Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #99 - Series I'd Like to Start in 2017


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week is a freebie!

Top Ten Series I'd Like to Start (And Maybe Even Finish) in 2017


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - This one is cheating a bit considering that I just finished this book. But it's a series I started this year so it counts. 
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - I've started this one but I'm not very far into it. 
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket - I've already read this one this month, too, but I plan on reading this entire series in the next few months. 


The Passage by Justin Cronin - I've heard really good things about this trilogy. 
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - I haven't actually decided if I'm going to start this or the Mistborn series by Brandan Sanderson. I feel like it has to be one or the other and not both in the same year. I at least own this one but it has fewer books in the series out so I'm having a hard time choosing. 
The Falconer by Elizabeth May - I may have a hard time getting my hands on the sequels to this one right away but I really want to read it anyway. 


Air Awakens by Elise Kova - I read The Alchemists Loom last month and now I am dying to start this series so I don't have such a big wait between books. 
Red Rising by Pierce Brown - This is another one of those books that I haven't heard a single bad thing about and it's been sitting on my shelf for half a year so I need to read it.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - Once upon a time I heard a rumor that this will be adapted into a movie starring Emma Watson. I'm not sure if that's still in the works but I still want to read it. 


A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet - This probably isn't the best choice considering there's only one book out so far but I own it and I want to read it. 


How about you? Are there any series you are planning on starting or finishing this year? 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Post #48 - So it begins...

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you received, share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and more.

My week (or rather the past two weeks since I missed last Sunday) have been spent outside mostly, tending my garden, getting my Spring/Summer veggies ready. My kiddo is loving that she can run around the yard and then come over and grab some lettuce right out of the garden to eat. Other than that, I have mostly been sucked into a fictional world that I can't seem to pull myself out of (and let's face it, I'm okay with that.) In other words, I'm avoiding reality because it kind of really sucks right now. 

What You Might Have Missed
TTT - 2016 Releases I Plan to Read in 2017
Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab
Picture Book Review: I Am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer
2017 ABC Challenge
Nonfiction Review: Our Country's Presidents by Ann Bausum

Coming Soon
Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Book Review: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Top Ten Tuesday

What I'm Currently Reading

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - This book has pretty much taken over my life this week. I'm taking a break to write this post but I should be finished with it shortly after. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - I set this one aside to finish Outlander because I'm hooked on that book right now. I've heard so many good things about this and I love Maas but Outlander wins this round. I'm afraid I'm going to have a book hangover and not get into this properly so I might try to read another Lemony Snicket in between. 

What I'm Listening To
I've mostly been listening to the Outlander adaptation soundtrack while I read the book. I haven't seen the show yet but I like to listen to music while I read and this was just perfect. 

As for something not so book related but still good for background music (depending on the book, I guess.)
CHVRN - Never Know


I hope you all have a safe week ahead of you!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Non-Fiction Book Review: Our Country's Presidents by Ann Bausum

The inauguration of our 45th president is nearly on our doorstep.
 Just in time, National Geographic has released the new and updated Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency by Ann Bausum featuring the 2016 Election.

Many thanks to National Geographic and Media Masters for providing a physical copy of this book for review. 
 

Published January 10, 2017 by National Geographic
Hardcover, 224 pages


This comprehensive encyclopedia is the perfect resource for all things presidential. It contains all of the past presidents as well as the 2016 president-elect and information on the 2016 presidential race. Also included throughout the book are six color-coded historical periods ranging from the creation of the U.S. Constitution all the way to modern day issues with lots of little bits of information about important happenings throughout our country's history. 

This is the perfect resource to learn more about our presidents, the presidential history of our country, and the election process. There's information about the two party system, the Electoral College, the Supreme Court, and more. 

A few of the subjects and facts scattered throughout are presidential landmarks that span from log cabins to libraries to memorial sites; comparisons, including the career paths of each president; and the fight for the right to vote. You can find out which presidents died in office and learn more about the First Ladies of our country. 
There is a ton of information beyond what can be learned of each of our presidents.  

Each president has at least two full page spreads that include an official presidential portrait, an introductory summary, the term of office dates, their signature, and a box of facts that include their birth date, political party, nickname, and more. These spreads also include a quote from the president, as well as photos or illustrations that mark memorable events that occurred during their term. 

At the end of the book is a complete chart of the presidential election results as well a list of other resources to find out more about the presidents. 

In all, this is a wonderful learning resource for children and adults alike or if you just want to brush up on the presidents or learn more about the history of our country. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2017 ABC Challenge


I finally came across a blog that does an ABC Challenge but I honestly just like doing this for myself with no strings attached so I'm going to continue without link ups and whatnot. It can be fun to try to fill up all the letters. Last year I didn't read any K books. The year before that I think it was J books that I had a hard time finding. This year I'm going to try to hit all those letters. X, Y, and Z are the hardest to come by so those letters just need to be somewhere in the title to count.

*(CR) = Currently Reading

Note: I will add my review links to this page eventually and will also add this to my upcoming 2017 challenges page.

A
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas CR

B
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco CR


C


D


E


F


G


H


I


J


K


L


M


N
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende CR

O
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

P


Q


R


S


  T


U


V


W
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

X

Y

Z

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Picture Book Review: I Am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer

Title: I Am Jane Goodall
Author: Brad Meltzer
Illustrator: Christopher Eliopoulos
Series: Ordinary People Change the World #10
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Length: 40 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed


Synopsis: 
We can all be heroes. That's the inspiring message of this New York Times bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer. Learn all about Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee scientist. 

Each picture book in this series is a biography of a significant historical figure, told in a simple, conversational, vivacious way, and always focusing on a character trait that makes the person present tense, which keeps the books playful and accessible to young children. And each book ends with a line of encouragement, a direct quote, photos, a timeline, and a source list. This tenth book in the series features Jane Goodall, the scientist and conservationalist who is famous for her work with chimpanzees. 

My Thoughts:

This was our first time reading a 'Ordinary People Change the World' book but I am glad that we took the chance. These adorably illustrated biographies are all told in first person and it helps make it more personal, as if Jane Goodall were talking directly to us about her childhood and her grand adventures. There's also a mixture of Jane telling us all and dialogue between her and her friends, family, and animals. 

This book had a great message: That you can be anything you want to be as long as you work hard to make it happen. 
We follow Jane as she follows her dreams and it really does give the reader the sense that they too can easily follow their own dreams. 

At the same time, we are learning about Jane Goodall herself, her profession, animals, and the world. 

This is a gorgeously constructed book with entertaining illustrations. The only issue I seem to have with it is that Jane stays the same small character throughout the book even though she should be growing. Even as an adult, she looks like a child next to the other adults in the book. I can see how this allows children to always recognize and identify with her throughout the book though. 

If you are looking to teach your child about real life people who have made a difference in this world, or just read them an entertaining story, this is the perfect series to do so!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 509 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis: 
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift--back into Black London. 

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games--an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy ties between neighboring countries--a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port. 

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall. 

My Thoughts:
Four months after leaving Red London, Delilah Bard is living out her dreams of being a pirate upon the ship of her choosing. She finds herself drawn back to London when her captain, Alucard Emery, is called to compete in the Element Games; a high stakes competition between the most talented of wizards put on by the Arnesian royalty to bring the surrounding countries together in celebration. Rhy has kept busy putting the Games together but Kell, on the other hand, feels smothered by the new rules and judgments that have been placed upon his shoulders.
Meanwhile, a forgotten shadow grows stronger in forgotten worlds, threatening the balance between light and dark, good and evil. 


This has been the absolute best series I read in 2016. Schwab is a master of her craft. I will admit that the first half of this book was not as plot driven and fast-paced as the first book but I never felt bored with it. The story still moves along at a great pace and has plenty of action and character development.
The Element Games really was the highlight of this book though. How could it not be? A bunch of wizards competing to see who is the best? Um, yes, please put me in the audience any day. 


I mentioned in my review of A Darker Shade of Magic that I felt a lot 'closer' to Lila as a character than I did to Kell and that continued in this sequel. I loved that it started out with Lila doing what she had always dreamed of doing. As much as I love Kell, Lila is the character that stands strongest in this series. We get so much development with her. Or maybe I just relate to her more. 

Kell is still our dark, troubled dreamboat with an abundance of power and little freedom. He was definitely fleshed out more as a character in this sequel. I felt like I didn't really get to know him in the first book because he was always so busy saving the worlds. This time around there was more time for him to show his inner thoughts and turmoil. 

Rhy seemed to be coming into his role as future king. He's taking on more responsibility and acting more like a royal while in the first book he mostly just seemed to want to drink and get into trouble so Kell could dig him out of it. 

Our newest main character is Alucard Emery. We don't get a whole lot about his character at first but we are given little hints throughout and I'm pretty sure he is going to play a big role in what is to come. We do learn that he has some connection to all our previous characters and the way that Schwab brought him into the story was genius. 

The ending was enough to make me want to travel to different worlds to get the next book. I need to know what happens right now. This is the kind of book that makes the wait so difficult to deal with. What do I do with my life? Reread the first two books over until I have the third in my hands? 

I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy. This is the kind of YA fantasy that I would recommend to any gender and any age group. It reads like an adult fantasy, just without any excess of romance, and is always to the point and well paced. 

My Rating: 4.5-5 stars

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #98 - 2016 Releases I Plan to Read in 2017


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant to Read But Didn't Get to (And Totally Plan To)


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - Ok, technically I haven't even started ACOTAR yet but I plan to read it this month so this one will be shortly after.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab - I freaking loved her Shades of Magic books and have heard great things about this.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - I heard mixed reviews on this one but now that Wayfarer is out (coming out?) a lot of people are talking about it and it has renewed my interest. 


Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor - I have this one on my TBR pile for this year and really hope to get to it. 
And I Darken by Kiersten White - Another book I own and have heard nothing but great things about. I can't wait to read this one. 
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - I know a lot of people that kind of hated this one until the very end so I'm hesitant but I received this in an Owlcrate so I still want to read it.


A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess - I haven't seen many reviews for this one but I really like how it sounds. 
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst - I really really want to read this one. It sounds like such a great fantasy.
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton - This is a must read since I've only heard amazing things about it.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling - I received this for Christmas and am hoping to fit it in this month. I need to read it soon so I can see the movie but I'm not going to get the chance to see in theaters so I guess I have a little time at least. 

How about you all? What books did you not get to in 2016 that you are making a priority this year?