I kind of hate slip covers. Like, I understand the practical aspect of protecting the books to ensure long book lives. And I know that most books only have the fancy picture covers on the slipcover. BUT.
Once I am reading the book, I do not care what the cover looks like – I’m immersed in the inside of the book and don’t want to think about the outside at all. And most slip covers do the slip and slide game while I am reading, forcing me to think about them until I rip them off in frustration. Then they live on my bedroom floor until I’ve finished the book and remember to reunite them afterwards.
So last week I decide to experiment with freeing all of my hardcovers from their slip covered embrace. I spent like fifteen minutes taking off all the slip covers and then reorganizing my books by color of course because when you are being OCD, you go all the way with it. I’m still tentative about actually getting rid of them so the covers are all tucked into an empty corner where I’ll pretend they aren’t feeling abandoned and lonely.
Things of note:
Some of my books actually look better without the slip cover. I loooooove when you discover a beautiful book with interesting details on the actual book underneath. Ree Drummond’s book is genuinely beautiful with or without the slip cover.
Some of the other books are kind of boring without their covers. Amy Schumer’s book is absolutely lacking in all pizzazz without that awesome cover art and it does make me a little sad.
Aesthetically I am loving the lack of slip covers. The books like more bookish and the colors all meld together so nicely without all the varying patterns vying for attention.
In a weird way, I have an easier time finding a book to read – I’m looking at the actual titles and not getting as distracted.
But so many of the books are black or grey! The chunk I photographed are the only hardcovers I have that aren’t a very dark or neutral hue. It’s my bright spot after a long row of muted hues. Sometimes the colors feel indicative of the book but some seem like the publisher just didn’t want to pay for a colored spine that was destined to be covered.
I commandeered this book tag from Birdie Bookworm because it looked too good to not play along despite my not having been technically tagged. Birdie is one of my favorite sources for fun tags and book reviews. If you aren’t familiar with her blog yet, I implore you to get acquainted.
So anyway this tag is all about the midway point of the year in regards to all things books and reading. Lots of fun categories. Read to dig in?
1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2017!
This is kind of tough to choose but I’m going to go with Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. It’s got a killer plot, lovable characters, a love story to indulge in, great writing, a surprise twist ending and it manages to touch on tough subjects without making you feel incapable of standing up afterwards.
2 – Your favorite sequel this year!
The Crown by Kiera Cass is book 5 in the Selection series and it completely redeem the book before it which I think left everyone feeling kind of angsty and disappointed. This one totally brings this back around and right again and justifies book 4. If the last one left you with a bad taste in your mouth, fear not, book 5 will set things right and reredeem the whole series really.
3 – A new release that you haven’t read but really want to!
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli has been getting so much good buzz lately and I even own a copy! How have I not read this one yet? I think it deserves a spot on my nightstand immediately. I just need to remember to bring the darn book upstairs already.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
4 – Most anticipated release for the second half of the year!
There are a lot of good books on the horizon but I’m most excited for Renegades by Marissa Meyer which is coming out in November of 2017 which is feeling impossibly far away right now.
“The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.”
5 – Your biggest disappointment!
Twisted Palace by Erin Watt is book three in a series that I started out being quasi-obsessed with and then for some reason this book just fell horribly flat for me to the point that I didn’t even bother to finish it despite a lot of loose ends left untied I suddenly found that I didn’t even care anymore.
6 – Biggest surprise of the year!
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. As much as you can “enjoy” a book this heavy. The varied narrators forced me to get inside the minds of people from many different walks of life, even when I didn’t want to, even when it was uncomfortable. I liked that every person in this story was coming from a different place, had different things going for them or against them, but none of them were perfect, none of them felt like they had the upper hand in life. This is an emotional and uncomfortable story but it was also important and I’m so glad that I read it.
Jenny Colgan was a new for me author this year and has quickly become a favorite. I read The Bookshop on the Corner and Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe in quick succession and I’m eager to read more of her books soon. She writes sweet romances that are perfect for anyone obsessed with books, desserts or the UK or just a good love story. I just need to decide which of her books to read next.
8 – Your new fictional crush!
Sam from Wanderlost by Jen Malone is kind of all the things. His extreme optimism and confidence in every situation is a perfect contrast to the book’s main character, Aubree. He’s also kind, funny, a little geeky and super sweet. His character was one of my favorite things about this entire story.
9 – New favorite character!
I guess it should come as no real surprise that I adored Charlotte Holmes in A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro almost as much as I adore Sherlock Holmes. I would love to see Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock in the same room as Charlotte. That interaction would basically complete me as a person. Charlotte is a lot like Sherlock in so many ways but she’s also a little bit vulnerable and a teenage girl which causes people to underestimate her even more than the character she’s based on.
10 – A book that made you cry!
A lot of the books I’ve already mentioned had their tear jerker moments, especially Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. In the interest of attempting to mention another book though, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead also qualifies as not remotely a laugh a minute, definitely going to make you go looking for tissues.
11 – A book that made you happy!
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer made me happy just in that it felt like getting together with old friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile. And thanks to the graphic novel format I got to literally see them which was such a treat. This is a total must read for anyone obsessed with The Lunar Chronicles like me. It stars our favorite android sidekick Iko but features cameos from literally everyone.
12 – Your favorite book to movie adaptation you saw this year!
I know it’s a miniseries and not a movie but I feel like I have to give props to The Handmaid’s Tale here because it’s incredible and perfect and moving and painful and funny and just literally all of the things. You need to read it and watch it basically immediately.
13 – Favorite book post you’ve published this year!
This post about the books that 1st and 2nd graders are reading was a lot of fun to write. I was the class librarian for my daughter’s class last year and after observing their reading habits for the school year I decided to share my findings. If you have a 1st or 2nd grader looking for a new book or series to devour, definitely check out my list. And if you have more suggestions leave them in the comments section below!
14 – The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year!
Caraval by Stephanie Garber came in one of my Owl Crate boxes this year. I still need to actually read this one but I’m blown away by the gorgeous cover at the very least. Birdie picked it for this category, too, so clearly great minds think alike.
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
15 – What are some books that you need to read by the end of the year?
I always have too many books on my TBR pile so that kind of question is daunting to say the least. I mentioned a few in the categories above and my bookshelves and Amazon wishlist could add dozens more to the list. I’ll stick with some of the Kindle editions I purchased this year for my answer. Here are six books I’ve bought for my kindle this year that I still need to read:
Birdie Bookworm says the secret to her book tags is to go through her notifications and choose six blogs she has recently chatted with. I’m going to do the same. If you loathe tags, feel free to ignore this. If you are like me and sadded to find your name isn’t on the list, OMG YOU, TOO!!! I TAG YOU, TOO!!!!
Either way, let me know if you do decide to play along!
Because we are now halfway through the year (craziness), this week’s prompt for Top 10 Tuesday is the 10 Best Books You’ve Read This Year (so far). I have only read 15 books so far this year but most of them have been pretty terrific. Here are the creams of the crop, two of which I haven’t technically finished yet but I’m far enough in to know they deserve a place in this grouping.
It’s an eclectic mix: poetry, graphic novels, mysteries, young adult, historical fiction, essays, light and fluffy love stories, science fiction… Whatever you are in the mood to read, it’s quite possibly on this list:
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – This timely novel is going to force you to think about uncomfortable things but you’ll be glad you did.
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling – A commencement speech by JK Rowling – a quick read that will leave you feeling inspired.
A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle – My favorite book to read by the pool. Essays on her life, writing and society that make me feel like a better person (and a better writer) just for my proximity to her words.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Historical fiction that brings you to the front and center of the underground railroad but with an added twist.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – A science fiction story about multiverses that will make your head hurt in a good way.
Wires & Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer – Fans of The Lunar Chronicles especially need to check out this graphic novel continuation starring Iko. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read this. NOW.
Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson – Scraps of poetry written, literally, on envelopes. Enjoy hidden gems and the inside mind of one of the world’s most famous poets. Then go write some of your own.
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This is like Sherlock Holmes meets John Green. Extremely readable and fans of Sherlock will especially enjoy this take on the world of Arthur Conan Doyle.
