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TTT: Books That Were Hard for Me to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic: Books That Were Hard for Me to Read

This can be interpreted several ways. I'm choosing to highlight books that were hard for me to read due to subject matter and/or because they put me outside of my comfort zone, but that I'm so glad I did.











Quarterly Review Round-Up with GIVEAWAY

It is time for the Quarterly Review Round-Up where I talk about the best of the best, the one's I couldn't finish, and the adult novels I'm reading that I don't review here. Plus there's a GIVEAWAY.

The DNFs (links to my reasons why-if I shared them-on Goodreads):
The Fire Wishby Amber Lough
Nuts to You by Lynn Rae Perkins
Stray by Elissa Sussman
Sway by Kat Spears
The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Adult Books (links to reviews on Goodreads):
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
The Comeback of Conn MacNeill by Virginia Kantra
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
The Passion of Patrick MacNeill by Virginia Kantra
Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
Private Politics by Emma Barry
Special Interests by Emma Barry
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Temptation of Sean MacNeill by Virginia Kantra
A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

****KNOW that if they were available at Book Depository (which is where I get…

Shorter Musings: Contemporary YA

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 a few good YA Contemporary romances I've read recently.


Catching Jordanby Miranda Kenneally
I read my first Miranda Kenneally book (Things I Can't Forget) back in December. I've been meaning to read the other ones ever since, but it took so long because I had a feeling this would not be as much of a book that I would love. I just don't like football. At all. Despite that, I still found it to be mostly enjoyable. It has the feel of more of a starter book, the writing not as developed as it is Things I Can't Forget , but that is to be expected. I liked Jordan a lot. I liked her bravery and gumption. Her ability to fight for what she wanted, even if I didn't understand AT ALL why she wanted it. I'm excited about reading Stealing Parker soon.

Goin…

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

With a title like The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, the cover, and the synopsis, there was no way I wasn't going to read this new book by Julie Berry despite not always liking her previous titles. Well, I liked this one quite a lot. It is so much fun. 

Synopsis: 
There's a murderer on the loose—but that doesn't stop the girls of St. Etheldreda's from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce. 
The students of St. Etheldreda's School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong. 


This is the second MG book I've read this year involving a mystery over a short period of time in a house with many residents. I L…

TTT: Books on My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic: Books on my Fall TBR List

My fall reading is going to mostly consist of reading for the Cybils. So in reality my TBR for fall is going to consist of the book in the list of nominations that start October 1st in the category of Elementary and MG Speculative Fiction. But that doesn't mean I won't have time for other books too and I hope to fit all these in.


Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra (October 7)  Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson (October 7)


Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George (October 7)  Exquisite Captive by Heahter Demetrios (October 7)

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (October 14)  Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand (October)

Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster (November 4) Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier (November 4)

The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Park Davies (November 4)  Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (November 4) 
What are you looking forward to reading t…

Chocolate Book Meme

Chocolate and books are my two favorite things. (Outside of the people in my life of course.) When I saw this post on Chachic's Book Nook, I knew it was something I had to do too as it combines my two great loves.

Dark Chocolate: a book that covers a dark topic (abuse, domestic violence, rape, loneliness, bullying, death, etc.) 
Melina Marchetta is definitely the first author I think of when I think of someone who writes these books well. I love all of her realistic books: Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, Jellicoe Road, and The Piper's Son. (Saving Francesca is my favorite. I know, I'm strange. Everyone else's favorite is Jellicoe Road.)

White Chocolate: your favorite lighthearted/humorous read
I can't thing of humorous books without To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis jumping into my mind. Julia Quinn's novels also come immediately to mind, particularly her first five Bridgerton books (those five are my favorites of hers).

Milk Chocolate: a book th…

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson is the THIRD collection of poems in novel length I've read and enjoyed this year. I may have to revise my "I hate verse books" stance if this keeps up. It's been a very good year for them.

Brown Girl Dreaming is a collection of poems about her childhood Woodson wrote. It begins with her birth and goes through about 5th grade and chronicles her early years in South Carolina and her elementary years in New York City. Both southern and northern city girl, Woodson's poems reflect her desire for a home and place, but the pull of two and not really belonging fully to either. As she was born in 1963, the book is set agains the backdrop of Civil Rights, Black Panthers, and Vietnam. There are difficult themes and scenarios explored, but all through the view of her child's eyes, making them easy for child readers to relate to and understand. In giving the world her story, she has opened a window on the time period, but also given…

Not in the Script

Not in the Script is a book I was so excited to read because I love these types of story lines about people with lives so different from your own that seem glamorous and fun. I was also nervous because I like to feel like even when these stories are showing me a fantasy life, I want them infused with some realism. Also I didn't want to dislike the book because I think Amy Finnegan is a lovely person and that always gets awkward. Fortunately, I did like it and spent a wonderful afternoon soaking in all its fun fluffy romance (with some substance-just like I wanted)!

