Update: 2015 Reading Challenge

I’ve seen a lot of book bloggers giving updates on their 2015 Reading Challenges. A lot of people used the one provided by PopSugar. I had it all written out for the first few months of the year…then I had to keep rearranging the titles to maximize the challenge…then I just gave up. So I recently sat down again and categorized all the books I’ve read this year. I’ve got a few left over, so let me know if you see where I could fit them in!

I have 14 challenges left to complete! As you can see, nonfiction isn’t my favorite genre. Ha!

  1. A book with more than 500 pages: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (movie coming soon!)
  4. A book published this year: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  5. A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  6. A book written by someone under 30: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  7. A book with nonhuman characters: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
  8. A funny book: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrew
  9. A book by a female author: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
  10. A mystery or thriller: Jackaby by William Ritter
  11. A book with a one-word title: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  12. A book of short stories: Four by Veronica Roth
  13. A book set in a different country: The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
  14. A nonfiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read: Off the Page by Jodi Picoult
  17. A book a friend recommended: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  19. A book based on a true story
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  23. A book more than 100 years old
  24. A book based entirely on its cover: The Heir by Kiera Cass
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  26. A memoir
  27. A book you can finish in a day: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  28. A book with antonyms in the title: For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund 
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Bridge to Haven  by Francine Rivers (Hollywood)
  30. A book that came out the year you were born
  31. A book with bad reviews: Monster by Walter Dean Myers (this one has the worst reviews of all the books I read…although it doesn’t necessarily have bad reviews)
  32. A trilogy: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  33. A book from your childhood: Sea of Monsters graphic novel by Rick Riordan (the original book came out in 2004…and calling that my childhood is a stretch, but I’m going with it)
  34. A book with a love triangle
  35. A book set in the future: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  36. A book set in high school: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
  37. A book with a color in the title: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  38. A book that made you cry: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  39. A book with magic: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  40. A graphic novel: Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
  42. A book you own but have never read: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language
  45. A book set during Christmas: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (a bit of a stretch…but part of it DOES happen at Christmas time!)
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials (CR)
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
  50. A book you started but never finished: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Extras that didn’t fit into the challenge:

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

Do you have any recommendations?

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

*I’m going to do my best to make this spoiler-free because you have to read this book. You have to.*

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.”

ember

Synopsis: An Ember in the Ashes follows Laia, a spy for a group of rebels, and Elias, the finest soldier at Blackcliff Military Academy, who find that their destinies are entwined. When Laia’s brother is taken, suspected of rebellious activities, she desperately seeks the rebels he may have worked with. Hoping for their help in rescuing him, she agrees to act as their spy at Blackcliff, serving its ruthless Commandant. In this society inspired by ancient Rome, there is a distinct line between people groups and Laia and Elias walk closely along it, risking themselves and those around them in order to create a better world. While Laia is spying for the rebels, Elias is trying to find a way out of his future military career, forever bound to the Empire. They both have choices to make – choices that will affect everyone close to them and even the Empire, itself.

Feelings: This book was exactly what I needed. I read it at lightning speed, staying up late to read “just one more chapter” and waking up early, anxious to read more. Those are the signs of a fantastic read. After just the first few pages, I knew I was going to really get into this book. This story has intrigue, action, powerful characters, mystery, supernatural elements, and left me desperate for more.

I can totally dig the whole Roman-influenced fantasy novel thing. Let’s make that even more of a thing. I found their society really interesting and pretty unique. While I”ve read other books with various types of caste systems, this one was still different.

Issues: I had issues with Laia at the beginning of the novel, just because I wanted her to be so much more. About halfway through, though…she found some big girl britches and was like BAM! I’m cheering loudly for her now.

(spoilers in this paragraph) Is it possible for a book to have too many mysteries? For example: Who is Elias’ father? How did his father “fail” his mother, as she said? Who is Cook? Who betrayed Laia’s parents, really? Why does Cook have some serious issues with the Lioness? WHY CAN’T ELIAS LOVE HELENE? (Ok, that’s mostly just a personal issue of mine.) What’s up with Helene’s new singing super power? How exactly did the Commandant help Marcus and poor Zak cheat? How’d she get in with Nightbringer, anyway? What exactly happened with Laia’s parents? Did they really die in the prison? Are we sure her sister is dead? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Honestly, though…that’s about it on the issues front.

Characters: I guess this book has a love…square? Each of our POV characters have 2 possible love interests. The good thing is that they’re both good options for each, so yay for that. If this was a stand alone novel, then the love square would be a total bust and I’d be obnoxiously angry. I’d probably write the author an angry letter…or tweet. But since we know there will at least be a sequel, I’m going to be ok. There’s room for development for everyone. Another yay.

I like how Elias and Laia have a strong friendship as their base for whatever comes next. They’ve proven that they have each other’s backs and their journey is only just beginning. I would have loved to see Helene as a POV character…she’s so strong and intense…she deals with some pretty significant things. I hope there’s more from her in the next book.

Final thoughts: This is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year so far. I was totally immersed in everything that happened. I was emotionally invested, I love the characters, I’m totally digging the writing style, I kept up with the fast pace…I need more!

Pick this up if you liked:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (society of different factions, interesting powers)

Legend by Marie Lu (similar action, writing style, rebellion-ish)

Defy by Sara B. Larson (love triangle, fiesty female warrior…I read it with the same lightning speed)

 

Goodreads rating: 4.28/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.5/5

My rating: 4.75/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn