Winter Book Challenge: November Check-In

November was quite the month for reading! Not sure if it was just the lack of worthwhile television or I just craved some quality time with stories, but I’m not complaining (smile). In addition to those books that qualify for the Winter Book Challenge, I also completed a short YA series (Saving Angels 2.5 stars) and read a book from the perspective of a cave man (Transcendence 3 stars). Both were very…interesting. Anyway, be sure to check out the challenge page – it runs through February 2015 so there’s still plenty of time to join the fun

My Favorite Book of the Month

My Favorite Book of the Month

5 points: Freebie – The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (582 pages paperback edition, 4 stars)
I came across this book on a list of “Halloween” books. It is a little creepy I suppose, but definitely not Halloween related. The story centers around a modern day burn victim who encounters a woman claiming to be his soul mate. What makes this book interesting is that while it is grounded in modern day, it’s also a historical account of a love across centuries. While the modern story gives you more details of the burn recovery process than any squeamish person may be interested in, the flashback/story portion gives you a most intriguing historical insight. Truly, this book is difficult to describe (although Goodreads does a better job than me). For anyone interested in this sort of theme, I recommend it.

10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books – Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (448 pages paperback edition, 2 stars)
I’ve read several of Kinsella’s books, but this one is by far my least favorite. The story centers around a modern day girl on a mission to find a family heirloom so that her great aunt will stop haunting her and rest in piece. There are funny parts to the story, but for the most part I just found it a bit annoying. The ghostly great aunt is the only real saving grace in the story. The main character starts off a little shaky and just never quite seems to evolve as most characters are expected to do in these sorts of books. Overall, there are other Kinsella books I would recommend above this one.

20 points: Read a “bookish book” – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (550 pages paperback edition, 5 stars)
Set in Nazi Germany, this book tells the story of a orphan who takes opportune moments to obtain books as well as her friends and life in her small town. Narrated by death/the grim reaper, you know from the beginning that it will not be a story of rainbows. Yet that narrator lends a surprisingly fresh perspective on an incredibly grim situation. It was a brilliant move – and there are even a few rainbows after all.

When this book first came out, I was in an audio book phase and tried to listen to it. I cannot tell you what a mistake that was! It just doesn’t translate well into the oral format for me. As a result, I’ve put off trying to read this story for some time now, convinced that I would not like the book at all. I figured this challenge was a good opportunity to try it again – I started one afternoon and was finished by the next. I simply couldn’t put it down!

20 points: Read a book with a direction in the title – Summer in the South by Cathy Holton (352 pages hardcover edition, 3.5 stars)
A bit of a mystery, this story centers on a yankee (sorry, but that’s the term y’all) who ends up in Tennessee to write a novel. While staying with two aunts and an uncle of a college friend, the main character uncovers a family secret buried under the Southern charm and pride that threatens the fabric of a community. Overall I found this book to be true to its setting and the story intriguing. I was satisfied with the ending – it wasn’t rushed as some mysteries are and it had just enough of a twist to be plausible. I enjoyed the characters as well as the history. I suppose my only complaint was in the writing style itself. Some books read themselves (like The Book Thief) and are thus effortless to consume. This one took a little work. Sometimes that’s just how it works I suppose.

Total: 55 points





8 thoughts on “Winter Book Challenge: November Check-In

    • Yes – I’ve never been so happy to be wrong about a book as I was with The Book Thief! I’m just sorry I waited as long as I did to give it another go!
      It sounds like you’ve had a rather busy month with work and settling in. Plus there’s so much to explore! I’m sure that last one alone would make it difficult 🙂


  1. Man you are kicking my butt at this challenge! I’m only at 5 points from the freebie category but I have several picked out for other categories for this month. Shall do my best to catch up! 🙂
    Oh the Book Thief was such a great movie and I’ve wanted to read it too. Must check my library and get on the wait list, there’s bound to be a queue for it.
    Looking forward to your next check in for some more ideas. 🙂


    • Oh I’m sure you’ll catch up in no time 😉 I think I just had more time to shift my reading list around for this challenge. I can’t believe a few people have already finished the whole thing! I like drawing it out and sticking the challenge books in with those other great recommendations I pick up (such as yours 🙂 ).
      I just Tivo’d The Book Thief movie last night and am looking forward to watching it this weekend! I’m interested to see how well it converts into film now that I’ve tried audio and print.


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