The first month of Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge has just come to a close! This challenge asks participants to complete 24 challenges which breaks down to two per month. It was a good month - I was able to finish both novels for the tasks and I liked both to boot! For the first task, I needed to read a book about sports so I selected Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock - a book that I've seen floating around the library (with a really terrible cover to be honest). The second task required me to read a debut novel, so I picked The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. I had been really anticipating this novel and this challenge gave me the perfect excuse to dive in. Read on to see my mini-reviews for each title:
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I'd seen Dairy Queen and plenty of other Catherine Gilbert Murdock novels come and go at the public library where I work, but I had never read a single one before. Honestly, the covers aren't all that appealing - I would have totally guessed that this novel was about the dairy princess at a county fair, or something along those lines. Instead, it's actually about a quiet yet hard-working farm girl who tries out for her rural high school's football team after training a rival football team's player over summer break. Yeah, I wouldn't have guessed that from the cover either.
I really should have read this novel while I was in high school - it was released in 2006 when I was a high school junior and I think 16/ 17 year old me would have really appreciated it. Not that I played sports, or even cared about sports at all for that matter, but because DJ is just so relatable. A good deal of this is because she's grown up on a farm. Let's just say, I can probably count on one hand how many newer YA contemporary novels I've read that are primarily set on a working farm. It's a breath of fresh air seeing a realistic presentation of what it's like living in a rural area and going to a small rural high school, too. While it took a little bit for me to get used to DJ's conversational narrative voice, her story is absolutely worth jumping into, even if you don't know anything about football (like me) because it has a whole lot of heart. While it isn't at the top of my tbr, I'll have to try the sequel, The Off Season.
I read this novel from January 9 - 12, 2017 and you can learn more about the book on Goodreads.
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Irene is a librarian spy for the Library, an monumental, ancient, and mysterious organization. She and her fellows collect important works of fiction from alternate realities for them. This time around, Irene and Kai, Irene's newly assigned trainee to mentor, have been assigned to retrieve a dangerous book from a supernatural creature and magic filled steampunk-esque world. The only problem is that once they get there they discover that it's already been stolen - and many people are willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on it. If things weren't difficult enough, Irene knows that Kai is hiding something very important about himself. Failure isn't an option, and not just for her professional reputation, but for the sake of the worlds fate.
I don't know why I put this off for so long, but I'm glad I've read it now because it was an absolute joy to read. I can already tell that this series is going to go down as an all-time favorite. I knew I had to read it as soon as I heard it featured librarian spies and was for fans of Doctor Who. Luckily, it completely lived up to the hype and was 100% my type. The world building is topnotch and I loved getting to know both Irene and Kai. My favorite supporting cast member is Vale, a Sherlock Holmes inspired detective from the steampunk alternate world. Irene is the kind of librarian I want to be when I grow up! Overall, I highly recommend The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. If you like Doctor Who, The Librarians, Sherlock Holmes, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, and Soulless by Gail Carriger, I have a feeling that you'll like Cogman's debut novel. I can't wait to read the sequel, The Masked City!
I read this novel from January 28 - 31, 2017 and you can learn more about the book on Goodreads.
Next up for the February portion of the Challenge:
3. Read a book about books.
My choice - The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett - Non-fiction about a rare-book thief who did it for his love of books rather than the money - sounds very enticing.
4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
My choice - Super Extra Grande by Yoss - This satirical sci-fi by one of Cuba's top sci-fi writers sounds like it's going to be pretty awesome.
Thanks as always for visiting my blog, and perhaps even commenting below. Have you ever taken part in Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge? Have you read any of these books before and, if so, what did you think of them?