Summer Reading Challenge – Best Beach Reads

I’m really behind on my reading goal.. 1/36.. and the one book I read was the Little Prince with tons of illustrations! Jacob won’t read with me, so I need to find other ways to stay motivated. Can you believe he used to work at Better World Books? :P  I’m joining in on Megan Stroup’s Semi-Charmed Book Challenge! Hopefully, it will give me the extra motivation that I need. :)

Summer Reading Challenge.Pin

summer reading challenge rules & my choices:

Dates: May 1 to Aug 31, 2014

☒ 05 pts: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, 288 pages  (Freebie! Any book at least 200 pages).
☒ 10 pts: The Road Less Traveled, 320 pages (Read a book that was written before you were born).
☒ 10 pts: I am Malala, 352 pages (Finish reading a book you couldn’t finish the first time around).
☐ 10 pts: One of the Harry Potter Books, 320-896  pages (Read a book from the children’s section).
☒ 15 pts: Gone Girl, 432 pages (Read a book that is on The NY Times’ Best Sellers List when you begin reading it).
☐ 15 pts: Memoirs of a Geisha, 434 pages (Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe).
☐ 15 pts: The Goldfinch, 775 pages (Read a book that another blogger read).
☐ 20 pts: Secret Daughter, 368 pages (Read a book with “son(s),” “daughter(s)” or “child(ren)” in the title).
☒ 20 pts: Wild, 315 pages (Read a book that was/will be adapted to film in 2014).
☐ 25 pts: The Little Book of Anxiety, 224 pages (Read a book written by a blogger).
☐ 25 pts: Lit: A Memoir, 432 pages (Read a biography, autobiography or memoir).
☐ 30 pts: ☒ After Dark, 256 pages & ☐ The Light Between Oceans, 352 pages  (Read 2 books with antonyms in the titles).

what are you reading?

I’m not 100% set on any of these, so let me know what if you have better recommendations! :)

15 Summer Reads for 2015

In three days, we’re setting sail on a 7-day Mexican riviera cruise, and we couldn’t be more excited! Not only will it be fun to explore some new cities together but also to unplug. We’ve been spending way to much time behind our computers or on our phones posting to social media. Since we have a limited amount of internet available to us, this will also be a great time to catch up on our reading! We’re both a long ways off from our reading goals this year.

My biggest struggle lately has been finishing a book. I am more inclined to start a new book than finish one I’ve already started. I know in life I tend to be a starter while Jacob tends to be a finisher. Together, we make a great team, but I know I still need to learn to follow through and that includes finishing books.

15 Great Summer Reads for 2015.

These are the books we’re taking with us on our cruise. Thanks to our kindles we can bring as many choices as we want. Some are recommendations from our bibliophile friends, some from fellow bloggers, and some are popular bestsellers. I added a few books to help improve life and marriage, but for the most part we just want some fun, easy reads.

+ like any of my other lists, I do a lot of swapping out when I find better choices, so check the date at the bottom to see when the post was last updated. :)


☒ 1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (asian american fiction) ★★☆☆☆

She lost me at “Oriental”. Plus, I found all the characters to be annoying. Why are the adults acting like children and the children acting like adults? I found the writing to be tedious and was so happy to finish this book and get it over with.

☒ 2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (thriller) ★★★☆☆

☒ 3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (historical fiction) ★★★★☆

☐ 4. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (young adult)

☐ 5. Sunset Rising by S. McEachern (women’s adventure)

Recommended by Claudia who always sends me good page turners.

☒ 6. Paper Towns by John Green (young adult) ★★★☆☆

☒ 7. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (comedy, love & romance) ★★★★☆

You did it Aziz! I would highly recommend all my single friends to read this. It’s a really informative, funny, and engaging read for the rest of us in a relationship too. You learn a lot about how the digital age has changed how we do relationships.

☐ 8. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (classic literature & fiction)

☐ 9. Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos (romance)

Found on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s beachy reads.

