foggidawn reads in 2017, thread 4
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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!
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.) 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.
So far I have read seven books from the shelf: The Eye of the World, Heir of Sea and Fire, God's Handmaiden, The Boggart, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, A Fistful of Sky, and A Sending of Dragons. In addition, I've culled a few others that I feel pretty confident about not reading. There are still a few I'd like to get to before the end of the year, but I'm feeling confident that I can do it!
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
84. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockheart
85. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Glaser
86. Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
87. Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
88. Threads by Ami Polonsky
89. Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry
90. God's Handmaiden by Gilbert Morris
91. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
92. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
93. The Emperor's Ostrich by Julie Berry
94. And We're Off by Dana Schwartz
95. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
96. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
97. Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
98. Maud by Melanie Fishbane
99. Judge Benjamin: The Superdog Rescue by Judith Whitelock McInerney
100. One by Sarah Crossan
101. The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories by P.G. Wodehouse
102. The Boggart by Susan Cooper
103. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
104. Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
105. The Road to Yesterday by L.M. Montgomery
106. The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
107. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
108. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
109. Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney
110. Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
111. Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
112. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
113. All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
114. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
115. Olive and the Backstage Ghost by Michelle Schusterman
116. Greenglass House by Kate Milford
117. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
118. The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
119. Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
120. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
121. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
122. To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon
123. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Reserved for illustrator spotlight, maybe, but feel free to post below!
(124 books read)
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon -- Rishi Patel loves his parents and their traditional outlook on life. He agrees to attend a summer coding camp in order to meet Dimple Shah, the girl his parents think he should marry. Rishi assumes that Dimple, like him, is open to the idea of a traditional arranged marriage, and is ready to give a relationship a try.
Dimple wants, more than anything else, to be a successful web designer. She has a brilliant idea for her summer coding project, and she has no intention of letting anything get in the way -- particularly romance. She also has no idea that her parents have been talking to the Patels about marriage, so when Rishi cheerfully approaches her with a joke about starting their life together . . . it doesn't go so well. Will Dimple come around to the idea of romance, or is their relationship doomed from the start?
This book has a lot of great points. The main characters are strong and engaging, and develop over the course of the story. Girls who code are on trend right now. I thought the plot was a little rough -- the second half of the book is mostly taken up by a talent show that's part of the coding camp, and I could have done with less of that. And some of the secondary characters are pretty flat, perhaps because so much of the focus is on the main characters and their relationship. Still, an enjoyable read, recommended.
(125 books read)
How to Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Len Catron -- In 2015, Mandy Len Catron's essay, titled "To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This," was published in the Modern Love section of the New York Times. On the basis of that successful article, Catron has written a memoir in essays, examining her own love stories as well as those of her parents, relatives, friends, and even some strangers she got to know in the course of writing the book. She discusses research into love, and of course, she talks about the night she described in the original article, where she and an acquaintance asked each other a prescribed series of increasingly personal questions, then stared into one another's eyes for four minutes straight.
It's always interesting to read other people's ideas about and experiences of love. I appreciated Catron's down-to-earth approach, and the questions she had, especially when considering her parents' divorce and the breakup of her own long-term relationship. I didn't have any particular epiphanies regarding love, but I liked a lot of what Catron had to say. I felt she occasionally veered into preachiness, and her bias was evident in spots, but that's to be expected with any book, and one that styles itself a memoir particularly.
I listened to this audiobook, rather than reading the print version. It was read by the author, which is so rarely a good idea. In this case, the narration was at the bottom range of what I consider acceptable: clear, but occasionally oddly inflected, and with significant vocal fry. If that last trait irritates you, steer clear of this audiobook. The book itself, however, is worth reading if you have an interest in the topic.
I like your plan to pare down the TBR. Are you happy with how it's going? Nothing I try works particularly well. I'm debating whether to go to our library's fall book sale this weekend. It's something I love to do, naturally, but when I look around at the piles of unread books that don't even have shelf space now...
>11 laytonwoman3rd: Well, I'm sort of happy at how it's going. I am getting some of those older books off the shelf, but I've almost certainly added more than I've removed. I also thought I would read more off the shelf than I have done. In general, this has been a weird reading year for me. I find myself listening to more audiobooks than I ever have before, and if it weren't for those, I'm not sure how much reading I would have done at all this year. But I do feel a sense of accomplishment at the few (longstanding TBRs) I have read, and I'm sure I'll get at least a few more done before the end of the year. I'm not sure if I will continue this next year; I'll have to see how many books hit my ten-year limit. Maybe next year I should focus on unread classics.
(126 books read)
A World Full of Animal Stories by Angela McAllister -- reviewing elsewhere, just including it here for my count.
(127 books read)
Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford -- It's been a year since a group of mismatched strangers showed up at Greenglass House and upended Milo Pine's quiet family holiday. Now, the holidays are rolling around again, and Milo is anxious for the inn's lone guest to leave. But soon, more guests arrive -- some old friends, some new strangers. What brings them to Greenglass House this time? And will Milo's friend Meddy put in an appearance, or is she gone for good?
I found this book a little slower to start than its predecessor, but once it got rolling, it was just as enjoyable. Part of the problem I had was that the group assembled was larger than before, and I found the characters harder to distinguish from each other. In the last book, the visitors arrived separately, so Milo (and the reader) could observe their individual characteristics. In this book, a group called the Waits arrived all at once -- Waits being like a group of mummers or morris dancers, basically. So not only were they in strange costumes, which some of them took off and some of them left on, but some of them had nicknames for each other in addition to their actual names, and they all entered together, without much individual description. Perhaps this was intentional; the experience would have been just as confusing in real life -- but I still had a hard time sorting them out for at least half of the book.
However, as I said, once the story really got going and I got the characters figured out, the mystery was top-notch. A couple of the plot twists surprised me, and I made a few wrong guesses, but once things were revealed, it was obvious how the groundwork for that revelation had been laid. We also learned more about a particularly intriguing area of Nagspeake, the Liberty of Gammerbund. I hope we'll hear more about Milo and Nagspeake in the future, as it's obvious that the author has created a vibrant and detailed world containing any number of fascinating stories. If you loved Greenglass House, don't miss this book!
>25 MickyFine: Isn't it? The first book had a very pretty cover, too.
>24 foggidawn: Yay! I'm glad this was a good one! I ordered it for work, but don't have plans to read it any time soon. Maybe I'll eventually listen to it, though.
>27 aktakukac: I don't know if there's an audiobook version, though I would love it if there was, for rereads.
>29 aktakukac: So it is. Did you listen to that one? How's the narrator?
I am glad you liked it, but I worry about keeping track of characters! I got mixed up sometimes with the first one. Maybe I will have to take notes :)
>31 compskibook: That might help! In particular, I found the men hard to keep straight.
>30 foggidawn: Yes, I listened to it and I think the narrator was good. It's been a while, so I don't remember too much about the narrator, but I listened to the entire book so it can't have been horrible!
>33 aktakukac: Good to know. Yes, usually I only notice audiobook narrators if they are particularly good, or particularly bad!
(128 books read)
The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan -- A bunch of heroes on a ship, trying to save the world on a tight deadline? Must be a Riordan book. Magnus and the gang need to find a way to stop Loki from setting Ragnarok in motion, which means epic quest time! Gods and mythological figures will be encountered! Snark will be exchanged! There will be frequent fighting and occasional mild romance! Truthfully, Riordan's books tend to run together in my mind -- but I keep reading them. Why? Probably because Riordan does two things well: he creates solid characters that are fun to read about, and he brings the funny every time.
(129 books read)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire -- Every once in a while, a child finds a portal to another world, a place of magic and adventure. But when they return to our world, things can be difficult. Nancy went through a door to the Underworld, where she served in the court of the Lord of Death. She learned about stillness, and the particular beauty of darkness. He sent her back to our world, just to be sure that she understood the choice she was making. Her parents sent her to Eleanor West's school. There, she is surrounded by others like herself, who have tumbled into other worlds, and would give anything to go back. It's disorienting, being in this bright, quick world, with its colorful characters and unique lingo. And then, terrible things begin to happen...
I love the concept of this book, though the actual details of the plot are a bit more disturbing than I usually like. The writing is delightful, though. I might try more by this author eventually. Highly recommended if you enjoy a good riff on the tropes of portal fantasy and have the stomach for a little bit of horror.
I'm so behind on everyone's threads! Every time I hear about Every Heart a Doorway it sounds so interesting but I just can't get myself to try it because horror is really really not my thing.
Hi Foggi! Happy new-ish thread to you!
>12 foggidawn: Maybe next year I should focus on unread classics. I try to read a couple a year -- I'm sure I'll never run out!
I took a bullet with Ghosts of Greenglass House. I loved the first book and my instructional coach just chose it as the book she'll do for her tremendously popular 4th and 5th grade book club. I'll add it to the library's purchase list!
>36 foggidawn: I wasn't expecting it to be quite as dark either, Foggi, but it does sort of fit in with the Grimm-esque flavour to the novel.
>37 leahbird: I felt the same way. On one hand, I'm glad I read it, and I didn't find it too disturbing (no nightmares or other lingering effects; in fact, last night I dreamt that one of my co-workers brought puppies to work!), but on the other hand, I hesitate to recommend it too strongly to fellow horror-phobes, as I myself am usually so squeamish.
>38 AMQS: Yes, I usually try to tackle at least one classic a year, but that doesn't do much about the backlog! As you say, I'm sure I'll never run out, either. And hooray for the Greenglass House series love!
>39 MickyFine: Yeah, I had heard it was dark, but I found the premise intriguing enough to give it a try. I'm glad I did.
(130 books read)
Tales of Arilland by Alethea Kontis -- A collection of short stories set in the same world as the author's full-length novels. Most stand alone, though the last few involve characters and events from the Woodcutter Sisters series. Several of the stories were a lot darker than I was expecting. This wasn't a terrible read, but I don't feel that I got much out of it. Probably best read just after finishing Dearest, when you want to read more in that world. I would have enjoyed it more if the events of that book had been fresh in my mind.
(131 books read)
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz -- In medieval France, three children (and a dog) exhibit signs and wonders . . . but what will happen when they find themselves in opposition to the king?
This book exhibits some of the zany humor of the author's Grimm series, but with more depth: on one hand, there is a farting dragon, but on the other hand there is a serious examination of the treatment of Jews in the Middle Ages, and a quest to prevent the burning of thousands of copies of the Talmud. I can see how the Newbery committee found this distinguished.
The audio version is okay -- I found some of the transitions weird and a little distracting, but not so much as to make me stop listening.
Speaking of farting animal sidekicks, I got a pin of fat pony (of The Princess and the Pony) while I was in Halifax and it makes me so very happy. :)
(132 books read)
Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen -- It's more than 200 years since humans settled the planet Austar IV in the Erato galaxy, and training and fighting the native dragons has become the planet's main claim to fame. Jakkin is a bond-servant, indentured to his master until he can fill the bond-bag that hangs around his waist, but Jakkin has a plan: steal a hatchling, teach it to fight, and use the profits to become a master in his own right. Of course, though he knows a little bit about dragons, he doesn't really know anything about teaching them to fight . . .
I found this a quick, engrossing read. I was expecting it to be a children's book, but it makes no bones about some of the rougher aspects of Jakkin's world (prostitution, drug use) and that places it more squarely in the YA arena. I'd recommend it to readers looking for something like Anne McCaffrey's Pern books.
This book is not one of the ones from my TBR shelf, but other books in the series are -- so I read this one to get to those. I liked this one well enough to continue with the series.
You guys, you guys, you guys . . . Rachel Hartman is coming out with a new book in the spring: Tess of the Road!
(Hartman wrote Seraphina, which I adored, and Shadow Scale, which I didn't love quite so much, but it was good. I'm hoping for great things with this one, which has a new protagonist but is set in the same world.)
Happy for you! (I haven't read any of her stuff but being excited about new books is always exciting). :)
>47 MickyFine: I love finding new books to be excited about.
>48 leahbird: I know, right?
I had a great weekend of reading — I read three and a half good books, including the new John Green — but ever since I updated my phone, the keyboard in Safari has become sucky, so I’ll have to get my laptop out when I feel like writing reviews. Meanwhile, it feels like old times, being several reviews behind!
>45 foggidawn: Wow, I bought that series for my nephews (and had the author sign them at a now defunct bookstore in La Jolla) when they were boys. They are 42 and 39 respectively now.
>36 foggidawn: Yeah, this series is a little dark but very imaginative. Her Incryptid series is lighter, but my favorite is her October Daye series, which falls in between.
>50 ronincats: Yolen has written an impressive number of books, spanning a long career, for sure! And I’ve heard good things about the October Daye series. Someday...
(133 books read)
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green -- Almost against her will, Aza is dragged into the mystery of a missing billionaire, all while managing her anxiety and finding her way through the confusing territory of first love.
Well, first of all, it's John Green. So, if you have read and enjoyed more than one of his books, you'll probably want to read this one, too. I'm a fan, obviously -- but I also think that this one is perhaps Green's most honest work to date. One criticism that I've read of Green's work is that the characters don't speak like normal teens, but I didn't feel that that was the case in this book -- sure, they have the occasional esoteric discussion of human consciousness and great literature, but that didn't overwhelm the story for me, in this case. I also appreciate the way Green handles the main character's mental illness. Highly recommended.
(134 books read)
A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- In a family of magic users, Gypsum is the odd girl out -- or is she? When Gyp's powers arrive, they are different than those of her siblings -- but does that mean that her powers are evil? I found this book fun, if a little chaotic. I like stories of big, eccentric families, and fantasy books about magic users discovering their abilities, and books set during the Christmas season that involve a lot of baking, and this was all of those things. I'm still not sure what the title or the cover has to do with the actual story, so don't judge the book by those!
Bonus: This was one of those longstanding TBRs! This one will remain on my shelves, but at least it's off the TBR shelf!
(135 books read)
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner -- Three outcast teens find their saving grace in each other's friendship while attending high school in a small Tennessee town -- but what will happen when high school is over? There's Dill, wrestling with his demons: his father, a preacher at a snake-handling church, was arrested for child pornography, and Dill is afraid that shame will follow him for his entire life -- not to mention the crushing debt that presses on his family. Lydia, who comes from a more affluent background, is burning with ambition: she's already a successful fashion blogger with plans to attend NYU and never look back at her small-town upbringing -- but does that mean she has to leave her friends behind, too? And Travis, a gentle giant who is obsessed with a Game of Thrones-style fantasy series, dreams of nothing more than working at the lumberyard during the day and reading (and avoiding his abusive father) at night, but an online relationship starts him dreaming of more.
This book had me crying more than a few tears. The writing is excellent, the characters engaging -- I wanted to spend more time with them. Looking back, I have a few questions about why certain things had to happen the way they did, but while reading, I was entirely caught up in the story. Highly recommended for readers of any age, particularly those who enjoy Southern small-town stories with a darker edge.
>52 foggidawn: A new book by John Green! I loved all his books, so I can't wait to read it!
My library has ordered a copy of the Dutch translation, so I hope to get my hands on it soon.
>52 foggidawn: I am, of course, already on the holds list for that one but glad to see it got a thumbs up from you. A Foggi endorsement is a big plus. :)
>49 foggidawn: Yay for a nice weekend with lots of reading! I was basically the opposite of you. I read maybe 30 pages all weekend, but that's better than zero!
>59 aktakukac: Seems like my weekends have mostly been like yours lately, so a good reading one was a nice change!
(136 books read)
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks -- 17 slice-of-life stories, some with elements of science fiction or magical realism. The collection has a feel-good tone, with moments of gentle humor as well as touches of melancholy and nostalgia. Hanks doesn't have a gift for endings; several of these stopped rather abruptly. I could pick at a few other things, but really, I don't want to sell these short, because this was generally a pleasant outing. Also, I listened to the audiobook -- read by the author, of course. Who doesn't want Tom Hanks to read them stories? Recommended to readers who enjoy short stories, or to fans of Tom Hanks.
>64 FAMeulstee: I'm so glad you liked it -- and I'm surprised you were able to find the translation so quickly!
>65 foggidawn: So was I, it looks like it was published everywhere at the same time. That happened as well with the last Harry Potter books, translators got the manuscript early so the release date was the same everywhere.
>66 FAMeulstee: That must be a challenge for the translators, as I imagine they would be working on a tight deadline.
>67 foggidawn: Indeed a challenge for translators, the quality of the translations didn't suffer from it. Must be an enourmous job to organise it all, not only the translators, also all publishers!
(137 books read)
Royal Crush by Meg Cabot — It’s almost Princess Olivia’s 13th birthday, and things are getting complicated. Boys, crushes, a birthday ball, and a school ski retreat — not to mention the birth of her sister’s twins!
I needed something light to listen to while I drove around this weekend, and this fit the bill well enough. Recommended for readers who enjoyed the earlier books in this series.
(138 books read)
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson — All of the small animals on the hill are excited at the prospect of “new folks coming,” but what will the new arrivals be like? Planters, or lazy, shiftless sorts? Will they have dogs? Guns? Traps? Anticipation mounts as move-in day draws near.
This is a pleasant, old-fashioned story. There’s not a whole lot to it, but kids who like gentle animal stories without all that “red in tooth and claw” stuff might still enjoy this. I probably would have, at the age of seven or eight. Recommended for timid children and nostalgic grown-ups.
>71 foggidawn: Aw, I love that one, too. Old-fashioned, but not really out-dated.
(139 books read)
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia — Clayton Byrd’s favorite thing is playing his harmonica, or “blues harp,” with his grandpa, Cool Papa Byrd, and the other blues men. He really wants a solo, but Cool Papa says he’s not ready yet. Then, after the unexpected happens, Clayton sets out on his own — but is he ready for this kind of solo?
Another good book by Williams-Garcia. This one is slim, but tackles some big issues. The audiobook is likewise high-quality. Recommended.
(140 books read)
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen -- Widowed Jane Bell never wanted to run a coaching inn, but her husband left the entire concern to her in his will. Now, the inn is struggling to make a profit, and her banker informs Jane that her husband took out a sizeable loan shortly before his death, and the note is coming due. Unless she can improve the inn's profits and make a case for extending the loan terms, the inn will pass out of her hands. Her charming brother-in-law is on hand to help -- or does he have ulterior motives? Her irascible mother-in-law Thora returns to lend a hand -- but can Thora and Jane get along, or will their arguments just make things worse? And what about the enigmatic Mr. Drake, who seems very interested in the inn . . . and Jane?
This is the first book in a series, so the pacing is a little different than I expected. There are multiple featured characters with potential romantic story lines, and only one of those is resolved in this book. The main thrust of the plot here is Jane's business troubles, and whether she will be able to keep and run the inn. Readers who enjoy historical fiction featuring life in quaint English villages will enjoy this -- it's very reminiscent of one of my old favorites, The Widow of Larkspur Inn. I'll probably continue to read in this series, in order to see how things turn out for the other characters.
(141 books read)
Heart's Blood by Jane Yolen -- Jakkin's dragon, Heart's Blood, is now a champion of several small fights in the pits, but is taking time off for breeding. Unexpectedly, Jakkin gets word that his friend Akki is in trouble and needs his help. Jakkin longs to set off immediately for the city, where Akki has gotten involved in rebel activity -- but there are the hatchlings to consider...
This continues the story started in Dragon's Blood, and expands into the politics of Jakkin's home planet. It's a pretty quick read, but of course, it is not the end of the series, so in some ways it serves as a bridge to the events of the next book.
Just came across the news that Niantic is making a Harry Potter augmented reality game! I'm pretty excited.
>78 MickyFine: Yes, it probably will be that -- though, truthfully, I haven't found Pokemon Go as much of a data-suck as I feared..
(142 books read)
A Sending of Dragons by Jane Yolen -- Jakkin and Akki go from one danger to another. Fleeing from both the Wardens and the Rebels, they make their way into the system of caves in the Astarian mountains. There, they make a sinister discovery...
I have mixed feelings about this series. The writing is fairly utilitarian, but the plot moves quickly, so once I get caught up in the story, I find them quick and engrossing reads. There's not a lot of depth to the characters, and I could use a bit more explanation of how certain elements of the telepathic "sendings" work. Still, not a bad way to spend a little time, especially if you are fond of dragons. I'll probably read the next book soon-ish, since I have it on hand.
This is another longstanding TBR that will make its way to a new home now that I have read it. Huzzah!
(143 books read)
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez -- Julia's older sister Olga was the perfect daughter, devoted to her parents, obedient, hardworking, and everything that Julia is not. And then Olga dies in a traffic accident. Fifteen-year-old Julia is dealing not only with her grief at her sister's death, but with her mother's disappointment and expectations for her. How can Julia make her mother understand that she wants to go to college in a different city, to be a writer, to hang out with her friends, to go on dates -- all the things that Olga never seemed to want? When Julia discovers some items in her sister's bedroom that hint at a secret Olga may have been hiding, she begins a quest to discover who her sister truly was.
Angst, angst, angst. I had a really hard time liking Julia, though I understood at least part of her frustration. She's a convincingly written teenager, that's certain. And her character development throughout the novel is subtle and well done. This is obviously good writing, but I didn't fully enjoy it due to my irritation at the main character's judgmental attitude and sharp tongue. I listened to the audiobook. The narration was generally good, though not exceptional. I did appreciate listening to this one, rather than reading, for the pronunciation of the Spanish words sprinkled in. The writing occasionally seemed choppy, though I might not have noticed if I had been reading, as opposed to listening. It's a great #ownvoices narrative, and though it was not entirely to my taste, I'd recommend it if the plot piques your interest.
>63 foggidawn: "Who doesn't want Tom Hanks to read them stories?" Well, yeah. That book is on my Christmas wish list, but now I think I need to tell Santa I want the audio version!
(144 books read)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness — In a world where terrible and extraordinary things happen on a fairly regular basis, Mikey and his friends are perfectly normal (well, mostly). While kids with names like Kerouac and Satchel are saving the world from invaders from another dimension, Mikey and his friends just want to make it to graduation. Of course, being perfectly normal doesn’t protect you from becoming collateral damage when weird things start to happen...
This book was a lot of fun to read. It takes on the tropes of the genre in a tongue-in-cheek way (my favorite line was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Fault in Our Stars reference about the time, a few years ago, when all of the special kids were beautifully dying of cancer). Perfect for the reader who has read one too many books about very special teenagers saving the world.
>86 MickyFine: It was! I read the whole thing in one evening because a hold came in that I was excited to start. I'm in a good reading groove at the moment.
>87 foggidawn: Yay for reading grooves. I've had two long-ish books in a row and while I'm really enjoying the current one, it does make it feel like I'm moving slowly for me.
>88 MickyFine: I know what you mean. One time, I tackled an enormous fantasy tome during a weekend readathon. I could probably have finished 5-10 shorter books during that readathon, but I read the one chunkster instead. It was kind of miserable.
(145 books read)
Artemis by Andy Weir — Jazz Bashara is a small-time crook in Artemis, the first human city on the moon. She smuggles in luxury goods for a select clientele, and also works as a porter for legitimate shipments. When a client approaches her with a special job, she initially turns him down, but he makes her an offer she’d be crazy to refuse. Then, of course, everything goes wrong...
I do love a good caper, and this is the very definition of one: wild shenanigans, hair-raising escapes, petty bickering... plus a great setting. What didn’t I love? The main character. Jazz never read as convincingly female to me. I’m in favor of tough, wise-cracking, butt-kicking lady types, but I just found something lacking in the characterization. Don’t let that put you off, though — maybe you will feel differently. If you like sci-fi heist stories, give this one a try.
Ooof. Sorry you didn't like the main character more. I have this one on my list because I loved that other one Weir wrote...
That's interesting. Now I'll *have* to read it, if just to see if I agree. Ha!
(146 books read)
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley -- As World War II rages on, Ada, Jamie, and their guardian Susan face new challenges. I'd hate to spoil anything, so I think that's all I'll say in summary. Instead, let me kvell a bit: I didn't think that this book could possibly be as good as its predecessor (The War That Saved My Life), but it was! Bradley writes excellent characters with all their complicated emotions so very well. After I finished this book, I just hugged it for a while. So good! If you liked the first book, be sure to get your hands on this one!
>95 foggidawn: I'm going to start listening to The War That Saved My Life today. Looking forward to that re-read. Then I can be refreshed when I start this one. I was at a new book look a couple weeks ago, and the presenter mentioned the sequel and said the exact same thing you did - that she didn't expect it to be as good as the first, and it absolutely was. So now I'm definitely looking forward to The War I Finally Won!
>95 foggidawn: A second book as good as the first in the series? Sounds good to me and obviously to the readers at my library as there are multiple holds on the 10 copies available, but maybe I should read the first one in the series first?
I am so excited that this is just as good as the first! I just moved it up my TBR list!
>99 foggidawn: Will do, Foggi. Just have to find the time to start the first one, but at least I located it on my shelves. LOL
This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.
I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.
I am thankful that you are part of this group.
I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving, Foggi!
I agree with you about Artemis, it was a lot of fun but Jazz's narration was quite cringeworthy at times. I think The Martian had some of the same flaws with characterization though (it just didn't matter as much because of the nature of the story) so I wasn't expecting too much on that front.
>100 Familyhistorian: Well, sometimes that's half the battle! :-)
>101 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! I am also thankful for this group.
>102 kgodey: Thanks! Yes, for some reason the characterization in The Martian didn't bother me at all. I wonder if it would on rereading? I'll find out someday, I guess, as that one (unlike Artemis) is a book I think I'll reread.
Hi, all! I didn't visit LT at all yesterday -- a rarity for me, as I'm usually reading threads every day, even if I don't post. I had a lovely feast with one of my co-workers -- and enough food for five or six people, so we'll be dining on leftovers well into next week! Didn't get much reading done, either. I'm suffering from a nasty cold, bad enough that I was off work sick on Wednesday. It seems to have settled down into the coughing phase, which is not as bad as the sore throat of day one, or the stuffy head and constantly dripping nose of day two! I've been binging on an old season (14, if you're wondering) of Hell's Kitchen, and I'm finding it a good thing to watch when sick -- not too mentally taxing, so if my mind wanders or I doze off, it's fine. I've also downloaded Animal Crossing Pocket Camp on my phone -- fun so far, but a major time suck, I'm afraid! If any of you are playing, PM me and I'll give you my friend code.
Sorry to hear about your cold, Foggi. I had one that I got over and now has come back in milder form (I think due to a different infection I'm fighting lowering immune system fighting power). Sigh.
Hope you have a restful weekend and enjoy all your leftovers. :)
>107 MickyFine: The same thing happened to my mom. I'm hoping I only go one round with this one. Hope you have a a restful weekend, too.
Sorry to hear about your cold
>85 foggidawn: You read it glad you enjoyed it!
Wow - it's been over a week since I finished a book. It's not that I haven't been reading, it's that I've been reading two fairly large books and each has been distracting me from the other. I'll probably finish one of them this evening, though.
I struggled for like 10 days to get through a book that was less than 160 pages, so you're doing great!
(147 books read)
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan -- Rachel Chu and Nick Young have been dating for a few years now, but they've never talked about marriage. Still, when Nick invites Rachel to Singapore for the summer, to meet his parents and attend his best friend's wedding, Rachel can't help but wonder if their relationship is about to move to the next level. When they arrive in Singapore, Rachel is surprised to discover that Nick's family is rich. Really rich. And they're not happy about Nick dating an economics professor from New York. Moreover, some of the girls in Nick's social circle are not ready to let go of the idea of marrying Nick, themselves -- and they're willing to sabotage Rachel in any way they can.
I enjoyed this a lot. It called to my mind Jane Austen (Nick's mother's histrionics over Rachel were very Mrs. Bennett-like) and Downton Abbey, particularly the soap-opera-esque qualities of the latter. There was one big twist that I could see coming practically from the beginning, but that didn't really affect my enjoyment of the story. I also felt that the ending was a little rushed in comparison to the rest of the book. Those are just minor quibbles, though. If you enjoy stories featuring the shenanigans of the mind-bogglingly rich, I'd recommend this fun read.
>115 foggidawn: Yay! I'm so glad you liked that one and I agree, there is something a bit Jane Austen about it. I was very excited when I saw the cast list for the film adaptation of that one. :)
>116 MickyFine: Oh, yeah, it looks great! I'll have to try and remember to catch that one in the theater. (Fortunately, one of my co-workers and I occasionally catch a movie together, so I've been a little better this year about going to see movies before I forget that I meant to do so!)
(148 books read)
I'm Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris -- A collection of funny poems for kids (with the occasionally poignant one thrown in), also enjoyable for adults. I'd recommend this to anyone who has fond memories of chuckling over a Shel Silverstein collection, as this is in the same vein.
(149 books read)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer -- In the epic battle between two rival groups of superheroes ("Good" and "Evil," if you will), Nova's family was on the losing side. She was just a child when her uncle, Ace Anarchy, was defeated by Captain Chromium. Now, the Renegades are in power, but as an outsider, Nova can see that they are not doing as good a job as everyone seems to think. The remaining Anarchists encourage Nova to try to infiltrate the Renegades, in hopes that they can take down the organization from the inside. What she didn't plan for was Adrian Everhart, who is goofy and charming -- and the adopted son of Captain Chromium. Revenge may not be as simple as Nova once thought...
This book has some issues, but that doesn't stop it from being an enjoyable read. It's quite a hefty tome, and I do feel that it could have been shorter. The superhero plot concept hews pretty close to existing superhero narratives, both Marvel/DC and stories like Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series. However, if you enjoy stories of that nature, that's not likely to be much of a downside. And if you're unfamiliar with stories of that nature, even less so. I liked that the romance was very tentative and slow-burning; in this book we are just getting to know the characters. I'm intrigued to see how the author will work out the heavy obstacles that she has put in place, as the characters' superhero alter-egos are basically each other's arch-nemesis. There were several plot twists and revelations; I saw all but the very last one coming. I'll definitely read the next book to find out what happens.
I'm also making some predictions for the next book:
>120 MickyFine: Ooh, read it, read it! Then I'll have someone to test my theories on!
>121 foggidawn: I'm not allowed to reading anything published after 1965 right now (unless I already own it) because I'm doing a book gifting exchange with some friends later in the month. So you'll probably have to wait until next year. But I'll weigh in on your theories when I get there.
>122 MickyFine: That's a fun way to do a book exchange!
>123 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. It was lovely, but all too brief.
My reading has stalled, partly because I'm reading a "have-to" book that I'm not particularly enjoying (it's not bad, just not, you know, good), and partly because there's a lot to do before the holidays. I'm still hoping to beat last year's total, mostly by reading All The Things during my vacation between Christmas and New Year's. I have a whole stack of books lined up, all of them more appealing than the one I'm reading now.
>124 foggidawn: Jealous of your Christmas vacation. I'm hoarding my vacation time for next year so I'll be working the days between Christmas and New Year's. Although bonus is in Canada we get Boxing Day so at least I get a 4-day weekend for Christmas. :)
Hope the "have to" book gets better. I'm still working my way through an Outlander novel. I'm enjoying it but 1400ish pages takes some time and I'm starting to get itchy fingers.
(150 books read)
The Misfits Club by Kieran Crowley -- Reviewing elsewhere. I kind of hate to make a mediocre book that I'm not even going to review here my 75x2, but it is what it is.
(151 books read)
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld -- Three years ago, something weird happened in Poughkeepsie, New York. Nuclear disaster, alien invasion . . . nobody knows for sure. Addison was out of town that night, and her little sister Lexa is one of the few kids who made it out. Now, they live in their house just outside the spill zone, and Addison makes a living sneaking into the zone and photographing the weird stuff there. Though it's illegal, certain people will pay well for her art. Now, one of those investors is offering her a million dollars to go into the zone and retrieve a specific item. Of course, to do so, Addison will have to break a couple of her cardinal rules: never get off the bike, and never, ever go inside the hospital where her parents used to work.
This was right on the border of too creepy for me. There's all the weird stuff inside the spill zone, including the zombie-like remains of some of the townspeople (our heroine charmingly refers to them as "meat puppets"), and also a possibly evil sentient doll who only communicates with Lexa. But it's a compelling story, so I powered through (in the bright daylight -- this is definitely not bedtime reading for me!), only to find that this first volume ends on a pretty substantial cliffhanger. It sets up for several storylines that will continue in the next volume, including the introduction of a character from North Korea, who escaped from a similar spill zone on the same night as the Poughkeepsie spill (coincidence? I think not). The next volume isn't out until July 2018; my advice is to wait until then to read it -- if creepy dolls and dystopian disasters are your thing.
>132 MickyFine: Yeah, I probably won't continue the series, as it was right on the edge for me. In fact, I almost DNF'd it, because I was reading it in the evening, and was concerned about where it was going. I picked it up again at lunch time today, and it didn't go quite as dark as I feared -- but I think later installments might!
>133 FAMeulstee: Thanks!
>131 foggidawn: That sounds so interesting but I think you and I have about the same creep tolerance so I'll proceed with caution if I pick it up.
>136 rretzler: and >137 PaulCranswick: and >138 AMQS: Thanks for stopping by!
I kind of fell off the face of the earth, didn’t I? I’ve been having a fun, busy time with family, and internet access has been limited. I’ll have to wait another day or two to set up my 2018 thread and do all the memes and catch up with everyone, but I wanted to at least make note of a few final titles:
A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell
I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn
The Treasures of Weatherby by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet by Natasha Farrant
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Total books read in 2017: 157.
I’m a little disappointed at my December numbers — I thought I’d be able to keep up momentum and read a lot on vacation, but it just hasn’t happened. Oh, well: here’s to more books in 2018!
I just can’t resist the end-of-year book meme!
Describe yourself: I’m Just No Good at Rhyming
Describe how you feel: Even More Awesome
Describe where you currently live: Far from the Tree
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Starlit Wood
Your favorite form of transportation: The Ship of the Dead
Your best friend is: The Lost Frost Girl
You and your friends are: Saints and Misfits
What’s the weather like: Wintersong
You fear: The Hate U Give
What is the best advice you have to give: All in the Timing
Thought for the day: We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
How I would like to die: Drawn Away
My soul’s present condition: Like a River Glorious
>141 foggidawn: Now you have me singing the hymn that matches the title of your soul's present condition!
>141 foggidawn: Your thought for the day cracked me up. Although if somehow the stars align and I actually ever get to go to ALA and you're going that year, we could meat IRL. *swoons in shock* ;)
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.