Monday, September 21, 2015

Literary Ladies Book Challenge Final

If you are a book challenge junkie or a bookworm like me, stick around.  If not, feel free to give today's post a pass.  It might won't hurt my feelings.  

It's our final check-in for the Literary Ladies hosted by Kristen & Kari & Krystal .
Admittedly, I've talked about all these books here before, but I've compiled them again into one final list.  Here's what I read for this challenge (books highlighted in blue are a link that take you to goodreads listing for that particular book):

1. A YA book - The Paris Mysteries: Confessions #3 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro - The original book I selected (Wintergirls), my library has "on order".  I'd read the previous two in this series, so I grabbed this one for the substitute. This is the 3rd book of a series that James Patterson has in his YA collection (because the man obviously doesn't have enough other book series going on in his life.)  I read the first two, and quite frankly, I enjoyed them a whole lot more than this one.  This one was average at best.  2.5/5

2. Non US Author - The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion -  At times, I was bored; other times, I was entertained. Overall, I was disappointed.  Pretty sure I didn't need a sequel to the much more beloved The Rosie Project.  1.5/5

3. A book that was recommended by a blogger (or instagrammer / you-tuber / goodreads-er) - Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler - When Steph was interviewed in Jana's Interview with a Bookworm series, she recommended this one. - I really liked this book.  I don't think I ever fell in love with it, but I really, really liked it.  I enjoyed the Wisconsin small town becoming its own character throughout the book.  For me, some of the characters felt less developed than others.  Or maybe I just connected to some more than others.  I especially liked Beth.  I don't want to tell you her story, so I won't tell you the specific reasons why I liked her.  Let's just say, her predicament and her experience seemed relatable and authentic.  4/5

4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - I bought this book from a fantastic bookstore in Seaside, FL in July 2013.  It had been sitting on my bookshelf ever since waiting to be read.  Finally, I selected it for the 2015 TBR Book Pile Challenge.  I still didn't pick it up.  So, I selected it for this challenge too.  Finally.  Finally, I read this book about three generations of a Greek-American family.  The book follows family members through war, violence, incest, immigration, rum-running, the Depression, the Nation of Islam, suburban life, genetics, race riots, and more...all narrated by a hermaphrodite.  I found much of this book was tedious with an not-very-enjoyable pace. Other parts were educational, fascinating, and thought-provoking. By the final 100 pages, I gobbled it up...but I had to work really, really hard to get through the prior 500 pages.  I don't really know how to rate this book, but I will say that the character of Cal is definitely one that will stay with me.
5. A book with a kickass female character - Still Alice by Lisa Genova - What a beautiful book. In this fictional gem, Alice, a tenured professor at Harvard for twenty-five years is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. This strong, capable, brilliant, successful woman digresses as the disease takes hold of her. Obviously, no one can know exactly what the thoughts are in someone who suffers from such a debilitating disease, but the author does a tremendous job at expressing the thoughts unspoken.  A book that served as a reminder to not take the life I'm living for granted.  There is no guarantee what tomorrow holds. 5/5

6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show) - This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper - 4/5 - This author does it to me again.  He writes a book with dysfunctional relationships, flawed characters, and traumatic life experiences in a way that is relatable, comical, and I can't help but love it.  With these characters, I'm not sure I liked any of them, but I'm cheering for them.  I'm not sure how I want the story to end and the situations to be resolved, so I love the somewhat ambiguous ending that is left to my own imagination what the future holds for each storyline.  I will watch the movie that has already been released, and I really like the casting for two of the main characters.  I've read three of Tropper's books, and I will make my way through them all.  4/5
7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoir if neither of those are your jam. - Dirty Rocker Boys by Bobbie Brown - Admittedly, she's about the lowest celebrity level there is, but a celebrity memoir nonetheless.After reading a few books with some heavy subject matter, smaller font, and tight spacing...I thought I'd lighten things up a little.  Everybody remember the "Cherry Pie" video?  The video vixen herself has written a tell-all book that include romps with '80s hair band icons and actors.  By page 12, I'd learned that Leonardo DiCaprio is extremely well-endowed.  If you'd like some salacious factoids like this, then this could be the book for you because she doesn't hold back.  Lots of sex, lots of drugs, lots of indulgent, selfish behaviour.  This is a quick, fast, easy read...much like its author.  I read it in one day. There are far better memoirs out there, but if you know any of the following (Jani Lane, Tommy Lee, Matthew Nelson, Jay Gordon, Dave Navarro) you may want to give this a quick glance. 2.5/5

