Saturday, January 14, 2017

Immortal Rules


The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa
Published 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Already owned

This book was ultimately very good, although it began a little bit slowly for me. 

Allie is a Fringer, living Unregistered on the edge of the Vampire City. She has a small gang of three other people, but she is the only one brave enough to venture beyond the city for food and supplies and risk the danger of Rabids. Until she finds a massive stash of cans in a cellar. Then she needs the help of her gang, a choice which changes Allie's life entirely.

I think what baffles me the most about this book is the cover changes. The one in this review is from the copy I owned. However, the original shows a girl who reads as white with a tear of blood rolling down her face. Allie is very consistently described as Asian.  Thankfully, it looks like the sequel The Eternity Cure was released with a more accurate cover.

While I will likely read the sequel, it's not high on my list. This does give at least a modicum of closure to the story.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hilda and the Stone Forest


Hilda and the Stone Forest
by Luke Pearson
Published 2016 by Flying Eye Books
Borrowed from the library

This is the fifth book in the Hilda series, but it is the first of the series I have read. I managed to jump right in with very little issues, although some of the characters were a bit unclear to me.

Hilda is a delight of a character. She's brave but also thoughtful and kind. She has a hard time listening to her mother and being careful because she is so focused on helping out others and going on adventures. Of course this gets her into trouble. The kind of trouble where she and her mom end up in a mysterious forest. 

I would highly recommend this graphic novel series to anyone who enjoys books that are heavy on the fantastical with a small dash of realism.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart


Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
by Candace Fleming
Published 2011 by Schwartz and Wade
Borrowed from the library

While I knew that Amelia was lost at sea during a flight around the world, I had no idea she had another crewmate, and I had no idea all that led up to her flight. Fleming opens the book with a note about the complexity of researching a person who put forth intentional misinformation about themselves. This was an interesting bit to me. We don't think about how people can choose to represent themselves in any way, how the stories they tell may be nothing more than fiction. I don't read a lot of biographies, but I have enjoyed Fleming's The Family Romanov, a book where she didn't feel the need to make such a note. Now I'm wondering how often misinformation becomes fact because someone creates it as their own truth.

Back to Amelia. I enjoyed learning about Amelia's youth. How she worked as a nurse during World War I, how she went to college (briefly), and how she fell in love with the idea of becoming a pilot. I also love how Fleming works hard to paint Amelia honestly. Amelia was not infallible, and according to Fleming's sources, she was not even that good of a pilot. She was, however, an excellent press piece. And I enjoyed reading about the many ways Amelia and her friend-then-husband George made money off of America's desire to make a spectacle of a female pilot.

However, my favorite part of this book is the way Fleming presents Amelia's final day. She notes the many people in various places who claim to have heard Amelia calling on the radio. She notes where Amelia could have possibly been in order for the signal to travel that distance. She also explains why most of these people were not believed at the time. 

I would highly recommend this book to people who love an unanswered mystery as well as to those who love learning about historical figures.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sanctuary Review


Sanctuary
by Nora Roberts
Published: 1998 by Jove
Already owned

I found this book in a box of old books at my parent's house. I couldn't remember for sure if I had read it or not, so I decided to give it a read before donating it. 

I realized about halfway through that I had, in fact read it before. But I could not remember exactly how the mystery panned out. I finished it and was satisfied with the resolution.

Jo Ellen is a photographer with a new book deal in the works. She's also being stalked. She decides to return to her home, an island named Desire and an inn named Sanctuary. There readers meet her sister, Lexy, and her brother, Brian. We get to follow the three of them as they are romanced, but also as two of the island's residents are murdered.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of mystery and romance. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Exit, Pursued by a Bear


Exit, Pursued by a Bear
by E. K. Johnston
Published: 2016 by Dutton Books (Penguin Random House)
Bought

Hermione and Polly have one goal as cheerleading co-captains: avoid the second half of the curse of their small town. The first part of the curse is that each class has someone die. The second part is that each class has one teen pregnancy.

When Hermione is raped at cheerleading camp, the outcome is obvious. And the choice she makes fall in line with her desire to change the curse of their town. But making that choice has a different set of consequences.

I appreciated Johnston's optimistic outlook of a tragic event. She also approaches the subject with a honesty, not shying away from the trauma of surviving sexual assault or the choices that are rarely shown in teen literature. In fact, as far as I know, this is the only book where the choice hasn't already been made before the book begins.

So I appreciated this book for its new actions, and it read smoothly, but it wasn't quite a five star book for me. Highly recommend to readers who like "tough topic" reads.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Complete Brambly Hedge


The Complete Brambly Hedge
by Jill Barklem
Published: 1980/2011
Bought

I love these beautiful and simple stories of the field mice (and voles!) living in the Brambly Hedge. The illustrations are lovely and intricate. I could pour over them for hours. I would have adored this as a kid, and I can see some of my students loving it. The stories are quaint, like the mice live in the 1700s or 1800s. I am a particular fan of the Winter Story with its gorgeous ice halls and winter feasts. 

I would highly recommend this book to people who prefer "quiet" stories and intricate watercolor (I think?) illustrations. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review Survey

Well friends. It's been 10 months since I blogged last. Sigh. But during that time, I moved back across the country, started a new job as an elementary school librarian, and tried not to get disheartened by the state of America. I also did read quite a bit. So I'm pumped to share my year in review with you. As with the last couple years, I'm using Perpetual Page Turner's survey. Jamie is so incredible and amazing and she inspires me to keep blogging (even when I take an accidental 10 month vacation.)

Number Of Books You Read: 132
Number of Re-Reads: 14
Genre You Read The Most From: Not entirely sure, but going to assume YA Fantasy


1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
 Oh man, I read so many good books this year! But possibly Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War or Anne-Marie McLemore's The Weight of Feathers or Brian K. Vaughn's Paper Girls.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 All-American Boys or The Porcupine of Truth. Like Porcupine made me legitimately angry, whereas Boys just let me down.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

 I feel like I read quite a few books with "twists" but none of them really surprised me. I think my love for The Chocolate War surprised me the most, although that's just me not knowing myself. 

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

 I didn't really "push" very many books this year. Possibly Dumplin' or Saga or Doll Bones.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

 Started: Paper Girls or Saga although I also really enjoyed Not Your Sidekick and The School for Good and Evil.
Sequel: A Gathering of Shadows or Marked in Flesh
Ender: The Raven King

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

 Anne-Marie McLemore or Stephanie Kuehn or Stacey Lee

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

 Under a Painted Sky because I don't read much historical fiction and I really enjoyed that one.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

 Queen of Shadows or The Raven Cycle

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

 Well, I already have reread Anne Bishop's The Others series twice this year, but I bet that will happen again next year. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

 Probably A Gathering of Shadows

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

 I think about Apollo from Trials of Apollo a lot and also Mark Watney from The Martian a lot.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

 The Weight of Feathers!! I was so into the writing that I literally missed my bus stop one morning.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

 While I read a lot of books that were intended to be thought-provoking or life-changing, I don't actually feel like any of them were. Maybe The Others series, but that was technically a re-read.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

 The Chocolate War! or The Martian even though it only came out in 2011.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I did not keep track this year :(

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

 Longest: Winter at 832p
Shortest: The Fantastic Mr. Fox at 96p

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Probably Empire of Storms although I wasn't actually surprised.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
 MEG + SIMON = 5EVA (The Others series)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

 The Paper Girls crew (Paper Girls) or Alvin and his family (Alvin Ho)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 Probably Dream Theives (Maggie Stiefvater) or Last Night I Sang to the Monster (Benjamin Alire Saenz)

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

 Probably The Raven Boys or Saga

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

 Marko from Saga or Ronan from The Raven Boys

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

 The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Hellig (also may have been only debut?? Whoops!)

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

 The worlds of Saga, Sugar Skulls, or The Abyss Surrounds Us

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

 Alvin Ho!! I always laugh out loud at Alvin's misadventures, and he makes me feel so much better about my own anxiety.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

 All the Rage, Marked in Flesh, and Last Night I Sang to the Monster -- straight up balling with all three of them.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

 Either Not Your Sidekick or The Abyss Surrounds Us. Super underrated in blog community/real world, but both very deserving of praise.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

 Probably Last Night I Sang to the Monster

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

 Probably Snow Crash content wise, but A + E 4ever or The Cursed Child format wise (I hated both of those though so make of that what you will).

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Cursed Child -- talk about not knowing your source material!!

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016? 

 I was super behind on blogging/blogs this year.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

 I didn't write a single review. Sigh.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

 n/a

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

 ALA Midwinter!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

ALA Midwinter!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Making time! As in that totally didn't happen. I will be better in 2017!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

 n/a

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

 n/a

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

There have been so many awesome bookish shops on Etsy!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I think the only ones I completed were my rereading goals (5 books) and my series finish goal (caught up to/finished 9 of the ones I had)

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

 I have too many. I can't choose.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

 Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop. I'm obsessed with this series!!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

 Not sure! I have no idea what's even coming out.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

 A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

 Actually keep up with blogging!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

 None!
So there's my survey for 2016. A little sparse in some areas. But hopefully it will all come together. Let me know if any of your favorites were in my favorites!!