Categories
books & reading

The 5 Books from Owl Crates Past That I Want To Read Next

Confession time: I have too many books. I know, this is a shocking revelation. Despite my efforts to keep my book collection in check, there always seems to be more books coming in than getting read. This afternoon I decided to look through all of the Owl Crate books that I’ve received over the last two years that I haven’t read yet.

My goal was to see which books I should donate, which books I want to read soon, and whether I want to continue subscribing to their service in the future. As much as I love getting books and bookish goodies in the mail, it’s only worth it if the books are good, right?

I gathered all of the books onto my bed and read the first couple of pages of each book. Initially I was going to read the first chapter of each book but there were simply too many to go through.

Photographic Evidence Of My Ridiculous Situation:

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Seriously guys, what is wrong with me? At first I looked at this stack and thought, “Hmmm… if I’m really not going to read these books, maybe I need to reevaluate this situation.” But after flipping through the first few pages of each of them I was pleased to find that I am genuinely interested in reading almost all of them! Seriously there were only 3 or 4 that I’m thinking of just donating outright and that’s because I tried to be picky.

If anything, this little experiment just showed me how much I need to commit myself to reading more of the books I already own. I’m not going to tell you that I won’t buy any new books next year. I know I won’t actually commit to that goal. But I am planning to keep better track of how many books I’m buying in an effort to reign it in a bit. And yes, I definitely think it’s time to work on that huge pile of books up there.

I thought I’d share with you the five books that I found most compelling. They are pretty diverse in terms of genre and a nice glimpse into the types of YA books you might expect to receive from Owl Crate if you were thinking of subscribing. (BT Dubs, this is not a sponsored post, just thought I’d share my findings after an afternoon of attempted book purging).

5 Books I Got From Owl Crate that I Haven’t Read Yet But Want To Read Soon

33275690Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills | December 2017 Crate (an unboxing post from Beach Bookworm)

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.“

This one sounds so cute! I’m not even sure I flipped through the description of this one at all when it came. I’m guessing I was in the thick of Christmas prep and got distracted and just shoved it on my bookshelf. To be fair, as pretty as the cover is, I don’t really feel like it does enough to draw the reader in. I wonder if it ties into the story in some way?

31931941Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | May 2017 Crate (unboxing post from Pretty Geekery)

“In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.”

I’m honestly a little ashamed by how long I’ve had this book and still haven’t read it. The premise is completely right up my alley. It feels very Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell but with illustrations. I’m going to make it my mission to read this in 2019.

C1400929_1-1.pdfThe Apprentice Witch by James Nicol | Owl Crate Jr August 2017 (unboxing post from YAY OMG)

“Arianwyn has flunked her witch’s assessment: She’s doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch– much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.

But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her.”

This one actually came in an Owl Crate Jr. box, but it sounds awesome. I subscribed to Owl Crate Jr. over the summer in 2017 and 2018 as a fun reading incentive for the kids and the books were awesome. I seem to have commandeered this one and then never got around to reading it – whoops! Even bigger whoops because the first few pages were great and the premise sounds right up my alley and probably the kids’ alleys as well.

26032825.jpgThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black | January 2018 Crate (unboxing post from All Booked)

“Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.”

The first few pages of this book honestly should have been enough to make me put off reading this book indefinitely – the girls’ parents are murdered within the first three pages. This is the kind of thing that usually constitutes a write off for me. But there were clearly mystical elements at play and I was left with lots of questions. Plus it’s written by Holly Black so I’m there for it.

36070854The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | August 2017 Crate (unboxing post from Coffee, Cocktails and Books)

“When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.”

The premise for this one wasn’t really what grabbed me. It actually took reading the first few pages for me to get on board. I like the author’s writing style – it’s very conversational and I found myself flipping even farther into the first chapter than I’d originally set out to. A solid start.

Have you read any of these books? Which one should I read first?

Categories
books & reading family fun printable summer reading

Summer Reading 2018: Choose Your Own Adventure (Free Printable)

A couple of years ago I started making summer reading challenges for my kids because I found the programs at the library a little lacking / redundant for a family of bookworms. My kids don’t need encouragement to read in the summer so keeping track of pages and titles seemed unnecessarily tedious for us and not really a challenge tbh. No shade, I think the programs are a great idea for kids who need that encouragement, it just wasn’t my jam personally.

This was back in 2016 – I read this post at Kate’s blog and was like YES. I had to copycat and create a challenge for my own kids – and thus our Summer Reading Bingo was born. It went over really well with my kids. You can steal mine or make your own if you want – just click this link.

Last year I felt the need to simplify the challenge because of a particularly busy summer and probably just because I like change. So I made a summer reading challenge that fit on a bookmark! This was great for a busy summer and my kids loved it, too. Again, feel free to go steal that one if you need something super quick.

This year, I continue to need to shake things up because I have too much time on my hands or something. I was thinking about those Choose Your Own Adventure novels from when I was a kid  – did you love them, too? I was also thinking about how sometimes kids need to feel like they are in control – they don’t want to be told what to read or even what genres to read. We all like to make our own choices, right?

And so, I present to you our reading challenge for 2018:

I’m pretty excited and just in case you are hoping to shake up your summer reading, too – feel free to steal my idea – you can right click and save this or make your own in a word document – or picmonkey.com, my fave place to make cute graphics. (This isn’t some sneaky sponser post btw – they have no idea who I am, I’m just sharing and caring like that.)

Do you do summer reading challenges with your kids?

Categories
books

Book Review: My Lady Jane

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My Lady Jane by coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Page Count: 512 (hardcover)

Published: June 7, 2016

I read a lot of books. Some of them I really enjoy, some of them I have to kind of drag myself through for one reason or another. Other books literally consume me from start to finish and I find myself gushing to people about them any chance I can get and I get a little foot stampy until they promise me they will read them. My Lady Jane was one of those books. You may think you know the tragically short story of Lady Jane Grey, but I promise you this book will surprise and delight.

5 Signs This Is a 5 Star Read

  1. It took me only a handful of days to read it despite it’s 500+ page count. I’d say on the whole it takes me about 2 weeks to read a 250-300 page book and I finished this one in about a week.
  2. I read it when I probably should have been reading my book club’s pick for the month. It was so good I couldn’t help myself once I’d peeked inside. It definitely turned me into a book junkie staying up way past my bedtime so I could finish just one more chapter. This was one of those books with so many funny lines and OMG moments that necessitated waking up my sleeping husband so I could dish on what had just happened. I’m sure he loved that.
  3. When I first got the book (through OwlCrate) I stood in the kitchen pouring over every inch of the dust jacket and squealing with delight. Most of my favorite books seem to have those 8 million little details lurking around the outside of the book, letting you know that the author and publisher was just as giddy about the book as you are about to be.
  4. I need a good character to root for and this book gave me at least five of them along with two relationships to ship. I was a little bit concerned after reading the first few chapters because I genuinely loved Jane, Edward and Gifford and I really wanted them to all have a happy ending but wasn’t sure how that was possible. Even the fact that some of the people involved occasionally turn into horses and other less than kissable creatures didn’t deter me rooting for them from page 1 to 512 and I wasn’t disappointed.
  5. There are a lot of elements to this story that sound a little absurd when you say them out loud but when you put them all together magic happens. Fiances turn into horses sometimes. Girls are basically old maids by sixteen and sometimes get married to people they have never met. The book starts out as a historical fiction novel, then goes kind of science fantasy, then goes completely off the rails but somehow ends up back in historical fiction territory as long as you ignore all the middle bits. Everyone manages to fall in love with the right person by the end and the moral of the story seems to be listen to your heart and all your problems will  go away. But despite a really crazy premise and a lot of characters to get to know, it all totally comes together and works and you do the rooting and by the end of it you kind of wish it were a true story. Horses and all.

