The 100-book Challenge Update – January 2015

January Stats:
Total Books Started: 5
Total Books Finished: 3

71pd7fYbMYLBook 1: Girl Online – Zoe Sugg

I have been a follower of Zoe Sugg’s YouTube channel for around two years now. It was, in fact, one of the first YouTube channels that I followed. On on hand, she knows all about beauty and style, and on the other, she is very relatable. She has a way of capturing the interest of an audience (namely, me 7 million plus others), and engaging them in topics that, in any other situation, might not have been of interest.

This led to me being excited when, last year, she announced that she will be publishing a novel. And although it was classified as YA, and even Children’s books, I pre-ordered it on Amazon that minute it was available.

As expected, Girl Online was a very light read. It took me less than 24 hours to finish – something I haven’t done since the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It follows the story of a high school girl who keeps an anonymous blog, and who gets to travel to new lands and meet a prince charming of sorts.

The narration was gripping, easy to follow, and I was not tempted to skip any part of it – something that I can be guilty of at times. And even though there was a hype about Zoe using a ghost writer, that does not bother me in the least. If you have read any of Zoella’s blog posts, you can see that she is a talented writer, and that reflected in the book. It only makes sense that writing a blog post of a few hundred words is substantially different from writing a book of a few hundred pages, and professional help would be in order.

As for the story, the events were gripping, and kept me wanting for more! A good book is one that will make you wanting to flip to the next page, then the next, and the next. The idea of being in a foreign land, and finding love there may as well be every girl’s fantasy and some point. Capturing that in writing allowed the young girl in me to live this fantasy through Girl Online.

Nevertheless, when the book ended, I felt that the story wasn’t complete. There were still events that need to take place, I wanted to know what happened next! I am only hoping that it will inspire a sequel, to complete the story, and allow me more peace of  mind.

Time to Finish: 1 day
Rating: 4/5

419rjQNqYhLBook 2: The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder – Marissa Meyer

Because I felt a bit disappointed that Girl Online finished too quickly, I picked one of the series I had on my list. In my haste to select, it turned out one of the series that were not all published – the fourth book of the series will be released in November 2015! So, currently, I am wishing I had left this till the end of the year rather than now, because waiting for 10 months for a book is not something I am looking forward to.

I am a fan of fairy tale adaptions. I enjoyed reading Confession of an Ugly Stepsister, and Marie Hall’s Kingdom series (Side note: As I am writing this, I found out that there are actually 11 books so far in the series, and I only read the first five, so YAY! for more books). Anywho, I selected Cinder because from the quick review I read about it, it seemed to be combining fairy tales with a bit of Sci-Fi.

The book was by no means a disappointment. The chapters were short enough to allow for pauses (because I almost NEVER set a book down in the middle of a chapter, and this was important because I was reading this while preparing for a major thesis-related task), yet gripping enough to keep me turning and – ahem – procrastinating.

The interesting thing was that the influence of the fairy tale on the book was not overwhelming. You have an orphan that is abused by her step-mom, and a handsome prince at a ball, a love story, and a missing… shoe? But that’s about it. The story is taking place in a futuristic version of earth, where there are major unions, and people living on the moon, and awesome technologies. Also, the setting is in East Asia!

So, if you enjoy fairy tales, but in the mood for something different, give this book a try, and tell me what you think. Just don’t expect to be reading the story of Cinderella, because then you will be disappointed. But be prepared for an ending that will leave you wondering if you had, in fact, reached the end of the book, or have a few chapters missing. And this will mean that you will want to pick up the next installment in the series immediately once this one is done.

Time to Finish: 3 days
Rating: 4.5/5

81UrhozeUeLBook 3: The Lunar Chronicles: Scarlet – Marissa Meyer

Immediately after I finish Cinder I went scrambling for Scarlet. Luckily, the second book in this series combined the stories of Scarlet and Cinder, and answered many questions that the first book left unanswered.

I have to confess now, I have a soft spot for misunderstood villains, and this is the second book that makes me fall in love with the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood (the first being Marie Hall’s Red and Her Wolf). I can even honestly say that I like Scarlet’s Wolf more than Cinder’s prince.

So, as with Cinder, the story has a grandmother “eaten” by a wolf, a granddaughter with red hair, sweater and a name to match, a journey to reach the grandmother, and a wolf. But what’s beneath that is so much more. It will leave you doubting yourself and wondering if you are putting your trust in the wrong person, at several occasions.

Reading this also made me wonder why Disney haven’t yet come up with a movie for this classic fairy tale – the 1922 one does NOT count. So this is my next demand from Disney! It also made me want to watch the movie with Amanda Seyfried again.

P.S. this book also does not have a satisfying ending.

Time to Finish: 1 week
Rating: 4.5/5

Books I didn’t get to finish:

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen: Not for a fault in the novel itself, but because the book I picked up contained all of Austen’s novel and it was HUGE, and I started reading it at a time where there were too many distractions around me.
Possibility of picking up the book again soon: 90%

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin: I currently have to be on the road around 3 hours four times a week, not driving. I cannot read in the car because I get motion sick, so I got the audio book version of A Game of Thrones, and I am listening to that now. So far, I finished half of the book, and I can’t wait finish it and get the next one.

Off to get on with Cress – the third book of the Lunar Chronicles.


The 100 Book Challenge

I will be attempting the 100 book challenge for 2015. This might be a bit ambitious knowing that I will be starting the year off with writing my Masters’ thesis. But I will attempt to read as many books as I can.

I am compiling a list below of 100 books, in no particular order. Some if these books are books that I previously started but never got around to finishing, or that I have read in Arabic, or of which I have read an abridged version. But this means that I will have to read the complete book, I don’t consider that cheating.

You can probably tell that I enjoy fiction, fantasy, and science fiction the most, but I also enjoy classics and other genres. I also enjoy series, and nothing makes me sadder than finishing a good series.

If you have any recommendations for me, please leave me a comment 🙂

Edit: I started out this list with thought of listing 100 individual books. But since, as I mentioned before, I am a fan of series, I found that most of the items on the list were part of a series. Not that this is a bad thing. What worried me were two things; first, what if I start a series that I hate, then I will have to finish it to commit to the 100-book challenge. Second, what about all the other fantastic books out there that I want to read? Granted, I won’t be able to finish them all in one year – not unless I become unemployed and thesis-free – but I still want them on this list, and 100 is such a pretty number that I don’t want to change.

Therefore, any series in the list is considered as one book, with all the books in that series listed below. This way I can add all the books that I come across during what remains of 2014, and still maintain a 100-book list, that I most likely won’t get through for another decade!

