WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: September 11, 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s simple. Just answer three questions and leave a link to your own WWW post or a feel free to comment with your responses. The best part is visiting other participants to see what they are reading. It is my favorite meme of the week and even though I haven’t posted anything since the last WWW, I have been reading! I promise!


What Did I Recently Finish Reading?

I am focusing on series stories for September Series and it is shocking how easy it is to bend this theme to my will. While I did finish a book from my series TBR, Dragonwatch, I had a little tiny bit of insomnia and immediately felt validated in downloading Jock Road by Sara New because, after all, it is part of a series.

Dragonwatch is part of world of Fablehaven which is one of my favorite middle grade series of all time. Brandon Mull is an excellent storyteller and I can feel that he is building toward something huge for the remaining books. While he introduced new characters that intrigue me, there were others that I really do not like and the story plodded a little. Just a little though! In the end, I am counting down the days until October 1st when Book 3 becomes available.

I really enjoy Sara Ney’s stories. They are fun and frequently naughty. She crafts wonderful characters and brings them together in a variety of interesting ways. This particular story featured the tightly wound Jackson and athlete-hating Charlotte. The best part of this story was the showcasing of the jocks as more than just meat-heads. The book as a whole fell a little short though and I wanted the characters to bond further. It went a bit too quickly from “I hate you” to “Let’s be together always.” It felt more like a novella than a novel but leaving me wanting more isn’t the worst thing a book can do.


What am I Currently Reading?

I am more than 50% into Illuminae and I am obsessed with this story. I love the format which is odd for me because typically I hate books that are just e-mails or notes. This one looks and feels like a journal. I don’t know who gave me this piece of advice but having a physical copy and listening to the full cast audiobook is a wonderful tip. Both are fantastic ways to consume this story but together the experience is really heightened.

I am working my way through my giant Art and Science of Hand Reading and I find myself looking at everyone’s hands everywhere I go. Sorry. I’m staring and learning how to figure you out without talking to you.

I have started Furyborn but I am too early in the book to form an opinion beyond admiring the beautiful cover. Similarly, I am enjoying ArchEnemy, the third in the Looking Glass Wars series, but I don’t have a feel for the storyline yet. I am please to see that my two favorite characters, Alyss and Dodge, are spending significant time together in this book! Sigh. Alyss and Dodge forever.


What Will I Read Next?

heartforger

I want to start The Heart Forger before all the details of The Bone Witch fade from my memory. Focusing on the series books this month has certainly driven home the fact that reading a series closer together is preferable to years in-between books.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW?


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: September 4, 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s simple. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your own WWW post or a feel free to comment with your responses. The best part is visiting other participants to see what they are reading. It is my favorite meme of the week and I am so glad to be now that I am finally moved!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve attempted doing them in the prescribed order but my brain only works in a past-present-future way.


What Did I Recently Finish Reading?

I am participating in September Sequels hosted by Kathy at Books and Munches which has helped me focus on finishing up all those sequels sitting around on my TBR shelf. I’ve already finished reading The Raven Cycle with the fourth and final book, The Raven King. I have a lot of thoughts on this final book that I need to organize before posting a review of the series.

Similarly, I finished The Queen of the Tearling series. I loved the first two books since they featured a collection of strong women (both good and evil) and an amazing cast of characters. The third book was just as good but, as you can read in my full review here, the ending left me stunned.


What am I Currently Reading?

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull is the second book in the new series set in the world of Fablehaven. Fablehaven is one of my all-time favorite series and I am happily enjoying these new books.

The Art of Science and Hand Reading is not a series per se but I have changed my learn-something-new goal for the year to palmistry. I have been dabbling in reading palms for years and years and now I am seriously (series pun: intended) digging into the subject. This one will be on my currently reading for quite some time. Not only is it a huge tome, but I am taking notes as I go along.

Finally, I am listening to Illuminae as my audiobook. This is a full cast audiobook and, so far, is incredibly enjoyable.


What Will I Read Next?

archenemy

As I continue with finishing my series books I hope to read ArchEnemy, the final book in The Looking Glass Wars and dive back into Harry Potter for my 2019 re-read challenge.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW?


