Thursday, June 18, 2015


20 books of summer - master image

Cathy of 746 Books has started a great summer challenge, the 20 Books of Summer challenge. I'm actually a little (read:very) late in posting this as it really started on June 4, but c'est la vie! here we are.

The premise is actually quite simple: 1 summer. 96 days. 20 books.

I figured that since I plan on doing LOTS of reading this summer, I might as well make it a fun challenge (yes, another one). I actually wanted to give myself more structure rather than just listing out the next 20 books I read, and I wasn't ready to put together a list of books to get through. I'm too much of a mood reader for that anyway. So, I decided to give myself categories for the books I choose to fall under, and it's going pretty well so far. I've already got three books down (more reading happening than blogging over here, which when I think about it, is a very good thing - having a book blog without reading any books is rather pointless).

I'm really hoping to get some of my challenge books read over the summer, but like I said: mood reader. It seems like as soon as I put a book on a challenge list, I lose interest in actually reading it. Even if I was excited beforehand. Odd? Yes. Maybe it brings me back to my school days and assigned reading lists.

The categories I decided to go with are:

Update: I did a TERRIBLE job at sticking with the category idea, so here's what I read:

5 Ebooks (for all the ones I keep forgetting I downloaded):
  1. If I Stay - Gayle Foreman (June)
  2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor (June)
  3. Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor (June)
  4. Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor (June)
  5. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins (July)
  6. Omens - Kelley Armstrong (June)
  7. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (July)
  8. Just Kids - Patti Smith  (July)
  9. Wealthing Like Rabbits - Robert R. Brown (July)
  10. American Gods - Neil Gaiman (August)
  11. Moral Disorder - Margaret Atwood (August/September)
So, that's it. Pretty simple but still, I think it will help. The biggest challenge for me will be 
classics because I have to be in just the right mood to start them, and also getting to the library, as much as I love it I just don't utilize it enough.

Are you joining the challenge?? Do you know what the next 20 books you'll read will be? If so, let me know - and tell me your secrets! How do you stick to your list?

Update: So, obviously, I didn't actually read 20 books this summer. But I think I did pretty well all things considered. I really didn't expect American Gods to take me almost the entire month of August. It was denser than I expected it to be, although I did thoroughly enjoy it.  If you participated in #20books, please let me know how you did. Did you stick to your list? Make your choices at Random? And if you successfully read 20 Books: Please tell me how you did it??

Monday, June 8, 2015

It's Monday, what are you reading? (June 8, 2025)

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men Emma Omens (Cainsville, #1)
I've decided to try my hand at this series (created by Shannon of River City Reading), I think I can commit to at least a once a week check-in. I'm hoping to keep myself on track this summer instead of letting this blog fall to the wayside, as tends to happen during the lazy summer months, so I think this will be quite a help.
I can't believe it's already the second week of June, half way through the year and I am exactly on track with my 2015 Goodreads goal being 50% complete (blatant self-congratulation here).
Last week, I finished Boys Adrift, which I really enjoyed. I found it an incredibly fascinating and insightful look at boys and men in my generation, why they have been lagging behind, and what can be done to improve the situation. I find that I have such a hard time reviewing non-fiction, I'm not sure why that is exactly, and I'm not all that interested in looking deeper to figure out why that might be, so Here is my ultra-mini review on Goodreads. Bottom line: I liked it, you should read it.
I'm currently reading Omens by Kelley Armstrong, which I mentioned in my May Wrap-Up post. I'm only three chapters in, I had a busier weekend than I planned so I didn't get much (any) reading done. I used to really love Kelley Armstrong's books, but it's been a while since I've found a new series of hers that I really enjoyed, I'm hoping the Cainsville series can turn that around. I enjoyed Bitten, but quickly lost interest in the rest of the Women of the Otherworld series, which makes me think I mostly just liked the tv show (hello eye candy). I did enjoy the Darkest Powers trilogy (her first YA series), but hated severely disliked her follow-up/spin-off trilogy Darkness Rising. Like I said, I'm hoping that the Cainsville series can reignite my old love of Kelley Armstrong, fingers crossed on this one, as I've heard good things.  
I'm also still in the early chapters of Emma, and I'm hopeful I'll get through it by the end of next week. I keep telling myself that if I get through it I'll let myself rewatch Clueless for the 8 billionth time. I'm way behind on all of my challenges (Back to the Classics and 2015 TBR Challenge), so I'm hoping with Emma I'll get to cross at least one book off each list (I don't think this counts as cheating). This is my first year participating in either challenge, so I'm aiming for success (and being optimistic).

What are you reading?


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

May Reads 2015

It's starting to look like a general trend, maybe monthly wrap ups will be my thing now. The truth is, I know I should blog more, but it does take away time that could be spent reading.
Oh well, c'est la vie!

