Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Book: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA Fantasy/Distopian
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Once again, we have the dystopian world setting. People are divided into two groups: those with red blood and those with silver. The Silvers have superpowers, all sorts of types. And course, they have taken control and rule over the red blooded "normal" people. And there's a war on. And of course, the Reds have to go and fight in this war when they become a certain age. The book opens just as our heroine, Mare, is reaching this age (18 I think it is.)

But she plans to run away instead. And take her "friend that's a guy" with her.

But things go wrong and she gets caught because of a Red rebellion that happens right at the wrong time.

And bam, things change SO FAST from there! Like so fast that it made my head spin. I was definitely into the story, but I was like, can all this really happen this fast?

The story is filled with lots of edge-of-your-seat type action and really cool in-your-head special effects. The Silvers like to fight each other with their powers and it's crazy! And in the middle of all that, there's a sort of selection going on between the girls for who gets to marry the prince, though the prince doesn't really get to select. Because there's an evil queen and all. Sigh. Evil queens always ruin everything!

I really enjoyed the story even though I felt it is much of the same thing that we've seen a lot of lately. People are really into these sorts of stories right  now!

Bottom Line: And you'll love it too if you are one of those people! So far, I am!

Other Reviews:

One of the best things about Red Queen is that even though the storyline is fairly predictable and extremely familiar to fans of the genre, readers will not care about that. From That's What She Read

It has the oppressive society, the downtrodden young woman who finds herself a pivotal member of society, and of course romance – lots and lots of romance. From Fantasy Book Critic

This book is phenomenal! It completely sucks you in. From Mindful Musings

It's cliche YA fantasy, but debut author Victoria Aveyard does it well. From In Bed With Books

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Book: Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Graphic Memoir
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

In an effort to read more widely, the book club has been adding graphic books to our lineup recently. This particular book is our February choice. It's one I've seen floating around for years, I remember it way back from my book fair days, which was a long time ago! It's fun to finally read it!

Basically, the author who is an amazing artist, has illustrated and documented her middle school years, which are defined by the fact that she has to get major orthodontic work because of an incident where she fell and knocked out her front teeth. It does sound quite traumatic and had I been her, I wouldn't have suffered through it quite as well as she did I'm afraid.

And her friends! Sheesh, what terrible friends! I was happy to see that even as a kid, she realized this pretty quickly and made changes. I think most kids would have just been devasted and wallowed in self pity.

It was fun to see the historical and cultural references she made to stuff going on in the world. This was during my "lost years" where I wasn't paying attention to much of anything since I had just entered my life as a mommy with little babies. So while I can't say totally that I related, I did enjoy experiencing it with her.

Bottom Line: I found it to be very fun and a fabulous way to preserve a bit of one's life story!

P.S. I was so happy to see they included a real life picture of the author as she looks today... smiling! So we could see how her smile turned out all these years later!

Other Reviews:

Something I love the most about this book - well, maybe it's just Raina Telgemeier - is the power of storytelling through comics, even stories from your own life. From The Blue Bookcase

What I really love about this book is how well Telgemeier captures tween angst. The accurately portrays many of the struggles tween girls are faced with, from fake friends to body image issues. From The Reading Zone

I really liked the artwork; it’s pretty straightforward panel-based narrative, but I like Telgemeier’s style of drawing, and the book is really bright and colorful throughout. From Fyrefly's Book Blog

I really enjoyed the nostalgia I felt while reading. From Jenni Elyse

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Past and Future

Today's prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is sort of a two parter (well, I'm making it that way at least) and is all about the past and the future.  Here are my two little lists:

Five Historical Settings I Love

1. Regency of course! Anything in this time period! What is about this era? I have no idea, but it's lovely to read about.

2. Also, anything from the medieval times or dark ages. You know, King Arthur type stuff. Love love love it. I think this era is fascinating just for the fact that people actually survived it.

3. I also enjoy stories sent during World War II because of the resilience of those people. Strong amazing characters all around.

4. Early American, especially western frontier type books featuring cowboys and Indians, though I haven't read a huge amount of these types, but when I do, I love it.

5. Stories from the British Tudor period are especially fun and fascinating too.

Five Futuristic Books I Love

1. These Broken Stars (and its trilogy). All the perfect elements of science fiction!

2. Through the Ever Night (and its trilogy). The pairing of a futuristic society with a rugged nomad society is fascinating.

3. Partials (and its trilogy). Set in the very near future, this one seems like it could totally happen.

4. Legend (and its trilogy). Ditto for this one.

5. The Sparrow. This book kills me. KILLS me.

Fun prompt this week!  I know there's many more I could add to each list.
What's on your list?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Little Women Read Along Kick Off

Welcome to our Little Women Read Along! Let's start this thing, yes?

Thanks to all of those who have signed up to participate. If you'd still like to join us, there's plenty of time, just let us know by linking up on this post.

Here are the plans for the month:


Questions will be posted on the date listed... feel free to answer the questions on your blog that day or in the days following. A link will be provided so we can all easily find participants.

Read chapters 1-17 by February 1-10 with the discussion post Feb. 10 on Suey's blog
Read chapters 18-33 by February 11-19 with the discussion post Feb. 19 on Kami's blog
Read chapters 34-47 by February 20-29 with the discussion post Feb. 29 on Jenni's blog


We'll be using Twitter for an ongoing discussion. Many of us like to post quotes and thoughts in real time as we read. Please feel free to do the same. Follow with #LittleWomenRAL and join in the discussion...give comments and feedback as you read! (We've created a Twitter list with all the participants which will also make it easier to follow everyone and see what we're saying. Be sure your'e on the list!)

We will also have scheduled chats in conjunction with each discussion post as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 5:00 pm Mountain (Take note! This has been bumped a couple hours earlier from our original post.)
Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:00 pm Mountain
Monday, Feb. 29 at 7:00 pm Mountain

The best way to follow a  Twitter chat is to use a program like Tweetdeck, Twubs, or TweetChat in order to isolate that particular hashtag. Let us know if you have more questions about that! 


We love to end our read alongs by watching the movie together! If you are local, join us! If you aren't, you can still watch and join us on Twitter.  We plan to do this on Friday, March 4 starting at 7:00 p.m. Right now, we plan to watch the Winona Ryder/Christian Bale version.

Oh, we also have a Pinterest board dedicated to the read along. Check it out if you are into that sort of thing!

And so... what are you waiting for? Get reading!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 2016 Reading Recap

Picture of the month: The day I got a Kazookie.

The year has gotten off to a great start! Here's what I read this month:

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: All three couples come together to solve the world's problems in this fabulous conclusion to a fabulous trilogy.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold: A quirky coming of age story about a girl who takes off across the country to find her mother.

Blues Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards by Janette Rallison: Her best friend moves away, a new family moves in. Suddenly, she is mixed up in making sure the new girl doesn't get in trouble and also trying not to fall in love with her brother, the new boy.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: The authors rambles and thoughts on dealing with grief during the year after her husband dies.

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway: Oliver was kidnapped, and then comes back ten years later. Will his friendship with Emmy continue?

Smile by Raina Telgemeier: What's it like to be a sixth grader dealing with normal sixth grader things on top of major orthodontic work due to an accident?

Favorites this month: Their Fractured Light, Mosqitoland and Emmy and Oliver. Tons of fun the lot of them!

Plans for February:

  • Re-read Little Women for our #LittleWomenRAL! Join us!
  • Read 100 pages in Moby-Dick.
  • Finally get to Winter.
  • Finish Endure.
  • Finish The Red Queen.
  • Read Half Wild.
  • Finish Twitterpated.
  • Umm.... should I add more to the list?
How was the start of the reading year for you? Any awesome plans for February?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Book: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Another one of those books that I went into knowing nothing and was pleasantly surprised. This is bit of a heart wrenching story about a boy, Oliver, who his kidnapped by his dad at age 7. His childhood friend, Emmy, along with his family and the neighborhood and everyone looks for him for ten years, never really giving up hope, but thinking they'll never see him again.

Then one day,  he suddenly comes back.

And now, how does everyone deal with that? You'd think it would be a happy joyous occasion, yes? But in reality, there are so many things and feelings that have to be dealt with, and it pretty much makes everyone crazy.

Meanwhile, Emmy and Oliver take their childhood friendship to a whole new level and it's all sorts of sweetness and swoon worthiness.

Bottom Line: I read it in a day and could not put it down. I have a feeling you'll do the same.

Other Reviews:

The writing is strong and the secondary characters are great side-kick material and while it is hard to believe some of the things Emmy is able to get away with, I read this in one sitting, I liked it so much. From The Book Nest

But the book is thoroughly Emmy's point of view, and it works awfully well that way too. She's the only one that Oliver feels normal around, and their growing intimacy allows him to tell his story to her. From Confessions of a Bibliovore

A touchingly moving story that will tear at your heart and the struggles that come after such a huge dramatic experience. But love can conquer so very much, and Emmy and Olivers bond and connection was just perfect! From Bewitched Bookworms

I loved the way family and friendship were portrayed -- real, funny, and sometimes messed-up. From YA Romantics

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Book: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Genre: Non Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

We voted this in for book club reading since everyone had heard such awesome things about it. We heard it was sad, but we heard it was good too.

Well. The sad part was true. As for the good part... I'm not so sure.

In this book, the author rambles on about the death of her husband the year before... and the sickness of her adult daughter, both of which hit at the same time. She goes through her thought process every step of the way, how she relived that night over and over, how everything she saw sent her down a memory vortex, how she believed it wasn't real and that he would come back, how if only she had done such and such a thing, it wouldn't have happened, how everyday she remembered what they were doing the year before on that day when he was still alive. And so on.

I think for people who have gone through similar events, knowing how this particular person got through it might ease some of their pain. Maybe it would help for them to know that they aren't the only one with such thoughts.

She also did a lot of research on the grieving process and threw in a bunch of psychology. For some, this might help them. For others, I'm sure it just sounds like a bunch of craziness.

There was also lots of medical talk, and reminiscing about connections with people who's names had no meaning or basis for me. Those parts I tended to truly skip over.

Bottom Line: I imagine some would find the book helpful and interesting, but I was baffled through the whole thing that it got such astounding praise and won awards and things. I just didn't get how a rambly book like this rises to such heights. Very interesting.

Other Reviews:

The only thing I found even a little insightful was at the beginning, when she talks about grief being a mental illness rather than some temporary condition. From Confessions of a Bibliophile

I guess my point is to not go into this book thinking that it’s going to be easy. It’s absolutely worth it — this was a fantastic book — but it can be emotionally difficult to read. From Sophisticated Dorkiness

Readers won’t find any self help for grieving here but might recognize the various stages of grief and take comfort that they’re not alone in them. From Dear Author

It’s beautifully written, deeply personal, and incredibly moving. From S. Krishna's Books


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