Monday, August 31, 2015

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

This book works for both the Newbery Challenge and the Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge.
Brown Girl Dreaming
Nancy Paulsen Books

This is an autobiography of the author's childhood starting with her birth and ending right before her teen years in Brooklyn. She was born in Ohio, grew up in South Carolina, and finally New York. Her mother left her father and she and two of her siblings spent their early childhood years in South Carolina with her grandparents. The children learned about God and were raised Jehovah's Witnesses and they learned the difference between growing up Black in the South and Black in the North. Woodson wrote this in verse form and it is a very appealing fast paced read. Beautifully written, you are drawn into the Woodson/Irby family and don't want to leave.

I can definitely see why this was a Newbery Honor and I love that two verse novels won Newberys this year. Verse novels appeal to middle grade readers, because they look big, but are easy and fast to read. I hear this time and again when the children are picking up the books. Like Crossover, Brown Girl Dreaming deals with family. Jacqueline was raised partially by her grandparents and by her single mother. She also faces a devastating losses as she grows, but continues to hold her family close. You can see Jacqueline's love of writing throughout the novel and you feel proud knowing she achieved her dream. With a great protagonist and insight into the changes of the 60s, I highly recommend this as a classroom read and it is definitely one I will booktalk. We are using this book in the class I am teaching as an example of diversity and autobiography at its finest. It is a National Book Award winner as well as a Coretta Scott King and Newbery winner. 5 cups of cocoa and this was a very deserving Newbery honor.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

ARC August Week 4 Update


ARC August hosted by Octavia and Shelly!

This is hosted by Octavia and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat.

The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)
Harlequin Teen

I managed to finish both The Girl with the Windup Heart and A Whole New World and review them both!

A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)
Disney Press


I am still working on Oblivion and am at 10%. I won't get this one finished before the end of the month, but I am enjoying it.  I can't wait to see how this one ends and it should get me in the Fall/Halloween mood.
Oblivion (Nevermore, #3)
Atheneum Books
How is the challenge going for everyone? I hope you got a lot read!








The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

This book counts for the Netgalley and Edelweiss Challenge, the Prequel & Sequel Challenge, and Series Enders Reading Challenge. This is also number 74 for the COYER challenge and is a Booking Through Summer book. This is the final book in Cross's Steampunk Chronicles and will have some spoilers for the other three books.
The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)
Harlequin Teen



Cross brings to a close all the threads of her past stories and gives us one last romantic couple to fall in love with. Mila just wants Jack to notice her, as a real woman, not as a robot turned girl who needs protecting. She is stronger than all men after all and can take care of herself. The only way to accomplish this is to leave Jack and strike out on her own. In the meantime, Griffin has been kidnapped into the Aether by the Machinist. Finley is willing to save Griffin at all costs even if all costs means her life. Finley convinces Emily to "kill" her, meaning to make her dead enough to travel in Tesla's suit into the Aether, the place between life and final destination. Once inside Finley will have to face down her worse fears and is reunited with the one person she has always missed from her life. While Finley is battling for herself and Griffin, Jack learns to trust others, like Wildcat and Jasper and Emily and Sam, to help him find Mila and keep her safe. Finley and Jack both learn the true meaning of sacrifice when they realize those they love have to have the power to decide their own fates and trusting someone is more important than protecting them. Will the group be able to defeat the Machinist without the loss of those they hold most dear?

What a great ending to the series! I will miss these characters so much and I loved seeing all the romances develop in each book. I love Cross's steampunk creations and her well developed characters and their romances. I also like her writing style and hope to read more by her. 5 cups of cocoa!

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

This was my August TBR book and works for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge and for the Fairytale Challenge. I received this eARC on Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is number 10 for the COYER Scavenger Hunt and a Booking Through Summer book.
A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)
Disney Press

If you have watched Disney's Aladdin, you know the story goes Jafar in disguise tricks Aladdin into entering the Cave of Wonders to steal the lamp and Jafar's plan is to kill Aladdin and take over Agrabah. You know at first that he does not get the lamp and instead traps Aladdin in the cave and Aladdin grabs the lamp, makes a few wishes, wins the heart of the princess, and then Jafar briefly has the lamp and makes a wish that dooms him to eternity in the lamp. Well, what if that did not happen. Liz Braswell, in what may be a twist series by Disney Press, creates a twist on the original Disney story. In her adaptation, the story starts the same with Aladdin imprisoned for "kidnapping" the princess, but this time Jafar is able to get the lamp and trap Aladdin in the cave for a few days. In the meantime, Jafar becomes Sultan and a great sorcerer, but still wants to marry Jasmine. He dooms this relationship by doing an unforgivable act and the princess plans her escape. Jafar tries to charm the populace by giving out gold and for a time free food. Jasmine and Aladdin know the true Jafar and the two are able to unite with the leaders of the Street Rats to try to stop Jafar's dastardly plans. Not only does he want to take over Agrabah, but also the world, with an army of undead soldiers and the power of the genie. Can Jasmine and Aladdin create a whole new world or will Jafar's evil schemes destroy Agrabah?

This was a fast-paced and dark retelling of Aladdin and both teens and adults will be drawn into Braswell's magic. It is a bittersweet story and without giving too much away, some beloved characters do not have happy endings. Braswell does capture all sides of Agrabah, the poor and the rich and magic and thievery. I loved trying to remember the original story alongside of her retelling although it did make me a bit sad that the lightheartedness of the original is definitely not there. She does capture the pure evil that is Jafar and in this tale, he is someone to be feared, and she shows how absolute power brings out the worst in people, especially people with a bent for dark magic. If you want to experience a whole new side of the Aladdin story, read Braswell's dark tale of tragedy and triumph and of love that is true despite the circumstances.  For me this is a 4 cup of cocoa read and reminds me of the dark original fairytales, like 1001 Arabian Nights, which I actually enjoyed. I still like the original Disney tale too, but this is a good contrast to that story.










Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ARC August Week 3 Update

ARC August hosted by Octavia and Shelly!

This is hosted by Octavia and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat.

The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)
Harlequin Teen

I finally finished The Girl with the Windup Heart and it was a great ending to the series. I hope to get the review up this week. I am at 9% on Oblivion still, but I did manage to start A Whole New World and I am 35% of the way through it.
Oblivion (Nevermore, #3)
Atheneum Books

How are you all doing with the challenge?

A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)
Disney Press





Monday, August 24, 2015

Bout of Books 14 Day 7 Update and Wrapup

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.

Day 7: I read 23% in A Whole New World and participated in the mini-challenge What to Read Next. I also posted on 6 blogs. I also forgot to post yesterday that I read 124 pages in Aphrodite the Diva.

Wrapup: Total I finished Tris's Book, The Girl with the Windup Heart, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. I started A Whole New World The Iron Trial and Aphrodite the Diva. I read/listened to a total of 829 pages! That is awesome for me. I also completed one mini-challenge and one Twitter chat and commented on about 12 different blogs and followed a few new blogs including Bingeing on Reading and Sarah Reads Too Much. Overall a very successful and fun readathon! I can't wait until the next BoB!

Thanks again to the hosts!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bout of Books Mini-challenge: What to read next

 This reading challenge is hosted by Sarah Reads Too Much.

For this challenge you are supposed to recommend 3 and only 3 books you have read this year that you consider great and think that everyone should have on their TBR. You are also supposed to write a bit about why that is.

Just choosing three is hard, but I could think of two that blew me away this year.
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) Seraphina (Seraphina, #1) The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)
1. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Bloomsbury). Dragons and half-dragons populate the world Hartman created. The love triangle is also interesting and necessary to the story, although this is more so in book 2. Seraphina is a strong female lead and Hartman's world-building was breathtaking.

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (Random House). I did not review this on the blog, since it was an audio review I did for SLJ and I have the awfullest time trying to write two different reviews of the same book. Her twists on the fae were beautiful and disturbing, basically everything you want in a dark faerie story. I loved the strength of Feyre and her romance with Tamlin. Maas really knows how to write strong flawed heroines.

3. The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross (Harlequin Teen), but only if you have read the prior books in the series, if not start with The Girl with the Steel Corset. My theme for these choices is strong female leads and Finley is one of the strongest. She has survived a Jekyll and Hyde personality thanks to some science experiments her father did on himself and passed down through his genes to her. She falls in love with a Duke, but manages to stay independent. She can beat up men due to her strength and fast healing. This was a great steampunk series and the characters were extremely well-developed. I loved all the different romances that were in each book and loved getting to know the characters. I will miss them.

Thanks to Sarah for hosting!

Bout of Books 14 Day 6 Update

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.


I participated in the Twitter chat and was fun as it always is. I also finished The Girl with the Windup Heart by reading 43% in one day. It was a good ending to the series. I finished Breakfast at Tiffany's which I started a couple of weeks ago and I am still processing my thoughts on this one. I watched the movie years ago and I don't remember it being like the novella, but I may have been too young to pick up on some of it. I read to chapter 5 of The Iron Trial and I think it will work for the freshman reading challenge. It will just be a little on the easy read side.

I hope to visit a few blogs today and read a bit more. I would also like to do Sarah's mini-challenge, especially since I have not completed any mini-challenges this time.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bout of Books Day 4 and 5

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.


I wasn't home to write up my reviews of Days 4 and 5, so I am combining them into one post.

No socializing these past two days, but I did read 75 pages in Aphrodite the Diva and I have started a reread of The Iron Trial. The Iron Trial is one of our books for our High School Reading Challenge that the high school librarian and I work on each year. I hope to socialize a bit more today, but we will see.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bout of Books 14 Day 3 Update

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.

Day 3 Update: I finished Tris' Story, so one book down! I read 15% on The Girl with the Windup Heart and am a little over halfway through with it, so really good reading day. Lots of stress at work, so that is all I accomplished today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bout of Books 14 Day 2 Update

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.

Day 2 Update: I finished about half of a CD of Tris' Story, but that was about it on reading. I did manage to comment on 5 blogs, so I did get a bit of socializing in.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bout of Books 14 Day 1 Update

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.

Day 1 Update: Well I had to drive 4 extra hours today to pick up free furniture for our branch library from another library who was getting new furniture. I was able to listen to most of Circle of Magic: Tris' Story by Tamora Pierce, 3 whole CDs worth! That is all I was able to do, but that is a start.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

ARC August Week 2 Update

ARC August hosted by Octavia and Shelly!

This is hosted by Octavia and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat.
The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)
Harlequin Teen


I am about 42% in The Girl with the Windup Heart. I love this series and I am having a hard time getting to the end, because I don't want the series to end. I have finished my book club books and a few books I need to read for my class, so I should be able to devote more time to my ARCs. I also started Oblivion this week and am 9% in.
Oblivion (Nevermore, #3)
Atheneum Books

I also hope to start A Whole New World, since it is my TBR read this month. How are you all doing with the challenge?

A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)
Disney Press




The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

I read this one for the Newbery Challenge. This was a Newbery Honor book in 2014.
The Year of Billy Miller
Greenwillow Books

Billy Miller is about to start second grade with his best friend Ned. He is a little nervous, because during the summer he had a bad fall, which led to a knot on his head. He worries he could have problems with his brain, but his father assures him that this will be the Year of Billy Miller. Billy's teacher uses the Chinese New Year, The Year of the Rabbit, followed by the Year of the Dragon, to bring a little outside culture to her group. As Billy embraces his year, he faces a bully, grows up a little, helps his parents, and is a good older brother to his little sister. Billy learns that we have to embrace our fears and focus on the good in life to have a spectacular year.

This was a really sweet book written from a second graders perspective. It lacks the usual hard luck and heartbreaking themes the Newbery crew usually embraces, but that makes it a book I would actually recommend to lower elementary. Children will be able to relate to Billy and parents don't have to worry about a sad ending. I do love a lot of the heartbreaking Newbery's, but it is refreshing to have one that is just a sweet story. Kevin Henkes is a talented writer and illustrator and this will be perfect for his fans who have grown a little past books like Chrysanthemum. I will definitely be recommending this one to parents. 4 cups of cocoa!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Re-Readathon #2 signup


This is hosted by Bex at An Armchair by the Sea and you can sign up at this link.
She will have a mini-challenge or two and a Twitter chat and the only rule is to reread books. I love to mix in rereads with new reads, so I was excited to see this re-readathon. I will make a goal list soon!
Thanks to Bex for hosting!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bout of Books 14 signup

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I love Bout of Books and even though this week and next week will be stressful at work, I am still participating. This will be my tenth time participating. I love the Twitter chats, mini-challenges, and all the fun blogs to find. I hope I can be a bit more social this time and may focus a bit more on the social aspect rather than the reading. I still hope to read some on A Whole New World and The Girl with the Windup Heart though.

