It’s officially the end of month 1 in Erin 5.0’s Book Challenge! I think I finished one book last year so I’m over the moon that my reading mojo is finally coming back. I think it helped that I had a week-long vacation and got some reading done!


Here’s the reviewing system:

★- terrible | ★★- I finished it but it was a struggle | ★★★- not bad, not my favorite | ★★★★- a good read that kept my interest | ★★★★★- I’ve already bought the book for my collection & I’m recommending it to everyone

I’ll also tell you why I read it, what it’s about, and whether or not you should read it. The book images link you back to their GoodReads pages.

. . .

the horse and his boyThe Horse & His Boy by C.S. Lewis || ★★★★/5
I’d like to re/read all the Narnia books and this one is where I left off years ago. Plus it fulfilled a requirement for Erin’s challenge and the one with my friends. I know the order of books is debatable, but this one seems to pick up somewhere after The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe. This book follows the story of Shasta & Bree on their journey to freedom. I think it hints at the value of humility and bravery and trust. It’s a light adventure tucked into a short, easy read. I love reading ‘the classics’ and I consider The Chronicles to fall into that category.

I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for a feel-good, light, classic story. It’s kind of an odd pick, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it easy to get through!


Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline|| ★★★★★/5
My grandma recommended I read this book. A friend loaned it to her and she to me. Oh, my heart- I just completely and totally loved this book. It was the kind of story that you think about all day long. It told the story of Vivian (1929) and Molly (2011) and their struggles as orphans to find love, acceptance, strength, and family. This story had so much heartbreak but also so much resolution- it was an absolutely perfect mix. I’d honestly recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who love historical fiction. It’s a gorgeous work of art & storytelling.



the_selectionThe Selection by Kiera Cass|| ★★★/5
This book ended up on my to-read list via bloggers. (I can’t remember who- I’m sorry!!) I don’t usually read novels set in the future, but my weird interest in The Bachelorette drew me to this book. I’d say this is The Bachelorette meets The Hunger Games. It’s a little odd and a little futuristic, but it works. For me, at times this book was five stars and at times it was two. I loved the main character, America, but sometimes her love-triangle-situation annoyed me. I’m going to finish the trilogy, though. I’d recommend this one to those who like a strong female lead with a little romance and lots of dialogue.




Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda|| ★★★★/5
I chose this book because it checks the box on two different challenges. (Yay!) It’s a story about family, motherhood, India, and self-discovery told from multiple points of view. It spans from 1985 to 2004 and is set in India and California. When I started into the book I was afraid it woouldn’t resonate with me- it starts off with upper class and lower class struggles with motherhood. In the end, though, I found myself tearing up with every family moment and loving each character for their own personal growth. I’d recommend Secret Daughter to anyone looking for a warm story filled with culture.

. . .read

| 5 points | Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages: Cress by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Read a book that starts with the letter “R”: The Royal We by Heather Cocks
| 10 points | Read a book with five words in the title: The Lady of The River by Philippa Gregory **
| 15 points | Read a book that has a (mostly) blue cover: The Selection by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | Read a book with twins as characters: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | Read a book from this list of books made into movies: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
| 25 points | Read a book set in a country you have always wanted to visit: Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver (England)
| 30 points | Read a historical fiction book: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline **
| 30 points | Read a music related book: Wicked by Gregory Maguire
| 35 points | Read a book originally published over 100 years ago: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

**I switch to Orphan Train instead of March and The Lady of the River instead of The Taming of the Queen.

So I’m at 85 out of 200 points.

I’m not very happy with the way I review books. I think I might revise it for next month. Thoughts?

What did you read this month? 🙂 Linking up with Michelle, Cat, and Alison for Reading Lately!



24 thoughts on “What I Read… July 2016

  1. Yeah, the love-triangle in The Selection was a little annoying, but I totally agree that the book is The Bachelor meets the Hunger Games…that’s literally what I said in my post about it! So funny.


    1. I’m pretty sure you’re the one who steered me in that direction and then another blogger confirmed it. Haha! I’m going to hope that the triangle gets less annoying 😉


  2. I’ve been eyeing The Orphan Train .. you’re making me want to go ahead & get it.

    I have never read the Narnia books. I bought them – just never read them. #shameonme


  3. Any of the books from the Narnia series are ones I can pick up, again and again!

    You’ve got me intrigued about The Orphan train, admittedly not normally my genre, but the story seems captivating and both you and your grandma loved it so I might see if I can get it from the library.


    1. I’ve read The Magicians Uncle and The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe, but I stopped after that. Someday I’m gonna read them all 🙂

      I totally stand by my recommendation of Orphan Train!


  4. I have the hardest time making it through The Chronicles of Narnia. I always have the best intentions, but can never seem to motivate myself to read past the first two books! I’ve read those a bunch though.I have a copy of the Orphan Train. It’s sounds like I need to make that one a priority! I love The Bachelor so I enjoyed the Selection Series quite a bit. Added Secret Daughter to my never-ending to-read list!


    1. I have a list of classics that I’d like to check off my list some day- all the books in The Chronicles of Narnia are on that list. Someday… someday… 😉 Definitely check out Orphan Train!


  5. I’m definitely planning to read Orphan Train and Secret Daughter. Well done! (even if I did leave you off the facebook tally -ha!)


    1. Hahaha- I was like, ‘WAIT. For the first time every I ACTUALLY read something! Where’s my name??’ Hahaha 🙂 Orphan Train was a great one! Secret Daughter was a little slow but it was a cute book 🙂


  6. Awesome job! I slacked majorly in July! : / It was a busy busy month! Oh well. 🙂 I am part-way through the Narnia series. I think I am ready to start Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I have heard good things about Orphan Train – I am so glad that you liked it! I liked the Selection Series… there’s so much fluff there – but they were fun to read and very very quick for me. Which is something I like. Diversity in my reading. 🙂 I will have to look into Secret Daughter now! 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


    1. I have a feeling August won’t be as impressive… The week long vacation/roadtrip was really helpful in July 😉 We’ll see how it goes…
      I started the Chronicles a LOOONG time ago, so I’d like to start over and reread them all (except The Horse & His Boy). I highly recommend Orphan Train. And I want to start on #2 in The Selection series (I already have it from the library), but it doesn’t fit into the challenge I’m doing. Hahaha!


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