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foggidawn reads in 2017, thread 3

This is a continuation of the topic foggidawn reads in 2017, thread 2.

This topic was continued by foggidawn reads in 2017, thread 4.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Jul 1, 2017, 2:57pm Top

Hi, I'm foggi, and this is my tenth year on LibraryThing and my seventh year in this group! I'm a librarian in a medium-sized Ohio town and a voracious reader. I have eclectic reading tastes, but do read a lot of children's and young adult literature, both for work (I select children's and teen books for my library) and because I enjoy it. I usually read about 175 books a year; sometimes other pursuits cut into my reading time (watching TV, participating in community theatre), but I enjoy talking about those things, too!

2016 was a low reading year for me -- only 165 books. However, I have high hopes that 2017 will be better! In 2016 I moved to a new town and started a new job, which cut into my reading time considerably.

Thanks for visiting my thread!

Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 9:27pm Top

This year I'm making a book-related New Year's resolution. Now that I've been on LT for ten years, it's easy to see when I acquired my books. I'm going to try to read all of my TBRs acquired more than ten years ago -- anything I added when I started my account, basically, and I'll work my way forward from there. At the end of the year, any remaining TBRs that I've had for that long will be making their way to new homes. My though process is that if it's been sitting on my TBR shelf for ten years and hasn't caught my interest, it probably never will! I'm excluding "classics" from this resolution -- though I'll try to read them, I'm not going to cut them from my collection if I don't get to them. It's the more recent fiction that I'm focusing on for now. I've uploaded a picture of the shelf that holds those old TBR books above, and I'll update my progress as I go through the year. (Not all of the books visible are that old, but the ones on the first 2/3rds of the top shelf are.) Right now, I've updated the shelf so that books I have read are marked off in green, and books that I have discarded without reading are blocked off in gray.

As of July 21, I have read three books from the shelf -- Heir of Sea and Fire, The Eye of the World, and God's Handmaiden. I've picked up a couple of others, but none has held my attention long enough for me to finish it. Slow going! I may be getting rid of several unread books at the end of the year, at this rate!

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 2:13pm Top

Books read so far in 2017
Titles in bold are new favorites, titles in italics are rereads

1. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
2. Cheaper by the Dozen by Christopher Sergel, based on the book by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
3. The Homecoming, a play based on the novel by Earl Hamner
4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
5. Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
7. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
8. Over the River and Through the Woods by Joe DiPietro
9. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
10. And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little by Paul Zindel
11. Doin' Time at the Alamo by Mary Hanes
12. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
13. Opal by Robert Lindsey Nassif
14. All in the Timing by David Ives
15. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
16. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
17. Dearly Departed by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones
18. Over the Tavern by Tom Dudzick
19. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
20. Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen
21. The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia McKillip
22. Crosstalk by Connie Willis
23. Morning's at Seven by Paul Osborn
24. Joyful Noise by Tim Slover
25. James and the Giant Peach: A Play by Roald Dahl, adapted by Richard George
26. Cash on Delivery by Michael Cooney
27. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
28. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
29. The Twits: A Set of Plays by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood
30. Be My Baby by Ken Ludwig
31. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
32. Secrets in the Snow by Michaela MacColl
33. Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
34. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
35. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
36. Heir of Sea and Fire by Patricia McKillip
37. Sandy Toes by Robin Jones Gunn
38. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
39. The World's Greatest Detective by Caroline Carlson
40. Drawn Away by Holly Bennett
41. The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
42. Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
43. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
44. Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples
45. Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger
46. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
47. Genevieve's War by Patricia Reilly Giff
48. The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron
49. False Colours by Georgette Heyer
50. If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid
51. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
52. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
53. The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples
54. The Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry
55. The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems by Billy Collins
56. Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb
57. Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
58. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
59. The Vicar's Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack
60. The Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
61. Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father by Sally Cabot Gunning
62. Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
63. Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
64. Salty Kisses by Robin Jones Gunn
65. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
66. March: Book One by John Lewis
67. March: Book Two by John Lewis
68. March: Book Three by John Lewis
69. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
70. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
71. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
72. The Lost Frost Girl by Amy Wilson
73. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
74. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
75. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
76. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
77. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

78. Click'd by Tamara Ireland Stone
79. Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
80. The Starlit Wood, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
81. All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
82. Waylon! Even More Awesome by Sara Pennypacker
83. Let's Pretend We Never Met by Melissa Walker

Edited: Jul 1, 2017, 3:04pm Top

Reserved for Illustrator Spotlight, but feel free to post below!

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 2:15pm Top

(84 books read)

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart -- When we first meet international woman of mystery Jule West Williams, she's on the run, though we don't know why. Nor do we know how she got involved with Imogen, or Paolo. We don't know about London, or Puerto Rico, or Martha's Vineyard. As the story spools backward, both revealing and concealing recent events in Jule's life, it always seems as if she's just a step ahead of us. Will we ever find out who she really is?

This fast-paced and well-crafted thriller is perfect for fans of Bond, Bourne, and Catch Me If You Can. Some things I saw coming, while others were a complete surprise. I'm not sure I completely buy the ending, but my quibbles are not serious enough to discourage you from reading it. If you liked We Were Liars, I think it's safe to say that you'll like this one, too.

Jul 1, 2017, 3:32pm Top

Happy new thread, foggi!

Jul 1, 2017, 5:12pm Top

Happy New Thread, Misti!!

Jul 1, 2017, 5:35pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 1, 2017, 7:02pm Top

Thanks for visiting, Anita, Roni, and Leah!

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 2:16pm Top

(85 books read)

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Glaser -- Jessie, Isa, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney love everything about their brownstone in Harlem, so when their parents announce that their reclusive landlord Mr. Beiderman is not renewing their lease, the siblings are devastated. They immediately embark on a plan to shower Mr. Beiderman with kindness and convince him to let them stay, but somehow their plans keep going awry. Will they find a way to reach the crusty old fellow, or will this be their last Christmas in their beloved home?

This book is a lot like The Penderwicks, and I love the Penderwicks. It's packed full of charm and warmth and whimsy, and anyone who enjoys this sort of sweet family tale should certainly pick it up!

Jul 1, 2017, 9:43pm Top

Happy new thread, Foggi.

Have a lovely weekend. xx

Jul 2, 2017, 9:13am Top

>11 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Same to you!

Jul 2, 2017, 9:27am Top

Happy holiday weekend, Foggi! Happy New Thread! I really like your TBR challenge. I was recently reorganizing my shelves, to make room for my new ALA acquisitions and sad to see so many neglected titles. I am trying to circulate older TBR titles, on my Must Read Now shelf. Not always easy.

Jul 2, 2017, 1:29pm Top

>13 msf59: Thanks, Mark! Yes, it seems like those books have been hanging around for various reasons. In some cases my reading tastes have changed, and in some cases the book was given to me but failed to spark my interest, and in some cases I picked something up when it was on sale because it looked kind of interesting, but never got around to reading it. Not optimal conditions for any of them!

Jul 2, 2017, 2:31pm Top

Hi foggi! Happy new thread!

Jul 2, 2017, 6:15pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 2, 2017, 7:51pm Top

Hi, Nora and Jim! Thanks for visiting!

Edited: Jul 3, 2017, 2:07pm Top

(86 books read)

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet -- One day, out of the blue, Noah's parents pick him up at school. They throw away his backpack and his math homework and anything else that identifies him as Noah Keller. They tell him that his name is Jonah Brown, that he's six months younger than he though he was, and then the family gets on a plane headed for East Germany. While they travel, Noah's parents give him a set of rules, things like Don't forget that they are always listening and Smile and be polite and Don't call attention to yourself. In East Berlin, where Noah/Jonah's mother is ostensibly doing research on children with speech impediments (like Noah himself), it's true that they do seem to be always watching or listening. It's a lonely time for Noah, until he meets another displaced child, Claudia (Cloud), who is staying with her grandmother in the same apartment building where Noah's family lives. The longer Noah stays in East Germany, the more questions he has, but of course he can't ask those questions, because of the Rules. When Noah and Cloud find themselves in a dangerous situation, what will become of them -- and their families?

I found this book fascinating, though I'm not sure if child readers would share my interest. I remember (though my memory is a little hazy) the times Noah is describing, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall (so now events in my life are the stuff of historical fiction - hmpf), which does add to my personal interest in the story. It's not quite high-stakes enough to grab the attention of kids looking for spy thrillers, though it does have a certain amount of intrigue, so readers of historical fiction are probably this book's best audience. The writing and characters are strong, though the plot could be tightened up just a bit in my opinion. Still, for readers who do enjoy historical fiction, this is a nice option, set in a time not featured in many children's novels.

Jul 3, 2017, 6:55pm Top

Happy new thread, Foggi. Looks like you've already had some awesome reads this month.

Jul 3, 2017, 9:02pm Top

>19 MickyFine: Thanks! Yes, I seem to be on a streak, reading a lot of quick, but good, books fast. Hope it lasts!

Edited: Jul 5, 2017, 9:32am Top

(87 books read)

Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland -- After receiving rejection letters from all of the eleven colleges she applied to, Becca makes a bold move: she decides to take one year and see if she can make it in Hollywood. Almost immediately, things don't go as planned: her boyfriend, who made the cross-country road trip with her, dumps her when he drops her off. She's heartbroken and confused, but still determined to achieve her dreams. Now, if she can only find an agent...

This was a fun read. Becca is occasionally annoyingly clueless, but not so much that you don't root for her. Her L.A. friends are charming, and the love interest is adorable. If you're looking for a nice summer read, this will do the trick!

Jul 4, 2017, 2:38pm Top

A little late, but happy new thread!

Jul 4, 2017, 6:53pm Top

Edited: Jul 5, 2017, 9:33am Top

(88 books read)

Threads by Ami Polonsky -- While killing time at the mall, Clare finds a note tucked inside a purse on the sale rack. It's from Yuming, a girl who is being forced to work illegally at a factory north of Beijing. A family photo accompanies the note. Clare and her parents immediately report the note to the Chinese consulate, but Clare feels driven to do more -- perhaps because the girl in the photo reminds her of her adopted sister, who recently died. Meanwhile, at the factory, Yuming and a couple other children plan their escape, but there could be harsh consequences if they are caught. If they do escape, Yuming plans to search for her brother, her only remaining family member. But how, in a country of a billion and a half people, will she ever be able to find him?

This book does a lot of things well, particularly in dealing with grief, and in differentiating between the children at the factory (they are not monolithic "poor Chinese kids"). I also appreciate the way that the book is less about the white American girl saving the Chinese girl, especially since her efforts are portrayed as things a kid could realistically do, and more about the connection between the two girls that exists from the moment Clare finds the note. There's maybe a bit more coincidence at work than I completely bought, but all in all, an interesting read, great for starting discussions with kids about privilege and modern-day slavery.

Jul 4, 2017, 9:52pm Top

>18 foggidawn: Cloud and Wallfish sounds like a very intriguing story--and one that would never have come to my attention without LT and this marvelous community. Thanks for the review, foggi!

Jul 5, 2017, 9:32am Top

>25 laytonwoman3rd: You're welcome! Yes, that book flew under the radar, I think.

Jul 5, 2017, 3:50pm Top

Happy new thread! Looks like July is off to a great start for you reading-wise!

Edited: Jul 5, 2017, 7:31pm Top

>27 aktakukac: Thanks! Yes, though I'm not sure how much longer the streak will last...

Edited: Jul 7, 2017, 9:50am Top

(89 books read)

Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry -- Assuming you occasionally read things on the Internet, you've probably run across some mockery of Florida Man, or Florida in general, a place known for weird and wacky happenings. In this book, Barry offers up an honest but affectionate take on his home state, from roadside attractions, to retirement villages, to Miami's hottest nightclub. It's a quick and fun read, not as out-and-out hilarious as some of Barry's earlier books, but it frequently had me chuckling aloud. I started out listening to the audiobook, but I didn't care for the narrator (not Barry; I think comedians should, if possible, read their own books, but I can't say I've ever heard Barry, so I suppose he might be the exception to the rule). I switched to the ebook version and enjoyed it much more. So, if you're looking for a humorous take on some of Florida's lesser-known attractions, this book is a good read, just not a great listen.

Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 9:22am Top

(90 books read)

God's Handmaiden by Gilbert Morris -- After her mother dies, teenage Gervase moves to a grand estate where her aunt works as a cook. Gervase finds a place as a maid, but can't help falling in love with Davis, the oldest son of the owner of the estate. When he marries a gentlewoman, Gervase feels that she must leave. She goes to work for the Nightingale family, and eventually follows Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, where she nurses wounded soldiers. But little does Gervase know that her path and Davis's will cross again...

This story bears some (intentional, I think) resemblance to Jane Eyre. I found it a fair read, ultimately forgettable. It felt like it was just glossing over events; I never felt fully engaged. I'd also like to have seen an author's note about the historical elements used in the story. Recommended only to readers who can't get enough inspirational historical fiction.

This was one of those books that languished on my TBR shelf for more than ten years. Back then I read a lot more inspirational fiction than I do now. Having read this one, I think I can now send it to the used bookstore, accompanied by a few of its fellows.

Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 9:21am Top

(91 books read)

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh -- Mariko has no desire to marry the emperor's illegitimate son, but the marriage will bring great honor to her family, so she is shipped off to the capitol. On the way there, her party is attacked, her servants and guard killed, her litter set afire, and Mariko is left for dead. She escapes from the fire and decides to try and infiltrate the Black Clan, the group she suspects is behind the attack. But what she learns is much more complicated...

For some reason, this book never really drew me in. It may be because I was listening to the audiobook, though I can't pinpoint any problem with the narration. I think the plot just didn't move quickly enough to keep me hooked, and the characters didn't stand out enough from the usual run of YA fantasy to draw me in. Still, it may have been more my fault than that of the book. I will add that the setting (a fantasy world similar to medieval Japan) was the best part, so if you are interested in young adult fantasy with diverse characters and settings, this one is worth your consideration. It is, however, obviously the first in the series, so don't expect all of the questions raised to be resolved at the end of the book.

Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 9:20am Top

(92 books read)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab -- Kell is a traveler, one of only two remaining. His official job is to carry messages between worlds. He does a little smuggling on the side. Lila is a thief, a pickpocket in a world without magic, until the day she picks the wrong pocket -- Kell's pocket -- and ends up with something she never should have gotten her hands on. Something that shouldn't even exist.

I adored this story with its grit and violence and magic. I'll be reading the rest of the trilogy post haste. Highly recommended.

Oh, and I'm predicting that Lila is Antari. I knew it as soon as it was revealed that one of her eyes is glass. Don't tell me if I'm right or wrong, though!

Jul 10, 2017, 10:43am Top

Jul 10, 2017, 11:56am Top

>33 MickyFine: Thanks for the recommendation. :-)

Jul 10, 2017, 2:15pm Top

>34 foggidawn: I'm glad it was such a hit for you. You read a lot more fantasy than I do so I was worried I'd been dazzled by something that wouldn't live up to your standards. :D

Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 5:21pm Top

>35 MickyFine: Nope, this is the real deal! ;-) It reminded me a little of Six of Crows, and a little of The Lies of Locke Lamora -- though I almost hesitate to say so because the latter is one of those love-it-or-hate-it books, and I know a lot of readers whose opinions I respect don't care for it. But it's the worldbuilding and writing, more than the plot, that brought those books to mind.

Jul 11, 2017, 6:54am Top

>32 foggidawn: *sigh* I need to put this series on my list, I suppose.

Jul 11, 2017, 10:54am Top

>36 foggidawn: Huzzah! Also, I've now put Six of Crows on The List as any comparison with Shades of Magic is worthy of consideration. I've had too many friends whose taste I trust who have hated The Lies of Locke Lamora to attempt that one though.

>37 scaifea: You really, really do, Amber. :)

Jul 13, 2017, 7:14pm Top

>37 scaifea: Yep, yep, yep.

>38 MickyFine: Opinion is certainly divided on Locke. I like him, but there are just so many books in the world that I can understand knocking him off the list.

My reading pace has slowed considerably -- or hit a roadblock, I should probably say. I'm at another conference, this one about church music, and they have us scheduled from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. without much in the way of breaks (in fact, I'm skipping a session right now in order to be able to make it through the rest of the evening). I'm learning a lot, but feeling sharp pangs of inadequacy -- it's been a long time since I made a serious study of music theory, beyond what I need to get by from week to week. Also, I know nobody at this conference, and I'm having a hard time finding others in the same boat. It feels like starting a new school where everyone has known everyone else since kindergarten.

Jul 14, 2017, 11:09am Top

>39 foggidawn: Awww. Hopefully you find a conference buddy soon. It makes those much easier to make it through.

Jul 17, 2017, 10:01am Top

>40 MickyFine: Well, I never did find a buddy, though I found a few people I could have pleasant conversations with at meals and so forth. I think if I go to this event again (it's an annual thing) I will make sure that someone else I know is going.

Jul 17, 2017, 10:29am Top

(93 books read)

The Emperor's Ostrich by Julie Berry -- It all starts with a missing cow, a missing ostrich, and a missing emperor. Throw in an intrepid dairymaid, a lad in search of adventure, a sturdy woodcutter, a widow with a baby, a sleazy carnival owner, and many other quirky characters, and you have a funny and exciting tale for middle grade readers. I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and think it would be a great choice for family road trip listening.

Jul 17, 2017, 4:06pm Top

>42 foggidawn: That one is already on my radar, but I may try to get it on audio. It sounds fun!

Jul 17, 2017, 4:55pm Top

>43 aktakukac: It was fun!

Jul 18, 2017, 9:57am Top

(94 books read)

And We're Off by Dana Schwartz -- Nora won a spot at a prestigious summer art program at an artists' colony in Ireland, and her grandfather (a successful professional artist) is funding a short trip to some notable European cities in conjunction with the trip. Nora is looking forward to staying in hostels, choosing where she goes when, meeting new people with cool accents . . . and then, at the last minute, her mother decides to come along. Suddenly, Nora's trip takes on an entirely different tone. Instead of freedom and independence, it's fraught with familial tension and teenage angst. Can Nora and her mom find a way to enjoy the trip without getting on each other's last nerve?

I found this book surprisingly well-done. The mother-daughter relationship is great -- it's not all sniping and irritation; they have some moments of hilarity and connection as well, and there's one point where Nora admits that she is glad her mother is there (and, realistically, that's not the end of the tension and fighting, either). I also appreciated Nora's struggles with her art at the artists' colony, worrying that she will be the worst one there, concerned that she will never have the level of talent of some others in the program. All in all, a fun read with surprising depth, great for readers who enjoyed 13 Little Blue Envelopes and other stories about European travel and self-discovery.

Edited: Jul 20, 2017, 9:24am Top

(95 books read)

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby -- A series of mostly-humorous essays about the author's life experiences, many of which would not immediately seem to lend themselves to comedy. That's the thing about life, though: sometimes you have to either laugh or cry. I strongly identified with some parts of this book, and strongly disagreed with others. It's always an interesting experience to get a glimpse into someone else's life, especially if they can write about it in a way that holds your attention and makes you laugh a few times. If you enjoy the self-deprecating humor of Jenny Lawson and Allie Brosch, you might take a look at this book.

Jul 19, 2017, 7:15pm Top

Hi foggidawn. It's been a while. I hope you are doing well.

>29 foggidawn: Barry can be fun...and so can Florida. So this looks like a good audio if I can find it as such.

Jul 19, 2017, 8:52pm Top

>47 brodiew2: Good to see you! I disliked the narrator of the Barry book so much that I switched over to print, but your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.

Jul 20, 2017, 11:08am Top

Just dropping off a wave. I've been managing to elude BBs on your thread for a little bit. Go me! ;)

Edited: Jul 20, 2017, 1:44pm Top

>49 MickyFine: My last few books (with the exception of A Darker Shade of Magic) have been slightly less exciting, which might make the book bullets slower and a little easier to duck.

Jul 20, 2017, 12:25pm Top

>50 foggidawn: And you can't hit me with A Darker Shade of Magic because I got there first. ;)

Jul 20, 2017, 1:44pm Top

Edited: Jul 24, 2017, 9:49am Top

(96 books read)

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab -- This second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy is nearly as good as the first. It features a magic tournament, plus other things that would constitute spoilers, so I'll leave the summary at that. I thought it bogged down just a bit, compared to the first book (which I ripped through in a little over a day), but it may have been me, not the book. Two words of advice: read the first book first, and have the third book on hand, because this one does end in a massive cliffhanger.

Edited: Jul 24, 2017, 9:47am Top

(97 books read)

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi -- Shortly after the death of his mother, an overheard encounter leads to Crispin running for his life in 14th century England. On his journey, he meets a juggler who may be more than what he seems, and he learns about the secret of his own parentage. Avi is an author I never think of as a favorite, but his stories always draw me in. This Newbery winner is tightly plotted and well-researched, and I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy medieval tales.

Bonus: this is one of my long-time TBRs!

Jul 23, 2017, 11:09pm Top

Hah! Lots of potential book bullets to dodge - but you may have hit me with V.E. Schwab's series.

Jul 24, 2017, 9:50am Top

>55 humouress: Excellent! That was a book bullet I caught from Micky, so I'm glad to pass it along. ;-)

Jul 24, 2017, 1:52pm Top

>53 foggidawn: A lot of people I know who have read the series, also feel the second book gets a little slower. But trust me the threads laid in this one pay off so well in book three. Do you have it immediately to hand?

>56 foggidawn: I'm also pleased. :D

Jul 24, 2017, 2:22pm Top

>57 MickyFine: I do, indeed. I'm taking a break for a book or two, but will be back to it shortly.

Jul 27, 2017, 4:00pm Top

(98 books read)

Maud by Melanie Fishbane -- Before she wrote the Anne books and so many others beloved by generations of readers, Lucy Maud Montgomery was a sensitive, motherless teenager being shunted from one relative's home to another. Along the way, she forms attachments of various kinds. She longs for praise from her strict grandparents, for love from her absent father, and for the chance to continue her education and eventually become a writer.

This reads like Montgomery pastiche, though it lacks some of the charm of the original. Fishbane is obviously familiar with Montgomery's works, as well as having done the necessary research into the author's life, but her prose does not quite sparkle with Montgomery's wit. Also there's the problem with basing a novel, even loosely, on the life of a real person: events generally don't fall neatly into place. The ending of the story is not particularly satisfactory, though it hints at the events that will follow in Maud's life. All in all, I'd recommend this only to readers who are fascinated by the lives of their favorite authors, and count Montgomery among that list.

Jul 27, 2017, 4:09pm Top

>59 foggidawn: I like LMM but I think I'd rather go for a biography rather than a novel. :)

Jul 27, 2017, 5:39pm Top

>60 MickyFine: I was thinking the same, especially since I'm left wondering what really happened, and what the author made up. But I never end up loving author biographies as much as I think I will. Real life is often depressing.

Edited: Jul 28, 2017, 8:55am Top

(99 books read)

Judge Benjamin: The Superdog Rescue by Judith Whitelock McInerney -- St. Bernard dog Judge Benjamin accompanies his family to the country for a weekend visit that lasts longer than expected.

I remember liking the Judge Benjamin books as a child; grown-up me is less impressed. A cute enough story, recommended to the dog-obsessed third-grader who will look right past its flaws.

Jul 28, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>61 foggidawn: LMM's life was actually not as depressing as you'd think. Her childhood was a bit sad but her adult life actually turned out pretty decently.

Jul 28, 2017, 10:58pm Top

>63 MickyFine: Maybe I will read a biography of her one of these days.

Edited: Aug 4, 2017, 4:26pm Top

(100 books read)

One by Sarah Crossan -- Tippi and Grace are conjoined twins, and their doctor never thought they'd make it to their teenage years, but they did. Grace overhears her schoolmates remark that being a conjoined twin must be "the worst," but she can think of plenty of worse things than sharing a life with her sister. Not that she doesn't occasionally wonder what it would be like to be separate from Tippi... especially considering the crush she has on a guy at school. But when health complications arise, the sisters face a difficult choice.

This is a fascinating and affecting novel. It's written in verse format, but I didn't find the verse particularly effective -- like many verse novels, it felt like prose with line breaks most of the time. Still, I enjoyed the story and the characters, so would recommend it if the topic interests you.

Jul 29, 2017, 11:09pm Top

Congrats on reaching the triple digits!

Jul 30, 2017, 11:49pm Top

>66 MickyFine: Thanks! With five months left in the year, I feel good about the possibility of beating last year's total.

Edited: Aug 4, 2017, 4:25pm Top

(101 books read)

The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories by P.G. Wodehouse -- A collection of early Wodehouse short stories. Enjoyable enough, but you can tell Wodehouse hadn't quite hit his stride yet. The audio quality was also a little off, but I'm not sure if the fault was in the narrator, the recording, the ebook lending service, or the technology on my end. Worth reading (or listening to) for the Wodehouse completist, but not recommended as an entry point for the uninitiated.

Edited: Aug 4, 2017, 4:25pm Top

(102 books read)

The Boggart by Susan Cooper -- When the old MacDevon dies, Castle Keep on a Scottish island is inherited by the Volnick family. They visit their legacy before putting it on the market, and inadvertently ship the castle's mischievous boggart back to Toronto. What will a creature of Old Magic make of modern technology?

As you might expect, the computer parts of the story are solidly 1993, and some of the specs mentioned will give savvy modern readers a good laugh. Moving beyond that, it's obvious that Cooper is a master of her craft: the descriptions, the relationships between characters, and the emotion of the piece is spot on. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

Jul 31, 2017, 11:27am Top

>69 foggidawn: Is this a boggart in the HP sense or do I need to delve into faerie mythology to brush up on the different kinds of boggarts?

Jul 31, 2017, 10:29pm Top

>70 MickyFine: This is not exactly the same, but similar. It's basically a household sprite, like a pooka. It can shift shape, though it's most often invisible, and it plays tricks like hiding people's keys or moving the furniture around a little bit.

Jul 31, 2017, 10:42pm Top

>71 foggidawn: Huh. Sounds like perfect fodder for a children's book.

Jul 31, 2017, 10:51pm Top

>72 MickyFine: Yep, it's a good fit.

Aug 1, 2017, 10:50am Top

Great job reading over 100 books so far! Every time I walk by the Susan Cooper books at work, I tell myself I should read them, but it hasn't happened so far.

Aug 1, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>74 aktakukac: I keep meaning to read more of the Dark is Rising series, but I haven't gotten beyond that book yet, so I know what you mean. The Boggart was one of my long-unread TBRs, though, hooray!

Edited: Aug 4, 2017, 4:24pm Top

(103 books read)

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake -- Every generation, the reigning queen gives birth to triplet girls, each with her own magical gift. When the girls turn 16, they fight for the crown. Two will die, and the strongest will reign. In this generation, it seems obvious that Mirabella, with her strong elemental magic, will come out on top -- but the other two have their own strengths and their own factions, and nothing is as simple as it seems.

Hmm. This book takes a lot of suspension of disbelief (to wit: the description above), but the plot moves along at a good clip, and I found at least two of the sisters sympathetic characters, so I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The dialogue struck me as a little stilted in spots, though. If you like your teen fantasy a little bit dark and a little bit bloody, this is worth a try. Be warned: the ending will leave you with lots of questions, so best have the sequel on hand.

Edited: Aug 4, 2017, 6:13pm Top

>55 humouress: >56 foggidawn: Oh, it was you! I bought A Darker Shade of Magic for my Thingaversary, as well as Emily of New Moon. Not sure if I'd pick up Maud, though.

Aug 5, 2017, 7:09am Top

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Foggy.

Aug 5, 2017, 9:42am Top

>77 humouress: Yep! The Emily books are not my favorite, but I hope you enjoy them.

>78 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Same to you! The weather is fantastic today, cooler than usual, so I will plan to get out and enjoy it.

Aug 5, 2017, 11:51pm Top

Hi Foggi! Great books here -- I've had >54 foggidawn: Crispin: the Cross of Lead on my list for too long. Avi is a Colorado author, and I've loved other books of his, so I need to get to it! And >10 foggidawn: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street -- you had me at This book is a lot like The Penderwicks.. LOVE The Penderwicks!

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Aug 6, 2017, 10:18pm Top

>80 AMQS: Oh, you will definitely love the Vanderbeekers, then! I have had a nice weekend, thanks -- hope you have, too.

Edited: Aug 10, 2017, 12:54pm Top

(104 books read)

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith -- When Alice buys a lottery ticket as a joke for her friend Teddy's eighteenth birthday, she inadvertently changes both their lives when the ticket turns out to be a winner.

Uggghhh. I usually like Jennifer Smith's books, but I heartily disliked how the romantic storyline played out in this one. I was Team Sawyer all the way, and I wanted her to find a way to just be friends with Teddy, who seemed like kind of a jerk at times. But that may be because... I also dislike how the narrator of this audiobook does male voices. They all sound like caricatures of themselves, if that makes sense -- and as if she's trying so hard to make them sound male that she can't differentiate them in other ways. Beyond that, I had some problems with how charity is handled in the story. Perhaps this is where I, a cynical adult reader, am unsuited to the bright-eyed optimism of this YA book.

If you like Jennifer Smith's writing, you might not have the same problems that I had with the plot. Either way, though, I don't really recommend the audiobook.

Aug 7, 2017, 10:08pm Top

>82 foggidawn: Bummer about that one. I typically like Jennifer E. Smith's stuff but that premise doesn't really strike my fancy so maybe I'll pass on this one.

Aug 8, 2017, 7:39am Top

>83 MickyFine: I think she's trying to move away from her normal stuff with this book, which accounts for the different cover design.

Aug 8, 2017, 12:07pm Top

>84 foggidawn: That makes sense.

Aug 11, 2017, 10:02pm Top

After a spate of reading at the end of last month, I find myself a third of the way into August without having finished a paper book (thank goodness for audiobooks, I guess). I should finish at least two this weekend, though!

Aug 11, 2017, 11:49pm Top

>86 foggidawn: I've found ebooks have really boosted my count this month. Something about not really knowing how far I am seems to work for me. *shrug*

Enjoy your reading weekend! :)

Aug 13, 2017, 8:47pm Top

>95 Some of the ones which I have read left me less than impressed. ;-) Perhaps it's that there are some juvenile fantasies that transcend age barriers, and others that are best enjoyed only by children.

>96 Ah, we all love a good book list around here, don't we?

>97 Yes, indeed. In one or two cases, I struggled to remember whether I had read a book, or just read several reviews and purchased it for the library!

Edited: Aug 14, 2017, 9:17am Top

(106 books read)

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares -- Sasha and Ray share a bedroom, but they've never actually met. Once, long ago, Sasha's father and Ray's mother were married. After a bitter and acrimonious divorce, they share custody -- of Ray and Sasha's three older half-sisters, and of the beach house on Long Island that neither side is willing to give up. So, every other week, the families take turns staying at the house. Ray and Sasha, children of their respective parents' second marriages and technically not related at all, are a microcosm of this unusual arrangement, taking turns staying in the same small bedroom. But as their older sisters move toward adulthood, family dynamics face inevitable changes. Can the rift between the families be healed? Ray and Sasha hope so, as they both harbor a secret fascination for each other.

This book is pretty much what I expect from Ann Brashares: teenage romance and family drama, with a few elements that strain credulity. I had a few problems with this book, but those venture into the realm of spoilers: First of all, we find out at the end of the book that there's a spare room?! Meaning that the whole concept of the book is unnecessary. Once Ray and Sasha moved beyond babyhood, one of them could have taken that guest room. And it's not like the guest room is essential to the story; Ray could have been sleeping on the couch in the den for that part of the book. But okay, I will give that issue a pass. My main problem with this book is Quinn, who is some sort of magical saintly being with no problems or desires of her own, she's just there to die and bring the families together like a sacrificial lamb. I saw that death coming from afar, I told the book that I would be irritated if it came to pass, and lo, I am irritated. I felt that some characters didn't get a fair shake in the character development department (Adam, for example, is just basically a placeholder), but there are a lot of major players in this drama. There's also some uncomfortable stereotyping involving women and people of color.

Basically, if you've enjoyed Brashares' other works, or similar stories of upper middle class white family drama, take a look at this one -- but be prepared to suspend disbelief on a few points.

Aug 19, 2017, 8:25pm Top

(107 books read)

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab -- This book is the conclusion of a fantastic fantasy series, and I can't possibly review it in a spoiler-free manner. I'll just say that I enjoyed it very much, and would recommend this series to all fans of the genre.

It took me over a week to make it through this book, but a variety of factors were in play: it's a long book (600+ pages), there's a lot of stuff going on in the book, and I was also reluctant for the series to end.

Aug 20, 2017, 12:50am Top

>100 Yay! So happy you enjoyed it. It's such a satisfying conclusion of the trilogy.

Aug 20, 2017, 11:55am Top

>101 It was! I'm reading all your book recommendations lately...

Edited: Aug 21, 2017, 10:59am Top

(108 books read)

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson -- Marianne's visit to a country estate is complicated by an attack from a highwayman, not to mention her own unexpected feelings toward a charming (and occasionally infuriating) stranger.

This Regency was a delightful change of pace for me. Fans of the genre should be sure to look for this one!

Aug 20, 2017, 7:08pm Top

>103 Oh yay! Glad to see you liked that one as well. :)

Aug 21, 2017, 1:29pm Top

>93 foggidawn: I've only read 3 of the books on the list, though I have heard of a few more of them.

Aug 21, 2017, 5:48pm Top

I've placed Edenbrooke on my For Later shelf at the library. I'll get it when we get back from our trip home. Always looking for good Regencies.

Edited: Aug 21, 2017, 10:12pm Top

>104 You've never steered me wrong yet.

>105 Yep, we all do love our lists around here!

>106 Hope you enjoy it!

Aug 22, 2017, 11:28am Top

>107 The same goes for book recommendations I get from you. :)

Aug 22, 2017, 12:27pm Top

>108 Aww, thanks!

Aug 22, 2017, 4:29pm Top

So, one of the main parts of my job is reading book descriptions and selecting books to purchase. Today, I came upon this gem:

"Written in vivid micro-fiction with a stream-of-consciousness feel and multimedia elements, this psychological young thriller explores a codependent friendship fraught with madness, love, and darkness."

What the actual heck do they mean by that?

Aug 22, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>110 Is it Wuthering Heights? *laughs hysterically at own joke*

Aug 22, 2017, 5:46pm Top

>110 It's just a print-out of someone's Twitter feed, right?

✅ micro-fiction
✅ stream-of-conciousness
✅ multimedia
✅ codependent

Aug 22, 2017, 8:02pm Top


Aug 24, 2017, 9:44am Top

>111 Hah!

>112 Someone on FB said it was describing a Buzzfeed listicle.

>113 Indeed.

Aug 24, 2017, 9:59am Top

(109 books read)

Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney -- Charlotte's family has money, but it's new money. She's beyond thrilled to find her way into the elite friend circle of Prince Edward, and even more excited when it looks like the prince himself might be interested in dating her! So what if they don't have much to talk about -- she's dating a prince (and he's a good kisser, so there's that). Then her sister transfers to her school, and suddenly things get complicated.

I was hoping for a fun and fluffy read, but ugh. Blech. Charlotte is such a whiny brat that spending a whole book in her head (this is written in first person present, gross) is a decidedly unpleasant experience. Moreover, the plot is so very, very predictable, and the writing is, um, not good. For one thing, this was supposed to be set in England (albeit an England with different royals, or thinly disguised ones), but there was nothing in the dialogue that indicated to me that the characters were supposed to be British, nor did the American ones differentiate themselves in any way. I almost put this book down more than once, but I did finish it, just to see how everything played out. (It played out exactly as expected; do not expect a surprise if you read this.) Not recommended.

Aug 24, 2017, 10:17am Top

>115 Huh. That plot sounds almost identical to The Royal We (except The Royal We was decent)

Aug 24, 2017, 11:26am Top

>115 Sorry to see you had such a dud. Wishing you a much better next read.

Aug 24, 2017, 11:51am Top

>116 I think both titles owe a debt to recent events in England's royal family, but based on reviews and ratings, I'd say one does it better than the other!

>117 Thanks! I'm already halfway through one that's proving much more palatable.

Aug 24, 2017, 8:43pm Top

Found it! Thanks!

Aug 26, 2017, 8:08pm Top

>119 Yay!

Edited: Aug 28, 2017, 10:23am Top

(110 books read)

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway -- The fact that she was adopted has never been a huge deal in 16-year-old Grace's life... until she becomes pregnant and ends up giving up her baby for adoption. As she searches for her birth mother, she learns that she has biological siblings: younger sister Maya, who was also adopted, and older brother Joaquin, who has spent his life in the foster care system. The three start to forge a friendship, but each is keeping secrets from the others. When the truth starts coming out, they begin to explore what it means to be a family.

I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to fans of realistic teen fiction.

Edited: Aug 26, 2017, 10:12pm Top

I just did some putting away/reorganizing of my books, and now I want to read them all, all at once! Do you think anybody would mind if I took a couple weeks off of everything in my life and just read? Of course, a couple weeks would only scrape the surface...

Aug 27, 2017, 11:03am Top

>122 Sounds like a legit reason to take time off. ;)

Aug 27, 2017, 11:10am Top

>122 Sound perfectly legit to me. I'd love to do the same myself - I'm sure my boss and co-workers wouldn't mind if I just don't show up during the most hectic time of the year. They'll be fine.

Aug 28, 2017, 11:12am Top

>123 If only I had some vacation time to use! I can't even count on extra reading for the upcoming holiday weekend, as I'm going to visit my brother.

>124 Exactly! Tell you what: you try it out and let me know how it goes.

Aug 28, 2017, 11:36am Top

(111 books read)

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson -- It's 2065, and Adri has been selected to go to Mars. Her last stop on the way off the planet is the home of an elderly relative. While staying there, she discovers a mystery from the past, revealed through some old letters and journals. Despite herself, she feels a connection to Cathy from 1935 and Lenore from 1919. Unfortunately, the letters are incomplete. Can Adri figure out what became of these women before her launch date?

