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foggidawn reads in 2018, thread 2

This is a continuation of the topic foggidawn reads in 2018, thread 1.

This topic was continued by foggidawn reads in 2018, thread 3.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Apr 3, 9:39am Top

Welcome! I'm foggi, and this is my eleventh year on LibraryThing and my eighth year in this group! I'm a collection development librarian/youth materials selector (means I buy all the kids' and teen books) for the public library system in a medium-sized Ohio town, and a voracious reader.

I'll read anything that catches my fancy, but here are some of the kinds of books I particularly like:

Books for kids and teens

Fantasy for any age -- plus the occasional work of science fiction

Inspirational fiction, if the writing is good

Mysteries, particularly cozies and golden age British detective stories

The occasional memoir or biography

Here are some of the other things I like, which can distract me from reading, but which I may occasionally post about here:

Theatre -- both viewing live theatre and participating in community theatre. I didn't do any of the latter in 2017, but maybe I will get back into it in 2018.

Sewing -- it's a love/hate relationship, really. I'm only barely proficient at it, so it's slow going when I get on a sewing kick, but when it goes right, I love the results.

Gardening -- last year I had the tiniest, saddest garden, but I'm hoping to be able to have a slightly larger, somewhat happier one this year.

Gaming -- I love board games when I can find people to play them with (which is not as often as I like) and I occasionally play video games, but most often I waste my time playing games on my phone. Right now, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Two Dots, and Pokemon Go.

Dogs -- you can see my dog Sophie in the photo above, and 2018 might also be the year I obtain a second dog as a companion for her.

Family -- I recently got the exciting news that I'm going to be an aunt in mid-2018, so I'm looking forward to that! This is also the year my parents retire and move to their newly-built cabin in rural Pennsylvania, so there will be times I go help them with that transition.

Thanks for visiting my thread!

Edited: Apr 3, 9:59am Top

Reserved for . . . something, I'll figure out what.

Edited: Jun 18, 11:47am Top

2018 Reading Resolution

Last year, for the first time, I made a bookish reading resolution: to read or discard some of my oldest TBR books. I read six, discarded six (most of which I tried reading and decided I could do without), and am in the process of finishing one more that I started reading a few days before the end of the year. With that modest success under my belt, I'm going to make a new resolution: to read some of my long-unread "classics."

I've chosen 10 books, many of them fairly short. In case you can't see the titles in the above picture, they are:

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather finished 3/17/18
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald finished 6/1/18
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor
The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain finished 6/14/18
Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty finished 6/17/18
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde finished 2/11/18

That seems like something I can accomplish in a year, especially if I focus on one per month and don't let myself fall too far behind.

Edited: Apr 3, 9:55am Top

Books read in 2018

(Italics denotes a reread, Bold denotes a new favorite.)

1. That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston
2. The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit
3. Landscape with Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson
4. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
5. Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
6. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
7. WhatsHisFace by Gordon Korman
8. The Takedown by Corrie Wang
9. A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt
10. Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
11. Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt
12. Come a Stranger by Cynthia Voigt

13. Bolivar by Sean Rubin
14. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen
15. The Runner by Cynthia Voigt
16. Spinning by Tillie Walden
17. Sons From Afar by Cynthia Voigt
18. Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
19. Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz
20. The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I by Carolyn Mackler
21. Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis
22. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
23. Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence
24. Blue Window by Adina Rishe Gewirtz
25. Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
26. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
27. A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack
28. Seventeen Against the Dealer by Cynthia Voigt
29. The Garden of Wisdom: Earth Tales from the Middle East, edited by Michael J. Caduto
30. Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
31. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
32. Africa is My Home: A Child of the Amistad by Monica Edinger
33. A Light in the Window by Jan Karon
34. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
35. Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
36. The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
37. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
38. American Panda by Gloria Chao
39. Bilgewater by Jane Gardam
40. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
41. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
42. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
43. Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
44. Something Under the Bed is Drooling by Bill Watterson
45. Yukon Ho! by Bill Watterson

Feel free to post below!

Apr 3, 10:19am Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 3, 10:44am Top

>3 foggidawn: I have The Innocents Abroad on my TBR, too. Let me know when you decide to read it, and maybe we can do a shared read!

Apr 3, 11:58am Top

Happy new thread!

I’m curious as to your Easter celebrations; are your u just celebrating late or are you on a different calendar?

Apr 3, 1:11pm Top

Hi, Foggi. Just trying to catch up. I'm not doing well on the threads lately. Happy Easter to you, in case I don't get back again this week!

Apr 3, 1:14pm Top

>5 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

>6 fuzzi: I'll probably get to it this summer; want to pick a month? That will motivate me to read it! ;-)

>7 humouress: I'm Eastern Orthodox, so our Easter often falls on a different date than Western (Catholic/Protestant) Easter. Basically, when the West updated to the (more astronomically correct) Gregorian calendar in the Middle Ages, the Eastern Church did not -- and still hasn't, for various and widely debated reasons. So, yes, different calendar.

Apr 3, 1:15pm Top

>8 laytonwoman3rd: Hi, Linda! Your post sneaked in while I was typing!

Apr 3, 1:23pm Top

Happy New Thread!!

Apr 3, 1:31pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 3, 3:46pm Top

Happy new thread, Foggi! Living in a province where there's a lot of people with Ukrainian heritage means I have a middling awareness of Orthodox holidays but figuring out Easter is always beyond me. :)

Hope you have a great one!

Apr 3, 3:48pm Top

Thanks for visiting, Roni, Leah, and Micky!

Apr 3, 8:15pm Top

Nice work Foggi! I can't wait to see what post 2 will be!

Apr 3, 8:28pm Top

Happy new thread, Foggy.

Apr 4, 6:30am Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 4, 9:18am Top

>15 compskibook: It's a mystery! (It started out as a duplicate of Post 1, so I figured I will have to do something with it.)

Thanks for visiting, Paul and Amber!

Apr 4, 9:21am Top

(46 books read)

Weirdos from Another Planet! by Bill Watterson -- The continued adventures of an imaginative boy and his tiger. I feel that this is the collection where the comic strip really starts to hit its stride.

Apr 4, 9:49am Top

Happy new thread, and I am SO jealous that you have read almost 50 books already!

Apr 4, 10:27am Top

Happy new thread, Foggi.

>9 foggidawn: I knew Eastern Orthodox had (sometimes) a different date for Eastern, but did not realise it was because still following the Julian calender.

Edited: Apr 4, 11:29am Top

>20 aktakukac: Thanks! To be fair, many of them have been shorter works, like my recent Calvin and Hobbes spree.

>21 FAMeulstee: Thanks for visiting. Yes, both the Western and Eastern churches calculate the date of Easter the same way (the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21), but the Eastern church is still on the Julian calendar, so there can be a difference of as much as five weeks, based on all of those contributing factors.

Apr 4, 11:59am Top

When you are done with Calvin and Hobbes I highly recommend Foxtrot!

Apr 4, 12:15pm Top

>23 compskibook: Oh, Foxtrot is fun! I haven't read all of it, the way I have with Calvin and Hobbes, so maybe I will do that in future. Zits is another favorite, possibly because the main character seems very much like what Calvin would be like as a teenager.

Apr 4, 12:33pm Top

>9 foggidawn: let's try for June. If that doesn't work, we can bump it. :)

Apr 4, 1:16pm Top

>25 fuzzi: Sounds good! I'll try to remember. :-)

Apr 4, 7:58pm Top

>26 foggidawn: I just put it on my reading "register" thread!

Apr 5, 5:12pm Top

Happy new thread Foggi!

I just noticed up there your blurb about gaming. Have you ever tried Hay Day? It's a mobile game, but similar to Animal Crossing.

Edited: Apr 10, 4:41pm Top

>27 fuzzi: That’s smart!

>28 jolerie: No, I’ll have to look for that one.

Edited: Apr 9, 11:03am Top

(47 books read)

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell — A wizard boy with no magical power and a warrior princess with a forbidden magical object meet one night in a dark forest. There, they discover that an ancient, evil magic may not be as dead as both of their tribes believe.

This was a fun book. I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend. Not only is it narrated by David Tennant, but it has music and sound effects that really add to the story.

Apr 9, 11:03am Top

Hooray! LibraryThing is back!

Edited: Apr 9, 11:20am Top

(48 books read)

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis -- Aventurine is a headstrong young dragon who doesn't understand why she should have to stay in the family cave for another 30 years waiting for her scales and wings to grow strong. When she sneaks out one day in search of a little adventure, she gets more than she bargained for: a food mage gives her a cup of hot chocolate that turns her into a human girl. Being a human makes her feel both frightened and angry, but on the other hand, she has discovered her passion: chocolate! Since she feels that she can't go back to her family in her new condition, she makes her way to a human city, and seeks out a chocolate house where she can learn more about her new obsession. Of course, it's not as easy as all that -- and what will happen when her family discovers that she is missing?

Guaranteed to make you crave chocolate in all its forms, this book is much more about chocolate than about dragons, though of course they do play a key role, and I'm guessing that they will feature more prominently in the sequel. This book wraps up the story without major cliffhangers, but there's definitely more to be discovered in Aventurine's world. Recommended to readers of middle grade fantasy.

Apr 9, 12:50pm Top

>31 foggidawn: yippee!!!!

Apr 9, 6:50pm Top

>32 foggidawn: Middle grade isn't typically my thing but that is one awesome title.

Apr 9, 9:13pm Top

>33 fuzzi: I was busy and distracted (by good things) all weekend, but I kept checking LT when I had a few minutes of down time.

>34 MickyFine: Isn’t it? I really like the cover, too.

Edited: Apr 10, 8:56am Top

(49 books read)

All Summer Long by Hope Larson — When Bina’s best friend Austin goes away to soccer camp, she strikes up a friendship with his older sister Charlie, sort of. Or is Charlie just using Bina because there’s nobody else around? And why is Austin not answering her texts?

This is an awesome feel-good story, which is unusual for this sort of adolescent angst storyline. To some, it might seem that it wraps up too neatly, but I think it will be super reassuring to kids going through the sorts of issues Bina is facing. Recommended to fans of graphic novels like Awkward, Drama, and Roller Girl.

Edited: Apr 10, 8:57am Top

(50 books read)

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour — It’s winter break, and Marin is alone in her college dorm. Alone, because her only relative, Gramps, died a few weeks before the semester began. On the day he died, Marin discovered something that made her question everything about her life with Gramps. Now, her best friend Mabel is on her way to visit, and Marin will finally face the events of the past summer: what happened with Mabel, what she learned about Gramps, and why she reacted the way she did on that terrible night.

This is a spare but deeply emotional read. It circles from the present to the past and back, drawing the reader gently but inexorably into Marin’s story. Though not heavy on plot, it’s a compelling read. It deals with heavy issues in a way that is ultimately comforting. If this description appeals to you, you will probably love this book. I think it’s the sort of story that will stay with me for a long time.

Apr 10, 7:43am Top

>30 foggidawn: Woot!

>32 foggidawn: Adding to the list.

>37 foggidawn: WOOT! I LOVED this one so much.

Apr 10, 10:09am Top

>38 scaifea: Both of those were great! Thanks for recommending them.

Edited: Apr 11, 8:43am Top

(51 books read)

Emma, Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori — In Victorian England, a wealthy young man falls in love with a shy housemaid. His family, however, has other plans...

I don’t read a whole lot of manga, so I had some trouble following the plot. It felt disjointed, but that may have just been me. Also, I had trouble telling some of the characters apart. The description sounds like something I should enjoy, but I think you have to be a fan of both manga and the Victorian era in order to fully appreciate this. I won’t be picking up additional volumes, but I wouldn’t discourage manga-reading Anglophiles from giving it a try.

Edited: Apr 12, 8:53am Top

(52 books read)

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol — Nine-year-old Vera is excited about attending Russian camp. She’s always felt a little out of place among her friends, and hopes that a few weeks around other people of Russian heritage will help. Plus, she’s heard some great camp stories: bonfires and s’mores, hiking, ghost stories, swimming in the lake... Unfortunately, nobody told her about the bugs, and let’s not even talk about the latrines! Plus, she ends up in a tent with two mean older girls. One thing’s for sure: Vera’s not prepared for this experience!

Loosely based on Brosgol’s own childhood summer camping experience, this is a delightful read. Brosgol highlights both the fun parts of summer camp and the miserable ones, so whether you love camping or abhor it, you’ll be able to empathize! Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys this type of graphic novel.

Edited: Apr 13, 8:25am Top

(53 books read)

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume — Margaret has just moved to a new town and is about to start sixth grade. She’s very concerned about when she will start developing a figure, as are her new-found friends. Though her parents have raised her without religion, she has always carried on private conversations with God. She decides to make religion a project for the year, but she doesn’t feel an immediate connection with any of the experiences she tries. How will the project turn out? And will she ever start her period?

I came across a mention of this book in another book I was reading, and realized that I hadn’t read it since my own adolescence. It stands up well to the test of time, since so much of it is about Margaret’s emotional life and the big questions she has about religion and growing up. I feel that this book deserves its classic status.

Apr 13, 12:45pm Top

>42 foggidawn: I somehow have never read this book.

Apr 13, 12:46pm Top

>43 MickyFine: I haven't either, you're not alone! I've never read any Judy Blume.

Apr 13, 2:45pm Top

>43 MickyFine: You'll probably survive just fine. ;-)

>44 norabelle414: Wow, no Judy Blume at all? If you feel like you really need the experience, I think her most fun books are the Fudge series, starting with Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing.

Apr 16, 7:27am Top

Sheesh, I read very little this weekend, and have no finished books to report. I did attend a book festival, which was fun but exhausting. I only bought one book, Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. I enjoyed her last series set in the same world, so I figured this is a safe bet. Lots of books at the festival intrigued me, but I have a hard time convincing myself to buy new books at full price when I’m not sure I will like them. Much easier to get them from the library first!

Edited: Apr 20, 8:50am Top

(54 books read)

The Hotel Between by Sean Easley — reviewing elsewhere, just including it in my count here.

Edited: Apr 19, 10:23pm Top

I've never read >42 foggidawn: either. We should form a club. :-P

I love that you revisited some Cynthia Voight. A Solitary Blue was my first, and I backtracked to get more Dicey.

Apr 20, 8:52am Top

>48 kgriffith: I think Homecoming was the first Voigt I read, but A Solitary Blue will always be a favorite.

Edited: Apr 24, 8:49am Top

(55 books read)

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren — When their father’s death leaves them in financial difficulties, three sisters set out for the sugar plantation he left behind. If they can grow a successful crop, they might be able to save both the plantation and the estate back in England. Keturah, the eldest, is a young widow. Her husband was abusive, and she is determined to never let a man control her again. But her childhood friend Gray Covington is trying to make a go of his own family plantation just next to Keturah’s. Will a time come when she is willing to accept the help he so readily offers?

I have mixed feelings about this book. I try to think of this sort of historical fiction as more like fantasy, so as not to find myself stopping in the middle of the story to research, or to be too put off by characters embracing modern attitudes and opinions. So I’m not going to pick at those aspects. I’m intrigued by the author’s choice to set this book on Nevis, birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, though these characters arrive on the island at about the time Hamilton would have been leaving the Caribbean, so I doubt there will be any fun cameo appearances in future books. (To clarify, there were none in this book, either.) The author also walked a delicate line in making the main characters slave owners, albeit benevolent ones. If you’re going to set a book on a Caribbean sugar plantation in 1772, you can hardly get around that issue.

I felt that the characters made a lot of surprisingly quick decisions — which kept the plot moving, to be sure, but could be a bit disconcerting. For instance, our heroine would be swearing off men forever on one page, and admitting to herself that she was in love a couple pages later. Well, maybe that’s standard romance novel fare, but what about the sisters’ split-second decision at the beginning of the book to go to Nevis? There was hardly even any discussion: “I must go.” “We’ll go with you.” Okay, then. I could have done with a little more background information at times. However, others might appreciate the quick pacing.

The romance aspect was okay — a little overwrought at times, what with rippling muscles and flowing hair and such, but you’ve got to expect that in this genre. Since this is an inspirational, it’s all fairly chaste, though there is some mention of Keturah’s past trauma, and the dangers of being unprotected women among sailors and other rough men.

All in all, I’d recommend this if you are a fan of inspirational historical romance, and find the setting intriguing. Will I read the other books in the series when they come out? Maybe, but I won’t be specifically keeping an eye out for them.

Edited: Apr 24, 8:48am Top

(56 books read)

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright — Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver Melendy live in New York City with their father and a housekeeper. The city is full of sights to see and great experiences, especially for children who dream of becoming dancers, actors, and musicians, but it’s also a bit expensive when you only get an allowance of fifty cents a week. One rainy Saturday, Randy gets the idea of pooling their resources: each Saturday, one of the four will get all of the allowances, resulting in a sum that, in the 1940s, is enough for a ticket to the opera or ballet, and various other adventures besides. Along the way, they also discover that the most enjoyable experiences are sometimes serendipitous (and free), and they make many new friends on their adventures.

This was lovely! I don’t know how I missed these charming stories until now. I ran across a mention of them in comparison to The Penderwicks, which is certainly apt. I’d also recommend them to fans of E. Nesbit, Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family, and Noel Streatfeild. I wish I could go back and recommend them to my childhood self!

Apr 21, 10:48pm Top

>51 foggidawn: oooh, I loved All-of-a-Kind Family, but haven't read any of the others you mentioned. I'll keep my eyes out!

Apr 22, 8:32am Top

>51 foggidawn: I bought a copy of The Penderwicks based upon gushing discussions here, guess I can read The Saturdays, too. I loved the All-of-a-Kind-Family books, and recently read the entire series of Betsy-Tacy stories as well!

Apr 22, 8:48pm Top

>52 jennyifer24: Yes, definitely give them a try! I’m enjoying the Melendy books on audio right now.

>53 fuzzi: The Saturdays was written in the ‘40s, so should fit right in with the other books you mentioned.

Edited: Apr 24, 8:47am Top

(57 books read)

The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright — The Melendy family moves from the city to a rambling old house in the country, where they have many more adventures.

This series continues in the same charming vein. I may have enjoyed this book even more than the first. Recommended!

Apr 25, 10:09am Top

>55 foggidawn: argh! Stop shooting book bullets!!!!


Apr 25, 9:17pm Top

>56 fuzzi: I’m afraid I can’t do that...

Edited: Apr 26, 1:57pm Top

(58 books read)

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli — It’s spring of senior year. Everybody is talking about prom, and college, and Leah is feeling just a little out of step with her friends. Sure, she’s going to college, but she’s going to state school where she got a scholarship, rather than taking her pick of private schools up and down the east coast. As for prom, well, who knows? But the biggest issue is the secret she’s never told any of them, not even her best friend Simon...

I spent this whole book hating Leah, then loving her, then hating her, then loving her again. And laughing, because Albertalli’s writing is simply hilarious, even in the midst of the record-breaking amounts of drama Leah and her friends were generating.

Since this book is a proper sequel to Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I highly recommend reading that book first (and not just watching the movie; honestly, and you call yourself a book lover?). A few of the characters from The Upside of Unrequited get mentioned, but not so much that you will feel like you’re missing anything if you skipped that one (though I do not recommend that course of action). This is such a fun book!

Apr 26, 5:55pm Top

>58 foggidawn: I'm so excited for this one!! I loved Simon and The Upside of Unrequited was one of my favorite reads last year. Now to wait for my library hold to come in...

