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

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”

winners curse

Synopsis from Goodreads:  They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other. Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Feelings: I read this book last year just before its sequel came out at the insistence of our school librarian. She raved about it and told me I would really enjoy it, and she’s usually right about such things. I think I read this book in a day, the first time I read it. Then I immediately got the sequel and devoured it, too. I wanted to read these books again because the third installment in this trilogy was coming out and I had it pre-ordered. I read so many books and get so engrossed in each one that over time, I completely forget what the previous books were about. So that’s what happened here.

And again…I read this book in a day. I love the world building that Rutkoski does – the history, the culture, the depth. I want more! There’s a long history of strife between these two people groups and you can almost tangibly feel it because of the way she writes it. What I hope for in the next two books is more on the history side. We know a little about a lot of things, at this point. I have some questions that I hope get answered!

Issues: I flipped back and forth between the print version and the audiobook a few times, but once I hit the halfway mark, I was so over the audio. The narrator was too pronouncey, you know what I mean? Like every word was emphasized and it was exhausting. I was distracted by it.

I really like the cover art for both the original hardback and the paperback editions. Now they’ve released a new cover and I don’t necessarily love it.

3 curse covers

(Left to right: 2014 hardcover, 2015 paperback, 2015 cover change)

On the one hand, they seem to fit Kestrel’s character a little bit more – she’s more of a fighting gear kind of girl, rather than a poofy dress one. On the other hand, the new covers feel a loootttt like the Throne of Glass books. Just saying.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. Kestrel is intelligent and strong, but she’s also proud and has a snobbish air about her. Arin is also intelligent and strong, but has secrets and a history that we don’t know, really, that much about. The minor characters were kind of come-and-go, so I wasn’t “around” them much to form an opinon on them. I feel kind of meh about both Kestrel and Arin. I was with them for nearly 400 pages and I still feel like I don’t truly know them. Maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe the second book will hold some serious character development.

Characters: This book has been slated as Fantasy, but that’s really only because of the fact that it takes place in a made up world. There aren’t any magical elements or mythical creatures. This is a book about imperfect people and the choices they’re faced with. I found myself going back and forth between supporting the characters and then shaking my head at them. The two main characters were both so right and yet, so wrong at the same time. They were both driven by different and also similar things, causing them to act in ways that were both unforgivable and understandable, if that even makes sense.

The first time I read this, I remember feeling like the love interests were too I love you, I hate you, I can’t be with you, Love me forever but I didn’t really feel that way this time around. Maybe that happens a lot in the sequel…we’ll see because I’m just about ready to pick it up!

Final thoughts: Rutkoski’s writing is what kept me engaged and enthralled the whole time I was reading. I am really into this world and am curious about what will happen, but I know that the second book will either make it or break it for me. Stay tuned.

Pick this up if you liked:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Goodreads rating: 4.06/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.4/5

My rating: 4.25/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by R. Cohn and D. Levithan

“Prayer or not, I want to believe that, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is possible to find that one special person…Somebody who wouldn’t judge another for the prepositions they dangle, or their run-on sentences, and who in turn wouldn’t be judged for the snobbery of their language etymology inclinations.”

dash

Synopsis from Goodreads

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Feelings: The whole meet-cute in this story had me at hello. I could see it all playing out in my head, which I loved. About halfway through, though, I found myself ready for the ending. It was like all the excitement was happening as they were getting to know each other, then I got bored once they actually got closer together. I don’t know. It was enjoyable, for the most part!

This book was funny. I laughed out loud a few times and took pictures of pages because I loved so many quotes. There were a lot of moments that I could really connect to.

Issues: Like I said, I got a wee bit bored at times. I did a little bit of paragraph skimming, searching for the next interesting plot point. It didn’t take me long to find those nuggets of entertainment, though. It’s not like I skimmed half the book.

Characters: This was a let down for me in the realm of character building. Lily was naive and simple and boring. Dash was snarky and broody and boring. The supporting cast, however, was entertaining, funny, and spicy. Lily’s great aunt was indeed, great. Dash’s best friend was indeed, the best. I enjoyed the secondary characters far more than the two title people. I just had zero connection with Lily or Dash, or even Lily and Dash as a couple.

Final thoughts: If you love words even half as much as I do, then you’ll enjoy a good chunk of this book. I read this on a plane and then again in my hotel room. I read it quickly and enjoyed most of it. If you’re looking for a light, easy read that doesn’t take any deep analysis or leave you mopping up tears, then this is a good one for you.

Pick this up if you liked:

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by R. Cohn and D. Levithan

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins and others

Goodreads rating: 3.84/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.2/5

My rating: 3.75/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

**I’ll start with the non-spoilery stuff, then I’ll give you sufficient warning before the spoiler-filled conversation begins!

“When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins…And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows of all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them. “

lady midnight

Synopsis from Goodreads – just click the link to read it!

Spoiler-Free Feelings: I was on vacation when all 720 pages of this beautiful hardcover landed at my door. I decided that I would re-read the last few chapters of City of Heavenly Fire on the plane ride home, so that I’d be ready for this trip back to the Shadow World. I’m glad I did. It was like warming up in preparation for a marathon. I’d also highly recommend that you read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy before you begin this new trilogy. There are a few things that either won’t make total sense or that you’ll just straight up miss if you haven’t read those novellas…ESPECIALLY when you read the extra Jace & Clary story at the end!

I honestly didn’t LOVE Jace and Clary when I was reading The Mortal Instruments series. I just couldn’t connect with either of them. The reason I finished that series was because I loved everyone else – Magnus, Alec, Simon, and Isabelle – and I was desperate to know how things turned out for them. I also love that while their series has wrapped up, they keep popping up in her other books and novellas, so their story doesn’t end!

This new trilogy follows Emma Carstairs and the slew of Blackthorns in Los Angeles, who were highly involved in the last Mortal Instruments book. We saw a couple of the Blackthorns in the Shadowhunter Academy novellas, but I love that we now have a whole trilogy about them. I love how the younger Blackthorns have grown up and their awareness of pop culture, unlike our friends at the NY Institute. Because they live in LA, they’re just around it more. There were little quirks throughout that were so different from TMI and I liked that. It didn’t feel like the same old Shadowhunter story.

Emma is the perfect combination of Clary and Jace. I don’t love either of those characters, but I did like Emma! She’s the best of both of them and yet is still her own individual person. And Julian…JULIANmarryme.

In this book, we learn a lot about the Fair Folk and their customs, history, and ways. We know a lot about werewolves and vampires from the previous books, but the Fae have had a bit of mystery around them. The insight from Mark and Co. was really intriguing!

The plotline made so much sense. Everything kept building and building, and it all just clicked into place. I didn’t have any moments of wait…that makes no sense. She’s built such a complete, dense world and yet doesn’t double dip or contradict what she’s written before. That surprises me every time I read one of her books. This book had twists and turns and I enjoyed every second of it.

 

STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GET SPOILED

 

No seriously…trust me, you don’t want to keep going with this review if you haven’t read this book yet.

Spoiler-Filled Feelings: YOU GUYS I’M FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW

I literally just finished reading it as I sit here typing. That ending was out of control, friends. OUT OF CONTROL. I did not see the whole Kit thing coming. He did not feel important whatsoever (even thought the beginning was from his perspective) and I never would have made the connection between him and the Herondale baby that Catarina raised. Where is this going?? These family trees…also out of control. I feel like I need to print one out as a reference.

You know what else is out of control? The sexual tension. Sweet Jesus, the sexual tension. I need synonyms for “out of control.”

So, I understand why Emma is pushing Julian away and I’m SO GLAD we finally have some kind of explanation for why the Law forbids parabatai from falling in love. I get it…I get it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t rip my heart in two. We saw how their parabatai power increased as Emma and Julian got closer, but I feel like they’ll be able to control it or get around it somehow. Clare always has some kind of loophole in placed (enter Jem Carstairs/Brother Zachariah). But also…what happened when Malcom was all fire-balling her arm? Did that rune seriously endure warlock fire?

But now MARK? Uggghhhh I feel like I’m going to hate where that’s going. It’s kind of creepy and also a terrible idea. Julian and Mark were juuussstttt starting to get back to bro status. Consider bro status destroyed if this continues.

I have high hopes that the next 2 books in this series focus around Kit and his Herondale-ness with a bit of Mark figuring out his place in the world. And more Jem. And more Jem and Tessa. I really hope it doesn’t turn into Emma and Julian, Emma and Mark, and God forbid…Emma and Kit.

I’ll be honest…when Christina first saw Kieran and Mark together, I thought, OF COURSE, Cassandra Clare…OF COURSE. I just have learned to always expect a secret love affair out of nowhere in her books. I had high hopes for Mark and Christina, and now that he feels so betrayed by Kieran…I’m curious about what’s going to happen now. But with the whole “secret” between him and Emma now…ugh what is happening?

Okay, the whole Lady Midnight part was really interesting. But what the heck? She’s totally going to come back now…I mean…she’s AWAKE. I’m not convinced that Malcom is dead…he’s a freaking warlock! Emma survived the ocean porthole thing, why can’t Malcom? And what’s going to be ye olde Blackthorn’s end game when she comes back to life like Frankenstein’s monster? Is she going to get revenge on the Blackthorn family for her death? And for Malcom’s demise?

Final thoughts: I liked The Mortal Instruments. I LOVED The Infernal Devices. This book fell somewhere in the middle…but closer on the spectrum to TID than TMI, if you catch my drift. I have a lot of hopes for this trilogy. I seriously read this 720 page whopper in a little more than a day. Cassandra Clare’s writing is so engaging and enthralling, as she’s proven time and time again.

The more I think about reasons to dock my rating down from a perfect 5, I can’t really find any. It had everything I love in a story…plus I’m so invested in this world due to all of the books that I’ve read multiple times, so I’m a little bit biased. It was just so dang enjoyable.

Pick this up if you liked:

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads rating: 4.52/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.8/5

My rating: 5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Reading Challenge Update #1

We’re about one quarter through 2016 – whhhaaaaaat? That’s out of control, friends. As you may or may not know, I created a reading challenge for myself in order to branch out in my reading. Below, I’ve bolded the challenges I’ve completed and included the title that allowed me to cross that off my list. (I just finished re-reading the last few chapters of City of Heavenly Fire in preparation for Cassandra Clare’s new Lady Midnight. So, that’s a book I’ll be starting today!)

Challenges completed: 14/50

  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
  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
  8. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
  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.)
  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
  13. A book with a blue spine or cover
  14. A book with a horrible/ugly cover
  15. A book picked for you by someone else
  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 – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read my full review HERE)
  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 Daysby G. Willow Wilson
  22. A book with an unreliable narrator
  23. A book whose main character shares your name (first, middle, or last)
  24. A book set during a war (historical or fictional war)
  25. A chick-lit book
  26. A book written before you were born
  27. A collection of poems
  28. A book outside your comfort zone (genre, topic, number of pages, etc.)
  29. A book about second chances – Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado
  30. A prequel to a book series
  31. A book that has more than one author – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson (read my full review HERE)
  32. A book by an author who is from a different country
  33. A book that’s an author’s debut novel – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  34. A book that you got for free
  35. A book that was made into a TV movie, series, or mini-series
  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
  38. A book spun off from another book  (examples: Death Comes to PemberleyPride & Prejudice & ZombiesConfessions of an Ugly Stepsister)
  39. A book that made you laugh out loud – For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
  40. An audiobook
  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
  44. A mystery or thriller
  45. A book recommended by a blog or Booktube video
  46. A book that takes place during a holiday
  47. A book you own, but haven’t read
  48. A book that you’ve “been meaning to read”
  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

How far are you in your reading goals for 2016? Do you have any suggestions for the challenges I have left? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“The universe owes you nothing…it has already given you everything. After all, it was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is if you do something worthy of remembrance.”

illuminae

Synopsis from GoodreadsThe year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Feelings: First of all…am I the only person that pronounces this title as Illumin-eye? I keep hearing it as Illumin-ay…and my Latin trained brain does not compute. But I digress…

I didn’t know anything about this book when I decided to dive in. Sometimes, that works out beautifully. In this case, I was confused for a while. Then, I read the back of the book and a couple of things clicked. I had no idea what to expect or what direction it would take. Literally, all I knew was that it was science fiction and had unique formatting.

Let’s talk about this formatting for just a second, can we do that? I felt like I was reading a book/movie hybrid. You know what I mean? It was a visual production in print and I. loved. it. Some pages kept the story moving fast and furious, some slowed it down and were beautiful breaks, and others zeroed in on human emotion. Brilliant.

I’m attempting to write this review immediately after finishing it and I feel like I can’t think straight. My mind is straight up blown.

Issues: I only had a couple of tiinnnyy issues. The first was the beginning. It’s 50% intriguing that I couldn’t follow what was happening and 50% uhhhhhhhh wtfrak is going on. However, the story picked up and I was super hooked after that. Secondly, there was one part near the end that was sci-fi jargon heavy and I got a little skimmy. (Oh, you know skimmy…where your eyes just start glazing over the words and you wait for the next bit of dialogue. You’ve totally done that, too.)

Characters: One thing that I thought was really cool about this book’s formatting is the way we get to know the cast of characters. There’s no classic narrator, filling us in on the environment or a character’s body language. We got to know Kady and Ezra, especially, through their instant messages and the observations of others.

Kady’s got some serious gumption. What a fantastic character! She’s that “spider monkey”, sneaky kind of character who is wildly intelligent and resourceful. Ezra is a sensitive, but strong male lead that I want more and more and more from. I couldn’t figure out if this was a tragic love story or a happy, hopeful one…it kept going back and forth but THAT LAST PAGE. I don’t know where this series is going for these two in particular, but it’s going to be amazing.

AIDAN was a really interesting character. I’m not even sure how I feel about him/it, because he/it is just so unreliable. You could tell that he/it struggled with human emotions of love and loyalty, but for most of the book we only saw it do horrible things. As much as I didn’t love AIDAN as a character, his “pages” added a contrast to everything else going on.

Final thoughts: I’ve heard multiple people rave about the audiobook, so you should definitely check that out! I wasn’t sure how this format could come across effectively as an audiobook, but apparently it works! They’ve pulled together a full cast of characters, which I’m really intrigued by.

In the end, this is an amazing book. It may be 600 pages, but since each page isn’t full to the brim of text, it’s surprisingly quick to plow through. Trust me, you want to buy what these authors are selling; you want to catch what they’re throwing.

Pick this up if you liked:

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The television series Battlestar Galactica

Goodreads rating: 4.31/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 4.75/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn