Books 1-5 (2018 Reading Challenge)

1) Playing For Keeps by R.L. Mathewson

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I started this on December 31, and finished it on January 2. I was looking for some light chick-lit to read over the holidays, and this is what I landed on.

I’ve read my fair share of chick-lit and contemporary romance, but I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. It’s funny, silly, and perfect light summer reading. I breezed through it in under a week, while just lying in my backyard and trying not to fall asleep in the sun.

I rated it 4 stars. Chick-lit is a fun genre, I like to pick it up every now and then. It’s light and easy to read. Perfect light reading, but I don’t think I’d ever pick it up again.

2) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I read this from January 1 to January 9. It was recommended to me by Goodreads.

I have so many thoughts about this book. My mind was just swirling thoughts, and I went through so many emotions. The main character, Starr, is written so well. Her character goes through so much, and like the quote says, her voice is her weapon in this situation. This is one of those books that you have to read, it’s so relevant in this current time, and so well-written.

I rated it 5 stars. It was a really powerful read, and at times, I felt the need to put it down just to process what was happening.

3) Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

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I read this from January 9 to January 16. Another book that was recommended to me from Goodreads.

I’m a huge fan of Lauren Graham. Mostly because of Gilmore Girls. I love that show, and the more I ‘researched’ into Lauren Graham, the more I was convinced she really was Lorelei in real life. A big part of the book talks about her time during Gilmore Girls, including the revival, so that alone made me love the book. The rest were anecdotal little stories and advice, that just made me happy. The book is fighting for the spot of my favourite biography, alongside Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.

I rated 5 stars. Lauren Graham is awesome! I still pick it up every now and then to read snippets, just for a pick me up!

4) One Of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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I read this from January 17- 19. I’d heard about this through other blogger’s recommendation.

I had seen this book floating around, and after reading about the general plot, I was intrigued. It’s like The Breakfast Club but with murder. The book is written well, it’s fun, easy to read, but still filled with intrigue. The books jump perspectives from each of the four main characters. I love that the characters are each given time to grow, and to see what’s happening. As the story went on, the twists kept coming, and I couldn’t put the book down.

I rated 5 stars. Any book that is almost read in one day, will be given a 5 star rating. I was so hooked! I hope she does another book, as I would love to read more from her.

5) Astrophysics for People in A Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

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This took me the longest out of the five books. I read it from January 19, and finished it a month later on February 19.

I love Neil deGrasse Tyson in general, he’s cool. Space and the universe in general fascinates me, but it also confuses me. In this book, Neil discusses things from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe. It was a lot to process for me, and I had to read parts multiple times. I’ve read it once, but I think I’ll need to read it a few more times to really start to wrap my head around this. If you have a love of Astrophysics, definitely give this a read!

I rated this 4 stars. Don’t get me wrong,  I loved this book. But it’s just hard for me to wrap my head around, so I can’t give it that perfect 5 star rating.

Those are the first five books I’ve read as part of the 2018 Reading Challenge. My end goal is 30 books, so I’m already well on the way!

Have you read any of these books? What books have you read lately?

Angela.

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Book Recommendations (A Collab with Starring Pamela)

Hey all! I’ve teamed up with my good friend Pamela from Starring Pamela for my first collaboration of the year! We’re coming up with some book recommendations for you all! I’m always looking for some more books to add to my To-Be-Read and I love seeing what you guys recommend. So here’s some books from a whole range of genres that I really enjoyed reading and recommend you guys give a go!

Crime/Mystery

Those books that keep us guessing, and on the edge of our seat.

Gone Girl

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Psychological thriller, death, unreliable narrators, and a lot of twists! What more would you want from a mystery novel! I loved both the movie and the book. But I love the book just a little bit more 😀

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

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Corruption, abuse, and a look into the darker side of human nature. This book was definitely not an easy one to read, but I definitely recommend it if you want a thrilling read.

Classics

The books that everyone says you should read at some point.

1984

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I read this a few years back, and it still sticks in my head. I’m sure many of you guys already know this book, as it came up with the concept of  Big Brother, among many other terms. It’s definitely one that makes you think (maybe even overthink), and will leave you feeling a bit paranoid for the next few days.

Catch-22

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Another book I read a while back, but I really enjoyed! The book definitely has a darker sense of humour. It did take me a while to read, as the narrative was a bit jumpy. The plot however was enough to keep me entertained all the way through.

Contemporary

Modern books that everyone says you should read at some point.

The Handmaid’s Tale

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A book I read at a blogger friend’s recommendation (although a friend also told me to read it a  few years back). I read it in a short amount of time, and I was left feeling depressed and upset. Not a cheery book by any means, but definitely a cautionary tale.

Fight Club

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I read this after watching the movie. I will say that I liked the movie a little bit more, but the book was so much fun! It’s dark, funny, and Chuck has a fun way with words that makes me not want to stop reading.

Young Adult

Books that almost always get turned into movie franchises.

The Hunger Games

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I love both the books and the movies. A typical YA dystopia set up, but this one just stood out from the rest for me. The characters felt more real, and the idea of having people watch kids kill each other on a television show is an interesting concept.

The Fault in Our Stars

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I had to include John Green for a YA book. I like to jump on the hype train, and while sometimes I’m disappointed, for this one I wasn’t. It was funny, sweet and heartbreaking. I do know that when it comes to John Green’s books, people seem to have really polarizing opinions.

Romance

For books that have a little lurrrve in them.

Me Before You

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Another book I read due to blogger recommendations, and it lived up to the hype. I adored both characters, and their love story. You already know it’s not going to have a happy ending, but you try root for one anyway.

Confessions of a Shopaolic

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I love this series from Sophie Kinsella. I’ve read most of them, just not the most recent ones. I hear they’re not as good anyway. But, this is the perfect light, summer read. Whenever I come out of a very heavy book, I like to dive into a chick-lit of some kind. It’s like a dessert after a heavy meal you know?

Sci-Fi

Dystopia, space, all that techno-babble goodness.

The Martian

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One of the earliest books I read last year, and one I still push people to read. Andy makes the main character so funny and snarky, and the ‘blog’ formal of the book makes it even more entertaining. Also, I feel like I learned a little about biology as I was reading.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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I have been meaning to finish this series for a while. Douglas Adams has such a weird, delightful sense of humour. Sci-fi and humour are expertly rolled into one with these books, I still love to reread it from time to time. Also, check out the movie version, it’s a lot of fun.

Fantasy

Diving into a world of magic, royalty, and another world altogether.

Harry Potter

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You may already know I’m a fan of Harry Potter. The book series is so much fun, and the world she creates is definitely magical. I will say though, sometimes I don’t know if I’m so fond of these because it’s been mixed up with my nostalgia for growing up with these books. Put it this way, if you’re a general fan of fantasy and young adult, give it a go, you may like it. If not, then it may be a swing and a miss.

Game of Thrones

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I only recommend the first three in this series. I just didn’t like the fourth and fifth, and I’ve also given up on the television adaptation. That being said, the first three are perfect fantasy novels. You have so many interesting characters, plot developments, twists and turns, the world he creates is so detailed. Plus, you really stress for the characters, any of them can die at any time. No one is safe, and coming out of books where the heroes are always okay at the end, this was a refreshing wake-up call.

Humour

Because sometimes you just want a laugh.

Hyperbole and a Half

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The first blogger I ever recall following. Anyone remember Allie Brosh? Creator of Hyperbole and a half. She draws comics to go along with stories she tells (in Paint of all things), often from her life, all exaggerated for our entertainment. If you don’t know of her, definitely check out her blog, and then her book.

Adulthood is a Myth

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I found Sarah’s comics on Tumblr all the time. She is the queen of being relatable, and her comics never fail to make me chuckle. So when I saw she had released books of even more comics, of course I was going to read them. I lost count of how many times I said “Same” or “Me too!” while reading it.

Non-Fiction

Biographies, self-help, and general information about people and things in our world.

Yes Please

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My favourite biography I’ve ever read, from one of my favourite people ever. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s such a good book! Amy offers insight, advice and just shares about her life. “Good for her, not for me”, is one of the best mantras I picked up from this book, and I still stand by it today.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

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The anti-self-help book. Basically, rather than not giving a fuck about anything, the book more gets us to realize what we should be giving fucks about. It was just a refreshing read and a light bonk on the head of where my priorities should lie. It’s also just so damn funny!

So yeah, there’s a bunch of books! As you can see, I have a very wide range of interests when it comes to books. I love genre jumping, I tend to lose interest in books faster if I just read ones from the same genre all the time.

