Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March Reading Challenge Update

I am posting my March edition early because I am fairly sure I will not be finishing any more books this month since I will be fairly busy with other projects/things until the beginning of April.

2016 Reading Challenge

1.  A book published this year
2.  A book you should have read in school, but didn't
3.  A  book you have been meaning to read
4.  A book with an interesting cover
5.  A book you own but haven't read
6.  A book that received bad reviews
7.  A book with water on the cover
8.  A book in a genre you have never read
9.  A favorite book from your childhood
10.  A book by an author you have never read before
11.  A book that deals with an issue close to your heart
12.  A book "everyone" has read but you
13.  A book about the decade you were born in
14.  A book based on a true story
15.  A book set in the summer
16.  A book set in a country you wish to visit
17.  A Young Adult best seller
18.  A book that's longer than 500 pages
19.  A book that makes you smarter
20.  A book you can finish in a day
21.  A NY Times best seller
22.  A book about a culture with which you are unfamiliar
23.  A book with an apocalyptic theme
24. A book set during Christmas time
25.  A funny book
26.  A book with a one word title
27.  A popular author's first book
28.  A cookbook
29.  A book by someone with the same first name as you
30.   A book of your choosing

Books I Read This Month:

14.  A book based on a true story
My Abandonment by Peter Rock
Based on the story of a father and daughter found living in a homemade cave/shelter in a Portland Oregon state park, My Abandonment is told from what would have been the 13 year old daughter's perspective.  It is one creepy book - and not in a horror creepy way!  The father comes across as schizophrenic with a dash of PTSD and the daughter, while book smart well past her years, seems emotionally stunted.  I give the book a four out of five stars.  I was slightly disappointed in that the first half of the book was amazing and cohesive, while the  second half fell apart and seemed slightly disjointed.  After reading a few quick links to the actual story, I tend to understand why this was the case.  There was quite a bit of documentation to help start the book; however, details of the real lives of the duo are sketchy at best as the years went on.  It's a very quick read with only 225 pages and worth a glance if you wonder about survivalists or if you are a fan of the book "Room".  I would give it a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars.

3.  A  book you have been meaning to read
Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey
I originally heard about this memoir on Facebook in a story by NPR.  It is written by "Anna" - a young ambitious English woman who begins to notice that her computer screen is giving her a "sunburn".  Doctors finally diagnose her with photo sensitivity and Anna finds herself trapped inside her own skin in the absolute darkness of a room.  She writes about the things she does to try to amuse herself to pass the time and the daily struggles of functioning to the best of her ability.  She also discusses her relationship with her boyfriend (turned husband by the end of the book) and how he tries his best to help her live life to the fullest. And, my favorite part, she writes about the triumphs and heartbreaks of when she has a "remission".  I had very high hopes for this book - in fact I think probably too high.  It was an interesting read, for sure, but not exactly what I had hoped.  I think part of the issue I had was that she wrote in very British vernacular - which was extremely distracting. (And I love British writers and am familiar with some of the idiosyncrasies of "England English" as opposed to "American English".)  I put this book at 3 out of 5 stars.

28.  A cookbook
Life from Scratch by Sasha Martin
This book is half memoir/half cookbook.  However with over 25 recipes, I am going to go ahead and count this as my cookbook for the least for now.  This book is four out of 5 stars.  Before reading this book, I did glance at some reviews and noticed quite a few people complained that the author "whined" about her bad childhood ad nauseam.  I don't know if this "forewarning" helped but I honestly didn't feel that way at all.  In my opinion, her childhood stories filled out the recipes, almost giving them a life of their own.  Ironically enough, the only time my interest waned a little was when she began writing about her global cooking adventure and blog - which was what she said the book was originally supposed to be completely about and not that of her childhood.  Overall it was a quick read so I would recommend giving the book a try.

***Bonus Books***
Shadow Spells by Nora Roberts
This was the second book of the Dark Witch trilogy (that I started earlier this year).  There are a few things I find sort of cliché in regards to her description/dialogue of the Irish but this is a solid story of three modern day "witches" and their three best friends/lovers who are attempting to defeat the dark magic of Cabhan, a dark force that has plagued the three witches' families for around 800 years. I think this book was worthy of 3 out of 5 stars.

Blood Magick by Nora Roberts
Because I have a serious case of OCD when it comes to book series, I had to finish this book this month as well.  This was the final book in the Dark Witch trilogy and was an extreme disappointment.  As a reader and a writer, not much irks me more than when an author has a character completely change for the sole purpose of pushing a plot forward.  And, in my opinion, this is what Nora Roberts did to find a way to end this series.  The other big problem is what was supposed to be an epic climax three books in the making ended up being a very weak five or six pages.  Not enough pay off for the time I invested in the series and the characters.  My overall feeling is stay away from this series entirely or be prepared for very unfulfilling ending.  For these reasons, I would only put this book at 2 out of 5 stars.


  1. Love that you are keeping track!! I am going to have to look at your list and see what books I have read fit the categories to see what else I have to start reading!!

    1. I'm sure with how much you read you have probably already finished my challenge list! Haha!!!