Saturday, December 31, 2016

Favorite Reads of 2016

First you get my top 10 of the year regardless of age category. Followed by that I have top 10 lists broken down by age.

These are purely and simply my favorite reads of the year. Not all books are 2016 releases. Links are to my reviews.

Top 10 Reads of 2016

The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne (adult; historical romance)
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (young adult, historical fiction)

Earth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner (adult; historical romance)
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (young adult; contemporary fiction)

The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford (middle grade; fantasy)
A Little Taste of Poison by R.J. Anderson (middle grade; fantasy)

Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas (young adult; fantasy)
Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire (middle grade; science-fiction/fantasy)

Some Kind of Happiness by Clarie Legrand  (middle grade; contemporary fiction)
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (young adult; contemporary fiction)

Top 10 Middle Grade

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman (contemporary fantasy)
The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore (futuristic science-fiction)

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly (contemporary fiction)
The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford (historical fantasy)


A Little Taste of Poison by R..J. Anderson (fantasy mystery)
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks (contemporary fiction)

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messier (magical realism)
Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire (science-fiction/alternate history)

Some Kind of Happiness by Clarie Legrand (contemporary fiction)
Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick (contemporary fiction)

Top 10 Young Adult

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (historical fiction-1970s)
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (contemporary fiction)

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (contemporary fiction)
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee (historical; 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake)

Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis (contemporary fiction)
Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prunes (fantasy; sleeping beauty retelling)


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (historical; WWII)
Spindle by E.K. Johnston (fantasy; sleeping beauty retelling)

A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty (fantasy)
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (contemporary fiction)


The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne 

 Earth Bound by Emmay Barry and Genevieve Turner 
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne

Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis
Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne 

Sleeping with her Enemy by Jenny Holiday
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold  

What are some of your favorite books you read this year?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Quarterly Review Round-Up

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.

The DNFs (links to my reasons why-if I shared them-on Goodreads):
I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You  by Ally Carter
School of the Dead by Avi

Adult Books (links to reviews on Goodreads):
The Catching Kind by Catie Quinn (contemporary romance)
The Courage of Eli Jackson by Kelly Hunter (contemporary romance)
The Engagement Game by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance)
A Family for Christmas by Noelle Adams (contemporary romance)
Reunited with her Cowboy by Genevieve Turner (contemporary romance)
Round Midnight by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner (historical romance)
You Had Me At Christmas by Various (contemporary Christmas romance anthology)

The Best of the Best (the 4.5/5 star reads):

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman 
The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore 

A Little Taste of Poison by R.J. Anderson
Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas 

Links to my reviews unless otherwise noted.

What have you particularly enjoyed (or not) over the last few months?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Shorter Musings YA

Here are some shorter musings on some recent reads.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof
I thoroughly enjoyed Ezra and Kady (particularly Ezra). They are fabulous main characters. I enjoyed their banter and how much the cared about each other even though that was often hard. The format of the book makes it rather easy and quick to read despite its bulk and I thought it was a clever way to tell the story. However, it still could have been about 200 pages shorter. It has a lot of humor and excellent themes. I'm going to keep reading the trilogy because I do want to find out how this all sorts itself out in the end.

The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee
I looked forward to reading this for a while and was so disappointed. Higgs is an awful human being and Monarch is as stereotypical manic-pixie-dream girl as you can get. I kept waiting or Yee to subvert these characterizations and do something clever with the plot but that didn't happen. I'm personally disappointed, but am glad ti have it as a rec  for those I know who eat these books up.

Orange  by Ichigo Takano
I don't typically read Manga so I have no basis for comparing this to other works in the genre. I read this because my friend does the lettering for English editions of Manga and this is one of the books she worked on. She let me borrow it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved this group of characters so much and how they interacted with each other. It was amazing to me how much character development happened and how much this was a book about characters. There are some aspects of the themes that were troubling for me and I'd be cautious about recommending it to readers you know struggle with suicidal thoughts, but overall it is incredibly well done.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Spetys
This is a book about the greatest Maritime disaster in history. Reading it is not easy. It is an excellent incredibly well written book, but it will do things to you emotionally. The story follows four characters all trying to escape various circumstances as the Russians close in on German troops at the end of World War II. The chapters are short and jump between the characters. This does make it rather difficult to fully connect with the characters. That's not entirely a bad thing. These kids do not have easy lives.

The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Moon
The characters were interesting and I found that the book explored a lot of issues through the romance including racism, immigration, class, and depression. The format of the book made it hard for me to fall completely in love with this one though. It was always THERE reminding me of the author. If I see the author on every page working a little too hard to prove they are clever and good at their craft, I don't enjoy myself as much. I felt that here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

TTT: Books for Christmas

This week's TTT topic: Books for Christmas

Usually when I do this post, I only do books I'm giving the kids in my life for Christmas. This year I'm including four I desperately want at the end.

For Bit (age 12):

For LM (age 8):

For the Niece (age 4; ALMOST 5):

For Nephew (age 1):

 (Ummm...I THINK these are the ones I got him. Maybe? I wrapped them and mailed them a while ago so possibly they are different. But two from this series definitely.)

What I Want:

You know how they've been slowly redoing all of Diana Wynne Jones's books in the UK and they are amazing? Well they finally did the Dalemark Quartet and LOOK AT THEM. This series has needed amazing covers for a looooonnnnggg time. I love them all but especially Drowned Ammet and The Spellcoats. They are so beautiful.

What books are you gifting or longing for this holiday season?