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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

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #62 & Sunday Post #25


I am combining two great blog hops:  Stacking The Shelves (a Saturday feature by Team Tynga's Reviews), and Sunday Post (a Sunday feature by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer).  Both of these features give people a chance to post about what books they received and also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what others are excited about.  I really enjoy see everyone's version of these features! If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me via Bloglovin, Networked Blogs, GFC, or by email subscription.  If you leave a comment and tell me you are a new follower, I will follow you back! As always, all book cover images are linked to GoodReads so if you see a book you want to learn more about, just click away...

Happening This Week:
I am so happy (and relieved) that I met my reading goal on GoodReads this year!!!
That's right!  I read about 12 books per month.  But even with that amount of reading, I still feel like I read too slowly.  I have a mountain of books to read.  But I will endeavor to not stress over this in the coming year.

I'm also trying really hard to plan and write blog posts well in advance.  I have about eight reviews to write, and I need to get them going.  Do you ever wait too long to write a review and can't remember the names of some of the characters?  or you mix up plots with another book?  Yup, that's me!  So I will try to write a review as soon as I read a book, with my thought fresh in my mind.

New Books:
Random House First In Line Program:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31019571-10-things-i-can-see-from-here?from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29995905-city-of-saints-thieves?ac=1&from_search=true

I love getting surprise book mail, and these showed up on my doorstop this week.  Both books look great.  City of Saints & Thieves is a YA mystery, while 10 Things I can See From Here is a YA contemporary.  

Kindle Freebies:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30967294-when-in-rome-lose-control?from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26016162-immortal-matchmakers-inc?from_search=true

 Both of these books look like so much fun, and they were free, so why not, right?

Bought:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22698569-the-fate-of-the-tearling?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24807186-wolf-by-wolf?from_search=true

 Yes, I broke down and bought these books!  I have wanted The Fate Of The Tearling for a long time, and one of my book clubs on GoodReads is reading Wolf By Wolf so I went ahead and got these beauties.


That's it for this week.  I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve and best wishes for a prosperous New Year.
 
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

ARC Review: The Alchemists Of Loom by Elise Kova



Please Note:  I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):
Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Review:
I am a great fan of Elise Kova, having devoured several of her books from the Air Awakens series (I'm still working on finishing them).  So when I had the opportunity to review this new series I jumped at the opportunity.  I'm so glad I did because I found this book to be an entertaining novel with great world building, characters, and a story that made me want to stay up late reading.

What I Liked:
World Building:
I found the universe of this book to be intriguing, if a bit confusing at first.  There is Loom where most of the action takes place.  In this world, technology is King.  People belong to various guilds where their roles are determined for them.  If you can't (or won't) fit in, you are killed.  

Then there is another entire world in the sky (known as Nova), filled with dragons.  But, while these dragons are not like the ones we are accustomed to (they don't have long tails, fly, or breath fire), they do possess magical abilities.  They are ruled by the Dragon King.  When the two worlds become known to each other, both see an opportunity.  What begins as a partnership between the magical and the technological, evolves into the people of Loom becoming powerless and destitute.  The Dragon race now rules both worlds.

I enjoyed discovering all the magical abilities of the dragons, as well as the abilities of the Loom characters who became chimera (a hybrid of humans and dragons).  

Characters:
I loved the characters in this book. Ari and Florence make a wonderful pair.  From the beginning, it is clear that Flo is strongly attached to Ari, perhaps even in love with her?  But Ari is haunted by the death of the great love of her life.  She doesn't want to feel so vulnerable again.  Ari is full of secrets and regrets.  She is also strong, and fiercely loyal to her friends.

Cvareh is also strongly attracted to Ari.  As he gets to know her, he gains a new appreciation for humans who he once thought of as sub-creatures.  He also has some hidden pain, but is determined to  support his sister in overthrowing the corrupt King.

Story:
There were lots of power plays within each world. The dragons had a hierarchy similar to the middle ages with ruling families loyal to the King.  But there were also powerful families that were disgruntled and plotting to overthrow the king.  I enjoyed all the intrigue.