Here's a quick run down of what I read in May:

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer, #1) Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch After the War is Over The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks
  1. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride: This was enjoyable, but I was expecting more. It was certainly humorous, but not nearly as funny as the reviws led me to believe. I gave it 4 stars, but it was really a 3.
  2. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: I loved this, the dry English humor was just spot on. I love Neil Gaiman and there were a number of instances where I convinced myself I could just tell which lines were his. It was my first Pratchett read, and it has me excited to go back and read a Discworld novel or two.
  3. After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson: This book was meh, just ok for me. I gave it three stars because it was enjoyable enough to pass the time on the long morning train ride for a few days. I've heard her previous book, Somewhere in France, is better, but I'm in no rush to get to it.
  4. The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs: I gave this one 3 stars, because it was cute and the author is from my hometown (Toronto!). A lot of the parts I sort of skimmed over, this book it basically a handbook for "how to geek", and I didn't really need an explanation about what Superwholock is, but Kat Stark's review perfectly sums up all the issues I had with it, and also shed some light on a few I didn't think of at the time. I did, however, really enjoy the fact that she included a whole section on feminism and where to look for awesome female characters (the best part of the book frankly).

What I plan to read in June:

I've actually got a number of books on my "Currently Reading" shelf and I'd like to clear some of them out before I pick up anything new. June's going to be a catch up month for me.
  1. I've been reading Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, it's a really fascinating non-fic about guys in my generation and how they have lost a lot of the maturity, motivation, and drive that guys had even 30 years ago (think video games, ADD, failure to launch, etc.). I'm a slow non-fiction reader, but have plans to finish it this week.
  2. Emma and Persuasion by Jane Austen: I started both of these early in the year and set them both aside for some reason. I had big plans to read all of Austen's novels this year. Hopefully, I'll get through these this month and I'll be back on track.
  3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth: I started this book well over a year ago, and I've been struggling with DNF'ing it. I feel like I should because it's awful, but I hate DNF'ing books. It's crazy, I know. I'll make a deal with you reader, if I don't read this this month it will officially be DNF'ed. Check in with me. Hold me accountable. Please.
  4. Omens by Kelley Armstrong: I have loved some of Armstrong's books, and have been "not so crazy" about others.  This one is a cheat, not exactly a "current read" but my mom pushed it on me and she wants it returned so I'm going to read it. The rest of my "current" reads, will have to wait until July (I'm talking to you, Dickens and Tolkien).
So that's that. Hopefully I'll get through (at least) these 5 books in June and maybe even I'll whip through a few graphic novels. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my weekends open.

Reading: Alice Walker (a long overdue post)

The Color Purple"You better not never tell nobody but God."
When I picked up The Color Purple in February as my Black History Month pick, I mostly chose it for the wrong reasons (could there really be a wrong reason to pick up this book? Probably not, as long as you're reading it). Firstly, February is a busy month for my family (we have 5 birthdays that month), plus valentine's day (which - usually I don't care about, but the 1st valentine's day in a relationship is kinda special).  I knew I wouldn't have a ton of time to get a lot of reading done, but I knew I wanted to read something.  I knew I wanted to read something short.  I knew I wants to read something topical.  I knew I wanted to read something important (read: not fluff - it won the Pulitzer so it qualified).  I also knew I wanted to cross a book off of one of my many challenge lists, in this case, it's the Classics Club. (Crossing off lists is so satisfying.)

I had my choices narrowed down to Giovanni's Room and The Color Purple.  Both of these novels are short (reason number 1).  The Color Purple won out because I thought the epistolary style of the writing would make it an even quicker read than Room, even though it has more pages. The fact that I had the option of watching the movie version after completing it did factor in as well (of course).  After reading it though, I realized that it doesn't matter why I picked the book up. It only mattered that I did.  And I am so glad that I did (I'm sure I would have enjoyed James Baldwin too, but that's not the point here). 

Taking place in the southern US, the story follows the lives of two sisters in the 1930s.  Their struggles, their trials, their heartbreaks, their triumphs.  At times I found this story to be heart wrenching, gutting even. It is so honest and raw. And at times it made me angry, the anger didn't blind me to the beauty of the story, however, and in contrast to the hopefulness you feel from the characters it just makes it that much more poignant. The characters all felt so real.  I loved this book so much I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Possessing the Secret of JoyI noticed Possessing the Secret of Joy in my local bookstore and picked it up solely because it had Alice Walker's name on it. I had loved reading The Color Purple so much, I was eager to read any other of Alice Walker's offerings I could find. Following the story of some of the characters first introduced in The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy was, for me, an even greater reading experience than The Color Purple was. I loved every minute of reading this, I had such an emotional response to Possessing that far surpassed that of when I read Purple. I loved getting back into the "world" of The Color Purple as well, getting to revisit the extended characters that I was so curious about was such a treat. I highly recommend this one to fans of Alice Walker, feminists, and anyone with a vagina, or anyone who knows someone with a vagina. Just about anyone, basically.