2020 Reading Challenge | Second Quarter Update

2020 Reading Challenge | Second Quarter Update | Life of Dahlia

I can’t believe how fast this year is going, in today’s post I will be sharing with you my ‘Second Quarter’ Reading Challenge Update, how crazy is that, 6 months of the year gone already I can’t believe it.

But before I get into my blog post I just wanted to post a bit of an update here, you may see some posts going up soon here on my blog but I’m taking a mini break from blogging and stuff at the moment for health reasons. I will be possibly schedualing a couple of posts but I’m not sure when I will be back to posting normally. I have a few posts I would like to share soon that include video tutorials but I still have to edit them, I’m not sure when they will be going up.

I also just want to mention that with everything going on around the world at the moment, I haven’t been on social media much because honestly I’ve been finding social media quite overwhelming , I haven’t posted anything in regards to some of the things going on around the world with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests, however I don’t want it to seem like I don’t care because I actually do, a lot. I’m a very companionate person and when I see other people suffering I take that on board and it can severely effect my own mental health. Just know that I do care and that even though I haven’t personally voiced my opinion online doesn’t mean I’m not with you. I’ve been having conversations with the people close to me and I am currently researching charities and organisations that I can donate to that help the Australian Indigenous community .

Now I will get back to my post.

What Books have I read in the second part of 2020

The first month of this quarter I started off pretty good and I read through ‘The Hunger Games’ pretty quickly, I think it may have been a matter of a couple of weeks and then I moved on to Cassandra Clare’s ‘Infernal Devices’ trilogy. This one I could have finished in a month but I have found myself feeling a bit tired over the last couple of months (thanks chronic fatigue) and I didn’t feel like reading much. I was going through a binge watching TV Show’s faze, still kind of there but anyway my reading for this quarter could have been better but what can I do really, other than try better for the next quarter.

My Favourite Book Series + Audio Books | Life of Dahlia
The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

After finishing ‘His Dark Materials’ in March I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to read, I was torn between ‘The Hunger Games’ and one of my Agatha Christie novels, but I ended up going with ‘The Hunger Games’ in the end. This was my second time reading ‘The Hunger Games’ series but I enjoyed reading it just as much as the first time around.

What I find interesting about these books is the fact that it is written from ‘Katniss’s’ perspective as if she was telling you her story or writing it down in a diary, so to speak. I feel that this is a very unique way of writing and it made reading the story even the more interesting.

For those who haven’t read the books or watched the movies, the story follows a teenage girl named ‘Katniss Everdeen’, who lives in district twelve in the country of Panem, which is a country residing in what used to be the U.S in some near dystopian future. She lives in one of 12(13) districts that make up the country of Panem. Each year they hold ‘The Hunger Games’ which are the result of an uprising of the districts against The Capitol, aptly named the dark days. The Capitol reaps children from district two – twelve , one girl and one boy are picked from children between the ages of twelve – eighteen, they are then taken to The Capitol to participate in a Live TV show where each one will go up against the others to win ‘The Hunger Games’. The sole survivor (victor) of the games will be laden with wealth and their district will be rewarded with food for the year after the games.

Book one ‘The Hunger Games’ follows Katniss as she participates in the games and plays up a false romance with ‘Peeta’ (her district 12 counterpart) for the cameras all in the name of surviving the games. She is thrust into the bazaar world of The Capitol which thrives on unusual fashions trends, over indulgence and lives for the celebrity of The Games. One small gesture sparks a potential uprising of the districts.

The other books follow on from there but I don’t want to give the whole story away.

I loved reading these books, and I can’t wait to read the prequel ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ that was released by Suzanne Collins in May 2020. I’m not sure I’ll get to it this year because I have quite a bit on my reading list already.

If you haven’t gotten into ‘The Hunger Games’ then I would totally recommend this series, as far as dystopian future series out there I feel like its one of the best, I feel like it has some strong characters and interesting twists in the plot that make for an interesting read.

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2020 Reading Challenge | Second Quarter Update | Life of Dahlia
The Infernal Devices Trilogy By Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

In my first update you might remember that I talked about having read one of Cassandra Clare’s other Shadow Hunter series ‘The Mortal Instruments’, well in May-June I read her prequel series ‘The Infernal Devices’. It has been slow reading for me over the past couple of months and not because I didn’t enjoy this series but because of my health and just generally feeling a bit exhausted. However, I really loved this series and I feel like I actually enjoyed this series more than her original series ‘The Mortal Instruments’, I loved the characters, the romance and the general plot of the story.

If you haven’t read this particular series from Cassandra Clare’s Shadow Hunter series before, well this one follows three main characters, however it does include a few other characters point of views similar to the later books in the ‘The Mortal Instruments’, though I feel that it mainly centres around three main characters, Theresa (Tessa) Gray, William (Will) Herondale and James (Jem) Carstairs. It is set in Victorian London as where ‘The Mortal Instruments’ is set in a more contemporary setting, New York during the 2000’s.

