July Reading Challenge Update

July Reading Challenge Update

I’ve been keeping on track with my goodreads reading challenge for the year. In fact, I’m a little bit a head. As of this morning, i’ve read 41/50 of my books. If you’re on goodreads, let be friends :)

july11. Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Rating: 2.5/5
Thoughts: While I enjoyed the premise of Defiance, the book itself could not live up to it. The characters were rather flat and unlikable and the world building was almost nonexistent. Two major red flags for me.

2. A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1) by Kathleen Baldwin
It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts…

Rating: 4/5
Thoughts:  A School for Unusual Girls was just a great time. It’s a quick, fun read that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Georgie and her friends are delightful, quirky and just plain entertaining. It’s a humorous and adventurous story that makes a great quick read. I’ll keep an eye out for the second one.

 

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3. By a Thread (Elemental Assassin #6) by Jennifer Estep
I never thought I’d need a vacation from being an assassin.

My name is Gin Blanco, and I’m the assassin the Spider. All the Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning for me and trying to make a name for themselves by taking out the Spider. So I think it’s a good idea to get out of Ashland for a while until things cool down.

So I’m headed south to a swanky beach town, along with my baby sister, Bria, for a weekend of fun in the sun. But when an old friend of Bria’s is threatened by a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. But this time, not even my own Ice and Stone power may be enough to save me from coming home in a pine box.

Rating: 4/5
My Thoughts:
Spider’s Bite, the first book in this series was the first Urban Fantasy I ever read. Obviously I was a fan, because now 80% of the books I read are urban fantasies. By a Thread was a great addition to the series. It’s always a great time with Gin & company. I’d definitely suggest these books if you’re a fan of the genre.

4. The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass
The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Rating: 3/5
My Thoughts: 
I’m having a difficult time putting my feelings on this one into words. I finished it in one sitting, so it definitely hooked me and held my attention. However, I can’t remember the last time I felt so frustrated with characters. Every single one of them irritated me and they all made reckless, frustrating decisions. America would completely change her mind within a matter of pages. She would be all in with one boy and then 5 pages later say she had no feelings for him at all. The next 5 pages, she’d change her mind again. I’ll continue reading it, because I just have to know how it ends, but I still am harboring some ill feelings towards this one.

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5. Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina. And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Rating: 3/5
My Thoughts: I throughly enjoyed the beginning and end of this story. I loved the main character, Dina and I thought the storyline had a lot of potential. Things seemed a bit rushed for me (it’s a short book) and I wasn’t able to get too much of a grasp on all of the characters. All things considered, I enjoyed it, but I feel like there should have been more development.

6. Chasing Magic (Downside Ghosts #5) by Stacia Kane
Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
 
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.

Rating: 3/5
My Thoughts:
I was disappointed with this one. This series has been one of my favorites for a long time, but I was incredibly disappointed with the lack of character development in this latest installment. By book 5, I’m ready to see some development in the main character.

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7. The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

Rating: 3.5/5
My Thoughts:
I enjoyed the sequel to Kiss of Deception, but I liked the first book more. It certainly kept me entertained and intrigued though. I’ll admit I did skim through some of the fantasy mumbo-jumbo.

8. Outcast by Adrienne Kress
After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it’s the final straw. She takes her mother’s shotgun and shoots the thing. So it’s dead. Or … not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he’s totally naked.

Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he’s an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she’s all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is.  He thinks it’s 1956.

Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It’s also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who’s got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50’s, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.

Rating: 3/5
My Thoughts: Outcast has a great premise but I was a bit let down. I loved the characters and I loved their interactions but the plot was just all over the place. I felt like I was waiting for a bit of an explanation and then in the last 15% of the book the author just threw everything but the kitchen sink at me. It was almost like the author couldn’t decide what she wanted the big reveal to be, so she just include all her possible ideas. It was too much. Plus, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the way it ended.

july59. TEN by Gretchen McNeil
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Rating: 2/5
My Thoughts: I read the book this is based off of, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, in middle school so I thought a retelling would be fun. Unfortunately, this did not do it for me. It was incredibly predictable, the characters were one dimensional and I just couldn’t get into it.

