Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday: February 20, 2019

It’s Wednesday so, of course, I am participating in the WWW meme. It is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and you only need to answer the three W’s.

The Three Ws are:

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

I do them chronologically so I always deal with my past before my present and future reading is considered. I can’t help myself! Feel free to link or add yours to the comments below and make sure and check out the other participants because this is where I find all of my books!


What did you recently finish reading?

I had just a teeny bit of The Arctic Incident to finish listening to at my last WWW and the ending did not disappoint! If you get a chance, check these out in audiobook format – the narrator Nathaniel Parker is incredibly talented and brings each character fully to life. I haven’t done a review because I hope to do a full series review when I finish all of the books.

I also could not resist purchasing and reading 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. I absolutely adored her first book The Hating Game and I have been anxiously awaiting this book for months. I was ridiculous while reading it and I need to go back and read it again. I am ashamed of the way I consumed it. It was like inhaling a whole box of Godiva chocolates without stopping to taste the flavors. I will let you know my thoughts when I go back and savor the story more carefully.

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge I picked up solely for the cute cover and I was delighted to find that it is told through both written word and illustration. However, unlike Hugo Cabret the illustrations tell a different story than the written word. This cleve tactic emphasizes the different perspectives of the two main characters and it is a perfect middle school story for explaining how to look at things through someone else’s eyes. I finished it this morning and I loved it! Full review coming soon.

My Plain Jane is a book plucked off my own bookshelf that had languished since OwlCrate sent it in July! I didn’t want to like it but I did and I could not put it down. You can read my full thoughts here.

I also had technical difficulties and my reviews for Springfield Confidential and The Con Artist were both delayed but you can click on the title and find my reviews if you are interested.


What are you currently reading?

Is this the smallest current listing you have ever seen from me?!? With finishing a book this morning and having serious trouble settling into an audiobook I find myself with only two books currently in play. The Wonderling is still sweet and I am digging myself deeper and deeper into Arthur and Sherlock as part of my Learn Something New Challenge. If you have an audiobook recommendation – please, let me know!


What do you think you’ll read next?

I want to continue my Sherlock reading with one of my own books, The Sherlock Holmes Handbook by the awesome Ransom Riggs. I need to keep reading Harry Potter as well. Finally, I can no longer resist digging into I Owe You One by one of my favorite authors, Sophie Kinsella.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW list?


 

SeriousSeriesLove · Uncategorized

Serious Series Love

Who doesn’t love a good series?

Here you can see my ever changing list of book series I want to read. I will add when I find new ones to enjoy and let you know when I have finished others.


The Raven Cycle Series


A Court of Throne and Roses


Myth Adventures Series


The Magnus Chase Series


Queen of Tearling Series


The Arc of Scythe


Flavia de Luce Mysteries


Darker Shade of Magic


Peculiar Crimes Unit


Looking Glass Wars


 

Challenges · Uncategorized

2018 Challenges Update

Well, I can tell you two things without even checking: first, I was much (much) better at tracking my reading and second, it’s like I didn’t even try to stop buying books. But, let us look at the cold hard facts.


Reading Challenges

I participated in so many challenges this year. The Goodreads Reading Challenge, The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, The Book Riot Challenge, The Beat the Backlist Challenge, The When Are you Reading Challenge, The Audiobook Challenge, and the No-Book-Buying Challenge. How did I do?


Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal was to read 100 books this year and I read 123! Success! According to Goodreads I also read 35,318 pages and my most often read author was the romance writer, Penny Reid. Which brings me to a confession: I don’t log every single book. If I am embarrassed by the cover (not the story, just the cover) I won’t log it. So, all of those long sleepless nights that were brought to me by insomnia were accompanied by books borrowed from the Kindle Free Library. The Kindle Free Library is deeply populated by books with weird covers. If I am embarrassed I will just elect to not log it. Shameful, because those books sat with me all night long. In addition to faithfully logging books I am promising to log ALL books for 2019. Either you are all going to see a lot of weird covers or I will plan ahead enough to have regular books ready to go on my kindle.


