The 5 books that have Been on my TBR the longest.

This week’s prompt for Top 5 Tuesday is 5 books that have been on your TBR the longest. I look forward to seeing everyone’s lists for this prompt because so often we are all sharing the same assortment of titles that are hot on everyone’s radars. This prompt should give us all a broader peek at each other’s reading habits.

I’m actually sharing the 5 books which have been on my Amazon wishlist the longest because I don’t keep up with my GoodReads TBR list well at all and my physical bookshelves would be too difficult to gauge time spent on shelf waiting for me.

So here are the 5 books that have been on my Amazon wishlist the longest:

51lNQ4Rs0ALHit by Delilah Dawson is the oldest resident on my wishlist. The premise of this book is so unique and so compelling to me. I’m honestly not sure why I haven’t purchased this one yet:

No one reads the fine print.

The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that it was bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift and silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to Valor voicemail, they’re unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.

Patsy didn’t have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her own mother die?


51z70WYC6HLOnly Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill boasts a beautiful cover and a promising premise as well. I think the only reason I haven’t purchased this one yet because I have read similar sounding stories already:

Where women are created for the pleasure of men, beauty is the first duty of every girl. In Louise O’Neill’s world of Only Every Yours women are no longer born naturally, girls (called “eves”) are raised in Schools and trained in the arts of pleasing men until they come of age. Freida and Isabel are best friends. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year, they expect to be selected as companions–wives to powerful men. All they have to do is ensure they stay in the top ten beautiful girls in their year. The alternatives–life as a concubine, or a chastity (teaching endless generations of girls)–are too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty–her only asset–in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Freida must fight for her future–even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known.

51PdlbUdW8LMy Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster looks just as awesome as all of her other titles but I already have a backlog of her books that I still need to read so I haven’t been able to justify buying this one yet. I stalled out on the last Lancaster book I was reading and have had a hard time diving back into another one but this one sounds frankly awesome:

Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces.

In Jen’s corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing’s for certain: Eliza Doolittle’s got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option.


51ywRbniv+LThe Art of Memoir by Mary Karr has been on my radar for awhile and seems to be beloved by many writers and readers. I think the only reason I haven’t gotten it is because I already have lots of books on writing that I haven’t actually read. Do I need another?

For thirty years Karr has [taught the form of memoir writing], winning teaching prizes at Syracuse.  (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and “black belt sinner,” providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre.

Anchored by excerpts from her favorite memoirs and anecdotes from fellow writers’ experience, The Art of Memoir lays bare Karr’s own process. (Plus all those inside stories about how she dealt with family and friends get told— and the dark spaces in her own skull probed in depth.) As she breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate.


41D5jtC3TpLEssays of E.B. White was recommended by a blogger a few years ago and has been sitting on my wishlist ever since. I think it might be one of those books that I think I should want to read but I’m not sure if I actually do want to. Does that make sense?

The Amazon description for this book just says, “The classic collection by one of the greatest essayists of our time.” Compelling stuff there, huh? But E.B. White has written some of the best children’s books ever like  Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web and the book has some fairly glowing praises.

One of the reviews on Amazon says:

“What a delicious read. E B White makes a trip in his car an exciting adventure. His essays are full of humor. Life was more rustic. but not exactly calmer and White writes about his career, his family, his environment, his loves and dislikes. His style is so engaging. You go back to a prior time and enjoy the ride and the read.”

Another reviewer blamed the book for ruining college for them so… grain of salt?


These books have all been on my list for over two years. Does that mean I don’t really want to read them since I haven’t purchased them yet or that I really want to read them but they have been rude and haven’t gone on sale ever? It’s hard to say because I do prune the list relatively often when it starts feeling too long to be manageable and these five titles have continued to make the cut.

Have you read any of these?

Which one should I add to my shopping cart first?

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Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly link up hosted by Bionic Bookworm.

My 5 “Auto-Buy” Authors

You know those authors who come out with a new book and you know you are going to buy it pretty much sight unseen? That’s what this week’s Top 5 Tuesday (hosted by the Bionic Book Worm) is all about. I think this list has shifted for me a bit over the years as new authors grab my attention and maybe older authors have become less of a sure thing.

Here are 5 authors who are killing it for me right now:

16068905Rainbow Rowell won me over with Fangirl (which was so popular that it led to a spin off title of the book within the book that our main character is so obsessed with) but has been consistently winning me over with every title since then. Eleanor and Park is beloved by just about everyone and Attachments really sucked me in as well.

