Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Winners I Haven't Read

Being the second day in the month, that means it's time for another question from Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Today's question is: Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I Haven't/Want To Read From X Genre

Well, seeing as my "to be read" pile is thousands of books long, and I will probably never ever finish them all before I die, I wasn't sure how I wanted to spin this one at first.  But then I remembered the ALA awards for children's an YA lit came out this week (the Printz, Morris, Newbery, Caldecott, etc.).  So in honor of that, I decided to look up past winners/honorable mentions from the past few years and list the top ten books I can't believe I haven't read yet from those awards.  These are books that I have intended to read before knowing they won awards, not because they were winners. 

So here they are in no particular order:

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Newbery Honor, 2006) - With as much as I absolutely love Shannon Hale, I have no idea why I haven't picked this one up yet.  I know pretty much I would love it, and I even own Book 2 as well, but I have never read either of them yet.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (Printz Honor, 2004) - I've read one other book by Jennifer Donnelly and didn't really like it at all, which is why it's slightly surprising that the premise of this one has always appealed to me so much.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Morris Finalist, 2010) - Lots of hype about these books.  Still have never picked them up, even though they do sound interesting to me.

A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Morris Winner, 2009) - This one is a fairy tale retelling I've had on my to-read list for ages.  I blame my ever expanding bookshelves for hiding it away from me in the back as the reason I've never read it.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Morris Finalist, 2012) - This book interested me from the very moment that I heard about it.  I think I haven't picked it up yet because I haven't gotten my hands on the third one yet, and I have this weird thing about not starting a series until I have several of the books in case there are cliffhangers.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (Newbery Honor, 2007) - I've gone back and forth on this book for many years now.  I keep checking it out from the library and never actually getting around to reading it before I have to return it.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Morris Winner, 2013) - Another book I've wanted to read since before it came out and I read what it was about.  Usually the books I like never get shortlisted for awards, so I was surprised that it won both this and the Cybils award in 2013 for its category. 

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross (Morris Finalist, 2014) - One of the only books from this year's awards that I feel a need to read right away. 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Newbery Winner, 2009) - This is the one book I'm a bit torn about on this list, because I have actually read a bit of it for when I was on the Fantasy/Sc-Fi committee for the Cybils in 2009.  I actually didn't like it that much, but it's gotten so much hype I figured maybe I need to give it a second chance.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Morris Finalist, 2009) - This one I'm not entirely sure if it belongs on this list either.  Mostly because I have read about 1/3 of it right before Christmas, and I LOVED it, I just haven't had the time to finish it yet (and I have temporarily lost my copy...).  But since I haven't read it in its entirety yet, I figured it deserved a place on the list. 


With the list being done, I think there is one interesting trend that popped up while I was going through these books.  I really haven't read most of the winners, and I'm not planning on reading a lot of them.  That's because I find that most of the time the bestseller, popular, and "literary" books that win awards don't really appeal to me.  Some exceptions come to mind (I found Harry Potter worth the hype, for instance) but these are the titles that really stood out to me because I was interested in many of these books before knowing they were on the lists. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Beastkeeper

So in my renewed determination to keep up with my blogging, I am back today with a Waiting on Wednesday post.  Yay!

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
About the Book (copy from Goodreads.com): "Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.
When Sarah's mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast...unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever."
So unless you couldn't tell from the description, I'm pretty sure this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  And you know I love fairy tale retellings.  But I like the way this one has scrambled it around a bit with the girl turning into the beast.  Sounds like it will be good.  :)

You don't have to wait too long to read Beastkeeper, since it will be released on February 3, 2015.

Currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com in Hardcover and Kindle
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Check availability on Paperbackswap.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Clubs

Hello blog readers!

I know I’ve been a bit absent lately. Still struggling to find internet access. But my goal is to work myself towards more active participation over here. Thanks to all of you who’ve stuck through these ups and downs with me over the last few months. And welcome to any new readers too. :)

Anyway, moving on to today’s post. In addition to getting back to regular posts, I just discovered this way cool weekly event called Top Ten Tuesdays hosted over at The Broke and Bookish. They post a book related question each Tuesday, and participants have the chance to come up with a list of 10 books that answer that question.

Sounds like fun. So although I don’t know how often I’ll participate, I thought it would be fun to do so today anyway. Today’s question is: Ten Books I'd Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club.

Interesting question for me, since for the first time ever in my life, I actually am a member of a book club. I found out in November that a group of ladies from my church do participate in a monthly book club and they invited me to join. Of course, that being said, most of the books we’ve read so far totally aren’t my thing. But since we take turns choosing books, this is actually something that I’ve thought about (for when my turn comes around).

When choosing a book for book club, I think it’s better to choose something that you’ve already read, since that way there’s no surprises content-wise that you can’t warn people about before they start the book. As a result, I’ve approached this question narrowing it down to books I’ve already read.

So here’s 10 books I’d like to read with my book club (in no particular order):

Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale - Normally I don’t like adult contemporary romance, but I picked this one up because it’s Shannon Hale and Jane Austen mixed together, what could go wrong? And I loved it. This is a book that everyone who I’ve ever passed it onto has liked. And the movie isn’t bad either, even though it doesn’t follow the book exactly.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Okay, I know full well I’m going to catch flack for this one because Stephenie Meyer has kind of become a cliché name due to the Twilight books. And yes, I enjoyed the Twilight books. Never a big fan of them, but they were fun to read the one time. However, I really liked her book The Host (her adult book) a lot more. But most of the people I talk to won’t give it a try because of how they feel about Twilight etc. So I wish more people would try this one so I could discuss it with them.

We Bought a Zoo - Also a cute movie. Although the movie is pretty much nothing like the book. The actual book is a non-fiction memoir about the opening of Dartmouth Zoological Park in England. It’s a little slow to start because there is a lot of background information to slog through before you get to the specific anecdotes about owning/refurbishing a zoo, which is why those I’ve shared it with have had a hard time with it in the past. But I love re-reading this one, because the stories are quite funny if you can get through the background information, and it’s wonderful to think that they all actually happened to someone somewhere. Definitely an escape book for me.

Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio - This one is a little weird, because I actually read the graphic novel version of it first. But knowing it might be hard to entice people to read graphic novels if they’re not used to it, there’s also a book version which pretty much follows the comic word for word. If you like steampunk, this is a great series for you. And a good introduction to the idea of steampunk if you’re not familiar with it already. I love the characters and the mystery of the whole plot of this series.

So here’s where I get into trouble. My book club is made up of adults, and although we have read one YA book since I’ve joined (Graceling by Kristin Cashore, which was excellent, by the way, and I don’t know why it took me so long to read it) but most of the books I read are YA ones. So the above four are my “adult” choices. But if I could, I would share these YA/Kid titles with my book club too.

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede - This one lands firmly in the “kid” category, but it has been one of my favorite books since childhood. Who wouldn’t want to share one of their favorites with others? No brainier for this list.

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde - Fforde normal writes adult novels, so although this book is marketed as YA (probably because the main character is 16) I think it’s very translatable to adult readers. I love the inventiveness of the world created in this one, as well as the spunky main character, and I enjoyed the sequel a lot too. Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on the third one soon.

A World Without Heroes (Beyonders) by Brandon Mull - I love pretty much everything Brandon Mull does, but I think the Beyonders series grapples with more larger and complex issues than his Candy Shop War and Fablehaven series do. I’ve always been disappointed that this one is billed as middle grade level, as I really think it would appeal more to YA readers because of its complexity, and I think most teens won’t give it a chance because it’s usually shelved in the kids section. I think this one could spark lots of great discussion with a book club.

Heist Society by Ally Carter - Again, I love pretty much everything Ally Carter does, but Heist Society has a special place in my heart among her books. I don’t know why this particular one resonated with me so much, but it is another one of those books that everyone I recommend it to loves. I even got my brother to read it (and its two sequels) and he doesn’t read “girl books”. So that’s a success story right there.

A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck - I think this one is considered a “modern children’s classic”. I picked it up because it was required reading for my YA lit class in college. Even though it’s a relatively short children’s book, the merit of this one is definitely high. It’s a great collection of connected short stories about growing up during the years of the Great Depression. Seriously, if you haven’t read this one yet, you should.

Holes by Louis Sachar - If you haven’t read Holes yet, you need to. End of story. Yes, it’s a kid’s book, but it’s great anyway. Like Harry Potter. I’m serious, go read if you haven’t. Now.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Happy 2015

Hello everyone!  Hope you had a great Christmas, New Year, and you're getting back into the swing of things. 

I got a cold for Christmas (yay) so I've been trying to get over that, which has slowed me down a bit.  Add in the complete lack of internet access at our new house out at the farm, and I am behind in blogging a bit.  But hopefully things will settle down with me by the end of the month. 

In the meantime, I am totally late in announcing it, but if you haven't already, check out the Cybils finalists for 2014.  I'm always relieved when Cybils Round 1 is over, since now it's the judges problem to hash out which of the awesome books gets the ultimate spot.  I don't want that kind of power.  :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of those who celebrate.  I've been super busy leading up to the holidays, but now that Cybils season is over, things should be quieting down soon.  Look for new reviews to come soon!


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Reverting back to Blogger Profile

Just wanted to give any readers who are following me using Google+ a heads up, that I'm reverting back to my old Blogger profile.  This is mainly because I don't have many followers on Google+ and my stats seemed to have dropped significantly since enabling it this summer.  Also, it bugs me that I cannot receive replies to my comments with the Google+ platform. 

Perhaps some day in the future I will enable it again, but for now, it's gone.  You can still +1 my pages/posts using the buttons at the bottom of each post if you would like to share my posts that way. 

Thanks for the continued support everyone!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Your funny for the day...

I'm busy sorting through Cybils books this week (and getting ready to move, again, although only across town this time) so I haven't had time to finish up the multiple reviews I've started lately, but I did come across this and it made me smile, so I had to share.