Apr 27, 10:17pm Top

>59 curioussquared: If you liked both of those, it’s a safe bet that you will like this one.

Edited: Apr 30, 10:32am Top

(59 books read)

My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris — You’re a penniless young woman in Regency England, companion to a dragon of an old woman, but not for long. When you accompany her to a ball, you meet a variety of people who may shape your destiny. Will you become embroiled in scandal at a house party hosted by a rich and haughty bachelor? Accompany a gruff Scotsman north to help care for orphans? Travel to Egypt with a fascinating noblewoman? Serve as governess at a remote Yorkshire manor? Or will one or more of these destinations be merely stops on the road to some other fate? In true Choose Your Own Adventure style, you decide what course you will take.

It’s hard to say for sure that one has read a book like this in its entirety, but I gave it my best shot, following several permutations of each major story line. This is pretty much what it says on the tin. The authors poke fun at the conventions of the genre as they drag you past soldiers, werewolves, vicars, prostitutes, spies, museum curators, lady pirates, and so many others, several of which you may end up having amorous liaisons with. The whole thing is intentionally over the top, and if this sounds like a hilariously fun read to you, I say go for it!

Apr 30, 10:42am Top

>61 foggidawn: That one was already on the list but I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. :)

Edited: May 3, 11:34am Top

(60 books read)

Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright — The Melendy children continue to have delightful adventures in and around their home in the country, and one of those adventures eventually results in a new addition to the family.

I’m still enjoying these books very much. I noticed in this one a few comments indicative of the period in which they were written — somewhat stereotypical remarks about Gypsies and Indians. Nothing as pejorative as what is found in, say, Little House on the Prairie, but enough that modern readers might want to be aware of it.

Edited: May 3, 11:37am Top

(61 books read)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill — I read the original version of this novelty book when it first came out, but found myself leafing through the larger, illustrated version at the library. The illustrations are splendid, worth a look even if you are already familiar with the book. There are also a few additional beasts in this volume, mostly North American ones mentioned either in additional material released by Rowling after the series was completed, or mentioned in the recent films. On the other hand, this version lacks Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s handwritten notes. I probably won’t buy this version for my personal collection, but I enjoyed browsing through it.

May 3, 12:17pm Top

>64 foggidawn: You haven't been tempted by the audio version? I feel like Eddie Redmayne would be a fantastic audiobook reader.

May 3, 12:28pm Top

>65 MickyFine: I just bet he would, but I haven't listened to the audiobook yet -- and now, since I've just reread the book, I probably won't for quite some time. This wasn't a planned reread; I just picked it up, read several entries, and decided I might as well read the whole thing.

May 3, 12:55pm Top

>66 foggidawn: Fair enough. I'm not an audiobook listener typically but the readers they've got for the HP textbooks are quite tempting.

May 3, 9:42pm Top

>67 MickyFine: I’ll keep it in mind for next time the urge to read one strikes.

Edited: May 8, 11:30am Top

(62 books read)

Sunset Lullaby by Robin Jones Gunn — Christy and Todd have two children under the age of three, and it’s exhausting. As Todd prepares to lead a short-term mission trip to Kenya, Christy contemplates the limitations, as well as the blessings, of motherhood. When her brother David asks for relationship advice, Christy is pleased to feel needed and included in the life of the family at large — even if that involves the prospect of more drama from Aunt Marti.

This book has the same weaknesses as the previous five books, mostly stemming from lack of editorial direction. However, long-time fans of the series won’t mind much, especially since this book wraps up one long-dangling plot thread. This is a quick and pleasant read for fans of the series — obviously, don’t start here.

May 6, 6:09am Top

Wishing you a lovely Sunday, Foggy. xx

May 6, 7:48pm Top

>70 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Hope your weekend was good, as well.

Edited: May 8, 11:29am Top

(63 books read)

Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright — With their older siblings away at boarding school, Randy and Oliver Melendy anticipate a dull and dreary school year. But then, a mysterious letter arrives, leading them on a quest from clue to clue. Who created this mystery hunt, and what prize awaits them at the end?

This is nearly as delightful as the other Melendy books, though I chuckled at another review that said it was like when a TV show starts a new season, but half the cast haven’t renewed their contracts! I also marveled at the freedom these kids have, though that’s been true for the entire series. And I think that this book stands pretty well on its own — for readers who enjoy old-fashioned stories, I’d say start at the beginning of the series, but young readers who love a good puzzle mystery could start here.

Edited: May 10, 4:33pm Top

(64 books read)

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson — reviewing for a friend’s blog; just adding it to my total here.

May 11, 10:42am Top

(65 books read)

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall -- A reread of a recent favorite, in preparation for the release of the final book in the series.

May 11, 1:15pm Top

>74 foggidawn: Rereads of favourites are the best.

May 11, 1:18pm Top

>75 MickyFine: Yes! I've been savoring this one for a couple weeks, but I'm going to go through the next three books a little quicker, because I know I won't have much patience once the last one arrives!

May 11, 1:34pm Top

>76 foggidawn: Understandably. Enjoy your revisit of the series. :)

May 14, 9:12am Top

>77 MickyFine: Oh, I am!

May 14, 9:14am Top

(66 books read)

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall -- continuing my series reread. Delightful.

Edited: May 15, 8:34am Top

(67 books read)

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall — third book in the series; on to book four!

Edited: May 15, 1:17pm Top

In my header post, I mentioned that I sometimes do things that cut into my reading time, like sewing and gardening. Here are a couple of recent diversions:

We're having a baby shower for my sister-in-law this weekend, so I made this little guy for my nephew-to-be. It had its challenging spots, but those are mostly not visible in the finished project, and a little wonkiness just adds to its charm . . . right?

Since last year's garden wasn't a smashing success, I opted for a container garden this year. I have basil, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and hopefully yellow squash and melons, though I'm still waiting to see if those germinate. This picture isn't actually the finished project; it's the more visually appealing version. I corralled all of these pots in a sort of cage, made of a small dog run and chicken wire. Last year, in addition to problems that I think were caused by poor soil, I had some issues with the local wildlife chomping the tender seedlings, so this year they have some extra protection.

May 15, 1:19pm Top

>81 foggidawn: you do what you have to in order to protect your plants.

I have three feral cats that I feed, so when I till and plant, I lay sections of wire fence on top of the ground to keep the cats from using the freshly dug earth as a lavatory. Once the plants get big enough to "get in the way", I remove the fence sections. It's worked pretty well for a couple years now.

May 15, 2:37pm Top

>82 fuzzi: Yes, stray cats are an issue in my neighborhood, as well.

May 15, 5:01pm Top

>81 foggidawn: Adorable stuffy!

May 15, 6:39pm Top

>84 MickyFine: Thanks! It was smaller than I expect — I bought the pattern and fabric a few years ago, and I think I mixed it up in my memory with another pattern. I have a bad habit of buying patterns when they’re on sale, figuring I’ll get around to them eventually.

May 15, 6:43pm Top

>85 foggidawn: Lol. Sounds about right. I know many crafty people with the same problem. ;)

Edited: May 15, 10:08pm Top

>86 MickyFine: Aspirational purchasing, I think I’ve heard it called. And, of course, nobody around here has a similar problem with books.

Edited: May 16, 9:14am Top


The Solo Travel Handbook by Lonely Planet — This one was quite good, but I ran out of time to finish it before returning it to the library. I may take it out again later and finish it, since I got about halfway through. If you’re interested in solo travel, this is worth a look.

May 16, 6:28am Top

>81 foggidawn: Aw, so cute! Well done, you.

May 16, 9:15am Top

>89 scaifea: Thanks!

Edited: May 29, 3:51pm Top

(68 books read)

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy — Ramona feels trapped in her small town, but during her senior year, she starts to dream of more. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed this. Recommended to readers of realistic YA.

Edited: May 29, 3:47pm Top

(69 books read)

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall — Yep, this is the best book in the series. It made me cry yet again. So good.

May 25, 1:36pm Top

>88 foggidawn: I've wondered about that book. I think it's already on my Amazon wish list. I'm glad to hear it is worthwhile. I'll see if it is available at a library before purchasing though.

May 25, 9:58pm Top

>92 foggidawn: Hmm, I thought about looking into that series, but I see that book is tagged ‘grief’ which is not something I like to read about. I don’t think I’ve heard about this series before.

May 26, 6:54pm Top

>93 thornton37814: Sounds like a solid plan.

>94 humouress: I wouldn’t say the series is about grief, though that particular book does touch on it in two ways. The Penderwick girls’ mother died long before the beginning of the first book in the series, so of course that continues to impact their lives. Also, before the beginning of this book, (very slight spoiler, since this is mentioned at the beginning of this book) a beloved dog dies of old age, and the main character has some grief to process from that. So, you can determine how you feel about that, but it’s not the main thrust of the story.

May 29, 4:11pm Top

(70 books read)

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall -- Lydia, youngest of the Penderwick siblings, is eleven years old, and terribly excited: for a special family event, the whole Penderwick family will be revisiting Arundel, a place that Lydia finds as magical and mystical as Camelot or Narnia. All her life, she's heard the family stories about the summer vacation where her four older sisters met Jeffrey and his awful mother, Mrs. Tifton. Now, she will actually see Arundel with her own eyes. What adventures await?

This is the last Penderwick book, which is bittersweet indeed -- but the story itself is as light and airy as the first, full of delightful new characters to love as well as appearances by many old favorites. It's a fitting end to the series, wrapping it all up in the same place it started. I was satisfied with the way the relationships among the older characters resolved, though I imagine that some readers will quibble. If you have read and loved the other books in this series, you will not want to miss this one.

May 29, 4:37pm Top

(71 books read)

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan -- Apollo, forced by Zeus' wrath to survive as a mortal teenager, is not having a great time. His quest to find the five missing Oracles is proving more difficult than he could have expected. Not only is he feeling the lack of his godly powers, but he's also dealing with the confusing emotional connections he's making in the mortal world. Now, he and his friends are facing down their biggest challenge yet: a sadistic emperor, an angry Titan, a reincarnated sorceress, and a portion of the Labyrinth corrupted with polluted flames that are slowly turning the western landscape into a wasteland. Some friends are on hand to help, but the costs will be high.

A friend asked me if this was just more of Riordan's usual monster-fighting shtick, but I didn't get that more-of-the-same feel from this book. He's doing some interesting stuff here with Apollo's character development. I mean, there are definitely still monsters and snark, but I'm not bored with this series yet. (Also, I was right about the identity of the third emperor.) Fans will read this, of course -- and if Riordan lost you somewhere along the way, you might pick up the first in this series and see if he can win you back.

Edited: May 30, 10:41am Top

(72 books read)

From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon -- Twinkle Mehra wants to be a filmmaker, but her ventures thus far have been limited. When Sahil Roy, aspiring film critic, suggests that she direct a film for her school's Midsummer festival, she agrees: not only will this give her a chance to develop her art, but maybe it will bring her closer to Sahil's crush-worthy twin brother Neil. As they work on the project together, Twinkle can't deny that she has feelings for Sahil -- but Neil could be her ticket into the popular clique at school, and that's a dream she's not quite ready to give up -- especially since she's been getting secret admirer emails from someone who signs his name "N." When Twinkle starts power-tripping and her world begins to fall apart as a result, will she be able to pick up the pieces and learn from her mistakes?

I enjoyed this book even more than When Dimple Met Rishi. Sahil is adorkably sweet and almost too perfect. Twinkle goes through a slightly over-the-top bout of self-centered nastiness in the middle of the book, but pulls out of it in a way that redeemed the character for me. If you like lighthearted realistic YA books, I'd recommend this one.

Edited: Jun 5, 4:18pm Top

(73 books read)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — One summer on Long Island, young Nick Carraway is caught up in the glamourous life of his rich neighbor Jay Gatsby, who is desperately in love with Nick’s married cousin Daisy.

Despite its status as an American classic, I had never read this before. The writing is compelling, the characters deplorable, the plot depressing, and the general tone of the story melancholy. I kind of like it, though I don’t know if I’ll ever read it again.

Jun 2, 8:24am Top

>99 foggidawn: good review, I concur.

Are we going to do a shared read of The Innocents Abroad this month? Or do you want to bump it down the road a bit?

Jun 2, 9:58am Top

>100 fuzzi: Yes, bring it on! I’ve been slacking just a bit on my classics project, but I’m going to get caught up over the summer.

Edited: Jun 5, 4:17pm Top

(74 books read)

Bob by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass — Livy doesn’t remember anything from the last time she visited her grandmother in Australia — especially the weird green creature (chicken? zombie?) waiting for her in the bedroom closet. His name is Bob, and they were best friends when she was five. But what kind of creature is Bob, and where does he belong?

Ahh, this was so sweet! I loved the characters, especially Bob. Readers of middle-grade fantasy will enjoy this book.

Edited: Jun 5, 4:17pm Top

(75 books read)

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey — Lady Imogene Chively is kind of dreading the upcoming house party, to be honest: her lone suitor from her recent London season is coming, and though he is a pleasant young man and a good match, her shy personality means entertaining any company can be a bit of a chore. Fortunately, her bubbly friend Emily will also be on hand. Ernest Steeple, the aforementioned suitor, does arrive, as does his brother Ben. Over the course of that house party and the ones that follow, Imogene slowly realizes that she is not in love with Ernest — but she may be falling in love with Ben! Worse, a chain of seemingly accidental misfortunes have befallen Ben. Is someone trying to get him out of the way?

I found this Regency romance thoroughly enjoyable. The pacing was a bit leisurely, but the characters were so nicely drawn and the plot so interesting that I didn’t mind taking my time with it. I listened to the audiobook, which only added to my enjoyment. Recommended to Regency fans, and I’ll be seeking out more books by this author.

Jun 2, 6:28pm Top

>101 foggidawn: I've been slack on the classics, too. I'm trying to read ROOTs, those books that have been on my shelves for over a year (or downloaded to my iPad). The Innocents Abroad is both!

Jun 2, 8:14pm Top

>104 fuzzi: Same here! I’ve read a few chapters and posted my thoughts over on your Classics thread.

Jun 2, 9:04pm Top

>103 foggidawn: Oooh, always on the lookout for a good Regency. Unfortunately, the library doesn't have any of her books and $9.99 for a Kindle version is too much. It's brand new so maybe it will become available later.

And CONGRATULATIONS on hitting the 75 book mark, foggi!!!!

Jun 3, 12:59am Top

IS THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST PUBLISHED??? OMG - I don't even know what to do with myself. Need to order ASAP, though I don't know if I'll be able to read it aloud this time:( . Love your re-reads of the Penderwicks books - all time favorites in our house, and The Saturdays et al. I don't know that we ever went past book 2.

Jun 3, 6:01am Top

>97 foggidawn: My son is reading the Trials of Apollo at the moment - so maybe I’ll borrow it from him when he’s not looking. :0)

>99 foggidawn: Was that a vote against or for? I may try it one day.

>100 fuzzi: I have to confess I get ‘foggi’ and ‘fuzzi’ a bit confused in my mind. Good to see you’re two different people.

>103 foggidawn: Oh, congratulations on your 75!

Jun 3, 5:23pm Top

>103 foggidawn: Congratulations on reaching 75, Foggi!

Jun 3, 6:06pm Top

>108 humouress: the difference between fuzzi and foggi isn't always clear... ;)

>106 ronincats: have you tried ILL (IntraLibraryLoan)? I've borrowed a number of hard-to-find titles that way.

Jun 3, 9:13pm Top

>106 ronincats: Thanks! I thought you might be intrigued about the Regency book — maybe your library will get it eventually.

>107 AMQS: Yes, and of course it is excellent.

>108 humouress: I think it’s a vote in favor. I’m glad I finally read it.

>109 FAMeulstee: Thanks!

>110 fuzzi: Maybe we’re both a bit blurry around the edges!

Jun 4, 3:05am Top

Congratulations for moving suavely beyond 75 already, Foggy!

Jun 4, 10:13am Top


Jun 4, 12:34pm Top

Congrats on hitting 75!!

Jun 4, 4:13pm Top

>99 foggidawn: I've loved Gatsby since I read it in high school. The writing itself is so beautiful and evocative.

>103 foggidawn: BB. Again.

Felicitations on reaching the magic number!

Jun 5, 11:10pm Top

Right now, I’m working on a long audiobook and the aforementioned chunkster The Innocents Abroad. Though I may slip in a few shorter works to change things up, I’m afraid it’s going to be slow going for a bit. So, to stimulate conversation, I thought I’d ask:

What’s your quintessential summer read?

Could be a genre, an author, or a specific book that you read every summer. Does the season put you in the mood for steamy romances, or do you revisit childhood by tearing through comic books? Do you relish a good, hefty classic, or is it all about magazines by the pool with a glass of lemonade?

I never thought of myself as having specific preferences for what to read in the summer, but yesterday as I was mowing my yard, I found myself wishing I had some P.G. Wodehouse cued up on my player. His characters seem to dwell in a neverending summer afternoon. So, my answer to the question is Wodehouse. What about you?

Jun 6, 9:11am Top

>119 foggidawn: I read more in the summer than any other time of year, (probably because there's less TV on, and I like to read outside) so it's hard for me to tell what kinds of books I tend to read. Last summer I read a lot of graphic novels (the whole Lumberjanes series), the summer before that I read a lot of YA and romance, and the summer before that I read several mysteries in a row (but I also read a huge chunkster of a fantasy novel)

Jun 6, 3:41pm Top

I tend to go for lighter fare during the summer. Lots of romance, fluffy YA, and cozy mysteries tend to hit the spot best.

Jun 7, 2:21pm Top

>119 foggidawn: recently I was thinking about reading (re-reading) some CJ Cherryh or Laurie R. King books. I guess if I were going to guess what I read more of in the summer it would be comfortable friends.

Jun 12, 1:31pm Top

>120 norabelle414: This made me wonder if I read more during the summer, but I averaged my reading totals from several different months over the years, and discovered that I'm pretty consistent, reading between 15-19 books per month. July was a month with a high average, but so was October (both were 18.9), whereas June was a bit lower (16.9), but not as low as December (16.2) or April (15.2). Phew! Stats! Enough of that!

>121 MickyFine: That makes sense.

>122 fuzzi: That also makes sense. I tend to go for comfort reads during the winter, I think, but certain books call to me at particular seasons. For instance, The Secret Garden is almost always a springtime read, whereas I'm more likely to pick up the Anne of Green Gables series in the summer.

Jun 12, 1:37pm Top

I'm reading some L.M. Montgomery right now and I always forget just how soothing her writing is. So delightful to sink into.

Jun 14, 10:25pm Top

>124 MickyFine: Well put.

Edited: Jun 17, 7:43am Top

(76 books read)

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain — In the days when such a proceeding was a novelty, a ship full of tourists set out from New York. Their aim: to travel through Europe and the Middle East and see all the sights of cultural and historical interest. Young journalist Twain joins the party and proceeds to poke fun at the historic sites, the inhabitants of each locale visited, his fellow travelers, and, occasionally, himself. He is by turns acerbic and sentimental, broad-minded and parochial. There’s plenty in the book to offend modern sensibilities, but I’m sure that was also true on the date of its publication. Apart from our narrator — Twain, or the persona he created for the purpose? I was never quite sure — there wasn’t much in the way of characters; apart from the ship’s itinerary, not much in the way of plot. I’m glad to have read this, but I’m quite sure I won’t read it again. I’d recommend this to Twain’s fans, and to those who enjoy reading travel books from days past.