If you love fully fleshed out characters that feel like they live inside your heart, under dogs that make good, settings that  feel iconic to a certain time and place – Rowell is your girl. She has yet to not knock it out of the park for me making her an obvious choice for this list.

 


28372019Jenny Colgan is relatively new to the list but after devouring The Bookshop on the Corner, I pretty much immediately bookmarked all of her other books. Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe proved that this is an author that knows her genre and excels at it. She thus very quickly established herself as a sure thing for me.

If you like cozy love stories starring quiet bookworms who learn to love themselves while embarking on a new adventure or career, Colgan is there for you. If you happen to also love it when those stories are set in the UK, bonus points for you. These are the sort of quick reads that have you up until 2AM reading just one more page I swear and then purchasing the next title as soon as you finish.


book one of the Lunar ChroniclesMarissa Meyer jumped to my attention when I started reading The Lunar Chronicles and I’ve basically auto-TBRed all of her books forever. While her novel, Heartless, didn’t quite complete me, I’m still eager to read any and all of her upcoming books.

I love Meyers books for the strong female characters who kick butt and take names, fantastical world building and imperfectly perfect characters who have flaws without being a farce. Even her villains have the opportunity to be fleshed out and understood. She also excels at reinventing well known fairy tales and turning them on their heads.

 


11870085John Green is another author who frankly seems to excel at everything he touches whether it’s a novel or a You Tube show. It’s understandable that the people who love John, really freaking adore him. I think that The Fault in Our Stars is still probably my favorite of his books but I’ve read several and really have loved them all. I’m looking forward to digging into his latest release, Turtles All The Way Down.

John has a talent for tackling topics that are often depressing or difficult to talk about and bringing humor and levity to the issue without downplaying it. He also writes boyfriend characters that you will fall in love with and has his finger on the pulse of what it means to be a teenager.


16130417Lisa Lutz wrote one of my favorite mystery / detective series ever, The Spellman Files and although I didn’t love the last non-Spellman title I read quite as much, I still tend to wishlist all her new releases and wait with baited breath for a new Spellman title (might I be waiting eternally Lisa?).

Lutz is a master at family dynamics and juggling a rotating list of characters whose viewpoints into the story are carefully unfolded at just the right times. Her mysteries are exciting but rarely scary and tend to dwell more on personal growth and relationships but they are still excellent mysteries as you have to really read through the entire book until you get to the heart of the “whodunnit”. Her characters are realistically messy and have a bit of an anti-hero quality that really appeals to me.

Honorable Mentions go to: Jen Lancaster, Christopher Moore, Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Weiner who would definitely have been on this list once upon a time but have kind of dropped off of my “auto buy” list and relocated to my “definitely consider getting” list.

Who would be on your auto buy list?

9 of My Family’s Favorite Children’s Books

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I don’t think it’s any secret that our family loves to read. It’s a source of great pride that all four of us are “hiding under the cover with a flash light and a good book” kind of people. Perhaps the only thing I love more than reading a good book is finding other people a good book to read. So I thought I’d hop on a recent bandwagon of children’s book recommendations (Mommy Shorts has some great picks) and share with you some of our family favorites from the past ten years or so.

Board Books For Babies AKA The Books I Buy For Baby Showers

That’s Not My Bunny by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

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This is just one of like a dozen books by Usborne in which the reader flips through a series of bunnies (or dogs, cats, whatever) to find THEIR bunny. Each of the potential bunnies has a defining characteristic that you are encouraged to feel along the way. I love a good touch and feel book for the little ones and my kids were obsessed with this one. It’s a great first board book because there are not too many words, plenty of repetition and lots of bunnies to pet. Way easier than the petting zoo.

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen

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This is one of those books I have a tendency to buy for baby showers. It’s a delight to read out loud which is basically my number one requirement for children’s books. If I feel like I need to paraphrase to get through story time without losing my mind, you aren’t doing it right. This books nails it – it’s got that sweet spot of enough words to not feel brain numbingly simple but not so many that story time needs a glass of wine to get through. Which isn’t to say you can’t have a glass of wine, you just won’t need it to get through page one.

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman

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This was one of the few books that I managed to enjoy even after the 800th reading. My son could not get enough of this gorilla and his antics and just how clueless the zoo keeper is. It’s a very visual book so young non-readers will understand what’s going on before you even start reading but the words are good, too. Another well rounded winner for reading out loud.

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss

51+BkXslZSL._SX367_BO1,204,203,200_I’ll be honest, this might be the only Dr. Seuss book that doesn’t make me want to run screaming for the hills. Most of his books have that “I need a glass of wine after the first page” quality but this one is awesome and everyone loves it. I fall into a rhythm with this one and still love reading it to babies now. I have the voices and cadence down and get annoyed when other people read it because they don’t do the sound effects right. Yes, I know, I’m a lot.

 

Picture Books You’ll Love More Than Your Kids

We Are In a Book by Mo Willems

51YSqwj-U2L._SX363_BO1,204,203,200_Mo Willems is basically a master of children’s literature and his Piggie and Elephant series is the one you need in your life when your kids start learning to read. There are like a dozen of them and they are all fantastic but this one is my favorite.

Your kids will laugh out loud as you read this to them – it’s one of those stories where the reader kind of becomes a character which is always makes for a lot of laughs. And the repetition is just the right amount to help with beginning readers but not so much that you find yourself dying inside as you read it.

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman

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This is the first in a series of books about Lulu or Ladybug Girl. The illustrations are stunningly beautiful and kind of turn me into a puddle of emotions. This series captures childhood in a way that is remarkable to me and I have a tendency to gush about it.

This book has a tendency to bring out my inner child and makes for a very impactful story time.

 

The Monster At The End of This Book by Jon Stone and Mike Smollin

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Is there anyone alive who doesn’t love this book? My kids still get a kick out of this story. Heck, I still get a kick out of this story which I remember reading when I was a kid (like a few years ago). It’s kind of similar to the Piggie and Elephant books in the way they play with the fourth wall, bringing the reader into the story. The illustrations are awesome and you will hear Grover’s voice in your head when you are reading it (bonus points if you can pull off a good Grover voice out loud while reading it to your kids).

This one wins the nostalgia for days award in addition to just being an excellent book.

Literally Any Berenstain Bears book

61NKiO9R64LAny time I have some kind of life lesson or milestone that I’m trying to solidify for my kids, I have a tendency to turn to the Berenstain Bears because they have a book for literally any life situation from eating too much candy to talking to strangers to welcoming a new baby into the family. But they never really feel like one big long lecture full of bears. I loved this series as a kid and I’m so thrilled that my kids enjoyed it as much as I did.

I also love their easy reader series and highly recommend it to beginning readers.

Or Little Critter book

61H3NZ5BQ8L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_My kids love this series, too. I think we have one for every major holiday and I loved All By Myself because I think literally every kid in the universe can relate to this and every parent remembers this phase vividly. The illustrations are so sweet. I love looking to see what the mouse is doing on each page.

What are some of your family’s favorite children’s books?

Top 5 Tuesday: Characters I’d Rule the World With

Top 5 Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Bionic Book Worm, and it explores a different bookish topic each week! The theme this week is:

I was immediately intrigued by this prompt. Because Winter is coming, my first choice is a no brainier. I’m going to need Dany (and her dragons obvy). And also Tyrion for good measure and to keep Dany in check. Fire power, bad assery and diplomacy. Check.

Next I need an incredible warrior with something resembling a moral code. I choose Caelena Sardothian from the Throne of Glass series. She’s probably the most kick ass warrior I’ve encountered in a story.

So I’ve got a fighter, a diplomat and a mother of dragons. Now I need a sharp mind with a passion for knowledge. Someone who knows her shit and knows where to find information when we need it. Obviously that has to be Hermione Granger.

Lastly, we need an optimist and a voice of the people. Someone who won’t get caught up in their agenda and will remind us who we are fighting for. Someone with a cool head who knows how to handle people in a tizzy. We need Jane Bennet.

What do you think? How are my odds looking? Will we be victorious or go down in flames? Who would you pick?

Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice vs. The Scarlet Letter

I’ve been on a graphic novel kick lately and my most recent discovery is this line of Manga Classics which I discovered through NetGalley. You might remember from my recent post that I’ve been having mixed results with classics turned graphic novel. I liked some but found others lacking. It’s hard to really convey the full emotion and essence of a story in graphic novels without them being mammoth beasts. But manga seems like a different beast altogether and I was curious to give them a try.

