Challenge Completed: 20 Books of Summer

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20 Books of Summer Challenge

Challenge Accepted, Challenge Completed.

The Mission: To read 20 books from June 1st to September 3rd, and I finished my 20th book on the evening of September 1st.

This was the 2nd summer I’ve participated in Cathy at 746 Books’ 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Part of the fun is  in creating the book pile that is supposed to shape your challenge. And, while I veered so far, far away from my original list (as seen below), I can say that I did read three of them. I did complete the challenge of reading 20 books, just not the ones I originally intended. 😉

Books Read From Original 20 Books of Summer List

A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay kicked off my challenge and it was an excellent start to it. The Heaviness of Things That Float by Jennifer Manuel and The House at the Edge of the Night by Catherine Banner followed quickly after. Then I completely and fully bailed on returning to this pile of books because the distractions to read others were many and then library holds also came through, so that made me stray as well.

My Favourite of the 20

I read a few chunksters this summer and all three made it into my favourites pile. There were two other ones that I really loved too, and both were debut novels. In no particular order of love, these were my favourite books from my 20 books of summer reading:


The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse. My thoughts are still to come on this one, but I gave it a 5-star rating. It was definitely epic! The Overstory by Richard Powers was another epic wonder as was Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris. 3 good-sized chunksters but I still managed to read the 20 books in the challenge! The other two that I really loved a lot: An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato and In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills by Jennifer Haupt.


The Least Favourites from the 20

There were some books I wasn’t overly fond of, and really, there is only one to list here that is my least favourite. That one was The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. My opinion is an unpopular opinion for that one, but I found I just couldn’t connect to it at all. There were a few others that were just okay for me as well, and those were: Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine, Lear’s Shadow by Claire Holden Rothman and Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks. They were okay, they just weren’t as fantastic as some of the others were from my 20.

Discovery of a New Series


My summer reading had me discovering a new mystery/detective series to enjoy! William Shaw’s DS Alexandra Cupidi series started with The Birdwatcher and followed with the official start to the series with Salt Lane. I really enjoyed both of these books very much, they had great character development and timely stories. I look forward to the next in the series – still yet untitled – but Shaw has said it will feature a character from The Birdwatcher, William South. Hurray, because I really enjoyed his character!

The 20th Book

I closed out the 20 Books of Summer challenge with The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. This book was beautiful inside and out. Aside from its enchanting story, this one had a stunning cover, and the insides were even more beautiful. Every chapter started with a flower, it’s “language” and an illustration of the flower. Gorgeous. I was enthralled with the first half for sure – emotional and heartbreaking. It was good, but not as good as the beginning, in the middle parts but it finishes off wonderfully. A lovely, lovely book! Holley from House of Anansi sent this with a note saying she hoped I would be as enchanted by Alice’s story as she was, and that’s a perfect word to use: enchanted. Because I most certainly was enchanted by Alice Hart. I highly recommend this one!

There were so many books on my original list that I’m truly saddened I didn’t get to! They remain in a little pile on my table, so fingers crossed I can pick them up soon. Books that were given high recommendation such as The Essex Serpent and The Wind is Not a River. You can see my whole list of 20 that I read this summer here in my Goodreads “20 Books of Summer” folder. It also shows the 20 I read last year.

Did you participate in the 20 Books of Summer challenge? Were you able to complete all 20? Which were your favourites?

Happy Labour Day! I’m definitely looking forward to Fall and all the Fall Reading…I’ve already started to gather a pile of books to kick off my reading. 🙂