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon – A love story starring a girl who is allergic to literally everything. You won’t guess where this one is going.
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan – Part love story, part finding yourself. This one is for the ladies with wanderlust who kind of want to drop everything, move to Scotland and open a bookstore.
Have you read any from this list? What is the best book you’ve read so far this year?
Nina Redmond is a librarian with a gift for finding the perfect book for her readers. But can she write her own happy-ever-after? In this valentine to readers, librarians, and book-lovers the world over, the New York Times-bestselling author of Little Beach Street Bakery returns with a funny, moving new novel for fans of Meg Donohue, Sophie Kinsella, and Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop.
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan scratched several literary itches of mine. It features a bookish main character, Nina, who is struggling to decide what to do with her life. After losing her library job, she decides to move to Scotland and run a bookshop out of a gigantic van. This isn’t as crazy as if I decided to move to Scotland because she lived in London before whereas I would have to cross an ocean and obtain a work visa but the end result is that she finds herself surrounded by Scottish accents and idyllic countryside. She soon finds herself in a total Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennet style romance which is basically my favorite kind.
The story is a good balance between Nina deciding what she wants out of life, literary references and much talk of book loving, exploring a new place and a solid love story. I enjoyed every little second of it and when I finished I went on a ‘What Else Has Jenny Colgan Written?’ wish list spree. My only complaint is that the title and book cover totally make you think it’s about a book store or possibly related to You’ve Got Mail.
READ THIS NEXT
So you read this book and loved it (or anticipate doing so) and now the question is what to read next. Here are my suggestions:
For More Jenny Colgan:Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe is another solid Colgan title. Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe.
For More Scottish Romance:The Highlander’s Hope by Cali MacKay is a perfect blend of romance novel / legit story with plot. It’s slightly more racy than Jenny Colgan but definitely a solid story. When Dr. Catriona Ross discovers clues to a long lost highland treasure, her only hope of finding the jewels is to obtain the help of Scotland’s most eligible bachelor and playboy, Iain MacCraigh.
For More Sweet Love Stories:To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han has that same kind of sweetness and another narrator who is shy and a little bit clueless in love. 16 year old Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed.
Your turn! What books would you recommend to fans of Jenny Colgan?
I first read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in college. Okay fine, I read part of it – the whole novel wasn’t required for the class I read it in and then I got busy and didn’t get back to it even though I was seriously enjoying it at the time. Then I kept being busy and then I graduated, had babies, got married and got busier.
Spring forward to the Spring of 2017 and The Handmaid’s Tale has been turned into a tv series on Hulu!!! I finally get to go back to Offred’s world and hear her whole story and see it with my eyeballs. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful and has me feeling like all kinds of a Margaret Atwood fangirl. Somehow I fell down a spiral of looking up her other books on Amazon and then looking at famous quotes that she has said or written. And oh my goodness, they are good.
Here are 7 of my favorite quotes that make me wish I was into crocheting things on pillows.
“Don’t let the bastards grind you down,” is one of many awesome quotes from The Handmaid’s Tale.
“A word after a word after a word is power.” This is a line from Spelling – Poem.
“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” – from Cat’s Eye, 1988
“You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.” – This is a quote from a commencement speech given to graduating students at the University of Toronto in 1983.
“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.” – Margaret Atwood
“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed, and that necessary.” – Variation on the Word Sleep, from Selected Poems II: 1976-1986 by Margaret Atwood
Birdie Bookworm nominated me for this Tag. You might have noticed that I have a love for putting my thoughts into list form so this tag is totally up my alley! The tag was created by Not-So-Modern Girl. Make sure to check out her blog for more fun!
Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that I can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
Nominate as many people as you want!
Set those people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!
Birdie asked me to share with you guys 5 Exceptional Book to Movie Adaptations. This is no easy feat. I think we book lovers can agree that movie adaptations tend to be disappointing. But here are 5 adaptations that I personally enjoyed.