When Were You Reading Challenge

Sam from Taking on a World of Words not only hosts my favorite weekly roundup (WWW Wednesday!) but also a historical fiction reading challenge. I did…..poorly. I have come to the realization that I only enjoy historical fiction when the story grabs my attention.

  • The complete challenge will include 12 books from the following eras:
    • Pre 1500
    • 1500-1599
    • 1600-1699
    • 1700-1799
    • 1800-1899 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
    • 1900-1919
    • 1920-1939
    • 1940-1959
    • 1960-1979
    • 1980-1999
    • 2000-Present
    • The Future Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot

I did far better with this challenge and completed 14/24 goals. The ones I didn’t finish were, if I were being honest, books that I would never read. Books about nature / westerns / anything on Oprah almost universally disagree with me. Also, while I am sure I read a few books that would fit into the missing categories my biggest problem with this challenge is how persnickety some participants were. If you follow the Goodreads chat boards on this challenge some people were serious about what qualified and what did not. This is not my mentality when participating in a reading challenge and so I never posted anything. Still, this challenge found me finally reading Pride and Prejudice which was absolutely wonderful. I can’t believe I waited so long!

1) A book published posthumously
2) A book of true crime Heist by Jeff Diamant
3) A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
4) A comic written and illustrated by the same person – Witch Boy
5) A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
6) A book about nature
7) A western
8) A comic written or illustrated by a person of color – Pashmina
9) A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10) A romance novel by or about a person of color – When Dimple Met Rishi
11) A children’s classic published before 1980
12) A celebrity memoir W. Kamau Bell
13) An Oprah Book Club selection
14) A book of social science Grit
15) A one-sitting book – I Work at a Public Library… by Gina Sheridan
16) The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series – Every Day by David Leviathan
17) A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author Just One Damned Thing After the Other by Jodi Taylor
18) A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image The Sandman, Volume 1, Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
19) A book of genre fiction in translation
20) A book with a cover you hate 69 Million Things I Hate About You by Kira Archer
21) A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author
22) An essay anthology
23) A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24) An assigned book you hated (or never finished) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Audiobook Challenge from HotListens.com

I did it! I wanted to get the stenographer level (10-15 audiobooks) and I listened to 15! And, I fell deeply in love with audiobooks. Now, if I don’t have an audiobook ready to go I don’t even know how to drive! Here are the audiobooks I enjoyed this year.

1. Fahrenheit 451

2. Artemis Fowl #1 by Eoin Colfer

3. Canada by Mike Myers

4. Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik

5. Fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen

6. How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell

7. Heist by Jeff Diamant

8. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer

9. So that Happened by Jon Cryer

10. Today I Will be Different by Maria Semple

11. The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

12. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


The Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge 

Success here!  Modern Mrs. Darcy puts out a reading challenge every year and, if memory serves, there were some options for 2018. I enjoy her reading challenge because there aren’t so many categories that you are overwhelmed but they are varied enough to actually expand your reading repertoire.

  • a classic you’ve been meaning to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • a book recommended by someone with great taste The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
  • a book in translation Classic Fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen
  • a book nominated for an award in 2018 Circe by Madeline Miller
  • a book of poetry, a play or an essay collection Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
  • a book you can read in a day I work at a Public Library
  • a book that’s more than 500 pages Iron Gold
  • a book by a favorite author Circe by Madeline Miller
  • a book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • a banned book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexi
  • a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction Stuff Matters by Mike Miodowski
  • a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Beat the Backlist Challenge

This one is hosted by Novel Knight and was a great inspiration for reading all the wonderful books I already owned. However, I could not figure out how to log my participation. So, while I kept track I did absolutely no good for my team, The Dewey Dragons. Sorry Dragons!!

I really like emphasizing my books, I just wish I could have more fully participated. Still, look at how many wonderful books (22!) I read off my own shelf.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

A Problematic Paradox by Eliot Sappinfield

The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertini

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Problim Children by Natalie Llyod

The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Wishtree by Katharine Applegate

Lord of the Rings, Return of the King J.R.R. Tolkien


Book Buying Ban 2018

This was my biggest failure. The less I felt like I was “allowed” to buy, the more I wanted to buy buy BUY ALL THE BOOKS. I even stopped keeping track of my beautiful purchases because I was embarrassed. This is how it went (roughly because I am still sure I bought more and was too ashamed to admit it).

January: Owl Crate delivery: The Cruel Prince

February: Owl Crate delivery: The Hazel Wood

March: Birthday Books! Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca, Let’s Talk Spanish50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know by John Bridges, Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight, Toasts by Paul Dickson, The Real Rock BookStupid Historyby Leland Gregory, Uppity Women by Vicki Leon, The 2548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said by Robert Byrne.

April: Things have gone sideways…..

May: I stopped trying. I need books! Don’t try and stop me!

June: Back on the wagon. I received two new books from subscriptions (OwlCrate and page Habit) and purchased only 1, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Huang.

July: Purchased Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella and Find Your Adventure by Nicole Larue in Montreal. Also, two French/English dictionaries.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, Canadaby Mike Myers, two Jodi Taylor books, Wish by Deborah Bladon and 69 Million Things I Hate About You by Kira Archer on Kindle. I had insomnia!!! The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, The Invasion of Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen, All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller.

Owlcrate My Plain Jane

PageHabit The Real Michael Swann

AugustTo All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lente. P.S. I Still Love Youby Jenny Han and Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han.

September: Major personal upset. Books bring me solace and so I buy as many as I want.

October:

November:

December:


Challenge Wrap Up

All in all, I LOVED the challenges. The only one I wound have been disappointed about not finishing successfully was the Goodreads challenge. All of the others were there to encourage me and push me outside of my usual reading. I am not sure yet which ones I will do again but I am so happy looking through all of the ideas.

Also, I know now that if I am really going to challenge myself to vary my reading I need a better plan. It is not enough to hope that my own books and interests will fulfill the required slots, I need a cohesive reading list for all the categories. So, this year I am looking carefully at the categories so that I am not stuck with an insurmountable one.

I think it is safe to say that the Book Buying Ban is falling squarely into the “never again” category. This challenge made me just want all the books. It was like being on a terrible diet and suddenly everything I owned looked gross and diet-like. This year I will certainly try to enjoy what I own but if I see a book I want to read I am absolutely going to buy it.


Tell me, please!

How did your challenges go? Any you recommend?


FrighteninglyGoodRead · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Reads 2018

It is almost October!!!

I love the fall. I especially love October. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling, the bugs are dying and reading season is upon us. Truthfully,  it is always reading season for me. But for many people summer is apparently a time to go outside and do…outside activities? But now that it is Fall it is socially acceptable to curl up with a good book and read again. Hallelujah!

The best part of October for me is Halloween. It is my favorite time of year and my favorite holiday all wrapped into thirty one delightful days. So, like last year, I want to celebrate with Frighteningly Good Reads!

This month I will be highlighting books that are scary, spooky, silly and sometimes only tangentially related to Halloween. I try to post a book a day but since I only review the books that I enjoy sometimes it doesn’t work out.

If you have any Frighteningly Good Read recommendations – please leave them here!

FGR #1: Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lenthe

FGR #2: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

FGR #3: The House with the Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

FGR #4: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

FGR #5: Black Cats & Evil Eyes


 

Uncategorized

Reading Habits Tag

I saw this cute tag as done by Stephanie from Between Folded Pages and I could not resist doing it myself. I have been struggling mightily with my reading lately and this tag was perfect for evaluating my habits. Make sure and pop over to Stephine’s blog and check out her answers and please, feel free to do this tag yourself!


1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Nope. I will literally read anywhere. I always have a book in my purse and if I find myself unoccupied for more than 3 minutes I will start reading.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Niether. While I really love cute bookmarks I try to remember the number of the page I am on when I close it. I know it sounds silly but I always feel like Sherlock Holmes when I remember it.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I can stop mid-sentence if I have to. I rarely care if I am at the end of a chapter. Instead, I will read until I have to stop or fall asleep.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

I often do both but I don’t required it. I love to sip a hot beverage and read but I will admit to loving reading while eating popcorn. When I am alone for a meal I always read.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

Neither. I like to immerse myself in the book.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

If I love a book I will read it to the exclusion of everything else. When I come out of a book I love though I will sometimes go through a bit of withdrawal and then I might multi-task. Recently, I have been reading far too many at the same time because I cannot find anything I love as much as my most recent book crush.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Home is best because people don’t interrupt me. But, I never let people come between me and a good book so I have to answer honestly: everywhere.

