A Wrap-UP: The RIP X Challenge with Mini Reviews

My post is a couple days late, but I wanted to share the fact that I failed to meet my goal for the first time in the five years I've participated in this challenge!! Heartbreaking, guys. I'm trying to not be too hard on myself because there were very necessary reasons for not having the time to read as much as I wanted, but I still can't help but be a little sad about missing the mark. I managed to fall one book short of my Peril the First pledge, finishing the challenge out with three spooky reads. I'm currently 75% done with my fourth title, so I've got that at least. 


I took my RIPX TBR list and ripped it into a million shreds and stuck it in a trashcan and lit that thing on fire. I didn't actually do any of those things but when you take a look at my TBR and then what I read it's essentially the same thing. 

I found The Secret History far too much of a commitment to finish (I still plan on reading it someday). I found The Uninvited boring and tossed it. I forgot about Wuthering Heights even though I just ordered a beautiful, vintage Penguin paperback version. I couldn't get The Ghost Hunters because it hasn't been published outside of the UK. I was too lazy to check out The Asylum from the library. And then left The Big Book of Ghost Stories languishing on my coffee table. I was TERRIBLE, people.

So what did I read??

Well, I listened to The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell. I liked it well enough. I didn't think it was the book of the year but it was full of tidbits about Edwardian England and the legal process at this time. I found it a bit lackluster as the motive that put the whole thing in motion was never fleshed out. It's nice for long hours of editing or car rides because the reader for the audio does a great job voicing the many characters. 

I checked out a physical copy of In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, which was pretty underwhelming considering I nailed the bad guy about 20 pages in. I thought the characters were one dimensional and felt their thoughts and feelings didn't really seem accurate for a person of 26 or 28. Honestly, I thought they were like 2 at most?? Anyway, it was a fairly fast paced read that got me one book in a weekend. I'd say go for it if you're looking for some quick entertainment, but not expecting much else.

Finally, I finished The Strangler Vine by M. J. Carter. This was my favorite of all my RIP reads, aside from In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (which I'm finishing now). The novel takes place in the early years of British imperialism in India. The author uses the language from the time period, which I thought was an interesting and authentic touch, in dialogue and in explanations of the atmosphere. The novel, longlisted for the Bailey's Prize, includes passages that immerse the reader in a rich, vivid landscape. There were momentary lulls in action and the dynamic between Avery and Blake, the novel's protagonists, was somewhat cliche. I would recommend for the atmosphere M.J. Carter is able to build alone. It gives an interesting look at greed and corruption during this very muddled time in British and Indian history. 

I'm currently finishing up In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and already know it's a 5-star on Goodreads. So gruesome, yet so beautifully written. I can honestly say I have never been more troubled by a book but also captivated to continue reading. It's definitely produced some WTF moments. Perfect fall spread pictured below--->

Headed over to now to see how others did in their RIPX Challenge!

Just a note:

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a number of writers and speakers while they toured Chicago, so stay tuned for posts on Jenny Lawson, Geraldine Brooks, Gloria Steinem, and Roxane Gay. You're going to love them!! 

What are you currently reading??!


  1. Oh, I hadn't heard of The Strangler Vine--but adding to my list! I tried In a Dark, Dark Wood earlier this year and made it 40 pages in before abandoning, so you're not alone there.

    Can't wait to hear more about all those author events! Jenny Lawson! Roxane Gay! GLORIA STEINHEM!


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