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Here is my 2015 Reading Challenge, January edition. Keep reading for reviews on the books I read in January.
I am proud of how well I did this month in my reading challenge (click here for a look at the list again). I wanted to try and read as much as I could whilst living the island life (a.k.a being lazy/semi-unemployed/bored). Here is a look at the books I had the pleasure of devouring in January. I did deviate slightly from my original list, but I found some cheap Kindle books on Amazon that I couldn’t not purchase.
I am rating the books out of five. Basically one means why the hell did I choose this book and make myself suffer? And five equals holy crap that was the best read EVER and I couldn’t put the book down and I am going to recommend it to EVERYONE.
2015 Reading Challenge – January edition
1. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Challenge Completed: A book set in high school
This book surprised me. I initially chose Hopeless because it was set in high school and had good reviews on Goodreads. But later on, I discovered it is actually a #1 New York Times Bestseller, which usually means it’s pretty damn impressive. In the beginning, I thought it was just going to be the usual high school drama novel including the sheltered girl and bad boy. But it soon turns into so much more and I found myself enjoying it so much I finished it in a weekend – kind of unheard of for me. It’s intriguing, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once.
Hayley’s Rating: 4 out of 5 – a very good start to the Reading Challenge.
2. A Summer Sentence by Carolynn Carey
Challenge Completed: A book by a female author
For some reason, this book was on my Kindle so I thought I’d read it for the challenge. Hopefully, I bought it because it was cheap/free on Amazon because it was so cliché it hurt. City girl finding herself in the country town, falling for the guy and the lifestyle, blah blah blah. And then, when I didn’t think it could get worse, he proposes at the end after they’ve known each other for less than three weeks. ‘Cos that happens.
Hayley’s Rating: 1 out of 5 stars – did nothing for me.
3. The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
Challenge Completed: A book you started but never finished
I have seriously been carrying this book around with me for years. I picked it up one day at a secondhand book store, not knowing it was book three in a series. D’oh! So I took it with me to Canada and read books one and two during my daily commute. Then I packed its enormous 750-paged self for my North America trip and still didn’t finish it. But now, I am done and I feel like this is the biggest accomplishment of the month.
Anyway, the books follow Tatiana and Alexander who meet in Russia during World War II and this book ends with them in the United States. I did enjoy the history woven into the first story the most, but I am so glad the book finished pleasantly. After reading about 2000 pages about these two characters you kind of feel like you know them and I was glad they did get a happy ending.
Hayley’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars – I’m attached to these two, what can I say?
4. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Challenge Completed: A book that became a movie
This book was purchased at Powell’s Books, probably one of my most favourite places in the world. I had watched the movies many years ago so thought I would pick up the book to read too. Firstly, I liked that the story and the writing were centred around bees, as at the beginning of each chapter there was a quote from a bee-specific book that related to the chapter. I also enjoy learning about history through fiction, and The Secret Life of Bees being a tale centred around a white girl living in a house of four black women in 1960s America was very insightful.
Hayley’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars – an enlightening story with a happy ending.
5. Laurinda by Alice Pung
Challenge Completed: A book with one word
I discovered this book during an Amazon scroll and it had excellent reviews, plus it was cheap, so I clicked and bought it. Firstly, it is set in Australia which I liked and is about a young Chinese-Vietnamese girl figuring out who she is as a scholarship-winning student at Laurinda. It was a coming-of-age story of sorts and an easy read.
Hayley’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars – a solidly written young adult novel.
6. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Challenge Completed: A book with magic
I accidentally read a lot of young adult novels this month, which I am definitely not complaining about. Unearthly is about a teenage quarter-angel girl named Clara. She has a vision that is deemed as basically her purpose in life, so her family move from California to Wyoming where it takes place. But life and a love triangle cloud Clara’s path. I enjoyed this interesting take on the supernatural and the ending I did not see coming – but this may just be me. Hand’s writing was very descriptive, which I particularly enjoyed. I may just have to read the sequels now, although I don’t know if they will fit into the challenge. We shall see!
Hayley’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars – a magical novel.
I think February shall need to include some male writers and non-young adult novels. But I am going to set myself the goal of 5 books as I know it is doable. Check back to see if this happens!