Reading What I Have Challenge – June 2016

{The Month I Read And/Or Deleted Almost 70 Books}

A few months ago I began a challenge to read the books I already have. I realized that I could read for years from the books that are already on my shelf or saved on my Kindle app. My digital library contains literally hundreds of books — mostly fiction, with a few self-help types. (Ever hear the term digital clutter? I’ve got it for sure!) With all of those titles at my fingertips, and inspired by Heather at Simply Save, I made a goal to read or delete what I already have before spending money on new reading material.

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Some months I read a LOT of books, other months I’m so busy reading other things online that I barely get into a real book. My usual goal is at least one book per week, and my original June goal was 6 books. I actually ended up reading 8 books!

Reading and reviewing my own books is my favorite summer project! #reading #bookreviews Click To Tweet

Here are the books I read during June and my thoughts:

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A Cold Day in Paradise (An Alex McKnight Novel) – Steve Hamilton

Amazon Description:

When first published, A Cold Day in Paradise won both the Edgar and Shamus awards for Best First Novel, launching Steve Hamilton into the top ranks of today’s crime writers. Now, see for yourself why this extraordinary novel has galvanized the literary and mystery community as no other book before it….

Other than the bullet lodged near his heart, former Detroit cop Alex McKnight thought he had put the nightmare of his partner’s death and his own near-fatal injury behind him. After all, the man convicted of the crimes has been locked away for years. But in the small town of Paradise, Michigan, where McKnight has traded his badge for a cabin in the woods, a murderer with the same unmistakable trademarks appears to be back. McKnight can’t understand who else would know the intimate details of the old murders. And it seems like it’ll be a frozen day in Hell before McKnight can unravel truth from deception in a town that’s anything but Paradise.

My Thoughts:

The book I read right before this was set in the U.P. (that would be Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), so I sort of laughed when I realized this was also set in the U.P. I didn’t know that before I started reading it; I just randomly pulled it off the shelf. This was a good book with plenty of tension and suspense. Even though the “bad guy” ended up being the person I sort of (but not strongly) suspected, the way the story progressed was not at all expected. It kept me guessing and I was very happy with that.

It looks like there are several more books in the series, and I’m putting them on my “someday” list.

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The Litigators – John Grisham

Amazon Description:

The partners at Finley & Figg often refer to themselves as a “boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. Oscar Finley and Wally Figg are none of these things. They are a two-bit operation of ambulance chasers who bicker like an old married couple. Until change comes their way—or, more accurately, stumbles in. After leaving a fast-track career and going on a serious bender, David Zinc is sober, unemployed, and desperate enough to take a job at Finley & Figg.

Now the firm is ready to tackle a case that could make the partners rich—without requiring them to actually practice much law. A class action suit has been brought against Varrick Labs, a pharmaceutical giant with annual sales of $25 billion, alleging that Krayoxx, its most popular drug, causes heart attacks. Wally smells money. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of Krayoxx users to join the suit. It almost seems too good to be true . . . and it is.

My Thoughts:

There were no surprises with this John Grisham book, and that was fine with me. The classic formula just works. I was immediately taken with the characters, and I kept reading to find out exactly how it would all work out, which of course it did in the expected way. I turned the last page while thinking, “Yes! Grisham!”

~~~

Catching Air – Sarah Pekkanen

Amazon Description:

From the internationally bestselling author of four books, including The Opposite of Me, a vibrant, compulsively readable novel about two married couples who pursue a dream to open a bed-and-breakfast in small-town Vermont.

In her previous works including The Best of Us, “rising star” (Library Journal) Sarah Pekkanen captivated readers by penning “refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous” novels (Booklist) that had readers “flying through the pages” (Hoda Kotb, Today show). Now, in Catching Air, Pekkanen turns an unflinching eye on the tangled relationships of two pairs of thirty-somethings.

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don’t realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Relatable and dynamic, Catching Air delves deeply into the vital relationships that give shape to women’s lives.

My Thoughts:

This was okay, but not my favorite book of the month. Most of the characters were immediately — almost oddly — very accepting of each other, although I still don’t quite get the hatred between the brothers. Even though these 5 adults lived and worked closely together, each person was still mostly wrapped up in his/her own mind and world. There really wasn’t much interaction or communication. The stories seemed unfinished, and I would like to have seen an epilogue (Spoiler Alert) – how Rand handled getting Grace and being a father, where Dawn ended up living, did Kira & Peter stay or move back to Florida…

~~~

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Amazon Description:

The international bestselling romantic comedy “bursting with warmth, emotional depth, and…humor,” (Entertainment Weekly) featuring the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love.

