Follow

About



My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

Followers

Follow me on Twitter

Powered by Blogger.

Total Views

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #3




This feature was originally started by Team Tynga's Reviews.  Please check out their wonderful blog.  

With getting ready for Halloween, I didn't read too many books.  I only read Vicious by V.E. Schwab throughout the week.  Then I floundered about what the read next.  I finally settled on an ARC of Crystallum by Laney McMann.  It looks good so far.  This was "The week of free books!" as you will soon discover.  Beside my approvals from NetGalley, I went thrifting and found two great books.  Then I got notified from my library that two books I have been waiting on for ages had arrived.  Finally, the big score:  a co-worker was cleaning out her bookshelf and brought a giant box of books to school!  I only took five books, but wanted several more.  I think we are thinking of setting up a lending library in the break room, so I will happily return these books when I finish them and add others to the work library.  I think this is a wonderful idea and am so happy to be working with people who love reading as much as I do. 


Acquired from NetGalley:


                 




Thrift Store Finds:


                  


From the Library:

                  



From a Work Friend Cleaning Out Her Bookshelf:


       



                 


Posts for the week:


Sunday, October 25:   Spreading the Blogger Love #2

Monday, October 26: Book Review of Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer

Wednesday, October 28:  Book Review of Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Thursday, October 29:  Three 4 Thursday Classics from the 1920's you should re-read

Friday, October 30:  Feature & Follow Friday



SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday


Happy Friday everyone!  It will be a busy weekend, but I will still be checking out new blogs on Feature & Follow Friday!  I am finding so many new blogs to follow and are making new friends, too.  Getting to interact with bloggers and seeing how others have designed their blogs is one of the joys of this hobby.  I will try to follow as many of the blogs on the master list as I can and hope that some of them will follow me back!  This is hosted by Alison of Alison can read and Parajunkee Go to both of their sites and check them out!

Here is an explanation from Alison Can Read:

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and ayou must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.



It seems as though the feature of the week hasn't been updated yet.  I will post an update when they post this week's feature!  


Question of the Week: What are your favorite books that have been made into a movie? - Suggested byGirl of 1000 Wonders.


My Answer is going to be a popular one:  I loved the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice.  If you had asked me prior to it's release, I would have answered that my favorite was the mini-series of P & P that has Colin Firth and was on the A & E network in the 1990's.  But looking back, that version is stifled and somewhat boring.  The 2005 movie (starring Kiera Knightley, and Matthew Macfadyen) is so perfect from it's casting, to the set design, to the subtle ways director Joe Wright shows the Bennet family's closeness.  It all adds up to such a satisfying experience. 

Brenda Blethyn is particularly wonderful as the mother.  She showed new depths to that character.   It is clear from her performance that while she is an obnoxious, hysterical embarrassment to her daughters, she is also worried sick about her children's future.  In a world where females couldn't inherit from their fathers, the mom was terrified that the girls would be left destitute in the future if they didn't find husbands.  I loved that the movie found that insight, instead of resorting to the popular interpretation of the stereotypical bossy mother.  


What about you?  Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear your answer.  If you a new follower, let me know in the comments so I can follow you back!

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest

Three 4 Thursday: 3 Classics written in the 1920's you should re-read

It was a golden age of flappers, prohibition, and disillusionment.  The decade of the 1920's was a period of immense social change.  Following the end of WWI, soldiers streamed back into the U.S..  After seeing more of the world than they ever dreamed, many were discontented and unenthusiastic about going back to the farm.  Women, as well, shed social norms and let loose.  Who knew what tomorrow would bring?

The 1920's was also a golden age of literature.  There were many memorable books of that era, but these three really encompass the social upheaval of the times.

1.  The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton:

This book concerns itself with the gilded age of America and takes place in the 1870's.  The story centers around the impending marriage of young gentleman Newland Archer.  He is about to be married to the picture perfect May Welland.  But after meeting her cousin, Ellen, he begins to question many of the assumptions he has been taught about marriage.  Written in 1920, it's commentary on marriage and society and is an indictment on the social conventions that young people were beginning to question following the end of WWI.  With this book, Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize.  

2.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:


Often mandatory reading in high school, everyone should read it again (and again) as they get older.  It epitomizes of the decadence of the times:  the extravagant parties, the gaudy mansions, the garishness of folks suddenly flush with money from bootlegging and a skyrocketing stock market.  The story concerns Jay Gatsby, the poor young soldier who vows to become rich and win the hand of his first love Daisy.  But Daisy is already married to the boorish Tom Buchanan.  Can Jay recapture the sweetness of a long lost love?  Or is it too late to go back?  It is amazing that, although it was written in 1925, the book seems to foretell the looming disaster of the Great Depression.  I re-read this every few years to remind me of the fleeting nature of wealth and infatuation.

3.  The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway:  


Written in 1926, this book initiated the term "The Lost Generation" to describe the disillusionment of young people who went into WWI thinking war would be heroic only to discover the terrible human cost of battle.  In the book, a group of expats living in Paris seem to stumble from place to place drinking and looking for the next amusement.  Jake Barnes is a journalist who works in Paris and is in love with Lady Brett Ashely.  Due to a war injury Jake is impotent, so Brett seeks out various other lovers.  His group of friends all seem to have unconventional relationships and behave in a shallow way.  I think this is a book that would give one insight into a time period of great social flux throughout the world.  The book The Paris Wife by Paula McLain,  chronicles what was happening in Hemingway's life as he was writing this book and how the people he knew at that time populated his masterpiece.

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab





Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 

Review:


I always marvel at the power of books to draw me into a story, hold me (sometimes kicking and screaming), force me to abandon common sense and stay up late into the night to reach the next chapter, and then abruptly dump me on the pavement when the novel ends.  That is how I felt reading V.E. Schwab's Vicious.  Although my description seems like I had a terrible experience, it was actually a thrill ride, filled with twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end of the story.


I didn't know anything about this book going in, only that all the people I follow on Twitter raved about it.  So, I dutifully checked it out of my local library.  The story is part science-fiction, part psychological thriller as two roommates form a bond over their research on the possibility that near death experiences could lead to supernatural powers.  The book flips back and forth between the character's college days and ten years later.  Why did Victor go to prison?  Why is Eli killing people and how is he getting away with it?


I enjoyed this story for it's insights into human nature and behavior.  How would someone behave if they suddenly had the power to get people to do whatever they wanted?  Could they resist that kind of power?  If you were invincible, would you think you were somehow God's Chosen One?  How much hate would build up in a man sitting in prison for ten years towards the person who put him there?  As much as this is a science-fiction book, I loved how the drama was based on human traits such as loyalty, jealously,  anger, and revenge.  The super-powers are not the point of the story, but are a catalyst for exploring these emotions.


I highly recommend this book for it's original story concept.  I think it would make a terrific movie!



Rating:  
Source: Public Library
Format:  Hardback
Recommendation: It was a great, original concept. Read it when you don't need to sleep!
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!



SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: Magnus Chase & The Sword of Summer



Synopsis (from GoodReads):

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .


Review:


Working with upper elementary school kids has taught me to keep a look out for certain authors:  Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Desperaux, Because of Winn Dixie), Brian Selznick (The invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck), and Rick Riordan.  Starting with The Lightning Thief, written in 2005,  Rick has built a powerhouse brand and is a publishing rockstar.  His newest series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, continues his reign as the undisputed King of kids books (J.K. Rowling, notwithstanding).  These books focus on Norse mythology and incorporate familiar gods such as Thor and Loki, with lesser known (okay totally unknown to me) gods such as Heimdall (god of vigilance) and Ran (goddess of the sea).


The book opens with a look into the life of street kid Magnus Chase (If the last name sounds familiar to fans, then they will be in for a treat!).  Life is tough for this 16-year old as he has to survive alone on the streets of Boston after his mother is murdered by wolves two year before.  It's almost impossible to discuss this book without getting into spoilers!  Suffice it to say that some big events happen right at the beginning of the book that enable Magnus to enter the world of the gods.  It's an unconventional way to open a book series, but the author makes it work.  In this book, Magnus learns he is a demigod and must search for the Sword of Summer in order to prevent the escape of Fenris wolf who, if he gets loose, will start the end of the world.


One of the best aspects of all of Rick Riordan's books is that he populates his novels with characters that reflect the diversity of his readers.  There are people with disabilities, different ethnic backgrounds, and a variety of religions.  He doesn't do this to hammer into kids lessons in tolerance.  He just presents it as part of the world the characters live in. 


While his other series were full of romantic pairings, this book is refreshing for it's lack of them.  This is an adventure story that weaves several Norse god's stories into the plot.  There are contests of skill and fighting, tests of courage, and moments where the hero must outwit his enemies.  It is a fun, fast paced book!