 

Fantasy · fiction · SeriousSeriesLove · Uncategorized

September Sequel: Queen of the Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen

This series…..wow. I cannot stop thinking about it. I first read The Queen of the Tearling in 2017 and shortly after that purchased and read the second book The Invasion of the Tearling. I immediately purchased The Fate of the Tearling and put it carefully on my shelf where it has sat for nearly two years. Thanks to September Sequels I finally made time to finish the series. I am going to try and make this as spoiler free as possible so forgive me for all the vagueness that follows.

I only partially remember the details of the first two books and I was concerned that I had them woven facts with another series that I read at the same time. So, I actually took the time to re-read the first two books. I tore through them. It helps that I am post-move and pre-work so I have nothing but time to read right now. Still, these books consumed me for the past few days.

The Queen of the Tearling jacket reads:

With the arrival of her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is ascending to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling. Surrounded by enemies, including an evil sorceress possessed of dark magic, the young ruler stands little chance of success. But Kelsea possesses fearsome weapons of her own, including the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic. As an epic war draws near, Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny begins – a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

Do you want to know something odd? The first time I read this book I pictured Kelsea as being age 12-14. It is no spoiler to say that she was raised in isolation, hidden from enemies, by two caretakers. This made her seem both very young while simultaneously wise. It was only upon reading it the second time that I caught that she was nineteen. This fact made other things in the series, like her distraction regarding the attractiveness of her guard, seem less weird.

Re-reading the first two books was a joy. They are fairly fast-paced (bit of a Hobbit-like traveling part in the beginning of book one) with fantastic characters. All three books are told from shifting narratives and you can see the perspective of each character clearly. And the characters! Kelsea has a core made of pure iron.  Her guards, the evil Queen, the mysterious Lily, and Father Tyler – I loved (or loathed) them all. Two of the guards, The Mace and Pen were my absolute favorites and I relished each scene they were in. I want the Mace to be my friend in real life. Or, at least, have one friend as utterly dedicated to me as the Mace is to Kelsea. I was ready for the next book. I needed to know the fate of this world that had become to important and so real to me.

Let me just disclose that one of the reasons this book landed on my TBR shelf for so long was because it did not go over well with the fans of the first two books. So, I was worried. For the first 50-75% of the book, it was amazing. Every thought was, “what are people complaining about?” Then, stuff happened. Nothing that requires trigger warnings or anything (although, please note that there is some background sexual violence in this book) Then, I got to the final quarter of the book.

The ending left me open-mouthed staring at the back cover.

I went full large-mouthed bass.

It is not a bad ending exactly. On a scale of endings it is closer to Hunger Games than say, Divergent. There is sadness, there is wonder, and there are a few, “whaaaaaaaat?” moments mixed in. Mostly, it is just a perfect series with an ending that is probably perfect for the series but isn’t what I wanted. This is the ending that makes me finally understand why people write fan fiction. I would like a go at re-writing this ending.

I will still highly recommend the entire series. It is fantasy writing in a surprising way and is packed full of fantastic characters charging through life righting wrongs. And, if you have read it or do read it, can we please talk about that ending?!?


Tell me, please!

Which series had an ending that you didn’t love but didn’t ruin the series?


 

Challenges · Uncategorized

September Sequels

I was blog hopping the other day in lieu of writing anything and Meegan Reads had mentioned this fabulous idea of focusing on sequels in September. The idea originated with Kathy at Books and Munchies and I love it!


The Rules

Post a blog post / comment / Tweet / whatever saying you’ll be joining.

Share your list of all the TBR-sequels that you own and then decide which ones to give priority to.

If you’re sharing your updates on social media, use #SequelSeptember so we can follow up on each other. Simple!


My TBR

Here is the top of my sequel TBR. I also need to finish re-reading all of the Harry Potter books for one of my 2019 challenges.


Tell me, please!

Do you have sequels that need your attention?


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: August 7, 2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s simple. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your own WWW post or a feel free to comment with your responses. The best part is visiting other participants to see what they are reading. It is my favorite meme of the week!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What Are You Currently Reading?

I’m trying desperately to maintain some semblance of control as moving week is next week so I am reverting to my tried-and-true four book policy.

I’m listening to A Man Called Ove as an audiobook. It is as wonderful as everyone promised. I am about 80% through and loving it.

I am still only a few chapters into Dragonwatch, Wrath of the Dragon King because I couldn’t remember what happened in the previous book. Now I am ready to sit down and enjoy the story.

I started English Grammar: 100 Tragically Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them this week. It is a short nonfiction work with each grammatical error on a single page. I think it will be a quick read.

Finally, I have Parental Guidance on my kindle. Thankfully I selected this one yesterday since my fire alarms went off at 2:00 and 3:00 this morning. I got quite a bit of this one read in the small hours of this morning! It is setting up to be a sweet reluctant lovers contemporary romance.


What Did I Recently Finish Reading?

I finished both The Extraordinary Series by Mary Frame and Artemis Fowl, The Eternity Code. Mary Frame’s contemporary romance series was fine but I was consumed by the third book in the Artemis Fowl series. This book has some serious excitement and humor in it and kept me entertained the entire time. I cannot wait to listen the next book.


What Will I Read Next?

518qR6BG3JL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_

I still need to start and finish Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to round out my middle grade required reading for the summer. I’ll be interested to see how differently I view this book as an adult than when I read it last.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW?


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: July 31, 2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s simple. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your own WWW post or a comment with your responses. The best part is visiting other participants to see what they are reading. It is my favorite meme of the week!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: I cannot help but list them in chronological order. It’s the history enthusiast in me.


What did I Recently Finish Reading?

I don’t know if it’s the move or my inability to focus but I have been deep into middle grade books lately. I finished Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly as an audiobook and it was an incredibly interesting middle grade book. It was a familiar story line of self discovery but the layers of culture and the added perspective of the bully was a fresh take for me.

I have also been working my way through the 6-8th grade required reading for my current area and for my new town. This is how I found When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt and Ghost by Jason Reynolds. If you want to see the issues in a community (or lack of awareness of those issues!) check out the required reading list for your local schools.

I also stumbled across Einstein, a graphic nonfiction book while at the library this week. It was cute and is a good primer on all things Einstein but, like most graphic novels, is limited in depth. This is also a good example of how a book can look appropriate for children but has mature themes.


What am I Currently Reading?

I am listening to two audiobooks, A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman which I am loving. I am approximately 40% of the way through and it is really helping me when I have to do menial tasks around the house to keep it clean. Artemis Fowl, The Eternity Code (Book 3) is my car audiobook. I am maybe 20% into that one and I love it as much as the first two.

I have finally started reading Dragonwatch, Wrath of the Dragon King by Brandon Mull. Fablehaven is one of my favorite series of all time and so I am trying to make the book last but it is so difficult because I just want to sit down and read it all.


What Will I Read Next?

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Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry is another required reading book for a local public school. I haven’t read this book for years and years but last year I volunteered with a mock trial team and the problem was based on this story. Of course, they change the facts so now I cannot remember which is which! I am going to do a quick re-read.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW?


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: July 24, 2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s simple. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your own WWW post or a comment with your responses. The best part is visiting other participants to see what they are reading. It is my favorite meme of the week!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: I cannot help but list them in chronological order. It’s the history enthusiast in me. Let’s see what I have been reading!


What did you recently finish reading?

pinned

I was lamenting my lack of blogging this week. I have been reading so much and not writing at all. I did get two posts up this week, one about Factfulness and one on Norse Mythology but, apparently, that cut into my reading time. Ah well, at least I was doing something!

The only book I finished this week was Pinned by Sharon G. Flake. I volunteer with various groups of kids and I like to read books off of the required summer reading list. Pinned is for a local school for seventh grade. I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as I will enjoy talking about it with the students I hope to see soon. It was a unique story of two students trying to overcome internal adversity and had some wonderful themes about perseverance.


What are you currently reading?

I started Ghostanother required reading for a local school. I am only a few chapters into the book so I haven’t formed an opinion quite yet.

I am so close to finishing the audiobook of Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly and I have so many thoughts about this middle grade book.

I am slowly reading The Extraordinary Series by Mary Frame. I am happy to say that I haven’t read it for two days. This is a good thing as it is my designated insomnia book. That’s two nights of sleep – in a row!

I also started listening to A Man Called Ove as an audiobook. I am a few chapters into it and my inner old-person is really enjoying the character of Ove.


What do you think you’ll read next?

dragonwatch2

I have been holding onto this book because I know once I start it I won’t be able to put it down. Fablehaven is one of my favorite series of all time.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW list?


fiction

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

This was always going to be a short review because: Neil Gaiman + Norse Mythology is a winning combination. Add to that the extreme heat through most of Eastern American today and I am surprised my laptop isn’t burning my legs. If you are too hot to continue reading, just know, this book is awesome and you should read it.

When Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology first became available in 2017 I tried to borrow a copy from my local library. The only format that was available was an audiobook. I listened to the first two wonderful short stories and determined, quite quickly, that I could not keep the different characters straight. The beautiful pronunciation of the Norse names simply slipped through my brain.

norsemythologyI am so glad that I purchased a physical copy and finally had the opportunity to sit down and read these re-tellings. Neil Gaiman’s storytelling is always perfection but his ability to weave a short story is mesmerizing for me. Typically, I do not enjoy short stories. But, perhaps, it is Gaiman’s graphic novel work that makes these stories seem so effortlessly enjoyable. As a bonus, since I recently finished the Magnus Chase trilogy, I also found many of the stories to be familiar!

Gaiman starts with the players and introduces us to the world of Norse Gods. I will admit that most of my Norse mythology is deeply rooted in Marvel re-tellings and so I was very interested to hear of the beginning of Odin and the relationships between Thor and Loki. Through the book the stories bob and weave into a collection that represents the beginning, the evolution, and the eventual end of the Norse gods. I felt a child-like wonder as I read each story and I was reminded of my obsessed with Aesop’s fables in childhood.  But instead of Aesop’s small lessons, Gaiman gives us character driven stories with ridiculous twists and turns and a small lesson which is usually, “It was Loki.”

If you are looking for a short story collection or are even remotely interested in Norse mythology, this book is an excellent choice!


Tell me, please!

Have you read this book?


 

nonfiction

NonFiction Friday: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We Are Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

factfulnessThis is, quite simply, the best and most uplifting book of nonfiction I have ever read.

Before reading this book I made the mistake of reading the news on a daily basis and I knew, in my heart, that everything was terrible. I could feel the terribleness of our tragic world in my bones. Around the world, people are worried about war, disease and the environment. Food shortages and genetically modified supplies haunt my dreams. Equality for all seems like a far-off goal. Let me add to that that I am an American. As an American, my country is deeply divided and, whatever your politics may be, people have become comfortable with name calling and outright lying. The drama is at an all-time high and nothing is getting accomplished. It’s all terrible. Worse, I cannot find facts on anything and so I worry about everything. 

One night, I awoke with a start, heart pounding. I reached for my middle-of-the-night buddy, my faithful Kindle. I searched for something to read and found Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund. I remember thinking, “I would like to be both full of facts and wrong about the world.” I plunged into this book and I cannot stop thinking (and talking about it.)

It turns out, I’m not “wrong” about the world so much as I was using old information. I was letting the news convince me that there was nothing but horrors around every corner. And, I couldn’t distinguish between facts and overly dramatic editorials. If you want a quick look at how the facts can make you feel better and simultaneously change the way you see the world, watch this twenty minute Ted Talk given by Hans Rosling.

He refers to his questions a number of times in this video. At the beginning of the book there is a test to see how much you know about the world. I scored….poorly. A few things I knew had changed from my childhood, but I was shocked, shocked, by how quickly the world has changed when I wasn’t looking. It was like I met the world as an adorable toddler during my early educational experience, I went on with my life and now, twenty years later, I am all “Look how big you’ve gotten!” When I wasn’t looking whole countries went from mud-soaked poverty to looking like my hometown.

But, perhaps, you are not an American. Many Americans are well aware of how little we know about the world. Perhaps you are a well-educated world traveler and aren’t surprised at all by how everything is going. But, you find yourself still scared about the state of things. That might be because it is easy to find bad things happening in the world, good things are difficult to find. For example, 40 million commercial airplanes took off and landed safely in 2016 and ten crashed. Each crash was covered extensively. This gives the perception that air travel is not safe when, in fact, 2016 was the safest year on record to fly (this is also the last year of available statistics for the book so, don’t panic). We see this pattern repeated ad nauseam. Bad news gets people attention.

So we have copious amount of bad news. Some of us are using old information. Then there is the feeling that when there is more to do, we cannot talk about the successes we can see. We have dramatic instincts and we combine that with an overly dramatic worldview. It is no wonder we are sure we are all doomed.

To combat this, Factfulness has ten rules of thumb all designed to get our brains used to analyzing data and learning new things about our world everyday. The environment needs work, some people will always need help, and we can always do better. But, honestly, its not as bad as I thought it was.

I still read the news everyday. But I look for the facts. I watch for gaps, straight lines that are just assumed, and resist that feeling of urgency without knowledge. And I look for what isn’t being reported because that is where the good news is hiding.


Tell me, please!

Have you ever had a book radically change the way you look at the world?


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: July 17, 2019

I have sat down to write a couple of reviews this week and gotten less accomplished than I wanted to. I never like to do back-to-back WWW’s with nothing in-between but, sometimes, good enough is all you can do. Plus, WWW Wednesday is my favorite for keeping me organized and I am a HOT mess this week as the move approaches.

WWW Wednesday is graciously hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.


What Did I Recently Finish Reading?

I wrapped up Factfulness by Hans Rosling. I tried, really tried, to write a review of this book. This is my favorite book I have read this year. It will take the place of honor next to The Poisoner’s Handbook. It is an amazing work of nonfiction. This fascinating book of nonfiction gives you ten reasons why the world is better than you think. It reached right into my anxiety riddled brain and soothed it. It deserves a perfect review. I’m working on it.

I finished the audiobook version of Yes, Please by Amy Poehler this morning. I think she is hilarious but, for some reason, the cover of this book evoked a “yes, please, another drink over here” vibe to me and I skipped it when it was new. I wish I hadn’t. Instead, the book is bursting with profoundly deep thoughts, hilarious observations, and funny stories. I was a fan, now I’m a massive fan.

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is another audiobook I finished this week. This book is a middle grade book with a message we all need to hear over and over again. “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.” Ally cannot read. She is twelve. Since her father is in the military, she has moved and hidden her inability to read for years. But now, she has a new teacher. Mr. Daniels sees her and recognizes her problem as dyslexia. I love this book.

Norse Mythology is a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman. I tried, years ago, to listen to this as an audiobook but I couldn’t keep the Norse characters straight in my head. I’m so glad I bought the physical copy. It is excellent.

Ridorkulous by Mary Frame is a sweet contemporary romance that I purchased in the middle of the night when insomnia stopped by for a visit. Super cute romance blossoms between two college students forced to compete for the last rentable room in their college town. It was highly implausible and just as highly entertaining.


What am I Currently Reading?

I was at my local library and saw that Ghost and Pinned were required reading for seventh graders this year. I had already read the required reading for the other grades so I wanted to tackle these two before school starts. I like to have a jumping off point when talking to kids about books.

I am also listening to Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly as an audiobook and it is good. Told from shifting perspectives of four middle schoolers I was sucked right into the story. I am especially in love with Lola, the grandmother of the protagonist. I am also fascinated with the author’s choice to make the bully a character with a voice.

Finally, after finishing Ridorkulous I downloaded another of Mary Frame’s books on my Kindle. I like having a romance to read in the middle of the night when my thoughts keep   me awake.


What Will I Read Next?

I have Brene Brown’s highly acclaimed book Rising Strong cued up as my next audiobook. I was also recommended The Rise of Winter by Alex Lyttle when I was talking to a student about marvelous middle grade books.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW?