Monthly Archives: June 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? + Reading Challenge: Canterbury Tales

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It’s Monday! is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey that allows bloggers to post a sort of wrap-up of the past week while also looking to the week ahead. Without further ado…

Last Week:For me, last week was all about finishing up or progressing in several series that I had started but never finished. It was really successful, and I feel like I’m back on track with my reading goals. I still have a couple of series to finish and some that have unpublished books that I will have to finish in the future, but I wrapped up quite a few and I now have the closure I need to move on. Here are all the books I read last week!

Warrior (The Dragon King Chronicles, #2)

The Treatment – Suzanne Young (The Program #2) – Duet finished!

Warrior – Ellen Oh (The Dragon King Chronicles #2)

Beat the Band – Don Calame (Swim the Fly #2)

Better off Friends – Elizabeth Eulberg

She is Not Invisible – Marcus Sedgwick

Finders Keepers – Nicole Williams (Lost and Found #3) – Series finished!

The Forbidden Library – Django Wexler

Dreams of Gods & Monsters – Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bones #3)Series finished!

Graduation Day – Joelle Charbonneau (The Testing #3) – Series finished!

 

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh

Currently Reading:Call the Shots – Don Calame (Swim the Fly #3), A World Without Princes – Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil #2), The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh – A. A. Milne

 

Canterbury Tales (Everyman's Library, #74)

Looking Ahead:Every couple of months, I challenge my roommate Katie to a reading competition. We choose a classic (or all-around challenging) novel that neither of us has ever read, pick a start date, and see who can finish first. We have rules of course – no reading on holidays, before a certain time each morning and after a certain time each night, or when one of us is at work with no chance to read. We like to keep it really fair, you know. It’s time for another challenge, and Katie chose Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. We start tomorrow (July 1) and the competition technically ends when someone finishes. So Chaucer will primarily be taking up my reading time for the near future. When not reading Canterbury Tales, I plan on finishing the books I’m currently reading.

What are you reading?

 

 

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Review – Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)

Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Laini Taylor

2014 – YA – Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

The Story:Karou knows better than to hope that her chimaera can forge an alliance with Akiva’s angel army in an attempt to eliminate an even bigger threat. She also knows better than to dream of a future with Akiva, as angels and chimaera have long been mortal enemies. But with two worlds on the brink of war, Karou and Akiva must step forward, placing their trust in themselves and each other, before it’s too late.

The Opening Line:Nerve thrum and screaming blood, wild and churning and chasing and devouring and terrible and terrible and terrible –

What I Loved:The story of Karou and Akiva’s alliance. Enemies working together against a larger threat. The themes of friendship, honor, and courage. The steady pulse of hope throughout. The fleshed out characters and universe. In short, I loved how Taylor wrapped up this trilogy with a plot full of mythology, an epic and ancient battle, and a great ending.

What I Didn’t Love:The length. At 613 pages, it felt a little long for me. I like big books, but my attention sometimes drifted. Especially with the storyline of the Faerers and the Stelians. I absolutely loved most of the book, but I dragged going through some of those sections. I understand and appreciate their importance, but they just didn’t resonate with me personally.

Final Thoughts:This was a great ending for such a unique series. I really enjoyed diving into this universe that is just chock full of interesting characters who all felt really authentic. I liked the intrigue, alliances, and battles, but I loved the friendships, romances, and character studies even more. This series is highly recommended for fantasy lovers!

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Mini Reviews – She is Not Invisible and The Forbidden Library

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

She is Not Invisible

Marcus Sedgwick

2014 – YA – Realistic Fiction

Rating: 5/5

The Story:16-year-old Laureth is blind, but she has a knack for spotting patterns, recurring numbers, and coincidences. Her brother Benjamin is 7. For some reason, electronic devices stop working at his touch – the Benjamin Effect. When their father goes missing while doing research for a new book about the power of coincidence, Laureth and Benjamin sneak away to New York City to follow the clues he has left behind.

The Opening Line:One final time I told myself I wasn’t abducting my little brother.

What I Loved:The mystery. After recovering their father’s writing notebook, Laureth and Benjamin discover clues that they must follow in order to gain information about his whereabouts. It’s a fun scavenger hunt across the city. Also, Laureth’s perspective is really interesting, because she can’t describe things in terms of colors or shapes, like most people do.

What I Didn’t Love:There were no repercussions in the end for Laureth taking her brother and flying across the Atlantic in the search for her father. If I had disappeared like that when I was 16, my parents would have flipped, to say the very least.

Final Thoughts:I tend to take for granted that the main characters in the books I read are overwhelmingly without limitations. It was great to see strong characters who are different but who are also able to persevere when faced with obstacles. Laureth’s blindness and the Benjamin Effect, as well as their ages, undoubtedly made their journey harder, but it didn’t stop them. I really love Sedgwick’s books, and She is Not Invisible is another winner!

The Forbidden Library

The Forbidden Library

Django Wexler

2014 – KidLit – Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

The Story:One evening way past her bedtime, Alice overhears her father being threatened by a vicious sprite. The next morning he sets out on a journey, and a few days later he is dead. Alice is quickly whisked away to live with a reclusive relative, Geryon, who is the master and overseer of a strange library. After sneaking into the library, Alice discovers that she is a Reader, someone who can read herself into the pages of a book. Once in, though, there is only one way out.

The Opening Line:Much later, Alice would wonder what might have happened if she’d gone to bed when she was supposed to.

What I Loved:This is a fantasy novel set primarily in a mysterious library. What’s not to love? I really enjoy books about books, and this was a tribute to the power of words and the adventurous possibilities of jumping into a book. Also, Alice loses everything in the beginning, but finds herself empowered and in control later in her story. Sound like another familiar tale to anyone? Harry Potter, maybe?

What I Didn’t Love:The ending obviously paved the way for a sequel, and a little digging around confirmed this. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s hard to have read this now knowing that I will have to reread it in 2015 when the next book is released. Also, plotwise, it was hard to figure out who to root for, other than Alice herself. The other characters all have their own agendas and ideas, and it’s a bit muddled to me. That was probably the point, though.

Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a joy to read. I love great fantasy, and this was such a unique twist on the standard formula. In a way, it reminded me of other books like Inkheart, Harry Potter, and Heir Apparent – in a library setting, I would pair these books for fantasy fans. My initial intrigue wasn’t wasted. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

 

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