I typically don’t do monthly wrap-ups, but I thought since I participated in three read-a-thons this month, I thought I would do wrap-up and discuss whether I managed to complete any of the challenges or not.
The first read-a-thon I took part in was the May the Force Read With You, which lasted the whole month of May. I started out with the Light Side prompts, and hoped to be able to complete the Dark Side too. The one catch was that you had to complete one side first (although you could use a Neutral prompt to substitute for one of the other ones) before moving on to the other side.
I started out as a Jedi Youngling, and the first prompt I completed was Healing – Read a book in your favorite genre. Lately, I have been really into cozy mysteries, so I picked up Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. I enjoyed it, and I will discuss it more in an upcoming recent reads post.
Completing this challenge made me a Padawan. I then decided to use one of the Neutral prompts in place of the Force Spirit prompt, I went with Midi-Chlorians – Read a middle grade. For this challenge I read The Next Great Jane by K. L. Going which was another good read.
As a Jedi Knight, I attempted to complete the Knowledge prompt – Read the oldest book on your TBR, I started Dear Reader by Mary O’ Connell and despite there being elements that I would have loved, I decided to DNF it at about page 100 because it was boring and the writing style annoyed me.
Disappointed with my last attempt, I decided to cleanse my palate and read One Piece Volume 26 by Eiichiro Oda, which I used to complete the prompt Jedi Council – A sequel or a book in a series.
Having become a Jedi Master, the next prompt I completed was Cleanse – a book with a white cover. I decided to pick up The English Breakfast Murder by Laura Childs since it had a white cover, and it was a good installment in the series.
I finally made it as Master of the Order, however there was one more challenge I needed to complete in order be a fully accomplished Master of the Order was another Neutral prompt, since I did not complete the Knowledge prompt, so I went with Force Sensitive – a book with a main character who has a special ability. And I picked up The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill to complete this prompt since the main character has magical abilities. This was great middle grade read, and I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read it!
During my time as Master of the Order, I found myself becoming increasingly tempted by the Dark Side, and eventually the corruption got to me and I turned my back on the Jedi Order in exchange for the Dark Side. I found myself at the bottom as a Sith Apprentice, but I was determined to complete the obstacles in front of me and become the Emperor. My first challenge was Lightning – a book under 350 pages. To complete this challenge I read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which is 171 pages. I enjoyed this sort of prequel to Jane Eyre that depicts the life of “Bertha” Mason, or the madwoman in the attic. This gave her so much more dimension and shows that her descent into madness might be due to the words and actions of others.
After achieving my position as Sith Apprentice Rank 1, I knew I wanted to get to Rank 2 as an Apprentice, so I completed the Rule of Two – Read a book that is part of a duology. In order to complete this quest, I read Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. This book has been on my shelves for ages, and I was excited to finally get to it because it is about pirates! However, it ended up not living up to my expectations. It was okay, but not as swashbuckling as I would have liked it to be. I don’t know if I will pick up the second book, or if I will just stop with this one.
Having completed my quest, I was no longer content with being an apprentice, I knew I needed to become a Sith Master, in order to do so I need to complete another quest, the one I chose was Seduction – read a romance book. In order to complete my quest, I read The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren. At this point the Disney Read-a-long had also started, and I used this book to complete two prompts for that, the first one being The Queen of Hearts – Read a book with a heart on the cover or in the title, the second one was Raya and the Last Dragon – read a new book. This was my first Christina Lauren book, and it was okay, I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance, and I found the conflict towards the end to be predictable and cliché.
Next, I decided that I needed to continue to move up the ranks and become the highest ranking Sith Master, and who knows, eventually become the Emperor. In order to move up, I was sent on a mission, to find another one who was Corrupted – a book with a black cover. I picked up Lost Stars by Claudia Gray in order to complete this mission. I also used it to kind of complete the prompt Read a book set in the city/country as your favorite Disney movie. With this one I cheated a bit, while I do love Star Wars, I’m not sure if a galaxy far, far away counts, but I’m making it count! I liked this Star Wars story, especially since we are following to characters that start out as Imperial officers and then go their separate ways. It was interesting, and I did not realize that it covered some time before the original trilogy and some time after the movies too. I liked getting a different view of some of the background characters in the films.
After completing this mission, I took a break from working my way up to Emperor. However, I still completed challenges for the Disney Read-a-long. I read Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 8 by Hiromu Arakawa which fulfilled the prompt The Robinsons – a Book about family. While Fullmetal Alchemist isn’t strictly about family, it does follow the Elric brothers, and along their journey we are introduced to those who make up their found family. I also completed the last prompt, The Enchantress – a book that you bought/avoided because of the cover. I read Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery to complete this challenge, because I bought the edition I had because of the cover. This was a reread for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
A couple of days after the Disney Read-a-long ended, the Do the Thing Read-a-thon started. The goal for this read-a-thon was just to work on your reading goals. One of my goals for this year was to finally read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I did read it and I really enjoyed it, even though it is a tough read. And all though not formally part of my goals for this year, I also picked up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I have been meaning to read it for a while but I kept putting it off. But I am so glad that I read it and again, I enjoyed it and I plan on having a longer review up soon.
Another one of my goals for this year was to complete the reading experiments I started last year. I picked up Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas, I also used this to complete the final prompt for the May the Force Read with You to become the Emperor, Force Vision – a book set in the past or the future. This book is set in 1936 in a mining town in the Rockies. I enjoyed it, and I plan on having a review up for it soon!
I also picked up On the Road by Jack Kerouac, unfortunately I didn’t quite finish it until June 1st, but I’m counting it because I did read a good chunk of it during the last few days of May. It was an interesting read, I’ll be honest, I don’t quite know what to make of it, but it is one of my husband’s favorite books, so I wanted to read it. There is a lot that can be unpacked from the novel, but maybe I just think that because I was an English major in college.
I think I was rather successful in all three read-a-thons last month. I read a lot more than I thought I would, and I read some unexpected additions to my TBR. I discovered some new favorites, and I was let down by a few. But it was still a pretty great reading month!
Janelle L. C.