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Award Committees are Hard

Hi friends... It's been a long while since I've posted. I did my book reviews this last year on my facebook because it seemed easier at the time. I've been slacking on reviewing books. I think because I spend so much of my daily life recommending the books I've read to students. I love my job. I love that I get to talk to teens about what they're interested in and try to match that to a book that will make them eager to have a few minutes of class time to read their books. Maybe that's why being on an award committee is hard for me. Last year, I was a reader for a smaller, local award. I only had to read four books. I was asked not to talk about them until the award had been awarded. That was still kind of hard. I wanted to complain about the one I thought was too didactic, to bemoan the one that had such an incredible idea but had been pseudo-self-published and would have been so so much better in the hands of a professional editor and agent, I wanted to
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It's been a year

Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2017!! Number Of Books You Read: 150 (!!! Met my personal goal!) Number of Re-Reads: 4 Genre You Read The Most From: Manga and Graphic Novels probably 1. Best Book You Read In 2017? This is hard because I was lucky to read a lot of amazing books this year. Probably either Long Way Down , My Friend Dahmer , Six of Crows , or A Court of Thorns and Roses .  2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Probably Asylum  or Out of the Easy . I was excited to read both of them, and they were both sort of let-downs for me.  3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?   Hmmm, maybe The Female of the Species  by Mindy McGinnis.  4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?   A Court of Thorns and Roses   or Six of Crows .  5. Best series you started

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

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.

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 Worl

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. 

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