jane's views 2015 reading challenge: books read
Here's what I've read so far this year!
13. set in a non-dystopian future -
These Broken Stars by amie kaufman & Meagan spooner
First book of the year!!!! This was a super interesting story about (literal) star-crossed lovers trapped on a deserted planet. Though a tad repetitive in its character development ("I'm beneath her, she'll never look at me!" and "Why can't he understand that I have to be mean to him despite being stranded on this planet?"), it was well-written, surprising and an altogether fun ride. Four stars.
2. ORANGE COVER -
THE MARTIAN BY ANDY WEIR
I listened to this as an audiobook, and thank goodness I did because honestly I don't think I could have finished it if I was reading it. The narrator was totally engaging despite the technical and scientific text that took over most of the book. Basically, all shit goes wrong but then it's all alright at the end. I don't know, I kind of stopped caring after a while but again, good hiring on the narrator. That's about it. Three stars.
47. about creativity -
depth of field by chantel guertin
24. written by a youtuber -
grace's guide (the art of pretending to be a grown-up) by grace helbig
I was pretty excited for this book despite not being a massive Grace Helbig fan and this book was cute and had some funny moments and the production value was delightful but honestly, it's not amazing. There are some good bits of advice and I always appreciate people who are totally willing to delve into their own embarrassing moments to make you feel like your own experiences aren't that bad but it's pretty forgettable. Three stars.
48. set during a vacation -
we were liars by e. lockhart
Wow, what a disappointing book. I had heard such good things about it but Jesus, I am so let down. The narrator is literally the most unreliable narrator ever, the ending is totally unsatisfying and no, I did not cry. I can't quite belabour the point more, just don't bother with this one. I'm still annoyed. Two stars.
16. literary graphic novel -
hark! a vagrant by kate beaton
This book was so great and so my speed right now. Living alone, I'm finding it hard to watch or read anything too emotionally trying and this book just made me laugh, taught me a shit ton about history and was altogether incredibly amusing. I'm really looking forward to Beaton's next effort Step Aside, Pops! as I'm sure it'll be even more feministy-awesomeness. Four stars.
19. audiobook autobiography read by the author -
not my father's son by alan cumming
This book was absolutely phenomenal. If you plan on reading it, I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook, it's an entirely different experience. Cumming's story is heartbreaking, uplifting, horrifying, hilarious and a thrilling ride. It jumps back and forth between Cumming's childhood, living under the roof of an abusive father, and the present, when he is filming his episode of Who Do You Think You Are? and learning about his maternal grandfather and the uncanny links between the two. I highly recommend this book even if you're not an Alan Cumming fan (of which I obviously am). Well-written, beautifully laid out and completely engaging. Five stars.
18. given to you -
luckiest girl alive by jessica knoll
I wrote an entire review for this book! Check it out here! Three stars.
12. Set in a country you've always wanted to visit -
the miniaturist by jessie burton
Another disappointing read this year, which was a bit upsetting. Things kind of just happen, you never get a satisfactory solution to the mystery, I didn't really like anybody in the book and then a lot of people just died. I don't know, I really liked the historical fiction aspect, as I always do, it was interesting to read about historical Amsterdam, but other than that, this was a pretty meh book. It only gets a high rating because it did keep me engrossed enough to fly through it. Three stars.
46. picked just for the cover
the quick by lauren owen
I didn't really know where this book was going to go when I started reading it but I definitely did not predict the highly supernatural slant it ended up taking on. I actually really enjoyed this book. A 19th century vampire story, what could be bad? It was thrilling, scary and definitely intriguing. I liked the different mythology that Owen decided to work with and I really found it to be a strong fantasy novel. Four stars.
30. With supernatural creatures -
Magonia by maria dahvana headley
I borrowed this from Sam who got this as an ARC. With a Neil Gaiman recommendation on the cover, I was sure this book would be incredible, or at the very least, incredibly creative. Honestly, I found it lacking. There's very little explanation for how things work and work out, the protagonist just instinctively knows how to thrive in a new world naturally, and there are bird... clones? I don't know, it kept me interested and flipping through pages but not a fulfilling novel at all. Two and a half stars.
8. white cover -
The Word Exchange by Alana Graedon
This book definitely had it's thrilling moments, and it was a page-turner in every sense of the word. However, I never quite got why the "word flu" came into existence in the first place. Was it terrorism? And if so, who exactly was responsible? Were those questions answered and I didn't even realize? I definitely felt a real frustration reading the passages by those affected by aphasia (which I think Graedon did remarkably well), but it felt very TECHNOLOGY BAD, REAL BOOKS GOOD throughout most of the story, very HAL 9000, and I just didn't love that. Three stars.
45. High Fantasy -
Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
I'm a big Discworld/Terry Pratchett fan, and even though this book doesn't quite live up to Pratchett's usual standards, sub-par Pratchett is still hella funny and hella inventive. I wasn't totally in love with the story in this one, but I had some great laughs, it was nice to see Rincewind again, and altogether it was a pretty entertaining read. Three and a half stars.
32. by a blogger -
Homemakers by brit morin
I had super high hopes for this book but sadly it really fell short of my expectations. I'm not really sure what I wanted out of it, but I highly doubt I'll be producing anything that Brit talks about in the book. In terms of production value, the book is absolutely gorgeous and it does run the gamut of a good range of topics. Otherwise, boring. One and a half stars.
39. by an author that makes me laugh out loud -
wyrd sisters by terry pratchett
This book totally picks up the energy where Sourcery kind of left off. With obvious and intentional Shakespearean inspiration, Wyrd Sisters is Terry Pratchett at his finest. The book is hysterical, moving, and if you're a Shakespeare fan, you'll love all the references and slightly twisted quotes that Pratchett weaves throughout this Discworld novel. Four stars.
17. SITTING ON YOUR SHELF FOR AGES -
Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
This book doesn't really fall into the usual Discworld pantheon as there are no real recurring characters and the story takes place mostly in an Egypt-like setting, a place and a people we've never seen before. Considering how good Wyrd Sisters was, it would have been very impressive for the follow-up Discworld novel to measure up completely. The book was good, albeit a bit confusing, but overall it was a fun effort. Three stars.
11. ON LIVING WELL -
HOT BODY YEAR ROUND BY CASSEY HO
This book is a really nice blend of exercise, interesting recipes and motivational notes. It's gorgeous, educational and fun. I've definitely tried some recipes from the book because I CAN ACTUALLY MAKE THEM! I love Cassey's energy and she brings that infectious sunniness to her book.
22. with a kick-ass lady -
velvet vol. 1: before the living end
44. funny sci-fi -
the long earth by terry pratchett and stephen baxter
14. Non-Fiction About something you've always wanted to learn about -
the psychopath test by jon ronson
34. published in 2015 -
so you've been publicly shamed by jon ronson
15. graphic novel starring a heroine -
iZombie - chris roberson
43. noir -
fatale book one: death chases me