8. A book with a one word title. - Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto - 4/5 - The author of this book is the creator of the television show, True Detective. Let's just say that he does not write happy, light-hearted stories. The imagery is dark, heavy, and thick much like the humidity in those parts. The descriptions of sub-cultures in Southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas are so real and so true.  Knowing that part of the country well, it felt like I know somebody who knows someone that is related to one of these characters.  It is not a quick-paced thriller.  It's slow and steady, then bam! a murder...slow and steady, then whoa! a secret revealed.  4/5

9. A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge! - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - Well, I had to read this, didn't I?  Every other blogger has read it or plans to read it, and my cousin recommended it to me as well.  I am often skeptical when a book receives so much attention and praise. But, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I enjoyed each severely flawed character. I enjoyed the pace. I enjoyed the ending. For me, this book deserves the attention it is getting. 4.5/5

10. A book about Summer, with Summer in the title, or in any way related to Summer because this is a Summer challenge! - Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye  (apparently, this has also been released as Under a Dark Summer Sky depending on what part of the world you live) - 5/5 - found this book specifically for this category and loved it!  This book is a perfect example of why I enjoy book challenges.  I got on goodreads and searched books with "summer" in the title.  I found this one (never hearing about it previously), read the synopsis, looked to see that my library had it, and selected the book.  I love when the universe works in my favor, because this was a fantastic find.  A book about relationships, duty, racism, love, small town dynamics, crime, life after war, death, and loss, there are just so many reasons why I loved this book. 5/5

Thats right, Literary Ladies.  I conquered this challenge!
Highly recommend: Still Alice & Summertime (or Under a Dark Summer Sky as it was released in the USA)

Recommend:  Shotgun Lovesongs, This Is Where I Leave You, The Girl on the Train, Galveston

Don't bother: Confessions: The Paris Mysteries, The Rosie Effect

Do you participate in book challenges?


  1. Awesome job finishing the challenge! I felt the same way about the Rosie Effect. Loved the Rosie Project, not as much a fan of the sequel. I've read the first in the Confessions series but I forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder! ;) I did the exact same thing for the summer category, although I wasn't as much a fan of my choice as you seemed to be!!

  2. The Galveston book sounds so interesting! My husband and I loved the first season of True Detective, especially the setting, so I think that I need to give this a try!

  3. Congrats on finishing. I was going to read The Rosie Effect as well, I am still technically reading it, but I was pretty bored too. I'm sort of stuck at chapter 7. I might go back to finish it now that the challenge is over. Shot gun love songs sounds good! I am adding it to my tbr! :) XO -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  4. Great job on the reading. I so want to read Girl on the train.

  5. Congrats Erin!!! U rocked this challenge. Sorry for being a terrible bloggy friend and missing so many posts - September was off!! Im here now though and Im very happy you participated with us!

  6. This is Where I leave You has been on my list for too long, same with Still Alice glad you liked them both. The Rosie Project was much better in my opinion too.

  7. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! That's awesome!

  8. heck yeah you conquered this challenge! thanks so much for joining us girl! you are the challenge queen.

  9. Congrats on finishing the challenge! This was the first time I'd done anything like this, and it was so much fun. I can definitely see why you're hooked on reading challenges! :-)

  10. I had to see if you liked Girl on the Train. I feel like a lot of people have been hating it! And I don't remember if you reviewed it before. I loved it too!

  11. I read The Girl on The Train before the challenge because of all the write ups and I wasn't disappointed either!

  12. Too funny...I recently read Girl on a Train and really was meh about it. I know the characters were flawed and stuff but I just could not stand them. The murderer was not who I thought. The main reason I would give it a 3 is because it was a fast read as you had to find out whodunit. We've already talked about Topper and Middlesex.

  13. I don't think I'll finish either of my challenges by the due date, but I tried! I'm blaming Teh German on my significant decline in reading and I'm sure he's not sorry about it. I have been listening to What Alice Forgot in the shower and I think he was actually disappointed when I turned it off one morning when I got out of the shower so we could chat.

  14. I need to check out the Galveston book. I enjoyed The Girl on the Train but I did not like any of the characters at all.

  15. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! Thank you for joining us.
    I had originally chosen to bypass The Girl On the Train because of all of the hype, but now I think I'll add it back to my list.

  16. Congratulations! That's awesome! I started the Rosie Project but stopped reading at some point because it wasn't as good as the first one. I need to finish it at some point though.

  17. It's downloading time, The Girl On The Train Audio-book is available on AudioBooksNow.


I love comments, and I enjoy our interactions. I respond via email, but if you're a "no reply blogger", I can't. Don't think I'm ignoring you!