Have you read this one yet? What did you think?

What’s the last 5 star book you fell in love with?

Categories
books & reading

3 Day Quote Challenge: On Reading

Go Mama O challenged me to a 3 Day Quote Challenge. The rules are stupid simple: Just post a favorite quote for 3 consecutive days and nominate three others to do the same!

For Today’s post, I’m sharing a quote from John Green about the evangelical impulse that we readers sometimes have when it comes to our favorite books. Tell me you can’t relate to this:

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Categories
books top ten tuesday

Ten Reasons I Love Rainbow Rowell

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s prompt is… Ten Reasons you love “X”.

I wasn’t sure which author to base my top ten list off of so I started this post by trying to write ten things I loved about several authors like Jane Austen and Jasper Fforde and then I got to Rainbow Rowell and the list started to come more naturally and I knew I could get to ten things easily. Once I started reading old interviews with her, my list far exceeded ten things.

Rowell has quickly became a trusted entity for me. I have loved all the books I’ve read of hers to the point where I don’t even question whether or not to read her books now. They are Must Reads by default. Here are ten reasons why:

  1. She understands the heart of socially anxious girls everywhere. AKA me. Her characters are just the right amount of broken in a way that makes them feel real and easy to relate to and root for.
  2. She fangirls all over the place just like the rest of us. “I’ve always been a very fannish person. When I like something, I usually love it, and when I love something, I CAN’T GET ENOUGH.
  3. My fave novel of hers, Fangirl, was originally a Nanowrimo project! I love that this massively successful author has experienced the joys and frustrations of National Novel Writing Month just like the rest of us and actually made something amazing with it.
  4. Her take on YA literature: “A lot of people look at something popular, and they’re dismissive of it because they don’t understand it. If you think YA is simple, you probably haven’t read a lot of it. But YA is not a genre. It’s just this really loosely defined category of books. If YA had always been this popular category, a lot of books we think of as classics would be YA. The Catcher in the Rye? Without question.”
  5. Her response to the question of whether or not Eleanor is actually fat is just perfection. I couldn’t decide on a single quote to share – just go read her whole response.
  6. Nostalgia reigns supreme in Rowell’s novels. Each of her books seems to single out a generation and a pinpoint in one’s coming of age and she captures the essence of those times spectacularly.
  7. She’s a champion for so called “girlish interests”: I think anything that predominantly women like is discounted, and anything that teenage girls like is absolutely reviled. It’s the lowest of the low. If teenage girls like something, everyone feels like they can — and maybe should — hate it, even the girls themselves.
  8. Her Instagram feed looks like everyone else’s Instagram feed. Rowell actually seems like she manages to be a real person even in spite of her fame. Like you could go out for frozen yogurt or watch a Star Wars marathon with her.
  9. This quote: “I don’t think ideas are as clean and separate as we think they are. Everything is derivative in a way. What you write is often a reaction or a response to the things you’ve read.”
  10. She wrote fictional fanfiction within a novel that became so good that it ended up getting its own novel. I think this makes her a rockstar.

OK so let’s take a vote? What’s your favorite Rainbow Rowell book?

What author would you share ten favorite things about?

 

Categories
books harry potter tag

Harry Potter Spells Book Tag.

This tag and the amazing scroll images were created by Kim @ Kimberly Faye Reads. I saw it at Mom’s Radius recently and even though it’s massively long, the Harry Potter allure and fun scrolls were so unique, I couldn’t resist. So let’s dive off the deep end, shall we?

1-Accio

An Upcoming Release You Wish You Could Get Your Hands On Right Now

heartless

I’m quite eager to read Heartless, an upcoming standalone release by Marissa Meyer (I know, right?), which is all about The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. I’ll have a long wait though because it doesn’t come out until November. Like all of her books, this story sounds as though it’s going to take a story we think we know well and then absolutely turn it on it’s head. Unlike The Lunar Chronicles though, it sounds like she’s going to tell the whole story in one book – for better or for worse.

