One of my personal goals for the year was to challenge myself to read 100 books. Easier said than done even though I love reading, I still have to work, have a life and pursue my other interests as well. I suppose that is why it is a challenge. I did a little spotty math, and if my calculations are correct I have to read eleven books each month for the rest of the year to meet my goal. I’m happy to say for the month of July that I reached that goal! Below I’ve listed them with a short review, hope you enjoy!
‘Love, Loss, and What We Ate’ by Padma Lakshmi is a beautiful memoir of a very interesting life. My knowledge before reading this book of Lakshmi was contained to watching a few episodes of Top Chef and the occasional celebrity news article. If you are at all interested in her life this is the book to read. I listened to it on Audio book and as it was read by Lakshmi herself it added another level of personalization.
‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ by J.K. Rowling. Up until the seventh book came out this was my favorite. The tasks, and the level of work that had to be done to accomplish (most) of the tasks was incredibly entertaining to read. I feel like this novel starts to shape who Harry will become, and he is really truly tested for the first time at the end of the novel and proves himself strong and worthy. This kid is only fourteen! I also really want to have a go in the Prefect’s bathroom.
‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon is a book like none other I’ve ever read. It is YA lit, yes- but despite that it has a plotline that sticks with you. Despite the icky ‘first love’ pains, and the computer IM conversations it is fun and quick to read. Not everything is the way it seems- and everyone in the story has something to overcome and learn.
‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ by J.K. Rowling – is the novel in the series in which we get what I call ‘Caps Lock Harry’ as he yells all the time, (teen angst), he should have been informed a little bit more than he was, and Umbridge, arguably worse than Voldemort. Despite all of that, I absolutely love the plot line of Dumbledore’s Army and how they come to play in later in the series. Harry is starting to notice girls (that took awhile) – and he and his friends again prove themselves worthy. Also, Harry is vindicated- finally!
‘Billy and Me’ by Giovanna Fletcher fell flat for me. I read this book because it was one of Zoella’s summer read recommendations, but I didn’t get what she must have out of it. The start was promising, but the heroine is just so annoying I could never put myself in her shoes. It’s a classic ‘normal girl’ meets ‘celebrity boy’ plot but he has to kiss other girls in his line of work and he doesn’t spend time with her. Instead of talking about her feelings with him it like a normal person I had to put up with the whining for most of the novel. Sheesh.
‘But Mama Always Put Vodka in the Sangria!’ by Julia Reed is a collection of short stories and personal memories in each chapter with normally three to five recipes following each one. For this reason it reads quickly. Several of the stories are very interesting, and I made photocopies of some of the recipes to try out later. I spent the first part of the book thinking, who IS this person?! Her life seems so crazy and certainly in the fast lane. She is a journalist and author, a down home southern cook. This is a book for foodies!
‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ by J.K. Rowling is where Harry starts really learning what it will take for him to defeat Voldemort. Dumbledore teaches him Voldy’s background and just enough to have Harry continue on by himself. Harry, Ron and Hermione have always been a team, but in this book we see that team cemented as one with the goal to defeat Voldemort. Gosh, I love this series.
‘With Malice’ by Eillen Cook is a book I’m still thinking about over a week since finishing reading it. It is reminesent to me of ‘Foxy Knoxy’s’ story- Amanda Knox, the American girl who was accused of killing her roommate in Italy. The difference with this novel is that Jill wakes up with amnesia, and is shocked to learn that she has already been to Italy and is accused of killing her best friend over a boy. The end. OH MY GOSH. Perfection.
‘Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch’ by Sally Bedell Smith was a joy to listen to on Audiobook. It is long, but so very interesting. I gained a new understanding of Elizabeth the Second, a steadfast, hardworking woman who values her family, and her commitment to her country. This book covers literally every possible aspect of her time on the throne, from before her coronation up to the wedding of William and Kate. This book gets two thumbs way up from me!
‘None Like Him’ by Jen Wilkin is a novel explaining the greatness of God, and how no one is like Him- and why that is a good thing. It has some really great nuggets of information, many good parts that make you think, but still many others that made me feel like I was being talked down to like a teacher to a kindegarner, or worse- like a fake friend. I know Wilkin did not intend that to happen, but it was just the voice of the novel. With good editing all of this could have been fixed.
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ by J.K. Rowling is my favorite of all of them. It has been knit together from the genius that is Rowling with plot lines and little nuggets from each of the novels. It’s an absolute joy to read, to imagine these incredible things happening, to see the man Harry has become, the solid team the trio has worked to be, and the absolute vindication at the end of the novel.
*Side note, I’m still SO MAD at how they screwed up the end of the war in the movie. Grrrr….
That’s books 32 through 42 of 100! Stay tuned at the end of August for a wrap up of all of the novels I read in the next month!
Click here to see my goals for 2016