When I found out that we were going on a three day trip without devices, I knew I needed a way to pass the time in the car. And I could never pass up the opportunity to read some new library books. I somehow managed to end up with eight books for the three days I was away. There was no way I could read that many books in such a short time.
But I had never tried. And thus I decided I was up for a challenge, especially with all the time on my hands. It seemed so fun.
My goal was to read all eight books. I could read for eight hours in the car one day, at night before bed, and the drive home.
It sounded great in theory. I made sure to tell my family just so that I’d be stubborn enough to stick with it.
I’d never done a challenge like this before. It seemed fun. Ha! My system was in for a shock.
I’ll start on day one, and you can be the judge of what I actually accomplished.
Book 1: The Reader
It’s not my tendency to go for books that aren’t a personal recommendation, but this cover was too gorgeous to ignore.
I decided that this giant of a novel would be my first pick. Its difficulty level I found to be fairly close to Lord of the Rings. Reading is a forbidden art that only the highest are allowed to know, because in words lay magic. When Sefia’s parents are murdered, and then her aunt is kidnapped, she is determined to rescue her aunt and take vengeance on her captors.
Her journey leads her to discover the words in the book her father left behind, and as she starts to read them, she realizes how valuable this Book really is.
The beginning was slow, but by the end I was fully invested in Sefia’s world.
The Reader took me most of the first day, which actually wasn’t a bad thing. It’s a book that can’t be read in one sitting, because it’s just a lot to digest.
I don’t think I was prepared for the oddity of immediately jumping from one novel to another. That evening I started book two. Thankfully it was a much easier read than The Reader, which made the transition more bearable.
The second day we were busier, visiting family and friends, swimming, and going on a boat cruise. I was able to finish my second book, though, even with many pauses in between. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, reading whenever I got the chance – in our hotel chair, on the bed piled up with cushions, and even for a few brief moments in the car.
Book 2: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Oh my goodness. This one was so well done. It’s historical fantasy, about a girl during the time of the Gold Rush with the ability to sense gold, whether it be in a locket or a gleaming nugget buried deep in rich soil. Leah’s parents always told her to keep her gift a secret from prying neighbors and even close friends. But when someone does find out, Leah escapes West to protect herself.
She dresses as a man to keep her identity a secret and has to learn how to take care of herself and work to pay her way to California. I very much related to her struggles with belonging and wanting to be accepted, especially with being thought of as different than who she really is.
I began book three that evening. Okay…actually came back to it. I had started this book before the trip began and was about twenty or twenty-five percent into it when I started reading during the challenge.
The last day. At this point I started to realize how much I haven’t done. Another long day in the car, and I wasn’t sure what would happen.
Book 3: Candle in the Darkness
I’m growing to really love Lynn Austin’s works, and this one was no exception. I love that it’s a unique view on the American Civil War, especially in light of the fact that it showed the good on both sides. Not one side was completely in the right, and Caroline really struggles with completely identifying with the North or the South, especially when loyalty to one means betraying people she loves.
Caroline’s faith in God drove her to make decisions that would make people hate her or even endanger her own life, and it’s such an excellent reminder to live for God and not for man.
Ugh, guys, at this point it really hit me hard. It was so hard to go from one book to a completely unrelated one in five minutes. It would have been so much better if I had read a series by a single author.
Book 4: Mark of the Thief
I’ve read Jennifer Nielsen’s books before, but this one just wasn’t as gripping as it should’ve been. Nic wasn’t a very strong or empathetic main character. He had a lot of room for potential growth and empathetic character traits, but it wasn’t very much explored.
The plot however; was very well done. Set in Ancient Rome with a fantasy twist, the gods actually do exist. Nik, who is just a simple slave, discovers a powerful magic bulla and the griffin who guarded it, and when he steals it for himself, everything escalates.
The power is valued by all of Rome, and many leaders want it for themselves. That’s where it got a bit confusing, however, because I found that a lot of the prominent leaders, all with their own purposes in mind, were too similar to each other.
And I went right from that one to…*drumroll*
Book 5: The Girl Who Could See
Guys. This novella has been on my TBR for far too long. And I finally got the chance to read it. Wow. It actually pulled me in right away. Kara is an amazing author, and I loved this short little novella. I wish it was longer. Some elements could have been expanded much more, like the premise of the two connected universes and what really happened with her family. But I do get that you can only do so much with a novella.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I didn’t like the twist to the ending. I can’t elaborate because spoilers. 🙂
I’ll definitely have to reread this book again when I have the chance to take my time with it.
And that’s where I stopped. I tried getting into another Lynn Austin novel, but at that point I was tired and ready to be done.
So I learned a lot from this challenge. I learned what did and didn’t work for me.
I loved experiencing so many different author styles and genres. Looking back on it now, almost the only common thread is that their genre is fiction. I covered books ranging from historical fiction to futuristic speculative.
It was such a privilege to be able to soak in all of these stories. Some of them were really great, and even for the ones that weren’t, it was still awesome diving into all these different worlds and getting to know their characters.
Like I mentioned before, I didn’t really love the abruptness in jumping between novels. It was a lot of pressure to keep going when I just wanted to sit back and breathe sometimes. There was also the pressure to keep reading instead of savoring the stories and taking them in at the pace that feels right, sometimes with lots of breaks if needed.
If I did this challenge again, I probably would stick to just one author or genre. My brain would be much happier about that. Another thing that would be helpful is sticking to a long series maybe, or rereading instead of reading all of the books for the first time.
Let’s talk down below! Are you a fast reader? Is this the kind of challenge you would enjoy?