Jun 15, 2:54am Top

Hi foggi! I read all kinds of books in summer - a lot of children's books, particularly and Colorado Children's Book Award nominees. I've noticed that I've read a lot of big books in recent summers - The Once and Future King, Lonesome Dove, Independent People.

Jun 17, 3:12pm Top

>127 AMQS: I imagine that, for teachers and school librarians, summer is a chance to catch up on things you've been meaning to read.

Jun 18, 11:43am Top

(77 books read)

Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty -- It's 1923, and nine-year-old Laura McRaven is taking the train down to visit her mother's family in the Delta for the wedding of one of her cousins. As preparations for the big day ramp up, family secrets circulate and emotions run high.

Does anyone ever read Eudora Welty and immediately comprehend exactly what she's getting at? Because I find her immensely challenging. The writing is beautiful, but sometimes I have to read a sentence multiple times to untangle the syntax -- and there were a few times when I basically shrugged and moved on! Add to that the particularly Southern vocabulary (for instance, I had to look up "joggling boards"), and characters with names like Battle, Dabney, and Lady Clare (many of which repeat over generations, so they may be talking about an existing character or her deceased great-great-aunt), and the result is a slow-reading text, languid as a Mississippi summer.

Personally, I would have liked this book better if it had remained in Laura's perspective the whole way through. Instead, the point of view shifted frequently, sometimes disconcertingly, from one character to another, and that character might get lost in reminiscences for several pages before picking back up in the middle of a scene. There's not a great deal of plot here ("a southern family prepares for a big wedding" about sums it up), so there's nothing to pull the story along.

I did enjoy parts of this book -- the characterization was strong, and of course the setting shines. I probably won't keep or reread it, but I'm glad I made the effort.

Jun 18, 11:46am Top

That was another of my unread classics -- not sure what compelled me to tackle two in a row, but I think I've earned a break from them now!

Jun 18, 8:46pm Top

>129 foggidawn: I have read books that switch pov so frequently that it's annoying.

One or two narrators, or maybe three...I can recall one book I loved that had three pov, but they were in separate and clearly marked sections.

Jun 19, 1:39pm Top

>130 foggidawn: You have indeed. Time for something fluffy!

Jun 20, 8:53am Top

>131 fuzzi: Yeah, I'm okay with multiple points of view if it's clear when they switch, but in this case, it was not.

>132 MickyFine: Well, it's not exactly fluffy, but...

Edited: Jun 20, 2:04pm Top

(78 books read)

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn -- When Lady Julia Grey's husband collapses in front of her and dies a few hours later, it's not exactly unexpected: Sir Edward had a congenital heart condition, and his father and grandfather both died before the age of 35. So why does the enigmatic Nicholas Brisbane think Edward was murdered? Julia isn't willing to even consider such a thing . . . until, while cleaning out Edward's desk, she discovers a threatening letter he received just before his death. Who would want to kill her charming, urbane husband -- and why?

Oh, I so enjoyed this book! Much more for the characters and setting than the actual mystery -- though I am pleased to note that I was correct about who did it, though I had the motive wrong. Recommended to readers who enjoy historical fiction with unconventional characters. Also, the first two lines are just hilarious.

Jun 20, 11:29am Top

>134 foggidawn: Oh I loved that series! Glad it found another fan.

Jun 20, 1:01pm Top

>135 MickyFine: I think you're the one who fired that particular book bullet, so thanks!

Jun 20, 1:56pm Top

>136 foggidawn: I will happily take the credit. :)

Edited: Jun 20, 5:26pm Top

>134 foggidawn: Drat, another BB! Onto the wishlist it goes.

ETA looks like the library has all the novels of the Lady Julia Grey series, plus another mystery series by her featuring a Veronica Speedwell.

Jun 21, 11:00am Top

>134 foggidawn: argh. Bookbullet...

Jun 21, 3:22pm Top

>138 ronincats: Both series are highly enjoyable. :)

Jun 21, 4:38pm Top

>134 foggidawn: I'm tempted... I will resist putting it on the list for now, but it might come back to get me later.

Jun 22, 10:09am Top

>137 MickyFine: :-)

>138 ronincats: It's always good news when book bullets are readily available. My library has both series as well, so I may try the other one at some point.

>139 fuzzi: You're welcome! ;-)

>140 MickyFine: Good to know.

>141 curioussquared: Sometimes I have to get hit multiple times before a book bullet really "takes."

Jun 22, 1:08pm Top

Sometimes I have to get hit multiple times before a book bullet really "takes."

I'm the same way, Foggi. It's taken probably over a year for all the various people who adore the Penderwicks to finally wear me down and put the first book on The List. :)

Jun 22, 6:31pm Top

>143 MickyFine: Glad you finally gave in! The opposite danger, of course, is that things can be over-hyped — but I don’t think that’s possible with The Penderwicks.

Jun 23, 8:03am Top

>143 MickyFine: I'm still wavering on the Penderwicks, to be honest. I'll probably get there eventually...

Hi, foggi!

Jun 23, 11:34am Top

>144 foggidawn: I typically find that the LT friends who share my tastes in certain genres are highly reliable.

>145 scaifea: Well if I like it, I guess you'll have to try them. ;)

Jun 24, 8:37am Top

>145 scaifea: Ha! Truth.

Jun 24, 2:24pm Top

Jun 25, 9:38am Top

(79 books read)

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi -- At the beginning of her freshman year of college, Penny meets Sam through a mutual acquaintance. Perhaps things would have ended there, except that a few days later she helps Sam through a severe panic attack -- something that she, herself, has experienced. They exchange phone numbers and jokingly agree to be each other's "emergency contact." Their relationship develops entirely through text messages for several weeks -- but can it survive the various circumstances each faces in real life?

These characters are really endearing. I think Rainbow Rowell said it best when she blurbed it -- you just want to send them a care package! The plot meanders a little, and I got a little irritated with Penny's treatment of her mother. I also found the ending a little abrupt, albeit satisfying, though one plot point (Sam's documentary) never got wrapped up in a satisfying way. If you're into realistic YA books, this one is worth checking out.

Jun 27, 8:43am Top

Hello! Just playing catch up and wanted to say hello.

>149 foggidawn: I have cover love for this one. I think it's the pink they used for the background and their skin tones, and the gold lettering. I just love it. Good to hear it's a good book too. I do like Rainbow Rowell, so this seems to be in my wheelhouse.

Jun 27, 8:56am Top

>150 rosylibrarian: One of my friends said, "That's the most hipster Millennial cover ever," when she saw it. It definitely jumps on the rose gold trend.

Edited: Jun 27, 8:59am Top

>151 foggidawn: Well, I have to admit that I am somewhat of a hipster Millennial at heart so their comment is not without merit. :)

Jun 27, 9:36am Top

>152 rosylibrarian: Hey, I'm not saying it like it's a bad thing! ;-)

Jun 27, 11:49am Top

I'm a little late to The Penderwicks conversation, but after seeing the books on your thread I picked up the first one. I'm just a little bit into it, but it's been a great summer read so far!

Jun 28, 5:55pm Top

>74 foggidawn: I am reading this for the first time! I picked it up thinking of my niece and just ended up read it. We may discuss it at our next book club meeting - we just started a bookclub together, me and my 10 year old niece! I love it :)

Jun 28, 8:14pm Top

>155 LovingLit: That's so cute! My 8 year old niece wants me to start a reading club at her school. It was inspired by the fact that every adult in our family thought her dad had signed her up for "reading club" but it turned out to be "running club" which she hated. 😂

Edited: Jun 29, 5:17pm Top

>154 jennyifer24: So glad you’re enjoying it!

>155 LovingLit: I love that you and your niece are doing a book club!

>156 leahbird: Aww, I would also hate running club.

Edited: Jul 2, 9:39am Top

(80 books read)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi — When Zelie was a child, magic went away. Then came the Raid, when the soldiers killed all of the adult magic users, including Zelie’s mother. Children like Zelie, who had not yet come into their powers, were allowed to live, albeit as second-class citizens, since they would now never develop magic powers. But what if there was a way to bring magic back?

There’s so much good stuff going on in this book. The world building is terrific, unlike anything you’ve read. The magic system is strong, though less unique (elemental magic), and the characters are well-written and distinctive. I felt like the quest dragged on in a few places, and at one point I thought the characters made a poor decision that was out of the normal for them. There’s also one character, Inan, who does a lot of flip-flopping even though he isn’t written as weak or indecisive. However, on the whole, I enjoyed this very much. Recommended to readers of fantasy.

I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Bahni Turpin. She did a great job, especially with differentiating the characters through subtle changes in tone and accent.

Edited: Jul 2, 9:39am Top

(81 books read)

Save the Date by Morgan Matson — Charlie is determined that the weekend of her older sister’s wedding is going to be perfect — but it seems that everything that can possibly go wrong, is going wrong.

This was a fun read, though I would not recommend it to anyone who might be involved in planning or participating in a wedding in the near future! I never completely connected with the characters, but that might just be me. (I also found the string of disasters more anxiety-inducing than entertaining, but I’m pretty sure that’s just me.) If you like light, realistic YA (and aren’t planning a wedding any time soon!), you might want to take a look at this one.

Jun 29, 6:26pm Top

>159 foggidawn: Ok, so that's a big no to Save the Date for me. (79 days until the big day for me). :)

Jun 30, 12:26am Top

>160 MickyFine: Yeah, best wait until later if you’re interested in reading that one at all! :-D

Edited: Jul 2, 9:40am Top

(82 books read)

Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea by Lynne Rae Perkins — Jooles, Alix, and their parents go on vacation at the beach.

Did this book even have a plot? Not really. An average family goes on a beach vacation, they do inexpensive touristy things, they go home. I can see child readers who don’t mind a simple plot but want characters they can empathize with enjoying this book, especially if those readers are dreaming of a beach vacation. But I kept waiting for some sort of driving plot line, and there just isn’t one here. Pleasant enough, but meandering.

Jul 2, 4:14am Top

>158 foggidawn: I had cover love for that book, but never got around to reading a synopsis. I think I'll give it a whirl the next time I'm in a fantasy mood.

Jul 2, 5:40am Top

Trying to catch up Foggy after a few weeks when things have not been great for me, especially with my FB account being hacked.

Jul 2, 9:41am Top

>163 rosylibrarian: It's a great cover, and it's getting a lot of love from various sources.

>164 PaulCranswick: Good to see you around the threads again, Paul!

Edited: Jul 3, 1:36pm Top

(83 books read)

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus -- A nerd, a jock, a homecoming princess, and a juvenile delinquent walk into detention. Their fifth companion is Simon, sole proprietor of the school's notorious gossip app. Fifteen minutes later, Simon is dead. The circumstances are suspicious: all of the students were busted by a strict teacher for having phones in their bag -- but the phones he confiscated weren't theirs. Simon died of anaphylactic shock due to his peanut allergy, and the emergency EpiPens were missing from the nurse's office. And a post is queued up on Simon's app that reveals the darkest secrets of the other four students in the room. Was one of them willing to kill to keep that information from being revealed?

I found this mystery tightly plotted, with great characters and a compelling mystery. I felt like the bit after the climax dragged ever so slightly, but up until then the pacing was great. The four different audiobook narrators did a great job, and the shift from one voice to another may have helped keep my attention strong. Four is a good number of different perspectives for this sort of book, especially since the author did a good job of sharing out information between the four. If you like YA mysteries, this is a strong one.

Edited: Jul 2, 2:17pm Top

That sounds interesting but using a life threatening food allergy as a murder weapon is a no go plot device for me. My friend's kids all have severe food allergies and have actually already dealt with kids using that to bully them. Her oldesy son, 8, saw a classmate actually attacked with her allergen in the cafeteria (anaphylactic reaction to pineapple). The 8 year old attacker soaked her hands in pineapple juice and rubbed it in the other girl's face. Her son was scared of school for weeks after. 😢

Jul 2, 2:45pm Top

>167 leahbird: That's terrible! I would have been frightened, too.

Jul 3, 3:13am Top

>167 leahbird: Goodness! Kids do that?! That's so sad. Was she okay?

Jul 3, 6:32am Top

>167 leahbird: Oh my goodness! That's terrible.

My nieces both have severe peanut allergies. They both have to be so careful.

Jul 3, 1:12pm Top

>169 humouress: >170 rosylibrarian: She was fine after a trip to the ER. Their class is 100% peanut free as there are several kids with food allergies in the class. Apparently there had been quite a bit of complaining from parents that it wasn't fair they couldn't send PB&J for their kids. Kids internalize things they hear at home. The girl that attacked the other girl told the teachers that she thought she was just making up allergies for attention. 😢

There was a very heated PTA meeting the next week.

Jul 3, 1:36pm Top

>171 leahbird: I'll bet there was!

Jul 5, 10:22am Top

(84 books read)

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate -- Despite her full-ride scholarship to a prestigious fine-arts high school, Jordan is not getting cast in any productions. Between her height, her Chinese-American features, and her Alto 2 vocal range, there just aren't parts suitable for her. Maybe her parents are right, and she should move back home. Then, she sees the audition notice: the school's most prestigious a cappella group, the Sharpshooters, has one open slot. Jordan decides to take her shot, but there's just one problem: the Sharpshooters is an all-male ensemble. Can Jordan pass as a guy and make it into the group? What will happen when she's found out?

I enjoyed this book tremendously. Great character development, great details about music and singing, great discussion of masculinity and femininity. I would have liked to see a little more of Jordan when she wasn't in disguise; I felt like that had to be a larger portion of her life than the book showed -- but all in all, really fun. If you like realistic YA, and especially if you have an interest in a cappella, give this one a try!

Jul 5, 3:40pm Top

*waves* It appears good reading has been happening here.

Jul 5, 7:00pm Top

*waves back* Yup!

Edited: Jul 6, 8:27am Top

(85 books read)

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata — Keiko has been working in a convenience store since she was 18, and she loves it. It’s her tiny, orderly world, where all of the rules are laid out in the employee manual and all of her interactions are driven by what’s best for the store. Her family and friends are perplexed, though: doesn’t she want to get married? Shouldn’t she get a real job? Societal norms have always confused Keiko. As she absorbs their criticism, she starts to wonder if maybe she should make more of an attempt to conform.

I found myself entirely absorbed in Keiko’s world, empathizing with her quandary in many ways. This is a quick, fascinating read. Recommended.

Jul 6, 1:09pm Top

>176 foggidawn: This one is on its way to me from Book Depository. Glad to see you enjoyed it. Now I'm looking forward to it even more!

Jul 6, 1:55pm Top

>177 lycomayflower: Hope you like it as much as I did!

Jul 7, 2:13am Top

Hi foggi! You got me with >134 foggidawn: Silent in the Grave - sounds like fun!

>167 leahbird:, >171 leahbird: how awful! I can't even imagine. Kids (and their parents) can be so awful.

Jul 8, 4:43pm Top

>179 AMQS: It is fun. I’m reading the sequel now.

Jul 9, 2:18pm Top

>173 foggidawn: I really enjoyed Noteworthy when I read it last year. Super fun! Reminded me of She's the Man, which is one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies.

>176 foggidawn: I've heard a lot of buzz about this one -- glad to see you enjoyed it! I might try to get my hands on a copy soon.

Jul 9, 3:06pm Top

>181 curioussquared: Agreed on all counts. :-)

Jul 9, 3:25pm Top

(86 books read)

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn -- Returning home for Christmas after an extended Italian vacation, Lady Julia Grey expects the usual family ructions that naturally occur when her many siblings are together. What she does not expect is that Nicholas Brisbane, who kissed her and then cut off all communication for months, is already an established house guest -- along with his new fiancee. She also does not expect to find a dead body in the chapel of her family home. With the house party snowed in, can Julia and Brisbane put their differences aside in time to locate the killer before scandal besets them all?

As with the first book in the series, I enjoyed this very much. If you're a fan of light historical mystery with a touch of romance, this series might be a good fit for you.

Jul 10, 11:27am Top

>183 foggidawn: Glad to hear you found the second book just as satisfying. :)

Jul 10, 11:34am Top

>184 MickyFine: Yep! I've already started the third one, though I make no promises about finishing it before I get distracted by something else...

Jul 10, 3:15pm Top

>185 foggidawn: Fair enough. There's always something shiny around to read. :)

Jul 10, 3:50pm Top

>183 foggidawn: Well, you already put the first of this series on my wishlist (and the For Later list at the library). I'll definitely give these a try.

Jul 10, 9:45pm Top

>186 MickyFine: Aaaand two library holds just came in, so...

>187 ronincats: Hope you like them! They’re not what one might call rigorously accurate in their historical authenticity, but they are a lot of fun.

Jul 11, 9:10am Top

(87 books read)

Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major -- Steve's single, working in a job he doesn't like and living in a messy apartment with only Manfried, his tiny pet man, for company. All of the other cats Steve's age are getting married and having kittens, or at least advancing in their careers, but Steve seems to be stuck where he is. Then, when Manfried escapes, both Steve and Manfried must learn to deal with new circumstances. Can Steve rise above his apathy to save his pet? Can Manfried survive without his cat looking after him?

This was cute and quirky, and I love the concept. (I do wonder, though, why all the pets are male. Where are the pet women?) I think that the story itself could have been stronger -- it feels like a single joke that has been stretched into a full-length story -- but it's still a fun read. Recommended if you like your graphic novels a little bit on the strange side.

Edited: Jul 23, 10:08am Top

(88 books read)

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn — Lady Julia follows Brisbane to his new home in Yorkshire, where things get very gothic for a while.

This series continues to be enjoyable, though the focus in this book is less on the mystery investigation and more on character development. Not that that’s a bad thing! The whole series has had touches of the gothic, but this book embraces it full-on. Ah, Yorkshire.

Jul 12, 12:38pm Top

>190 foggidawn: While there is a novella that technically falls between books 3 and 4, unless you're really desperate for tons of Lady Julia and Brisbane you can skip it (and all the other novellas).

Jul 12, 6:45pm Top

>191 MickyFine: That’s good to know, thanks!

Jul 12, 6:52pm Top

Real Life Update: last night, just before midnight, I became an aunt! My sister-in-law was due the first of August, but she developed mild pre-eclampsia and the doctor determined that she was far enough along in her pregnancy that the best course was to induce labor. Baby J was born at 11:56 last night, weighing 7lbs 2oz, and measuring 19.5 inches. Both he and his mother are doing well, and it looks like they’ll get to come home from the hospital tomorrow.

I’m hoping to get a chance to go visit soon, but they live about a 6 hour drive away, so I have to work out when I can take a few days’ vacation.

Jul 12, 7:27pm Top

Very exciting Foggi! Congratulations to you and your entire family! I guess it is a good thing that Espy already reached level 40 on PG. He is going to be a bit busy!

Jul 12, 11:20pm Top

Congratulations on your aunt-hood! Very exciting!

Jul 13, 4:43am Top


Jul 13, 7:10am Top

>194 compskibook: Yes, it will be interesting to see how life changes for them now!

>195 MickyFine: and >196 humouress: Thanks!

Jul 13, 2:20pm Top

Oh, congratulations! Glad to hear that everyone is doing well.

Jul 13, 5:40pm Top


Jul 13, 6:14pm Top

New here

Thought I'd recommend a book that I should be getting paid to promote! It's author died in the 80s, I think, quite young

The Stone Cage by Nicholas Stuart Gray

It's a retelling of Repunzel, for older kids, told by the cat and raven of the witch involved. I have only seen it in a hardback format like the old hardback Famous Fives.

It's wonderful.

The cat is cynical and vain, the raven, wordy and pedantic and the conscience of the action. The witch is incompetent, there is a Scottish wizard and the story begins when the witch first decides she needs a baby to train up as a witch.

The ending often makes me shed a tear. It's not sad but about loyalty and kindness and family.

Sheer magic

His retelling of The Seventh Swan I think is AWFUL!

But I did like his version of an Edith Nesbitt psammead type tale, I THINK called The Apple Stone ?

I don't recall the numbers to quote in your conversations, but I saw mention of feral cats and wondered if you have looked for a local group of 'catch neuter and return', who help people who are feeding homeless cats to at least get everything desexed.

I have rescues and have some feral cats that are now house cats and am constantly catching and desexing. I am working on taming another feral now. Small black and fluffy and about 8? months old. I can now firmly massage his back at food time and he will sometimes prefer a back rub to food. My BIG problem is finding them good homes!

Jul 13, 7:04pm Top

>1 foggidawn: Also have to say, love your dog

I am a total sucker for a scruffy dog

Also, have you read The Ghosts by Antonia Barber?

Loved this one.

Have seen later paperbacks renamed The Amazing Mr Blunden which may be due to the film made of the book, with that name. I did accidentally find it on tv, ages ago and I think the elder ghost was played by the later wife of some older famous actor

Not sure, perhaps Peter Sellars or Richard Burton?

Jul 13, 9:50pm Top

>198 AMQS: and >199 curioussquared: Thanks!

>200 roomsofbooks: I’ll have to keep an eye out, as I do enjoy fairy tale retellings. As for the cats, I think one of my neighbors puts food out for them. Sometime when I see him outside, I might ask if anything is being done about getting them neutered.

>201 roomsofbooks: Thanks! She is increasingly scruffy, as she doesn’t like to be groomed, so for the most part I’m leaving her coat au naturel these days. And no, I don’t think I have read that book, by either title.

Edited: Jul 18, 9:07am Top

(89 books read)

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik — Miryem’s father is a moneylender, and he’s hopeless at it. When Miryem’s mother falls ill and it looks like the family won’t survive the winter, Miryem examines her father’s account books and marches to the homes of the neighbors who have borrowed money with no intention of returning it. On that day, she becomes the moneylender in her village. She finds she’s very good at it, too, and at trading the goods that she sometimes gets as payment. In fact, after a particularly successful transaction, she jokes about turning silver into gold... and something hears her. When a purse of elvish silver appears, Miryem must find a way to change it to gold — but if she does, what will happen then?

Oh, so good. This book hit all the right notes with me. Intricate plot, great characters, delicious writing, with fairy-tale connections and an Eastern European flavor. Probably my favorite book so far this year. If you like fantasy, get this book and read it!

Also, that last line? Perfection.

Jul 13, 11:30pm Top

>203 foggidawn: Did you read Uprooted? If so, would you say this is on par? I've got this coming and have been worried. Your praise makes me less so.

Jul 14, 8:26am Top

>203 foggidawn: Oh, yay! I LOVED Uprooted and I've been wanting to try this one, too, but haven't gotten round to it yet.

Jul 14, 9:56am Top

>204 leahbird: I think I actually liked it just a tiny bit better, and I really liked Uprooted. Your mileage may vary. The main criticism I’ve read (I was perusing other reviews after I posted mine) is that it’s written from multiple perspectives — mostly Miryem and two other women, but occasionally a few other minor characters. I didn’t have any trouble figuring out who was speaking, but I guess some people did.

Jul 14, 9:57am Top

>205 scaifea: I think you will like it when you do!

Jul 14, 10:16pm Top

>203 foggidawn: oh no, a double BB, with Spinning Silver AND Uprooted. How had I never heard of this author?

Jul 15, 11:45pm Top

>208 AMQS: Oh, you are in for a treat! Her Temeraire series is also fantastic.

Jul 16, 11:06am Top

Well, apart from the aforementioned Spinning Silver, I didn't get a lot of reading done this weekend, but I did have a very satisfactory sewing weekend. Here's what I accomplished:

-Hemmed two pair of pants
-Hemmed a skirt
-Mended three items with minor torn seams, etc.
-Made two pillowcases out of an old sheet
-Made a new shirt from pieces that I cut out about two years ago

None of it is particularly photo-worthy, but I'm pleased to have achieved such a high level of productivity!

Jul 16, 8:20pm Top

>92 foggidawn: I've been reading through the Penderwicks and just finished The Penderwicks in Spring. I'm loving this series, but I cried and cried my way through the second half of this book! I don't know the last time I've cried this much over a book. Whew! Thanks for posting about them!

Edited: Jul 16, 10:20pm Top

>211 jennyifer24: Oh, me too! Actually, I started crying at the beginning, when Batty is missing Hound so much. The next book is nowhere near as much of a tear-jerker!

Edited: Jul 18, 9:06am Top

(90 books read)

Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery — I felt like rereading this childhood favorite, so I did.

Jul 17, 11:43pm Top

>213 foggidawn: Good for you :0)

Jul 18, 2:10am Top

OK well I have Spinning Silver on hold in digital audiobook format. Estimating it will be my turn in 7 weeks. Looking forward to it!

Jul 18, 9:13am Top

>214 humouress: ;-)

>215 AMQS: Hope you enjoy it!

Jul 18, 6:53pm Top

>213 foggidawn: I bought the pretty Tundra books edition of that one recently. I really should read it sooner rather than later.

Jul 19, 8:42am Top

>217 MickyFine: The Tundra editions of all of Montgomery's stuff are so pretty!

Jul 19, 2:29pm Top

>218 foggidawn: I know. I'm happy that I don't own any other editions of Montgomery so I can feel entirely guilt free when I buy the gorgeous Tundra editions for my shelves.

Jul 19, 2:34pm Top

>219 MickyFine: I own some very shabby Bantam paperbacks, and I keep thinking about replacing them, but doing so all at once is a bit pricey. And I'd do them a few at a time, but I want them all to match, as they do now.

Edited: Jul 19, 3:13pm Top

Oh dear, now you're tempting me. I've got half the Anne series in one edition (just this minute finished moving my books into the guest room because my bookshelves need mending, so I can't look them up straight away) but then the bookshop seems to have run out of this one - though of course it has a couple of others. But I like my series to match, too. I like the way the artist has caught her daydreaming; that's one of the things that first and still does thrill my heart about Anne.


I can't find it now, but according to LT (one of) my books are abridged. I wonder if there are any unabridged series? With nice covers.

ETA: Puffin Classics. I found out.

Edited: Jul 19, 5:29pm Top

>220 foggidawn: Plight of the book owner. ;)

>221 humouress: These are the Tundra versions that Foggi and I have been discussing. And they're unabridged.

Jul 20, 2:37pm Top

>222 MickyFine: Well we went to the bookshop tonight (and it’s rapidly becoming ‘the’ in this country instead of ‘a’) where they have about 5 different editions of Anne, none of them complete sets. And none of them Tundra.

Probably a good thing because I thought that there was a sale on this weekend. There was, but at all branches except the main one. Guess which one we went to? But my son did acquire the Mr. Men Dr. Whos. For me, he claimed. :0)

Jul 20, 5:18pm Top

>223 humouress: Awww. Even if they're shared between you and your son, that's still adorable.

Edited: Jul 23, 9:57am Top

>221 humouress: Most of those are nice, but I'm not sure about the face she's making on the cover of Anne of Ingleside!

>222 MickyFine: So pretty...

>223 humouress: I've seen those, but I suspect I don't have enough familiarity with Classic Who to really "get" them.

>224 MickyFine: I concur. :-)

Edited: Jul 23, 10:08am Top

(91 books read)

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton -- A madcap riff on Jane Eyre, involving a ghost hunting society and the Brontë siblings as characters in the story. If you're a Jane Eyre purist, you won't enjoy this, but if you approach it as a completely different story that borrows some character and place names, it's a fun romp. I listened to the audiobook, and it was mostly good, but there were a couple of places where I felt the narrator emphasized the wrong word in the sentence, which hindered comprehension. Still, overall, enjoyable.

Jul 23, 10:23am Top

>226 foggidawn: The hardcover was on sale (40% off!) at Target the other day and whoops it fell into my basket

Edited: Jul 23, 10:53am Top

>224 MickyFine: >225 foggidawn: Thank you! I’m not a die-hard Whovian, but they kind of tickled me. I’ve been reading them at bedtime and we’re up to Dr. Third. The 4th Doctor was my first, as it were, so I should be on more familiar territory from then.

>221 humouress: Not the most enticing expression, is it? I have a vague memory that it’s a girl Anne (as the teacher) put in a corner or something similar.

Jul 23, 10:58am Top

>227 norabelle414: Whoops!

>228 humouress: I thought maybe it was one of the daughters in some predicament or other, but still!

Jul 24, 12:58pm Top

>226 foggidawn: Is it at the level of The Eyre Affair as a romp?

Jul 24, 1:36pm Top

>230 MickyFine: Not quite that level -- or at least, I didn't enjoy it as much, and I don't think that the writing is comparable. Which sounds like I am really putting down My Plain Jane, but I just have a really high opinion of The Eyre Affair.

Jul 27, 9:42am Top

(92 books read)

Puddin' by Julie Murphy -- Millie and Callie don't have much in common: Millie's an optimistic fat girl with dreams of a career in broadcast journalism, Callie is co-assistant captain of the school dance team, and kind of a mean girl. When a prank that Callie is participating in goes too far, the two are thrown together in ways that neither could ever expect.

