Friday, July 3, 2020

Monthly Wrap Up: June edition featuring #BookBuddyathon, #GGRReadathon, and #Romanceathon

How can it be July already? I am writing this as the month starts and I am conflicted. There is a lot of that was supposed to happen (more on that below) personally and it has affected me more than I like to admit. Summer is ramping up both weather wise (rainy days, hot days, humid days which I am not a fan of) and with the pressure I am starting to feel with work obligations. Before we get into all of this, let me break down what I managed to read in June.

I wrapped up June reading nine books, which I am ultimately happy about because I fought through a reading slump that took over a couple weeks. I had hoped to read more, but I am trying to get over my reader's guilty of not reading enough because of my career as a school librarian. So much guilt, but that is for another post.

Here is what I was able to read in June:

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Mini Reviews: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang and A Taste of Sage by Yaffa Santos

I am back with another round of mini reviews. I like to be able to do these in between size reviews--not as long as my full ones and not as short as the new Twitter Reviews I am doing.  Up this time are a graphic novel review (in time for Pride month) and an adult rom-com review.

The Prince and the Dressmaker
By Jen Wang
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a delightful graphic novel that is beautifully drawn by artist Jen Wang. I love the message behind this story: be who you are because otherwise you are not true to yourself. Prince Sebastian has a secret: he loves dressing up...but in dresses. He seeks out a designer who can make him the dresses of his dreams. Enter Frances, an overworked tired seamstress at a fashion shop in Paris. She longs to be able to design dresses for clients that bare her name and when the Prince's valet arrives when an unbelievable offer, she leaps at the chance.

Through their relationship, Prince Sebastian begins to accept his Lady Crystallia side, becoming embolden to go out into society dressed as her (most of the time accompanied with Frances). Their relationship evolves into more as the story progress but is put to a challenge with Sebastian has to decide who he really is and Frances has to decide what she truly wants.

I enjoyed this and of course as a graphic novel it is perfect for reluctant readers in my library. I appreciate that it challenges people's perception of gender roles and I think the pacing of the story is great. I love the overarching theme of being comfortable with who you are, even if it is not what you think everyone wants of you. I think that is an important message our teens need to read--especially during these pivotal formative years. 

A Taste of Sage
By Yaffa Santos
My Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Chef meets chef, fall in love, & live happily ever after--what could be better than that? This is a rom com with Dominican roots that sadly did not translate into as much richness as I hoped. It blends magical realism, tragedy & romance, but ultimately l wanted more from it. I liked Lumi and the other main character, Julien grew on me as well. I felt like the flow of this book was off--it bounced forward in time so quickly and the recipes were interspersed at weird points. Perhaps if I read it as a physical book instead of an eBook, maybe it would have been clearer. Even though parts of it did not work for me, I read it in one day.

Despite not getting out as much as I hoped, I do look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I hope in her next book she is willing to explore her Dominican roots further so it translates more fully into the story and does not feel as just a small part of it. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July TBR featuring the Reading Rush and TBR Spinner Challenge

Happy July everyone! It is hard to believe we have turned the corner and starting the second half of 2020. I personally cannot wait for it to finish up--this year needs to be put to rest. However, I know that the second half of the year will be even busier than the first half as my daughter transitions to high school, beginning a new school year--hopefully in person after 6 months away from the building for the most part, and all the end of the calendar year tasks.  I start two national committee appointments, one for AASL and another for YALSA, which I will be doing in conjunction with my state association's duties I do. 

During the month, we will also be traveling a bit back to see family in our home states (Michigan and Indiana) along with checking out some colleges for my daughter--she is a rising freshman. Don't worry--we will be safe wearing our masks, practicing social distance to protect family members and ourselves. I am a firm believe in wearing masks--just do it! 