Though a portion of this book is set in the near future, it's more a work of historical fiction as it focuses a great deal on England just after WWI, and Kansas during the Dust Bowl. I listened to the audiobook, which features three different female narrators, a good choice to differentiate the characters in the story. I felt like a few loose ends could have been tied up better (this looks like a standalone, I would be surprised to see a sequel), but all in all I enjoyed this and would recommend it to readers who like this type of story.

Aug 29, 2017, 1:15am Top

>125 Oh my.

Aug 29, 2017, 2:36pm Top

>127 *evil chuckle*

Aug 30, 2017, 9:25pm Top

Did you see the good news!!!!!

Aug 30, 2017, 10:48pm Top

>129 oooOOH!

Sep 2, 2017, 9:41am Top

>110 foggidawn: It's all baffling, but the part that really made me say "WHAT now?" is "young thriller". Is the book eventually going to grow up?

Sep 2, 2017, 10:10am Top

>131 Hahahaha I was going to say the same thing!

Sep 4, 2017, 11:20am Top

<132 You and me, Kid!

Sep 5, 2017, 10:28am Top

>131 Yeah, that's one of the more baffling elements of that entire mess!

>132 Haha!

>133 :-)

Sep 5, 2017, 10:40am Top

(112 books read)

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch -- Carolina's mother's deathbed wish is for Lina to go to Italy. Lina's not sure why she has to travel halfway around the world at a time when she is already stressed and grieving, but she goes to Florence to stay with Howard, one of her mother's old friends from her own time in Italy. While there, Lina discovers many eye-opening facts about her mother's history, based on revelations from an old journal -- and she also embarks on an Italian romance of her own.

Readers who enjoy stories of teen romance and European travel will probably enjoy this book. It's sweet, and only occasionally frustrating (the main character does make a few decisions at which I raised my eyebrows). I listened to the audiobook, and found it a pleasant listen.

Sep 5, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>135 I do love the teen romance and European travel combo. How does it hold up in comparison with 13 Little Blue Envelopes or Anna and the French Kiss?

Sep 5, 2017, 5:26pm Top

>136 I hesitated to put those comparisons in my review because I know that for some people (e.g. you) that's an instant "yes!" This one holds up pretty well, though it's maybe just not quite at that level. Don't get me wrong, it's good -- I just wouldn't want to raise expectations too much!

Sep 6, 2017, 12:19am Top

>137 Fair enough. I'll put it on The List but keep my expectations low.

Sep 7, 2017, 2:30pm Top

(113 books read)

All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis -- On Speth's fifteenth birthday, she will become legally responsible for every word she speaks and gesture she makes. A cuff on her arm will track her word usage and deliver customized advertisements, charging her the amount set by each word's rights holder. Speth's not excited about this change, but it's not something she can do anything about -- it happens to everybody in her society. But then, moments before she is set to deliver her first official speech, her boyfriend walks up to her, kisses her, and jumps off a bridge -- the only way he can see to escape his family's crushing debt. Shocked by his suicide, Speth wishes she could say something about it, but her speech is already prepared, and she has signed a legally binding agreement that those will be her first words. In response to the unfairness of the system, she makes a bold choice: she will do nothing. She will not speak, gesture, or do anything else that counts as communication in the eyes of the rights holders. As other people emulate her and her society reacts against her, Speth must deal with the fallout from this spur-of-the-moment decision.

I liked the pacing of this story, the inventive setting, and the fact that there's only a very slight romantic subplot. I thought that the character development could have been stronger, but all in all, this was an interesting, thought-provoking story. If you enjoy dystopias like Scott Westerfeld's Uglies and M.T Anderson's Feed, give this book a try.

Sep 8, 2017, 9:10am Top

(114 books read)

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery -- Yet another reread of one of my very favorite books. Here's my review from last time I read it:

Valancy Sterling wakes up on the morning of her 29th birthday and realizes that she has nothing to live for. Her life to that point has been one of nearly unendurable monotony: she lives in genteel poverty with her mother and an elderly cousin, looked down on by every member of her extended family because she is an old maid. Her only joy in life is her imaginary "Blue Castle," where she leads a rich fantasy life of adventure and romance. But on this birthday morning, she feels it is time to face reality. One of the ways she does this is by going to see Dr. Trent, a heart specialist, about some pain she has been having. She does this without telling her mother or any of her family, as she dreads the fuss and advice of her family. But Dr. Trent's diagnosis, sent a few days later by mail, turns Valancy's world upside down: she is dying, with perhaps a year to live if she is careful. Valancy is not afraid of death, but she resents the fact that she is dying when she's never really had a chance to live -- so she decides that, for the time she has left, she will do whatever she wants, without worrying about her family's opinions or reactions. She goes to nurse an old school friend who is dying of consumption, even though her friend is the daughter of the town drunk and disgraced for having a child out of wedlock. She befriends the notorious Barney Snaith, a man with a mysterious past and an unconventional present way of life. She buys new clothes, reads whatever she wants, and does whatever she pleases. Her family thinks Valancy has gone mad. And then, Valancy does something even more outrageous: she asks Barney to marry her . . .

I don't know how I could objectively review this book; I've read it more times than I can count. I love the characters, the humor, the descriptions of nature, the wacky plot twists at the end of the book that manage to bring everything together. There's definitely romance -- a sort of sweet, unconventional one -- but the story is less about the romance and more about Valancy coming to terms with what she wants from life and bucking the rather ridiculous conventions of her day. This is my favorite Montgomery novel, and I definitely recommend it!

Sep 8, 2017, 11:45am Top

>140 Ok, you got me with that one this time. Onto The List it goes.

Sep 8, 2017, 1:01pm Top

>141 You won't regret it!

Sep 9, 2017, 2:36am Top

>140 One of my favourites, too.

>141 What >140 she said.

Sep 10, 2017, 9:08pm Top

>143 Such a good book!

Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 12:23pm Top

(115 books read)

Olive and the Backstage Ghost by Michelle Schusterman -- Olive has the worst Stage Mother imaginable: a former star who lost her voice and is trying to relive her glory days through her daughter. When Olive flees a disastrous audition, she finds herself in a mysterious old theatre, and is offered a part in the show there by the glamorous owner of the building. But as Olive begins to learn her part and get to know the rest of the cast, her happiness is marred by a slight, niggling feeling that all is not as it seems...

Mehhhhh... I thought I would love this because of the theatrical angle, but the characterization is not very strong, and I thought the plot meandered (though I was listening to the audiobook, which can have the effect of slowing things down). I'd recommend this to kids who like ghost stories, as it did bring some spookiness, especially at the climax. But adult readers can probably pass on this one.

Sep 11, 2017, 11:27am Top

>145 Hope the next read is better for you. :)

Sep 11, 2017, 12:25pm Top

>146 Thanks! I'm listening to another audiobook now that I'm enjoying more, and rereading a book from a couple years ago that I really enjoyed, in preparation for reading the sequel. All in all, pretty satisfactory!

Sep 12, 2017, 11:32am Top

You can blame PaulCranswick if you start seeing this sort of book list cropping up around the 75-book challenge group -- I decided to do a list of favorite books read so far, one published every year of my life.

1980: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
1981: A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
1982: Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
1983: The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe
1984: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
1985: Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
1986: Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! by Terry Brooks
1987: Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
1988: The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare by Lilian Jackson Braun
1989: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1990: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
1991: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
1992: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
1993: The Giver by Lois Lowry
1994: At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
1995: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
1996: Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn
1997: Facing East by Frederica Mathewes-Green
1998: The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris
1999: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
2000: The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
2001: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
2002: Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
2003: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
2004: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
2005: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
2006: Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
2007: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
2008: Nation by Terry Pratchett
2009: All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
2010: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2011: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
2012: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
2013: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
2014: Greenglass House by Kate Milford
2015: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
2016: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
2017: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

I limited myself to one book per author, lest I overwhelm the list with certain favorite authors or series. Some years there were many candidates for favorite, while in a few cases I felt like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Sep 12, 2017, 12:04pm Top

>148 Oooh, Anna and Fangirl. Nice list! :)

Sep 12, 2017, 5:04pm Top

>149 I'm not surprised that those ones met your approval! Thanks. It's not a very "literary" list, but oh well.

Sep 12, 2017, 9:46pm Top

I love a good list like that! I'll have to dog around LT to find where my books by publishing date are since I can't seem to remember at the moment but I'm up to the challenge!

Sep 13, 2017, 2:58am Top

>148 Ah, I'm a bit jealous - I don't think I'd be able to put together a list like that. Nearly all books I read are at least 50 years older than I am. Maybe I could do a 100 year+ list (with books published 100 years before each year I've been alive)?
Your list is really impressive, even if it's not "literary".

Sep 13, 2017, 7:34am Top

Unlike Paul's list, I *have* read quite a few of the ones on yours. Nice list!

Sep 13, 2017, 9:07am Top

>151 I must admit that I used *cough*Goodreads*cough* to fill in the blanks after I plugged in my non-negotiables -- they make it easy to see popular books by publication year.

>152 That sounds like fun. I was sad to have to leave off many favorites published before I was born, so maybe someday I will expand the list backward. I also thought about updating it each year with new favorites, or changes of opinion (some years, it was a really close call).

>153 Thanks! It was fun to put together.

Edited: Sep 18, 2017, 11:18am Top

(116 books read)

Greenglass House by Kate Milford -- I reread this in preparation for reading the sequel. I took a long time, savoring it. The world building is just top notch, and it stands up well to rereading. Here's what I had to say about it when I first read it:

When a bunch of strange and unexpected visitors show up at his parents' inn the week before Christmas, Milo is less than enthusiastic -- he had been looking forward to a quiet vacation with just his family. But it's soon obvious that the inn's guests are hiding secrets, ones about the inn and its former owners. With the help of a new friend, an old book, and a role-playing game, Milo is on the track to discover what all of these people are doing at Greenglass House.

This is a cozy juvenile mystery with a lot of appeal. It's well-written, with a setting that the author has obviously thoroughly imagined (well past the confines of the book), great, quirky characters that develop and bloom over the course of the story, and a gripping, well-paced plot. It's one of the best juvenile novels I've read this year.

Edited: Sep 18, 2017, 11:18am Top

(117 books read)

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali -- During a party at a friend's house, a boy of her acquaintance attempts to rape Janna. He runs off when an adult rattles the doorknob, but only he and Janna know what happened. During the next few months, Janna wrestles with her feelings about the incident: should she tell someone? Confront her attacker? What if nobody believes her? The boy in question is popular with both peers and adults, and is respected at the mosque that both his family and Janna's attend. And, though she knows in her head that the incident wasn't her fault, Janna still feels guilty and powerless. Can she find a way to take control of the situation? Meanwhile, life goes on: finals at school, mean girl drama, participation in a quiz bowl, and a crush on a non-Muslim boy are all vying for Janna's attention.

This is a well-written and engaging book, and I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy realistic YA fiction.

Sep 17, 2017, 7:28am Top

>140 foggidawn: That your list starts when it does, Foggy, makes me feel like an old grump!

I do recognise many of the titles on your list and have several on the shelves.

Have a wonderful Sunday. xx

Sep 17, 2017, 8:06am Top

>157 That my list starts when it does sometimes makes me feel like an old grump -- I'm getting uncomfortably close to 40! Happy Sunday to you, too, Paul!

Sep 18, 2017, 4:03pm Top

I've been away from LT for a while, so there's plenty to catch up on here (no surprise!). I thought Edenbrooke was delightful when I read it earlier this year. I hope she writes another book soon. I have Romancing the Throne in a pile of books at home, but your review makes me think I should just bring it back to the library unread. I've been meaning to read more Lucy Maud Montgomery, as I have several of her novels to read for the first time, but The Blue Castle was one of my favorites and I should reread that one...and I agree that Greenglass House is wonderfully written and am also looking forward to the sequel. Some day. My numbers for juvenile fiction have dropped a lot in recent months.

Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 8:48am Top

(118 books read)

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion -- Sing us a song, you're the Piano Man... It's 1989, Melbourne, Australia. By day, 26-year-old Adam is a database architect, but he whiles away his evenings playing piano in the local pub. One night, a beautiful and clearly distraught young woman asks for a song, and then if she can sing along. This encounter is the beginning of Adam and Angelina's passionate, ill-fated romance. It lasts until Adam's contract runs out and he returns to his home in the U.K. Throughout his life, memories of his great lost love hit him when he hears a melancholy song, but he moves on with life, including finding a long-term romantic partner, and things are going well -- when, twenty-two years later, Angelina decides to reconnect.

I chose to read this book because I enjoyed Simsion's Rosie Project novels. If that would also be your motivation for reading this, reconsider. The first part of the book, where the reader is given the 1989 part of the story framed in Adam's reminiscences, is a bittersweet but pleasant read, but the second part takes the story in a vastly different direction.

Perhaps because this isn't the sort of story I usually choose, I found it hard to relate to the characters. Some of the choices they made left me scratching my head. It may just boil down to personal preference -- so if you're intrigued by the summary, you might enjoy this book. Just don't expect it to resemble the author's earlier works.

ETA: I poked around other reviews, as I sometimes do, especially when I don't like a book and wonder if it's just me. Other reviewers were able to put their finger on one of the big problems -- there's a sad lack of humor in this book. Less humor, more squickiness... yeah.

Sep 19, 2017, 8:46am Top

>159 I almost didn't see you there, as I was writing that review while you were posting! Sounds like we are on the same page about a lot of things. I feel like I'm in a bit of a slump lately -- I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks, but it's been taking me longer than usual to finish print books.

Sep 19, 2017, 11:40am Top

>161 It seems like it's taking me longer to finish print books as well. I started out the year doing so well with an even rotation of children's, YA, and adult books. I have several J and YA titles I'm eager to get to, but when I finish an adult book, I just pick up another one. Part of that may be that my job is going to be changing at some point and I will be doing a lot more collection development and it will include adult fiction and non-fiction. Whatever the reason, I'm just glad I'm not in a complete reading slump!

Sep 20, 2017, 9:30am Top

>157, >158 You young whippersnappers have no cause for grumpiness. My damned list (which I'm still working on) starts in 1951!

Sep 20, 2017, 10:50am Top

>162 Same here, basically: I have a whole stack of books that I want to read, that I'm pretty sure I will enjoy reading, but when I pick one up, I read a few pages and then wander off and do something else. I've been carrying around The Hate U Give -- a book about which I have heard nothing but good -- for weeks, but have yet to get beyond the first chapter. Whereas, I start an audiobook and find myself, two hours later, still sitting on my couch listening to it.

>163 All right, then.. :-D

Sep 21, 2017, 9:21am Top

>148 foggidawn: Coming back after creating my own list, you made a nice list!
I have read some of them and plan to read even more of them. It is fun to see where each list starts ;-)

Sep 21, 2017, 10:44am Top

>165 Thanks! It does give away some information, doesn't it? ;-)

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 9:45am Top

(119 books read)

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist -- Teenage Will was born blind, but decides to attend mainstream high school instead of the school for the blind he's gone to all his life. His first few days are not without mishaps, but he soon finds a group of friends, settles in to his classes, and begins to develop a crush on a girl named Cecily. When an experimental surgery offers the possibility of eyesight, Will is excited to see everything -- especially Cecily's face. But there's something that Cecily hasn't told him...