I enjoyed this, maybe a little less than I enjoyed Dumplin', but it's a feel-good story about friendship and becoming who you're meant to be. I thought Millie was a bit of a Mary Sue, way too emotionally mature and self-aware to be entirely believable, but she did make a few mistakes and seem a little more human in the later parts of the book. Callie's personal transformation was dramatic, but felt earned. I listened to the audiobook, which was adequate but not fantastic. The narrator voicing Callie didn't do a good job of differentiating between Millie and Callie's voices, so in places lacking dialogue tags, it could be tricky understanding who was speaking. The narrator voicing Millie often pronounced Callie as Kelly ("Who's Kelly?" I kept thinking), and I thought her voice sounded too mature for a teenager most of the time. But those are minor nitpicks; if you prefer reading via audio, don't let my opinions discourage you from doing so with this book.

Edited: Aug 2, 9:16am Top

(93 books read)

The Ruined City by John Wilson -- reviewing elsewhere, just including it in my count here.

Jul 30, 9:42am Top

(94 books read)

The Rose Legacy by Jessica Day George -- Orphaned Anthea has been shuffled from one relative to another ever since her parents' death, but now she is being sent to an uncle who lives in the wild lands beyond the Wall. At his farm, she will discover that many of the things she's been taught all her life are untrue -- particularly regarding horses, which she had heard were disease-carriers and extinct. Neither of these things are true -- so why is that what children south of the Wall are taught?

This is an enjoyable book, with plenty of horse-related adventure for those who can't get enough of that sort of thing. The pace is quick -- almost too quick, I thought, because sometimes events are just mentioned, rather than being fully described. This is one rare occasion where I feel that a book would have benefited from being just a tad bit longer. On the other hand, its brevity will probably work well of child readers who are anxious to get on with the story. The ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel, so I expect there will be more books set in this world -- though I'm not sure I will seek them out. On the other hand, readers who love horses and fantasy should certainly take a look at this book.

Jul 30, 1:53pm Top

Childhood me would have adored this. Adult me (who has poor experiences riding horses) is definitely giving that a pass. :)

Aug 2, 9:18am Top

>235 MickyFine: Fair enough. I never went through that horse-crazy phase as a child, though my best friend did (her family actually owned a horse).

Edited: Aug 14, 2:48pm Top

(95 books read)

Bellfield Hall, or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean -- When her niece Catherine's betrothal hits a strange snag, Dido Kent finds herself among a house party full of secrets. Where has Catherine's fiancé gone? What can explain the curious behavior of certain other members of the party? And who shot the unidentified woman who was found dead in the shrubbery?

There's a lot to like about this historical mystery. The writing is good, with plenty of clues and hints (I figured out at least some of the plot twists a little ahead of our protagonist) and red herrings. And, unlike some historical mysteries I've read recently (ahem, >134 foggidawn: ), Dido reads as an authentic Georgian spinster, not a modern woman inserted into an historical setting. There's one sub-plot where every modern reader knows exactly what's going on, but Dido has no clue -- and yet, she still manages to deal with the situation effectively. Like I said, good writing. I did find Dido a little bit cold and calculating, but that's true of many fictitious detectives. Sherlock Holmes, for instance, is not exactly cuddly. So, if you enjoy historical mysteries, I'd recommend this one. I'll probably continue with the series sooner or later.

Edited: Aug 9, 12:11pm Top

(96 books read)

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma -- Winnie Mehta's boyfriend Raj cheated on her, sort of. When she told him she wanted to "take a break," she didn't mean she wanted to break up -- so why does she come back from summer film camp to discover that he's dating Jenny Dickens? The relationship drama is complicated by a prophecy that Winnie's parents got from an astrologer when she was a baby. Raj meets all of the criteria to be Winnie's soul mate, and while Winnie isn't sure she believes in the prophecy, she's also not sure she doesn't. And her friend Dev is paying her a lot of attention now that she's no longer with Raj... Meanwhile, it's her senior year, and she's focused on a couple of big extracurricular projects that could make the difference between getting into the NYU Film Studies program, or attending community college at home (as *gasp* a theatre major. Horrors!)

I had a really hard time relating to the main character, or believing in either of her love interests. Many of her concerns seemed overwrought: there are a lot of other options between NYU and community college, but Winnie didn't appear to be willing to consider any of them -- and she was convinced that running the school's film festival would make her a shoo-in for the program, whereas I feel that the college admissions process is not that cut and dried. On the other hand, I appreciated the depiction of her loving, supportive parents, and her descriptions of Bollywood films made me want to watch a couple.

Bottom line: if you enjoy YA books with romantic comedy plotlines and characters with diverse backgrounds, you might enjoy this -- just be prepared for a dose of teenage angst!

Also, for the record, there is nothing wrong with being a theatre major. ;-)

Aug 10, 9:48am Top

(97 books read)

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr -- Grisha is a dragon; the youngest of the last dragons, actually. And, due to the machinations of an evil magician, he's spent most of his life as an enchanted teapot. When the enchantment is broken, he learns that all of the world's remaining dragons have followed a mysterious summoning sound to Vienna. After some time in Vienna, he meets Maggie, a lonely human girl. Together, they discover that something terrible has happened to many of the dragons, and together they embark on a quest to rescue them.

This is a lovely, gentle book with a bittersweet ending. The pace is leisurely, but it doesn't drag. I thought the actual quest part went a little too easily, but the best parts of the book are Grisha and Maggie's friendship, and the way the world's magic system works. If you enjoy thoughtful juvenile fantasy, give this one a try.

Aug 10, 1:15pm Top

Cute cover!

Aug 10, 9:37pm Top

>239 foggidawn: Glad you also liked Language of Spells, and I totally agree with your analysis -- I loved the parts with Grisha and Maggie just exploring Vienna, but found the actual quest to go a little too smoothly and the ending rather abrupt.

Aug 13, 12:04pm Top

(98 books read)

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu -- Seventeen-year-old Rachel has never worn pants, gone to public school, or had more than five dollars to call her own. Her family attends an extreme fundamentalist church and subscribes to the Quiverfull movement, so Rachel and her nine siblings live a life of strictly enforced obedience to their father and their church. Rachel really wants to be good, but she longs to read and study. She gets a sinking feeling in her stomach when she thinks about courtship, marriage, and the possibility that she might be married and pregnant within a year. And when her mother sinks into depression after a miscarriage, Rachel is frustrated and exhausted at being required to shoulder the majority of the responsibility for running the household. When rumors circulate that Lauren Sullivan, black sheep of the congregation, has returned to their small town, Rachel's curiosity is piqued. Why did Lauren leave? How has she managed to survive on her own? Using the family's ancient computer (purchased solely to help with the running of the family business), Rachel surreptitiously discovers Lauren's blog, and before long, the two are communicating. But what will happen if her father finds out?

This is a gripping read, alarming in its veracity -- though Rachel is fictional, her situation is real enough. Mathieu appears to have done a good bit of research, though she has not experienced life within that culture firsthand. I appreciated the way she showed Lauren and Rachel as people who embrace two different worldviews, but can still be close friends who work to understand each other. Also, the fact that Christianity and religion in general is not demonized because of the cult-like sect Rachel's family follows is a positive for me. There's a scene in the book where Rachel attends a mainline Protestant worship service and contrasts it with what she's always known, and I appreciated the nuanced treatment that the author gives religion.

My few small quibbles with the book involve the practicalities of life for Rachel after she leaves her parents' home. How will she support herself? Will she just continue to live with Lauren indefinitely? I felt that some things came too simply or easily for her, both in terms of those practical details, and in the emotional realm. But altogether, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in realistic YA stories that examine various expressions of religion.

Aug 13, 1:43pm Top

>242 foggidawn: I remember liking that one, Foggi. Had about the same reaction you did. I remember particularly liking the way religion outside the cult was portrayed.

Aug 13, 2:35pm Top

>240 MickyFine: Isn't it? I like that artistic style.

>241 curioussquared: Yep, it did make me want to visit Vienna!

>243 lycomayflower: Yes, the author did a really good job with that.

Aug 13, 2:58pm Top

>242 foggidawn: Interesting, I'm reading a YA book about the quiverfull movement soon, too.

Aug 14, 7:25am Top

>245 norabelle414: Oh, which book?

Aug 14, 9:06am Top

>246 foggidawn: It's an LTER book called Quiver by Julia Watts. I think it comes out in October.

Aug 14, 1:20pm Top

>247 norabelle414: Sounds interesting!

Edited: Aug 14, 1:34pm Top

(99 books read)

Pride by Ibi Zoboi -- Zuri Benitez loves her Brooklyn neighborhood. It's loud, it's poor, but it's comfortable in all the right ways. When an upper-class Black family moves in across the street, she's not as excited as her four sisters, despite the fact that the two teenage brothers are very fine, indeed. She doesn't like the way they look down their noses at her street, at her sisters -- particularly Darius, the younger brother, who strikes her as entirely arrogant. But as the two families are thrown together, she starts to see him in a new light...

This is billed as "A Pride and Prejudice Remix," and it does a great job of interpreting the original in a new context. Some of the humor of the original is lost, as is a little of the drama (the Lydia/Wickham storyline is softened considerably, for instance, and the Charlotte/Mr.Collins relationship is not nearly as big a deal). On the other hand, it addresses plenty of timely issues regarding race, and it still has a satisfying romantic plot. It's a fast, enjoyable read, both for fans of the original, and for those encountering it for the first time. Recommended.

Aug 14, 2:53pm Top

That's it for this thread! Please join me on my new one:

Aug 17, 9:40am Top

>249 foggidawn: It sounds like an interesting treatment. Of course, the Lydia and Charlotte situations would be hard to translate to the modern world.

Following you over ...

Aug 17, 3:22pm Top

>203 foggidawn: I just finished Spinning Silver and it surely is a winner.

Aug 17, 8:18pm Top

>251 humouress: Yes, and though I thought she went in the right direction with the Lydia angle, it wasn’t given enough weight.

>252 quondame: Glad you liked it!

See you all over on my new thread!

This topic was continued by foggidawn reads in 2018, thread 3.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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