2020 Reading Challenge First Quarter Update

2020 Reading Challenge First Quarter Update | Life of Dahlia

As you might know I started off this year with setting myself a reading challenge, the challenge was to shop my bookshelf (sort of) and read as many books on my shelf as possible (in one year). I have already set a list for myself of the books that I would like to read, a lot of them being ones that I have been wanting to read but haven’t got quite gotten there, yet; as well as a few that may need to be purchased but the main idea was to read what I already have before purchasing more (which I have kind of failed at because I have purchased quite a few already this year but still a majority of whats on my list are books that I have owned for quite some time.)

In this update post I will be sharing with you the books that I have read in the first quarter of the year (January – March) and what my thoughts are on them. If you would like to see my whole list for 2020 you can find it here.

Related Post: My 2020 Reading Challenge

If you follow my Personal/Art Instagram account you may have seen me posting what I’m reading in my feed and on my stories. I’ve been sharing what I’m currently reading aswell as ticking off what I have finished reading. But I really wanted to do more of an in-depth post on here about the books I’ve read, however If you would like to keep updated on what I’m doing or reading currently I would recommend checking out my Instagram account.

What Books have I read in the first 3 months of 2020

So in the first quarter I have read quite a few books, In January I finished off Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’ Which I started ages ago and never quite got back to until December 2019. In February I started off with something a little more light hearted Angie Kent’s ‘If You Don’t Laugh, You’ll Cry’ and then finished of February and March by reading Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ series.

My Favourite Book Series + Audio Books | Life of Dahlia
Immortal Instrument (Shadow Hunters) Book Series by Cassandra Claire | Photo & Styling by Erin Applebee

Cassandra Clare’s Shadow Hunters ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series

I started this series a while back, I even included it in my ‘Favourite Book Series post from a while ago and after finishing it I can say it still is a favourite, I really enjoyed this series. I read the paper back versions of these books as well as listening to the Audio Books and even though I wished the Audio Books were a bit more consistent with the narrators I still enjoyed listening to those as well.

Related Post: My Favourite Book Series + Audio Books

Having also watched the Netflix series (which I also enjoyed) I did notice how much of the storyline they changed for the show and I can’t say I didn’t like either versions I feel like they are both good, but there are some big changes they made, however I don’t want to spoil it just in case you haven’t read the series.

What I loved about the books is the way the Author is able to write so descriptively I find that really keeps it interesting and makes me just want to read more. I love that especially in the last few books that I get to read from different characters points of views, I feel like this isn’t something you see often and I think again it just immerses you in to the story.

I have always enjoyed stories from the fantasy realm and though I’m not a religious person I do find the idea of angels and demons fascinating as well as stories that include things like witch, warlocks (or wizards), vampires , werewolves, etc. And I love that that Cassandra Clare’s Shadow Hunter world has them all.

Whether you have seen the Netflix series or not I thought this series was defiantly good enough to recommend to those who like stories from the fantasy genre, I feel like this has some great storylines and some beautiful writing, which I’m sure that you will enjoy.

Because this series has so many books I’m not sure where to start but basically without giving away too much this series begins with telling the story of a girl named Clary and follows her through a whirl wind of events including the disappearance of her mother, a teen romance, reappearance of a father and brother that she thought were dead, discovering she has shadow hunter blood as well as discovering that all those things we think are fairytales and myths are actually true. Later on there are also aspects of some of the other main characters stories included as well.

So if that sounds like something you would like I defiantly recommend checking out Cassandra Claire’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’.

After reading this series I’m glad that I have the books in the ‘The Dark Artifices’ series and I also recently picked up her ‘Infernal Devices’ series as well as ‘Chain of Gold’ from her most recent series, so that I can dive back into the Shadow Hunter World at any time.

‘If You Don’t Laugh You’ll Cry’ by Angie Kent | Photo & Styling by Erin Applebee

Angie Kent ‘If You Don’t Laugh You’ll Cry’

I read this book in like 2 days, I think that’s the quickest that I have ever read a book, but I just wanted to keep reading it, though its not a huge book so that contributed to it aswell. While I’m not super in to new age stuff like The Universe as a divine power I’m totally open to it. Angie’s book definitely gave me many laughs and a few little teary moments, I felt like a lot of it really resonated with me and I feel like I may take some lessons away with me after reading this book.

She talked about many moments in her life but also gave us the readers insight to the lessons she has learnt along the way. There were a few things in this book that I’m not super into but mostly I was left with positive feelings.

I really loved the aspects of self-love and kindness as well as body positivity, which I believe is different for everyone, like what’s that might be for her might be different for you or me. But I felt that there are messages in this book that we could all take away.

