Friday, January 1, 2016

#SCWBC15 January 1 Check-in

Happy 2016!  I am hoping this finds you doing well and off to a great start for the new year!

Today I'm linking up with Megan @ Semi Charmed Kind of Life for the second month check-in of the Semi Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge.  And, guess what, peeps?  I'm finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A debut book by any author.
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
Read December 1-4
320 pages

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The rural setting, the locals, and the small town anecdotes were so familiar that I felt as if that little town in Wisconsin could've been my own had it been in West Virginia in lieu of Wisconsin.  The characters where so familiar and real (even the rock star), that I felt as if could've been friends with them at some point in my life.

My rating: ★★★★

Two books with the same title.
1) The Fixer by Joseph Finder
Read December 5-9
374 pages
I had a difficult time with this book.  I have a very difficult time.  Some of the problems I encountered were the overuse of rhetorical questions, the dragging out of some scenarios ("Just get on with it!" I'd yell, or "Okay, okay, I get the point!  Move on!"), the elementary dialogue, some ridiculously funny situations that I honestly think were not intended to be funny (they were just that absurd), and the main character who was, in my opinion, an obnoxious, Grade A schmuck.  The plot and characters were not memorable and made no lasting impression on me (other than the main character being a schmuck).  Everytime I would return to the audiobook I had to rewind at least 3 minutes in order to jog my memory of what was going on where I left off.
I will state, for the record, that the plot became more interesting, relatively speaking, around 60% into the book, but by that time the damage had been done as far as I was concerned and I really couldn't have cared less about what happened at that point.  I listened to the last 3 hours of the book on 1.25x speed just so I could speed it up and put myself out of my misery.  

(Confession:  Had I not been participating in this challenge and hadn't already committed to using this book and another by the same name for the "two books with the same title" category, I would've abandoned the book after the first 2-3 hours.  I did return it to Audible.)
My rating: ★

2) The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Read December 14-21
384 pages
The Fixer is a very solid, well written YA book.  This book me the longest of all the books I read for this challenge, but it really had nothing to do with the book itself, but rather more with the timing.  I started it during the last week of school before 
Winter Break, which is always chaotic and busy.  I wanted to listen to it, but had so many other things going on that I really only listened to it while commuting.

The book has an interesting plot, although it did take awhile to get to it.  I will admit that I didn't figure out "who did it" and was a little surprised by who did.  There was another mystery, a little more subtle, that I nailed very early in the book.  All and all, it was a perfectly pleasant book to pass the time.  Apparently there is a sequel, but at this time I have no interest to continue with the series.
My rating: ★★★

5 POINTSA book that has 100-200 pages.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Read December 10-11
104 pages

I first read this classic in 1986 and looking back, a better description was that I skimmed it.  Yes, I knew the story after having watched the movie every year at Christmas for the past 15-20 years, but it was still good to be exposed to the actual words of the book.  I listened to this on audiobook and it was narrated by Tim Curry.  His narration was like a performance and breathed life into what I remembering being a tedious little read.
My rating: ★★★

A book someone else has already used for this challenge.  
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Used by Sarah @ Sarah Reads Too Much
Read December 11-13
375 pages
I really, really liked this book.  Having always been a stout girl myself, I connected with Willowdean (who is called Dumplin' by her mother).  I also thoroughly enjoyed the rural, small town setting.  Even though the story takes place in Texas, there were so many southern cultural references that the story could have taken place in my own hometown in rural West Virginia.  I found the book to be funny with several laugh out loud moments as well as moments when I wanted to smack someone (I even wanted to smack Willowdean a couple of times).  Most importantly, I enjoyed the journey I took with Willowdean as she learned to truly embrace herself.
My rating: ★★★★

TOTAL POINTS = 200 = I'm Finished!!!

*The following categories were completed in November.  For my reviews/ratings, please refer to my first month's check-in post by clicking here.  
  • 15 POINTS - A book with a one-word title. Hostage by Robert Crais
  • 10 POINTS - A book that does not take place in my country of residence. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  • 20 POINTS - A book with a person's first and last name in the title. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
  • 15 POINTS - A book published under a pseudonym. The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre (According to Goodreads, A. R. Torre is a pseudonym for Alessandra Torre)
  • 30 POINTS - A nonfiction book and a fiction book that are about the same topic/subject (cancer) 1) The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch 2) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • 15 POINTS - A book with “boy,” “girl,” “man,” or “woman” in the title. The Forgotten Man by Robert Crais
  • 20 POINTS - A book with a verb in the title. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
  • 20 POINTS - A food themed book. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Happy New Year to you!  May 2016 bring you blessings of health, prosperity, and happiness!

Are you participating in the SCWBC15?  If so, how are you doing?  What's the best book you've read for the challenge thus far?

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. FANTASTIC job! I'm lagging. I *hope* to finish because I've never NOT finished one of her challenges, but, you know, I won't beat myself up too much if I don't. I am more committed to my own challenge. I should have planned ahead and gotten all of SCWBC15 read BEFORE my challenge started. Oh well.

    I want to read Dumplin'. I enjoyed Shotgun Lovesongs for the same reasons you listed.

  2. Best book is probably Lord of the Flies. I just finished it and am still a little overwhelmed. 😀
    Congrats on finishing the challenge early. One of these days, I hope to be able to do that.


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