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

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Bloodlines

*May contain spoilers if you haven’t read The Vampire Academy series*

“The greatest changes in history have come when people were able to shake off what others told them to do.”

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Does anyone else think Richelle Mead’s name is secretly switched? Because Michelle Read would make SO much more sense. Maybe that’s just me…

Synopsis: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead is an extension of the world built in The Vampire Academy series. This story, however, follows Sydney Sage, an Alchemist who is assigned to watch over Jill Dragomir, the new Moroi queen’s younger sister. Sydney and Jill are accompanied by Keith, another Alchemist, and Eddie, Jill’s guardian. And Adrian, one of my favorite series characters ever. They are sent to Palm Springs, California, in the hopes that the constant sunshine and isolation will deter any potential vampire assassins and keep Jill safe. The first novel in the Bloodlines series is full of romance, action, betrayal, mystery, and your run of the mill high school drama.

Feelings: During the summertime, I find myself wanting an easy read – a palette cleanser. (Did anyone else just think of that scene in The Princess Diaries?) It’s been a year since I read the whole Vampire Academy series, but as I read Bloodlines a lot of information came back to me. One thing I really enjoy about Richelle Mead’s writing is her conversational tone. Her narrators have spunk, making me laugh out loud and sigh in complete understanding of their struggles. I did miss Rose as the narrator, mostly because she has more grit and backbone than Sydney does. I’m really hoping that this is just a starting point for Sydney and that she really grows into herself as this series continues. I liked her attitude and willingness to help others (even the Moroi), but she just seemed like she needs a fire lit in her. Enter Adrian? God, I hope so.

Issues: Plot twist, shlot twist. I could smell the ending from a mile away. One thing I remember from the VA books were their twisty ways, but this was just bleh. Not even halfway through the book, I made my predictions. Then as I kept reading, I was searching for places where I could be wrong…but I wasn’t. There were multiple mysteries that were all predictable – that’s probably what bothered me most about this book. Why does this character seem so familiar to everyone? Why is this character so sick? Who’s killing Moroi? It’s exhausting. Can we not just have a story?

If you haven’t read the VA series, then there was a lot more to learn in this book. If you have read it, then you knew things that Sydney didn’t. So basically, the reader knew what was going on long before the narrator did. I see what Mead was trying to do there, but it was more annoying than effective. The book started with me being frustrated with the narrator, and that’s not a good start.

Characters: I didn’t just love Sydney, but I enjoyed her POV more than I originally thought I would. So, that’s a win. I actually got a little angry when she was complaining about wearing a size 4, instead of her usual size 2…then started watching what she ate. Girls, don’t take that page from Sydney’s playbook. She was completely socially unaware…but I found that relatable. That probably says a lot about me.

Jill made me want to lose control. She reminded me so much of Lissa and that’s not a positive thing. She was whiny and selfish and I don’t want any more.

ADRIAN. *sigh* What a great character. Honestly, he was the saving grace of this book. I really loved him in the VA series and he was literally the only reason I decided to pick this book up at all. He was the comic relief, occasionally (and surprisingly) the voice of reason, and he needed his story to continue. He’s so much more than the person he was in the VA and I’m glad he gets to have some dignity back after Rose left him high and dry.

Final thoughts: Independent of the VA series, this book was ok. As a continuation and extension of the world, I’m intrigued, especially considering the last few words of the book. I can say that I’ll continue the series, hoping Sydney grows some thicker skin, Jill gains some sense of self, and Adrian finds some independence. I would recommend that you either read the VA series before picking this up, or at least watch the book-based movie. It’s not a blockbuster, but it does give you a little introduction into their world.

Pick this up if you liked:

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (because Adrian)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (guilty pleasure YA reading with Bloodlines having far fewer metaphors)

Shadow Falls series by C. C. Hunter (I read this series along with VA last summer…apparently I was going through an urban fantasy/paranormal romance phase.)

Goodreads rating: 4.23/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.5/5

My rating: 3.75/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn