A reading challenge can be a great way to motivate yourself to read more in a given period. Though I know what you’re thinking – who needs the motivation to read?
Back in early January, I set myself a target to read 24 books in the 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’ve already posted my first update for the first four months of the year. At that point, I’d read 18, four of which were non-fiction.
So here are the 18 books that I’ve read for the reading challenge between 1 May and 31 August!
Note, these are all affiliate links but any money earned if you click through and buy pays for my web hosting.
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – Dan Harris
I’ve been into mindfulness for some time, but it does have something of a PR problem. When you tell anyone you practice mindfulness, they look at you like you’ve decided to run off to Tibet and join a cult. News anchor Dan Harris felt the same way, and wrote this marvellous book about mindfulness and how it’s not all ‘woo woo’. It’s very funny and well worth a read.
Switch: How to change things when change is hard – Chip & Dan Heath
I’ve been a fan of the Heath brothers since I read Made to Stick, and Switch was just as good. It helps explain how to overcome resistance, both within yourself and others, when changes need to be made. The examples include environmental groups and educators, so it’s not a nefarious ‘brainwashing’ book at all.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol Dweck
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, but sadly it reads more like a conference paper that’s been extended to book length. It essentially boils down to ‘fixed mindset bad, growth mindset good’. Sadly, it never really explains how to adopt one rather than the other. Forcing myself not to skip chapters is pretty much the definition of a reading challenge.
Servant of Death – Sarah Hawkswood
I originally bought book two in the Bradecote & Catchpoll Mysteries series on sale, so went back to buy book one for Kindle. It took a while to get to grips with the multiple viewpoints but it’s a good historical mystery that kept me guessing right until the end.
Ordeal by Fire – Sarah Hawkswood
Book 2 in the Bradecote & Catchpoll series is even better than book 1 (above). Dealing with an arsonist, Hugh Bradecote and Serjeant Catchpoll must scour the streets of 12th century Worcester to catch the culprit. Gripping read.
Dark Dawn over Steep House – MRC Kasasian
This is Book 5 in the Gower Street Detective series. I’d been enjoying the books so far but I struggled at first to get into this one. It’s as if the author is on a mission to make the heroine, March Middleton, as thoroughly unlikeable as possible. It goes to some pretty dark places but if you enjoyed the first four books, persevere with this one.
Devil in the Countryside – Cory Barclay
This is Book 1 in the Of Witches and Werewolves series. I’d erroneously assumed it would have supernatural elements so I was a little disappointed when it turned out to be a historical whodunit. That said, it chooses an interesting location (Reformation-era Germany) and includes some fascinating, multi-faceted characters. Definitely worth a read.
Society for Paranormals Box Set, Books 1-3 – Vered Ehsani
You can buy books 1-3 (Ghosts of Tsavo, The Automaton’s Wife, and Revenge of the Mantis) separately, or as a box set, which is what I did. That’s why I’ve lumped them all together. They follow the adventures of Mrs Beatrice Knight, a turn-of-the-century paranormal investigator who ends up in Nairobi. She faces more than hungry lions but deals with all situations with guts and a hearty dose of cinnamon. I fly through these books and I highly recommend them if you enjoy paranormal adventures. Plus, the African location makes a welcome change from London or New York.
The Fourth Mandate (Society for Paranormals, #4) – Vered Ehsani
In the fourth installation, Mrs Knight realises her treasured Society for Paranormals is not what it seems. While recovering from the events of Revenge of the Mantis, she has to adjust to new technology, and the knowledge that the Society may be out to get her.
Curse of the Nandi (Society for Paranormals, #5) – Vered Ehsani
This is book 5 in the series, and it’s separate since it’s not part of the box set I bought. I slowed down reading them at this point, aware I was almost at the end of the series, so I wanted to savour them!
Evangeline and the Alchemist – Madeleine D’Este
I’ve welcomed Madeleine to my blog before to talk about spiritualism in 19th century Melbourne. It seemed only right that I read one of her books so I started with book 1 in her steampunk series. It’s a fun, quick read that rattles along at a great pace and I’ll be working my way through the rest of the series soon. If you enjoy adventure stories or steampunk, then you’ll enjoy Madeleine’s books.
The Revenant of Thraxton Hall – (The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Book 1) – Vaughn Entwhistle
The conceit behind this series is a very clever one. Instead of exploring the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Vaughn Entwhistle instead casts his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as the detective, with the playwright (and genius) Oscar Wilde as his Watson. In this first case, the pair travel to the wilds of Lancashire to prevent the murder of a medium. It’s a fantastic read, and it’s the kind of book that makes you miss your stop on the bus or stay up way too late reading because you just can’t put it down. My first action upon finishing this one was to buy book 2. Can’t recommend it enough.
Long Night Moon (The Bradbury Institute Book 2) – Sonya Clark
Sonya Clark does it again! She never fails to astonish me with the breadth of her imagination and her mastery of her craft. As always, rich descriptions, a motley crew of characters, and a swift pace combine to make this a cracking read.
A Thousand Fiendish Angels – JF Penn
These three short stories were inspired by Dante’s Inferno. They’re also free to download so if you’ve never read JF Penn before, this is a great place to start. The stories take place in three very different settings, and are linked by a book bound in human skin.
The Travelling Bag and Other Stories – Susan Hill
I absolutely adore Susan Hill’s writing, and she produces creepy ghost stories like no one else! So when I spotted this collection in the library, I just had to read it. Balancing the weird, the Gothic, and the otherworldly, it’d be a brilliant read for Halloween. Just saying.
Under the Skin – Michel Faber
I only read this because it was required for an academic book I’d been working on. But I ended up really enjoying it all the same. Telling the tale of Isserley, an alien forced into the form of a human, it’s a fascinating look at the human race from a different point of view.
Discord – Katy Haye
I literally read book 1 in the Echoes of Earth series in one sitting, aside from having to pause while I changed trains. While it flirts with the ghost story (and very successfully, I might add), it’s definitely a science fiction novel through and through. Highly recommended.
Western/fantasy/who knows, it’s Stephen King
The Gunslinger – Stephen King
I’ll be honest, I tried to read this in paperback years ago and gave up. But my best friend’s husband kept telling me how great the books were so I bought the electronic version some time ago. It’s been sitting on my Kindle since July 2016 and I finally tackled it this year. I literally read it in two days so I’m looking forward to Book 2!
So that’s Part 2 of my Reading Challenge update!
Have you been doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge too? What have you read so far in 2017?
Why not claim your free copy of my collection of weird tales, Harbingers? Just sign up below and start reading…
Ghosts & goddesses
Would you like more folklore and weird tales? Add your email to get them once a month, and receive this free copy of my short story collection too!