2014 – My Year in Books

I haven’t updated in a while since I’ve started my new job, but I fully intend to get back in the swing of the book-based posts next month. In the meantime, here’s a list of the books I read in 2014. It isn’t a lot, but it’s more than I’d aimed for, so I’m glad about that. I’m also happy that some of the books I read have ended up being absolute favourites such as Half Bad (which will have a sequel, Half Wildvery soon), Diary of a Wimpy Kid (hilarious stuff), and The Princess Diaries which are by far some of the best contemporary YA books I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding on my Kindle.

If you’d like to take a closer look, here is the link for My Year in Books at Goodreads.

 

Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

WWW Wednesday 23 Apr 2014 (Find out what I am reading this week)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

 Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I started reading this last week. I got through a good chunk of it, and it’s good, but I found other books that interested me more, honestly. I was put off at the beginning where sixteen year old Park says that in middle school the kids talked about seeing Aliens. The book begins in Aug 1986 and the movie came out in Jul 1986, so the reference in the timeline is a bit wonky. Of course, since I’m an Alien/Aliens geek, this drove me crazy for the first chapter. I do want to finish this one, just to say I did. It’s good and all, but I’m slowly going through it.

  The Program by Suzanne Young

I really liked this, but my Kindle Fire was starting to give me eyestrain, so I had to stop reading it for a while. I’d like to finish this one soon.

  The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This was a paperback book I bought for my Florida holiday last September. I’m usually way too distracted on vacation to read, so I only went through one chapter. I picked it up again when I had the eyestrain, and was pleasantly surprised by it, since it’s not usually my thing. I like the whole world Clare’s made. I saw the terrible movie and liked the concepts in it, so I’m on page 200 or so now, I think.

  The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is the book I’ve checked out of the (digital) library three times now, trying to get it read. I love Anderson’s work, and she’s definitely one of my favorite writers. This is the book I want to finish next. She just writes remarkable characters.

What did you recently finish reading?

  The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey

I’m going to fan-girl this a bit because this is definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read. I haven’t read adult literary fiction for so long and this made me remember why I miss it so much. I saw it mentioned on Vintage Book’s Facebook page and with one quote and the mention that it was a book about ballerinas, I read the sample. Pow! The first paragraph just grabs the reader and throws them right into the main character’s world. I’m going to write a review for this because it made me even write better (in my opinion) after reading this each day. Good writing, good characters, good narration. A++ book. I even went as far as to Tweet the author and tell her how good it is – that’s how good it is.

What do you think you’ll read next?

  Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

After watching Saving Mr. Banks (one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen, by the way) I wanted to get back to my Children’s Lit / Middle Grade roots and read something a little more light-hearted before I jump into another MG writing project.

Happy Reading and Happy Wednesday!

Two Things Tuesdays for 4 Mar 2014

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers from Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney:

“So if you want to find somebody to blame for the way I am, I guess you’d have to start with the public education system.”

“I found out that North America will be underwater within six months, so that kind of takes the pressure off me to do well in school.”

 

Happy Reading and Happy Tuesday!

Monday Mashups for 3 Mar 2014

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing:

So I confess: I’ve been reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I know they’re kid’s books, and I started reading them as part of research for my writing; but I honestly really like them. They’re actually making me snicker and tee-hee out loud. I even feel compelled to read parts of the book to my husband so he can laugh with me. I’ve not had a book do that in a long time. (What happened to fun, happy books anyway? When did everything have to be so dang serious?) Anyway, I’m sort of a slow reader, so I don’t get through books really quick unless I’m hooked. (Books like The Shining or Hunger Games.) It’s just clever and cute and really grasps the voice of a middle school boy. Anyway, I have just been getting books from the library for my Kindle to save cash (because there are plenty of slightly older books that I need to read.) However, I did stop and check out the Diary of a Wimpy Kid display at Asda that they have for World Book Day (6 March).

It’s sort of embarrassing when I mention these kinds of books and people say, “Oh my kids really like this too.” But I guess that’s good, because I know what kinds of books kids want to read and that will help me write good books for kids, and it will help me choose good books for kids at school too.

I confess: I’ve watched the movies too.

 

Happy Reading and Happy Monday!

WWW Wednesday 26 Feb 2014 (Find out what I am reading this week)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

  Luxe by Anna Godbersen

This is different than what I usually read, but it seems pretty interesting despite being in 3rd person (I tend to put 3rd person POV books on the “maybe” pile.)

  Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

I am about half way through this, but I may put it on the TBR Later pile. I really liked the story at first. It’s about friendship and dealing with death of a boyfriend. Then it got into the other issues – first the teen pregnancy thing, someone that was never remotely hinted at earlier, then it added dementia in a grandparent. However, I feel like it’s an absolutely authentic teen book, because I remember issues being important to read about in a fiction book. It opens the readers’ eyes to what some people have to go through. I like Sarah Dessen’s writing, I just don’t know if I’ll finish this anytime soon.

What did you recently finish reading?

 Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

  Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

What do you think you’ll read next?

  The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

One of my favorite authors has a new book! I read the Kindle sample and really liked it. I don’t buy books too much these days, but I can’t wait to read this.

  Panic by Lauren Oliver

Another great author, but not sure how soon I’ll get to this.

    All American Girl and Avalon High by Meg Cabot

I’m much more likely to read one of these two next. I love Meg Cabot because her characters have such a good voice.

 

Happy Reading and Happy Wednesday!

Friday Reads for 12 Jul 2013

It’s a week until Summer Break in the U.K., so I’ve made a list of books that will get us started on our holiday reading.

           

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

My finds:

Happy Reading and Happy Friday!

Review of “Wintergirls”

Anderson, Laurie Halse.  Wintergirls.  Viking, New York, 2009.  ISBN:  9780670011100

Lia’s best friend Cassie has just died alone in a hotel room.  Lia still doesn’t know what the cause for her death was.  What she does know is that Cassie called her 33 times the night she died.  Lia never answered.  They hadn’t been best friends anymore and now Cassie haunts Lia day and night.  They shared a pact, a competition, to become the skinniest girls in school.  Lia’s anorexia coupled with her parents’ divorce and the ghost of her ex-best friend put Lia in a strange fantasy land that only a Wintergirl can understand.

This book has a mixture of reality and fantasy.  Unlike Anderson’s Speak, this novel has much more vivid hallucinations, or, hauntings as the protagonists views them.  The same theme of a devastating circumstance is still present, however, and as in Speak, Anderson weaves the daily pain with a very traumatic event.  There’s a lot going on with this main character and you get pulled into her world.  With Lia, her troubles are more sinister and creepy.  Heck, they’re downright disturbing.  But you still want to be the reader who helps her through to the end where she can finally begin to thaw.

School Library Journal reviewed this book by stating, “As events play out, Lia’s guilt, her need to be thin, and her fight for acceptance unravel in an almost poetic stream of consciousness in this startlingly crisp and pitch-perfect first-person narrative. The text is rich with words still legible but crossed out, the judicious use of italics, and tiny font-size refrains reflecting her distorted internal logic. All of the usual answers of specialized treatment centers, therapy, and monitoring of weight and food fail to prevail while Lia’s cleverness holds sway. What happens to her in the end is much less the point than traveling with her on her agonizing journey of inexplicable pain and her attempt to make some sense of her life.”  I would use this book, as with Anderson’s other books, for a real-to-fiction project in a high school English class.  The students could choose Wintergirls and discuss the issues that the book address to the class as a group and/or in a visual presentation.