2018 Big Book Summer Challenge discussion

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Big Books Completed and Reviews

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message 1: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
In this discussion thread, you can post about Big Books you've finished. Include a link to your review, if you like.


message 2: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
I finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and LOVED it! Never wanted it to end, but it was a satisfying ending...and I now I want to read the rest of the series! I also want to see the movie - I think it came out last year or earlier this year? My husband & son also read & liked the book, so I am hoping we can watch the movie next week.

Now, I need to read a couple of review books and then I can get back to my Big Books!


message 3: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments I finished The Outsider and really enjoyed it. If you’re a Stephen King fan, I think you will like it. One down...


message 4: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "I finished The Outsider and really enjoyed it. If you’re a Stephen King fan, I think you will like it. One down..."

Oooh...thanks for the tip! And congrats on your first Big Book of the summer!


message 5: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Ok, catching up. I’ve read 2 more. The Hypnotistand Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found. Both very good and recommended.


message 6: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Ok, catching up. I’ve read 2 more. The Hypnotistand Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found. Both very good and recommended."

Wow, you are really plowing through the Big Books, Vicki! Good for you :) I just finished two review books, so tonight, I will choose another of my Big Books to dive into.


message 7: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
My review of my first Big Book of the summer! I read The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and LOVED it - this is a good one if you want a quick Big Book - it's very fast-paced. Here's my full review (no spoilers):

http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0...


message 8: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments I just finished another book and realized it is also over 400 pages. Must be my year. It was The High Season which I had an ARC from Netgalley. I’m trying to catch up on some Netgalley reading. This book is not my usual fare; Netgalley classifies it as “women’s fiction” to which I will just say...ugh for the classification. I enjoyed the story more than I usually would though and definitely recommend for a good, light summer vacation read.


message 9: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "I just finished another book and realized it is also over 400 pages. Must be my year. It was The High Season which I had an ARC from Netgalley. I’m trying to catch up on some Netgal..."

Sounds interesting, Vicki - yes, I really hate when books are called "women's fiction" - do we call books featuring male characters "men's fiction"? Anyway, glad you enjoyed this one!


message 10: by Kate (last edited Jun 24, 2018 03:31PM) (new)

Kate | 6 comments I have finished 2 Big Books: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais and You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz. I reviewed both of them on GR, but am not sure if I can link them here. They were both 4 star reads and I highly recommend them if you are looking for a Big Book less than 500 pages! Not sure what is up next (well I think it is Shantaram which might be my last Big Book at 900+ pages !!). Thanks Sue!!


message 11: by Cheriee (new)

Cheriee Weichel | 18 comments I finished The Boat People by by Sharon Bala earlier in June. It is such an important book given the political climate around refugees.
Now I'm reading Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. It's pretty depressing so far.


message 12: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Kate wrote: "I have finished 2 Big Books: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais andYou Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz You Should Have Know..."

I listened to Shantaram a few years ago. It took forever! But I thought it was fantastic. I just started the audio of Hum If You Don’t Know the Words today.


message 13: by Poem Fanatic (new)

Poem Fanatic | 3 comments Sue wrote: "Victoria wrote: "I just finished another book and realized it is also over 400 pages. Must be my year. It was The High Season which I had an ARC from Netgalley. I’m trying to catch ..."

Yeah I agree. I enjoy books that are classified as "Contemporary Women" or "Women's fiction" but I don't believe we need a separate genre for books about women! Women's fiction spans all genres!


message 14: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "I have finished 2 Big Books: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais andYou Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz You Should Have Know..."

That's great, Kate! Rockin' the Big Books :) Everyone was raving about Hum If You Don't Know the Words at Booktopia this spring!

Hope you enjoy the next one, too - I am in the midst of a 750-pager, so I understand!


message 15: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Cheriee wrote: "I finished The Boat People by by Sharon Bala earlier in June. It is such an important book given the political climate around refugees.
Now I'm reading Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capit..."


Wow, that's some heavy reading so far this summer, Cheriee! Maybe you are due for a nice light 400+ page bit of fiction!


message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin (mcrobus) | 11 comments Just finished The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea
by Jack E. Davis, 608 pages. History of the Gulf along the U.S. coastline and the human impact on the area. Incredible research.


message 17: by Chris (new)

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 2 comments Sounds great!


message 18: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "Just finished The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea
by Jack E. Davis, 608 pages. History of the Gulf along the U.S. coastline and the human impact on the area. Incredible research."


That sounds interesting, Robin! Congrats on your first Big Book of the summer!


message 19: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Sudden reading slump! I just keep starting things and getting bored....


message 20: by Shaye (new)

Shaye Miller (2shaye) | 10 comments

I've finished reading two "big books" by Sabaa Tahir in June:

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in the "Ember" series and it is full of magical elements, gore, some beauty, and pure evil. I fell into the story pretty quickly and had to see Laia and Elias through to the end.

It follows the alternating first person narrative of Laia and Elias:

Laia and her brother, Darin, are Scholars who live in a village with their grandparents (both of their parents are deceased). Scholars are known to be fairly peaceful people who are usually poor and illiterate. As the story begins, Laia’s home is bombarded by Mask soldiers who kill her grandparents and take her brother hostage. Laia barely escapes with the clothing on her back.

Elias Veturius was taken from his home as a young child and raised at Blackcliff in hopes of becoming a Mask. Masks are the highest form of soldiers — the final product. They suffer extremely brutal training throughout their childhood, leaving many candidates dead along the way.

While these two characters are practically sworn enemies, they must come together for a common cause. But doing do without risking both their lives is impossible.

There’s mild language, some passionate kissing, mention of prostitutes, and mentions/threats of rape (though no actual scenes). There are a number of fights/battles and some horrific punishments to both the soldiers and slaves, which is why I would say this YA book is definitely for older readers.


A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2) by Sabaa Tahir A Torch Against the Night is book #2 in the "Ember" series. This story picks up right where book #1 leaves off. While still told from different viewpoints, Helene's perspective is included in book #2 (Helene is Elias's best friend -- also a Mask). So we have three different stories. And for the most part, all three are in different locations for much of the story. A large portion of this book is spent traveling across many lands, weaving in various tribes and cultures along the way. So we meet a few new characters that weave seamlessly into the story.

Since our local libraries don't yet have book #3, I'll be ordering it this week. In the meantime, I'll dip into some ARCs I need to finish before September.




message 21: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Sudden reading slump! I just keep starting things and getting bored...."

Hope it passes soon! Might be time to set aside the Big Books and go for something quick and fast-paced to give you a jumpstart!


message 22: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Shaye wrote: "I've finished reading two "big books" by Sabaa Tahir in June:
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in the "Ember" series and it is full of magical elem..."


Congratulations on your 2nd Big Book of the summer, Shaye! Wow, you really flew through book 2! It must have been good. Glad you are enjoying the series so much.


message 23: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Just over the wire at 432 pages, I finished A People's History of the Vampire Uprising. I was really enjoying this book until the end and then... PPFFFFTTTT. Such a disappointment of an ending to me. This book is structured like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and is the same kind of story, so no real points for originality there. But there were lots of interesting subjects raised regarding racism, religion, etc. Unfortunately, I disliked the ending so much I demoted it from a 4 star read in my mind to a basic 3.


message 24: by Robin (new)

Robin (mcrobus) | 11 comments Stayed up very late to finish Beartown (Beartown #1)
by Fredrik Backman, 432 pages. All I can say is "wow".


message 25: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Just over the wire at 432 pages, I finished A People's History of the Vampire Uprising. I was really enjoying this book until the end and then... PPFFFFTTTT. Such a disappointment o..."

Sounds like an interesting one, Vicki - sorry you didn't like the ending! I didn't read World War Z, but my husband did (and we watched the movie).


message 26: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "Stayed up very late to finish Beartown (Beartown #1)
by Fredrik Backman, 432 pages. All I can say is "wow"."


Wonderful, Robin!! I have heard so many good things about this book. I am behind - I still haven't read A Man Called Ove yet (which my mom loved).

Congratulations on your 2nd Big Book this summer!


message 27: by Cheriee (new)

Cheriee Weichel | 18 comments Shaye wrote: "I've finished reading two "big books" by Sabaa Tahir in June:
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in the "Ember" series and it is full of magical elem..."


I'm impressed. I tried to read Ember in the Ashes but it didn't work for me.


message 28: by Cheriee (new)

Cheriee Weichel | 18 comments I've finished my second big book of the summer. Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini is the story of Ada Lovelace. The large print edition had 767 pages and the regular edition has 446. (The large print was very easy to read!) I've been fascinated by her life ever since learning about her. I enjoyed some parts of this more than others. Here is what I wrote in my Goodreads review:
I want to give this 3.5 stars. This fictional account of the life of Ada Lovelace gives readers all kinds of insights into how she became the remarkable woman who is know as the world’s first computer programmer. I especially enjoyed reading the sections of this book that pertained to science and mathematics. It hasn’t been (and still isn’t) easy to be an intelligent woman in a patriarchal society.


message 29: by Cheriee (new)

Cheriee Weichel | 18 comments Kate wrote: "I have finished 2 Big Books: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais andYou Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz You Should Have Know..."

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words looks like a great book, but I'm not sure about You Should Have Known. It sure has mixed reviews.


message 30: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Cheriee wrote: "I've finished my second big book of the summer. Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini is the story of Ada Lovelace. The large print edition had 767 pages and the regular edition has 446. (T..."

Congratulations on your 2nd Big Book of the Summer, Cheriee! I haven't heard of that one (or the woman it's about), but it sounds fascinating. Glad you enjoyed it.


message 31: by Shaye (new)

Shaye Miller (2shaye) | 10 comments Cheriee wrote: "I'm impressed. I tried to read Ember..."

I responded in my blog comments, but I'll add this here, too: That first 1/4 of the book was incredibly brutal. I don’t know if you made it to the part where a young soldier dies at the whipping post, but I think that was the worst part of the book and just horrific to consider this type of society (and that, historically, we’ve had real-life societies who champion children being raised to fight and kill that way). I imagine many people stopped at that point because it's hard to stomach. AWFUL!! The good news is that this series seems to be a long battle to end this type of abuse, brutality, and slavery. I hope to see their plans come to fruition, despite so many forks in the road.


message 32: by Cheriee (new)

Cheriee Weichel | 18 comments I am going to be enjoying this story vicariously through you Shaye, because I don't think I could read it. I have a very hard time with this kind of brutality. Hopefully there will be lessons to learn that we can use in the real world.


message 33: by Victoria (last edited Jul 10, 2018 09:53AM) (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Ok, don’t throw things at me, but my next book, which I’m highly recommending, doesn’t come out until late October! Little by Edward Carey
This is a fictionalized account of the life of Madame Tussaud and it was wonderful. Charming is the word that seems to fit best. It has wonderful illustrations. It reminded me so much of reading a Dickens novel.


message 34: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Ok, don’t throw things at me, but my next book, which I’m highly recommending, doesn’t come out until late October! Little by Edward Carey
This is a fictionalized account of the life of Madame..."


Ooh...sounds intriguing, Vicki! Isn't there another new book out about Madame Tussaud, too? Hot topic!


message 35: by Shaye (new)

Shaye Miller (2shaye) | 10 comments Cheriee wrote: "I am going to be enjoying this story vicariously through you Shaye, because I don't think I could read it."

I don't blame you at all, Cheriee!! No need to spend your valuable time on something that is personally upsetting when there are still so many wonderful things just waiting to be read.


message 36: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments I finished another ARC, The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) by Minette Walters . It was entertaining (if you can say that about a novel about the Black Plague). Not the greatest, but okay. It’s a planned trilogy, so I guess I’ll have to continue to see what happens next to all those people.


message 37: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "I finished another ARC, The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) by Minette Walters. It was entertaining (if you can say that about a novel about the Black Plague). Not the greatest, but okay. It’s a planned trilogy, so I..."

Sounds interesting - it's always weird to say you "enjoyed" a book about a gruesome subject! Did you read Geraldine Brooks' novel Year of Wonders? Also about the Plague and very good.


message 38: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Yes, Sue, I would recommend Year of Wonders over this one. I said that exact thing in my longer review on the book page and on Netgalley.


message 39: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Yes, Sue, I would recommend Year of Wonders over this one. I said that exact thing in my longer review on the book page and on Netgalley."

Good to know - I always enjoy Geraldine Brooks' novels.


message 40: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments I forgot I finished another yesterday or the day before. Finally, from the depths of my TBR list, Someone Knows My Name! Goodreads says I shelved this in 2011. I didn’t write a review, but I would definitely recommend.


message 41: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "I forgot I finished another yesterday or the day before. Finally, from the depths of my TBR list, Someone Knows My Name! Goodreads says I shelved this in 2011. I didn’t write a review..."

Sounds like me, Vicki! I have books on my TBR bookcase that have gathered dust for over a decade! It's so hard for me to give up on a book and get rid of it without reading it :)

Glad you liked this one!


message 42: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Yes that’s why I have over 1000 books on my GR TBR list. It only goes up. It seems like most weeks I add 3 new for every 1 I read.


message 43: by Kate (new)

Kate | 6 comments Cheriee wrote: "Kate wrote: "I have finished 2 Big Books: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais andYou Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz You Sho..."

I have met Jean Hanff Korelitz herein NYC and I attend some of her series of Pop Up book groups. I will say that knowing the author usually pushes me to think of their work more favorably. I liked You Should Have Known as the plot kept me turning the pages as well as it being so New York centric. I can understand the mixed reviews, but I really was glad I read it!


message 44: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments I’m just plowing through books lately. I finished Bright Ruin, which is the third in a dystopian family trilogy that I love. This was also an ARC, not coming out until October. Edelweiss tags it as 416 pages, so I’ll count it here.


message 45: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Yes that’s why I have over 1000 books on my GR TBR list. It only goes up. It seems like most weeks I add 3 new for every 1 I read."

I know! It's impossible to ever catch up. I don;t really use GR very often for "want to read" but I have an Excel spreadsheet that is almost up to 1000 now :)


message 46: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "Cheriee wrote: "Kate wrote: "I have finished 2 Big Books: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais and[bookcover:You Should Have Known|1..."

I totally agree with you on meeting the author! It's the Booktopia Effect :)


message 47: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "I’m just plowing through books lately. I finished Bright Ruin, which is the third in a dystopian family trilogy that I love. This was also an ARC, not coming out until October. Edel..."

Sounds intriguing, Vicki! I haven;t heard of the series yet.


message 48: by Jane (new)

Jane Greensmith (janegs) | 7 comments Just finished Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens
https://janegs.blogspot.com/2018/07/o...


message 49: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 125 comments Mod
My review of my 2nd Big Book of Summer 2018 - Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, book 2 in the Outlander series - I loved it!

Here's my review:

http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0...


message 50: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (vicki_c) | 41 comments Ok, I finished Ohio. Here’s my review on Goodreads, since I’m too lazy to synopsize here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


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