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Summer Reading 2018 List!

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Text added in Paint

A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

Black Butler (Volumes 23-25)

Fruits Basket (Volume 17 to end)

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen, book 2)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, book 1)

Star In The Morning by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 1) (2nd Read)

With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland (MacLeod, book 7) (2nd Read)

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern, book 1) (2nd Read)


These are all the books I would like to get through this summer. However, I’m not gonna push myself to finish this entire list because I know I most likely won’t have the time. I’ve changed this list so many times but this final version seems right for the summer. I’m excited and curious about the possibilities of the stories here. Whatever happens I’ll get through them all eventually.

What books are on your summer reading list this year?


As Always, Happy Reading!

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2018 Reading Challenge Complete!!!

as of 4/24/18

Earlier this week, I reached my goal of 50 books to read this year as a part of the Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge. I did not expect to finish so soon in the year as it took me far longer last year with a 30-book goal.

The past two months I’ve just been whisking through books one after another in short periods of time. Also, I read a lot of manga of which I devoured three to four volumes in a day at a time. There’s been just so many good reads that have held my attention regardless of the post-read ratings.

Below you’ll find all of the titles I’ve read for the challenge up until the goal reached. This includes book I haven’t official reviewed yet as well as 10 post-read thoughts and review excerpts.

Enjoy!


Manga

Black Butler by Yana Toboso, Translated by Tomo Kimura
(read during challenge: Volumes 1-18)
(Volume 1 Review)

Volume 1 Image via Goodreads

I am enjoying this manga immensely. I had planned to pace the reading of this out but it’s just too good that I kept checking out volume after volume from the library. There’s just so much…right with this manga and the art is absolutely gorgeous.

Volume 1 Review Excerpt: “I really like this manga. I love each character – the main characters are so charming, especially Sebastian and Ciel! I love all the humor throughout – I laughed a lot. And I was completely surprised at every turn.”

 

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya, Translated by Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley
(read during challenge: Volumes 1-16)
(Volumes 1-5 combined review)

 

ARCs/NetGalley

Baby, I’m Howling For You by Christine Warren (ARC)
Alphaville, book 1

Image via NetGalley

I can definitely get behind this series. Shifters – wolves in particular – are my favorite of the paranormal/supernatural sub-genre. This book was just too too good and I need to read book 2 asap!

Review Excerpt: “First off, I fell head over heels over the fact that Renny is a librarian and Mick is a graphic novelist. *insert book-nerdish swoon* That alone deserves all the stars in the world. But of course, that was the cherry atop the sundae for my love of these two characters.”

 

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (ARC)

Fade to Us by Julia Day (ARC)

Image via NetGalley

There’s so much to love and admire about this novel, specifically the sister-sister relationship that develops. Brooke and Natalie make this book: from the conflict with each other to the conflict they have with other people to the conflict they have with themselves.

Review Excerpt: “Great story. Wonderful characters. Pretty cover. Awesome that musical theater was involved. And loved the sister-sister relationship. Fade to Us deserves a standing ovation. Brava, Julia Day, brava!”

 

Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews, Illustrated by Colleen Madden (NetGalley)

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen (ARC)

Image via NetGalley

For laughs, cats, telling memes, and insightful art, I highly recommend reading this graphic novel. It’s so light and funny but unapologetically serious about the life of an introvert and arts.

Review Excerpt: “Fantastic. Hilarious. Just what a creative person (and everyone) needs to hear and see. Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen is an art and narrative to be experienced.”

 

Blood Veil by Megan Erickson (ARC review)

The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela (NetGalley review)

Image via Goodreads

I think this a novel to be added onto every TBR list if you like middle grade novels. Young readers will learn about perseverance, self-worth, failure, triumph, friendship, and a whole host of new vocabulary words. It’s a great story told really well.

Review Excerpt: “Truly…a stupendously sweet and spectacular story…It’s light, charming, wholesome, and educational”

 

Bitten Under Fire by Heather Long (ARC Review Coming Soon)
Startup Fiancé by Shilpa Mudiganti (NetGalley Review Coming Soon)

 

Novels

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Image via Goodreads

The YA narrative version of the song “This Is Me” in a nutshell. The struggles experienced and message that saturates this novel are truths that ring long past the story is over. I can’t help but reflect when I think about this novel: that in-your-face awareness of the flaws you perceived to be true and the flaws others see in you they believe to be true until you reach that moment when you realize you are human. This was just a really poignant YA novel and fantastic read.

Review Excerpt:Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is written with grace and style, creating a daring and enriching story that reminds you that you are wanted.”

 

Slammed by Colleen Hoover
The Winter King by C. L. Wilson
Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
The Numair Chronicles, book 1

Image via Goodreads

The nostalgia is real! I am in love with the writing and how the story was told. The author has truly outdone herself this time. I just need to know what happens next now. 2019 (the expected publication year) is so far away.

Review Excerpt: “The story I’ve been waiting to read for years did not disappoint. Nostalgic, exhilarating, tumultuous, and bittersweet; I am left one very happy reader.”

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce
(with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, Megan Messinger)

Image via Goodreads

I never thought I’d enjoy what is essentially a compilation text book, but this was so captivating to read. I learned so much more about George’s work and the world of Tortall – too much to remember, but still! This was perfect to read after spending years reading all of Pierce’s other books.

Review Excerpt: “But I really enjoyed reading more about one of my favorite fantasy worlds. It was a pleasant and delightful reading experience – so compelling I could hardly put it down.”

 

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Image via Goodreads

I went through a back and forth with this book before even picking it up. At first, I was looking forward to reading it, then I wasn’t sure if I still wanted to read it, then I was like I think I do want to read it, and then I was back on the I-want-to read-but-don’t-know-when-I’ll-get-to-read-it phase. It wasn’t until there came a stretch of days where I needed (ahahaha, I always “need” a book to read) a quick read and decided on this. I’m so happy I did because it was better than I thought it was going to be. The book just made my admiration for John Green soar higher. Turtles All The Way Down is an incredibly brilliant story I’d recommend to everyone.

Review Excerpt: “Aza is a fantastic character and individual…Her narrative is incredibly raw and, in my opinion, an accurate representation of what the inside of a truly anxious mind looks and feels like. “

 

Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan
The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan
The Caldera by John Flanagan

 

2nd Reads

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
Beka Cooper, book 3

Image via Goodreads

This is how you craft an intricate, captivating plot with highly compelling characters smack-dab in the middle of a beautifully created fantasy world where the stakes are higher than ever. I love this series but this book in particular I just love so much.

Review Excerpt:Mastiff is one of those stories that stays with you long after the story is over. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. I loved it even more the second time around, though it didn’t make dealing with the conflict of the story any easier. Still, Mastiff is a book that will easily exceed all expectations.”

 

A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland


If you’ve taken up Goodreads’ challenge, how far along are you currently? What books are you hoping to get through before the year is out? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!

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New Books Added To My TBR List!

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Last week, I found a good amount of books to add to my TBR list that I’m looking forward to reading. There are others not included below but have been marked as Want to Read on Goodreads for now because I don’t know if I’m going to/will get to reading them.

This list is – as usual – a mix of genres: from middle grade to young adult contemporary, and urban fantasy to paranormal romance. I’m also happy that half these books are from authors I haven’t read from before.

 

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi (reading soon)

A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant

How We Roll by Natasha Friend

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson, book 1)

Under A Vampire Moon by Lynsay Sands (Argeneau, book 16)
Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands (Argeneau, book 18) (Currently Reading)
Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands (Argeneau, book 20)

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross (The Queen’s Rising, book 1)

Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk

Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson (Tairen Soul, book 1) (1st official read)


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!


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NetGalley Book Review: The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela

Thank you to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky for providing me with an e-ARC of the hardcover edition to read and review, set to be released April 3, 2018.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via NetGalley):
A heartwarming story about a girl who’s afraid to follow her dreams, and the family who help make them happen.