Reading Rush Readathon:

With traveling this month, things are going to be a bit more challenging. I won't be able to participate in Becca's Bookopoly Readathon sadly because we will be traveling that weekend. The one readathon I plan on doing is the Reading Rush hosted on the Reading Rush channel. Here are the books I am looking to fit in that week:

Here are the Reading Rush Challenges and what I am anticipating trying to use to fit them (right now anyway):
They also selected for the group book: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid which you will see I have already been reading this month and am working to finish it up (hopefully this week). 

The Reading Rush takes place June 20-26th, which overlaps by a couple of days when we are traveling. So I know the likelihood of me completely seven different books in one week is slim (especially given the reading slumps I have been fighting through). All of my choices were picked so they can do double duty on the challenges in the hopes that I can complete all seven challenges, without having to read seven different books. However, I am going to pick a book for each challenge knowing that this book may not be able to be finished in a week along with other titles. 

TBR Spin Challenge:

As far as the rest of the month goes, trying to adhere to a TBR Pile has not been going as well for me. I usually pull a stack based on any of the readathons I am doing with multiple choices, but even that did not work in June. I will go into more details in my June Wrap Up coming up after this post (probably on Friday or so). 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Audiobook Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams
by Libba Bray; Narrated by January LaVoy
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This is the second book in Bray's Diviner series and picks up shortly after the first book ends. We are welcomed back with some known characters: Evie, Sam, Jericho, Mabel, Theta, Henry, Memphis, Isiah, and Ling along with some new characters. This book once again shifts points of view, with two main story lines weaving together: Evie and Sam researching Project Buffalo and Henry and Ling spending time dream walking for answers or seeking out others. A sleeping sickness has the city in grips after it just recovering from the Spanish Influenza pandemic and no one knows how it is affecting people and how to heal them. At 613 pages long, this book has a lot go of threads weaving together, but Bray kept my interest throughout the story by keeping the story moving along with enough interests and nuggets to dig into for me. 

Bray also does a good job of not washing over the social injustices during the 1920s: immigrants, Blacks, and Jewish individuals were victims of racism, prejudice, and harassment. There is a Ku Klux Klan parade at one point during the book--a normal, praised sight at this point in American history. Also present is the Chinese Exclusion Act, which is often times an overlooked part of our whitewashed history. There are moments in the narration that I just cringed because of the blatant remarks, the outright hostility, and the unfair treatment but it is important for these moments to be in books so we can discuss them with our students. Life was not pretty and easy for everyone--if you were not white or Christian (specifically Anglo Saxon Protestants), then you had roadblock after roadblock in your path to overcome. With Ling, Sam, and Henry all from marginalized groups, readers are able to get a brief glimpse into what immigrants/Chinese, Jewish, and LGTBQ people experienced during this time in history. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Twitter Review: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

I am introducing a new type of reviews today: Twitter Reviews. Each of my Twitter Reviews will be 280 characters or less--including the spaces. It is a quick way to sum up my thoughts on some books I do not want to fully review, but want to remember some thoughts about it.

The Tourist Attraction
By Sarah Morgenthaler
My Rating 3 out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Answering the "How Do You..." Tag

Question 1: Do you read more than one book at a time? What are you currently reading?

Lately, I have been yes. I usually have the following books happening:
  • Fiction book: whether it is physical of eBook, I will only do one fiction
  • Nonfiction: this could be for work or my own enrichment
  • Audiobook: I do not switch back and forth between the book and audiobook--it stays on audio (unless I do not like the audio then I will switch to the physical/eBook)
When I was going into work physically, if I am a reading a physical book, I would also add an eBook so I could use my Kindle at work. I find it is easier to read on it if I had time to eat lunch (which does not happen every day believe it or not).

Lately, since the pandemic has started, I have been filtering a graphic novel in the middle of reading prose novels or even nonfiction books. I find it is helpful as I feel more productive finishing a book and since graphic novels are faster reads, this has been helping. 

Question 2: How do you organize your library? Do you ever get the urge to reorganize your shelves?

I just reorganized my bookshelves. For my wall of bookcases, they are done in genres. Beforehand they were done alphabetically by author's last name. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Review: Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

Four Days of You and Me
By Miranda Kenneally
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This is a delightful addition to Kenneally’s publishing catalog as she introduces us to a new set of characters with this YA contemporary outside of the Hundred Oaks series. Her trademark wit, humor, and likable characters are present in this one so any readers leery of trying a new book without the appearance of new characters, don’t be.

I liked the premise of this story being about our two main characters throughout the four years of school, highlighted on four days over the years during their annual field trip. Interspersed throughout these checking in during these specific days we get additional flashbacks over the years. At this the pacing did seem disjointed but not so much it bothered me.

I would not hesitate to put this in the hands of my students that like contemporary and romance stories. Please do be aware sex, alcohol, sneaking around parents and teachers are present in the story. I do not tell you this to dissuade you in reading and enjoying this book as I find it is accurate to teens today, but if you have a younger reader or a student who needs to be steered away from these topics, please note they are present in this book.

Overall, this is a great end of school year/summertime read. I will not hesitate to recommend it to my students.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Mini Reviews: Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes and Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This week's mini reviews features a middle grade historical fiction and a young adult contemporary mystery.  I read both of these for the Golden Girls Readathon that Rachael hosted last week and both are new to me authors. 

Hero on a Bicycle
By Shirley Hughes
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

This is the story of Paolo and his family at the end of World War II in Florence, Italy. His father has left to join the resistance movement as he is an outcast because he does not support the fascist regime of Mussolini or the Nazis. His mother does her part often times reluctantly because of fear for Paolo and his sister Constanza. Paolo does not want to stand back and do nothing, so he does what he can by using his bicycle.

What I liked about this book is it is World War II in a different location. I feel that often times World War II is sequestered to England, France, and Germany and sometimes Switzerland, Netherlands, Japan and Russia but rarely anywhere else. It reads quickly and with it being middle grade, it wraps up as best as a war story can.

What I did not like is the alternating points-of-view because it seemed off in this book however, because it switched within the short chapters. I wish each chapter was devoted to one point-of-view as I think that would help the flow of the story and engage readers even more into plight of this family (and the area) of World War II.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Midyear Freak Out Book Tag

I am denial that we are already half way through 2020, but then again, I believe most will agree that this year is not one we would care to repeat anytime soon. The point of this tag is of course to reflect back on the first half of the year in our reading. I am going to do this and then also a post on reviewing my goals for the year too.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

I have two books that jumped into my mind:
  • Nonfiction selection: Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Fiction selection: The Diviners by Libba Bray

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2020

The best sequel I have read this year is The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson.


3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.

At the time of writing this, I have yet to read Beach Read by Emily Henry.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

My family and I thoroughly enjoyed Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I am really looking forward to the third book later this year--Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow.

5. Biggest disappointment.
Oh this is going to be controversial for some because I am one of the few who seemed to not like this one, but my answer for this is No Exit by Taylor Adams.

6. Biggest surprise.

Honestly, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson blew me away--I was not prepared to like it as much as I did. As I explained in my review, I think part of the appeal might have been where I was at the time I read it, but even a few months later I still find myself drawn to it and really like it.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Hmm, so I would say I have several that I am thoroughly enjoying and look forward to reading more from them. The first is Maureen Johnson, see above for her books I have enjoyed this year. I previously had not read anything by her.

I referenced Jessica Townsend as well. I find her Nevermoor series (review book 1, review book 2) to be utterly captivating. This is a series I have been enjoying as an audiobook and will continue it that way.

The third author I am going to mention is a debut this year--Holly Jackson and her A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.

8. Newest fictional crush.
I think I have established already that this is not something I do not experience/buy in/think about at this point in my life. I have no issues if you do--you do you and I will do me since me not having crushes does not affect anyone other than myself. :)

9. Newest favorite character.

I scrolled back through my GoodReads shelf and there are two that are sticking out in my mind: Stevie from the Truly Devious series and Andie Bell from A Good Girl's Guide to Murder. I really like both of them and I look forward to reading the next book in each of the series.

10. Book that made you cry.

I do not think there has been any book that has made me cry yet this year. Given the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, I am more upset and responsive to the news that I am not actively seeking books out that have the potential to make me cry. That being said, I have so many books on my summer TBR to educate myself on becoming a stronger and more educated anti-racist, that those will bring me to tears due to sadness and frustration I'm sure.

11. Book that made you happy.

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa made me smile as I love the hate to love trope in this book and I really loved Lina, the main character and her family relationships in it. If you have not read it yet, I would recommend it.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord is another one that comes to mind as one I enjoyed and it had me smiling and laughing at times. 

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)

One that I received this year is from My Book Box subscription that has me longing to be able to be on the beach is Once Upon a Sunset by Tia Marcelo.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I have been trying not to put too much stress on me to read specific books by the end of the year. I do know one I do believe I will read will be The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson as I would like to finishing off the Truly Devious series this year. 

So there you have my answer to this year's Midyear Freak Out Book Tag. How has your reading year gone? Mine has been shaky for the last couple months, but I am hopeful that I can get back on track this summer. Let me know if you do this tag so I can read your answers.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Review: Meg, Jo Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel
By Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
The classic novel has been retold into a modern tale of sisters in a biracial, blended family and to those who might wonder, the heart of the classic is still in full force in this beautiful graphic novel adaptation. 

The personalities of all four girls are pulled throughout the novel both in the dialogue and the drawings. Illustrator Bre Indigo has infused the warmth that Little Women is known for right into the illustrations full of beautiful women of all shapes and sizes. Those who are familiar with the classic story will appreciate the way that author Rey Terciero has updated the story bringing a classic to reflect a contemporary family. I loved that the sisters still squabbled with each other because honestly, which siblings do not squabbled and the parents with their mother working long hours to support their daughter as their father serves in the military, are the role models I would wish all children could have in their lives. 

The hallmarks of the classic novel are still here: the warmth, the tight family dynamics, and strong family presence. What has been added is the diversity that is much needed with a Black father, Caucasian mother, and daughters: Caucasian, Black, and Biracial. I would not hesitate to recommend this to my students: both middle and high school as I think it is the story that all need to be open to reading. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Stay at Home Book Tag

I feel I am a little late in doing this tag, but I wanted to do it anyway. Plus I know our summer plans have completely changed as we were supposed to go on a dream vacation to Europe, but that has obviously been put on hold.

1) Laying in Bed: what book could/have you read in a day?

The latest book I have read in a day is Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson. Powerful, shattering, empowering...and so many other emotions experienced while reading it.

"to talk about consent
get real about consequences
respect the room enough
to tell the truth
cuz, lordy lordy, they need it"
(Shout, 182)
2) Snacking: comfort read

I do not think anyone should feel bad with what they read so I changed the original prompt (guilty pleasure book) to a comfort read instead.

For my comfort reads I will return to a book I have read before and more times then not, I elect to reread the All Souls Trilogy, with the first book A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I first read this book during my blogging hiatus, and I just love that when I return to it, something else pops up because of all the hidden eggs to be discovered.

If I do not reread a specific book, another comforting read might be returning to a favorite author. I have not been reading as many, but I used to read romance (contemporary or historical are my favorites) but I have not been reading as many of those lately.

3) Netflix: a series you want to start

Ones I have on my shelf: The Great Library series by Rachel Caine (first is Ink & Bone), The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, and The Lone City (first is The Jewel) by Amy Ewing. I am working on clearing off outstanding titles on my bookshelf so hopefully I will make a decision on these series this summer. Ink & Bone is on my TBR for this month.

4) Deep Clean: been on your TBR for ages

The oldest three books on my TBR are:
I put two of these on my possibilities for this month. See, I really am trying to get longstanding books off of my shelves and TBR. :)

5) Animal Crossing: a book you bought recently because of the hype

The one that pops into my mind right away is Beach Read by Emily Henry--another one I am hoping to read this month during Romance-athon.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Review: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair
By Maureen Johnson
4.5 out of 5 stars

Stevie is back at Ellingham with her housemates and friends while also navigating some new roles. Edward King wants her stay close to his son David. David wants Stevie to figure out what happened to Ellie. “Call Me Charles” wants her to make up missing work and to start an internship of sorts with a professor in a nearby town focusing on the Truly Devious kidnapping and murder.

