Summer Reading Challenge Results


Summer Reading Challenge Results: Seriously, Sarah?

I would like to thank Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life for hosting a twice a year reading challenge. Last winter was my first participation, in which I I read everything within a month! It took two months this time, but I liked it because it pushed me to read books that I had meant to read or books that had been on my “I would like to read one day… maybe…” list outside of my comfort zone!

Here are the final results!

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (The Women of the Real Downton Abbey #2)

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

I was definitely disappointed in how much it overlapped with the first book in the series. If I could give half stars, it would be 2.5 because it wasn’t terrible, but there wasn’t anything earth shattering in the WWII research, of course, and there wasn’t even much detail on the clothes, manners, or things that I found fascinating in the first book.
Those things were mentioned, but inconsistently. It felt like if the author needed to fill some space, she’d throw it in there, instead of focusing on it.

Pages: 368

10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic

I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn’t mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with “capsule” wardrobes. [I’ve never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due  to the fact that I’ve lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don’t need that many different outfits anymore, anyway.

Pages: 283

10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)

The Black Album

The Black Album

I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that’s been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel.

Pages: 320

10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.

We Were Liars

we were liars

I have heard a lot about this novel. It won a Goodreads award, of course. I haven’t read anything similar like it in a long time, so I did enjoy it. I was a bit (and still confused) why the main character called her friends “The Liars” from the very first, but I’m sure that’s a spoiler. I read the Kindle version fairly quickly. It was short, interesting, and very trendy.

Pages: 227

15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.

Don’t Try to Find Me

don't try to find me

Decent coming of age/young adult novel. Don’t buy the publisher’s advertising. Nothing like Gone Girl/Reconstructing Amelia. Not innovative at all. This novel did fulfill a summer reading challenge requirement, which was a plus, since it was an easy read.

Pages:  384

15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)


Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

Pages: 499

15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)

Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to GoI’m really glad that I took a chance on this novel. I did need something with “light” in the title for a reading challenge, but when Audible recommended it, it seemed to be the perfect Southern Lit book for me. I can’t wait to read more from David Joy in the future.
I have to say that the novel seemed all too heartbreakingly realistic. Joy did a great job writing beautifully about the messy side of life in the rural South.

Pages: 260

20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.

Jamacia Inn

jamacia inn

Ehh, this has to be my least favorite du Maurier novel, and I love her novels. It was predictable and kind of cheesy.

Pages: 320

20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.

A Civil Contract

a civil contract

This novel, by an author that I obviously like, was read for the Summer Reading Challenge to fulfill the category for a novel with an animal on the cover. I listened to the version with the horse on it!

a civil contract animal cover

Pages: 320

25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1

Solid 3.5, so I’m rounding up, since I rate everything a 3!
I put it down a few times, so it wasn’t as compelling as I would have liked, but I’m kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars.
The “mystery” wasn’t as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series!

Pages: 309 / At least 11 novels in the series

25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long.

The Way We Live Now

the way we live now

Sorry, Trollope you could have cut this book by at least 1/4. However, I still liked it.

Pages: 1024

30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find – I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don’t think the ending was very realistic, but I’m not a professionally trained counselor.

Pages: 369


Now, I’ll have to read books from my other challenges and maybe a few of my fun books from my Summer Reading list… or even some from my Spring Reading list!



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Reading Challenges Update {Vol. 1}

I thought that I’d finish out January by updating all of my reading challenges!Reading
For the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, I’ve read 4 out of 12 books:

Dark Places: A Novel, Gillian Flynn
Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence

My Jazz Age January novels are reviewed here!

For reading 52 Books in 52 weeks, I am way ahead of schedule. I have read 17 books so far this year!

For the Audiobook challenge, I said that I would aim for 30-50 this year. So far, I’ve read/listened to 11 audiobooks.

For the I Love Library Books challenge, I am aiming to read at least 24 books from the library. The majority of the books I read are from the library, used, free on Kindle in the public domain, or from publishers for reviews. So far, I’ve read only read 2 library books! I guess I kind of read 2.5 because I quit one of them halfway through.

Right now, since I do have mobility issues with getting to the library, I’ve been using to mail away some of my already read books for “credits,” which I use to request other books that I want. If the library would just deliver, like the pizza guy… Sometimes my mom brings them to me because she’s so nice!
But, in all seriousness, if you are interested in using, you can put my username, srslysarah, into the referral box! There are a couple of ways to save a lot of money on there by shipping multiple books for the price of a single book (so you can get 4 credits for $4 instead of 1 credit for $3), especially if you have books that are in high demand. Give me an email, if you want some tips! I’ve shipped out 17 books, received 2, have 8 en route, plus I’m waiting on a few to be shipped. Then they let you get on waiting lists for highly requested books, which there is also a way to circumvent the same way that you save money on shipping. Or, if no one has listed a book you want, you get notified as soon as someone lists it! I was finally able to track down a book that I couldn’t find at my local library or for under $8 with shipping, used.

And finally for my Classics Reading Membership Challenge, which I started on December 24, 2014, and gave myself 2 years to read 50 books, I’ve read 13! My anticipated list is here, but it is definitely subject to change!

So far, I’ve read:

The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Little Men, Louisa May Alcott
Daisy Miller, Henry James
Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Adam Bede, George Eliot
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Finally, for this year’s Back to the Classics Challenge, I’ve read the following books for the following categories:

A 20th Century Classic — any book published between 1900 and 1965. Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic. The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.): The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929).
A Classic in Translation. As in last year’s category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language. Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language: Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1857).
A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. First name, last name, or both, it doesn’t matter, but it must have the name of a character. David Copperfield, The Brothers Karamazov, Don Quixote — something like that. It’s amazing how many books are named after people: Adam Bede, George Eliot (1859).

So, three categories down and nine to go!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads or even grab a few of my books off of Paperback Swap here (or check out my unlisted, but available deals here).

Finally, you can see all of my posts tagged with “Reading Challenges” here!

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