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Showing posts from July, 2014

ReReadathon/Shelf-Sweeper Final

I have been participating in this fun event for July and have been able to read so much. I'm all ahead on my blog posts and everything.

Rereads:
The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand

Shelf Sweeper:
Major Crush by Jennifer Echols
The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of Kalderash by Marie Rutkoski
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

WoW: The Penderwicks in Spring

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family. 
Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbor Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty's new dog-walking business. Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart. 
Filled with all the heart, hilarity, and charm that has come to define this beloved clan, "The Penderwicks in Spring" is about fun and family and friends (and dogs), and what happens when you bring what's hidden into the bright light of the spring sun.

Why am I waiting for this? Because it's a Penderwick book. Anyone who has r…

TTT: Authors I Own The Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic: Authors I Own the Most Books From

FUN TOPIC!  I can't wait to see other people's posts. Here are mine with favorite from each collection:

Diana Wynne Jones Total: 19

C.S. Lewis Total: 18

N.D. Wilson Total: 10

J.K. Rowling Total: 10

Laura Florand Total: 9

Jane Austen Total: 7

Dorothy Sayers Total: 7

R.J. Anderson Total: 7

Elizabeth Wein Total: 6

Sarah Prineas Total: 6
Whose books do you own the most of?

Magnolia

Magnolia by Kristi Cook captured my attention because it takes place in the south and seemed from the synopsis to be exactly the sort of love story I like. The thought of a reverse Romeo and Juliet (where the families are super close but kids are not having it) is an intriguing one. The promise of those things in the synopsis is fully delivered, and despite a little more melodrama than I typically like in my contemporary YA, it was a fun and enjoyable read.

Synopsis: 
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.
Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention …

Shorter Musings: MG Realistic

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post.

Here are some reviews of MG realistic fiction I've read recently:

Absolutely Almostby Lisa Graff
There are quite a few stylistic elements here that tend to annoy me a great deal, the episodic nature of the plot, how it just sort of ends with no real closure, and the tropes that are often overused in MG realistic fiction. The fact that I liked it as much as I did despite these things says a lot about the quality of the writing and character development in the book. Albie is an excellent every-kid narrator. The whole concept of being an "almost" is one so many can relate to and his voice is absolutely perfect. He tells his story exactly the way a child in his situation would (which is why the episodic plot makes sense even if it's not my favorite thing to read) and his observati…

Major Crush

I read Jennifer Echols's Biggest Flirts earlier this year and fell in love. It was my first Echols book and I immediately decided I needed more. I knewMajor Crush, while out of print, had recently been rereleased on e-book and so I bought it right away. Unfortunately, I just got around to reading it last week. I know two things: I need to read all of Echols's back list and I love books about marching bands.

(The top cover image is the redesign for the e-book. The lower cover is the original. Even though it is rather cartoonish, it actually captures spirit of book better.)

Synopsis: 
Tired of the beauty-pageant circuit, Virginia Sauter tosses her tiara, pierces her nose, and auditions for the most unlikely of roles — drum major of the high school marching band.
Virginia wins, but is forced to share the title with Drew, whose family has held the position for generations. Sure, Drew is hot, but because of his superior attitude, he and Virginia are constantly arguing. That is, until t…

Amour Et Florand

My friend Chachic is hosting this event at her blog Chachic's Book Nook. It is a celebration of the work of Laura Florand from around the blogosphere. My post for this event just went up today on how Laura's books were my gateway drug to contemporary adult romance.  If you love romance and want to check out Laura's books or don't love this genre but think you might want to try it, come by and see what all the fuss is about. Or if you already love Laura's books come and fangirl with the rest of us!

WoW: Shadow Scale

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


I was thrilled to see the reveal of this cover last week. Not only have I been waiting for this sequel since finishing Seraphina, but LOOK AT IT. It's absolutely beautiful in every way and is the perfect match to the first novel.
Here's the synopsis: The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 
As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to st…

TTT: Characters I Would Want With Me on a Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic: Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island


Irene and Gen (from the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner): Irene is an amazing manager and strategist. Her ruthless administration tactics would be a major plus when sorting out food, shelter, and assigning tasks and then making sure they were actually carried out. Gen can come because he needs to be with his wife. He can also use a sword to protect the camp and climb trees no one else would dare to bring down fruit and look for oncoming ships.

Tom and Tara (from the Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta): Tom is good at building things and we will need a builder. And Tara is good at making Tom not be lazy and do the things he needs to do.

Taran and Eilonwy (Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander); Aluna and Dash (Above World series by Jenn Reese): These are the people who would provide the camp with food. They are all used to being…

The Swap

The Swapby Megan Shull takes a classic trope and gives it a slightly new spin. Usually in a body-switching plot the point is to learn that your life is not as bad as you think it is and other people have it just as difficult. In The Swap it is more of a case of the individuals learning to unlock their potential and let go of their insecurities. It was a nice change, but unfortunately there are several drawbacks to how it played out.

Synopsis:
Ellie spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.
Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!
Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their f…

School Books

July is half over and it is almost time for the Painter kids to get back to school. Usually we would be starting school now as I have us on a year-round schedule, but my parents are visiting at the end of the month so we are waiting until the first week of August. I am hard at work at preparing for it though. Here is a sampling of some of the fun things in store.

Bit is going to be in fifth grade. I am a bit blown away that my daughter is now old enough to be in the grade I used to teach. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???? As she pointed out to her father a bit ago (nearly sending him into apoplexy), she would be getting her Hogwarts letter this year if she were a British witch.