Last year, I ended up reading 27 books for my reading challenge, and a lot of the books I read were based on recommendation from you guys! I wanted to thank Pamela for joining me in this collab, be sure to check out her blog to get even more book recommendations! I’m excited that this was my first for 2018 and I’d love to do more!

Angela.

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Reading Challenge Book List

Reading Challenge Book List

I mentioned recently that I completed my Reading Challenge for this year. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at all the books I’ve read as part of this challenge. I’ll also include little snippets about my thoughts on the book, just as a refresher.

If you want more detailed thoughts on the book, you can check them out in my previous Reading Challenge Posts!

1) Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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Mystery/Thriller. 349 pages. Read in January. Rated 4 stars.

2) The Martian by Andy Weir

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Sci-Fi/Adventure. 369 pages. Read in March. Rated 5 stars.

3) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

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Young Adult/Contemporary. 310 pages. Read in March. Rated 3 stars.

4) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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Fantasy. 398 Pages. Read in March. Rated 5 stars.

5) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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Classics/Sci-Fi. 268 Pages. Read in March. Rated 2 stars.

6) Bossypants by Tina Fey

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Biography/Humour. 283 pages. Read in April. Rated 4 stars.

7) The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

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Mystery/Thriller. 323 pages. Read in April. Rated 4 stars.

8) The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

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Drama/Feminism. 185 pages. Read in April. Rated 3 stars.

9) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Romance/Chick-Lit. 369 pages. Read in May. Rated 5 stars.

10) After You by Jojo Moyes

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Romance/Chick-Lit. 353 pages. Read in June. Rated 4 stars.

11) Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart

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Biography. 272 pages. Read in June. Rated 4 stars.

12) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

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Humour/Self-Help. 224 pages. Read in June. Rated 5 stars.

13) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

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Self-Help. 224 pages. Read in July. Rated 5 stars.

14) After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Chick Lit/Romance. 352 pages. Read in July. Rated 3 stars.

15) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Sci-Fi/Dystopia/Feminism. 311 pages. Read in August. Rated 5 stars.

16) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

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Childrens. 155 pages. Read in August. Rated 3 stars.

17) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

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Mystery/Thriller. 465 pages. Read in October. Rated 5 stars.

18) The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

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Mystery/Thriller. 503 pages. Read in October. Rated 4 stars.

19) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

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Mystery/Thriller. 563 pages. Read in October. Rated 3 stars.

20) He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo 

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Self-Help/Relationships/Humour. 208 pages. Read in October. Rated 3 stars.

That’s all the books I’ve read as part of this challenge. I’m still trying to read more books, I’m figuring out what my goal for next year could be. I’m hoping 30, but that sounds too ambitious. As for the books I’ve already read, I feel like I read a big range. I get bored if I keep reading from the same genre over and over. I’ve never had a favourite one. I like mixing fiction and non-fiction, as well as light, funny books with more serious ones.

What books have you guys been reading lately?

Angela.

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2017 Reading Challenge (Part 2)

2017 Reading Challenge (Part 2)

Hey guys, I have not yet finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge (20 books!), but I just felt like sharing the previous 5 books I’ve read. In this post that I shared back in June, 2017 Reading Challenge (Part 1), I shared the first 10 books I’ve read. It would make sense to save this post till I finish the next 10, but I just feel like splitting it up instead.

Anyway! Here’s book numbers 11-15 that I’ve read.

11) Buffering – Hannah Hart

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I read this in June. It was my first biography since Tina Fey’s. It’s also my first book I’ve read by a YouTuber!

The book is about Hannah, herself. For those who don’t know her, she’s an online personality, she’s a proud lesbian and she’s amazing. She tells stories from her life, she’s found journal entries from her past and talks about many aspects of her life that she previously kept private. Actually, she explains it best. “I’m a little nervous about all these vulnerable words going into the world, these tales about my love life, the wrestling I’ve done with faith, how I feel about sex and my family and myself. I’ve had a lot of trials, a lot of errors, but also a lot of passion. Here’s the thing–I’ve always found comfort in the stories shared by others, so I hope my stories, now that I feel ready to tell them, will bring you some comfort too. And when you read this book please remember: Buffering is just the time it takes to process.”

I gave this four stars. I was really impressed with this book. I only watched Hannah sometimes on YouTube, and she always seemed happy and together. This book goes up to the end of 2015, while I was laughing at her videos, she was going through something serious. It was an eye-opener. Props to Hannah for sharing her personal stories, her voice really came through in this book.

12) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson

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I read this in the middle of June. It was recommended to me back in a personality quiz I did back in Personality Quizzes Overload.

This book is written by a blogger by the name of Mark Manson, it’s sort of a self-help book. But not really. The title is also misleading. It doesn’t talk about how not to give a fuck, but more about what you should give a fuck about. Some things are just out of your control, and you shouldn’t spend so much energy caring or worrying about them. He argues that life isn’t about ‘thinking positive’ or ‘making lemons into lemonade’, but more about learning how to stomach said lemons. Not everyone is destined for greatness, he advises us to learn our limitations and accept them.

I  gave this five stars cause it was just such an entertaining read. I’m tempted to buy it so I can read it again forever. It was really funny, and the way he writes kept me hooked from start to finish. All the stories and advice are presented in a straight-forward, no bullshit kind of way, and yes there’s a lot of swearing, but I think that’s just how he talks. I really recommend everyone read it.

13) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying – Marie Kondo

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I read this at the end of June/beginning of July. I had heard about this book from so many people, and I was so happy when I finally got my hands on a copy at the library.

This is about the Kondo method of tidying up and decluttering.  Rather than taking it room by room, and doing a little at each time, which means you’re never finished. She talks you through a category system (which makes a lot more sense), and about throwing away things that don’t ‘spark joy’. I don’t explain it as good as she does, but this book has so many helpful tips and I wrote a lot of them down.

I rated this five stars. You guys may know that I hate tidying, cause it takes too long. The tips in this book have helped me very recently. You guys know we’re moving soon, well with the tips from this book, I sorted out what I really want to keep, what to donate, and what to chuck out. We permanently have less clutter, and I plan to keep this mindset in a few months time when I’ve probably bought more unnecessary things.

14) After I Do – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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My only July book. I was starting to slow my reading during this time. I wanted a light book to read, so I looked through the recommendations on Goodreads. I liked the concept of the story since most chick lit I read is “Meet Cute”, so I thought I’d give it a go.

The general gist of the story is about a married couple, Lauren and Ryan. They’ve been together for ever and married for longer, and they’ve reached a breaking point. They’re both unhappy, miserable and pissed at the other. So, they decide to take a year off from being together, and during that time, they’re not allowed any contact with each other. Anything goes basically, then at the end of that time, they’ll meet up again and see what they want to do. That was the concept that made me think this story should be fun. It’s a love story about after the love has left.

I gave this three stars. I wanted to give it three and a half, but it wouldn’t let me for some reason. Basically, I liked the story. It was fun and light, which is what I wanted. It was easy to put down and then get back into. I would have rated it higher, but I didn’t quite like how the story was only from Lauren’s point of view. I really wanted to know more about what Ryan got up to in that year, but never mind.

15) The Handmaid’s Tale

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I read this in August. I had been recommended to read this book by a friend a few years back, but I forgot all about it. Until some blogging friends brought it back up and we decided to all read it (Shoutout to the Cool Ladies, you know who you are!). Also the show had come out, and I wanted to see that, but now I had to read the book first.

The book is set in a dystopia (officially called Gilead), where women have basically little to no rights. It’s super religious, and the birth rate has decreased substantially. So the fertile women are rounded up and given the title of handmaids. They’re treated not as human, but like cattle basically. They are assigned to a house with an ‘elite’ couple, called the Commander and his wife. Once a month, they take part in a “ceremony” where they have sex with the Commander (it’s more like rape), while the wife is present, to try get said handmaiden pregnant. Which if she is, it’s then handed over to the Commander as their own child. If she doesn’t get pregnant within a certain time, she’s sent away to some horrible place since she didn’t fulfill her ‘purpose’. This was the opposite of my previous book. Not light at all.

I rated this five stars. It’s super dark and gristly, and a terrible but gripping story overall. I had a few unanswered questions after finishing it, but otherwise I loved the story. Atwood really draws you in to this horrifying world she created, and it does make you think, that this is a frightening possibility.

 

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There you have it guys!! The 11th to 15th books I’ve read this year. I’ve since read one more, and am starting book number 17. I’m still on track to finish this before the year ends which I’m really happy with, since I started in March. 20 may not sound like much, but to me, it’s huge! I really am loving reading so many new books this year.

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Any book recommendations you guys have for me? Or have you read any of the books in the post? What did you think?

Angela.