What I Read in July

It's once again time for Erin's Book Challenge! I was able to pull ten books from my TBR list and had so much fun talking books with fellow participants (via the challenge's Facebook group). Erin will be doing another challenge this winter, so join in the fun! Here are the categories and what I chose to read for each one, along with a short review.

Read a book that is at least 200 pages
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Everyone has been raving about this book, so while it's not my preferred genre, I had to give it a shot. It hooked me from the very beginning, but I slogged through the middle. I kept at it because I wanted to know how it would turn out, and it's not a bad book by any means, but it was a little too sci-fi for me. My husband will probably love it. ★★★

Read a book that starts with the letter B
Beartown by Fredrik Backman What a great book! It's a slow build and quite gloomy, but it's not just a story about hockey. I read somewhere that it's like Sweden's Friday Night Lights. It's so well-written and there are A LOT of characters (the boys on the team, their parents, coaches, siblings, the board, fans, townsfolk, etc), which usually annoys me, but it didn't with this one. There are so many amazing ones! I've heard that it's a departure from Backman's other books though, so be warned if you've loved his others. ★★★★★

Read a book that has a yellow cover
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg Super quick and interesting enough, but I didn't love it. I have a hard time with stories when the characters don't communicate and I didn't feel attached to a single one of them. I liked that it was nonlinear though and loved the writing. ★★★

Read a book that has a picture of an animal on the cover 
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson It's kinda weird to say I loved this book, but I did! It's informative while also being entertaining and even funny. I thought it was a little disjointed at first, but the last few chapters (which were the best) brought it all together. ★★★★

Read a book that was published in 2017
It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany It's important to talk about friend or acquaintance rape and I liked that the book explored both points of view. One specific improbable storyline annoyed me and the dialogue was poorly written, so while it was hard to put down, I was a little disappointed. ★★★

Fun fact: I didn't know going in that it was set in my college town! (I just found out the author graduated from my alma mater in 1994 and has lived there since.) Everything was really accurate, except for mentioning that the main character went to WWU football games because the program a few years after I graduated. Whoops!

Read a book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title
Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura and Lisa Ling I followed this story as it unfolded in the news, but loved reading Lisa and Laura's firsthand alternating accounts. It's not particularly well-written, and the sisterly love got pretty cheesy, but I couldn't put it down and the whole story is fascinating. They are incredibly lucky to have had all their connections. I would love to read Euna Lee's story. ★★★★

Read a book from this list of the most commonly banned books in America
The Witches by Roald Dahl Super cute! I never read this as a kid, but bought a Dahl box set for my kids and wanted to read along. They might still be too young for this one though. I want to watch the movie now too! ★★★

Read a fictional book about mental illness
72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell Well written story told from the perspective of a mother of a teen daughter with bipolar disorder. It's heartbreaking, but very realistic, relatable and compelling. The ending felt rushed though. ★★★

Read a book with a non-human main character
The Bees by Laline Paull I don't know what I was expecting from a dystopian novel about bees, but I was pleseantly surprised. It's odd, but original, and I was interested from beginning to end. ★★★

Read a book a Disney movie was based on
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot Cute enough. I haven't seen the movie because I can't stand Anne Hathaway, and she narrated this audiobook so that was disappointing. Mia is a cute character who got less annoying as the story went on, but this is still a book for a very young audience. ★★

I'm linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books!


Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

oh gosh, i can definitely see how listening to the princess diaries would get very annoying if anne hathaway narrates it. i read that whole series earlier this year (or was it last year?) and overall i liked it, she does get a bit more mature as the books progress, but not really. it's definitely for a younger audience. i love everything by Roald Dahl and the witches is definitely an old fave! i haven't seen the movie in years. glad you liked beartown! so good.

lil desiqua said...

I couldn't get into A Man Called Ove so if this is a departure from his other work (and described like FNL which I LOVED), I'd check out Beartown. It Happens All The Time is one I haven't heard of but it's so timely and important subject matter. Adding it to my TBR! I've changed my selections for this challenge more times than I care to mention and need to update the FB Group! Congrats on finishing it!

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I felt the same on It Happens All the Time. Which storyline did you hate?

Tiffany said...

I just finished listening to "Britt-Marie" was here by Backman and it was good! Also about a rag-tag sports team in a small town. I wonder if I would like Beartown!

Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders said...

Way to go on already finishing up Erin's challenge! I've only read two books so far for this round. I've heard so many good things about Beartown, which makes me so excited to read it this month for book club!

Jana @ Jana Says said...

I loved Dark Matter, even if the sciency stuff hurt my head. I still need to read the Wayward Pines trilogy.

I read a Jami Attenberg book earlier this year and felt lukewarm to it, similar to how you described the one you read.

Tanya said...

Beartown is getting a lot of love on this link-up. It was already on my TBR but now it's getting a higher priority. I actually heard Laura Ling speak about her experiences as prisoner at a women's conference I attended.

Kristin said...

I'm reading Beartown now.

The Witches is definitely cute. I bought 30 of them a few years ago for my class for Halloween ha ha.

Heather @ Heathers Hurrah said...

I feel like the scientific parts of Dark Matter will slog me down too...I'm reading it for Erin's challenge too so I need to get to it soon!

Gwen said...

I'm always impressed by how quickly you finish the challenge! Somewhere Inside sounds really good, and if I get through the challenge the first time around, I might also choose 72 Hour Hold for that category.

Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand said...

Thank you for continuing to be such a wonderful advocate and participant of my book challenge! I appreciate you :)

Simply Alexandra // My Favorite Things said...

I have not heard a bad thing about Beartown yet. Amazing. I cannot wait to read it! I am working on Erin's challenge as well, and am as far as I have been for any of them yet! haha I have had a summer reading slump for sure though. Hoping to pull out of it this month! Here from SUYB. XO - Alexandra

Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

Carly Blogs Here said...

Beartown has been one of my favorite books of the year-- such good storytelling. I remember loving The Princess Diaries books when I was younger- they would be fun ones to reread for something quick.

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I haven't read anything in so long. And it's been a month since my last audiobook. I need to start going back to the library. Now I have some recs, thanks!

StyleAndSavings said...

As a pre-teen, I loved the Princess Diaries books and (the first) movie! I was even lucky enough to meet Meg Cabot at a book signing and take a photo with her :) Happy memory!