While reading this, I enjoyed it very much, but looking back, there are a few details that don't work as well as they could. The character development could be stronger, and the last part of the book feels rushed. Particularly, I was bothered that we never find out for sure if Will's body continues to reject the corneas, or if the medication works. I mean, one can infer from the last chapter that Will still has his eyesight (and is optimistic about continuing to see) a few weeks later, but what about after that? I was fascinated by the descriptions of Will's initial experiences after the surgery; I just wish that other aspects of the book were as convincingly described. I'd recommend this, guardedly, because I did enjoy it and I thought parts of the book were very good. So, if you are intrigued by the description, give it a try -- especially if you've enjoyed Sundquist's earlier memoirs.

Sep 22, 2017, 12:56pm Top

>164 Some days I just feel old and cranky, y'know? ;>)

Sep 22, 2017, 1:10pm Top

I went to consider starting a list like you all are doing, but currently I'm stumped on the first year! How can I choose? Clearly 1984 has to be a contender, but also in genre are Earth Abides and Needle and the sublime Silverlock. And Tolkien published Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wooten Manor. In nonfiction, The Hero with a Thousand Faces is dueling it out with The Second Sex. Robert Frost duels with William Carlos Williams in poetry. I am constitutionally unsuited for this task! Although it is interesting to note that even back then, there were vampire novels and P&P sequels.

Sep 22, 2017, 1:29pm Top

Aaaaand...just like that...I'm not the oldest list-maker on the thread anymore!

Sep 22, 2017, 9:31pm Top

>168 Oh, I know the feeling -- and I'm sure it will only get more familiar...

>169 Those are some tough choices!

>170 Hah!

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 9:45am Top

(120 books read)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas -- Starr catches a ride home from a party with her old friend Khalil. A cop pulls them over, and the confrontation that follows results in Khalil's death. Starr is the only witness. In the days and weeks that follow, Starr has to process her grief and use her voice -- but will it be enough to bring her friend's killer to justice?

This is a powerful and moving book. It definitely has something important to say in the current social and political climate, unfortunately. But it also sparkles with unexpected moments of humor and joy. Highly recommended.

Sep 24, 2017, 12:56am Top

>172 I will certainly look out for that one, Foggy.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Sep 24, 2017, 8:16am Top

>173 You too, Paul!

Sep 24, 2017, 2:59pm Top

Hi there Foggi! All I have to say is, 100+ books way to go! *high fives*

Sep 25, 2017, 9:22am Top

#175 *awkwardly attempts to return high-five, misses* Thanks! Good to see you around here!

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 9:45am Top

(121 books read)

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld -- A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the plot hews close to the original, but with reality shows and cell phones and such. I was more interested to see how the author adapted certain plot points from the original than I was to see Liz and Darcy's romance play out; in this version I didn't find Liz entirely sympathetic, and I must make a terrible confession: even in the original, I never much cared for Darcy. No, not even when played by Colin Firth. Where do I go to turn in my book lover card? On the other hand, Lydia, Kitty, and Mary were delightfully snarky, and Mrs. Bennett all that one could hope. I have also lived close enough to Cincinnati to enjoy the references to Graeter's ice cream (yum!), Skyline Chili (gross), and Joseph-Beth Booksellers (swoon). I'm not sure how well this book would work for readers entirely unfamiliar with the original, but if you enjoy retellings, I thought this one was . . . tolerable.

Sep 25, 2017, 7:39pm Top

"I never much cared for Darcy. No, not even when played by Colin Firth."

What!? Not even Coiin Firth's fine eyes?

Sep 25, 2017, 8:14pm Top

>178 I'm just not crazy about him. He's all right, but I'm not going to faint over seeing him in a wet dress shirt.

Sep 26, 2017, 9:47am Top

Yikes! I just discovered an error in my numbering of books read, which I've now corrected.
I'm actually up to 121 books! I also added cover images for the last few.

Sep 26, 2017, 10:41am Top

>180 You are doing very well with your 2017 reading then!

Sep 26, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>181 Thanks! I think this is going to be a better year, numbers-wise, than last year, even though I feel like I've been in a really long slump for most of it.

Sep 27, 2017, 8:33am Top

>182 At one time I thought I'd be able to do a double this year. Now I'm hoping for 125. Just too many irons in the fire.

Sep 28, 2017, 9:04am Top

>183 I read 168 in 2015 and 165 in 2016. I was hoping to beat that easily this year, but we'll see . . .

Sep 28, 2017, 9:31am Top

You have read so very many books! I am in awe, as usual. I recently went back to reading YA books. I'm having a great time with them.

Sep 28, 2017, 5:39pm Top

>185 Glad you are enjoying your return to YA books!

Sep 29, 2017, 6:12pm Top

>177 MickyFine: I'm glad you enjoyed that one. I thought it was pretty charming and actually liked it enough to add to my personal collection.

Oct 2, 2017, 2:46pm Top

>187 That's high praise!

Edited: Oct 2, 2017, 3:05pm Top

(122 books read)

To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon -- The fourteenth entry in the long-running Mitford series. Mitford is as charming as ever, but increasingly alienated from the real world. I could nitpick several little details, but the overall experience is still unmitigated enjoyment. On one hand, I wouldn't mind reading as many books as Karon wants to write, but on the other hand, I'd like her to end the series before she has to kill off any more of the aging original characters. I'd recommend this for anyone who has enjoyed the series thus far; I actually enjoyed it slightly more than the last couple books, though not quite as much as the first four or five.

Oct 2, 2017, 3:23pm Top

(123 books read)

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster -- This was a reread for me. Seventeen-year-old Jerusha Abbott has spent her entire life at the John Grier Home, an orphanage. When one of the trustees takes an interest in her (due to a humorous but unflattering essay on visiting day at the orphanage) and decides to send her to college. He elects to remain anonymous; all Jerusha knows is that he is tall (she caught a glimpse of him silhouetted in the doorway on his way out), rich, and has only ever sponsored the education of boys before. One of the conditions of her education is that she is to write him monthly letters on her progress, with the understanding that he will not respond in any way. This book comprises that one-way correspondence, and readers will soon find themselves charmed by Jerusha's youthful exuberance and zest for life. But will she ever discover the identity of her mysterious benefactor?

Some aspects of this book are indicative of its time, but all in all, I think it holds up pretty well. I know of readers who are bothered by the identity of Daddy-Long-Legs, the age gap between him and Jerusha, and the way he has been controlling certain aspects of her life. I'm not bothered as much as I thought I might be, on a reread -- for one thing, she does stand up to him a few times, so it is not as if she meekly allows him to run her life, either as "Daddy-Long-Legs" or as "Master Jervie." And the gap in their ages doesn't bother me much; lots of historical romances have similar ones, and I know of at least a few couples in real life with significant differences in age. I found it a pleasant, quick reread, and will probably read it again at some time in the future.

Edited: Oct 2, 2017, 4:40pm Top

>189 I think I read 5 or 6 of the Mitford books, and enjoyed them so much, but when Father Tim retired, I thought they lost something. I do have a couple unread around here, because I continued to buy them for my Mom and MIL for a while after I stopped reading them, and those gift books always make their way back to me! I might have to stop in for a visit again with the Mitford folks one of these days.

>190 That one sounds like a book I would have loved as a young girl, and kept re-reading every few years thereafter. I have a couple of those-- most dear to my heart is Rosemary by Josephine Lawrence.

Oct 3, 2017, 9:04am Top

>191 I agree -- the first few Mitford books are the best. And yes, Daddy-Long-Legs is the sort of classic that works well when discovered as a young teen, I think.

Oct 4, 2017, 9:26pm Top

Since this thread would not last until January without becoming unwieldy, follow me to my new thread!

This topic was continued by foggidawn reads in 2017, thread 4.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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