10. Earthbound (Earthbound #1) by Aprilynne Pike
Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told.

Tavia immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she hardly knows. But when Tavia discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after her parents’ death may have actually been responsible for the plane crash that killed them – and that she may have been the true intended victim – she flees for the safety of Camden, Maine, where the boy she sees in her visions instructs her to go. Now, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust. No one, that is, except for her best friend and longtime crush, Benson.

Tavia feels torn between the boy who mysteriously comes to her at night and the boy who has been by her side every step of the way. But what Tavia doesn’t know is that the world is literally falling apart and that to save it she will have to unite with the boy in her visions. Only problem? To do so would mean rejecting Benson’s love. And that’s the one thing Tavia Michaels swore she’d never do.

Rating: 3/5
My Thoughts: This one had an interesting premise, but I was not a fan of the main character. She was very wishy-washy and I felt like it took her way too long to figure things out.

 

Today I am linking up with:
Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books

  • Clean Sweep! I don’t know anyone else who’s read Ilona Andrews. Have you read the Kate Daniels series??? I thoroughly enjoyed Clean Sweep, but it was a bit short. I’m really hoping she continues the series.

    I also read The Selection Series recently and I totally agree with you. For the most part I enjoyed the story, but America’s flip-flopping really bothered me. I felt like in the first book it made sense, but by the end of the 2nd? Just make up your mind! (Definitely adding A School for Unusual Girls to my TBR list on Goodreads. So glad to find someone who has a similar taste in books!)

    • You know, I THINK I read the first one years ago… but I can’t remember! I need to revisit it. I was late to the party on that one and then just never got around to reading the series. I love urban fantasies though. They are my favorite. I’ll have to go grab the first Kate Daniels book from the library.

  • My Goodreads challenge is the only one I finish every year! I picked 50 as well but I feel like maybe I should have done more. I might adjust it to 65. Goals are flexible, right?

    • yeah! You can edit them. I never know. When I had a book review blog I would read over 150 books a year.. but now I just don’t have the time for that lol I’m lucky if I can fit 50 in ;)

  • I picked too low on my challenge – I set it at 60 and I’m already on my 65th!

  • I really liked A School for Unusual Girls. It seems primed to be a series and I think I’ll continue reading although you are right in that it isn’t anything mind blowing.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure there will be a sequel – they set it up for one. I hope so. It was an entertaining way to spend a few hours :)

  • i totally agree with you on the selection series. i read the first 3 in one weekend and i was just so engrossed. but the characters were definitely stupid and did stupid things. the 4th book definitely isn’t as good, but i think the 3rd is worth it. hopefully.
    A school for unusual girls is on my list! I added the kiss of deception, the elemental assassin series and clean sweep. I have the Kate Daniels series on my kindle waiting for me, have you read those? they seem crazy popular.

    • I think I MAY have read the first one a long time ago, but I don’t remember for sure. I’ve heard great things about them. It’s just one of those series that I was late to the party too and now it will take so long to catch up! I should read them though.

  • Good job on all the reading, and almost to 50 books, wowee!

    • I had a great July… but I haven’t read ANYTHING in August yet. Between the move and the new dog, I’ve been pretty busy :)

  • You read so many books! I was interested in Ten, but I think I’ll skip it. I’m totally adding A School for Unusual Girls though!

    • A School for Unusual Girls was fantastic! You should definitely give it a try. It was very quirky and a ton of fun :)

  • I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Selection series, I’m definitley adding that to my to read list.

  • I really want to read School for Unusual Girls. Sounds right up my alley. Have you read Etiquette & Espionage? It has a similar premise.

    • I’ve actually got that checked out from my library right now. It’s next on my list ;)

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