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?

Silently unless it is poetry which I always appreciate more aloud.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

If I really really hate a book I will skip ahead in an attempt to find something that will improve my opinion of the book. If I find something worthwhile, I will backtrack. If not, it goes into the do-not-finish pile. But, I do not like spoilers so I only do it to reassure myself that I am just in a bit of a slump in the story.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I never do it on purpose but I always accidentally break them. The only exception is when the book is borrowed from a person or the library. I am far more careful with other people’s books!

11. Do you write in your books?

Not my books for enjoyment. However, I always write in my textbooks. I have also been known to write in non-fiction books but recently I invested in some cute paper tags just for this reason.

Like I said, this one is up for anyone but I’d love to see some more answers! If you don’t feel like doing the whole tag….


Tell me, please!

Which of my answers surprises you or disagrees with you the most?

Graphic Novels · Middle Grade · Sunday Morning Comics · Uncategorized

Sunday Morning Comics May 27, 2018

Good Morning! In the United States we are enjoying a long three-day weekend which means that Sunday morning is extra relaxing. I had the time to quietly enjoy both of these graphic novels which feature characters grappling with typical adolescent issues in additional to the impact of their culture background.

American Born Chinese by Gene Lien Yang showcases the stories of Jin Wang, the Monkey King, and Wei-Chen Sun. Jin Wang’s parents are Chinese immigrants and when Wei-Chen Sun arrives at school directly from Taiwan, Jin Wang wants nothing to do with him. Jin Wang wants to be an all-American boy and date the all-American girl. And the Monkey King has lived for thousands of years mastering skills to join the ranks of the immortal gods. But there is no place in heaven for a monkey!

The author and illustrator employs a fairly unique storytelling trick and does not use a traditional narrative structure. This allows three different perspectives regarding cultural assimilation and race-shaming to combine into one poignant message: “It’s easy to become anything you wish so long as you are willing to forfeit your soul.”

Meanwhile, in Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol, Vera is the odd-duck out in her social circle of all-white affluent kids. Vera immigrated from Russia with her Mom, little brother and sister when she was five. After a disastrous attempt to host a sleep over she turns to her Russian Orthodox Church to find friends. There she hears about a camp which is only for Russian Orthodox kids and convinces her Mom to send her to camp. She figures that it will be easy to make friends with kids with her own cultural identity and background.

Once at camp though things don’t go quite as planned. They speak in Russian as much as possible, sing Russian songs and while Vera’s accent is perfect, it seems she isn’t Russian enough. She is also placed in a tent with much older girls and finds out that there is a big difference between almost ten and fourteen.

I really enjoyed how both of these authors used their personal knowledge to highlight the additional struggle foreign culture can add to growing up in America. While I have always been fascinated by other cultures I am well aware that there are many obnoxious Americans insist on cultural homogenization which is a tragedy. I hope every child (really, adults as well) read these books and work to feel comfortable with their own culture, or, embrace the child whose culture is different from your own. The world is just a more interesting place with diversity and acceptance.


Tell me, please!

Have you come across any other culturally interesting Graphic Novels?


 

Uncategorized

February Stunk

I took my test. 1000 hours of studying, an equal number of notecards and 15 hours of testing later, I am done. I don’t get the results for a couple of months but, for now, I have a reprieve. A break. And all I want to do is read!

How I have missed new books. During February I read only one new book. Old books I visited for comfort but anything new was a bit overwhelming. My brain was so consumed with the information for my test that I dared not enter into any new worlds or new relationships with characters unknown to me. But I missed my bookish adventures and there are no words to describe the job of reading for pleasure again!

I have just finished reading The Cruel Prince and it is just as good as everyone promised. The review will go up soon but I just wanted to post a little “hello” after a month of quiet!


