Final Reading Challenge Update

I’d planned on this being my 3rd of 4 total reading challenge updates for the year, but…I’M FINISHED. That’s right, friends. I have completed my reading challenge for 2016. This year, I was motivated to complete the challenge, but to BE challenged. This list didn’t encourage me to look for certain types of books, but rather to read what I wanted and see how I could fit it into the challenge.

I’m wanting to do something different for 2017. I don’t think I want to do a list of challenges like this for the third year in a row. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, check out the list of 50 books below! For books that I wrote full reviews on, I’ve included the link to that page!

Challenges completed: 50/50

  1. A winner from the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (read my full review HERE)
  2. A book about books – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (read my full review HERE)
  3. A book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  4. A book with one of the 5 W’s in the title (who/what/when/where/why) – What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  5. A book set more than 100 years ago – An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers (read my full review HERE)
  6. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you – The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay (read my full review HERE)
  7. A book by an author who writes under more than one name – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling  (read my full review HERE)
  8. A fairytale from a culture other than your own – The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (I Googled “fairytale” and according to the world wide web, “myth” is a synonym for “fairytale”. So it’s a stretch, but I’m running with it.) (read my full review HERE)
  9. A historical fiction book – The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (read my full review HERE)
  10. An award winning book (ex: Newberry Medal, National Book Award, etc.) – Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (read my full review HERE)
  11. A book you’re embarrassed to read in public – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (read my full review HERE)
  12. A book published in 2016 – Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  13. A book with a blue spine or cover – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  14. A book with a horrible/ugly cover – Nothing But the Truth by Avi
  15. A book picked for you by someone else – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read my full review HERE)
  16. A favorite book you read for a second time – A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (read my full review HERE)
  17. A book you feel that everyone has read but you – Wolf by Wolf  by Ryan Graudin (read my full review HERE)
  18. A book recommended by a famous person – For the Love by Jen Hatmaker (read my full review HERE)
  19. A book you know nothing about – Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  20. A book set in the country of your ancestors – An Honest Heart by Kaye Dacus (read my full review HERE)
  21. A book with a child as the main character – Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  22. A book with an unreliable narrator – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (read my full review HERE)
  23. A book whose main character shares your name (first, middle, or last) – Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  24. A book set during a war (historical or fictional war) – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
  25. A chick-lit book – This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  26. A book written before you were born – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (read my full review HERE)
  27. A collection of poems – The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (While it may not be a “collection” of poems, there were poems throughout it. So I’m counting it. Ha!) (read my full review HERE)
  28. A book outside your comfort zone (genre, topic, number of pages, etc.) –The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (read my full review HERE)
  29. A book about second chances – Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado (read my full review HERE)
  30. A prequel to a book series – Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (read my full review HERE)
  31. A book that has more than one author – Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  32. A book by an author who is from a different country – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  33. A book that’s an author’s debut novel – That Summer by Sarah Dessen
  34. A book that you got for free – Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson
  35. A book that was made into a movie, TV series, or mini-series – Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen [Movie version = How to Deal] (read my full review HERE)
  36. A play that was adapted into a musical or a movie – Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
  37. A book that’s on the bestseller list – Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  38. A book spun off from another book – The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis
  39. A book that made you laugh out loud – Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs (read my full review HERE)
  40. An audiobook –Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (read my full review HERE)
  41. A book your grandma (or other family member) loves – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  42. A book with a nonhuman protagonist – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (read my full review HERE)
  43. A book that takes place at a university – The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright (read my full review HERE)
  44. A mystery or thriller – I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
  45. A book recommended by a blog or Booktube video – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson (read my full review HERE)
  46. A book that takes place during a holiday – Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (read my full review HERE)
  47. A book you own, but haven’t read – The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  48. A book that you’ve “been meaning to read” – Ms. Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
  49. A book you read with a friend or a book club – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  50. A book you saw someone reading – Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (read my full review HERE)

 Are you working towards completing a reading challenge? Do you have any recommendations for a 2017 Reading Challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Reading Challenge Update #2

How are we halfway through the year?? I can’t answer that, but I CAN say that I’m more than halfway through my reading challenge! This is the part where it gets tricky. I can’t really just read whatever I want and know that I’ll be able to work it into my challenge after the fact. Now I actually have to plan out how to achieve the challenges I have left. I have some ideas, but give me some suggestions in the comments below!

Challenges completed: 38/50

  1. A winner from the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards
  2. A book about books – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (read my full review HERE)
  3. A book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge
  4. A book with one of the 5 W’s in the title (who/what/when/where/why)
  5. A book set more than 100 years ago – The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (read my full review HERE)
  6. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
  7. A book by an author who writes under more than one name – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (audiobook) by JK Rowling 
  8. A fairytale from a culture other than your own – The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (I Googled “fairytale” and according to the world wide web, “myth” is a synonym for “fairytale”. So it’s a stretch, but I’m running with it.)
  9. A historical fiction book – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  10. An award winning book (ex: Newberry Medal, National Book Award, etc.) – Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (read my full review HERE)
  11. A book you’re embarrassed to read in public – The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis
  12. A book published in 2016 – Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  13. A book with a blue spine or cover – The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (read my full review HERE)
  14. A book with a horrible/ugly cover – Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen [What do the butterflies have to do with anything?] (read my full review HERE)
  15. A book picked for you by someone else – The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay
  16. A favorite book you read for a second time – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  17. A book you feel that everyone has read but you
  18. A book recommended by a famous person
  19. A book you know nothing about – Just Listen by Sarah Dessen 
  20. A book set in the country of your ancestors
  21. A book with a child as the main character – Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson
  22. A book with an unreliable narrator
  23. A book whose main character shares your name (first, middle, or last) – Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
  24. A book set during a war (historical or fictional war) – The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (read my full review HERE)
  25. A chick-lit book – This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  26. A book written before you were born – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (only a few days before I was born!) (read my full review HERE)
  27. A collection of poems – The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (While it may not be a “collection” of poems, there were poems throughout it. So I’m counting it. Ha!)
  28. A book outside your comfort zone (genre, topic, number of pages, etc.) – Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin (read my full review HERE)
  29. A book about second chances – Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado (read my full review HERE)
  30. A prequel to a book series – Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (read my full review HERE)
  31. A book that has more than one author – Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  32. A book by an author who is from a different country – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read my full review HERE)
  33. A book that’s an author’s debut novel – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  34. A book that you got for free
  35. A book that was made into a movie, TV series, or mini-series – That Summer by Sarah Dessen [How to Deal – movie]
  36. A play that was adapted into a musical or a movie – Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
  37. A book that’s on the bestseller list – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (read my full review HERE)
  38. A book spun off from another book – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson (read my full review HERE)
  39. A book that made you laugh out loud – For the Love by Jen Hatmaker (read my full review HERE)
  40. An audiobook – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  41. A book your grandma (or other family member) loves
  42. A book with a nonhuman protagonist – Ms. Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
  43. A book that takes place at a university – The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright
  44. A mystery or thriller
  45. A book recommended by a blog or Booktube video – The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (read my full review HERE)
  46. A book that takes place during a holiday – The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  47. A book you own, but haven’t read – Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
  48. A book that you’ve “been meaning to read” – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  49. A book you read with a friend or a book club – The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (read my full review HERE)
  50. A book you saw someone reading

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge

People of the earth…I DID IT! I completed the PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge! Now, I’ll be honest…I stretched a few of the challenges, but I did what I had to do to make it work. Ain’t no shame in my reading challenge game. I included a link for any and all books I wrote full reviews for.

  1. A book with more than 500 pages: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  2. A classic romance: Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice by Stacy King (a stretch, but I’m SO counting it!)
  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: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  15. A popular author’s first book: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  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: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  21. A book your mom loves: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  22. A book that scares you: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  23. A book more than 100 years old: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
  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: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  26. A memoir: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  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: Maus by Art Spiegelman (some of the original came out the year I was 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: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone  by J.K. Rowling
  34. A book with a love triangle: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (this whole series has a couple of love triangles)
  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: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (While I’m not from Paris, France…there aren’t many books that take place in Paris, Texas, so I’m counting this one.)
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I read the manga edition, but I’m absolutely counting it.)
  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): Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (No, these aren’t my initials BUT it IS my last name…so I’m just going to chalk that up to a win!)
  47. A play:The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  48. A banned book: Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples (it’s on a list of challenged books, so I’m sure it’s been banned somewhere)
  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

Did you complete any reading challenges this year? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… Yet.”

anne of green

Synopsis from GoodreadsWhen Marilla Cuthbert’s brother, Matthew, returns home to Green Gables with a chatty redheaded orphan girl, Marilla exclaims, “But we asked for a boy. We have no use for a girl.” It’s not long, though, before the Cuthberts can’t imagine how they could ever do without young Anne of Green Gables–but not for the original reasons they sought an orphan. Somewhere between the time Anne “confesses” to losing Marilla’s amethyst pin (which she never took) in hopes of being allowed to go to a picnic, and when Anne accidentally dyes her hated carrot-red hair green, Marilla says to Matthew, “One thing’s for certain, no house that Anne’s in will ever be dull.” And no book that she’s in will be, either. –Emilie Coulter (from a review of an abridged version)

Feelings: I’ll confess – this was the first time I’d read Anne of Green Gables. I get the sense that this book is a rite of passage for all girls everywhere, but somehow I missed it. Interestingly enough, one of the challenges on the PopSugar 2015 reading list is to read a book your mom loves. When I asked my mom for a book recommendation, she immediately said, “Caitlyn, you have to read Anne of Green Gables.” Done and done.

Issues: I didn’t really have any issues with this book. I would just suggest to anyone reading it for the first time to keep the time period in the forefront of your mind. The word choice and historical commentary are very common for books written during this time period (circa 1908). It was a little slow-going at times, mostly because of Anne’s rambling or my boredom at the various “concerts.”

I really enjoyed some of the “old timey” phrases in this book, like, “All went merry as a marriage bed.” Ha!

CharactersOh, Anne, you dramatic little corn flower. Home girl has quite an imagination. I found myself laughing over her antics, like actually laughing out loud. I wasn’t expecting that from this book, but it had little pockets of humor sprinkled throughout. I especially laughed every time she commented on being a red head, considering my mother, brother-in-law, and nephew are all of the ginger persuasion. (Maybe that’s why my mother loves this book so much…she can relate…)

One of my favorite quotes is when Anne is telling Marilla that she never makes the same mistake twice. She says, “There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”

Anne and Diana’s bosom friendship is precious. I think every young girl wants a friendship like the one these two have, where you love and depend on each other as sisters. Plus, who didn’t want a fantastic signal system for night time communication? Hello candles in the window. Maybe from time to time, you also get each other drunk accidentally. It happens.

Marilla is a tough nut to crack. The moment when Anne gets hurt and school and Marilla realizes, “what Anne had come to mean to her,” had me like YES FINALLY MARILLA. Their whole family dynamic is one of the reasons I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t perfect or idyllic from the get-go, they had to work on it.

Call Matthew ‘Jon Snow’ because he knows nothing. The man is like a pet. When talking to him, you may as well be talking to the wall because he has no input. And yet, you find him to be a kindred spirit…again, like your pet cat or the neighborhood puppy. And you can’t imagine life without him. And he calls Anne his girl. BRB dying of sweetness.

Comparisons: Growing up, I loved the Little House on the Prairie books. I was obsessed with the idea of a simple life where I could lay in a meadow all day and read my favorite books (not that that’s really what people did all day…farming and such.) This book really served as a break between all the other fantastical things I find myself reading. I also really enjoy books that talk about schooling on the prairie. I liked that aspect in the Little House on the Prairie books, as well as the When Calls the Heart series (which also takes place in Canada.)

Final thoughts: More than anything, this book reminded me of the value of imagination. As a middle school teacher, I see every day that students are less and less able to conjure up the unimaginable. When I was a kid, we could imagine anything – explore new worlds, conquer great beasts, and more, just by imagining it was so. Now, though, kids don’t find their imagination to be a place worthy of exploring – they have games, Netflix, and social media to take them to other places. I intend to continue reading this series, especially as Anne teaches and gets older. I think there’s a lot in her life I”ll be able to relate to, putting time and place aside.

Pick this up if you liked:

Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Sarah MacLachlan

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Goodreads rating: 4.20/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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