☐ 10. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (young adult)

Found on Crystal’s blog, who hosts a monthly book club! Reading is more fun with others. :)

☐ 11. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (historical fiction)

☐ 12. The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez (hispanic fiction)

☒ 13. The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke ★☆☆☆☆

I seriously don’t know how I finished this book. Well, I do know how. This was the first book I received from netgalley, and I felt an obligation to complete it and write this review. Initially, I was attracted to the theme of getting off line and living life in the real world. Since my job revolves around being online, it’s been hard to disconnect. I should have known that traveling back in time through fb statuses would be really cheesy. I got so irritated by the main character and her inner dialogue. The one good thing about this book so far is that it made me appreciate my husband and marriage more! I would hate to go back to dating and planning a wedding again if it’s anything like the book! Then they try to slip in a part about predestination and free will to make it more meaningful? No thanks! On the other hand, if you’re basic, you might really enjoy this book. ;)

☐ 14. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller (christian / marriage)

We usually bicker more on trips, so it would be good to focus some time to work on our marriage. :)

☒ 15. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (self-help) ★★★☆☆

I’ve had so many people recommend this book to me, but I just never got around to reading it until now. I liked the concept of the book where she tests out happiness theories from philosophers to modern day experts to sees what’s applicable to her. I just didn’t love reading it in the format of a book. It felt very repetitive and better suited as several blog posts.

I know 15 is a lot of books, but like I said… I have a bad habit of starting new books than finishing old ones. 😭😅 Hopefully, this time I will get past the first chapter!


Here are a few books we’ve read recently that we really enjoyed:

☒ 1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler (memoir / comedy)

I was laughing out loud starting from page 1, and I’m the type of person who laughs on the inside when watching or reading comedies. Jacob would look over and give me a curious look whenever I started laughing, but then he started reading it too! :)

☒ 2. World After by Susan Ee (young adult dystopian fiction)

I often rolled my eyes at the dialogue between the characters, but I loved the world Susan Ee created and was immediately pulled into the story. I finished the first two books in 3 days and had to wait for the last book, but I finished it the day I started it. I was up till 6 AM and don’t recommend reading it all in one sitting. I enjoyed the first, then third, but not so much the second.

☒ 3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (dystopian / science fiction)

I (Jacob) really enjoyed this book! It’s a YA book, but for an 80s kid. You might not understand the movie, culture, and video game references if you weren’t around then. Even though the plot is set in the future, it really brings you back to your childhood.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
What’s a book you recently read that you couldn’t put down?
What’s your favorite genre to read in the summer?

xoxo estherJacob

Photo above was taken at the Last Bookstore, best bookstore evar. See my other monthly goals by clicking the banner below:

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This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. TexErin

    That picture is A-MAY-ZING!!!!! I’m participating in this challenge as well. Should be fun!

    1. esther julee

      Thank you! If you’re ever in LA, you should check out that bookstore. :) Which book are you reading first?

      1. TexErin

        I read Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis for my autobiography (interesting, but it kinda made me dislike him as a person); Burial Rites by Hannah Kent as my freebie (fabulous, dark, totally not my usual book to read, but I loved it); and I started Trash by Andy Mulligan for movie to be released this year.

  2. Amy

    oh my gosh – that picture – looks straight out of harry potter and i LOVE it!
    i have a little list of books i want to finish/start so here’s to hoping we both make it happen!

      1. Amy

        a lot of random books hahah .do you have a goodreads account?

        1. esther julee

          yes i do! :) i think you should be able to find me just by searching esther julee.

  3. Erika

    I’ve been seeing this challenge around and I might want to have a reading challenge or join in for the summer, too. My 101 list has 101 fiction books and I’m like, um, 2 books in? Hahahaha! So maybe something like this would help!