If you are new to Manga, the most important thing you need to know is that the books are read basically entirely backwards from how you are familiar. The first page is going to be what you consider the last page and even the way you read each page is different. This image from Manga Classics does a great job explaining this:

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So for my first Manga experience I decided to read my all time favorite book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Being my favorite book could be setting an unfairly high bar for this edition but to be honest I’m kind of obsessed with reinterpretations of Pride and Prejudice. All the movies and tv series, modern adaptations like Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and especially the youtube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. So really, all this book had to do was not be terrible.

To say I was not disappointed would be an understatement. I loved the artwork – the story drifts between lush, beautiful portraits and quirky even more cartoonish asides with fun sketches thrown in. It feels like a true lover of Jane Austen developed this – it’s playful but attentive to every detail. The book does an excellent job of fleshing out all the emotions of the story through varied artistic styles to fit the mood and the illustrator is a pro at making extremely expressive facial features.

It also doesn’t feel overly abridged. I think it did a good job of paying homage to the original and may even be a leaping off point to get people to pick up the original book afterwards or other books by Austen. Any road to Austen is a good road!

My Rating: 5/5


Next I decided to be really bold and attempt reading the Manga Classics edition of The Scarlet Letter, one of my least favorite books of all time basically. Like anyone who has spoken to me about books for more than 5 seconds probably knows how I feel about good ole Hawthorne.

So in reading this version, I wanted to find out if I’d be able to appreciate the story more in a graphic and abridged version or if I’d even finish it at all. Could the manga format make Nathaniel Hawthorne bearable?

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Bearable, yes. I even finished it. The artwork continues to be stunning and very emotive and because of the nature of the book there are no never ending passages describing nothing in particular making me want to throw the book over a cliff.

Was this book a super fun read? Definitely not. It’s a pretty depressing story tbh and also kinda creepy. I think this is probably what Hawthorne was going for and having actually finished the story finally I understand why it’s required reading at a lot of schools. There are important ideas being considered in this story – but Hawthorne is so stupid boring that I never even got to them in high school. Or maybe my teacher was boring? Who knows. Either way, a graphic version of this story went a long way with me. I could SEE the story being told and understand what was going on.

My Rating: 3/5 stars but those 3 stars are earned entirely by the Manga Classics peeps. Without them it would continue to be a 0/5.


I think Manga Classics could be an awesome addition to a high school reading curriculum. The kids that are just not breaking through with the original might really benefit from a more visual format and these editions are excellent. Even the kids who are already inhaling Austen like it ain’t no thang would probably enjoy experiencing it in another format as well. It’s a great opportunity to compare and contrast and possibly more timely than BBC adaptations, awesome as they are.

Do you read manga? Do you have a favorite?

What’s your favorite classic novel?

Least favorite?

The Book Titles Tag.

Birdie Bookworm tagged me in this Book Titles tag. This one is a little different from most book tags – the idea is to answer questions about yourself using only book titles. Fun right?

Here is a link the original creators – I guess it was originally a Youtube tag:
https://youtu.be/I5_S1KGTd-w & https://youtu.be/Lb97dfiBLf4

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1. Title that’s the story of your life

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My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella felt ideal for this one as I tend to exist in a constant state of self deprecation. I know that on the whole I live a pretty good life but nobody’s life is perfect, definitely not mine.


2. Title that describes your perfect weekend

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I’m pretty sure my perfect weekend involves traveling to some slightly exotic locale near the water and of course coffee. The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan – an author who seems very tapped into my particular breed of wanderlust.


3. Title of an adventure you’d like to go on

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Ha, are you sensing a theme here? The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell sounds pretty incredible. If my husband ever wanted to go live in a European country for a year, I’d definitely be down for that.


4. Title you want to name your child

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First, let me be clear – I do not intend to have any more children, at all. That phase of my life has passed. But in the name of playing along, Anna seems like a name that would make my short list. I’m all about traditional names as evidenced by the names of my actual children. Birdie used a Stephanie Perkins book for this question also, so, twinsies.


5. Title of your ideal job

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I’m not sure what my ideal job is these days but I’m guessing I’m unqualified for it. Travel writer, small town librarian, professional coffee drinker? Executive Netflix watcher?


6. Title of a place you’d like to visit

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See, I told you. Jenny Colgan gets me. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris = I want to go to there.


7. Title of your love life

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This seems like kind of a dark choice in books to describe my love life. Let me be clear, I’m referring to the title only and not the plot of Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill (which sounds fantastic if not remotely romantic).


8. Questions you ask yourself

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LOL What Happened by Hillz seemed fitting because aren’t we all wondering but honorable mention should go to:

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How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk because the struggle is real.


9. Title of a kingdom you want to rule OR name

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The Kingdom of Neverwhere – doesn’t that sound like a book you’d want to read? I grew up near a city named Ware which was obviously the pun of many jokes so this feels apropos.


10. Title you’d name your band.

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Renegades by Marissa Meyer is so clearly the perfect band name. Also I can’t wait for this book to come out.


11. What is your current mood?

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I stayed up too late last night and have yet to feel truly awake today. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster pretty much sums up my motivation level today.


12. What is your favorite color?

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Yeah I’ll be honest, I chose this one because there’s a color in the title. I’ve heard good things about Red Rising by Pierce Brown – have you read it? Or red it? lol


13. How do you feel about 2017 so far?

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I think a lot of us feel like 2017 has been spent dealing with the fallout from 2016.


14. Where do you want to travel?

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I’m running out of books that adequately describe my wanderlust guys. I had to dip out of my Amazon wish list for this one and also basically rip off Birdie’s answer but it is true. I want to see everything. Everything. (PS I just watched the movie Sunday night and it was soooo good)


15. What are your summer plans?

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Yeah summer pretty much has ended here. My kids have already been back in school for a week and we are counting down those last days of August.


16. What are your 2017 goals?

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Yeah my goals for the rest of the year consist almost entirely of volunteering at my kids’ school in various capacities. Just add in exercise and eat some green things.

TAG

I tag the people who read this entire post.

The Best Books My Eight Year Old Read This Summer | Video Review

My kids basically read the entire public library this summer and they have a lot of feels about it that I thought you might enjoy. I made these video reviews starring my eight year old because her recaps are so cute they basically begged to be recorded. And then edited a tad to cut out some of the umms and uhhhs and staring blankly at the camera bits. And given a snazzy postorized effect because anything starring my daughter should probably more colorful than seems necessary.

BB fell in love with the world of graphic novels this summer so it is not very surprising that her two favorites are both from that section.

6389496Pigling is a graphic novel Cinderella story by Dan Jolley and Anne Timmons but it definitely stands on its own as a unique tale.

Pear Blossom, a young Korean girl, leads a happy life … until her mother dies and her father remarries. Her new wicked stepmother and stepsister make Pear Blossom the victim of their cruelty. But … one day, the girl meets a handsome magistrate. Will Pear Blossom’s luck change for the better? Or is she destined to suffer at her stepfamily’s hands forever?

This was just one of the incredible graphic novelized renditions of a classic tale that we found and devoured this summer. You can read my thoughts on a few more here.

Here are all of my daughter’s thoughts about Pigling:


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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by  Katie Cook and Andy Price stars those ponies that you are probably already a little familiar with. Just in case you are not well versed in all things My Little Pony though…

Welcome to Ponyville, home of Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and all your other favorite Ponies! Something’s not right in the town though, as some of the inhabitants are acting very, very strange! It’s up to the Mane Six to find the source of the weirdness before it’s too late!

And if your darling enjoys this one, don’t worry as there are many more books that follow it.

Here’s what my eight year old has to say about this one:


What books are your kids reading right now?

What book should my daughter read next?

The Best Book I Read This Summer | And 2 More Books Worth Mentioning

What’s the best thing you’ve read this summer? Jo asked this question on her blog recently and although I answered her in the comments section, I decided it was a question that deserved its own post here. I know you are always looking for a good book recommendation – it’s what makes us kindred spirits, after all.

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This summer I finally read Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas after it was recommended to me by basically everyone. Maas is kind of a big name in young adult literature but she has basically a thousand books and I was having a hard time remembering which one I was supposed to read but I finally got my ‘ish together and got a copy of TOG and found a moment in between book club picks to see what the fuss was all about.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

This book completely sucked me in and I totally get why so many people love it. I loved all of the characters, especially Calaena, and was so invested in the story. The best part is that it’s part of a well established series so there are plenty more books to OMG my way through.

There are a small handful of books that I find myself borderline pushing on people when we talk books – perhaps I’ve all but thrown Cinder by Marissa Meyer or anything by Rainbow Rowell your way? This is your newest assigned reading in the People Who Can Be Book Friends With Jen Club.

Okay so we’ve established that I’m obsessed with this book but I read a few other winners this summer that I think are worth mentioning if you need one more book to curl up with this summer (or fall, I’m not picky).


