July 2019: Reading Challenge Reviews

We’re over halfway through this year’s reading challenge and I think I can safely say that I’ve found my favourite book of the year.

But honestly? This was a good book month. Aviation history, time travel to one of my favourite eras, the story of an incredible life, and a fun alternate-reality style novel — I would happily recommend each of these reads.

So which one was the favourite? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

Fly Girls by Keith O'Brien Book ReviewCharacter With A Career You Wish You Had
(Week 27: July 2 – 8, 2019) Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds And Made Aviation History — Keith O-Brien

While we’ve all heard of Amelia Earhart, there were many other women who played pivotal roles in aviation history. This book is overflowing with interesting stories and tidbits about the hardships and joys that these early aviators faced.

Reading this book made me want to dust off my commercial pilot’s license and jump back into a plane. This historical account is frustrating and encouraging and absolutely fascinating. These women defied expectations and took the skies, undaunted by the harsh critics who devalued their skills solely based on their sex.

These ladies were brave. They were tough. They were pioneers. And they fought to be seen as aviators in their own right. As someone who has felt the call of the skies, I so deeply applaud all of their hard work.

This is a great read for anyone interested in early aviation history — 5 stars out of 5.

The Jane Austen Project Book ReviewA Book About Time Travel
(Week 28: July 9 – 15,
 2019) The Jane Austen Project — Kathleen A. Flynn

This book captured my imagination right from the start. Two researchers head back in time to try and save a copy of Jane Austen’s previously unpublished book. Posing as siblings, Rachel and Liam try to work their way into the Austen family’s good graces — but what ramifications do their actions in the past have on the modern day?

The Jane Austen Project kept me riveted from the first page until the last. While these types of novels occasionally lend towards inauthentic feeling dialogue or plot, Flynn did a great job of making the book sound historically accurate. The story was creative and compelling and I loved seeing the ripples that their time-travel played upon historical events.

My one disappointment with this book was that the ending felt so rushed and incomplete. I would have loved to see some of that character interaction and time-travel technology flushed out a little more. Still, I leave this novel with a very pleased 4.5 stars out of 5.

Suggestions for books about time travel: **The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger ** Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ** The Devils Arithmetic by Jane Yolen ** 

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand Book ReviewMilitary Related: Fiction or Non-Fiction
(Week 29: July 16 – 22,
 2019) Unbroken — Laura Hillenbrand

This is without a doubt, my absolute favourite book read so far this year. This is an incredible account of the life of Louis Zamperini — an Olympic athlete, World War II veteran and Japanese POW survivor.

Hillenbrand’s book is an extremely well researched and highly detailed chronicle that is not only historical in nature but also thoroughly engaging. The writing and the people described come to life on the pages, making this a simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting story to read. Throughout the book I was brought to both laughter and tears; I was appalled, angered, and inspired. The best kinds of stories leave us thinking about these pages long after the cover is closed, and Unbroken definitely did that for me.

This book may be long, but it is well worth the time spent reading.

5 stars out of 5

Ready Player One ReviewPublished the Year You Graduated School
(Week 30: July 23 – 29,
 2019) Ready Player One — Ernest Cline

I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for a while now — mostly because a book about video games and ’80s culture will never climb particularly high on my list of “must reads.” But this book was published in 2011 (the same year I graduated college) and I figured this challenge was the perfect excuse to finally give it a go.

All in all, I’m glad I did.

As someone who is not particularly interested in the main subject matter, I was surprised to find myself so hooked. The plot is predictable and crammed full of an insane amount of geeky references, but the read was light, fast-paced, and entertaining. Having never lived through the ’80s the nostalgia wasn’t there for me but the author did a great job with world creation which managed to keep me intrigued.

This was a fun book (even for a non-gamer, no-clue-what-half-these-references-are-about, reader like me). I give it 4 stars out of 5.

 


July Reads 2019 Challenge

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