Synopsis:
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.
Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave b…

Cybils Judges Announced

The Cybils Judges in all categories were announced today. I'm so happy to be a part of this process again in Round One Elementary and MG Speculative Fiction. It was such a wonderful experience last year and I love every thing about this process and the award.


My Fellow Panelists:
Rana at Reader Noir
Sherry at Semicolon
Maureen at By Singing Light 
Cindy at Fantasy Book Critic
Katy at A Library Mama 
Charlotte at Charlotte's Library
I'm looking forward to working with these ladies to make a short list out of the dozens to hundreds of books that will be nominated. That is where you can play a part in this process. Nominations for books will open on October 1st. Be ready!


The Crossover

I have said before I don't love verse novels. Do you know what I love even less? Basketball. Not a  fan. Not even a little bit. With those two things working against it, I really didn't want to read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. But it's getting a lot of award buzz so I finally (rather petulantly) picked up a copy. Ahem. This book is AMAZING. I loved it. This is why we should always stretch ourselves to read even those things that we don't think are "our type" of books.

Josh Bell
is my  name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame
Folks call me that
'cause my game's acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it'll put you to shame.
My hair is long, my height's tall.
See, I'm the next Kevin Durant, 
LeBron, and Chris Paul.

Josh's voice. It is so perfect. The book isn't entirely blank verse, as you can see from the above. It is a combination of several different styles and types, but what they all have in common is Josh's voice. His voice which i…

The Story of Owen

I waited too long to read this book. Seriously. When it came out back in March, I was intrigued. Many people I trust said read this. It's good. Why did I wait so long? The Story of Owen  by E.K. Johnston is a perfect blend of myth, reality, sly humor, and exhilarating action-adventure.

Synopsis:
Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim'…

The Whispering Skull

I was a huge fan of The Screaming Staircase when it came out last year and couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Whispering Skull. Stroud brings his talent for eerie creepiness, mystery, and snarky humor to this latest edition and it is so much fun.

Synopsis:
In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.
Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well…

Wildlife

I have wanted to readFiona Wood ever since people were talking about Six Impossible Things when it first came out. I waited impatiently for it to be picked up in America. And for some reason it still hasn't been. But I was more than happy to jump on the chance to read Wildlife instead. I'm happy to report that all the praise Wood received for her writing was well deserved, and I can only hope this being published in the US means Six Impossible Things has a chance now too.

Synopsis:
During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.
New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can't help but be drawn back …

The Magic Thief: Home

For fans of the Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas, the latest installment, The Magic Thief: Home, is a much anticipated and highly welcome addition. It also has the potential to draw in new fans as a new chapter in Conn's life and the city of Wellmet begins. Whether readers are old fans or newly experiencing the magic for the first time, every reader of this book is in for a fantastically twisty tale of magic, mayhem, discovery, and intrigue. 

Synopsis:
Despite successfully securing a balance between the competing magics of Wellmet, Conn is not happy. Duchess Rowan has promoted him to ducal magister, but the other wizards see him only as a thief. But something sinister is brewing, as magicians’ locus stones are being stolen and magical spells are going awry. As Conn faces old enemies and powerful magical forces, is he strong enough to save the city he calls home?

Conn is a bit out of sorts since finishing with the magics of Wellmet, returning home, and having his magicalicus swall…

Isla and the Happily Ever After

I know I'm weeks behind everyone else in the blogging community in reading and reviewing Isla and the Happily Ever After. Better late than never? Honestly, it wasn't a huge priority for me as I liked but had some pretty serious issues with Perkins's prior two books. And I didn't want to have issues with this one. I liked Isla and I LOVED Josh in Anna and the French Kiss and was afraid this wouldn't live up to my expectations as the other two sadly hadn't. No worries on that score. This is definitely the best of the three in my opinion.

Synopsis:
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

I was destined to fall in love with this particularly story as Isla and Josh have the character dynamic …

My Year of Epic Rock WITH GIVEAWAY

When I saw My Year of Epic Rockby Andrea Pyros show up on NetGalley, I knew immediately that I had to read it. I love books about music, friendship, and fitting in. These are the type of realistic books that appeal to my daughter and her friends right now, and that I have no trouble selling to kids looking for recommendations. It is always nice to find one that is especially well done and is truly relatable to the kids who read it. I think My Year of Epic Rock is one of those for sure.

Synopsis:
How to survive the seventh grade? Make some Noise! A funny relatable tale about friendship, first crushes and…anaphylactic shock?         It’s the first day of seventh grade, and Nina already can’t wait for the year to be over. When her best friend ditches her to hang out with the popular new girl, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”- banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts.
Nina thinks she’s finally found her feet when she forms a band with the other allergic …