I only have two small criticisms of this book.  This first is the extremely up to date pop references made throughout the novel.  While they are hilarious, I worry that this will make the book dated in years to come.  One of the reasons a series such as Harry Potter can be read anew by successive generations of readers is that it is timeless.  If we had all kinds of 1990's pop references in the books, it would have reminded the reader of when those books were written.  I think this series is great and I want it to endure.  The second issue with this book was all the references to Rick Riordan's other series.  Again, if you have read his other books, you will be laughing your face off.  But for those who have not read all of his other books, you might be scratching your head wondering what in the heck he is talking about. 


I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of The Lightning Thief and has read all of Rick Riordan's other books.  Take the time to read the older books first for maximum enjoyment.  The author has produced another winning series and I can't wait for the next one to come out (Summer 2016).




Rating:        

Source:  Bought by me


Format:  Hardcover


Recommendation:  Great for fans of Rick Riordan books.  But if you haven't read his novels before, start at the first book, The Lightning Thief.


Will I read more from this author? Yes!




  










SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Sunday, October 25, 2015

Spreading The Blogger Love #2




via GIPHY

This is the second time I have tried to spread some love around blogs that may not be so well known!  But I think it is great to get shout outs, so I am doing this again.  here are five blogs that I enjoy.  I hope you can check them out and follow them.  What are a few of your favorite blogs?  Please share the love in the comment section!


1.  My So-Called Book Reviews:



This blogger has a bunch of reviews, blog tours, and giveaways going on.  She seems to review mainly contemporary and mystery type novels, but there are a huge variety of books she has read and reviewed.  I really like the design of the blog and how it is organized.  She is located in the U.K.







2.  Tammy's Book Reviews:


Tammy's Book Reviews


Full disclosure:  Tammy is a friend from my high school days.  She started her blog in 2013, but really started posting regularly in June of this year.  I enjoy her blog because it focuses on romance novels.  She has author interviews, giveaways and, of course, reviews.  I really want o encourage other bloggers, so I hope you will check her out and she will be inspired to keep on blogging!




This blog is run by Priyanka and she seems to like in the U.K..  She mainly reads Romance books, from Contemporary to Mystery, and everything in between.  She has a very pretty website design!  She does weekly features such as Top Ten Tuesdays, and Waiting on Wednesdays.  Wow, judging from how much material is on her blog, This woman reads A TON!!!  Check her out, you'll be glad you did! 

4.  Book Sojourner:






This blogger seems to favor adventure/romance type books! There are regular weekly features such as Stacking the Shelves, and Sunday Post.  The emphasis is on new releases and so there are lots of giveaways, blog tours, cover reveals and other breaking information.  If you live in Southern California, there is also information on upcoming book events in the Los Angeles area.


5. Kerosene Lit:
update #2:  I went into panic mode this morning when I tried to find Sarah's site and it was gone!  It turns out she changed her blog name and site (don't know why).  Please check out her new site.  It is also very pretty & I'm sure she would appreciate the support.


 The Reading Petal:
update #1:  I went to this site today and it was gone!  I tried for a long to to search the web for this and now I can't find it anywhere.  If anyone has a clue how I can get a hold of Sarah, I would appreciate it!

This blogger, a young woman from Canada named Sarah, has been blogging since May of this year.  She reads mostly YA Fantasy and Paranormal books, but she is now reading a larger variety due to her blogging.  Her blog design is pretty and calming (two things that make me a fan).  She has a weekly feature of Top Ten Tuesdays.  Her writing is personable and honest.
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #2




This feature was originally started by Team Tynga's Reviews.  Please check out their wonderful blog. It's been a busy week and I have been reading non-stop!  Most of this week was spent reading the new Rick Riordan novel, Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer.  I will post a review of it in the coming days.  I was also fortunate enough to read and review an ARC of This Ordinary Life, by Jennifer Walkup.  There is also a giveaway for book swag from the author.  Look for it in the links below:



Acquired from NetGalley:








Books read:







Posts for the week:


Sunday, October 18:  ARC Review & Giveaway of This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup

Monday, October 19:  Review of Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Tuesday, October 20:  Review of The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Thursday, October  22:  Weekly Feature:  Three 4 Thursday:  3 Laugh Out Loud Books

Friday, October 23:  Feature & Follow Friday:  This week's question:  If you could re-write a book which one would it be and what changes would you make? - Suggested by

Go Book Yourself.