The books in this series are ‘The Clockwork Angel’, ‘The Clockwork Prince’ & ‘The Clockwork Princess’. It starts with Tessa’s migration from New York to London, where she thinks that she will be meeting her brother on arrival, and that’s where things start to go array. Tessa is thrust into the world of Shadow Hunters, Demons and alike, similar to Clary in ‘The Mortal Instruments’ however even though both these characters find out things about themselves that they never knew, Tessa finds out that she is very unique, neither mundane (non-magical/shadow hunter) like she has always thought herself to be or a traditional Downworlder (Warlock, Seelie(fairy),Werewolf, Vampire, etc) like the Shadow Hunters liken her to be.

She learns of her abilities early in the series, and that she has basically been sold off to marry ‘The Magister’, who is a very mysterious character and I feel like as the books go along and you learn more about him there is still quite a lot of mystery surrounding him. She is rescued from the hands of two of The Magister’s followers (who have been forcibly teaching her to use her new found abilities for him) by Will and taken back to the London Instituted where she becomes more aware of the supernatural world. The Shadow Hunter’s help protect Tessa from ‘The Magister’ but she is a pawn in his game to take down the Shadow Hunters because of his own personal vendetta against them. 

At the London Institute she also meets Jem, who is dying because of an addiction due an encounter with a demon during his child hood. There is a bit of a love triangle situation that goes on between Tessa, Will and Jem, she falls for them both and they both fall in love with her. It creates an interesting dynamic between the three.

I feel like I’m already giving too much of the storyline away, but anyway ‘The Magister’ creates a Clockwork Army to take down the Shadow Hunters and he needs Tessa’s help as she the last key to his plan. This is the basis of the story.

If you have read ‘The Mortal Instruments’ you may remember the character ‘Magnus Bane’, who is a somewhat prominent character in the series, well he also features in this series as well which I like, you may also remember the mention of Will in part of his storyline, well I love that you get to learn more about their interactions in this story. Also Jem and Tessa feature in a smaller portion of that series as well, only you might know him (Jem) under another name, but I’m not giving that one away, You will have to read them to find out. However I loved at the end of ‘The Clockwork Princess’ in the Epilogue that its set in contemporary setting and that they meet again as in the ‘The Mortal Instruments’ I felt that this finished the story of nicely and possibly the only way that the story should end, in my eyes any way.

I read this along with the Audio Books, which I found enjoyable, though like with ‘The Mortal Instruments’ each audio book they had different narrators for each one, I guess once you have listened to ‘Harry Potter’ on audio book you’re a bit spoilt with a consistent narrator. Anyway I enjoyed both the paper backs and the audio books.

If you enjoyed ‘The Mortal Instruments’ or like stories from the fantasy genre then you might enjoy ‘The Infernal Devices’ series. I haven’t read much historical fiction but I did love the steampunk kind of elements of this series as well as the setting of Victorian London. I found it a genuinely great read and I would recommend it If you like Cassandra Clare’s books and haven’t read this series yet or want to delve into her shadow hunter world but ‘The Mortal Instruments’ doesn’t interest you then this one might, I guess it just depends on what you like.

Related Post: My Favourite Book Series + Audio Books

2020 Reading Challenge | Second Quarter Update | Life of Dahlia
Sleeping Murder (Miss Marple’s Last Case) Novel by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie’s ‘Sleeping Murder’

Miss Marple’s Last Case

I love a good mystery and I’ve been wanting to read one of Agatha Christie’s books for quite a long time. I actually have quite a few on my shelf but it has taken me a bit to get to actually reading them. I picked ‘Sleeping Murder’ as my first one to read, it features her well known slueth ‘Miss Marple’ though this story was apparently one of ‘Miss Marple’s’ last cases.

I found the book quite easy to read and it really had me captivated. The story follows a female character who has moved to England from New Zealand and purchases a home while waiting for her husband to join her. What is intriguing about the story is that the murder they are trying to solve happened in the past when Gwenda (the main character) was a child. Gwenda has some unique experences in her new home that at first seem almost supernatural but as the story goes along we find out more about her past and her connection to the said murder and the house.

I don’t want to give to much of the plot away but Gwenda meets ‘Miss Marple’ through some friends and ‘Miss Marple’ helps Gwenda and her husband fit the peices of her past together and solve the murder of her step mother, whom she barely remembers because she was only a toddler at the time.

I really enjoyed this book, it was quite easy to read through. After finishing this one I really wanted to pick another to read because I enjoyed it so much, I may try to fit a few of these in between reading some larger books or series.

Having not read to many crime/mystery novels, I can’t compare these to anything however If crime or mystery is your thing, then Agatha Christie is supposed to be one of the queens of this genre, so If you like that type of thing then you might like her novels.

Bonus Books

No bonus books this quarter, though I have started listening to ‘Celeste Barber’s’ ‘Challenge Accepted!’ but I haven’t finished yet, hopefully by next update I’ll have a bit of a review for you.

While I didn’t do as well as I had hoped I would, I’m glad that I haven’t given up on my reading challenge. Even though I have had a lot of new books come in my life that I can’t wait to read, I’m sticking with what is on my list, those new books aren’t going anywhere and I can always put them on next year’s reading list along with anything I don’t get to from this years reading list. The whole idea behind this challenge was not only because I wanted to read more but also to read what was already on my shelf. I have quite a comprehensive list this year and I know that I’m not going to get to all of them but having a variety to choose from means that I’ll never feel stuck with what to read next.

Are you doing a reading challenge in 2020? What are you currently reading? And What is your favourite book genre? Let me know in the comments.

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

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