Book Challenges- July 2018

Vacation did me a lot of good, as all vacations should! I was in a reading slump, and boy did I come out of it over vacation.

Popsugar Challenge


A book by a local author: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brene Brown (Memoir/ self-help): It took me a long time to read the first half because it was pre-vacation and I wasn’t in the right mindset. After vacation, it went fast. I’m going to have to go back and re-read the first half because I don’t think I got much out of it. It’s a lovely inspirational message that has helped me rekindle creativity.


A book about a villain or antihero: Vicious, by VE Schwab (Fantasy/ Science Fiction): Victor and Eli decide to try an experiment to become ExtraOrdinary people (basically superheroes). While they do gain powers, the experiments don’t go exactly as planned. It’s told in dual timelines, and is a thoroughly entertaining story chock full of ambiguous morality.


A book about mental health: The Weight of Zero, by Karen Fortunati (YA Contemporary): I loved this book. It’s a breathtaking story about a girl with bipolar disorder who fears “Zero,” her depression, coming back. So she makes a plan that next time it does, she’ll kill herself rather than live that way. But when she gets a new therapist who sends her to an intensive outpatient group of other kids struggling with various issues, she starts to see herself (and them) in a different light.


A favorite category from another year (2017- a book that’s been on your TBR for way too long): The Hike, by Drew Magary (Fantasy/ horror): I was first attracted to this book by the cool cover and the description of it being like a fairy tale mixed with a video game.

I liked this book a lot, maybe more now that I’m done reading it than I did while I was reading it. It’s not the best book ever, but I expect it to stick with me. This is the kind of book that I might read again and decide I like better the second time around when I’m not so disoriented and trying to figure everything out.

This book doesn’t make a lot of logical sense, so if you go into it expecting that, you’ll be disappointed. There are a lot of layers to it. It’s not a book for everyone, but it’s worth reading. Jason Sheehan calls it a “summer beach book for dudes.” Accurate.


A book mentioned in another book- The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery (mentioned in The Little Paris Bookshop) (fiction/ philosophy)- I ranted about this on Goodreads, so if you’d like a review, complete with spoilers, click here. What I will say here is that while I didn’t hate the book, I didn’t really like it either. The first 50% of the book is the two main characters discussing philosophy (separately… they haven’t met yet), talking about how misunderstood they are, and doing absolutely nothing. Halfway through, they start doing things after a new person moves into the building where they live, and the book was enjoyable until the end. The ending did not pay off for me. I’m sure this book is beautiful and well-written, full of deep thoughts, but it didn’t entertain me, so it’s a dud. (Okay, maybe I did hate it.)


While I Was Reading Challenge


A collection of poetry: Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur (Poetry/ Feminism): When I was a kid, I loved poetry. As I grew up, I’m not sure what happened, but I just got away from reading it. I’ve seen Rupi quotes on Pinterest and Instagram, so I was intrigued to read her collection. It’s lovely and raw. Not every poem spoke to me, but enough did that I’d recommend it.


The Unread Shelf


Ashley Bell, by Dean Koontz: I haven’t read any new Koontz books in a few years. Growing up, he was my favorite author. I’ve noticed that he goes through cycles. For a few years, I love everything he writes, and for a few years, I don’t.

I picked up Ashley Bell at Half Price Books because I saw on Koontz’s blog that he felt that it was the best book he’d ever written. That’s a bold claim, and I thought that if he loves the book that much, I’d try it.

I didn’t like it, and it really pains me to say that. I loved the concept and the twists, but for me, it was overwritten with a disappointing ending. Although I have almost every Koontz book ever written, I’m seriously considering puttingĀ this one back in the box I take to trade in.

Running Total: 28

5 Classic Books

(1/5) No progress this week

Miscellaneous Reading


Shelter in Place, by Nora Roberts (Romantic Suspense): If you like Nora Roberts, you’ll like this book. It’s got a great storyline and interesting characters.


A Million Junes, by Emily Henry (YA Magical realism): I tried reading this book on audiobook once, and for me, it went way too slow on the audiobook. On paper, it was paced just right. It’s a sweet story about grief and first love told against the backdrop of a family curse.


Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts (Romance/ mystery): This is a reread, but it is one of my favorite Nora Roberts books. I was in Alaska, and this book is set there, so I started thinking about it and ended up downloading it to my Kindle.


Not a Drop to Drink, by Mindy McGinnis (YA science fiction): Lynn has always defended the pond because her mother told her to. They live in a future where water is scarce, and the pond is their life. When her mother dies, and Lynn encounters some travelers in need of help, what her mother taught her and her sense of compassion go to war as she tries to figure out what’s right.


My Heart And Other Black Holes, by Jasmine Warga (YA contemporary): Aysel meets Roman on a website for people looking to partner with others to commit suicide. They both have their reasons and believe they’re good ones. But as Aysel starts to let herself open up to someone, she starts to question whether or not she really wants to die.


The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green (YA romance): This was another re-read. I was looking for something simple and interesting to read because I was getting a crown, and I was nervous about it. (I didn’t need to be; I have a fantastic dentist.) This was the perfect “sick day” reading book.


I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L Sanchez (YA contemporary): This was so good, and so completely not what I was expecting! It’s an interesting book on multiple levels and a fast read. I enjoyed following Julia’s journey, and watching as she both demanded understanding from her parents and then started better understanding them as people. It didn’t give simple answers to Julia’s problems, but explored them and left some things open ended.


None this month.

2018 Running Total: 86


Have you made any progress on your TBR or book challenges?