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Friday, October 23, 2015

Feature and Follow Friday


Happy Friday everyone!  Time for relaxing after work, hanging out with friends and family, and checking out new blogs on Feature & Follow Friday!  I really like this blog tag, because I am finding so many new blogs to follow.  Getting to interact with bloggers and seeing how others have designed their blogs is one of the joys of this hobby.  I will try to follow as many of the blogs on the master list as I can and hope that some of them will follow me back!  This is hosted by Alison of Alison can read and Parajunkee Go to both of their sites and check them out!

Here is an explanation from Alison Can Read:

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and ayou must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.

Our Feature - Kayl's Krazy Obsession


1. When did you start blogging?

I started blogging on January 31, 2015. After my introduction post, I posted a review for Allegiant. It was really bad, and I cringe just thinking about it. But now I can say that I have experience.

2. What is your favorite part of book blogging?

My favorite part about book blogging would have to be sharing my opinion with the world. It's amazing to take a look at stats and followers and realize that each of those numbers represent someone who visited my blog. It doesn't matter if they spent five second or five hours, they were there for long enough to see my thoughts. It's just amazing.

3. What type of books do you mainly blog about?

I mainly blog about YA novels. Science fiction and dystopian novels are my absolute favorite to blog about, but I blog about pretty much every YA genre. And sometimes I'll throw a an adult book in the mix.


4. What are your favorite books?

If you follow my blog, you know that I am obsessed with anything written by Jennifer L. Armentrout. All of her books are amazing, and I highly recommend each of them. Obsidian is my all time favorite book. Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre is a new fav of mine. And I really enjoy Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and Michael Grant's Gone series. 


5. What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?


The best thing that has happened to me because of book blogging is probably all of the attention I receive from authors. I find it really cool when authors notice me on Twitter or request a review from me. I just love all of the people I have met (virtually) because of book blogging.



Question of the Week: If you could re-write a book which one would it be and what changes would you make? - Suggested by

Go Book Yourself.
I would definitely change Breaking Dawn.  I was so disappointed with that book!  First of all, I would take away the whole subplot of Jacob being bonded to Bella's baby (CREEPY, right?).  I would want him to find a great, decisive woman and be like, "Ha, Bella!  In your face!  I am so F#%@ing happy"!  Next I would make there be some consequences for Bella turning into a vampire.  I thought it was all too perfect.  For instance, she should have had to cut herself off from her dad.  Anyhow, I could go on all day about this!  What about you?  Please leave a comment below.


And now for the Blog Hop!




SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Thursday, October 22, 2015

Three 4 Thursday: 3 Laugh Out Loud Books

Over the last few weeks, I have been on a rather morbid streak of Death and Scariness.  Now I am ready to laugh.  There are many books that have a lot of humor, but these three abound in it.  Try them out for a light-hearted reading experience.


1.  Where'd You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple:


This is such a fun book!  In this sendup of suburban life in an exclusive Seattle neighborhood,  multi-tasking supermoms populate the landscape.  Bernadette seems to be a master at running the lives of her little family with flair.  But is she actually getting lots of help behind the scenes?  Is her life really so perfect, or are anxiety, secrets, and infidelity lurking in the shadows?  All is not what it seems in the perfect life of the main characters.  There was so much I could personally relate to in this book, particularly the scenes about the seriousness of school fundraisers.  These situations may seem outrageous,  but if you live in certain privileged areas, the craziness abounds when it comes to raising money for your kid's school.  I loved how Bernadette takes outsourcing to new heights.  This social satire will have you laughing and crying all at once.

2.  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion:

I loved this book for it's wit and fun premise:  a socially awkward scientist sets out to find a wife.  With the aid of an hilariously inappropriate questionnaire,  the main character, Don, attempts to weed out incompatible potential mates.  It is implied in the book that Don has Aspergers, so when he meets the quirky and unpredictable Rosie he immediately writes her off as a possible mate.  Rosie is looking for her biological father.  Being that Don is a geneticist, he takes on the task of helping Rosie gather DNA to weed out who could be her dad (it is not at all because she is attractive, no).  As Don gets to know Rosie, he begins to let go of some of the order in his life, and let in spontaneity, fun, and love.  This is a book full of laughs, but also empathy for Aspergers people.  It is close to my heart.