Anyway, our history journey has brought us to Explorers through 1815. We will be reading a lot of historical fiction that takes place during the time plus some great non-fiction, plus some other books I think she will enjoy.
A sampling:






There will be some classics thrown in there too: Anne of Green Gables, Treasure Islan…

Rereadathon/ShelfSweeper Update

I'm on a roll with this challenge this year! I've been reading lots of books that have been on my TBR AND rereading. This is the perfect motivator! I would like to be doing even more in both categories, but I unfortunately didn't get as far ahead in my ARC reading by the start of July as I had hoped.


Shelf Sweeper Reads:
The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier
The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
Something Real by Heather Demetrios
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pieby Alan Bradley

Rereads:
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand
The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Floored

I'm rereading Laura Florand's books for ANOTHER event starting on Monday at Chachic's Book Nook:


Something Real

From the moment I discovered what Something Realby Heather Demetrios was about, I wanted to read it. I am not a fan of reality TV shows that follow families around and document their lives, partly because I just feel like the worst sort of voyeur, but mainly because I feel it is an exploitation of the children involved who have no real choice or agency in what is going on. A book that explores this sounded fascinating. I was also a little hesitant because the synopsis made me think it could go places that I was uncomfortable with. The book did make me uncomfortable, but for all the right reasons and it is truly an excellent novel.

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show's cancellation, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it's about to fall apart . . . because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™&#…

Shorter Musings: Fun Contemporary YAs

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post.

Here are some reviews of YA Contemporaries that would be fun light summer reads:

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
Overall, I really like this book and am excited to have discovered Liz Czukas as an author. I will definitely read her next book. I enjoy YA books that are about genuine teens in genuine teen situations, behaving in the overly dramatic silly way they often do. And Czukas is very good at the humorous similes, banter, and zingy one liners. With all of that and the main romantic guy in this book plus the friends this would have been a five star read for me. Except for the entire premise. And if the entire premise of a book doesn't work, it should sink it and sink it hard right? But the writing was a bit too engaging for it to sink it completely from me. I just didn't get why it wa…

The Lost Conspiracy

Last week was the week for reading books I hadn't read yet by my favorite authors. Frances Hardinge is definitely one of my favorites. While I don't always love each individual book, I always appreciate them for the works of art they are. The Lost Conspiracy (Gullstruck Island-UK) is one of those books that swept me away on a tide of beautiful imagery and left me clinging to each page ready to know what happened next.


Synopsis:
On an island of sandy beaches, dense jungles, and slumbering volcanoes, colonists seek to apply archaic laws to a new land, bounty hunters stalk the living for the ashes of their funerary pyres, and a smiling tribe is despised by all as traitorous murderers. It is here, in the midst of ancient tensions and new calamity, that two sisters are caught in adeadly web of deceits.
Arilou is proclaimed a beautiful prophetess—one of the island's precious oracles: a Lost. Hathin, her junior, is her nearly invisible attendant. But neither Arilou nor Hathin is exa…

WoW: Jinx's Fire

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Sometimes you have to step off the path to get where you’re going. In the Urwald, that could lead to being eaten. But Jinx has to do something, and fast: the forest is under attack, and its magic is fading.


Jinx must travel to the corners of the Urwald to convince all its inhabitants—people, trees, and monsters—to work together to defend their homeland. But he also needs to save the magician Simon and so must make a perilous journey into the icy depths beneath the Glass Mountains.

Will Jinx be able to summon enough of his magic—the bright fire within him—to rescue Simon, defeat the Bonemaster, unite the Urwald, and fight off the invaders?

In this action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed Jinx trilogy, Sage Blackwood spins an epic tale about good and evil, fire and ice, magic and knowledge, and becoming who you are meant to be.


I L…

The City in the Lake

After reading The Floating Islandsa couple of years ago, I immediately put The City in the Lake on my TBR. There it sat despite the fact that I adored The Floating Islands, House of Shadows, and just really like Rachel Neumeier as a person too. After readingand loving Black Dog earlier this year I decided I needed to read this sooner rather than later and the Shelf-Sweeper challenge gave me the perfect opportunity for that. And I loved it so much.

Synopsis:
THE KINGDOM’S HEART is the City. The City’s heart is the King. The King’s heart is the Prince. The Prince is missing.
Ever since the Prince disappeared, nothing has been right in the Kingdom. Something has disturbed the strange, old magic that whispers around its borders . . . something cunning and powerful. And the disturbance extends to the farthest reaches of the Kingdom, including the idyllic village where Timou is learning to be a mage under her father’s tutelage.
When Timou’s father journeys to the City to help look for the Princ…

The Great Greene Heist

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson is one of those books that had a lot of excitement and promotion leading up to its release. Those books always make me wary. While I really wanted to read it, I worried about it not living up to my expectations. Well, that was a groundless worry. I LOVED this book and my only regret is I'm not teaching in the fall and won't have a roomful of MG kids to book-talk it to.

Synopsis:
Jackson Greene swears he's given up scheming. Then  school bully Keith Sinclair announces he's running for Student Council president, against Jackson's former friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby wants Jackson to stay out of it -- but he knows Keith has "connections" to the principal, which could win him the presidency no matter the vote count.
So Jackson assembles a crack team:  Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess. Charlie de la Cruz, reporter. Together they devise a plan that will take down Keith, win …