In Dicey's Song, the Tillerman children are learning to call Chrisfield home. It's a transition that comes witAbsolutely as lovely as everyone says.
In Dicey's Song, the Tillerman children are learning to call Chrisfield home. It's a transition that comes with some bumps along the way. I just love the feel of Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman Cycle. The cadence of the writing; the introspection of Dicey. There's a certain nostalgic quality to these books that may be because they remind me of the books I read as a child or it may be that the nostalgia is built in. Perhaps it's both. Cynthia Voigt is so good at mixing sweetness and sorrow. I finished the book feeling all melancholy.
I really love all the characters in this book. Gram continues to be a favorite, but I really enjoyed the new characters that were introduced in this novel too. The characters' voices are so strong. They feel so very authentic. The fact that the book is set on the Eastern Shore doesn't hurt either. I like feeling like I have a personal connection to the series. ...more
Siblings John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman are the co-authors of a number of books. Conjuror is about people who can create magic with art. Remy can do magic with music, and twins Matt and Em can create magic with their drawings.
I admit, the art was a major draw for me. Matt and Em can travel through paintings, and they can make drawings that come to life. There's a bit of a time travel element here too because several figures from the past travel through paintings to the present. Some of these travelers are famous artists. Ah, now you see how this book hit some of my sweet spots.
Remy is on the run from some very dangerous (and disgusting) historical figures. Remy has some of the pieces of the puzzle, and Matt and Em have some of the pieces of the puzzle. They finally meet up and things get very interesting.
I did have a few quibbles. The book is kind of disjointed. That is partly intentional (the book is told in 5 parts), but there were also some moments where it felt like something had been skipped. I decided to just roll with it, and I still really enjoyed the story. Also, Matt and Em are the main characters in a middle-grade trilogy written by John and Carole Barrowman. I've never read that trilogy, and so part 2 of Conjuror was a little unclear to me. You won't have that problem if you've read their other books, but, as Conjuror is not intended to be a direct sequel, a little more backstory would have been helpful for newbies.
I finished this book last night, and then I spent some time exploring how I could get my hands on the second book. I want to follow the trail of the stolen musical instruments.
I'm working on a post on troubled siblings, and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to read Jandy Nelson's award winning I'll Give You tI'm working on a post on troubled siblings, and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to read Jandy Nelson's award winning I'll Give You the Sun. It's true, Noah and Jude are definitely troubled.
Noah and Jude are twins, and, as twins, they've always shared a special bond, but that was before so many things went wrong. The story is told through Noah's narration of what happened before the troubles and Jude's narrated the aftermath. The reader wonders how the siblings could have both changed so much and what went wrong.
I really loved this story. Noah and Jude are both artists, and all the art was a real bonus for me. I also really liked all of their quirks. Noah sees souls and Jude is incredibly superstitious. I also really enjoyed my time in Guillermo's studio.
This book has some big issue-type topics in it, but they never overwhelmed the story. The story is very character driven and the big things were their things. The themes of finding oneself, finding one's family, and being honest were my big takeaways.
My only caveat is that I personally found the romances in the story to be a little on the cheesy side. ...more
Teva doesn't grow up in the normal way. Every year, near her birthday, she unwillingly clones herself. She lives in a house full of younger Tevas, whoTeva doesn't grow up in the normal way. Every year, near her birthday, she unwillingly clones herself. She lives in a house full of younger Tevas, whom she address by their year (Thirteen, Fifteen, etc.), and this house full of bizarre "sisters" is challenging and involves keeping lots of secrets. The newest Teva is determined to be the last.
When I picked up More of Me I was hoping it would have a bit of a Cat Patrick vibe, and it definitely did. Kathryn Evans's book is so weird, which is a good thing because it is definitely supposed to be weird. I really enjoyed how the reader wasn't quite sure whether or not Teva's condition was real or all in her head.
Maggie's newest book is a meditative one. This isn't a book of big action or fiery adventure; it's a contemplative book; a quiet book. It is magical realism in it's truest form. I thought it was quite lovely.
Once again, Maggie created a vivid setting. I really enjoyed being in the high desert of Colorado. (Even more so because I am from Colorado and my home town gets a couple of shout outs. Hey, Colorado Springs.) I also liked that this is a work of historical fiction set in the 1960s. It felt very 1960s.
The details are what really got me in this book. I loved everything that had to do with radios. All the characters who were involved in radio; the characters who built radios; the characters who listened to radios; the characters who drove radio DJs to Bicho Raro. I loved it all. I also really liked the bizarre manifestations of the pilgrims' darkness. I liked the owls, and the roses (both paper and real), and the crazy horse, and the fighting rooster. What can I say, I like weird things.
All the Crooked Saints, like The Raven Boys, has a great ensemble cast of characters. I don't think that I could do without any of them. Hard-working Pete is fantastic. I really loved the bond between the Soria cousins, Beatriz, Joaquin, and Daniel. I also feel pretty attached to the pilgrims and the Soria parents and aunts and uncles.
I enjoyed reading this book with Paige and discussing it in our own little long-distance book club. ...more
I really enjoy this series. It's definitely my kind of thing. The audio version is fantastic. The b Waking Gods is the follow-up to Sleeping Giants.
I really enjoy this series. It's definitely my kind of thing. The audio version is fantastic. The book is told through a series of interviews and journal entries, so it is well-suited to the audio format. Plus, it has a full cast of characters, so you always know exactly who's speaking. It's very entertaining.
Book two was not quite what I was expecting. First off, I was surprised that the book began ten years after the events in Sleeping Giants. Also, I am still not thrilled about (view spoiler)[the characters who were killed off :( (hide spoiler)].
Sylvain Neuvel ends the book with a pretty good cliffhanger. I'm glad that the next book comes out this spring. ...more
Holly Chase is dead. After failing as a Scrooge, she's now a ghost and condemned to work for Project Scrooge as their Ghost of Christmas Past. It's a monotonous life. But this year's Scrooge is different. He's young and his story is so similar to Holly's. Delving into Ethan's past is starting to defrost Holly's icy heart.
Cynthia Hand's take on A Christmas Carol is clever, funny, and tender all at once. Holly is a pretty entertaining narrator. I enjoyed all of her snark, rolled my eyes at how sorry she felt for herself, and got a little teary at times. I also really liked the characters she worked with at Project Scrooge. If you enjoy lighthearted YA retellings, maybe put this one on your list for next Christmas.
What I liked most about this story is how the author connected her tale to the original. Taking glass and snow quite literally was very interesting. I also really liked the setting. Reading a book set in a land of eternal winter made this a very seasonally appropriate read. This book is on the slower side, and there's not a lot of action for the first half or three-quarters of the book. ...more
Marissa Meyer writes fun books. Her newest series is about heroes and villains with super powers of every variety.
Nova is an Anarchist, a member of Marissa Meyer writes fun books. Her newest series is about heroes and villains with super powers of every variety.
Nova is an Anarchist, a member of the villain group that was overthrown by the Renegades a decade ago. Nova wants to see their downfall. Adrian is a Renegade who has been experimenting with his powers and moonlighting as a vigilante. When Nova infiltrates the Renegades as a spy, these two characters start working together.
Renegades felt like a little bit of X-Men, a little bit of This Savage Song, a little bit of The Orphan Queen. It has a lot of aspects you've read before: tryouts, characters keeping secrets from one another, cool powers, enemies who team up, characters who start rethinking their position once they get to know the other side. Still, it's so fun. I love all the powers that Marissa Meyer came up with. So many of them are so creative. (Honeybee comes to mind. Adrian too.)
I do think that this book is a little long. I wasn't invested in the story right away, and it took a while for me to get the hang of the world. I had to go back and listen to the prologue a couple of times....more
Far from the Tree is about three adopted siblings who are meeting one another for the first time as teenagers. Robin Benway's National Book Award wi Far from the Tree is about three adopted siblings who are meeting one another for the first time as teenagers. Robin Benway's National Book Award winning book is about family ties and familial love.
Each of the siblings is dealing with something big. Grace has recently put up a baby for adoption. Maya's parents are constantly fighting and she feels out of sink with the rest of her all-of-a-kind family. And Joaquin has been in foster care his whole life. He's now with foster parents who love him, but letting himself love them back is scary.
Robin Benway writes a beautiful story about how these teens grow to love one another (forgive themselves) and open up about their pasts. It's a bit of an emotional read. I really enjoyed this book. (Although I think I liked Emmy & Oliver a bit more.
In Sylvain Neuvel's book a giant, technologically advance but ancient robot is discovered piece by piece. The characters in the book work to find the pieces, put them together, and figure out how to control the robot. At the same time, there are lots of questions about where the gigantic creature came from and what its purpose is.
Sleeping Giants is told through a collection of interviews, dossiers, and files. The audio version is really fun because the different characters are voiced by different actors. This is a very entertaining sci-fi series. I've already read the second book. ...more
I really like Heather Petty's Moriarty origin tale series. In Lock & Mori, the Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty characters are teenagers, and Mori is a girl and the two fall for one another. But, as this is Moriarty's origin story you have to know that Mori is going to have some really rough stuff. This series is so dark.
Final Fall is a great end to the series. And it's the darkest of the bunch. (Torture, isolation, murder.) It's bad. It has to be because Mori is beginning to morph into Moriarty.
Sherlock Holmes stories carry with them an element of tragedy, and this series has that in spades. I love how complicated Mori is.
A long time ago, Nate and I used to listen to Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me every week. (Now we never do. I don't know why.) Paula and Mo Rocca were alwayA long time ago, Nate and I used to listen to Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me every week. (Now we never do. I don't know why.) Paula and Mo Rocca were always my favorite guests. Especially when they were on together. The NPR radio show led me to read, way back before I joined Goodreads, Paula Poundstone's other book, There's Nothing in This Book I Meant to Say. Her new book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, came up as an Audible Deal-of-the-Day right before Thanksgiving, and, as we were going on a road trip, I thought it might be a fun listen. Yeah, so we didn't end up listening to it on the trip. Instead we listened to Winnie-the-Pooh and Catwings with the kids.
I thought this book was pretty funny. (There's is, however, rather a lot of swearing.) I enjoyed how Paula kind of took her reader's on a meandering journey through her life. We got to see her kids grow up. (I was familiar with her family from her other book.) The audio book is narrated by Paula herself, and I'd say that's definitely the best way to experience the book. It most certainly gave me a couple dozen heps of happiness. ...more
This story of William Kamkwamba and his windmill is incredibly interesting. It was inspiring to read about a kid who made something happen for himselThis story of William Kamkwamba and his windmill is incredibly interesting. It was inspiring to read about a kid who made something happen for himself and his community through hard work and curiosity. I was happy to learn more about Malawi and its history, as well.
We struggled a bit with this book at book club. Our discussion kind of felt like,"Wow. What an amazing story" and then we didn't know quite what else to say. I guess there was not much controversy with this one. Regardless, I'm really glad I had the chance to hear William Kamkwamba's story. ...more
The four Tillerman children are abandoned in a mall parking lot. When their mother doesn't return, they worry that they will be split up if they go to the police, so they set out to walk all the way to their great-aunt's house, several towns away.
This book has a lot of walking and being hungry and scraping by. In other words, it definitely qualifies as Wasteland Wandering, and, as I typically struggle with Wasteland Wandering, at times, I felt myself starting to get bogged down. (Those kids must have been so sunburned.) But the thing that saved the day, every time, is the bond between the children. Also, a good portion of the book is set in Maryland and having that geographical connection made the book richer.
Julia Beaufort-Stuart returns home to her grandfather's estate after his death. To pay his debts, the estate is to be sold and transformed into a boys' school. The Pearl Thief is partly about Julie saying goodbye to her grandfather and her childhood. It's also a mystery involving a missing employee and a forgotten cache of Scottish River Pearls.
I really loved this book. Elizabeth Wein paints a very vivid picture of Julie's Scotland. The mystery was enticing, but in a quiet cozy mystery type of way. I also love that this book brought to my attention a lot of things that I knew nothing about. I didn't know there was such a thing as Scottish River Pearls. Also my understanding of Peter Pan is now enlarged because I also knew nothing of the Scottish Travellers (disparagingly called Tinkers). The relationship between Julie and the Travellers explored prejudices, social casts, and economic classes. Also, there was a relationship between Julie and one of the Travellers that is making me rethink my perception of Code Name Verity.
