PopSugar Ultimate Challenge (5 tasks)
Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
#11 – Becoming a movie this year
I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. Yes, the plot is driven by a teen girl making stupid decisions, but the more I thought about it, the more I had to stop ragging on her stupidity. Why? Because what she did is entirely plausible. Teens and adults alike get sucked into games on the internet. People can get so addicted to the thrill of “winning” in an electronic environment that they forget there can be actual consequences. The Big Brother overtones were creepy, yet also completely realistic. The owners of the game were able to pull personal information and use it to lure players to continue playing by offering customized prizes – think personalized ads on Facebook.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living and Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
#13 – Self-improvement
This is a love it or hate it kind of book. I’m on the love it side of the fence. She is no nonsense and doesn’t pull any punches – you control you. While this sounds very obvious, most people don’t actually live that way. We like the idea of doing something, but not necessarily doing it. I like the idea of getting up before work and going for a run, but it’s just. so. hard. How badly do I want to get back into shape? Obviously, not badly enough. And that’s the gist of the book – you have to want something badly enough to make sacrifices in order to get it. Things will get harder before they get easier.
Evelina by Frances Burney
#17 – At least 100 years older than you
This book got my attention while reading How to Create the Perfect Wife by Wendy Moore. Frances Burney had a connection to one of the young women who were being raised to be “perfect wives”. If it sounds a bit crazy, it was. I tried reading this book, but wasn’t able to get into it. Instead I listened to an Audible production, that included Judi Dench. Burney offers a cynical view of the Regency upper class, as seen mostly through the eyes of a sheltered 18-year old, Evelina, as she is thrust into society for the first time. Along with various social gaffes, interactions with heretofore unknown (very crass) relatives, and meeting her scheming francophile grandmother for the first time, Evelina tries to find love and happiness.
Act of God by Jill Ciment
#25 – Takes place during the summer
I did not like this book. It’s billed as a screwball comedy (it’s not, there’s no comedy at all) and as a horror story (no horror, no suspense, the mold overlooked for four obnoxious and unsympathetic women). I thought there would be more focus on the killer mold – the impetus of the entire novel – but it was relegated to bit player status; a backdrop to the interconnected lives of the four main characters. The mold should have been the focus of the book, it had so much potential. Instead, the focus was on: Vida, Ashley, Edith, and Kat. Of the four, Vida was the only one I had any amount of sympathy for, and I’m fairly sure she was supposed to be the “bad guy” of the bunch. Ashley was a stilted, stereotypical-can’t-speak-English-very-well, house squatter with an entitlement complex a mile high. Edith was extremely hidebound and came off as the annoying tenant who calls their landlord for any and all perceived issues. It’s no wonder Vida didn’t return her multiple voicemails. And Kat was a self-absorbed “free spirit” whose poor life choices caused her to end up broke and crashing in her sister’s apartment. At the age of 65.
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
#29 – Dystopian
Ink and Bone turned out to be one of the more original and complex dystopian YA books I’ve read. No love triangle, and if there were any tropes, they were done well enough that none of them jumped out at me. It’s technically set in the future, but steampunk and alchemy rule the day. Global power is held by The Library, and incredibly Big Brother-ish entity that controls access to all knowledge and suppresses anything that could remotely be considered a threat to their authority and power. So often, dystopian lit focuses on the aftermath of society’s collapse from disease or war or alien invasion. In this case, the dystopian society grew organically from an initial wish to make sure knowledge was available to all. It made me think of early libraries – knowledge available to the masses, but only for their education and betterment.