3.  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams:

This is a classic and one of my teen's favorite books.  Arthur Dent starts out the day squabbling with the government about demolishing his home to make way for a highway bypass, and ends the day on an alien space ship!  How can he even wrap his head around this new reality?  He can begin to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, coincidentally written by his friend, Ford Prefect (an alien passing as a human).  This novel is full of British-style humor (which I adore).  As Arthur tries to navigate through his new reality, he meets strange species such as the Vogons, and tries not to get killed!  This is the start of a fun series.  I think all of my kids went through a British humor phase and this fed their addiction.  Silly fun!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review: The Tiger Rising


Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger - a real-life, very large tiger - pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things - like memories, and heartaches, and tigers - can’t be locked up forever.


Review:


At 115 pages, I would consider this book more of a short story or novella rather than a full book.  Having said that, I think The Tiger Rising is a powerful book.  The story deals with a sixth-grade student named Rob, who is dealing with the loss of his mother.  Keeping all his emotions in his mental "suitcase" Rob is numb to the events happening to him.  Kids bully him and beat him up: no reaction.  He and his dad live in a run-down motel: no reaction.  This goes on until two things happen to him.   He meets another student, Sistine, who is angry at the world over her parents divorce, and he finds a Tiger locked in a cage in the woods.  Who does this tiger belong to?  Should he let the tiger go?  The tiger is obviously a symbol of Rob's emotions being bottled up for so long.  


I enjoyed this book for how it handles all of the difficult situations the characters are in.  Each person in the story is fully formed and complicated.  Just as the ethical dilemma about letting the Tiger go is explored,  so is the argument for and against letting your emotions out.   This book is geared toward fourth through sixth grade students.  I think it is a book that will get students thinking about many deep topics and hopefully learning empathy for kids going through rough times.




Rating:  
Source: Public Library
Format:  Paperback
Recommendation: A powerful story for grades 4-6.

Will I read more from this author:  Yes!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review: Hidden Huntress




Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…


Review:


After reading Danielle L. Jenson's Stolen Songbird recently, I hurriedly got my hands on it's sequel, Hidden Huntress.  The book is an action packed tale full of royal intrigue, dark magic, the strong romance between Cécile and Tristan, and the domineering presence of Cécile's mother, Genevieve. 


As she rushes to fulfill her oath to find the witch, Anushka, Cécile must contend with the strong desire of her mother to have Cécile become a great opera singer.  Genevieve is the ultimate stage mother!  Although Genevieve is the current star of the opera, she is ready to retire and have Cécile take her place.  Is her mother looking out for her, or is there something else motivating Genevieve to push Cécile so hard?  The mystery is complex and fun for the reader to solve!


The love story between Cécile and Tristan grows even stronger in this book.   As their love for each other deepens, they must each shed their emotional layers and trust in each other.  This is tough for most people to do.  Can anyone let their guard down totally, exposing deep secrets and fears, and not get hurt?  Cécile wonders how Tristan will react when he learns of the lengths she goes to in order to help him.  Can he love her despite what she has done?  


I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  The comparison between the human world and the troll world seem to show that some behaviors such as greed, jealousy, and love are universal.  As  Cécile moves toward possibly freeing the trolls, she must think about the consequences.   Would she sacrifice the happiness of all her friends in Trollus to keep the human world safe? Would being ruled by the trolls be better or worse than being ruled the current Regent?  And who is she to make such a decision?


I see this conflict between the human world and the troll world as an analogy for the real-life conflicts of today.  When we demonize a population, it is much easier to marginalize them and treat them as less.  This is why I love fantasy novels.  They have so much to say but will envelop it in a story that is entertaining and compelling.  This is a wonderful book.  I can't wait for the third installment, due out in May 2016!



Rating:  
Source: Public Library
Format:  Paperback
Recommendation: If you like adventure and fantasy you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Sunday, October 18, 2015

ARC Review & Swag Giveaway: This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup




Synopsis (from GoodReads):

Sometimes Hope is the Most Extraordinary Gift of All.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres's life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health--not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.
 



Review:
I received this ARC  as part of Nori @Readwritelove 's Sunday Street Team and was asked for an honest review.  When I heard about the premise of This Ordinary Life, I was intrigued: high-school girl, Jasmine, tries to carve out her dreams of a future in radio, while dealing with a chaotic home life.  Her mother is having trouble dealing with the breakup of her marriage and the health problems of her seven year old son who has epilepsy, so she turns to alcohol to numb the pain.  As her mother becomes increasingly unreliable due to her drinking, it's falls to Jasmine to pick up the pieces and care for her brother.

I loved this book for it's honest portrayal of a teen coping with an impossible situation.  Although my childhood circumstances were different, I can truly relate to Jasmine's struggles.  Not being able to invite your friends over, the constant fear in the pit of your stomach from not knowing what to expect; it's all there.  

But this book is also full of humor and hope.  I laughed so much when Jasmine takes a tiny bit of revenge on her ex with her choice of songs as she DJ's for the school radio station. Her character is funny and smart.  She won't let her home life drag her down.  The book also points out that there are many caring adults like teachers and other parents who recognize kids who are struggling with family issues and want to help.  I think for most of the book Jasmine feels very much alone in her situation.  Thankfully, her teacher goes the extra mile for Jasmine and leads to her getting a shot at an internship that could change her life.

As the story progresses, Jasmine meets a cute boy named Wes to take her mind off her problems.  This only issue with him is that he also is living with seizures.  Although Jasmine is in a unique position to understand Wes's situation, she also knows the very real problems that epilepsy causes.  Plus she has trust issues after a boy she thought she loved betrays her.  Can she let herself be drawn into a relationship that could lead to such heartache?  Jasmine takes her time to get to know Wes and slowly lets her guard down.  Their texts to each other are a fun highlight of the book.  And their "non-date" dates would be sure to win anyone over.  While I wish the author has made Wes a little less perfect, I understand that this is really Jasmine's story, not his.  Perhaps there could be a sequel from Wes's perspective.  

There is so much I can relate to in this book and it's depiction of epilepsy has me thinking I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  What a challenging and unpredictable thing to have to live with.  But the book also shows that families do cope.  The ending made me hopeful for the future of the teens in this book.  It was moving and NOT sappy.



Rating:        

Source:  ARC copy from The Sunday Street Team

Format:  Paperback

Recommendation:  If you like reading about teens overcoming serious issues, along with some cute romance, this is a great book.

Will I read more from this author? Yes!

Now for more fun!  The author is giving away book swag for This Ordinary Life!



SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Saturday, October 17, 2015

Stacking the Shelves!


I have wanted to do this feature for a long time!  But, as I can be extremely disorganized, I forgot where I saw this in the first place!  So thank you Country Bookworm, for posting this feature on your blog today!  This feature was originally started by Team Tynga's Reviews.  Please check out their wonderful blogs.  The idea is to show what books you have received each week.  This may give others an idea for a book to read and to see what is popular in the blogosphere. 

From Netgalley:

Somehow I got approved for a bunch of ARCs this week!  This is great but also kind of a double edged sword: because I added these books, my rating (approval vs. feedback) went way down!  Now I feel obliged to hurry up and read these books!  Thankfully I really am excited to delve into them.  But this sort of messes up my reading plans for the month!



These are the titles:




From the Public Library:
The students in one of my classes are reading The Tiger Rising and I feel I will do a better job with them if I know what they are reading.  It should be a quick read.  Vicious looks intriguing as so many people have raved about it.  And In Cold Blood is a book selection for my bookclub called #AdultBooklr on Tumbler and GoodReads.  It is non-fiction and a classic.  That's it for the week!  I don't know how I am going to read all of these wonderful books!  I guess sleep will be a low priority activity for a while!






SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest

Follow by Email

GoodReads

2017 Reading Challenge

MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 180 books.
hide

MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
The Fry Chronicles
A Clash of Kings
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Giver
Savvy
The Red Pyramid
Anne of Green Gables
The Complete Novels
Slam!
Slam
Hatchet
Scorpions


MsArdychan's favorite books »

Badges

80% 80% 50 Book Reviews  photo sunday street team_zpsnsbthfz0.jpg  photo featured blogger badge.jpg_zpsmio5qtb3.png Bloggers Commenting Back 2016 NetGalley Challenge
clean sweep 2017

Popular Posts

Grab My Button

Grab button for Pondering The Prose
<a href=“http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://i1341.photobucket.com/albums/o743/MsArdychan/pondering-the-prose-button_zpslmhippcg.png" alt=“pondering the prose" width="200" height="200" /></a>

Blogs I Follow

Search This Blog