India Wimple can spell. Brilliantly. Every Friday night, she and her family watch the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee on TV. When the Wimples suggest she enter the next Bee, India feels nothing but trepidation. She’s sure she’s not good enough – but with the support of her family, India finds the courage to sign up. 

There are plenty of obstacles to reaching the finals, like Summer Millicent Ernestine Beauregard-Champion, a spoiled rich girl who isn’t afraid to step on anyone who gets in her way of winning. 

The whole thing seems rather calamitous to India. But with hope, hard work, and a little bit of heart, something splendiferous might be on the horizon…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
*slightly edited*

Truly The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela is a stupendously sweet and spectacular story.

The story starts during a humble, routine family gathering in front of the television and immediately transforms into an opportunity of a lifetime. And like anyone when faced with such a huge opportunity, India struggles with whether or not to take it. Sometimes it’s scary to take that first step when opportunity comes knocking because we don’t believe ourselves worthy or capable enough to succeed. This makes India a very relatable character for readers of all ages.

I love how she has the complete love and support of her family and the whole town where she lives. As thankful as she is for their support, it’s not convincing enough to settle India’s jumbling nerves. Which is good because it then leaves room for India to grow as a person/character and conquer whatever fears she’s plagued by.

Readers will learn many new, challenging words from this story as each chapter begins with a hard (and telling) word, its parts of speech, definition, and how it would be used in a sentence. A nice structured text for middle graders to follow and learn from.

The illustrations were great and depicted the characters so well, and were spaced out evenly throughout the book.

If you like Middle Grade novels or know someone of that age, I’d recommend this book as your next big read. It’s light, charming, wholesome, and educational.


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TBR At A Glance – 3/16/18

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m actually ahead of my reading schedule. Everything I wanted to read this month I finished up this week, which is shocking and unusual. So I’m actually going to get a jump-start on the books I have planned to read for April, mostly because those books are 300/400+ pages each.

You can follow me on Goodreads to stay up-to-date on what I’m reading. Are you on Goodreads? Let’s connect!

Image made in Pixlr and Paint

Currently Reading

  • Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 5)

 

Reading Next

  • The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 6)
  • The Caldera by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 7)
  • Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega, book 5)

 

Recent Reviews

 

Reviews Coming Soon

  • March 20 – Blood Veil by Megan Erickson (ARC review)
  • March 22 or 29? – The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela (ARC review)


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NetGalley Book Review: Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews, Illustrated by Colleen Madden

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson: CHILDREN’S for providing me with an e-copy to read and review. Henry Hodges Needs a Friend was published March 3, 2015.

 

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Picture Book, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Unsure

 

Summary (via NetGalley):
From the author of The Kid Who Changed the World, this hilarious rhyming story, complete with charming art, offers comfort to children who often feel left out or are in need of a good friend.

At some point, almost every child struggles with feeling like they don’t fit in or are left out—just like Henry Hodges. Henry is a lonely little boy on a lonely little street who longs for a friend. One day, his mother and father take him to a pet rescue shelter and his lonely world is changed! Told in a playful rhyme with adorable illustrations, this book will be a favorite among children and parents who love dogs and, ultimately, will comfort and encourage children who struggle with feeling accepted and finding friends.
Kids will want to read this whimsical and imaginative story again and again!

~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
This book was okay but I’m not sure about the overall impressions I get from it. Henry is bored, lonely, and without a friend nearby. His parents decide to get him a pet. I’m all for getting a pet for your kid to be friends with (having a pet has many benefits) but why doesn’t Henry just invite friends over from time to time or go to their house?Just seems like there’s something missing from the story and it leaves me skeptical.

The illustrations are fantastic. They’re so smooth, bright and colorful. I did laugh at the funny imaginings Henry had of what his new friend might be like. The narrative told in couplets/abab rhyme scheme was a nice touch as well.