I listened to the audio book, and it was so wonderful. The reader, Maggie Service, has such a soothing Scottish accent. ...more
Odd & True is the story of two sisters, Odette and Trudchen, at the turn of the century. Abandoned by their parents, they grew up with their stri Odd & True is the story of two sisters, Odette and Trudchen, at the turn of the century. Abandoned by their parents, they grew up with their strict aunt, but Od was always able to make Tru's life a little more magical by telling her fantastical stories about their past.
Cat Winters spins a story that alternated between Od's past and Tru's presence. For most of the book, the reader doesn't really know if the stories that Od tells are true; if monsters really exist; if the girls really are destine to hunt them. Slowly but surely the past is revealed the implications for the present become clear.
I really enjoyed this book by Cat Winters. I liked the bond between the two sisters, but I especially loved the unraveling of Od's true past. The book was well constructed and revealed just enough little by little.
I read this book around Halloween, and it was a great seasonal read.
Matt is in love with his best friend and next door neighbor, Tabby. He's too nervous to tell her, and now Tabby has met someone, Liam Branson, a popular senior.
I feel like I can't say anything about Jared Reck's debut without spoiling it. I went into this book with certain expectations. I kind of thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I was wrong. This book went in a completely different direction. (view spoiler)[And it wrecked me. So many tears. (hide spoiler)].
I thought A Short History of the Girl Next Door was a pretty fabulous debut. Jared Reck really honed in on the teenage experience. I wasn't at all surprised to find out that he's a high school teacher and consequently has close first-hand experience with teenagers day in and day out.
I found E. Lockhart's new thriller Genuine Fraud to be compulsively readable. It's a very short book, and it probably only took me two days to get tI found E. Lockhart's new thriller Genuine Fraud to be compulsively readable. It's a very short book, and it probably only took me two days to get through the audiobook.
The big gimmick of this book is that it's told backwards. It's suppose to increase suspense and be kind of a new cool way to tell a story. The beginning is really the end and you start completely confused, but it didn't take me too long to get into the flow. I think the structure works well for this story. Layers are pealed off the characters little by little, and, for a story about a chameleon, this works great.
As with most thrillers, it's probably best if you go in not knowing much at all other than that this is the story of Jule and Imogen--two friends with a lot of secrets.
I read this book around Halloween too, which was the perfect time of the year for this twisty tale. ...more
Tumbling follows five gymnasts as they compete for a spot on the Olympic team. I liked this book so much for all the same reasons that I love ballet Tumbling follows five gymnasts as they compete for a spot on the Olympic team. I liked this book so much for all the same reasons that I love ballet books. There's a real natural drama in books about characters who are competing for just a few spots at a ballet school or on an athletic team. The potential for backstabbing, coach drama, and injury, along with the characters' drive, really ups the stacks quickly.
I really enjoyed how Caela Carter's book follows five gymnasts who are all coming to the competition from different places--at the top of their game, making a comeback, unrealized potential. If Ms. Carter writes a sequel, I would definitely read it. ...more
A couple of things that I absolutely love about this series. First off, Lara Jean's family is great. I love her dad and sisters, especially Kitty. Secondly, I really like how this book handles the transition to college. That's such an uncomfortable time. Finally, what makes this book truly marvelous to me is just how normal Lara Jean is. She likes to bake. She likes to scrapbook. She's smart, but she's not a super star in any sense, and, because of that, I find her so relatable. ...more
The Color of Water is a really fascinating and thought-provoking read. I'm really glad that it was selected for book club so that I had the push I ne The Color of Water is a really fascinating and thought-provoking read. I'm really glad that it was selected for book club so that I had the push I needed to finally read it. As you can imagine, the circumstances of the members of my book club are vastly different from James McBride's, and it really opened our eyes.
I really liked that the audiobook is narrated by two different narrators--one for McBride and one for his mother. That really helped keep the two story lines clear in my mind. ...more
I'm kind of falling out of love with Kasie West. Her first four books or so were just fabulous, but the newer books feel like they've lost the sparklI'm kind of falling out of love with Kasie West. Her first four books or so were just fabulous, but the newer books feel like they've lost the sparkle. The big problem is that the characters themselves don't have much personality. I did really enjoy the zoo setting in Lucky in Love.
The audio book narrator for this book is pretty awful. Unless you have a high tolerance for whiny teenage voices (which I apparently do or at least did in this case), I'd opt for the print version. ...more