The May Burlesque Press Reading Challenge Update by Jeni Stewart

balletshoesHello Burlesque Press friends! Since we haven’t done a reading challenge update since March, I thought it was time. I’ve been making steady progress towards my goal – and yet I’m always wanting to read more! Since my last post on the Reading Challenge I’ve read:

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

This YA book was quie the page turner. It’s a dark little tale, told from the perspective of a youg girl who returns home after having been missing for a number of years. She has no memory of her time away, but what unfolds is a twisted, Elizabeth Smart like abduction tale. Still, I admire the way this author tackles such a subject without ever getting into prurient details. This is, after all, YA – and it’s a YA novel that challenges many adult novels in its adroit handling of the gritty details. That said, it was unbelievable in a few ways. Not enough to make me walk away – I consumed this book in almost one sitting – but enough to make me wish the author hadn’t made a few of those choices.

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

This is another dark mystery. In rurl Vermont women are abducted, one of their severed hands turns up somewhere in town, prominently displayed, and then a few days later their naked bodies turn up in town as well, also prominently and macabrely displayed. While not as good as the book she wrote I loved in the previous post, it was a good late night read.

The Weight of Blood by Laura Mc Hugh

This on was so dark I had to ban myself from reading it before bed. Probably one of the best books in this batch in terms of writing quality, it is also dark, and differs from Pretty Girl 13 in that it does delve into some of the more prurient details. Read with caution.

Written in Red: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop

A YA fantasy novel. I saw this book’s sequel promoted on Twitter, and couldn’t resist the idea of a Cassandra sangue. What’s that you may ask? Well, in a world where vampires and werewolves and other fantastical creatures rule the world, a Cassandra sangue is a human who can prophecy, but at great personal cost. The prophet can only prophesize when her skin is cut – and a body’s skin can only be cut so many times. The women are held as prisoners, and their bodies prophecies sold much like prostitutes (and sometimes as actual prostitutes). I enjoyed delving into this world, though you do have to enjoy the suspension of disbelief such novels require. Though in the end, don’t all novels require that?  For me it was a great antidote to the heavy weighted punch The Weight of Blood delivered.

Murder of Crows: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop

Sequel to above. Nowhere near as compelling, and while I don’t mind a bit of romance, this romance is a bit dull. I’m much more interested in the world building with this series, and very interested to see some of the minor characters and otherworldy creatures in action. This book seems indicative of a longer series unfolding, though, and I will definitely check out the next one.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Calling all book nerds! The main setting for this story is a bookstore on an island. It’ll make you feel like part of the in-crowd.

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Currently reading this book and enjoying it, though I would say if you don’t know ballet or have a secret love of dance movies it might not be for you. Its well written though, better than I thought, though I shouldn’t be surprised by that because the author attended Iowa and was a Stegner fellow. I’m about 2/3 through.  While a major plot device is majorly obvious it doesn’t ruin the tale of bitchiness, skinniness, an balletness.  Throw in some Soviet defecting, and I’m up late reading this week every night so far!


So at last count I’d read 12 books. Adding in these 7 that brings my total to 19/50 in the #read50booksin2014 count. For my #readwomen2014 count, I had 9 women to 3 men. At present I have increased that to 14 (distinct) women and 3 men.

How about you? What’re you reading? What’s next on your list?

About Jeni Stewart