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut “navigates the choppy waters of adult relationships, both romantic and platonic, with a fresh take (USA TODAY). “Filled with humor and plenty of heart, The Rosie Project is a delightful reminder that all of us, no matter how we’re wired, just want to fit in” (Chicago Tribune).

My Thoughts:

I LOVED this book! The situations and conversations are awesome, especially to people who know what it’s like to be socially awkward or understand what it means to be on the very functional end of the autism spectrum.

When I was writing up this review, I discovered there is a sequel – The Rosie Effect. It’s definitely on my “someday” list!

~~~

Related Posts:
Reading What I Have Challenge – May 2016
Reading What I Have Challenge – April 2016
Reading What I Have Challenge – March 2016

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The Art of Work – Jeff Goins

(Totally broke my no-spend challenge rule and purchased the kindle version.)

Amazon Description:

Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose.

The path to your life’s work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life’s work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. It’s about the task you were born to do.     

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try.

Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.

My Thoughts:

This was inspiring, as I usually find everything by Goins. The concept of a “profile life” is fascinating. As a slightly — *ahem* — “older” reader, I have to say it’s somewhat obvious that Jeff is still quite young, and what I think of as the Millennial Mindset is definitely at play throughout much of the book. It will be interesting to see if his perspective changes as he gets older. I hope he never loses his energy and belief in purpose that is evident in this book. We all need to continue to be inspired by Jeff Goins.

~~~

Tell Me – Lisa Jackson

Amazon Description:

“Jam-packed with scary chills.” –Booklist

The most hated woman in Savannah, Georgia, is about to be set free. Twenty years ago, beautiful Blondell O’Henry was convicted of murdering her eldest daughter, Amity, and wounding her two other children. The prosecution argued that Blondell wanted to be rid of them to be with her lover. But Blondell’s son has now recanted his crucial testimony. . .

“Absolutely tension filled. . .Jackson is on top of her game.” –Suspense Magazine

Reporter Nikki Gillette is determined to get the truth, and this time it’s personal. Amity was her childhood friend. The night she died, Amity begged Nikki to meet with her, insisting she had a secret to tell, but Nikki didn’t go. Now Nikki’s fiancé, Detective Pierce Reed, worries for her safety. Because somehow, the events of that tragic night connect to Nikki’s own fractured family.

“Jackson shows a mastery of the true-crime thriller formula that will please fans.” –Kirkus Reviews

Is Amity’s murderer still at large, or is there a new, darker danger? Soon Nikki will discover what really happened two decades ago, but the answers may come too late to save her life. . .

My Thoughts:

I almost put this one down, but stuck it out. It was okay, and it kept me guessing throughout. I honestly did not know who the “bad guy” would turn out to be until the end, which was a refreshing change from the norm. This book could have benefited from more editing – some of the phrasing was off, more like a second draft than a published novel.

~~~

Daughter of Time (The After Cilmeri Series Book 0) – Sarah Woodbury

Prequel to the After Cilmeri series

Amazon Description:

Daughter of Time is appropriate for readers from young teens to adults and is a prequel to the After Cilmeri series:

A medieval man with an uncertain destiny, Llywelyn, the Prince of Wales, faces treachery and deceit at the hands of friends and foes alike …

A modern woman with a troubled past, Meg’s life is in tatters when she slips through time and into medieval Wales …

Only by working together can Meg and Llywelyn navigate the shifting allegiances that threaten the very existence of Wales–and create their own history that defies the laws of time.

**A note from the author: I am so happy to be able to share with you this prequel to the After Cilmeri series. I created Footsteps in Time and Prince of Time first, and only wrote Daughter of Time after so many readers wanted to know how the story began. Meg’s journey is continued in Footsteps in Time and Winds of Time, a novella that is meant to be a companion to the series. Happy reading!

My Thoughts:

This was surprisingly good. I don’t usually expect much from teaser freebie books (they often are victims of nonexistent editing), but I really liked this one. The historical aspect was fascinating. Now I’m interested in acquiring the rest of the series.

Confession:

While writing this review, I caught a special 99¢ deal on a bundle with the first couple of books from this series (After Cilmeri Boxed Set: Daughter of Time/Footsteps in Time/Winds of Time/Prince of Time) and added them to my kindle library. Oops. I hope it’s worth the money and digital space.

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UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 1) – Chanda Hahn

Amazon Description:

Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; until she saves her crush’s life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it’s next fairytale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

My Thoughts:

This had been in my digital library forever, and I didn’t really remember what it was supposed to be about. I was a little surprised to discover it’s a YA genre book, and the first book in a fantasy series about Grimm’s fairy tales. Although not my usual genre, I really liked the premise and the storyline. I would like to read more of the story, but with 200 Grimm’s tales that Mina has to live through in order to defeat the curse, I think it would be too much of a time investment for me to continue by reading one book at a time.

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Reading Challenge Progress

Aside from reading several physical and digital books, I made significant digital minimalizing progress during June, managing to delete 60 unread titles from my Kindle library. Just like last month, I realized that some of those books had been sitting there for almost 4 years. You know, it’s tough to hit “delete” when Kindle asks if you really want to permanently delete a title. Yikes! But yes! I also remained unsubscribed from BookBub emails. It’s easy enough to subscribe again at some future point.

While I did purchase the Jeff Goins book to read during June, it was one I had been considering since January and I got it on sale. It was a good purchase.

I’m looking forward to continuing to have extra reading time in July! School is out and my part-time job is on summer hiatus.  😉  Once again I have a minimum goal of 6 books.


What have you been reading lately? Comment with a link to your post if you’ve written about it!


10 thoughts on “Reading What I Have Challenge – June 2016”

  1. Wow, lots of great book reviews here. I, too need to challenge myself to read from my shelves and stop buying so many more books! Looking forward to some new time travel, thanks. #Pitstop

    1. Hi Michele! I’m glad you liked the reviews. 🙂 During July I’m hoping to get into the time-travel bundle I purchased, would love to be able to post some reviews of the actual series next month.

  2. I rarely “read” anymore, I almost always listen to books. I appreciate your reviews, especially the mystery/detective ones since that’s what I usually read. Thanks for sharing at the Blogger’s Pit Stop.

    1. Hi Debbie! It seems like I’m hearing more and more people say how much they like audio books. One of these days I’m going to have to try listening to a book & see how it works out. Thank you for the visit & the comment!

  3. I appreciate that you are sticking to your challenge! Kudos to you!! I’ve been in the library quite a bit lately, mainly for art books, but a few fictional books as well.
    I think I may add the Rosie Project to my list. 🙂
    I’m actually going to the library today. 😀
    XOXO

    1. Hi Dean! I keep promising myself that when I get most of the way through my backlog of reading material, I will reward myself by purchasing a library card again. 🙂 (How dorky is that?) Libraries are so awesome!

  4. Good for you! Sounds like you had an excellent reading – and culling! – month. I have the same problem – loads of books waiting to be read. Mine are mostly real books, with maybe a dozen e-books. My husband and I have an entire bookcase devoted to TBR books…and 80% of them are mine!

    I also joined TBR-type challenge (for the year) but it’s been slow-going so far. I belong to way too many book groups and do some paid reviewing, so those “must read” books have expanded this year, leaving less time for TBR books. But I keep trying!

    Hope that July is just as good a reading month for you!

    I found you through Small Victories Sunday linkup.

    Sue

    2016 Big Book Summer Challenge

    1. Hi Sue! I had to laugh — I say “real books” too. Somehow, even though ebooks are convenient, it’s just not the same as paper. Paid reviewing must be awesome, but I do imagine it gets a little frustrating at times when there is just So Much To Read. I’m off now to check out your Big Book Challenge. Thanks for visiting!

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