I would recommend this book but I would also say keep an open mind as well, some parts may not resonate with you but there are some great laughs to be had and positive messages that we can all learn from. But basically if you aren’t familiar with who ‘Angie Kent‘ is because your not from Australia, she started appearing on our TV screens a few years ago with one of her besties ‘Yvie Jones‘ on a show called ‘Goggle Box’ where they show different groups of people (friends, families,etc) watching TV shows and basically giving commentary on what they are watching. Since then she has gone on to appear in shows like ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ and ‘The Bachelorette‘.

She has quite a light hearted and funny personality, as well as being a huge animal lover and I think thats why she is well loved here, anyway I really enjoyed the book like I said and If you are an Aussie and know who Angie is and are a fan of hers I would say check out her book if it is something that interests you.

‘His Dark Materials’ by Philip Pullman | Photo & Styling by Erin Applebee

‘His Dark Materials’ series by Philip Pullman

After seeing the first season of the ‘His Dark Material’ tv series, I knew I had to read the books because I thought the story was brilliant, so I picked them up in January and added them to my ‘2020 Reading List’. Even though I did see the first season of the series I tried to go into reading the books with a fresh mind but I did occasionally notice the differences in the story especially while reading the first novel ‘Northern Lights’/’The Golden Compass(the name of the U.S version)’.  I also didn’t realize there was a movie based on this series even thought i have seen it I think but it was a long time ago, called ‘The Golden Compass‘ .

In these books I loved the Authors writing style it really had me going just one more chapter, though I have to admit while I was reading the first one I had a split-second thought of am I going to like this as much as I want to and the answer now after finishing the series is Yes, I thought the series was great. It had a lot of great characters, many of whom Lyra (the main character) meets along the way including Will who is also a prominent character from book two onwards, and the plot has quite a few interesting twist and turns that I didn’t see coming and some that I did.

Like I said for my review of Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’ I’m not a religious person but I find the ideas of angel’s and alike quite interesting, The way Philip Pullman has created and shaped the worlds in the ‘His Dark Materials’ series makes reading this series even the more interesting. I found both the religious and scientific aspects to the story fascinating as well as the journey that Lyra and Will have to take through each book.

Honestly when trying to think if there is anything I’ve read that I could compare this to I’m having trouble coming up with something, I feel like these novels are very unique but there is a sense of magic about them, an instrument that can tell you the truth and guide you, a knife that can open doorways between worlds and a telescope that can show you ‘Dust’(particles not visible to the naked eye but help shape world’s) what’s more magical than that. So I feel like if you like books from JK. Rowling’s ‘Wizarding World’ and alike then ‘His Dark Materials’ might be right up your alley.

After reading the books I’m quite excited to see where they take the TV series.

Bonus Book – Audio Book:

My ‘bonus book’ section will be dedicated to books or audio books that aren’t included on my reading list, so If I listen or read an extra book outside the ones on my list I will add them at the end of my recap with my thoughts on them.

‘Am I Doing This Right? Life lessons from the Encyclopedia Bri-Tanya’ by Tanya Hennessy

I didn’t exactly read this one but rather listen to the Audio Book, I have actually listened to this one twice in the last year because I love it. Tanya gives the reader or rather the listener (depending on whether you are listening to the Audio book or reading the actual book) an insight into her life experiences and the lessons that she has learnt along the way.

This book gave me many laughs, I listened to it while doing my makeup, working and doing chores around the house. I love the A-Z format I think that’s it’s a different way to sharing life experiences with each matched up to a letter.

I found this book funny and there were quite a few uplifting moments, that I quite enjoyed but it also talked about things like mental health which I thought was also really good, showing that life isn’t like social media where you only see the best moments in peoples lives. I’m honestly having trouble writing about this one because I feel like there is just way to much to talk about but I would definitely recommend this one it was a genuinely a good read.

Tanya Hennessy is a fairly well known Australian personality, she’s a radio announcer, comedian and also a well know social media personality. She has appeared on a few shows on Australian TV including ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, ‘Hughesy We Have A Problem’ and “Chris and Julie’s Sunday Night Takeaway.’ If your a fan then I definatly recommend this and even if your not you may still enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe found a couple of books to add to your own reading list. If you haven’t seen what’s on my 2020 Reading List definitely go check it out so you can see what else I have on there. I’ve just filmed a book shelf tour that I thought would be great to share along with my quarterly book posts like this one. Hopefully I can come up with a few more ideas to share for this series as well.

Until next time, I hope you have a lovely day.

Disclaimer – This post is not sponsored and doesn’t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in checking out anything mentioned in this post. Read full Disclaimer here.

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