    1. esther julee

      You should!! Do either. :) I can even join in on yours after. So you basically have to finish 1 per 10 days? I definitely needed some sort of group effort, because i definitely am not meeting my reading goal on my own. haha

      1. Erika

        Haha, I totally wasn’t thinking of that goal when I made it. I think I might throw some children’s books (or like, 100 children’s books) into the mix.

  4. Shannon Kennedy

    Thank you for introducing me to this! I am so looking forward to participating!

  5. I’m so tempted by this challenge…it sounds so fun! I’ve only read a few of these…I’ll have to look at a few to add to my reading list!

    1. esther julee

      You should do it!! Mine are not set in stone. I feel like I will change them several times before I get to my final list.

  6. Visiting from the linkup and I love the list! I’m also trying to read Memoirs of a Geisha for historical fiction :-)
    I’m impressed that you’re going to tackle Freakonomics! I’m not sure I’m brave enough to crack that one open – some of my friends had to read it in high school for our civics class, so I think it’s been ruined for me. Hopefully you can put up a good review and change my mind!

    1. esther julee

      These aren’t set yet except for the one I’m currently reading – Wild. haha I think you’re doing a better job talking me out of it though. :)

        1. esther julee

          I’ll at least give it a try. haha We’ll see how far I get. May need a replacement book though just in case!

  7. I just signed up for this challenge too after seeing it on another blog. :) I love After Dark! I read that one every couple of years.

    1. esther julee

      Thanks! I will need it for sure. You don’t wanna join? :D

  8. Hsiao-Ting

    Woo hoo! Good luck on your summer reading challenge. I know you’ll do great! I love “I am Malala” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” (I’m kinda surprised you haven’t read it … didn’t we read this in hs?! haha). Tell me how the other books are! I just finished reading “Working Identity” and currently starting “Mindset”. Now that I’m on bed rest I guess I’ll have plenty of time to read now :p

    1. esther julee

      Thanks girl. No, we definitely didn’t read that one in H.S. probably depends on the hs. Is that considered a classic? i just remember reading a lot of classics in hs. How did you like working identity? Do you feel like after a while the business books get repetitive? i feel like after reading a few productivity books, they started getting pretty repetitive.

      1. Hsiao-Ting

        Haha you’re probably right. I probably just read that during my leisure. Working Identity is good. Different from other business books I read since it’s more about changing your career.

  9. Z K

    This sounds like such an awesome challenge! I’m in the process of trying to start a mini-book club with my friend over the summer and I can’t wait to get started. Good luck on all your reading!

    1. esther julee

      Best of luck on your mini-book club. Are you doing it online? I tried to do a book club between two of my friends and I and none of us were committed enough to stick with it! boo. :(

      1. Z K

        Thanks! One of my friends last summer did a book-a-week challenge and read some pretty interesting stuff. She and I are going to team up and do every other week together, but give ourselves some room to read other things on the weeks off. So I guess I’m committing to a book a week! Hopefully I can keep up!

        1. esther julee

          Ooh one a week! that’s pretty aggressive. I def need to get at that pace soon to make up for time lost if I want to hit my reading goal this year. :) You’ll have to let me know your favorites!

          1. Z K

            Haha, yeah it’s definitely a lot! I’m hoping it will actually get me to read instead of watching TV all the time. One can hope!

  10. carly

    The Light Between Oceans was SO good! I read it last year and already would love to read it again! I’ll be interested to hear what you think of David and Goliath– I started it a few months ago and never could get into it.

    1. esther julee

      Yeah.. we’ll see how David and Goliath goes. I heard a lot of great things about his previous books and only ended up reading a few pages of them. What are you reading now?

  11. Veevley

    You should read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett or Mort by Terry Pratchett. Two of my absolute favourite books ever. This challenge looks like a good one! Good luck! x

    1. esther julee

      You should try it too! :) Thanks for the recommendations. I’m trying to figure out what categories they can fit in. It took me forever to fill in the categories. :P

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