Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are having a lovely week so far, and that you are continuing to stay healthy. After several days of living on peanut butter, crackers, and protein shakes, I finally caved and went to the grocery store this week. Given that my last trip to any store was sometime in June, it felt very strange to be out in public, and I have to confess that I really didn’t feel comfortable being around other people. Despite the fact that I came home with the overwhelming desire to bathe in Purell, it was gratifying to see that the people in my community are complying with our governor’s mandatory mask order.

As you know from last week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update, my mum came down with some kind of respiratory illness. She’s been on medication since last week, and seems to be getting better. We’re very thankful that her illness has not gotten worse, and that it does not seem to be COVID-19. My dad and I have managed to remain healthy, except for some rather annoying seasonal allergy symptoms, for which we are also grateful. Thank you once again to everyone who has been keeping my mum in your thoughts and prayers over the past week.

This week, I was able to complete one additional Reading Challenge prompt, bringing my total up to 47 completed prompts (out of 50). While I was unable to complete my reading goal for the month of July, I am very pleased with the progress that I have made this month. With only three prompts remaining, my goal for August is to complete two out of those three prompts, since the final prompt (“read a banned book during Banned Books Week”) needs to be completed during the week of September 27th.

A medical thriller…

The book I chose to read for the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge this week was Contagion, by Erin Bowman.

The novel begins in the middle of a severe weather evacuation, when intern Thea Sadik and her mentor are ordered to board a spaceship called Odyssey. Their vessel is being sent to the planet Achlys in response to an SOS call made from the Black Quarry base, a drilling operation stationed on the planet.

When they arrive on Achlys, the crew finds the site abandoned, except for the dead bodies of some of the expedition members. One of them has left a message behind, which appears to be written in blood:

“It got in us and most are dead. Decklan flew for help. Don’t trust the kid.”

Contagion, by Erin Bowman (page 82)

As the rescue team searches for survivors and attempts to piece together what happened to Black Quarry’s crew, they come into contact with an unknown contagion. They also stumble across Black Quarry’s sole survivor, a young man named Coen, who urges them to get off the planet as quickly as possible. There’s a lot about the situation on Achlys that they don’t know, and their willingness to trust Coen might mean the difference between life and death.

While I have been putting off this particular reading prompt for quite some time due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I am glad that I finally read Contagion. It’s a very fast-paced, intense read, with a tremendous amount of action and some genuinely creepy and thrilling moments. I ended up reading the last three-quarters of the book in an afternoon because I could not put it down. If you’re a fan of young adult novels, particularly science fiction and medical thrillers, you will probably really enjoy Contagion.

However, if you are thinking about reading Contagion, I do have two recommendations for you…

First, don’t try to read this book right before bed. As I mentioned, there are some creepy moments in this novel. If you have a tendency to dream about the things that you read right before bed, you may want to think twice about reading Contagion before you go to sleep. Also, because the narrative is so fast-paced and exciting, you might find yourself staying up much later than you anticipated in order to finish the book.

Second, make sure that you have a copy of the sequel (Immunity) available before you begin reading. While the book does have a definite conclusion, it also has a bit of a cliffhanger that will make you want to reach for the next book immediately after finishing. Unfortunately, I do not currently have a copy of the sequel, but I will definitely be getting one as soon as possible.

While next week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update would normally be posted on August 8th, like today’s update, it will also be coming out early. This is because I will be participating in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Reverse Readathon next weekend.

If you followed my posts during the Readathon back in April, then you’ll already be familiar with this type of challenge. The Reverse Readathon will be taking place from 8 PM (EST) on August 7th through 8 PM on August 8th. If you would like to learn more about the challenge, or would like to sign up to participate, you can do so by going to the Readathon website.

While I have not yet decided if I will participate for the full 24 hours, I will be posting updates about my Readathon progress here on The Unapologetic Bookworm, as well as on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter @UnapologBkworm.

In the meantime, I hope you will come back tomorrow to help me celebrate The Unapologetic Bookworm’s first anniversary. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the additional content that will be coming in our second year of operation.

Also, please be sure to check back throughout the coming week for book and movie reviews.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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