Audacity Jones

I have to admit, the only reason I read this particular Kirby Larson book is because it has a cat on the cover. Which is a Popsugar Reading challenge category, and I don’t want to read a cozy mystery (which almost all seem to feature a cat of some kind.

I’m apparently on a spunky, spirited orphan kick recently. Audacity Jones has a very Anne Shirley personality, which showed most with her vocabulary and when talking about the books she’d read.

Audacity is the only orphan at Miss Maisie’s School for Wayward Girls, and as such is snapped up for help on a mission by the Commodore. At first Audacity is excited for her adventure, but soon she begins to suspect something, or someone, in the mission is amiss.

I can’t say I loved the book, which is surprising because I normally love historical fiction. And I remember enjoying other Kirby Larson books. This one felt like it was trying too hard. Again, I can’t say what it was trying too hard to do. There was just something “meh” about the whole thing.

PopSugar Reading Challenge: A book with a cat on the cover

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Rich People Problems

I discovered the Crazy Rich Asians series well after the second book came out, and devoured them in days once I got them from the library. That’s the advantage to coming to something (be it a TV series or book series once all parts are available). I did not think Kevin Kwan would write a third book, but once I knew a third was in the works, I immediately began impatiently waiting. Lucky for me, I was approved to read an Advanced Reading Copy through NetGalley!

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Once I started reading Rich People Problems I realized I’d forgotten a lot of what happened in the first two books. This is what happens when I read too quickly. However, Random House has the family tree available on their website and Wikipedia has a pretty good summary of the first two books with character descriptions.

Despite needing some refreshers on character connections, reading Rich People Problems felt very familiar, but in a good way. I love Kwan’s writing style and the humor he exudes. Generally, I’m a sucker for footnotes, and I love Kwan’s. Although reading footnotes on an e-readers is obnoxious. Also, when most authors try and describe fashionable people, or what their characters are wearing, it sounds like a What Not to Wear episode. Kwan, on the other hand, makes me believe Astrid is as fashion forward as she is portrayed. I also really enjoyed re-connecting with Astrid. She is by far my favorite character in the series. Learning more about Su Yi and the history of Singapore was a nice surprise. I wish I knew more about the area’s history and culture. Lastly, Eddie and Kitty were just as annoying as always. Which was perfect.

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A Book Involving Travel

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A Book that is set more than 5000 from your location

Popsugar 2016

I’m posting these a bit backwards, oh well…

Well, I did it! The last month and the last few categories were much more difficult to fill than expected. Earlier, in late summer/early fall I hit a big reading rut, and nothing appealed to me. Which, I think, explains part of my scramble in December, and my lack of updates and reviews.

1. A book based on a fairy tale Rump by Liesel Shurtliff
2. A National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
3. A YA bestseller Looking for Alaska by John Green
4. A book you haven’t read since HS  The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
5. A book set in your home state Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
6. A book translated to English Jane, The Fox and Me by Fanny Britt
7. A romance set in the future The Elite by Kiera Cass
8. A book set in Europe Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
9. A book under 150 pages I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
10. A New York Times bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
11. A book that’s becoming a movie this year The Circle by Dave Eggers
12. A book recommended by someone you just met Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
13. A self-improvement book The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
14. A book you can finish in a day P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
15. A book written by a celebrity Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
16. A political memoir A Game for Swallows: To Die, To leave, To Return and I Remember by Zeina Abirached
17. A book at least 100 years older than you Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
18. A book that’s more than 600 pages Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
19. A book from Oprah’s Book Club Open House by Elizabeth Berg
20. A science-fiction novel These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
21. A book recommended by a family member The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
22. A graphic novel Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
23. A book that is published in 2016 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
24. A book with a protagonist who has your occupation Excape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
25. A book that takes place during Summer Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
26. A book and its prequel The Prince and The Selection by Kiera Cass
27. A murder mystery No Wind of Blame by Georgette Heyer
28. A book written by a comedian Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
29. A dystopian novel The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
30. A book with a blue cover The Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
31. A book of poetry The Good Braider by Terry Farish
32. The first book you see in a bookstore The Hopefuls by Jennfer Close
33. A classic from the 20th century Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
34. A book from the library Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
35. An autobiography The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells
36. A book about a road trip Mosquitoland by David Arnold
37. A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with The Birchbark House by Louise Erdich
38. A satirical book American Housewife by Helen Ellis
39. A book that takes place on an island The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
40. A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy The Lizzie Bennet Diaries by Bernie Su

Overall, I appreciated the challenge for making me read some books I normally would not have read (These Broken Stars and The Circle and The Red Queen were probably the biggest genre leaps for me).  However, I did not like the similarity of many of the prompts. Probably because I don’t generally like dystopian and sci fi, so having to read several irritated me.

My absolute least favorite book read this year for the challenge was The Prince by Keira Cass for the prequel and it’s sequel. Firstly, Maxxon was super creepy talking about the girls as his, and calling everyone sweetheart was just as creepy and stupid in the prequel as it was in The Selection. Secondly, The Prince really added nothing to the series story and was basically the same dialogue from the early scenes in The Selection but with the “he saids” and “she saids” switched accordingly.

This brings me to my second least favorites. The Selection series in general (I stopped after 2) and The Red Queen (absolutely no interest in reading the rest of the series). YA Dystopian novels just need to go away. They aren’t original anymore and the writing is just awful. At least The Hunger Games brought something new to readers, instead of rehashing the same old tropes over and over over again.

My favorites included Astonish Me, Brown Girl Dreaming and Lonesome Dove. I realize I never wrote about Brown Girl Dreaming, mostly because I wanted to compare it The Good Braider since they are both novels in verse, and on such different levels quality wise. However, I could never quite get the words right. Suffice to say, I totally understand why Brown Girl Dreaming won the National Book Award. It’s flawless.

 

Popsugar 2017

Despite feeling a little stuck in the challenge last year, I’m going to give it another go this year. I’m not sure I’ll do the Advanced Challenge, but we’ll see. A colleague of mine read only books written by women or people of color last year, and I’m going to try and do a similar challenge, along with Popsugar. My goal is that of the books I read this year, 75% will be written by women or people of color, with the remaining 25% by white men.

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2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge

Popsugar is a great resource for book recommendations and workout ideas (I’m know there is more, but that’s why I use the site). When I saw that Popsugar had a reading challenge I knew I must participate. I’m trying to get friends and family to join me as well.

Since I was still trying to read all the Maud Hart Lovelace nominees, I had a lot of crossover. But I’m excited to start reading adult books again soon! I’ll update my progress, but so far I’ve read y books fitting these categories. I’m trying to not use a book for more than one category and also use adult and YA books, or at least longer juvenile books.

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Currently reading: I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron for “a book that’s under 150 pages” and The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick for “a book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy.”