Thanks again to all the hosts!

Booking Through Summer Reading Challenge

BTSRC

This is hosted by kimberlyfaye reads and BookNerd Betsy.

I keep forgetting to update my progress on this challenge. I have read more books than I have reviewed, but I am only going to use the books I have reviewed.

Read and Reviewed so far:
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
Persephone the Phony by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Aphrodite the Beauty and Artemis the Brave by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

So far that is all the books I have read and reviewed. Thanks again to Kimberly and Betsy for hosting!

ARC August Week One Update

ARC August hosted by Octavia and Shelly!

This is hosted by Octavia and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat.
The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)
Harlequin Teen


I have started The Girl with the Windup Heart and am about 14% in. I love this series and I just need to find time to read. I hope to work on this one next week and to start A Whole New World by Liz Braswell, which is a twist on Aladdin.

A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)
Disney Press
 Thanks to Octavia and Shelly for hosting!




Saturday, August 8, 2015

August TBR list: And the Winner is....

MyTBRList

This is hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading.

And the winner is...
A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)
Disney Press
I almost ended with a tie, but thankfully Stormi voted and broke the tie! I am excited about this one and can't wait to see how this twist on the Aladdin story goes. Mirrored came in a close second.

Monday, August 3, 2015

2015 Bookish Resolutions Challenge: July Update


Bookish Resolution Challenge


This is hosted by Michelle at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life and Laura at Trips Down Imagination Road and you can sign up at this link.
My resolutions:
1. Read at least 6 Classics this year.
2. Finish at least half of the challenges that I signed up for this year.
3. Finish at least 4 series this year, particularly ones where I have only the last book in the series left to read.
4. Try to blog more, like at least 10 posts a month.
5. Get healthy!

Well I did not post a resolutions for June, because I did really badly that month. I did a bit better in July.

1. I have read This Side of Paradise and reread The Great Gatsby, both by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I really need to work on this one. I am almost finished with Anne of Green Gables, so I will be halfway through, but it takes me a long time to finish a classic.

2. I still have one challenge I haven't started, but I am about halfway though most of the challenges. I just need to post and link reviews.

3. I have finished 3 series now! Killer Frost completed my third series, so I only need one more finish.

4. I did blog 10 times last month, so I held steady here.

5. I am back on my diet and slowly losing weight. I lost 2.4 lbs the last week in July, so that was good. I need to up my fruit and veggie intact, but I am remembering to take my vitamins daily.

Hope you all had a great month!



Saturday, August 1, 2015

ARC August

ARC August hosted by Octavia and Shelly!

This is hosted by Octavia and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat. I waited until the last second to sign up, since July flew by and I am just realizing it is August. This is my combined signup and goals post. I would love to read 2 or 3 ARCs this month. I hope to finish The Girl with the Windup Heart, my TBR book for the month, and I may possibly read on Legacy of Kings or Dearest. Thanks to Octavia and Shelly for hosting.




My August To Be Read List

MyTBRList

This is hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. Since I am participating in the COYER Summer Scavenger Hunt, I decided to again pick titles on my Kindle that I really need to read. Two of these came from Edelweiss and the other from Netgalley.

First choice:
The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2)
Scholastic Press

The Iron Trial was my best middle grades read of 2014, so I was excited to get an egalley of this one. It is reminiscent of Harry Potter, but the authors have created their own elements.

Second choice:
A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)
Disney Press

I was also excited to get this one on Netgalley. This is a twist on the Aladdin Disney tale in which Jafar is the one to make the first wishes.

Third choice:
Mirrored
HarperTeen

I love Flinn's fairytale twists and I like that she is bringing Kendra back for this one. This is a twist on Snow White.

I would be happy with any of these choices and hopefully this will make me read on my Kindle more! Remember you can vote on these even if you are not participating in the meme itself.
Thanks again to Michelle for hosting!