The Harry Potter series has not always been perfect as a film series. It’s heart breaking to see important characters and plot points left out. But on the whole the film franchise totally captures the magic of the books. The only downside is that I made the mistake of showing my children the movies first and now they don’t want to read the books because “they already know what happens.” My heart – it can’t take it! And yet, I totally get it. I try to avoid film adaptations if I’m still planning to read the book because usually it’s a lost cause if I don’t.
Mary Poppins as a movie might not have impressed the author, PL Travers, but time has shown that audiences disagree with her on this one and adore this movie unconditionally. Myself for sure included. Who doesn’t know every single song? Who hasn’t been way too in love with Dick Van Dyke ever since? Who doesn’t secretly hope that Mary Poppins will show up and help raise their children? I’d settle for her room cleaning magic and that bigger on the inside purse at the very least! Yes, I think we can all agree that Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way and so is this movie.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is both one of my favorite novels and one of my favorite movies. It’s all the things. It came into my life exactly the moment I needed it to and I consider both the book and the movie utter perfection. Vivian Leigh is Scarlett O’Hara. Clark Gable is Rhett Butler. Tomorrow is another day and Ashley was never really worth all of the fuss but we can’t help but love every minute of Scarlett’s obsession with him all the same.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a good book but I think the movie is actually even better. Maybe I’m biased because I saw the movie first (like 800 times). Maybe I’m biased because of my absolute adoration of Carey Elwes (he’s even better in Men in Tights!) but this is seriously a perfect movie (and a perfect story). It has everything – “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles.”
I know it’s really a tv-series and not a movie but because it just came out and because it is #allthethings like the other titles on this list, I have to mention The Handmaid’s Taleby Margaret Atwood which premiered on Hulu last week. There are 4 of 10 episodes available right now and they are perfection. Heartbreaking, soul clutching perfection. But perfection. Don’t watch this one before going to bed. Or right before going for a massage because you will feel raw and vulnerable and that’s like the opposite state of mind that you want when you are going for a massage. Watch it with a girlfriend in broad day light with wine and chocolate and time to discuss it at great length afterwards. And totally read the book!
This is by no means a comprehensive list – but they are 5 books that have been turned into excellent movies or tv series that I can vouch for having experienced both the book and the film. What books would be on your list?
Dystopian novels are one of my absolute favorite genres of literature but it’s a heavy genre that is hard to recommend to your own children. Like, I loved The Hunger Games but I’m not sure I want my eleven year old reading about a reality show where children are forced to murder each other. It’s a lot. But he’s at a great age to dip his toe into the world of dystopian novels so I spent some time researching possible titles to recommend to him. I thought I’d share my findings with you.
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau was one of the first titles I found after a quick search. It’s recommended for kids as young as 8 so you don’t have to stress out too hard about recommending this title.
The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues before the lights go out on Ember forever!
Common Sense Media agrees that it’s appropriate for kids 8+ and had no notes of warning for parents. It’s also available as a graphic novel if your kids are as into that as mine.
Legend by Marie Lu is recommended for kids in the 7th grade and up on Amazon. Common Sense Media recommends 12+. This one isn’t quite as squeaky clean with one passionate kiss and alcohol is served but the main characters do not partake in it. It also contains a fair amount of violence.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
The Giver by Lois Lowry has the stamp of approval of my actual child. He read it in school this year and loved it (thus sparking my desire to find more books for him in the same genre). Common Sense Media recommends this one for ages 11+. There are very mild sexual references and some scenes that might be disturbing (the main character witnesses his father euthanizing a baby) but it’s a classic that opens up a lot of room for discussion.
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.
The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is recommended for kids 11+ on Common Sense Media. The only real warning for this one is that it’s pretty violent. “There are broken noses and bones, knocked-out teeth, and some deaths, guns, explosions, and car chases.”
This one feels a little more science fiction / fantasy than Dystopian but I think it still fits the bill of being recommended alongside the other titles.
Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it’s like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the “flock”–Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel–are just like ordinary kids–only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time…
The Maze Runner by James Dashner was made into a movie a few years ago so it might already be on your radar. Common Sense Media recommends this one for 13+ but kids and parents reviewing seem to agree on 12+.
It’s compared to Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games. Some consider this one more violent than The Hunger Games so you’ll want to use your judgement on what factor make the book age appropriate for your kids.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.
Have you read any of these? Do you agree with the age recommendations? Are there any books I missed that you would recommend?
I nabbed this book tag from, who else, Birdie Bookworm. She’s like my new favorite tag pimp. That’s a thing, right? Anyway this one is all about Nintendo (nerds, rejoice). I’ll be honest, I’ve only owned two of these systems but I’m familiar with the product line and ready to dig in!
NES (Nintendo Entertainment System):
A classic you want to read.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – I’m basically the worst English major in the world when it comes to the lengthy list of classics I haven’t read yet. I’ve really enjoyed the Dickens that I have read so this one seems like a natural choice. And I’ve had it on my Kindle for ages, so.
SNES (Super Nintendo):
A sequel you liked more than the first. (Can be a second book in a series.)
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson was the first book that came to mind because I remember thinking “Wow, I liked this one better than the first book and that almost never happens!” A quote from my review of the book adds, “Something in the writing felt fresher and tighter and it probably helps that I’d grown accustomed to the cast of characters. I also really loved Oliver – probably more than I’d liked Keith in book one.” I think the author was in such a good groove writing this one, but you definitely have to start with book one, no questions asked.
A book that revolutionized the way you look at the world.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult left a much bigger impression on me than I was expecting it to. It really got under my skin and surprised me in a lot of ways. This was a difficult book to read and a lot of the people in my book club that read it with me did not care for it but I’m glad I read it. I think I’m a better person for it – or at least a less naive person.
A popular book that did not go over so well with you.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater has a massive following and I think the blogiverse got my hopes up waaaaaay too high before I finally got a chance to read it. Something about the book kept me at arm’s length and I wasn’t able to really lose myself to the story. But to be fair, I didn’t dislike it nearly as much as I hated The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. So you can put the pitchforks away, promise.
A new favorite book.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows was the last book I loved so much that I started to get weird about it. You know the ones that you recommend so ferociously to people that they take a step back like they aren’t sure if maybe you are trying to sell them drugs or a Timeshare or something? Also why do so many of my favorite books have such preposterous premises. “It’s about Lady Jane Grey except not really and she falls in love with a horse – but it’s so romantic!”
Favorite graphic novel series or a series you want to start.
I haven’t read a ton of graphic novels but I really want in on this whole series of classic book given the graphic novel treatment. My first choice would probably be A Wrinke in Time by Madeline L’Engle. The artwork looks way too cool and I think it would be a fun way to share some of my favorite stories with my kids.
A character that you’d love to squish like a Goomba.
Jonathan Randall from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Just seeing the actor that portrays him in the miniseries, Tobias Menzies, sends me into a panicked frenzy. I’m so torn when it comes to this series because I loved so much of the first book / season and then that last scene with Jamie and Randall happened and I am basically scarred for life now. I’d like to squish that entire storyline like a Goomba.
A newer fantasy that you consider to be a modern classic.
The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer is such perfection. I could totally see it becoming a classic someday. Teenagers of the world would rejoice if this one became required reading. Book one is essentially a futuristic retelling of Cinderella and the series ends up retelling several classic fairy tales, weaving them all into an epic story of adventure and romance.
Favorite Sci-Fi novel or one you want to read.
The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey was such a good read. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started and I loved how the story seemed to kind of unfold itself as I read. The author did a great job of giving you just as much information as she wanted you to have as the story progressed. The characters were wonderfully fleshed out and the story lingered in my mind constantly throughout the day and probably will continue to do so for quite some time.
Book editions that you want to collect.
I’m kind of obsessed with the Puffin in Bloom collection of novels like Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I’ll be honest, pretty much any pretty edition of Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice makes me want to buy it immediately which is fairly ridiculous but true. I also frequently find myself wanting to buy updated editions of the Harry Potter series, especially the illustrated editions – gah, gorgeous.
A book with original characters.
I’ll be honest, I really want to mention The Lunar Chronicles again. I think her characters are incredibly well written. Another favorite worth mentioning is basically any book by Rainbow Rowell because she really fleshes out all of her characters to the point that they are living and breathing inside of your heart. My personal favorite is Fangirl but they are all incredible.
Favorite Nintendo game(s) or game.
I guess the Mario series in general but I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a big Nintendo fangirl. I like playing Smash Brothers with Dan and the kids but I’m such a button masher, I have no real skill at the game whatsoever. I just liked playing as Princess Peach.
I don’t like tagging people – but if you are reading this and it sounds super fun, then consider yourself tagged!
Something you might not know about me: I’ve been volunteering at my kids’ school this year as the 1st / 2nd Grade Librarian. Woah, I know. That sounds like a big job. Don’t worry, it’s a tiny private school so we’re talking about 16 children.
Something you probably do know about me: I love reading and I have a tendency to recommend books to everyone. It breaks my heart when my kids ignore a book recommendation because “Ew, mom recommended it. It’s probably lame.” When everyone knows I have excellent taste in books and I put a lot of thought into my recommendations.
But I get it. I was a kid once, too. I ignored book recommendations all the time because I was terribly busy consuming every Babysitter’s Club book ever written (and boy were there a lot of them!)
Anyway, every Monday I read the kids a story and then help them find a book to bring home. Sometimes they want my help, sometimes they don’t. After about a year of hanging out in the school library, I’ve gotten to notice some trends – a lot of the same series of books pop up over and over. I thought I’d take note and share my findings with you in case you have a 1st or 2nd grader of your own that needs a good book to read.
These are the books that consistently get checked out and devoured by the 1st and 2nd graders at our school:
The Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure Series (i.e. THEY HAVE MINECRAFT BOOKS!?!?): We just got these in this year and the kids are obsessed with them. These are a good bet for any kid reading small chapter books – and older kids that love Minecraft will probably enjoy them, too. These aren’t the Minecraft tutorial books, but actual stories written within the Minecraft universe. And there are several variations on this idea – go into any book store or book aisle and you’ll find some.
The Rainbow Magic series is massive and insanely popular at our school. There are a bazillion different types of fairies and the girls love looking for a fairy with their name or a name of someone they know. It’s a very time consuming search. These are great for your kids just dipping their toe into the chapter book universe.
The Eyewitness Books by DK are also extremely popular. No matter what your kid is interested in, DK seems to have a giant book all about it. The kids I read to spend a lot of time pouring over these books. They are an especially nice choice for kids who have kind of outgrown picture books but don’t have the patience for chapter books yet.
When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.
Note: If you are new to this series, make sure you start at the beginning: The Selection by Kiera Cass is where it all began. If you haven’t read the other books yet, I don’t recommend reading this review because spoilers.
You have been warned.
I hummed and hawed a long time before finally picking up the final book in The Selection series. I know I am not alone in my disappointment with book four, The Heir. How the daughter of America and Maxon could be so unlikeable was shocking. I think I actually took the blow of Eadlyn’s personality flaws better than a lot of readers, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read book 5 if there wasn’t going to be a lot of character growth, you know? So I put it off.
But this series is so addictive and I really wanted to know how it all turned out and eventually I fell into one of those reading slumps that can only be cured by a favorite fluffy series. A series that pulls you in and owns you until the last page. The Selection has always fit that bill.
I was so relieved to find that The Crown totally delivers that character growth that Eadlyn desperately needed. She comes out of her comfort zone, grows up a lot and even falls in love.
And here’s the honest truth: I think we all have a tendency to be a little self absorbed and oblivious to the actual world around us, especially as teenagers. And usually we grow out of it and start to notice the needs and feelings of the rest of the world. Eadlyn just happened to be extremely self absorbed and grew up in a life designed to spoil her and coddle those tendencies. So let’s be real – she’s pretty normal. She just lives in the spotlight and you know how we love to judge people in the spotlight.
If anything, this character flaw made for an extremely satisfying reading experience for the last book as we get to see her grow and mature when the stakes are high and blossom into a pretty awesome person. Add to this some family drama, some political intrigue and even better: a love story.
So if you are also sitting on the fence with this one, allow me to reassure you: it’s worth the read!