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LittleMy Reads

Another GR refugee looking for a new home. Testing the waters here before settling in...

Currently reading

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon
The Dragon Heir
Cinda Williams Chima
The Ring of Solomon
Jonathan Stroud
Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
Steve Sheinkin
The Great Hunt
Robert Jordan
The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike, #3)
Kirsten Miller
Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett

The Warrior Heir (Heir Chronicles)

The Warrior Heir (Heir Chronicles) - Cinda Williams Chima Thoroughly enjoyable but, unfortunately, totally forgettable.Unlike the Crimson Crown series, these won't be on my re-read rotation. I thoroughly enjoyed the series as I read them but they haven't stuck with me. Just a few weeks after finishing them and I can already barely remember the characters and stories.


Easy - Tammara Webber I read Easyl because I was curious about the New Adult genre. Many of my online friends loved it but I found it meh. I think I'm too old. It just seemed too much like re-living the worst parts of college. For a romance novel, it's among the best in terms of writing. A strong heroine, an interesting hero, believable twists. If you are younger and looking for a strong read, you'll probably really enjoy this.
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, Jim Kay Can I give this book 6 stars?Gorgeously dark and engrossing, like an old fashioned fairy tale, this book is breathtakingly well written.I just finished it and I'm not sure how to review it other than to say that you MUST read this book. But put aside an afternoon and a huge box of tissues.I'll try to do it more justice with a more in depth review later.

The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani Meh.The gorgeous cover pulled me in but the books was hugely disappointing. The plot and characters were cliched.3 stars because it kept my interest enough (barely) to finish it.
Ptolemy's Gate - Jonathan Stroud I was so worried that the ending to this trilogy would not match the calibre of the first two books... The ending is fantastic. It ties the series together and gives Nate much-needed redemption. I don't want to say any more than that because I am wiping away my tears and basking in the glow of having just finished this amazing series.I cannot recommend this audiobook highly enough for the 4th grade - adult crowd. Simon Jones does an amazingly sardonic and humorous Bartimaeus. This is one of those cases where the audiobook is even better than the print version.
The Golem's Eye - Jonathan Stroud The first third of this book was a little slow. At first I wished I was reading the book instead of listening to it because I wanted to fast-forward through the Kitty sections. Once the story picked up, we got really into it. The Kitty storyline eventually grew on me and by the third book in the series she was my second favorite character (after Bartimaeus, of course).Simon Jones is an amazing narrator. He does Bartimaeus justice in a way that I don't think I could. His Bartimaeus is the perfect blend of haughty, sardonic, and insecure. This is one of the best kids' audiobook series we have listened to.
Drama - Raina Telgemeier Like Smile, Drama has become a touchstone for Gearbox. He's going into middle school next year and this book perfectly addresses all of his fears and the difficulties of that transition. Highly recommend this book for tweens and teens.
The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4) - Cinda Williams Chima I'll come back and write a full review once I am no longer under the book's spell.But right now I just finished the book and I have tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.And that's enough of a review for today.
Origami X - Nick Robinson Orgiami X alternates spy-themed origami with panels that give advice on how to be a spy. The print version of the book has 10 pages of really cool spy-themed Origami paper that my 11 year old really coveted.The Origami:My son is a moderately experienced origami maker. Origami instructions can sometimes be difficult to follow -- the instruction in this book were of average difficulty. There were a couple of folds that took him several tries to figure out (he found the camera especially tricky). The rest of the projects were pretty straightforward and he did them with only one try. He was happy with the final models; he especially liked the "Secret File". The Spy Hints:These were really well written -- my son loved them. The book included the morse code alphabet and information on how to create a wide variety of ciphers and codes. The book also included instructions for how to make clever spy gadgets like a periscope. My son and I both really liked the spy bits of this book. This would be a great non-fiction accompaniment to fiction titles such as:Kiki Strike (series) by Kirsten MillerMysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee StewartAlex Rider (series) by Anthony HorowitzThe Secret Series (series) by Pseudonymous BoschOrigami X is most appropriate for 3-6th graders. Younger kids would need an adult's help to follow the folding instructions.
Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes, #1) - Scott Tracey After being raised by his uncle, Braden returns to his hometown where he finds himself drawn into a feud between the two warring witch clans that control the town.Braden is a great character. He is quirky, funny, and real. The author gives him enough backstory and depth to be sympathetic, believable, and intriguing. And he’s a butt-kicking witch with rare, special magic. Naturally.Speaking of magic, the magic in this book is weird. Braden has ‘witch’ eyes — when he takes off his glasses, he has overwhelming visions of the present and past. He can see and unravel other’s magic and copy it based on seeing it’s structure. The descriptions of Braden’s magic are strange — full of color, snippets of visuals, and light. I am going to assume that the disorienting descriptions are deliberate since using his magic wears out Braden and gives him migraines that confine him to bed. I’m not sure if the descriptions worked for me.I love Braden and Trey’s Romeo-and-Juliet-esque relationship. YA characters falling in love at first sight and immediately becoming bonded soulmates is a pet peeve of mine so I really liked that Braden and Trey’s feelings for each other are given time to grow. Their connection believable and I have my fingers crossed that things will work out for them.I gave the book 4★ for pulling me in, but it’s a weak 4 teetering on 3. The pacing is a little slow at times and some of the reveals could have been handled more organically… but it’s a debut novel so I’m hoping this author’s writing will get stronger as the series progresses. The next book (Demon Eyes) comes out in October. I’m waiting.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs I love books that have a strong, well-written voice and use evocative imagery. Riggs pulled me into his world with his writing and I was really enjoying this book up until the last couple of chapters. The way he ended the book ruined my enjoyment. The ending made the book feel like it was a prequel instead of being a stand-alone book or backstory that should have been woven into the next book.

Silhouette of a Sparrow

Silhouette of a Sparrow - Molly Beth Griffin A coming of age story set in the 20′s, Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin is a little bit Member of the Wedding (evocative of a time and place) and a little bit Fried Green Tomatoes (a budding relationship between two young women looking to assert themselves). It is charming and beautifully written. This book would be a great historical fiction accompaniment to a High School unit on the roaring 20's or women's changing roles in American history.Gigi struggles to balance her family’s traditional values and expectations for her with her desires and dream (to study ornithology). There is enough tension and drama to keep the pacing tight. And the writing is lovely. Really lovely. And how awesome is a protagonist who says, "I held onto this practice of scientific naming as a small rebellion -- a secret whispered between me, the silhouettes, and my bedroom wall."Gigi goes from being a passive participant in her life to taking risks (going to the carnival and on the boat trip) and even challenging those around her to change (Miss Maple, Hannah). When her life takes a difficult and unexpected turn, she rises to the occasion and finds her strength. "[I]f I had the courage to [SPOILER], I also had the courage to speak the truth."While Gigi is clearly the focus of this book, the secondary characters are not given cookie cutter identities. At the beginning most of the characters think they know who they are and what they want. Gigi says, "I could wrap those pretty words around me like a familiar blanket and fall asleep thinking I knew exactly who I was." As circumstances challenge their lives and beliefs, Hannah, Avery, and Isabella grow and discover their strengths.As I finished the book, I wanted to know more. Did Gigi go to college? Was her relationship with Isabella a summer romance? Did they stay friends? And that's the mark of a good book -- a book where I care so much about the characters that I wonder about them long after I finish reading the book. I being so caught up in the world of a book that I feel it's pull in my non-reading life. "Fly, Gigi, fly!"I cannot recommend it strongly enough. This is a must read if you love beautifully crafted YA literature.*I'd like to thank Milkweed for proving the eARC of this book via Edelweiss*
Batula - Marco Cinello Batula is a comic book/picture book about an unhappy fruit bat (Livingston) who becomes a vampire bat superhero (Batula) and saves the day. The illustrations are really cute. There are a couple of pages that made me laugh out loud (like when Livingston, recently turned vampire bat, suddenly finds fruit disgusting). My biggest quibble with the book is the font -- both of my (dyslexic) kids found it hard to read. This book is perfect for 6-9 crowd who are into comics and superheros (sensitive and younger readers may find some pages (such as when Vlad bites Livingston) frightening).
Princess Academy - Shannon Hale Despite the accolades, I kept putting off reading Princess Academy because it looked like a 'princess' book. I finally gave it a chance and I am so glad I did -- Princess Academy is charming and engaging. I was pulled into the book from the first page. I'll be picking up the next book without any hesitation.Miri rocks. She is bright, spunky, resourceful, and wonderfully real. I love when a MG protagonist has real doubts, fears, insecurities. Miri has enough depth and backstory to give the reader many opportunities to connect with her and root for her. Since the story takes place in a very small part of a bigger world (the whole story takes place within a few miles of a village on a remote mountain), worldbuilding was really important. The villager's culture (the children's songs and games, the customs around holding hands and dancing, the miri flowers) gives the world verisimilitude. The setting is vivid and Ms. Hale's writing evocative: "Winter kept falling from the sky, building up under the windowsills, and crawling with frost over the panes." My favorite part of the book is the mountain magic. It's not quite magic in the fantasy sense… but the connection the miners of Mount. Eskel have with their mountain and each other is magic-like.As I read the book, I was sure that I knew how the story would end. Boy was I wrong and in such a wonderful way -- Princess Academy has a fairy tale, happily-ever-after ending but with a delightful twist. Oh, and any book where studying economics plays a role in the story is awesome! This book would be a great read-aloud or assigned book as part of a civics or government unit.
Babymouse for President - Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm Cute, funny, engaging. Another Babymouse winner. Perfect timing for the election -- I'm sure this one will fly off the shelves.
Smile - Raina Telgemeier My tween knocked out his two front teeth at camp this summer and our friend loaned him this book. I wish I could gift this book to every child that goes through something like this. My son loved it so much I bought him his own copy. He had been struggling to articulate and process his feelings and experiences -- this book has given him a way to talk about the trauma he's experiencing as well as his fears. He has read it and reread it; we've read it together, alternately laughing and crying. He said, "I feel like it's an autobiography I didn't write myself."I'm hoping his journey back to a normal smile won't be as long or as difficult as the author's, but I know this book will keep him company whatever happens.