-classic 20th century
-culture unfamiliar
-guaranteed to bring joy

What are you reading? Have any recommendations for me that might fit this list? I may have to change political memoir for something more enjoyable. I really hate even the word politics right now. 


  1. Hi Julie! I am a total book nerd, though now that I have a toddler, I find myself "reading" more audiobooks than paper books. Anna Karenina is one of my all time favorites. I recently revisited Great Expectations for the first time since high school, and, as with all Dickens, I found I enjoyed it so much more as an adult! The fall and winter months are perfect finishing up your challenge. Happy reading :)

    Love, Nikki // Osa Metal Studio

    1. Hello Nikki! I hope you have been doing well.

      Toddlers definitely leave very little sit down and put the feet up time :-) Such a whirlwind of energy they are. I really am craving to listen to Outlander in audiobook format. I adore the series and can only imagine all the Scottish accents coming to life. I will look into some more audiobooks for sure. I can see why Anna Karenina would be a lifetime favorite. It was such a well spooled out story that stays in the heart and mind. Thanks for reaffirming my desire to re-read Great Expectations. I just remember falling in love with it when I was 15-16 but it is slightly faded in my mind and wanted to revisit it.

      Ahhhh dreaming of fall and winter and truly nothing is better than a quilt, book and hot tea with cream. You are very right. I can do this! If you find any audiobooks you really enjoyed please let me know and I will get it. Looking forward to your September restock. I will be there with bells on. <3


  2. I just realized that I'm not sure if you're from Florida or moved there, but Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a book set in FL that is on my TBR.

    My favorite books this year have been Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Salt to the Sea, if you're looking for friend recs. :)

    1. I was born and raised here in Florida. I love reading books that are set here. I will definitely add that to my reading list! Thank you Ashely! How is Charleston going? I have been dying to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, have you read the whole series? I saw them at Book-A-Million on sale but I didn't spring for them. I totally should have. Salt to the Sea sounds cool too. Thank you for the recs! I will pick one and list it under "Recommended by a new friend!" <3