I once again was sucked into this story without much troubles. I really like the characters—I am invested in them and want to see them succeed. I really liked the twists and turns this one took and I am anxious to continue onward with the series. The pacing seemed on point, without too much lagging details or chapters causing you to want to put it down. I still like the alternating time periods, with the flashes back to the appropriate time period and then forward to Stevie working through details. It is interesting to compare her conclusions to what the flashbacks let us in on. I look forward to the last book as there are still several unanswered questions. 

Sometimes a second book in a trilogy can be lackluster for me, but this one is one of the excellent sophomore additions. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am glad that I continued on with the series as sometimes I am bad about moving on in a series because I do not want to be disappointed and the potential fear of it detracting from the prior one. I will continue recommending this series to my students including those that would classify themselves as reluctant readers. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Monthly Wrap Up: May 2020 edition featuring Book Bingo and more

In May I read a total of 11 books--not too shabby! I will take it given the crazy slump I had to battle out on it. During this time, I play Book Bingo with an online book group as a fun way to challenge myself to pick my books. Here is what my bingo board ended up looking like at the end of the month:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

June TBR featuring Bookbuddyathon, GoldenGirlsReadathon, & Romanceathon possibilities

It's June! I am thrilled that I am participating in three different readathons this month. Am I crazy? Possibly but I have a graphic novel, middle grade, and other quicker reads to help balance out everything. :) Sit back, grab a snack/drink and enjoy this long post of what I plan to read in June. 

All month long I will be doing the Bookbuddyathon with Rachael from Rachael_Fryman on YouTube (BookTube) and RachaelFryman on Instagram. Bookbuddyathon is hosted by the lovely Elena from Elena Reads Books. If you want to learn more about Bookbuddyathon, go watch Elena's announcement video

Friday, May 29, 2020

Mini Reviews: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa and In Conclusion, Don't Worry About it by Lauren Graham (audiobook)

I am struggling with another month of reading slump. I have a pending post on my thoughts on it. In the meantime, here are two additional books I have finished but did not write a full review. This batch of Mini Reviews brings an adult contemporary romance and a personal development audiobook. 

The Worst Best Man
By Mia Sosa
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

What I really appreciated about this book is the incorporation of Brazilian culture from an own voices author. The main character, Lina (Carolina), is first generation Brazilian American and she is a great conduit to her culture. I thoroughly enjoyed Lina's growth in this novel, from being closed off to her emotions to be willing to put it out there in the end.  I also appreciated Max and his struggles with living in the shadow of his sibling. As the youngest of three, I could relate to his wanting to be his own person as I would be put in my sister's shadow often.

If you are looking for a contemporary romance with a bit of substance then I recommend this title. If you prefer your bedroom scenes to be closed door, then this one is not for you as it is on the steamy side. 

In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It
By Lauren Graham
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

This audiobook is an excellent one to listen to when you find yourself starting to spiral or needing a confidence boost. Everyone has ebbs and flows in their life, struggles, or moments when you question your journey. This book lets you in on a secret: most do and you are not alone--even famous actresses have similar thoughts.

Graham is obviously the natural choice to narrate this audiobook, given it is an expansion of a commencement speech she gave to her high school. She knows where a wiry tone is needed or when to draw out something to add to the humor. I am glad I listened to this one as it really does add to the authenticity and made me feel like I was there listening to her in person. Give this to a graduate in your life--'tis the season for it after all. If they enjoy audiobook, go with the audiobook hands down. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Review: Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Confession: to this day if you ask me who my favorite author is, I will name Laurie Halse Anderson. I have read hundreds, if not thousands of books since Speak, but it was (and always will be) a defining book in my life. I was one of her Speak kids, and thus it will always have a pivotal role in my life. I have been able to sit and have a conversation with her at various conferences. It is with this confession I offer my review of Shout.

 By Laurie Halse Anderson
 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

 "I am often distracted, diverted
 from my path when I explore old wounds
 it's a defensive reaction,
 a way to modulate my feelings
 and cope with the discomfort, 
 like telling jokes at a funeral,
 not appropriate, but less damaging than gin

 too many grown-ups tell kids to follow
 their dreams
 like that's going to get them somewhere
 Auntie Laurie says follow your nightmares instead
 cuz when you figure out what's eating you alive
 you can slay it " (Shout, 159-160)

Friday, May 22, 2020

Review: Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

By Neal and Jarrod Shusterman
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

What would you do if you turned on the faucet and there was no water? What would you do if you had no idea if and when you would have water again? Neal and Jarrod Shusterman imagine this possibility in Dry. Alyssa, her brother Garrett and her "unusual" neighborhood Kelton set out to find Alyssa and Garrett's parents after they disappear on a water seeking trip.  When their search proves fruitless, will the three be able to stay together and stay alive?

This book has an very scary but possibly outcome. That is what makes this book so intriguing to me to start--with climate change real and with more droughts, fires, hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes happening more frequently, the Shustermans take you on a journey during which you can ask yourself what would you do in this situation. Along their journey, we meet a range of other secondary characters. The pacing on this book is engaging, with short chapters rotating through different points of view. It centers on young adults (teens) mainly and their responses to the situation they are in either by no fault of their own (the drought for instance) or because of the choices they make. The ending felt rushed and a bit too tidy for my interests, but nonetheless I think teens will enjoy this book immensely. I would not hesitate to put this into reader's hands--I think I could pit easily to someone who likes dystopians or those who prefer action stories as there is enough to keep them engaged. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Audiobook Review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

By Neil deGrasse Tyson
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

"We do not simply live in this universe. The universe lives within us." 
~Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tyson takes us on a journey through the cosmos, from the formation of the earth, a trip through the galaxy, dark matter, spheres and so much more in this compact book. This book is an easily digestible introduction to astrophysics, a complicated and vast scientific field few of us know much about, but might want to learn more if only given the time. This book is made up of twelve short chapters in only 208 pages, but even then it is even less since the physical size of this book is quite small. 

The audiobook is narrated by Tyson himself, which I could not picture anyone else reading this book. He adds his trademark wiry humor wherever he intended it to be, adding to the listening enjoyment. He reads at a steady pace, not too hurriedly though that those who are not familiar with any of the subjects would feel lost during it. Just for reference, this audiobook is only 3 hours and 41 minutes. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Audiobook Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners
By Libba Bray
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

 The Diviners is the first book in Bray's series of the same name. Our main characters in this book are Evie (Evangeline), her uncle Will, his ward Jericho along with a host of secondary characters: Theta, Henry, Memphis, Isaiah, Sam, and so many others. Evie gets sent to New York City as a punish for what her parents deemed as bad behavior at home in Ohio. There, she is drawn into the hunt for a serial killer, as the local police ask Will to consult on it given the symbols left on the body. Evie and many of the other characters in this book have special abilities such as using an object to learn about someone's past, remembering numbers, healing, seeing into the future and more, the people that have these unusual abilities Evie comes to find are call Diviners. And while they may not realize it, they will all be put to the test with their abilities and what they believe at the same time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Review: The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation
By Jonathan Hennessey

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
An excellent introduction to the complicated document that is the foundation of our country, The United States Constitution: a Graphic Novel Adaptation is an opening way of
introducing the complicated founding document. Those hoping that it has the wording of the constitution will be disappointed however, as this is more a how to to the United States constitution and not a verbatim rendition.

The art style is engaging and sets the tone for the complicated, discriminatory nature of founding fathers and United States history in general. For panels depicting slavery and the
three-fifths law, the person is only depicted as three-fifths of a person...completely jarring and unnatural and brings to life that they were not looked as full body individuals. At times the writing can be cramped, I could read it easily even with it being on the smaller size.

I would say that it goes through the Amendments quickly and often times washing over the complication of these additions to our constitution, however, you are still able to get a feel and understanding for it. I would recommend this to anyone who is trying to understand the Constitution and how it has been interpreted throughout the years since the Founding Fathers drafted it.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
by Katherine Howe
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Connie (Constance) Goodwin just wants to pass her qualifying exams and move onto her dissertation. When she succeeds in doing this, she feels an added pressure to find an unique primary source--a rarity in her field of New England history. Her mother needs her to go to her grandmother's house near Salem to clean it out, Connie discovers an antique key and a name: Deliverance Dane, stuck in the family bible. Who is Deliverance Dane and where does this key fit? 

The writing in this book is quite lovely, gentle, so to speak with the story building to the climax of the story (which will not be revealed here as that would be a spoiler obviously). Because it builds quietly, at times you might be inclined to think the story is dragging, but if you stick with it, you are rewarded with a story that came to a satisfying conclusion with the hint of something further to come. 

I was initially drawn to this book because of my love for Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches, another book that explores witches though Howe's book goes much more into the historical implications here in the United States. I enjoyed this one and I look forward to reading the The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs that has only recently been published (10 years after the first). For fans of the All Souls Trilogy, you will find similarities in this book, but they are not the same. In a small way, they complement each other.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Looking Back at the A to Z Survey--Updated Answers!

This tag was originally created by Jaime at Perpetual Page Turner. As I was looking over things, I thought it would be fun to answer these again, as the last time I did it was on August 15, 2013. Looking back at old posts and seeing how your opinion differs has been a popular trend on YouTube. This my attempt at doing something similar. 

Author you’ve read the most books from:

So my previous answer was Nora Roberts. She and Stephanie Laurens are up there for the most adult authors I have read. These books are like candy for me and are a complete escapism for me.

If I look deeper, my most frequent Young Adult author is Laurie Halse Anderson for fiction and for nonfiction, Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

Best Sequel Ever:

The one I have read more recently that stands out in my mind is Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I am a bit biased towards that series since I was on the Printz Committee that selected Scythe as one of Honor Winners, but I still appreciated this follow up and think it is one of the best sequels published.

Currently Reading:

Currently I am reading The Diviners by Libba Bray. I am loving it so far, but I am only about 155 pages into it. Nevertheless, I have high hopes for it. 

Drink of Choice While Reading:

I would say my answer is still tea, hot or cold, followed closely by Diet Dr. Pepper since I have not managed to kick my pop habit yet. Otherwise, water would be another likely contender. If it is at night, then sometimes I will reach for an adult beverage, usually in the form of a glass of wine or a cider.

E-reader or Physical Book?

I still maintain it does not need to be one or the other. I like both of those formats for different reasons and will use the books interchangeably. If I am traveling, then I tend to prefer eBook because I can take so many more books with me and with my eReader, it has a built in light so I do not need to bring my travel book light (which I have, and do pack when I take a physical book with me on car rides/plane trips). 

Another way I devour books is audiobooks. I am pleased to have served on The Odyssey Award committee twice since the last time I answered this survey. Audiobooks are a huge part of my reading habit, I could not imagine not having them in my life. For those, I am at the point where I listen to them exclusively as digital audiobooks using Overdrive (Sora in school), Audible,, or Volumes. Did you know that Spotify also has audiobooks on it?

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Hmm, if I had to pick one I feel like Levi from Fangirl or Jack from Tweet Cute would be the two that stand out currently in my mind. I do not have "crushes" on book characters. There are ones I like, so these are the two that stand out if they were real characters, these would be two that I would have been drawn to IRL. 

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Hmm...So this is going to be a weird one I think but recently I finally read The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks off of my TBR shelf at home during quarantine time. I am glad I did not because they blew my mind away (though they are good), but because it is a book series that has been on my shelf for awhile now and I needed to get them finished. I am too the point that I do not actually want to keep every book I have ever owned or read--I do not have a big enough house.