12. The Forgotten Girls ** (5 Feb – 5 Feb)
I’m going to give the book some of the benefit of the doubt in that it was a translated book, and that it’s in the middle of a series, but even with those considerations, the choppy and slow plot, the ineffectual lead character, and the rather odd motivations that drove some of the characters forward were too prevalent to recommend the book to anyone. Add on top of that to what was, to me, a predictable ending and a ton of loose ends, I rather doubt I will read anything else in the series (if I can, I don’t think they are all translated).
CHALLENGE: MMD/URC, A book in translation / Book Club
13. The Siege Winter *** (Audio) (26 Jan – 6 Feb)
The story was good, if disturbing, though it did drag a bit. I was not as put off by the less-than-period-accurate speech (I would have been much more put off by actually 1140-ish speech, since it would have been unreadable to me) as some, and by and large I did like the characters. It was heartbreaking and gritty, but realistic in that sense. The only problem was the pacing in parts and, I have to admit, a slightly anticlimactic ending. It wasn’t a surprise and didn’t add that much to the story that couldn’t have been revealed in the course of the earlier narrative, honestly. If you were a fan of her other series, I’d still say read it! It’s not as good as the Mistress series, but it’s not horrible by any stretch.
CHALLENGE: URC, A frame story
14. Turbo Twenty-Three **** (12 Feb – 12 Feb)
The romance triangle is getting ridiculous, and it’s hard to ignore, but the rest of the book and the characters are just so much fun. Silly, mindless, lost in a book fun. It’s not deep or meaningful or anything spectacular, it’s an enjoyable escapist read you can sit down and read from beginning to end. I think it’s better than some of the more recent books in the series, and it makes me look forward to the next one. If you’re into escapist fluff, this is for you.
CHALLENGE: ORC, A NYT Bestseller / URC/PS, A book with a chase scene
15. Wither **** (12 Feb – 12 Feb)
If you can get past some of the really unrealistic parts of the book and just suspend your disbelief, it’s very engaging. The characters are good, the story is well-paced and grabs you from the beginning, and it’s well-written. I don’t entirely feel compelled to continue with the series, and the book leaves me in a place I’m comfortable with, but I might (if I can squeeze it in between all these challenge books). If you’re a YA dystopian fan, I would definitely recommend this one.
CHALLENGE: ORC, A Romance set in the future / URC, a book with a one-word title
16. Because of Miss Bridgerton *** (Audio) (2 Feb – 14 Feb)
What can I say, it was a romance novel. A decent one of its kind, with good characters and humor (the Bridgerton Series rarely disappoints in that) but with all the clichés and issues that come with all historical romance novels. Yes, you can guess how it ends. Yes, it’s unrealistic and trite. But it’s also fun and fluffy and escapist. If you can handle the sexism (and, while it tones down what would have been at the time, it’s there) and enjoy the formula, I’d recommend this book and indeed the entire Bridgerton series (this one is technically not in the series, it’s a prequel of sorts).
Challenge: PS/URC, A book with a title that's a character's name / ORC: A book (genre) you haven’t read since high school
17. The Rapture of the Nerds *** (audio) (14 Feb – 22 Feb)
Possibly the weirdest book I’ve ever read, and that’s saying a lot. There were times it was a little hard to follow, the universe it’s set in is incredibly weird and complex, but once I just accepted I might not “get” everything and rolled with it, I found it enjoyable enough and got pulled into the story. I can’t even say if the characters or the plot are good, because they are just so out there. Have I mentioned the book is weird? If you like really bizarre, techie sci-fi, this is the book for you. If that’s not your cup of nano-particles, I’d steer very, very far clear.
CHALLENGE: ORC, Science Fiction / PS/URC, A book with multiple authors
18. Attachments **** (24 Feb – 24 Feb)
I was with this book up until the very end, then it took a turn for the cliché and what seemed an easy route out. And while I wish the ending had been different, the rest of the book was fun, easy to read, and super engaging. The characters are interesting and relatable, and the basic premise really very compelling. You can completely understand the position the main character finds himself in and sympathize. Overall, a really fun, quick read I’d recommend to anyone who likes a bit of fluff.
CHALLENGE: PS/URC, A book recommended by a librarian, ORC, A book recommended by a friend
19. Reading Lolita in Tehran *** (15 Jan – 26 Feb)
Man, was this a hard slog to get through. Possibly the longest it’s ever taken me to finish a book (short of completely leaving it and re-starting at a different time). And it’s not entirely because it was bad, it wasn’t all bad. There were some very interesting parts, bits of story that were page-turners, and then… it would lapse into something boring or long-winded and I’d lose the desire to read any more, and set it down. The story was also told in a rather disjointed way that I found off-putting. And I was far more interested in the stories of the actual people living in Tehran than I was the pages upon pages of what really felt like an English lit lecture. Yes, I realize the books were integral to the story, and the parts like the trial in the classroom worked, but other parts fell flat. Overall, I think it’s a really important read, a perspective on the country and what those women went through, but it’s not a great read. I would recommend it, but with the warning that it isn’t the most engaging or wonderful book.
CHALLENGE: MRC, A book about books or reading / ORC, A political memoir