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If you are looking for a book that will combine a futuristic society, virtual reality and absolutely every cult classic from the 1980’s and throw in a good old love story to boot – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is there for you.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be … And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the easter egg / ultimate lottery ticket hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday before his death – that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

This one is being turned into a movie that I’m not sure if I’m excited for or dreading but if you want to experience the book first now is your chance.


28372019If you want a sweet story that’s as old as time ; you know the one – bookworm loses job and decides to move to the middle of nowhere in Scotland to sell books out of a van – then The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan is exactly what you need right now.

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker… Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more… Determined to make a new life for herself, [she] buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile…. From helping her [new] grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

It has absolutely nothing to do with You’ve Got Mail (sorry) but don’t let that minor disappointment stop you from picking it up because it’s an otherwise fantastic story. It’s the perfect cure for a case of summertime wanderlust and it’s basically a book lover’s dream.

What’s the best book you’ve read this summer?

3 Graphic Novel Classics: Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre and A Wrinkle in Time

There is a new fad these days that is combining the world of graphic novel with the world of classic literature. Some seem to be more successful than others. My kids have been all about graphic novels this summer and I joined them in the genre with two graphic novel classics. I’m sharing my thoughts on those as well as one that my son read below.


I recently saw this cute edition of Anne of Green Gables: a graphic novel by Mariah Marsden and Brienna Thurmier on NetGalley and couldn’t resist requesting a copy. I am a sucker for Anne Shirley so I was pretty sure it was right up my alley.

I’m of mixed minds on this one so I’ll give you a pro and con list:

PROS

  • The landscape illustrations are gorgeous and feel very Anne inspired.
  • The book goes further than a lot of other adaptations do, all through Anne’s year at teaching school which I’ve noticed other adaptations don’t always cover.
  • It gets a lot of things right. The emotion is there and the overall essence of Anne.

That said…

CONS

  • I didn’t care for the illustrations of the people in the story at all, especially the noses which seemed weird to me.
  • The pacing of the book felt very fast. I understand that a graphic novel cannot convey as much inner dialogue as a regular book but I felt like Anne’s life flew by in a blur and a lot of the heart of the story and some of the smaller plots were left behind.
  • I’m not convinced that a reader new to Anne Shirley would fall in love in quite the same way as experiencing Anne of Green Gables in its original format. But if reading this graphic novel or another adaption can lure them into the original then I suppose that would be worth it!

Overall: Some Anne is better than No Anne (3/5)


I found this copy of Jane Eyre in the graphic novel section the library and decided to give it a try. I’ve tried reading the novel a few times but stalled through the rather dreary beginning.

I cannot attest to how well this compares to the original. I would not be shocked to hear others give similar feedback to my impressions of Anne of Green Gables above. But I actually finished this, which is more than I can say for the original.

I liked the artwork a lot – the characters are well drawn and feel authentic to their personalities. The scenes are rather lush and dreamy or gloomy when gloomy is called for (which is often tbh). I still found the story rather dreary but the graphic novel version allowed me to plow through a bit faster and get to the good stuff. I think you could consider this a decent Cliff’s Notes version of the real thing.

Overall: Beautiful artwork, decent Cliff’s Notes (4/5)


I didn’t actually read this one but I’m anxious to. My son devoured this graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and then would not stop talking about it. He’s now working on book two of the series in actual book form. SO, here’s what we know through subtle observation:

  • The artwork is pretty darn cool. This I know from peering over his shoulder.
  • It’s also longer than a lot of the other graphic novel classics I’ve seen so it might do a better job telling the full story. Just a guess.
  • It sucked in the attention of my 11 year old and he didn’t want to do anything but read it once he picked it up.
  • Even better – it successfully lured him into reading the next book despite it being a boring old paperback. I call that a successful mission.

Overall: A rousing success in this momma’s opinion but I still haven’t read it myself so I can’t grade the book only my momma bear satisfaction which is a definite 5/5! 


Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What graphic novel should I try next?

What classic would you like to see turned into a graphic novel?

Norse Mythology Book Tag

 

Birdie Bookworm tagged me for this Norse Mythology book tag that looked too fun to pass up. If you love books and/or Norse mythology def. keeping reading. And make sure you check out Birdie’s blog for more bookish fun. She’s one of my fave book tag suppliers and terrific in general.


The Rules:

  • Link back to the original post on Kyera’s Library so she can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, I don’t get notified if you just tag my URL)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wonderful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

ODIN – Favorite Standalone

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse Gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine, and war, among other things.

10515068This one was kinda hard because most of my favorite books are actually part of a series or at least have a sequel of some kind. I decided to go with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because it was a stand alone story to the author even if countless people have added their own take on the material.

So many love stories take their cues from Pride and Prejudice – it’s been rewritten intentionally and unintentionally for an incredibly long time and even though it was written so long ago and shows up on school required reading lists, etc. It’s actually 100% deserving of the hype.


THOR – A Book that Hits You in the Feels

Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms, so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful Lady Sif.

15749186To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is basically all feels all the time. If you need a feel good chicken soup for the soul style love story that is fresh and relevant – Jenny Han is the girl for you. She’ll take you on an emotional roller coaster that you won’t really want to disembark from at all.

This is a YA love story but it’s also about family and growing up and the main character cooks so much good food that you will be starving basically the entire time you are reading.

Good news: It’s the first in a series and the newest book just came out this year.


LOKI – Biggest Book Plot Twist or Character Betrayal

Loki is the god of mischief, thieves and thrives on chaos.

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This might seem like an odd selection for this category if you haven’t read the book yet but I’m guessing that anyone who has read it is nodding their head with me right now going, “Seriously. Did not see that coming.”

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a sweet YA love story starring a girl who is literally allergic to everything and basically living that bubble girl life until a new book moves in next door and shit goes down.

It’s supremely well written and a seriously fast read because you will be unwilling to put it down once you start.


FRIGG – OTP (One True Pairing)

Frigg is Odin’s wife, the goddess of love, marriage, fertility, and fate.

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Anne and Gilbert for the win. Honestly Elizabeth and Darcy would work well here, too, but I already talked about Pride and Prejudice so I figured it would only be fair to talk about one of my other fave couples of all book-time. Of course they are basically babies in Anne of Green Gables (or, you know, tweenagers) but over the course of L.M. Montgomery’s series they seriously come to define #relationshipgoals

I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables until I was a grown assed woman so I’m here to tell you it’s never too late if you haven’t read it yet. I get just as much out of this story as a mom to a precocious daydreaming girlie as I did when I was a tweenie myself.


HEIMDALL – Favorite Second Book in a Series

Heimdall is the god of loyalty, faithfulness and he is who protects the bi-frost, the bridge that connects all nine worlds.

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Pretties is book two in a series by Scott Westerfeld. You want to read Uglies first. This series came out twelve years ago and seems to be more of a cult favorite than a global phenomenon but if you like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Lunar Chronicles, etc. then this series will definitely be up your alley.

In a world where ugliness is literally cured on your sixteenth birthday with an operation that will make you – you guessed it, pretty – things are of course not all that they seem.

This series absolutely sucked me in from the get go and book two holds up just as well as the first. It’s iconic dystopian and heartbreaking at times but soooo good.


SIF – Most Beautiful Book Cover

Lady Sif is known for her beautiful golden tresses, although she is also the goddess of the harvest and is married to Thor.

the selection by kiera cass

I read a lot of pretty books but The Selection series by Kiera Cass have some of my favorite covers. This is another great series for fans of YA Dystopian. It’s kind of a blend of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor and it is seriously so addictive.

Follow America Singer who is rather reluctantly taking part in a competition to win the crown prince’s hand in marriage for the sake of her family. Love triangles, political intrigue, fancy ballgowns and gossip for days. This is a book to lose yourself in on a long summer day.


FREY – Book/Series that Makes You Happy

Frey is the Lord of weather, god of light, summer, master of agriculture, fertility, and brother of Freya.

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My daughter discovered The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin last year in the form of these new graphic novels and I have to admit they are adorable. It pains me a little that she’s mostly only interested in the graphic novel versions that are out right now but I get over that when we get to talk about which Babysitter we love the most and which one we relate to the most, etc. My darling girl has declared Dawn as her favorite. I always loved Claudia but I’m a total Mary Anne.

I cannot wait until she starts diving into the rest of the series which should keep her pretty busy what with there being over 100 of them.


FREYA – Favorite Book Setting

Freya is the goddess of love and beauty, fertility, war, wealth and growth, and sister of Frey.

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I mean, really, who amongst us doesn’t want to go to Hogwarts? The Harry Potter universe has been one of my favorite places to escape to for a very long time now. I love this illustrated edition of the first book – it is absolutely stunning. And a bit cheaper than going to the Harry Potter world at Universal or flying to London.

For the record, I’ve long considered myself a Ravenclaw though occasionally I have Hufflepuff tendencies. How about you?


TYR – Favorite Book with a Big Upheaval/Epic Fight Scene

Tyr is the god of war.

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I just read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas recently so the big throw down at the end is still pretty vivid in my mind. I am extremely anxious to return to the series but I’m in Book Club Mode right now so it will have to wait along with all of the other books that I am extremely anxious to read (I won’t lie, it’s a long list).

This is the first book in a series about an 18 year old assassin who is released from a prison sentence early by the crown prince but only if she agrees to enter a competition to become the king’s champion and royal assassin.


ULLER – Character Death that Affected You the Most

Uller is the god of death, winter, archery and hunting.

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I know I already mentioned Harry Potter but seriously were any of us okay after this book? I won’t even say the words on the off chance that you haven’t read the series (who even are you?) though I’m guessing the rest of the Internet wouldn’t be as kind.

I recommend this series with every fiber of my being but I won’t lie and say that it won’t break your heart a few times.


NJORD – Favorite Book that’s an Epic Journey on Water/Ocean Setting

Njord is the god of the wind and the sea.

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Okay I know this one is a serious stretch but I don’t read a lot of books that fit this category. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple definitely involves an epic journey and a cruise ship is involved.

It’s also an Epistolary novel which means it’s written in the form of letters, emails, etc. rather than in a traditional narrative form. Sometimes this format is terrible but occasionally it is awesome. I think this one falls more in the line of awesome.

It’s about a SAHM who basically loses all of her cool about living that suburban soccer mom life and disappears. Her family has to go through her online correspondences to figure out what happened and where she went. Funnier than it should be and relatable if absurd.


VALKYRIE – Favorite Strong Female Character

The Valkyries, much like the Amazons, are strong female warriors.

book one of the Lunar Chronicles

There is literally no other appropriate answer to this question. Like it would be a crime against humanity not to say Cinder and all the other leading characters of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you are looking for kick ass female characters to root for, this series is here for you.

I am starting to feel less silly telling people that they need to read this book about a cyborg Cinderella who goes on to team up with other fairy tale characters that are totally futuristic dystopian retellings of stories you thought you knew really well. But everyone I have recommended this amazing series to has loved it so I recommend it in full earnestness now: YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING.


AESIR/VANIR – Favorite Book “Crew”

The Aesir and the Vanir are the two groups of Norse gods, believed to be the old and new gods.

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In addition to some of the other great series I’ve already mentioned that feature an incredible cast of characters (Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles), My Lady Jane was written by a great book crew –  Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. And it features a pretty stellar group of characters. Everytime I thought I knew who I was rooting for, the authors would add in more people whom I absolutely wanted nothing but good things for.

If Cinder seemed like an odd book to recommend to people, brace yourself. Because now I have to tell you that you absolutely must read this historical retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey who is married off to a stranger, briefly the Queen of England, and also falls in love with a horse. Okay only some of those things actually happen. Or do they?


SEIPYRTS – Favorite Sidekick (Non-Human Character)

Seipyrts is Odin’s trusty eight legged steed, yes you heard that correctly – eight legs.  I promise that he is the god’s horse companion and not a giant spider that he rides around on… although that would probably strike more fear in the hearts of his enemies than a pretty horse does.

29772863So I convinced you to read The Lunar Chronicles and you were there for it but then the series ended and now you are feeling a little angsty and aren’t sure what to do with yourself. Good news! Meyers wrote a graphic novel continuation called Wires and Nerve that picks up where the final book left off and it stars our favorite android sidekick, Iko.

This is a super quick read that lovers of the original series will probably really enjoy but if you haven’t read the O.S. then you might be confused and not get much out of it. So start at the beginning like a good little doobie. I promise it’s worth it.

Wires and Nerve is going to help you scratch that itch that just wants to live in the world of The Lunar Chronicles forever. You’ll get to see what everyone is up to and also SEE them for basically the first time. And there is a second one coming out in 2018 so maybe this never has to end?


TAG YOU’RE IT

I’m a filthy little rule breaker and don’t feel like tagging people today but if you read this whole post then you are definitely tagged. If you skimmed through it to see if you were tagged then you are tagged but please go read the post, too. Then leave a comment with your favorite YA novel that I didn’t mention yet.