Thursday, March 31, 2016

Perception by Kim Harrington

I read this book for the Story Sprites pink path, Clairvoyance/Six Sense, and it completed the path for me! It also fits Reading Bingo for Book You Own and Full House challenge for By an Author You Wish was know better.
Perception (Clarity, #2)
Scholastic Point

Perception is the sequel to Clarity and picks up shortly after those events. Clare Fern, known for her psychic abilities, thinks the school year will be a little less exciting than her summer. After successfully tracking down a murderer, Clare is now super popular at school and surrounded by fake friends. Her ex Justin, who saved her life, wants to get back together and Clare has mixed feelings for him, because she has not forgotten his betrayal with her enemy Tiffany. To complicate matters, Gabriel, the sheriff's son, is definitely interested in being more than friends, feelings which she reciprocates. What Clare hopes to have most is a true friend and she seems to find that in Mallory, a quiet girl who finally opens up to Clare, but when Mallory's ex-best friend turns up dead and Clare begins to receive scary secret admirer notes, one of her top suspects is Mallory. To complicate matters, Perry, Clare's brother, is acting strange and being contacted by a spirit possibly connected to the killer, and her mother is panicked over Clare's classmate's death, leaving her without her usually support. Can Clare solve the case, before she becomes the victim?

I love Kim Harrington's mysteries and I hate that I waited so long to finish this one. Her two books about Clare are quick, suspenseful reads and The Dead and the Buried is good too. These work perfectly for middle school all the way to young adult readers. I enjoy how she ties up the loose ends and Clare's romantic interests. I wish there were more books in the series, but the ending was nicely done. I like how Harrington weaves in the supernatural elements, but still has a good mystery plot and that the two themes would work separately, that they are both strongly developed. There is also some great points about friendship made in the book and about relationships. A quick, satisfying read, 4 cups of cocoa for sure!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I read this one for my March reading assignment challenge and for the pink path, Book with Gay/Lesbian Romance, on the Story Sprites challenge. It works for the Flights of Fantasy challenge. It also fits Book with Star-Crossed Lovers for Reading Bingo and You Didn't Want to Put it Down for the Full House challenge.
Carry On
St. Martin's

Simon Snow is the "Chosen One," the one who has to defeat the Insidious Humdrum or all magic will be destroyed and for Baz, Simon is his annoying roommate, who he is hopelessly in love with. Simon depends on Penelope, his best friend, who is talented magically and brillant to boot, and his girlfriend, Agatha. For Simon though, things are not what they seem and his life is way more complicated than he realizes. He broods over Baz, his vampire roommate who is constantly making his life miserable, but could there be more to Baz than he realizes. The course of love is never smooth and for the characters in Carry On, it definitely is a roller coaster, but if Simon can survive the Humdrum, a happy ending may be in store.

I love Rainbow Rowell's writing and the plot was great. It reads like well done fan fiction and I thought I would be confused with this being pulled from ideas in Fangirl and being a faux final book in a series, when in reality it is a standalone, but I wasn't. The love scenes between the main characters were sweet and fairly innocent and were some of the better parts of the novel. I wish that Lucy's tale would have been know a bit more to the main characters and that there was one more scene with Ebb and Nico, but otherwise it wrapped up nicely. The only problem I had with the book was that it was a bit harsh on religion. Of course that I had to keep turning the audio down because of the F word, it was very British in those two respects. I actually got used to the language, but it was funny when I would stop for roadwork and the construction workers would look surprised and give me funny looks when the F word was said at probably a too loud volume. Aside from the anti-religious remarks, the book was well done. I think it will appeal more to older young adults, like 20 and 30 year olds, particularly Harry Potter fans. It definitely plays on Harry Potter and some items were directly copied from it, but I really enjoyed that aspect and since this was a twist on fan fiction, those touches worked really well. I still like Fangirl best of all, but she will have a hard time topping that one for me. I still think about Cath and Levi and I think about how happy they would be to read this book! Overall a 4 cups of cocoa read and hopefully I will get to finish other Rainbow Rowell books this year.

ReReadathon Wrapup

I meant to do another update, but was so busy at work that I completely forgot. I was able to read a few more chapters in HP and the Deathly Hallows, including Kreacher's story and stop where Harry yells at Lupin. I am getting into this one more than in the past and am going to try to finish it by May. For some reason I really drag my heels rereading it. So total I was able to read The Bad Beginning and about 4 chapters of HP, so not too bad for a busy 10 days! Thanks to Bex for hosting this!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rereadathon: Nostalgia challenge

So I definitely wanted to do at least one of the challenges during the rereadathon, so at the last minute I am going to write a nostalgia post.

One of my favorite rereads is the Little House books. Growing up I loved reading about Laura and picturing life on the frontier. I also loved watching the Little House series and my mom had a crush on Michael Landon, so we would watch them together.
Michael Landon as Pa

I also loved being read to as a child and convinced my parents to read the first two books in the series to me. My mom read most of the first one to me, Little House in the Big Woods and I loved hearing about the fancy dresses and all of Laura's struggles with behaving.
Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
Harper and Row

My dad read most of the second book or second book in my mind of the series, Little House on the Prairie. My dad hated reading aloud and struggled with reading growing up, but he did not tell me this when I was young and I only later figured it out, but still he read to me. He liked to be funny and would often ad lib lines. We were reading about Laura in the stream with the minnows, which he changed to leeches and said Pa asked Laura what she thought about the experience and my dad said she said, that sucks Pa. I laughed and asked to see the page and he jokingly pulled the book away.
Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2)
Harper Collins
I love the memories I have of my parents reading the books to me and I love that I am now rereading the series for Bex and Lynn's Little House Readalong. I love seeing how others experienced the series and remembering my own thoughts on the books.

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

I read this book for the Story Sprites Challenge on the pink path for Characters with Code Name, since Cammie is often referred to as the Chameleon and goes to spy school for girls. It also fits the Full House challenge for Book from a Series You Love and the Reading Bingo challenge for Book That has been on Your TBR for a Long Time. This is the fourth book in the series and the review could have some spoilers for the previous books.

Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls, #4)

Cammie has been in her share of scrapes before and has always been able to count on her friends and teachers, so she has little fear that the Circle will get her while she is in England with Bex. When her favorite teacher and her father's best friend, Mr. Solomon tries to get her to come with him, she finds out he was part of the Circle, may still be involved, and maybe even killed her father. Cammie is not sure who to trust or even what the Circle wants with her. Her sort of boyfriend Zach is also complicating things by hiding a big secret from her, one that could endanger her life. One thing Cammie knows is that she can count on Macey, Bex, and Liz to always be on her side, but if she is the one endangering them, how can she stay?

I love this series with its focus on strong females and strong friendships. The girls have each others backs no matter what and don't fit over boys or who is cuter or any of the things you often see when dealing with female friendships. The girls are tough and smart and can fight. I love the mystery in this series and can't wait to see what happens next. I have also listened to these on audio and I love the reader they picked for this series, she sounds like a teen girl and captures each character perfectly. A super fun series and one I don't want to end. 4 cups of cocoa!

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Growing up, Farmer Boy was my least favorite in the Little House series, because I wanted to get back to Laura and her family. This time I got a bit more out of the book.
Farmer Boy (Little House, #3)

Almanzo is the youngest of four siblings growing up in New York on his family's large farm. He dreams of being able to work with his own colt, but instead has to go to school and is not allowed any where near the colts, because his father fears he will train them wrong. He enjoys playing and working with his siblings and going to the county fair. Throughout the story, Almanzo helps plant corn, clean the barns, make candles, and gets his own team of calves, Star and Bright. There are hilarious moments when Almazo is trying to train the calves and scary moments like when he is helping to gather ice and almost falls in the river. Growing up on the farm is fun and the reward can even be getting your own colt.

I loved seeing the contrasts between Almanzo's life of relative ease for the time period and Laura's life of hardship and knowing at some point they will share the same life. I found it interesting that even though he was a boy, Almanzo often had to help his mother with chores, like churning and helping to make candles. I also liked that his dad was willing to let Almanzo make his own choices about his future and that he had confidence in his son, like when he gave him money and knew Almanzo would make the wise choice and buy the pig instead of the lemonade. I also enjoyed hearing about the county fair and how Almanzo grew the largest pumpkin with milk. I love going to the state fair and seeing the large pumpkins there, which are grown in a similar way. I still like the books about Laura best, but I did gain a greater appreciation for Farmer Boy with this reading. 4 cups of cocoa!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Roller Girl won a Newbery honor this year, so I wanted to read it for the Newbery challenge and because of the subject. I think going to a roller derby event would be really interesting and that it would take a lot of skill to be one of women who participate in that sport.

Roller Girl
Dial Books

Astrid's mom is always dragging Astrid and her friend Nicole to "cultural" events, which they generally dislike, until she takes them to the roller derby. Astrid falls in love with it and wants to be just like her hero Rainbow Bite and when she sees an ad for roller derby camp, she thinks that would be the perfect way for her and Nicole to spend the summer. Nicole is not as taken with roller derby and is already attending a ballet camp with a girl who was mean to Astrid in elementary school. The split causes a rift in their friendship and roller derby camp is more difficult than she realized, which brings her down, until she begins writing secret letters to her hero, Rainbow Bite. Astrid also manages to make a new friend, Zoey, who is a bit different from her, but still a good friend. Through the summer before middle school, Astrid learns to embrace her differences, that friendship is hard, practice and dedication make you succeed, and that sometimes teamwork is more important than being the only star.

This is a graphic novel and the illustrations were wonderful as well as the text. There is a bit of language in this, but nothing terrible, but it is probably more of a 5th grade/ lower middle school read. The theme of perseverance and friendship make this worthy of a Newbery and I wish that they had a medal for illustration for older children's books because the bright and colorful illustrations, particularly of the roller derby women and girls are gorgeous. I definitely want to try more graphic novels like this one and I think this will be a Newbery that will appeal to girls that are a bit more tomboyish and athletic and it will appeal to reluctant readers. 4 cups of cocoa!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Re-Readathon Days 1-6 Update

This is hosted by Bex at An Armchair by the Sea and you can signup at this link.

So I have actually read, just forgot to write an update post. I have not felt well again this week and it seems like it is taking me awhile to recover from the kidney stones, but on the bright side I have been able to get back into my reading.

I finished all of the The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett. I love the dark humor of the series and the ingenuity of the Baudelaire children. I think the series is great for both adult readers and middle grade readers, because of the humor he uses and because of how he defines big words throughout the series. It definitely helps to build those vocabulary words for younger readers. I also have listened to two chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Wedding chapter and the following one where the trio escapes into London and finally decides to go to Grimauld Place. The Wedding chapter is one of my favorites from the whole series. I love the scene where Fleur enters and seems to erase all the damage done to Bill by Greyback. I think it is a beautifully written scene. I also like how we are introduced to a darker side of Dumbledore and how Harry starts to grapple with the idea that maybe Dumbledore is not perfect. We all get to that point with our heroes and we have to accept the idea that they are human.

Hopefully I can do a few of the challenges this week and maybe read a bit more. Thanks to Bex for hosting!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Re-Readathon #3 signup post

This is hosted by Bex at An Armchair by the Sea and you can signup at this link. I finally got around to making my signup post! This has been a crazy month so far and a little rereading will do some good for me.
Possible choices:
Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett

I am not for sure what I will be in the mood for on Monday, but these are all titles I would like to reread. I finished Farmer Boy otherwise it would be on this list. Thanks to Bex for hosting!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Life happens

Well I haven't been posting much lately, because life has been a bit crazy. Work was going badly there for awhile and that and other issues were depressing me so much that I did not feel like interacting with anyone and I could not even read. Things got a bit better and then last week I started having pains and it turns out I have several kidney stones that need to pass and one that is 6mm and may need help. Kidney stones cause excruciating pain and I really had no idea they were going to hurt so much. I spent most of last week in pain, but this week I feel better. I haven't passed it yet, but I go back next Tuesday to possibly have it pulled out. Prayers and good thoughts would be much appreciated! I hope to get back into the reading/blogging/commenting mood soon and I miss interacting with everyone!

I have been participating in the #ninjabookswap and #otspsecretsister projects and all that love has helped tremendously! I love my sisters and can't wait to hear from them each month.
Here is a pic of my first secret sister package:
She is so awesome!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge: February Update

 BookishResolution Challenge 2016
The 2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge is hosted by Laura @ Trips Down Imagination Road and Michelle @ Because Reading and you can sign up at this link. For this challenge you must have 2 of 3 main goals, Blogging, Reading, and/or Personal and then subcategories for these goals.

My goals:

Reading Goals

1. Read at least 6 Classics. This was a goal I barely completed last year, but something I want to continue doing. I ended up reading and finishing Peter Pan this month and have started Frankenstein. Peter Pan reminded me of the Disney version with just a tad more violence.
2. Read at least 70 books this year. I did not do this as a goal for the Bookish Resolution last year, but I did have it as a goal. I just missed it by 8 books, so I want to challenge myself on it this time. I have finished 15 books so far, so not bad!
3. Finish at least 4 series. I did well with this last year, but I have several more series that I did not finish. A goal I haven't started yet, but hope to soon. I am hoping to finally finish Champion by Marie Lu, so that I can start her other series.

Blogging Goals

4. Blog at least 10 times a month. I met this goal for 7 out of 12 months, so I want to try this one again. I blogged 12 times in February! I am so excited that I am doing well with this one.
5. Complete at least half of the challenges I sign up for this year. I came very close to completing this goal, but not quite. I will be signing up for challenges soon. So far I have started 12 challenges out of 16, so not a bad start. I still think I have a reading challenge addiction. :)
6. Be more active commenting on blogs and on Twitter. By more active, I mean getting on Twitter and commenting on blogs at least once a week. I did really well with this. I have been checking Twitter at least once a day and at least commenting on tweets. I still need to work on commenting on blogs, but I have commented on at least one each week.
7. Review at least half of the books I read. I basically just stopped writing reviews at the end of the year and I would like to do better with this in 2016. So far I have reviewed 13 out of 15 books and hope to write my review for Roller Girl soon. I skipped Magic Steps and think I will write a combined review with Street Magic when I finish it.

Personal Goals

8. Lose at least 20 pounds. We are going to try Biggest Loser at work and our theme this year is Libraries Transform, which is ALA's theme. I gained back most of what I lost last year, so I would love to lose that weight again and maintain the weight loss. I have lost 10 pounds so far! With the start of Lent, I have been working on my eating habits.
9. Eat and drink healthier. I would like to eat at least a vegetable or fruit a day. I eat horribly and am not in good shape. I would also like to cut down on coffee and sodas, because that is all I have been drinking lately. I have managed to eat at least a veggie or a fruit a day, but not much more than that. I have eliminated sodas and have started cutting out the cream in my coffee and not drinking coffee when I am not working.
10. Exercise more. I would love to exercise at least a few times a month and possibly up this to a few times a week as I get in a bit better shape. I don't want to push things too fast, so for the first month or so, I would like to exercise at least 3 times a month. I barely managed to squeeze in exercise again, so I really need to work on this next month.

Hope you all are doing well with your resolutions. Thanks to Laura and Michelle for hosting!