Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books I'd Like to Read with My Book Club

As a high school librarian, I actually DO run a book club.  When we choose books, I make a list of 12-15 books in a particular genre and then all the kids vote on the top 3 they want to read.  The book with the most votes is the one we read.  Sometimes, though, I really wish they would choose something different from what they do, so here are some that I would love to read with them.  I'm dividing it into 2 sections:  book I've already read and I want to talk to someone about them and books I'm dying to read so book club would give me the nudge to read them.

Books I've Already Read

1.  The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I love this series so much and even though I have read all 3 books, I really want to fangirl about it with a large group of people, so I wish they would choose it!

2.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Love, love, love this book!  I think this book would be fabulous for an "academic" style discussion with students.

3.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This is one of the best books I've ever read.  I recommend it to perfect strangers.  I wish they could teach this book at my school, but since they can't, book club would be the next best thing.

4.  This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
I really want to read this book with the girls in my book club so that I can squeal like a 14 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert.  Without being completely embarrassed about it.  An alternate to this one would be Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.

5.  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
This would best be read and discussed with an Honors English class actually because I think it's such a great example of satire.  I would love to compare this novel to Jonathan Swift and discuss it with a group of kids who can understand the brilliance of this book.

6.  Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I really want to share the awesomeness of this book with lots of people.

7.  Anything by Gayle Forman
I would re-read any of her books with great joy and then fangirl in ways that a 45 year old woman probably shouldn't in public.  Just sayin'...........

Books I Really Want to Read

1.  Wither by Lauren DeStefano
I have been wanting to read this book forever, so doing this book with my book club would give me a chance to read it. Also, I'd like to discuss the whole thing with teen girls to get their perspective on it.

2.  The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford Wong by L. Tam Holland
I hope t his book is very funny yet deep in the way of Sherman Alexie.  I mean, I know it won't be as wonderful as Alexie's book, but I want to read it and find out.

3.  The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
This book has been on my TBR list for a while.  I don't tend to read lots of mysteries and thrillers, so I think a book club choice would get me to read this one sooner.

4.  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
I hand this book to kids all the time, so it never seems to be checked in!  If I had to read it for book club, I could justify buying a copy of it for myself!

5.  Paper Towns by John Green
I am dying to read a John Green book with my book club and since this is the only one I haven't read AND it's in movie production, it seems like the perfect choice.

So, my slightly more than ten Top Ten Tuesday list!  What do you think?

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  It's designed to let readers know what books you have just finished reading and what books are next on your TBR pile.

As part of my great catch-up attempt of 2015, I am going to really try to get these regular features up and going again in my blog.  So here goes nothing!

Currently reading:

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

I love this series!  It's so different!  So far, I'm enjoying this one, but I really need a big chunk of uninterrupted time to sit down with it.  It weighs in at a whopping 624 pages, which is great, but it also means I need a whole day to really get somewhere with it.  If only I could get a snow day.......

Just finished:

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SERIES EVER!!!!!  I fangirl over this series so much and I try to send it out with every kid in my library.  I loved this book and I will post my review soon!

Up next:


I love both of these series, so I can't believe I've waited this long to finish them.  I'm looking forward to reading both of them!

What are you currently reading?  Any thoughts on the books I have here?

This whole Marie Lu series is a Champion!

Book:  Champion
Author:  Marie Lu
Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile
Date:  November 2013
Source:  My library
My grade:  A+

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Initial reaction

::sits down to calm heartbeat::  The feels, people, the feels!!  At my age, the angst at the end of this series could have caused a heart attack!

Cover story

This is the only part of this book that doesn’t just bowl me over.  I mean, the cover is ok.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not anything special either.  It certainly doesn’t reflect the awesomeness of the story held within its covers.

What’s the story?

This series is just your average boy meets girl, boy loves girl,girl loves boy but girl still tries to kill boy, boy and girl try to overthrow evil totalitarian government story…………

Not exactly.  Of course, all those things happen, but the complexity of these characters and the nuances of this story make this series so much more than your average dystopian fare.  I love the characters in this series.  Marie Lu has done such a great job of making everyone so believable.  Also, I love that there are no absolutes in this story.  No one was purely evil and no one was wholly good.  At times, I sort of wanted to everyone to win.  Except for Captain Jameson.  She was actually evil.  But it turns out that the Republic, the Colonies, Day, June and even Thomas are more gray than black and white and I really liked that.

The story had me sitting on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel.  There was a ton of action and plenty of heart fail to be had.  I just sat in my reading chair and raced to the end in about a day.  I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what was going to happen.

I love the world that Marie Lu created in this series.  It was fun to see Antarctica and Africa as major world powers.  I think that Lu has a lot of timely warnings for us in this book as well, without being preachy and in your face.  The fact that empires rise and fall is a nice warning to those folks who think that western civilization is invincible.  Of course, the environmental cautions are there and I love the way she works in some cautions about powerful corporations with the Colonies.  All in all, she does a great job of working in some very timely issues without being preachy.

So, I’m rolling along, just loving the book and then I reach the end and it’s like…..pow!

Thank goodness I turned the page and found the epilogue and then I was more like:

I closed the book totally satisfied with the series and the ending.

The Soundtrack

Mad World by Gary Jules

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

So far Away by Avenged Sevenfold


The next 2 songs come from Marie Lu’s playlist.  You can find the whole thing here.

She by Abney Park

Copper Down by The Boy Who Trapped the Sun

The Final Grade

My final grade for this novel and this series is an A+.  In a sea of dystopians, I think this series really stands out.  It’s a fast-paced, thrilling story with a host of complex characters and a great ending that doesn’t feel forced by isn’t completely tragic either.  It also serves as a pretty decent cautionary tale dealing with some timely issues.  I highly recommend it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Series Enders Challenge 2015

I am soooooooooooooooooo behind in blogging and series reading, so I have decided to try and catch up  in both areas!  How, you might ask?  By signing up for a challenge, of course!  Here it is:

This wonderful little challenge showed up on my Bloglovin' page as a suggestion, so I clicked on it and discovered the goodness!  This is hosted by Somewhere Only We Know and Words Fueled by Love.  Go check out their blogs!  Interested in signing up yourself?  Here's the sign-up page!  You don't have to have a blog, you just have to link to books you review on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, Amazon or wherever....

I'm going for the Level 4 challenge which is 15+ series enders!!!  Here's my list:

  1. In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
  2. Champion by Marie Lu
  3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  4. Boundless by Cynthia Hand
  5. The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
  6. Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
  7. Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood
  8. Of Neptune by Anna Banks
  9. Infinite by Jodi Meadows
  10. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  11. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
  12. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
  13. Unhinged and Ensnared by A.G. Howard
  14. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  15. The Heir by Kiera Cass
  16. A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
  17. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
  18. Opal, Origin, Opposition by Jennifer Armentrout
  19. Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  20. Beat the Band, Call the Shots by Don Calame
  21. Awkwardly Ever After by Marni Bates

Only the last book in the series counts, so on a couple of them, I have to read the previous books to get to the ender, but that's cool. I have already completed the first two on the list and I'm working on the third! Go me!!!!

I'll post reviews soon for the first two and I'll try to make them as spoiler-free as possible. I'm really excited about this. I had already decided that I wasn't starting anything new until I caught up with all these series. So the only new books I will be reading will be the ones that my book club chooses. Otherwise, I'm tackling this massive list of books!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about any of these. Also let me know if any of you decide to join the challenge!