Book Challenges- Week 15-17

As you can probably imagine, I burned out on blog posts during the A to Z Challenge. I love it, and I’ll talk more about it in my reflection post, but I decided to take a break from reporting in on my book challenges.

Popsugar Challenge


A book with a weather element in the title: Black Lightning, by John Saul (horror): When I was a teenager, I read a ton of John Saul books. Full disclosure: I have no idea if I read this one before or not. It’s a good, straightforward book about a serial killer and some weird paranormal stuff that happens. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it.

A book that was published in 2018: The Woman In The Window, by AJ Finn (thriller/ mystery): I generally hate the trope of “unreliable narrator who drinks too much and basically causes all their own problems.” This book started off that way, but I stuck with it because a trusted friend recommended it. When it hit 50% or so, there was a twist I loved so much that I was all in, and I couldn’t put it down until the conclusion.

A book about twins: Blood & Salt, by Kim Liggett (YA horror/ paranormal): I decided that I needed to start reading more YA horror, because that’s what I write and enjoy. So that may be why I’ve had a run of particularly enjoyable books, and this is one of them. Ash and her twin know their mother used to belong to a cult, but she got out… or so they thought. When their mom disappears, they find and infiltrate the cult in order to help her, but there’s so much more going on than they bargained for. This book kept me on the edge of my seat, and kept me guessing as to who were the good guys and who were the bad guys up until the end. They wrapped it up enough to satisfy me, but be warned… there is a sequel…

While I Was Reading Challenge

(4/12)- No progress this week

The Unread Shelf

Running Total: 3 Um… is that really all? I’m not doing so well on this one.

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress… I think I’d better get started.

Miscellaneous Reading

Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer, by Susan Reynolds (non-fiction): This book has a lot of interesting information about the brain and different techniques to work with how the brain likes to do things.

The Girl From the Well, by Rin Chupeco (YA horror): This book is on my favorite books of 2018 list. It’s a fantastic story that draws from Japanese legends. The narrator is a vengeful ghost who kills people who murder children. But when she meets a teenage boy who’s got a demon inside, she starts to think about things other than vengence. It’s a good standalone book but does have a sequel.

Famous Last Words, by Katie Alender (YA mystery/ horror): From the cover (and the description), this one looks like fluff. It’s not. There’s a serial killer and a ghost, and how those two things intersect is a lot of fun.

The Forgotten Book, by Mechthild Glaser (YA fantasy): I was attracted to this one by the gorgeous cover. The book wasn’t what I expected, but I still enjoyed it. I knew that it was a reinterpretation of Pride and Predjudice, and I love all things P&P. That being said, it made the story somewhat predictible. There’s a definite fantasy element that wassn’t in the original book, so it’s a unique angle in that sense. If you’re a P&P fan, it’s worth reading once.

The Dark Side of Nowhere, by Neal Shusterman (YA science fiction): This was a fast read with an interesting premise. It sets up the weird very well and keeps it going throughout the book. The conclusion is satisfuying. I won’t say this was my favorite book this year, but I definitely wanted to see what happened.

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart (YA mystery): This book. I don’t even know what to say. It’s nearly impossible to discuss with anyone who hasn’t read it. I’ll just say that it was a roller coaster ride from beginning to end, and that if you love mysteries, you should read this.

Dark In Death, by JD Robb (#46) (Mystery/ romance): I am in awe of Nora Roberts (aka JD Robb) for keeping this series going strong for almost 50 books now. I love the characters in these stories, and love how they interact with one another. Having followed this series from the beginning, it’s lovely to see how they’ve all grown and changed over time. I love cop procedurals, but these books are so much more than just that. Some of them I like better than others, and this is one of my favorites. The premise of the murder was creative and a lot of fun.


None this week.

2018 Running Total: 47

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

Book Challenges- Week 7

Popsugar Challenge

(7/50) No progress this week.

While I Was Reading Challenge

(3/12) 25%!


I don’t normally like movie covers on books, but this one really appealed to me.

A book with a child narrator: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer: I really wanted to like this book, but I didn’t. I wasn’t into it the whole time I was reading it, but sometimes literary fiction has a good payoff, and this one promised an interesting mystery about a found key. I was hoping the mystery of the key would make this one worth my time, but it didn’t. The ending was so disappointing that I almost threw the book across the room. I didn’t hate it (there’s only one book I ever wanted to burn after reading it, and it wasn’t this one) but I didn’t like it either.

This book has three narrators: 9 year old Oskar (who doesn’t sound 9 by any stretch of the imagination), a man who doesn’t speak, and a woman who’s writing Oskar letters. The identity of the two other narrators are gradually revealed, but it felt unnecessary to hide them in the first place. Not to mention that they’re supposedly writing to Oskar, revealing things that are inappropriate for a child.

Lots of people loved it, including some reader friends of mine who often recommend and exchange books with me, but it just wasn’t my thing. At least it’s one less book on my shelf.


It seemed appropriate…

A book with your favorite food in the title: Love and Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch: ┬áThis book is as sweet as the title suggests. It’s a YA romance about a teenage girl who just lost her mom. She’s sent to Italy to live with a “friend” of her mother’s, who may or may not be her father. As she reads her mother’s journal and starts to piece together who her father is, and why he hasn’t been in her life, she’s also falling in love with Italy and a friend who’s helping her get answers. This story was the perfect antidote to the aggravation that was EL&IC.

The Unread Shelf

Total: 1

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress

Miscellaneous Reading

Asylum, Sanctum, and Catacomb, by Madeleine Roux: I’m burned out on reading literary fiction, especially since I haven’t really been enjoying it. Sometimes it just happens that way. Since I write Young Adult horror, I thought it was time to catch up on some of the fiction I’ve missed.

I love creepy old mental hospitals as a setting, so Asylum seemed like the perfect read. And no, I didn’t know it was a series when I started it. These types of books read fast for me though, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

The first one was pretty good. Three kids go for this summer program at a small college. But because the dorm is being renovated, they have to stay in an old building on the grounds. It used to be a mental hospital, and part of it is locked up so no one can get in. Of course the kids are curious and go exploring. There’s a murder, the kids have nightmares, and they find out more about the history of the hospital. (Spoiler alert: it’s bad news.) This isn’t the best YA horror I’ve ever read, but it was fast and entertaining.

Sanctum continued the story when the kids come back to find out more about what happened over the summer, and they discover a secret cult meant to keep the secrets of the mental hospital. It stretched my belief at times, but I went with it, and it worked for me.

Catacomb… did not work for me. It felt very deus ex machina because it’s a completely different setting, yet once again, the kids stumble across a cult that wants to kill them. It had some cool concepts in it, and if it had been a completely different book with different characters outside this series, I would have liked it much more.

2018 Running Total: 18

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