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Favorite Series Starter

51P3SvRNdeL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_I don’t know how I could possibly choose just one – but let’s dig a bit deeper and talk about a book I haven’t mentioned 18 times in the last two months. For instance, my son just started reading The Bad Beginning, Book One in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket which made me comment to my husband, “Is it weird that I’m jealous that he gets to experience this book and this series for the first time?” This was a series that gave me major book withdrawal when I finished and the first book was excellent.

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A Book That Gave You All The Warm And Fuzzies

16081588I just finished reading Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle and it was everything you want a Christmas themed collection of young adult short story romances to be. I’d read a half dozen John Green novels before reading this collection but the other two authors were new to me. I particularly loved the first story by Maureen Johnson but all three were great and warm and fuzzy like sitting by a fireplace with a wool blanket and a hot boy.

4-Aguamenti

A Book That Made You Ugly Cry

16068905I related to the main character in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell like a lot a lot so when stuff was going bad for her, I felt it deep in my bones, you know? Also Rainbow Rowell has a magical way of owning your heart with just a handful of words. This is my favorite Rowell book and you should read it right now. Like don’t even keep reading this post, go read that instead.

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Bookish Hero Or Heroine You Want Around To Protect You In Real Life

107390I’ll gladly have Thursday Next from The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (and the rest of the series) serve as my personal body guard. It’s comforting to know that even if I cease to exist or she ceases to exist or I find myself in another universe or time line or my personal motive or backstory gets rewritten, I can still always count on Thursday to fight for me if I’m important to her. I’m important to her, right?

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A Book You Intentionally Spoiled For Yourself

51v1t48NzmL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I’m not sure if intentionally spoiled is how I would phrase it, but I knowingly watched the movie before reading The Martian by Andy Weir even though I know I have a history of being unable to get into a book if I’ve already seen the movie adaptation. And even though it’s tremendously well written and engaging and utterly readable, I can’t seem to get past it long enough to finish reading it.

7-Imperio

A Book You Wish You Could Make Everyone Read Because You Loved It So

book one of the Lunar ChroniclesYou guys know I pretty much walk around in a permanent state of “Have you read The Lunar Chronicles yet?” There are a lot of books that I recommend highly but lately this is the first one I mention if a person expresses any interest in reading something new. If Cinder by Marissa Meyer were a drug, I’d be a dealer. This series is amazing but it can take a tiny amount of coaxing when you mention to someone for the first time that this young adult dystopian Cyborg Cinderella story is really, really, really good I swear. But it’s sooooo good.

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A Book Series You Wish Never Ended

Harry Potter Illustrated Book 1I have to agree with Kate, I frequently wish the Harry Potter series hadn’t ended. Despite knowing that there is definitely such thing as too much of a good thing, the end of the series just left me wanting more and I know I’m not alone. We’ve all been kind of sitting her wondering, “What do you think Harry and Ginny are up to right now?” And with only watching the movies and rereading the books and taking the Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore to keep us busy… Luckily, it looks like our prayers are  going to be answered.

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A Book With An Uplifting Message

10507293This might sound strange but one of my favorite things about The Selection series by Kiera Cass was the feeling of hope that radiated in the last book especially, but the series as a whole. It rarely felt like a wallowing in despair thing and when the series was over, the main characters weren’t broken and bitter by everything that had happened – they were excited for the future. In this kind of story, that is rare.

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A Book You Wish You Could Forget You Ever Read

6834410I’m pretty sure that by the time I finished reading The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, I wanted to throw it in a fire and cancel my nonexistant newspaper subscription out of spite. Everything about the premise of this book sounded right up my alley but the execution, characters and ending all left something to be desired. It was impossible to get attached to anyone and nobody got a happy ending as far as I could tell. And if I don’t move on, I’ll start ranting again, so…

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An Author Whose Books Always Get You Out Of A Reading Slump

2202049Jen Lancaster is one of my go to book slump authors. I like pretty much every book I’ve ever read of hers and try to make sure that I’m never at a shortage of new material for when books disappoint me in the future. Such a Pretty FatSuch a Pretty Fat was the first book of hers that I read and it pretty much sealed the deal for me. She’s funny and witty and says everything the way you wish you had said it.

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A Swoon-Worthy Hero Or Heroine

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I’m pretty sure every girl is in love with Westley from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Or was it Carey Elewes we’re in love with? Hmmm… Even if you have seen the movie, this book is worth reading. Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

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A Book That Caused You To Stop Doing All Other Things Until You Finished It

15749186I’ve already mentioned a couple but To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny  Han is also definitely worth mentioning. This was one of those books that had me parked on the couch all day, only moving to let the dog use the bathroom or feed my children because apparently they won’t survive without food. The jerks.

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A Book That Was Painful To Read (For Whatever Reason) Or Broke You

6948436I’ve heard that Little Bee by Chris Cleave is ah-mazing but I read one chapter and then backed away slowly. I’m a little bit of a baby when it comes to books about parents or children or spouses dying and though I’m sometimes able to get past it, this one stopped me in my tracks. I think I also had a VERY young child at the time and was probably chock full of extra hormones but I’m still avoiding this one indefinitely. A book can be amazing even if I don’t read it.

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A Book That Had You Laughing Out Loud

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I don’t think it’s physically possible to read something written by Amy Poehler and not laugh out loud. These comedic celeb memoirs are all the rage right now, some better than others. Yes Please was outstanding and all the things. Sometimes it was also insightful and moving but mostly it was hilarious from beginning to end.

16-Expelliarmus

A Book That Made You Want To Send It (Or Your E-Reader) Flying

8968323I read Radioactive by Lauren Redniss with my book club four years ago and I still turn into a petulant child if it’s mentioned now. Mostly I just take offense to it being called a book. A coffee table picture book perhaps. If you have extremely low standards for the word picture. There were parts of this book that were interesting, but those were the parts that the author gave absolutely no time to fleshing out because she was busy scribbling another dumb sketch that added nothing to the story. Unless Lauren Redniss happens to be six years old. Then I suppose it’s impressive. Sorry, that was mean.

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A Bookish World You Wish You Could Visit

I mean there are several, but at the end of the day – yeah I want to go to Hogwarts. Just like every other muggle with a dream. I’m hoping to take my kids to Universal Studios someday or even better, go to London and visit Kings Cross. Actually, that’s not really better so much as an “in addition to, can we also” sort of request. For now we’ll have to settle for this cheesy display hanging out in one of my husband’s employer’s buildings because when you work for a company of giant nerds, this is bound to happen eventually.

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A Book With A Shocking Twist Or Ending

18222740I guess not everyone in my book club was surprised by the ending of Bellweather Raphsody by Kate Racculia, but it sure took me by surprise. This was a book full of twists that kept on getting twistier where nothing was quite what it seemed which is a great description for a murder mystery. This book is kind of like Girl on the Train meets Glee meets Pretty Little Liars.

19-Avada-Kedavra

A Character Death That Destroyed You

7260188I’m still not entirely over certain events that went down in Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins aka the woman who broke my heart into a million pieces. I’ve put off seeing everal of the movies in this series because they put me uncomfortably close to the end of this book. I’m only one movie behind now but that’s still a bit too close for comfort.

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Best Series Conclusion

13125947Reached by Ally Condie was so good it was actually better than the other books in the series which to that point had been kind of a solid B series. Then Condie pulled out plot details that just blew everything into a new orbit and took my breath away and me going, “What the what now?” I still think about this book often. I’d say more but I don’t want to give anything away.

So what would your answers be? Let me know if you are playing along in the comments section.

Categories
books videos

5 Books for the Reluctant Tween Reader

My friend asked me a few weeks ago for book suggestions for her tween niece – her  words were “something that isn’t Divergent” which is apparently the only book that exists in this girl’s world and I know she isn’t alone even though ::shudders:: it’s one of my least favorite YA dystopian novels. I thought I’d share the books I suggested here and open the floor to you guys – what books would you suggest for a tween who doesn’t read much?

Suggestion #1 : The Dystopian Series

book one of the Lunar ChroniclesIt’s probably not surprising to you guys that my first suggestion was The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer since I can’t go more than twelve minutes without mentioning it to someone. I might have impulsively half shrieked it to her immediately and then, embarrassed, pretended my shoes were fascinating.

But the truth is, this series would be high on my list of suggestions for tweens, teens or adults and I think it’s perfect for the reluctant reader because it’s so effortlessly readable and highly prone to binging. You will devour this world once you enter it. And it was an obvious suggestion for a girl who loved Divergent. This is a similar genre but a thousand times better.

I love that all the main characters are the kind of girls you want your girls to emulate. They are not vapid self centered tweetie girls with nothing on their mind but shoes. They are mechanics and hackers and girls who know how to work hard and yes they are boy crazy like woah but they mostly try to keep those feelings in check and mostly they are just about “Do you think he likes me?” and “I bet he’d be fun to kiss,” and not much more. And if they like the first book, there are a half dozen more and short stories to keep them reading.

If they like The Lunar Chronicles, they should also check out: The Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, The Selection by Kiera Cass, and A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Suggestion #2 : The Sweet Love Story

15749186I was hooked on To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han from pretty much the first page. This one is for the boy crazy niece or the painfully shy girl. The one who eats up romantic comedies like it’s her job. And even though it’s cliched, it also feels fresh. And even though the main character is boy crazy, she’s also wonderfully naive and innocent. So you probably won’t get in trouble with your sister for suggesting it.

One of my favorite things about this book, aside from the sweet romances, was the very strong family dynamic – Lara Jean is really close with her father and sisters and it shows. Also – the food – I don’t know many teenagers who cook as often as Lara Jean and have such a sophisticated palate. I would not mind my daughter picking up said traits.

If they like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, they should also check out: the sequel or any of Han’s other books, anything by Jennifer E. Smith or Judy Blume, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Suggestion #3 : The Series About a Group of Friends

517y761mL0L._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_I’m impatiently waiting for the day I can hand over The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick to my daughter. These are kind of the Babysitters Club or Sweet Valley High of the current generation – centered around a group of friends who each have their unique personality type, talents and family issues to deal with – the girls are in sixth grade when the stories start and progress through middle school.

This one is also a great read for the moms of daughters. It’s cool from a mom perspective to see the girls grow and change with each book. And you’ll want your daughters to be like these girls – I’m not saying they never get into trouble but they always mean well – you know? Also the book club mentioned in the title? The girls and their moms start a club to read one classic novel a year with each other and discuss it. At first there are eye rolls galore but the girls all grow to love the club and they READ the books and that often leads to reading other books and the author does a great job at making whatever book they are reading set the tone for the book.

If they like The Mother Daughter Book Club series, they should also check out: The Babysitters Club obviously (check out the new graphic novel format), Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (splurge for a gorgeous edition), Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster (mentioned in one of the MDBC books ; free on kindle)

Suggestion #4 : The Book That’s Really Poetry

11527309This is one for the girl who just really doesn’t have the interest in reading a whole book – but happens to like poetry. May B. by Caroline Starr Rose is actually written in poetic form but it’s not stuffy about it like those awful epic poems you had to read in high school. Beautifully written, it’s also #allthefeels with a Little House on the Prairie vibe. And it’s a quick read so it’s not a huge time investment.

If they like May B., they should also check out: Little House in the Big Woods if they were all about that early pioneers vibe ; Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai if they want more poetry ; The Princess Diaries or I Capture the Castle if they are interested in the whole nonconvential book writing styles thing – these two are written like diaries, or you could call them epistolary novels if you want to give a vocab lesson.

Suggestion #5 : The Books That Aren’t Books At All aka Web Shows Based on Classic Novels

Yes, you can trick your tween or teen into experiencing Pride and Prejudice without picking up a book at all. I know, there are movies that are super, but this web show provides the experience in four minute increments, perfect for the short attention span – and it’s a modernized retelling – and it’s funny – and the cast is amazing – and watching Jane Austen retellings is an excellent way to get your kids obsessed with Jane Austen and often leads to them tripping and falling into the actual books. Studies have shown. Probably. If you are like dead set on this being a books only excursion, get the book based on the web show. But if they are super reluctant to even leave the safe confines of youtube, point them this way. And then watch with them. And prepare to laugh and swoon.

If they like the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, they should also check out: Anne With An E, Emma Approved, the actual Pride and Prejudice or movies that are also modern interpretations of classic novels like Clueless (Emma) or 10 Things I Hate About You (Taming of the Shrew).

OK: Your turn! What books would you suggest for the reluctant tween reader?

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books

Book Review: A Knight in Sticky Armor (Doc McStuffins)

Continuing my new video book review series (or: in an attempt to be fair to my children), here is a review for a book that my daughter, five year old BB, read recently. She would like to tell you more about:

13642690A Knight in Sticky Armor (Disney Junior: Doc McStuffins) by Andrea Posner-Sanchez, Mike Wall(Illustrator)

BB thinks this book is hilarious because every time something touched the sticky part of the titular knight, said thing got stuck to him and it was “really funny.”

Savvy parents will notice that this is a story straight out of the Doc McStuffins tv show series so if you have been forced to watch the series, you probably already know who Doc is and what she’s all about.

For the rest of you, a brief description from Amazon:

Doc McStuffins doesn’t just play with her toys—she heals them! Girls ages 2-5 will love getting to know this super-smart six-year-old doctor with her own backyard clinic. This Little Golden Book is based on the new Disney Junior show, Doc McStuffins.

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for, Miss BB’s review:

In summary: You’re guess is as good as mine.

Have you read this book (or seen the tv show)? What did you think?

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books

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins THE FEELS: liked, suspenseful, gritty, bingeable

For the self proclaimed “people watchers” – everyone who has ever found themselves making up stories about strangers on the train or in the park. For anyone who has suffered from substance abuse or known someone who has. For you over there in the corner who just got out of a long relationship and aren’t feeling entirely “over it” – and for the rest of us who maybe just love a good mystery novel or thriller.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has been the media darling “it book” of the last several months. Everyone is talking about it. Due to the crazed hype, my book club decided to read it last month and see what all the fuss was about.

First, a description from goodreads.com:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

This book was like a roller coaster that a friend talked you into riding and you keep wondering if said friend is possibly going to get you killed. Hawkins does a great job of constantly making you suspect basically everybody. Just like the best crime dramas on tv, she tells you what she wants to tell you, when she wants to tell you – making excellent use of her unreliable narrator, she carefully peels away her story with precision timing.

This book was probably too dark for me. It sucked me in and would’t let me go and was just “realistic” enough that it was easy to find myself relating to characters that I’d rather not. But once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Hawkins’ writing is kind of like cocaine – addictive, riddled with poor life choices and prone to making you jumpy (are coke addicts jumpy? I’m just guessing here, having never been one). You’ll feel like that rubber necker on the side of the road who can’t seem to look away from that horrific accident (much like the main character) even though you should probably knock  it off and get to work already.

Some of my fellow book clubbers were less enamored with this one. I don’t blame them, really. Is the prose stunning? Not really. Are there amazing, heroic characters to root for? Nope. Is there a satisfying and happy ending? Ehhhhh. Life lessons to be learned? I suppose we could call the entire book a “don’t do this” manual for a happy life. i.e. if it’s in the book: Don’t do that. 

In spite of these details, I still over all enjoyed it in spite of myself. I totally understand why it’s getting so much hype and I would cautiously recommend it. If you like mysteries and are game for some seedy behavior – proceed with caution and enjoy.

Have you read this book? What did you think?