Book Challenge By Erin 9.0

I always see Erin’s book challenges and think “that looks fun.” But then I have a handful of library loans to tackle before they expire or get caught up in other books that I’ve been meaning to read and never really get around to it. When I saw Ashley’s picks for the challenge, I saw a couple of books that I’ve been wanting to read and thought maybe this time I’d make the challenge work for me.

And it’s summer. I remember as a kid always being so excited about going to the library over the summer and completing their summer reading challenges. So while I don’t have the summer off with unlimited reading time, it’s still fun to try to complete a reading challenge over the summer. It’s doesn’t start until July 1 so you still have time to join if you’re interested!

I basically just skimmed through my wish list on my digital library’s website to knock out a bunch of books that have been on my TBR list and complete the challenge at the same time.

This post does contain affiliate links, which means that I’ll earn a small amount from any book you purchase using my link at no extra cost to you.

• 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages
She Was the Quiet One by Michelle Campbell (352 pages)

• 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “N”
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser (320 pages)

• 10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) orange cover
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (226 pages)

• 15 points: Read a book with an unlikeable character
Tampa by Alissa Nutting (272 pages)

• 20 points: Read a book from the list of 100 books that PBS calls “The Great American Read” (although, they aren’t all by American authors)
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (477 pages)

• 20 points: Read a book with something related to water in the title; i.e. ocean, sea, lake, river, waves, etc.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (393 pages)

• 25 points: Read a book you’ve owned the longest but haven’t read yet (or that has been on your goodreads “to read” list the longest, or has been sitting in your kindle the longest)…basically, read a book you’ve been meaning to read the longest but haven’t got to it yet.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (277 pages)

• 30 points: Read a book with an emotion word in the title; i.e. joy, sadness, grief, love, anger, etc. (submitted by Megan)
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (337 pages)

• 30 points: Read a book (must be at least 2 words in the title) where each word in the title of the book begins with the same letter (submitted by Vinay); examples: Magpie Murders, Gone Girl, Peter Pan, Love’s Labor Lost
Paper Princess by Erin Watt (370 pages)

• 35 points: Read a book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one – basically the idea is the character does the same kind of thing as you do day to day – stay at home parent or student counts as a profession; yes, you may need to be creative with this one, stretch it, and make it work for you. (submitted by Bev)
Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran (304 pages) – I work in peer review publishing, not book publishing, but it was as close as I could get

Are participating in the book challenge? What are you most excited about reading?

Recent Reads Volume 1

Criminal by Karin Slaughter ★★★★☆

Karin Slaughter can do no wrong. But if I’m being honest, it took me a little longer to get into this one and I thought maybe she had. Criminal is the 6th book in her Will Trent series. The previous books all take place primarily in the present and focus on Will and his partner Faith. This one spends a lot of time in the past and puts more focus on his boss Amanda in her earlier career.

At first, I wasn’t sold on this idea. I like reading about Will, and my feelings about Amanda were lukewarm at best. After finishing this book, I understand Amanda a lot better. It’s interesting to see how her path intertwines with Will’s.

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering ★★★☆☆

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy Albright leaves her friends and family in Long Island for college in California where she meets Stephen DeMarco. He’s two years older, and aggressively pursues Lucy. The story goes back and forth between present and past and alternates between Lucy and Stephen’s viewpoints. At first I wasn’t sure about the alternating between the two characters, but after a few chapters I knew that it had to be told that way so that the reader could get into Stephen’s head and really see how manipulative he really is. Without his viewpoint, it’d be easy to think that Lucy was reading into things that weren’t there or overthinking the situation. You need Stephen’s side of the story to really understand what Lucy is going through during her time with him.

The character development was very strong. I felt like I really got to know the characters along the way, and my heart broke for Lucy at times. Lucy and Stephen have a tangled past that slowly unravels as you get deeper into the story. I really loved watching all of those pieces come together.  As much as I loved the parts told in the present and the parts told in the past separately, they didn’t work for me together. I felt like one was an interruption to the other. I would’ve preferred a more chronological narrative. I probably would’ve given this 5 stars if the pieces had fit together better. I really loved the story and the characters, but I gave it 3 because something about it just didn’t work for me.

Believe Me by J.P. Delaney ★★★☆☆

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Claire Wright is a struggling British actress living in New York City. After being questioned for the murder of a woman she was one the last people to see alive, Claire is offered the role of a lifetime.

J.P. Delaney is an excellent writer. The novel moves at a fast pace, and suspense builds with every page. I tore through the first half of this novel in a day. I could not put it down. But then somewhere in the middle it starts to take a weird turn. After that first turn, there are a series of twists and turns. And suddenly Delaney is trying to do too much. Instead of a thriller with a big surprise or two, it becomes a roller coaster of ups and downs.

As the reader, you no longer know who to trust. You doubt all of the previous assumptions you’ve made. While this can sometimes be a great thing as a reader, in this case it’s too confusing and complicated to enjoy the ride. This is an excellent thriller, that was well written on both ends, but loses itself for a good chunk in the middle.

 

What have you read lately?

Currently May

I do actually intend on using this space and writing blog posts, it’s just been off to slow start because life is a little crazy at the moment.

Watching: Ashely I. and Jared’s The Story of Us. For any other Bachelor fans out there, this is a must watch! Ashley I. and Jared are finally together. This video is long, but so sweet and so worth watching.

Reading: Criminal by Karin Slaughter. I love a good thriller/crime novel, and in my opinion Karin Slaughter can do no wrong. I’ve been tearing through her Will Trent series as fast as I can get them from my local library. This one isn’t my favorite, but I’m still enjoying it.

Listening: Young Adulting Podcast. The Stripe‘s Grace Atwood has teamed up with Becca Freeman for a weekly book club podcast. They alternate weeks between book discussions and advice. They focus on young adult books, which is a genre that I love, and I’ve loved listening to them discuss books.

Feeling: Excited. This Memorial Day Weekend is going to be packed with goat yoga Saturday and a family wedding Sunday. I’m equally looking forward to both!

Eating: Not dairy and wheat. I’d been having some stomach issues and after a visit to the doctor and lots of needles, I found out that I’m lactose intolerant and allergic to wheat. Since avoiding dairy and wheat over the last few weeks my stomach has felt so much better. But I do really miss cheese and bread.

Wearing: Carly Jean Los Angeles. I’m seriously obsessed! They have the perfect basics. And all of it is so soft and comfortable, even their denim! I started a no shopping year in February, and ordered a new pair of jeans from CJLA because mine all had holes in the crotch (so the original purchase was allowed). But I’ve made a couple subsequent purchases that were not allowed because their stuff is so good.

Loving: Overnight oats. Lately I’ve been making them with half a mashed banana, 1/2 cup oats, 3/4 cup almond milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter powder. I could literally eat it for every meal!

What have you been up to this month?

A Fresh Start

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you used to read XO Lauren Elizabeth. It started out as a blog that I love, but slowly became more about what I thought what get more views and less about what I actually enjoyed. When it stopped becoming fun, I eventually gave up on it altogether.

I decided not to keep any of my old posts and use this as a fresh start. A fresh domain name, a blank slate, a fresh blog. This time, it’s about me and what I want to write about. It’s not about fitting into a particular niche or writing the posts that I think people want to read. It’s about being authentic to myself and my interests and sharing myself and things I love with all of you.

So, welcome to Lauren E. Townsend and thanks for choosing to read along with me.