2016 Reading Challenge Update #2

Mount, Jane. Ideal Bookshelf 753: Shakespeare. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. https://www.idealbookshelf.com/collections/prints/products/ideal-bookshelf-753-shakespeare.

Mount, Jane. Ideal Bookshelf 753: Shakespeare. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. https://www.idealbookshelf.com/collections/prints/products/ideal-bookshelf-753-shakespeare.

The time has come for a second update on my 2016 Reading challenge progress.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take some time to read my first two blog posts:

• 2016 Reading Challenge

• 2016 Reading Challenge Update #1

If you’re subscribed to my Youtube channel, you may have already seen my update #2 video.  However, I filmed almost two weeks ago, and I’ve finished a few more books since then.  Let’s jump right in and chat about books.

* * * SPOILERS AHEAD * * *

Buckle your seat belts because I have some notes about this trilogy.  I was a HUGE Hilary Duff fan back in the day so when I found out she had written a book series, I was all in and ready to read it.  The basic premise is as follows:

The main character Clea is an only child and a photojournalist.  Her mom is a politician, and her dad was a doctor.  He disappeared while out of the country and was pronounced dead.  Clea believes he is still alive but keeps quiet around her mom who is trying to move on.  After a photo assignment, Clea discovers a male being in every single one of her photos.  He’s not immediately visible, but he is always there.  Following a series of conversations and events, she finds out that her dad and his employee Ben, who is also Clea’s friend, were researching the elixir of life.  During that process, they discovered that Clea had a “guardian angel” of sorts, a soulmate who is tied to her.  Hundreds of years ago, Sage, Clea, & Ben were all alive.  Clea was the love of Sage’s life, and Ben was his friend.  Unintentionally, Ben betrayed Sage by speaking openly about the protectors of the elixir of life, a group Sage belonged to.  His confidants brutally murdered the group and Clea who happened to be present despite not being a member.  They kidnapped Sage and gave him the elixir of life followed by torture to make sure it worked.  He eventually got away but found himself trapped in a vicious cycle.  He cannot die therefore he has lived many lives in each of which his friend Ben betrays him and his girlfriend Clea dies.  The reincarnations of Ben and Clea always have different names and appearances, but the series of unfortunate events is always the same.  In the present, their main mission is breaking the cycle.  On top of that, they have to protect Sage from two groups of people.  The elixir keeping him alive runs through his veins instead of blood.  One group wants his blood to make them immortal, and the other group wants to kill him and break their family curse of dying before 30.

That synopsis is informative about the first and second book, but there is a lot more to the story.  I read the first book and was instantly hooked.  I liked the plot because it was different from anything I had ever read before.  Sage and Clea’s relationship is “Insta-Love”, a term that describes relationships in which a boy and girl fall for each other at a quick, ridiculous pace.  I know why that is annoying, but in this case, it didn’t annoy me… yet.  The sequel kept me interested in the story, but it felt different, which I liked; it didn’t feel like “Elixir” in a different cover.  The third book is where the story crashed and burned.  I had expectations and was thoroughly disappointed.

* * * SPOILERS AHEAD * * *

It’s cute to think of Sage and Clea as soulmates, but their relationship isn’t as perfect as it seems.  The circumstances seem like smooth sailing for a short period of time, but chaos is never far behind.  In the third book, new events cause Sage to be violent.  Clea keeps getting hurt emotionally and physically, but she stands by him determined to fix his problem.  I don’t disagree with that, but I do disagree with the decision to let them live happily ever after.  Sad endings are hard to deal with, but they can benefit a story or series.  In this case, the death of Clea or Sage would have been more believable.  One of their first predicaments was the cycle of Ben’s betrayal and Clea’s death.  If Clea had died following Ben’s betrayal in the third book, it would have completed another cycle except this time Sage is no longer immortal, and he will eventually die.  Another thing that irritates me is the fact that Clea’s dad is rarely mentioned after the first book.  His story is never resolved, and I am left with many questions.  I know that disappearances are often unresolved, but he discovered Sage and the elixir of life.  Readers deserved closure considering he was so important to the story.

FINALLY!!!  I’ve been waiting to read The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings for years.  It is dangerous for a reader to build up expectations, but I am glad to say this time my excitement was justified.  I want to save my final thoughts for after I finish LOTR, but… I LOVED The Hobbit.  No complaints!!

This series is a blast from the past!  I’m thoroughly enjoying the books, even at 22 years of age.  My final thoughts will be shared after I finish the series.

• These are the books I’m currently reading:

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

“The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Vile Village” by Lemony Snicket

• After 4 months, this is what my list looks like:

Published This Year – “Land of Silence” by Tessa Afshar | “A Spy’s Devotion” by Melanie Dickerson

✔️ Finish in a Day – “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

✔️ Meaning to Read – “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien | “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien | “Zoo” by Michael Ledwidge & James Patterson | The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Recommended by Bookseller or Librarian – “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket | “The Girl on The Train” by Paula Hawkins

Should Have Read in School – “Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ” by Lew Wallace

Chosen by Spouse, Partner, Sibling, Child, or BFF – “As Sure As The Dawn” by Francine Rivers

Published Before You Were Born – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote

Banned at Some Point – “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

✔️ Previously Abandoned – “Elixir” series by Hilary Duff

Own But Never Read – “First Light” by Bodie & Brocke Thoene

Intimidates You – “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

✔️ Already Read at Least Once – “Sisters of the Quilt” series by Cindy Woodsmall | “River of Time” series by Lisa T. Bergren

*Note: I put checkmarks by categories in which I have already completed one book.  Everything else after the first title is extra.

It is not too late to join in on the fun.  Here is the source of this challenge: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2016-reading-challenge/

Happy reading!! 📚

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– Lauren Michele <3

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2 thoughts on “2016 Reading Challenge Update #2

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