Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 2016 Wrap Up

I read 14 books this month! I think that is the most in one month I have read so far this year. I did read the entire 5 book Spiderwick Chronicles series which are all very short so that is why it's more than usual. I took my sweet time with Good Omens, The Wolf Road, and Age of Myth so I might have read more big books otherwise. 
Currently participating in the COYER Challenge

Books I Read

Pages Read: 3514

Challenge Progress
New Places Visited

(Stars Above)
Paris, France
Toulouse, France
Los Angeles, CA

(School of the Dead)
San Francisco, CA

(Good Omens)
Dorking, Surrey, England
St. James Park
Soho, London, England
Oxfordshire, England
5th Avenue, NY
(and a few other places that I didn't write down)

(The Wolf Road)
British Columbia
Yukon Territory, Canada

(The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle)

Thirteen Reasons Why
Good Omens
The Wolf Road

The Field Guide
The Seeing Stone
Lucinda's Secret 
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath
Stars Above
Age of Myth
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle

Age of Myth

The Spiderwick Chronicles (#1-5)
Age of Myth (#1)

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Lunar Chronicles

How did you guys do on your goals this month? What was your favorite book? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: October 18, 2007
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: purchased

Literary Awards:
Georgia Peach Book Award Nominee (2009)
South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2010)
California Book Award Silver Medal
Abraham Lincoln Award (2013)
Missouri Gateway Readers Award (2010)
Oklahoma Sequoyah Award for High School (2010)

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. 

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. 

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers. 

My Thoughts: 
Thirteen Reasons Why is such a powerful story.  We learn from the synopsis that the book is about a girl who committed suicide but it really is so much more than that. It is a very somber, emotional read that shows the fragility of the teenage spirit and how easy it is to lose yourself. 

I think this should be required reading for teenagers to help them  build empathy and understanding of how their actions affect others. It's very thought-provoking and eye-opening.

The writing is engaging and demands to be read. This was my first time encountering a narrative like this, told by two different people at the same time, Hannah through cassette tapes and Clay in the present as he listens to those cassettes. The double narrative did seem to really clash in the beginning and was a little difficult to follow in the first few pages but once I got the hang of it, it really flowed well and was enjoyable. There was such a somber mood to this entire story that I had to read it slowly and soak up every word. 

It's been so long since I read something like this and I'm not even sure I can say I've ever read anything like this. I wonder how this book would have affected my life if I had read it as a teenager. Would I have been more guarded towards those people who I thought were friends but actually weren't? Would I have had a better understanding of my peers and how their (and my) actions affected others? Would it have changed my outlook on depression or suicide? 

My only problem with this book is that there isn't any anti-suicide helpline numbers on a separate page at the end. At least, not in my hardcover copy. Ok ,there was a list of 13 questions to/from the author with a question addressing what to do if a friend is showing signs of wanting to commit suicide as well as one for if you yourself are thinking about it, including a number you can call, but I felt like it should have been separate. There is a big chance that young readers will read this book just because they have those thoughts and I think that a page dedicated to those numbers would have been helpful. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #85 - Book to Movie Adaptations!

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

Freebie Week!!!

10 Upcoming Book to Movie Adaptations I'm Looking Forward To
There are tons of book to movie adaptations 'in development' or just 'optioned' that I'd love to see (and I even keep a somewhat messy master list of them all) but these are some that I can not wait for that have actual 'in theater' release dates.  

1. The BFG by Roald Dahl (movie release in July 2016) - I read this for the first time last year. Roald Dahl adaptations are usually always fantastic so I have high expectations for this. 
2. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (UK release in Sept. / Not sure for US yet) - I wrote a pretty vague review for this book but if you've seen the trailer then you know what it's about for the most part. Nonetheless, it was a great book and I love these kinds of movies! 
3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (October 2016 release date) - I read this one a few years ago and loved the dark illustrations. I don't think the movie will capture those illustrations the way I'd like but it should be pretty good anyway. 

4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (November 2016) - The movie I'm most excited about! I've always wanted to see the American version of the Wizarding World and I'm just so ecstatic to be able to jump back into my favorite fictional world. 
5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (December 2016) - I loved this book so much and Tim Burton has always been my favorite director even though he isn't nearly as 'dark & twisted' as I'd like him to be these days. Can't wait for this! 
6. The Death Cure by James Dashner (February 2017) - I wasn't in love with this series but the movies have been pretty good so far. 

7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio (April 2017) - I read this earlier this year and it was such a good story. I only recently found out that it is being adapted. 
8. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsberg (July 2017) - I'm hesitant about this one because ROBIN WILLIAMS. How the heck can you beat that version? I honestly don't want a live action re-make. Maybe an animated one like they did with The Polar Express would be okay. 
9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (March 2018) - Probably my most anticipated after Fantastic Beasts and maybe Miss Peregrine's. This book was fantastic and I can't wait for this! 

and one that I haven't read and doesn't have a specific date yet but...

10. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2017) - If this is anything like 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' than I definitely can't wait for it! 
Are there any adaptations you are really looking forward to?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Sunday Post #25

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.

It's been a rough week for me. It's nothing serious but I'm in dire need of a vacation. That's not likely to happen so maybe I just need a mental health moment (or hour). Life can be so overwhelming at times.
Thank goodness for books.

This Past Week On The Blog
Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 Releases So Far
Book Review: School of the Dead by Avi
A Not So Positive Book Review: The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe
Book Blast & Giveaway: Raising Sleeping Stones by P.H.T. Bennet
Book Blast & Giveaway: Emoji Adventures No. 1 by P.T. Evans
Fantasy Favorites Readathon Sign Up & Goals
Picture Book Review: Almost A Full Moon by Hawksley Workman
Book Review: Tru & Nelle by G. Neri

Coming Soon
Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
June Wrap-Up
July TBR (+ another bookmark giveaway)

Books I Finished This Week

What I'm Currently Reading

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
I'm almost done with this one and have been enjoying it.

(Physical Book)

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox
So far, this one is exactly what I was hoping it would be. Slightly spooky with that gothic castle setting.

Around the Blogosphere/Interwebs

Author Owen Sage talks about the start of his 52 Weeks of Self-Discovery journey which was pretty inspiring to me as I'm trying to become more organized with my goals and life in general. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: Tru and Nelle by G. Neri

I won a free physical copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Goodreads Giveaways and was encouraged but not required to give a review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book. 

Title: Tru & Nelle
Author: G. Neri
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Genre: Middle-grade, Historical Fiction
Pages: 336
Source: Goodreads Giveaways
Long before they became famous writers, Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This fictionalized account of their time together opens at the beginning of the Great Depression, when Tru is seven and Nelle is six. They love playing pirates, but they like playing Sherlock and Watson-style detectives more. It's their pursuit of a case of drugstore theft that lands the daring duo in real trouble. Humor and heartache intermingle in this lively look at the two budding writers in the 1930's South. 

My Thoughts:
Long before they were famous published authors, Nelle Harper Lee and Truman Capote both lived in Monroeville, Alabama where they became great friends, played Sherlock Holmes to solve mysteries around town, and urged each other to write stories.

This mostly-true account of their friendship is a gem of a story. Fans of either 'To Kill A Mockingbird' or any of Capote's novels will find bits of pieces of those works immersed into this cute little story. It's been years since I read 'To Kill A Mockingbird' but there were things that really stood out and reminded me of it. I have yet to read any Capote but it sounds like there are a lot of things about Truman's childhood portrayed in this book that reflect his written works. 

If you've ever wondered what either author was like as a child or where the ideas for their books came from, this is about as close as you will get to the truth in story form. Taken from documented accounts of a third, childhood friend, Big Boy, the majority of everything in this book is true.

This really a lot of fun to read. It's set in the 1930's, around the time of the Great Depression, when having a good time for a kid meant using your imagination and using whatever you could find. This is a great reminder for kids these days that you can do anything as long as you can imagine it. 

There was a part in this book that made my blood run cold and I expected the worst to happen and hoped it wouldn't with each further word I read. Luckily, as a children's book, nothing seriously bad happened. This book, like 'To Kill A Mockingbird', touches a little bit on the Klu Klux Klan and racial inequality that ran rampant through most of the 1900's. Luckily, we have a great cast of characters, based on great progressive people like A.C. Lee to help stomp that nonsense out. 

I think this is a perfect read for all ages, whether or not you've read or are familiar with either authors and their works, like mysteries or not, or are just looking for something fun to read. This is one book that I think is a perfect companion or maybe even a precursor to 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Children's Picture Book Review: Almost A Full Moon by Hawksley Workman

I received a free ecopy of this picture book from Netgalley and Tundra Book in exchange for an honest review. 

Title: Almost A Full Moon
Author: Hawksley Workman
Illustrator: Jensine Eckwall
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Pages: 32
Source: Netgalley

"Almost a Full Moon" is a warm-hearted story of family, community, food and home. A boy and his grandmother host a gathering in their small cabin in the middle of winter. Friends travel from near and far, and some new friends even turn up. The walls of the cabin are elastic and the soup pot bottomless; all are welcome. Based on the lyrics of Hawksley Workman's song from his holiday album Almost a Full Moon, this book evokes both the cold and the coziness of a winter's night: crisp clean air, sparkling snow, the light of the moon, welcoming windows, glowing candles, family and friends. The spare text is beautifully complemented with the rich illustrations of Jensine Eckwall, a new talent to Tundra. She brings beauty and a hint of magic to Workman's evocative lyrics; together, they create a world and a night that will enchant readers of all ages. 

My Thoughts: 
This is the story of a boy and his grandmother who decide to make soup because the weather is turning cold. Soon a whole flock of visitors show up to share in the meal. 

This is a cute story perfect for a fall or winter day. It's mostly told through the illustrations with a sort of repetitive sign-song verse about the weather turning cold, making soup, and inviting everyone they know and don't know to join in on the feast. 

There are lots of cute little animals and I loved the detail of the wood grain in the table and chairs. The illustrations evoke the cold winter season as well as a warm, comfy home interior and the joy and cheer of gathered family and friends. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fantasy Favorites Readathon Sign Up & Goals

Hosted by Olivia's Catastrophe and Inge and Aly from Of Wonderland


This readathon will take place from July 10 - July 18.

There are 3 series that the hosts will be featuring / reading during this readathon and they have challenged everyone to read them as well (but it's not mandatory.) The series are Throne of Glass, Grisha series, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The only series I haven't read is the Grisha series but I doubt I'll be able to get the books for that week so I won't be participating in that.


While it's not required to read only fantasy, I am going to try to read mostly (if not all) fantasy for this readathon. Summer always puts me in the mood for some good fantasy!

Books I Might Read
(I'm putting this up a little early so there is a chance that I will read these before the readathon. I will delete those and add more if that is the case.)

I hope to read at least 4 of these books but some are much longer than others so it depends on what I'm reading at the time, I guess. I'm just going to go with the flow and skip all the pressure.
How about you? Are you participating in this readathon? Or perhaps the Make Me Read It Readathon instead?