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire – George R. R. Martin
    1. A Game of Thrones
    2. A Clash of Kings
    3. A Storm of Swords
    4. A Feast for Crows
    5. A Dance with Dragons
  2. Inferno – Dan Brown
  3. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
    1. The Hunger Games
    2. Catching Fire
    3. Mockingjay
  4. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
  6. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
    1. The Golden Compass
    2. The Subtle Knife
    3. The Amber Spyglass
  7. The Prophet – Khalil Gibran
  8. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire
  9. Mirror, Mirror – Gregory Maguire
  10. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  11. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
  12. Colomba – Prosper Mérimée
  13. Fahrenheit – Ray Bradbury
  14. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    3. Life, the Universe and Everything
    4. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
    5. Mostly Harmless
  15. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  16. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  17. Cairo Trilogy – Naguib Mahfouz
    1. Palace Walk
    2. Palace of Desire
    3. Sugar Street
  18. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  19. The Vampire Diaries – L. J. Smith
    1. The Awakening
    2. The Struggle
    3. The Fury
    4. Dark Reunion
  20. Shifters – Rachel Vincent
    1. Stray
    2. Rogue
    3. Pride
    4. Prey
    5. Shift
    6. Alpha
  21. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  22. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  23. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  24. Emma – Jane Austen
  25. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  26. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  27. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  28. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  29. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
  30. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo
  31. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  32. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  33. Zorba the Greek – Nikos Kazantzakis
  34. The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak
  35. How to Be Good – Nick Hornby
  36. Camille: The Lady of the Camellias – Alexandre Dumas fils
  37. A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
  38. Rhinoceros – Eugene Ionescu
  39. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  40. The Sheltering Sky – Paul Bowles
  41. Foreign Affairs – Alison Lurie
  42. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
  43. The Razor’s Edge – Somerset Maugham
  44. A Room with a View – E.M.Forster
  45. The Longest Journey – E.M.Forster
  46. Where Angels Fear to Tread – E.M.Forster
  47. The Sound and the Fury –  William Faulkner
  48. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  49. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  50. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  51. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  52. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  53. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  54. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  55. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel – Michael Scott
    1. The Alchemyst
    2. The Magician
    3. The Sorceress
    4. The Necromancer
    5. The Warlock
    6. The Enchantress
  56. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  57. House of Night – P. C. Cast + Kristin Cast
    1. Marked
    2. Betrayed
    3. Chosen
    4. Untamed
    5. Hunted
    6. Tempted
    7. Burned
    8. Awakened
    9. Destined
    10. Hidden
    11. Revealed
    12. Redeemed
  58. Dune – Frank Herbert
    1. Dune
    2. Dune Messiah
    3. Children of Dune
    4. God Emperor of Dune
    5. Heretics of Dune
    6. Chapterhouse: Dune
  59. Girl Online – Zoe Sugg
  60. Graceling – Kristin Cashore
    1. Graceling
    2. Fire
    3. Bitterblue
  61. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
    1. Inkheart
    2. Inkspell
    3. Inkdeath
  62. Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine
  63. The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker
  64. Post-Human – David Simpson
    1. Sub-Human
    2. Post-Human
    3. Trans-Human
    4. Human Plus
    5. Inhuman
  65. The Enchantress of Florence – Salman Rushdie
  66. A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  67. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  68. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. – Adelle Waldman
  69. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  70. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  71. Kissing the Witch – Emma Donoghue
  72. The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer
    1. Cinder
    2. Scarlet
    3. Cress
    4. Winter (release on November 10, 2015)
  73. Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge
  74. Scarlet – A.C. Gaughen
  75. Winterspell – Claire Legrand
  76. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  77. The Maze Runner – James Dashner
    1. The Maze Runner
    2. Scorch Trials
    3. The Death Cure
    4. The Kill Order
  78. Hyperion – Dan Simmons
  79. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  80. Apprentice Adept – Piers Anthony
    1. Split Infinity
    2. Blue Adept
    3. Juxtaposition
    4. Out of Phaze
    5. Robot Adept
    6. Unicorn Point
    7. Phaze Doubt
  81. The Dark Tower – Stephen King
    1. The Gunslinger
    2. The Drawing of the Three
    3. The Waste Lands
    4. Wizard and Glass
    5. Wolves of the Calla
    6. Song of Susannah
    7. The Dark Tower
    8. The Wind Through the Keyhole
  82. The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
    1. New Spring
    2. The Eye of the World
    3. The Great Hunt
    4. The Dragon Reborn
    5. The Shadow Rising
    6. The Fires of Heaven
    7. Lord of Chaos
    8. A Crown of Swords
    9. The Path of Daggers
    10. Winter’s Heart
    11. Crossroads of Twilight
    12. Knife of Dreams
    13. The Gathering Storm
    14. Towers of Midnight
    15. A Memory of Light
  83. The Iron Druid Chronicles – Kevin Hearne 
    1. Hounded
    2. Hexed
    3. Hammered
    4. Tricked
    5. Trapped
    6. Hunted
    7. Shattered
    8. Staked
  84. The Sword of Truth – Terry Goodkind
    1. The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus
    2. Debt of Bones
    3. Wizard’s First Rule
    4. Stone of Tears
    5. Blood of the Fold
    6. Temple of the Winds
    7. Soul of the Fire
    8. Faith of the Fallen
    9. The Pillars of Creation
    10. Naked Empire
    11. Chainfire
    12. Phantom
    13. Confessor
    14. The Omen Machine
    15. The Third Kingdom
    16. Severed Souls
    17. The Law of Nines
  85. Jack West Jr. Series – Matthew Reilly
    1. Seven Ancient Wonders
    2. The Six Sacred Stones
    3. The Five Greatest Warriors
  86. Red Rising – Pierce Brown
  87. The Riftwar Saga – Raymond E. Feist
    1. Magician
    2. Silverthorn
    3. A Darkness at Sethanon
  88. The Deed of Paksenarrion – Elizabeth Moon
    1. The Deed of Paksenarrion
    2. The Legacy of Gird
    3. Paladin’s Legacy
  89. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier