Book Challenge Completed

The only books I read in January are the ones I selected for Erin's awesome book challenge! I finished all ten of them on January 30th. Here are my reviews.

Read a book, any book, that is at least 200 pages long: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman It took me a while to get into it (I didn't like Isabel and thought the writing was a bit boring), but halfway through the book I was hooked by the plot and characters and location and couldn't put it down. And of course I cried like a baby. Side note, the narrator for the audiobook is so hard to understand! I gave up after 20 minutes and started over with a hard copy from the library. 

Read a book that begins with the letter D: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk  So weird, so Chuck. It kept my interest and kept me guessing. I've always loved his writing and strange stories, but this one was a bit slow. I wasn't wowed. 

Read a book with a four word title: Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee Most of this book goes nowhere fast, but I liked it. I loved Jean Louise and wasn't disturbed by the storyline or outcome of some of the characters. It also didn't ruin To Kill A Mockingbird for me. Sadly, it paints a pretty good picture of the time period it depicts. I thought the ending was quite abrupt though. 

Read a book with Mother/Father/Son/Daughter/Child in the title: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards I immediately loved this book, but got bored somewhere in the middle when the story took some random side steps. There were also points of repetition that sort of bugged me, but I kept reading because I was so interested in the characters. Regardless, I couldn't put it down and it was a quick, but sad read. 

Read a book from Amazon's top 100 authors list who is new to you: Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber B-O-R-I-N-G. I wanted to read a Macomber book because she lives in the same city as I do and has written hundreds of best-selling books. I randomly chose one that isn't part of one of her many series and because they all have four star ratings, I didn't think I could go wrong. It was a quick, cheesy story about four friends, but it was so mundane. Though I didn't hate the characters, I didn't love them either. 

Read a book set in Asia: Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard It took me two weeks to finish, but not because it was bad. It's well-written and well-researched, but so full of facts that it's sometimes dry and also, just so, so horrific. It follows five survivors from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and really gets into the political, social, and personal aftermath. I was shocked to learn about how poorly the Japanese and American governments treated the victims for decades. The U.S. was shaaaady! 

Read a book with a season in the title: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han I wanted to read this series because I liked Jenny Han's other books, but this is really young YA. Like, for preteens. It was easy and light and I finished it in about two hours, but I won't be reading on. The main character was annoying and immature. 

Read a book that will make you laugh from this Buzzfeed listCatch-22 by Joseph Heller This book is hard to describe and review, but I liked it. It was confusing, out of order, ridiculous, and repetitive, and there are a lot of characters. It gets really boring for long periods of time before picking back up again and there are a lot of WTF and LOL moments. I honestly don't think I could have read it though. The audiobook narrator was amazing and kept me interested in the story, but it still took me ten days to listen to, which is long for me. 

Read a book that is a friend or family member's favorite: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith I've never read a detective novel before. It took me a long time to get into the story, but it kept me guessing. I liked the way it was written with long, drawn out conversations. Every character was so well developed. I'll definitely check out the other books in the series because I love Strike! 

Read a book published the year you were born: Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979) That was a lot of words! Sure the book is long, but it's so drawn out and dramatic and there are just so many words (some say it's beautifully written, I think it's redundant and needed editing). I waded through it because the story was definitely interesting and heartbreaking and kept me guessing. I didn't like Stingo at all though. 

Besides really liking The Memory Keeper's Daughter and The Light Between Oceans I didn't fall in love with these books, but I was happy to pull some books out of my TBR list that have been sitting there for years. Thanks for hosting such a fun challenge, Erin!

I'm linking up with Steph and Jana!

Life According to Steph


SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I think Watchman read like a draft, but I wasn't upset by the characters and it didn't change my view of Mockingbird. I also thought it was correct commentary on the times, and I think some of the passages in there really hit on it with really good writing.

I don't enjoy Chuck P. I've tried.

I liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter and The Light Between Oceans too. I bawled at the end.

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

The only one of these I've read is The Cuckoo's Calling. I really enjoyed it.

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

Oh, I was also going to add that I read a lot of detective/murder mystery novels. Harlan Coban and David Baldacci are my faves.

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

i read memory keeper's daughter so many years ago that i don't remember the middle or details, just the overall story and the feelings i felt lol. i liked the light between the oceans. i HATED that jenny han series. hated hated hated. it turned me off from reading her other books, but i heard they are better, so they are still on my TBR.

Jana @ Jana Says said...

I have read one book for Erin's challenge. One. Congrats on finishing!

I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter YEARS ago and remember really enjoying it. I borrowed GSAW from Steph and have yet to read it. Shows you how interested I am.

Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders said...

Way to finish up Erin's challenge! I actually just finished up The Cuckoo's Calling for another reading challenge, and even though it wasn't my favorite book, I really liked the characters too. I've heard a lot of great things about The Light Between Oceans, so I'm glad you liked it, even though it took a while to get into it.

Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand said...

I've never read Chuck Pahaluniak, but I feel I should. Do you have one favourite of his over the others?

Way to go with finishing the challenge...you little stud muffin! You were one of the winners for the fall film challenge too, weren't you? Do I see a little competitive spirit in you? ;)

Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings... said...

Good to know about how the voice artist made the audio version of Catch 22 enjoyable for you. I am an audiobook gal myself, so I understand how narrators can make or break a book and how some books might not be as enjoyable just in print. Congrats on finishing round one of Erin's challenge!

Jenn @ Lost in the Right Direction said...

So many of these are on my to-read list! I'm happy to see so many good reviews of The Memory Keepers Daughter.

Karen Peterson said...

I felt the exact same way about Catch-22. It is VERY funny, and VERY WTF.

I really need to finish Go Set a Watchman.

lil desiqua said...

So funny that you mentioned those two again at the end, because those are the two I've read and absolutely loved! I had to read The Light Between Oceans for a book club where each member gets to choose a book, and I'm glad she picked this because I don't think I would have picked it up otherwise, but I really enjoyed the story. I didn't cry though... maybe I'm broken?! I need to read Chuck P. I've read so many great reviews of his books, but never read one.

Gwen said...

You overachiever you! I've read two books for the challenge, and one was an audiobook that I finished in one day because I was on the road for 9 hours. I've added Memory Keeper's Daughter and the Light Between Oceans. I was going to read The Summer I Turned Pretty for another challenge (that I didn't finish) but now I'm glad I didn't bother.