Tell me, please!

Have you ever been too stressed to read new books? What did you do?


FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · nonfiction · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Read #17

It is October 29th and the gimme-some-candy moment of Trick or Treat is almost upon us. I have been reading so very many books. Sadly, there have been none which I feel confident recommending at this time. Fortunately, I stumbled across this delightful book which we might all need either for a last minute labor intensive costume making session.

costumeThe Costume Making GuideCreating Armor & Props for Cosplay by Svetlana Quindt is a mind-blowing introduction to how people make cosplay accessories and armor. I have been to one or two events which involved Cosplay but I have never understood how people really put together their outfits. I mean, they sell pieces at the conventions but a single item can set you back $100 so I couldn’t imagine building a whole costume!

But, in The Costume Making Guide, Svetlana aka Kamui Cosplaygives steller tips on how to make cosplay excessories and weapons that look so incredibly real out of regular materials (think saran wrap and duct tape) that I feel anyone could make some armor given the time and the know how provided in this book. And, by this time in October you either have your costume, you are not wearing one this year, or you are regretting not putting one together. Honestly, I found myself just last night on Pinterest looking at, “last minute costumes, stuff around house.”

But with this book I am going to try and make some Wonder Woman arm shields and pair it with regular clothing for an under-the-cover WW. Actually, Kamui Cosplay’s website has a number of other amazing ideas and books but I am pretty tickled with the idea of the arm shields so I am going to try it!

With only two days left in Frighteningly Good Reads I need to put down the stacks and stacks of books (both good and bad) and take a minute to make some kind of costume and I am really thankful to have found this book in time!


Tell me, please!

Do you celebrate Halloween? Are you dressing up?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · historical fiction · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Read #12

Today’s FGR is another children’s novel that I really believe everyone should read. Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan is a sweeping piece of historical fiction that covers all of the major events in American history through the eyes of children and linked them together through a magical harmonica.

EchoI wrote about Echo months ago and have recommended it to everyone for at least a year. Recently, a young reader told me they found the book “terrifying.” I was a little taken aback – I had not considered it scary at all.

But, that is the thing about fears. For me, the ocean is the most terrifying setting possible. So, a book set on a cruise ship is already terrifying. A submarine…..full shudder. For this child, this book reached into his deepest darkest psyche and kept him up reading until all hours. Thankfully, he found it thrilling!

Echo tells the story of three children struggling through some of the most difficult moments in modern history.  The rise of Hitler’s Germany, the Great Depression and segregation in America are all experienced through the eyes of these young and brave kids.  It is the harmonica – an immensely popular instrument in its own time – that provides a means of escape for the each of them.

But, the forces working against our little heroes provided enough tension and mystery to create fear in the younger reader. So, for today I recommend again the fabulous Echo.


Tell me, please!?

Have you ever read something that just terrified you (even though it wasn’t supposed to)?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Graphic Novels · Halloween2017 · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Reads #4

For day four of my adventures through Frighteningly Good Reads I tried a graphic novel. I have only recently been introduced to the wonder of graphic novels and finding a scary one that was also excellent was surprisingly easy.

throughthewoodsThrough the Woods by award winning comic-creator Emily Carroll is a book of five short horror stories. In addition to the art, which I found very creepy (I’d say that this as a good thing, after all it is a horror book), the stories are told in sort of the manner one would any scary tale. Just, imagine that you and your friends are sitting around a campfire. One leans into the glow to speak in a whisper, “There was a girl…and there was a man…” This is how I heard the stories in Through the Woods.

And the creep factor in these drawings is high but doesn’t pass my gross-out limit. The author was able to build anticipation and tension with her art and words and leave me baffled on one story, transfixing in horror on another and actually shuddering on a third. Each story stayed in my mind but if I were being honest, the fifth one really scared me the most. I mean, really scared me. I almost tossed the book across the room.

This book really puts the Frightening into my growing collection of Frightening Good Reads. If you want to try a truly scary graphic novel I highly recommend sitting down and taking a trip Through the Woods.


Tell me, please!

Do you enjoy graphic novels? What about scary short stories?