Reading Challenges to end all Reading Challenges…

Alright – so last year (around May-ish) I discovered that Goodreads had this reading challenge where you could set up a simple goal of how many books you wanted to read for a set period of time. I put in a goal last May of reading 52 in 52 (book a week – easy right?) and backtracked in a bunch of books that I had already tracked for the year in the regular Goodreads tracker. I ALMOST made it – but alas, fell apart in the last month (you’d think flying for over 35 hours would make for easy reading time, but fatigue took over and I slept during most of those hours.

So I started up again in earnest this year from the beginning of the year – with the hopes that I can get a little head start on the runway. Also I’ve been told it’s smart to ‘know your audience’ (in video game marketing as well as writing) – and as my first novel attempt is YA I am reading a LOT of YA books right now (and trying to sprinkle in a few adult books from time to time). I am currently one book ahead in my challenge (YAY for short YA books!) and about to finish another today, which will bring me up to 10 books for the year. Let me stack rank them in order best book to worst book so far (though none have been horrible, and I appreciate that even if I didn’t like them, it is quite an accomplishment to be published at all!) ūüôā

1). The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (yep, I’m one of those annoying adults walking around with this book telling everyone to read it.¬† About two kids (several kids) with cancer, and uplifting and funny at the same time.¬† Crazy good dialog!¬†Made my mom and now cancer free dad read immediately and they agree. Good stuff!)

2). The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (good – still trying to grapple with how this was YA here in the states, it wasn’t anywhere else in the world.¬† It’s not first person – narrated by Death, with an ‘adult’ view of how a child navigated the streets of Nazi Germany.¬† Pretty dark and depressing, but v. good and somehow YA).

3). The Giver by Lois Lowry (my mom said she had to approve this for reading in younger grade so it definitely is YA maybe even Middle Grade and SO peculiar, but really interesting.¬† The end remains controversial in our larger family… We’ll see what the movie does to it later this year.)

4). Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (first adult book to make the list, and second dystopian.  I love a good dystopian.  And boy howdy those scientists made a MESS of our world in this one.  V. curious writing, characters and new words I had to read a few times to grok.)

5). Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (serialized goofiness that I love to sprinkle in.¬† Not sure what I’ll do when I catch up sometime this year to where she is in the series… Hurry Janet, write more about our beloved Stephanie and her cast of merry men!)

6). Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (a local seattlite people – v. cool.¬† Read this when I saw it was coming out in theaters.¬† It was fun, and took more risks than the YA books I have read to date with sexuality – so that was interesting to read purely from a research perspective.¬† I liked the snarky voice of the main character too so I may read another in her series at some point. Oh and I will be watching the movie when it comes to HBO…)

7).¬†¬†Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (another YA dystopian, though played up as Utopian – they’ve fixed us (like in The Giver) so that we’re all happy happy.¬† This one was the first in a while where it felt like the author was trying to force his voice to sound YA.¬† Annoying, but a fun jaunt and fun enough to read the next one.)

8) Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (second in the series and I’m out.¬† Can’t read anymore in this series.¬† The voice sounds forced and when the Uglies become Pretty I¬†don’t like them as much.¬† Probably what the author wanted, but interesting to read the comments about the book in Goodreads and the¬†forum on who they¬†think should play the main characters in the movie).

9) Allegiant by Veronica Roth (oh Ronnie… what have you done?¬† This one felt phoned in.¬† I really liked Divergent new twist on dystopian along the vein of Hunger Games sort of – and certainly coming of age for the main character.¬† In Insurgent it was more of the same, though war torn and new characters introduced – all still from the main characters POV.¬† In the third book they escape the city and get some ‘answers’, those answers are pretty weak, and for some reason the author breaks the magic she had in the first two books by now telling the story from the main heroines POV and alternating with her angry boyfriends POV.¬† V. disjointing.¬† I think she had to ‘wrap it up’ and could only do that by having people in two places at once – hence to narrators.¬† Still going to Divergent on opening night though!)

On the bedside table (or kindle) to read the next fifteen in some order, not necessarily THE order:

1) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
2) Magic in Manhattan (books 1 & 2) by Sarah Mlynowski
3) The Boyfriend List by E.  Lockhart
4) Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
5) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
6) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
7) TTYL by Lauren Myracle
8) Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
9) Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison (also local Seattleite)
10) The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
11) Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
12) Sand by Hugh Howey
13) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
14) Redshirts by John Scalzi
15) Finger Licking Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

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