Three months in and I’m a little over a quarter of the way through the 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge (read more about the challenge and my progress here). After I started drafting this and was confronted by my utter lack of brevity in black and white, I decided I would spare you a monster catch-up post and break up it up into a series of three instead. You’re welcome, dear readers.
A book based on a fairy tale: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
- Why I picked it: After re-reading Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn, I needed a little more Arabian Nights-action to tide me over until The Rose and the Dagger comes out, plus the cover is BEAUTIFUL.
- Blurb in brief: “Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.”
- What I thought: Though the narrator is never named (none of the characters are besides Lo-Melkhiin), the author clearly took her inspiration from Scheherazade in One Thousand and One Nights. This book is much more layered and nuanced than your typical YA Fantasy, which I wasn’t expecting, and Johnston does some interesting things with magic and the strength of family bonds in the story.
- My rating: 4/5; Goodreads rating: 3.67/5
A YA bestseller: All Fall Down by Ally Carter (audiobook version)
- Why I picked it: I’m a fan of Carter’s Heist Society series (and am dying for her to get back to it). I wanted something light to listen to while cruising down 59/idling on 610 during my daily commute, and a friend recently read and recommended the audiobook.
- Blurb in brief: “Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.”
- What I thought: This was almost a DNF. Grace’s character grated on me for almost the entire book (my annoyance may have been exacerbated by the narrator’s reading of her), and I found myself having to suspend my disbelief even more than I usually do in an Ally Carter book—and she writes about spy schools for teens and crews of adolescent master thieves. A twist in the last quarter redeemed the plot a bit and bumped this up from a 2-star to a 3-star rating for me in the end.
- My rating: 3/5; Goodreads rating: 3.79/5
A book set in Europe: Da Vinci’s Tiger by L. M. Elliot
- Why I picked it: Technically, I didn’t pick this one out myself. This book came in my December 2015, “Get Inspired” OwlCrate (along with a super yummy-smelling candle by Frostbeard and some other inspirational goodies). However, I do enjoy historical fiction, and since I have yet to start Ross King’s Leonardo and the Last Supper (you may have noticed it on my TBR shelf), I decided to get my Da Vinci fix in YA form for the time being.
- Blurb in brief: “For fans of rich and complex historical novels like Girl with a Pearl Earring or Code Name Verity, Laura Malone Elliott delivers the stunning tale of real-life Renaissance woman Ginevra de’ Benci, the inspiration for one of Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest masterpieces.”
- What I thought: While I initially gave this book a 4/5 rating, on second-thought, I think I’d bump it down to a 3.5. The historical details seemed well-researched, and I liked getting to see a young Leonardo (so often in pop culture we get the older, crotchetier version), but it’s been a month since I’ve read it, and I don’t really remember much else about it.
- My rating: 3.5/5; Goodreads rating: 3.33/5
A book you can finish in a day: The Scam by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (audiobook and Kindle versions)
- Why I picked it: I have a thing for charming con artists (as evidenced by my aforementioned love of Carter’s Heist Society series and my obsession with Neal Caffrey—RIP White Collar), and this series has that and more. It’s always a treat when I discover a new one has been released, usually at an airport or in the grocery store.
- Blurb in brief: “Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O’Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O’Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can’t touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace.”
- What I thought: In this fourth installment of the series, Fox and O’Hare and their band of merry misfits continue to be a delight. Austen this is not, but it’s fun and funny and perfect to read by the pool. Good thing I read it in February… Pro Tip: Skip the audiobook version.
- My rating: 4/5; Goodreads rating: 3.97/5
Which book should you put in your Amazon cart ASAP?
The Scam—But only if you’ve read the other Fox and O’Hare novels first!
Have you read any of these? Did anyone else want to punch something if Grace said “He KILLED my MOTHER” one more time, or was that just me? Let me know in the comments section!