Jul 1, 2014

Book Challenge More Mini Reviews #SCSBC14

Book Challenge and Mini Reviews 2 Month Check In

So I've read some more books (and am probably reading up a storm now, while traveling).  I'm really glad I started participating in the reading challenge by Megan at Semi Charmed Kind of Life, because it was an excuse to buy new books and I've really been enjoying it!

Since finishing Words of Radiance, I've read 4 more, and I mostly like them all, though none can compare to how swept away I was with Words of Radiance.  I'm actually tempted to reread the Stormlight Archive, starting with Way of Kings, but I'll wait until the book challenge is over for that.  Here's the mini reviews!  Oh, and I'm terrible with giving away too much, so SPOILER ALERT, for everything, even though I wasn't trying to.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre

I had such fond memories of this book from (relative) childhood.  But rereading it, I was disappointed.  It's short, obviously, since it's a kid's book, and I read it in one sitting and then returned it.  I still think it's a good book for kids, but as an adult I was painfully aware of certain things, like how contrived and one-sided the relationship is.  She just barely starts to form a crush on a man she's known since childhood (weird, even if he is ageless), and then without any effort on her part he just falls in love and sweeps her off her feet.

And she's kind of whiny, which is something I relate to less as an adult than as a child.  Oh, but there are good things!  The adventure is unique and fun, and she has to overcome her fears, which is a good lesson. Anyway, not a bad book, but not very satisfying after having just finished the epic complexity of Sanderson's work.

Memoirs of a Geisha

Loved this!  I read some of the reviews on Goodreads and the author gets bashed for mangling culture and misrepresenting things, but I don't care.  I'm going to like it even if it's totally baseless.

Having seen the movie, I was not expecting to like it so much.  The book helps with explaining the cultural differences.  So certain things that I didn't like or understand in the movie, made much more sense with that little "hey, this is WHY we do it this way."  Like the weird little head rack!  Made no sense in the movie.  The book explains that because of the elaborate geisha hairstyles, they keep them in for multiple days and the non-pillow head rack prevents the hair from getting messed up.  Ahh, much better.

That explanation also prevented me from getting hung up on non-plot related things and I found myself much more attached to the main character.  Although the beginning of the book made that difficult, because she keeps getting punished because other people do douche-y things to her.  But as she gets older, things improve, and you can cheer her on as she finally starts to win battles and achieve her goals.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

So this is The Bloggess' book.  And it's a lot like her blog.  A little bit of continuity, but not a ton.  A lot of reviewers bashed it because of that, but I feel like as long as you're not hugely stuck up on what's a "proper" format, anyone should be able to get into her style of writing and just enjoy the ridiculous things she says and does.

The book made me laugh a LOT.  Out loud, and Significant would look over and I'd have to try to explain some ridiculous thing.  By the end, I would just say, "the book" and keep going.  Somehow, the jokes always surprised me.  I'd be reading along, and occasionally even started to feel disengaged, and then there'd be a joke that would just hit me and make my whole day better.

I do kind of feel like the end tried to get more serious or sentimental and it didn't work as well as the humor.  Honestly, the book didn't need a conclusive ending, so I just kind of ignored that stuff - although it was nice to see that Jenny and Victor DO actually like each other.  I definitely recommend this one, but also recommend checking out the blog to make sure you like her humor first.

God Don't Like Ugly

I didn't exactly enjoy this.  It's a lot more drama and distress than what I'm used to.  But it did reel me in and, even while distressed about what was going on, I had to keep reading.  Because the setting is "the real world" it really hits home (unlike some of my favorite fantasy books) and the subject, a young girl growing up in an abusive home, is a controversial and even painful one.

For this, I would recommend, but, like with Lawson's book, you should know what you're getting into.  People with a history or even just a sensitivity to this type of material (sexual abuse) might have problems with the plot.  I appreciated reading something from a first person point of view that documents the effects of that childhood and that abuse in a down-to-earth way.  I think a lot of people are afraid to talk frankly about it and especially to ask questions, for fear of upsetting others, and the book is an eye-opener.

After reading this one, I could really use a break and a more light-hearted book, but I kinda read those already.  (Oops)  I'm having trouble obtaining a couple of the books (not available for Kindle and/or more expensive than I think they should be) and might have to swap out, but so far I'm on track to have my reading list finished by the last check in next month.  If you want to know what I thought of Words of Radiance, The Count of Monte Cristo, or Hyperbole and a Half, check out last month's review!

Full list and point system for the challenge:

Link to Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge Post

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long.
— Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson (1,087 pages - Finished! x a Million)

Book cover for Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

10 points: Read a book that was written before you were born.
— The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas (1,276 pages - Finished! ♥♥♥♥)

Book cover for The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn't finish the first time around.
— Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut (341 pages)

Book cover for Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

10 points: Read a book from the children’s section of the library or bookstore.
— The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Gail Carson Levine (304 pages - Finished! ♥♥♥♥)

Book cover for The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

15 points: Read a book that is on The New York Times' Best Sellers List when you begin.
— The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman (208 pages - Finished! ♥♥♥♥)

Book cover for The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

15 points: Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe.
— Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden (434 pages - Finished! ♥♥♥♥♥)

Book cover for Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

15 points: Read a book another blogger has already read for the challenge.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson (318 pages - Finished! ♥♥♥♥)

Book cover for Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

20 points: Read a book with “son(s),” “daughter(s)” or “child(ren)” in the title.
— Daughter of the Forest, Juliet Marillier (560 pages)

Book cover for Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

20 points: Read a book that was/will be adapted to film in 2014.
— Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (392 pages) - So sad that the Giver wasn't long enough to be considered for this challenge.  It's such a good book!  Also, a bit scared to see what they do to it...

25 points: Read a book written by a blogger.
— Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh (384 pages - Finished! ♥♥♥♥) [blog of the same name]

Book cover for Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir.
— Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson (349 pages)

Book cover for Three Cups of Tea

30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the titles.
— Beauty, Robin McKinley (256 pages) & God Don't Like Ugly, Mary Monroe (432 pages - Finished! ♥♥♥♥)

Book cover for Beauty by Robin McKinley Book cover for God Don't Like Ugly by Mary Monroe

What have you read from the challenge list?  What books do you love (or hate)?

Jenn signature graphic | Business, Life & Design


  1. Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my all-time favorite books. Glad you liked it too!

  2. I have been wanting to read Hyperbole and a Half for quite sometime now!

  3. You and I have such similar taste in books. Most of the books on your list I either want to read or have already read.
    Also, you have to tell me how you like Daughter of the Forest! Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors of all time.

  4. I love Robin McKinley! Maybe I'll reread Beauty for the whole "read a book someone else read." It's the first book by Robin McKinley I ever read. :D

  5. These are some great books you chose! I am severely slacking in the book challenge! Maybe I can catch up this month!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I stopped worrying about trying to be competitive after someone won in the first month. It's been fun, though! Some of these books I never would have picked if it wasn't for the challenge.


Talk to me! I'm friendly. I won't bite.

P.S. If you use Blogger and you want to get email replies to your comments, use your blogger profile instead of Google+ and make sure the box is checked next to "show my email address."