#scsbc14 Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge – Final Update

I thought I’d post an updated for the Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge right away this month since this is the final update. I kept procrastinating reading the last few, but it turned out to be a good thing as it gave me an excuse to pull away from the TV while I was recuperating from whatever it is that I caught last week.

15 points: Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe.
A Hundred Summers, by Beatriz Williams (432 pages). I’ve been looking at this novel for awhile and finally decided to read it, so I was excited when I realized that it would fit in with my book reading challenge, as it’s set in Rhode Island in 1938. Lily Dane is ready for her usual summer spent in Seaview with her family, but all that changes when Nick and Budgie Greenwald–Lily’s former fiancé and her former best friend–arrive and open up Budgie’s old family home. The book jumps back and forth between the summer in 1938, shortly after the Greenwald’s marriage, and Lily’s romance with Nick and friendship with Budgie back in the early ’30’s. I appreciated this, because it created a tension in the novel. I loved Nick and I really liked Nick and Lily as a couple, so I wanted to know what happened to their relationship and why he ended up marrying Budgie. I decided to listen to this on audiobook, because I really enjoyed a previous audiobook with the same narrator–Katherine McInerney. She was fantastic with this book as well and I know that I have other books that she has narrated in my wishlist, so I’m sure I will be listening to more of the books that she has worked on in the future.

You guys, I think I’m starting to develop a list of favorite narrators with audiobooks! I’ve been recognizing narrators when I’ve been looking at books and sometimes that makes a difference in whether or not I want to read or listen to one. I don’t know why, but this excites me.

Anyway, moving on…

20 points: Read a book that was/will be adapted to film in 2014. (Here are 16 ideas to get you started, but I know there are plenty more options.)
Vampire Academy, by Richelle Meade (336 pages). I was reading this book and didn’t want to put it down, but I needed to do some baking and clean the kitchen so I bought the audiobook. (If you have a Kindle version of a book you can get the audiobook on Audible for a discount, which is really nice sometimes.) This wasn’t what I expected it to be–although I don’t know what I expected, I just knew that this wasn’t it as I read/listened to it. But that doesn’t mean I that I didn’t enjoy it! I bought the audiobook so that I could get some work done because I didn’t want to put it down, so I really liked it. I thought the beginning of the book was a little confusing, because there wasn’t a lot of explanation for what was happening, but questions are answered as the book progressed. I’m looking forward to watching this movie and will definitely continue the series. I’m not sure whether I’ll read or listen to the books, because I enjoyed both with this one.

25 points: Read a book written by a blogger. (Submitted by Jessica of The Tangerine.)
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson (384 pages). This was the hardest book for me to get through and it took me quite awhile. Lawson is obviously a funny writer, but her writing is over-the-top funny, and while a lot of people like that, it’s not exactly my cup of tea, so I was not the right audience for this book.

25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir.
Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala (240 pages). Originally I was going to read Derek Hough’s book, but realized that it came in about 20 pages short of the page requirement for each book. Then I remembered that I had purchased this book a few months ago and tucked it away for a time when I felt ready to read it, as I knew it would be sad. This is a heartbreaking memoir about the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004. Deraniyagala was on vacation with her parents, husband and two sons when the tsunami hit and she was the only member of her family who survived. I expected to read more about the tsunami, but the wave hits at the beginning of the book and quickly goes away. The rest of the book chronicles Deraniyagala as she grieves in the following years. While this book spans years, it feels very fluid and cohesive–so much so that I was surprised every time I realized that years had passed. This is a quick read, but not an easy one.

30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the titles.
The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica (352 pages) & Lola and the Boy Next Door (432 pages), by Stephanie Perkins. 

The Good Girl was one of my favorite books of all that I read for this challenge and I’m so excited to see what else Kubica writes in the future, as this is her first novel. I’ve tried to summarize this book, but none of my summaries are very good so you can read the official summary at the link, but basically it’s about Mia–the daughter of a prominent judge in Chicago–who goes home from the bar with Colin when she’s stood up by her boyfriend. Unbeknownst to her, Colin has been paid to abduct her and take her to a drop off point, where his employer will pick her up and hold her for ransom. But as Colin takes her to the drop off point, he starts to think about what her fate will be at the hands of his employer, so he goes on the run and they hide out in a cabin in Minnesota. The book goes back and forth between after she’s recovered–with seemingly no memory of what happened–and while she’s abducted, which I thought was a great way to tell this story. I also liked how the information was revealed throughout, because I was guessing plot points ahead of time based on the information that we had.

Lola and the Boy Next Door was another one of my favorites from this challenge. Lola Nolan is dating Max–a rocker, who her parents don’t approve of as he is a couple years older than her–but her belief that they are meant to be is questioned when her unrequited love from the past, Cricket, moves back in next door. After reading Anna and the French Kiss a few years ago I really wasn’t sure that Lola would be able to top that one. I don’t want to compare the two, because it’s been a few years since I read Anna, but Lola was fantastic! I loved Lola and way that she dressed and presented herself to the world. I loved the figure skating aspect of this book, which totally would have spoken to teenage me who was obsessed with ice skating. (I feel like I should add that I wasn’t an ice skater, I just loved it and watched it all the time and checked in on my favorite ice skater’s websites frequently.) Most of all, I loved how all the different pieces came together and led up to the end. I was so happy as I read the last half of this book to see how everything brought about the conclusion of the story. I was feeling like I was in a bit of a book rut and this one totally pulled me out of it.

Previous Total: 85 points
Total for August: 115 points
Final Total: 200 points

The books that I read previously are:

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long.

The Starter House, by Sonja Condit {review}

10 points: Read a book that was written before you were born.
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott {review}

10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn’t finish the first
time around. (You must have at least 150 pages left in the book to use
it for this category.)
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold {review}

10 points: Read a book from the children’s section of the library or bookstore.
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, by Claire Legrand {review}

15 points: Read a book that is on The New York Times‘ Best Sellers List when you begin reading it.
Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight {review}

15 points: Read a book another blogger has already read for the
challenge. (Yes, you will have to wait until the first check-in to
choose this book! So no one will be able to finish this challenge in
only one month; sorry!)
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green {review}

20 points: Read a book with “son(s),” “daughter(s)” or
“child(ren)” in the title. No other words will count—including kids,
offspring, etc.—so please don’t ask. 🙂
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor {review}

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