40 Book Challenge (part 1)

OK, so there is a bit of a backlog as I have not written a book post in 2016, but on the plus side, thanks to my re-reading of a lot of nostalgic books from my childhood I am already 45% done with my challenge for this year. Thanks, Sweet Valley High. Sorry if the earlier reviews aren’t very detailed, I’m struggling to remember my thoughts on some of the books. Anyhoo, here’s what I’ve read in 2016 so far –

Sanctuary Bay by Laura J Burns & Melinda Netz (5/10) – This was a book provided to me by Netgalley, and to be honest it was something I probably wouldn’t have picked up if it wasn’t free. Having said that I didn’t mind this book (from what I can remember), it was suspenseful, interesting, and had it’s share of creepy moments.

Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer (4/10) – I remember this being an easy “beach read”, and really enjoyed the setting of Nantucket. Maybe because I am obsessed with the idea of holidaying in the Hamptons?

If You Dare by A.R. Torre (5/10) – This is the third book in the Deanna Madden series, and my least favourite of the series so far. I love the idea of the Deanna Madden character (my inner introvert loves the idea of being locked away from society and never having to leave the house), but she lost a bit of her shine in this book. I won’t say too much about the plot as it ties in with the rest of the series, but I will say I’ll definitely be reading the next book even though this one fell a little flat for me.

Petals On The Wind by Virginia Andrews (8/10) – I am obsessed with the Dollanganger series, it’s my number one go-to for an easy/juicy/trashy read. This is the second book in the series and is chock-full of the kind of incest/ballet/menstration/murder plot lines that I’ve come to know and love from Virginia Andrews books. Cathy is a self-centred egomaniac and I love her. Too many men in this book have moustaches.

Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (7/10) – Like any collection of short stories, this had it’s ups and downs for me but as a whole I really enjoyed it. The story about the kid in the helicopter hat will haunt me forever.

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry (3/10) – The themes of this book are genuinely horrifying – abduction, assault, survivor’s guilt – but despite all of the ingredients being there, the book didn’t quite hit the mark. I tried to suspend my disbelief while reading this re: teenagers trying to solve a crime, but in the end that’s what let the book down for me.

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes (9/10) – This was my most anticipated book of 2016/all time, as I loved ‘You’ by Caroline Kepnes and it was my favourite book of 2015. Again this is book 2 in a series so I won’t go into too much detail, but if you’re looking for a book that has an evil protagonist please check this out. Joe, I just love to hate him. (PS: thank you SO MUCH to Tonile for sending me the ARC of this, I am still so grateful!)

The Runaways by Ruth Thomas (7/10) – This is one of my childhood favourites, and it still holds a lot of it’s charm for me. Two unlikely friends discovering a large sum of money running away and going on an adventure across the English countryside? Yes please.

Goosebumps Book #14The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (5/10) – If you were a fan of the Goosebumps books growing up and you haven’t yet listened to Welcome To Deadcast, please remedy this immediately. I got the itch to re-read the Goosebumps series after falling into a hole of nostalgic bliss recently and this was the first book I ordered off Ebay. This is one of the books from the series that I have the strongest memories of, as it was the first episode of the TV series that I can remember watching. The cover is perfect and the story is a Goosebumps classic.

Sweet Valley High Book #73Regina’s Legacy (4/10) – Sometimes the fashion on the Sweet Valley High book covers could fit into today’s style, and Elizabeth’s backpack is definitely 2016 worthy. The story in this book is typically stupid, Elizabeth decides to solve a crime with (yawn) Todd rather than call the police and Jessica is her usual sociopathic self who gets everyone in trouble.

Sweet Valley High Book #41Outcast (3/10) – First things first, the hairstyles featured on this cover are a crime. I was never a fan of the books that didn’t revolve around the twins, and this was no exception. Following Regina Morrow’s drug overdose at her party, Molly Hecht falls into a depressive spiral and nobody seems to care or offer her any support. Jessica does something unselfish for once, and at one point people smoke pot. Scandalous.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (5/10) – This book is told from a collection of character viewpoints over the course of a couple of hours as a school shooting takes place. There were a few things I didn’t like about this book, but overall I enjoyed it. I loved how diverse the cast of characters was, but I wish the story went more into detail about the shooter’s background, and I would have liked the scene to be set a bit more in-depth prior to the shooting. Despite it’s flaws this was a gripping read, and I sped through it in a day or so.

Blindfolded Innocence by Alessandra Torre (5/10) – Having loved Alessandra Torre’s Deanna Madden series so much I decided to pick up a book from another of her series. This was an easy read, and although it was a lot fluffier (and raunchier) than what I’m used to, I really enjoyed it and I’ll be reading the rest of the series sometime this year.

Risk by Fleur Ferris (7/10) – I picked this up on the recommendation of Kirsti from Melbourne On My Mind, and I’m really glad I did. It follows the story of Taylor, who’s friend Sierra goes to meet up with a boy she’s been talking to online, and doesn’t return. If you have any young women in your life who have any kind of online presence (who doesn’t these days?), this is an important book to read and share. The story is all too real, and is genuinely chilling.

Sweet Valley High Book #56Lost At Sea (5/10) – Jessica is stunning on this cover, despite being a bit sulky about being wet even though the sun is clearly shining in the background. I hate that the outfit she’s wearing doesn’t match what is described in the book but ANYWAY. A handful of students from Sweet Valley High go on a boating trip for a science project and a big storm hits, Jessica and Winston end up deserted on an island (with a bear?), and everyone else for the most part keep living their lives despite the fact the pair could be dead. Jessica is on the brink of redemption at one point in the book, but at the end goes back to being an awful person and all is right in the world.

Nightmare Hall Book #4The Wish (4/10) – This series creeped me the f*ck out as a kid, but I don’t remember ever reading this one so I was excited to pick it up. The concept is good – a bunch of college students get their fortunes told and they start coming true one by one in the most horrific ways possible – but the ending fell flat and was kind of lame.

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (8/10) – This book made me a bit swoony. I love the idea of two people meeting up online and gradually getting to know each other before falling in love. Possibly because that is how Sebastian and I came to be a couple? This is YA contemporary fiction done right.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (3/10) – This book was a bit of a hard slog for me, and I struggled to get into the story each time I picked it up. I wish they’d focused more on the back story of the main character rather than her life on the run, because that was the most interesting part of the book for me and had a lot of potential.

April 2016

If you can imagine me picking up my keyboard and blowing the dust off of it please do, because that is literally what I had to do before writing this post. Not only has it been a long time since I wrote a blog post, but we also recently returned to our house after it was painted and there is dust pretty much everywhere. I’m not complaining though because the house smells like paint and I LOVE IT. I honestly haven’t felt the drive to blog for a few months now, and I’ve noticed it seems to be the trend with a few people I follow to be “closing up shop” and shutting down their blog. This is the direction I was headed but I figured why not give this blogging thing one more go, and see how I feel about it this time around. The format of things will change (yet again), because I am heading even further away from the beauty blogging world but it feels like a natural transition and I’m comfortable with it. I thought long and hard about what I like writing about, and one of my favourite things to share with you are my monthly goals and whether or not I achieve them. So I aim to check in at the beginning of the month with a list of goals, and write posts about each one as I achieve them. Here’s what’s on the cards for April –

Goal 1: Paint The House
Goal 2: Participate in the Readathon
Goal 3: Set up our home office
Goal 4: Go on a date night to see Captain America

(Sounds pretty achieveable to me! And I say that will full confidence knowing that we have already finished painting the house. PRAISE BE. I will write a full action-packed post on that debacle sometime this week.)