What I Read: January-April

Despite the poor showing that indicates otherwise, I love me a good book challenge. However, due to being sick and pregnant for about three months straight, my books read for the first quarter of the year was pretty pitiful. Now that I'm feeling back to my normal self, I decided I was long overdue to post a good ol' fashioned reading update. Check out my reviews below:

p/c Goodreads

Although I really enjoyed the first two books in this YA/Fantasy series, I found myself getting really annoyed by the main characters and I felt that in some areas, the author didn't provide enough detail or provided too much unnecessary detail to support the plot. The ending did redeem it somewhat, but overall, this was my least favorite book of the series.

I started this to fit my "Woman/man, girl/boy" category for Megan's Winter Book Challenge and never wound up finishing it until after the challenge wrapped up. It had been on my list for about three years and I can't believe it took me so long to read it. It is a light-hearted, but completely intelligent and introspective reflection on Evans' year trying to live as "biblically womanly" as possible. I love the conclusions she comes to and how she shares the changes in her faith over the course of the year. I would highly recommend!

The only reason I chose to read this was because it was a steal on my Kindle app and I knew that the author was also a blogger. I'm all about supporting bloggers turned writers, but this book just didn't do it for me. There were funny moments, but I felt like in trying to be comedic, it lacked any real depth. This is one you can skip.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (271 pages, )
I loved that reading this was like snooping through your best friend's diary, if your best friend was a hot, hot mess. I really enjoyed this and it was a nice, easy, brainless read. This book was the "LOL" category of Erin's Book Challenge.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (278 pages, )
The first book of Anderson's I read was Speak which was about a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of her rape. The second was Catalyst, about a teenage girl suffering from an obsessive and destructive exercise addiction. This book was about a teenage girl dealing with an eating disorder. I think Anderson's books are great for teenage girls dealing with a multitude of issues, but I felt like I was reading the same book for the third time. Her books have seemed so similar and formulaic that this one truthfully bored and disappointed me. I chose this book to fit the "season" category of Erin's Book Challenge.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (479 pages, )
I selected this book because it fit the category of Amazon Best-Selling authors that I had never read for Erin's Book Challenge. It had also been sitting neglected on my shelf for months after I received it in a blogger book exchange, so I figured it was a long, overdue read. It was standard chick lit, but it still made me cry and made me want to read more from Hannah in the future.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (512 pages, )
This was my last book challenge-related book for Erin's "set in Asia" category. It had been on my to-read list for years and was another book gathering dust on my shelf. It seemed from my friends' GoodReads reviews to be a very polarizing read- people either loved it or they hated it. I was more on the love side- I found it to be a fascinating glimpse into geisha culture of 1940's Japan- something that I knew absolutely nothing about. A lot of people said it was slow-moving which I can understand, but I don't think there were any details within the story that could have been eliminated. Overall, I would definitely recommend for historical fiction lovers.

As an avid Top Chef fan, this book was just for me. I wanted to know the scoop behind the private life of the enigmatic host, and I got what I was hoping for. Padma spares no details in sharing her life's stories, and I loved getting to peak into the life of a model/TV host/chef/a million other things. My only complaint, which seemed to be shared by several other GoodReads reviewers, is that despite some definite struggles and difficulties in her life, Padma has ultimately led one of immense privilege, which she never seems to actually acknowledge and I felt somewhat annoyed by. Otherwise, I would recommend for fellow fans of the show!

So far in the month of May, I've definitely stepped up my reading game and am hoping to stay on track to complete my goal of 50 books in 2016. So far, I'm 6 books behind in my progress, but I'm hoping if I maintain my current pace, I can still manage to catch up and meet it!

Stay tuned for more reviews to come!

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