There were similar intrigues happening within Loom, as there were revolutionaries working for independence from the Dragons, and others who wanted to keep things as they were.

What I Was Mixed About:
Because this was a whole new universe, I didn't understand some of what was happening at first glance.  While there was a glossary of terms in the back of the book, I think there needed to be a lot more exposition so the reader could understand what was happening more clearly.  

I do understand that the author wanted to keep this a fast-paced adventure story, and reading exposition can be boring.  But a little more explanations of what various beings were, and how they came to be would have lessened my confusion considerably.


This is the first book in a series and I found this to be a great beginning.  This book had lots of action, suspense, secrets, and unrequited love.

Rating:  


Release Date:  January 10th, 2017

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  A great beginning for this new saga.  With Dragons, magic, and lots of action, this is a fun story.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

ARC Review: The Hundred Lies Of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti



Please note:  I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):
A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the 
world.

Review:
I am starting to get really into mystery books, and this book, from it's description on NetGalley, seemed like an interesting premise.  A girl inserts herself in the life of a missing girl in order to solve the mystery of what happened to her.  But, as I read the novel, it became increasingly clear, that this was not a who-done-it, but rather about someone desperately trying to find her place in the world, and the person who exploits that vulnerability.

Note: This review DOES contain some spoilers.

What I Liked:
Theme:
I do feel the author was successful in showing how hard it can be for teens to "find their tribe". I think until one can find other people who can understand them, people feel very isolated and lonely.  I think Hawthorn had a difficult time finding others who got who she was and this made it impossible for her to feel comfortable.  High school can be a very lonely place without the support of friends.  Hawthorn, being rather immature, relies so heavily on one friend that she begins to drive her away.  This is one reason Hawthorn seems so driven to insert herself into the life of Lizzie Lovett, who Hawthorn thinks had the perfect life.

Realizing no one has a "Perfect Life":
Hawthorn is fixated on Lizzie because she thinks that this homecoming queen has an easy life, filled with wonderful friends, love interests, and has a bright future.  As the book progresses, she begins to find out how wrong her perceptions were.  I think many of us feel that if we only were pretty, or rich, we wouldn't have any problems.  I liked that Hawthorn begins to see that all people have problems.

What I Didn't Like:
Deceptive Title:
What were the hundred lives of the title character?  we never find out, because it is never explored.  I really was interested in how Lizzie's life got off track.  To go from homecoming queen at 18 to living alone in a dingy apartment and working at a run-down diner, something must have changed for Lizzie.  But it is never delved into.  I suppose that the point of it is that we can never know what goes on in other people's lives, but I really wanted to know what happened to Lizzie to have her future change so drastically.

Hawthorn's self-centeredness:
As much as I could identify with her loneliness, I was really turned off by how self-absorbed Hawthorn is.  She is completely oblivious to her brother's pain when Lizzie goes missing.  There are other points in the book where she doesn't seem to be bothered by doing things like take over Lizzie's job, or get close to Lizzie's boyfriend.  She even goes so far as to go to the campsite where Lizzie went missing with Enzo (Lizzie's boyfriend).  This was beyond creepy!

Normalizing an inappropriate relationship:
I normally would NOT include spoilers in a review, but I really can't discuss this without getting specific.  So my apologies:  Hawthorn, who is a very immature 17 year old, becomes close to Enzo, who is 25.  Why is a 25 year old even hanging out with a 17 year old?  As their relationship evolves, Hawthorn starts to feel like Enzo is the only one who "gets" her.  It is clear to me that this is the kind of grooming behavior that one sees in sexual predators.  But even at the end of the book, Hawthorn doesn't seem to realize that what happens between her and Enzo is inappropriate and predatory. If she had understood that she had been played, I would have felt better about this part of the story.  But as is, I feel this is normalizing older people getting what they want from teens.  This is one of the main reasons I had to give this book such a low rating.


Rating: 



Release Date:  January 3rd, 2017

Genre:  YA Fiction

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  With unsympathetic characters, and inappropriate relationships, I cannot recommend this book.    
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Bay Area Book Events #27

Normally, due to the enormous size of this list, I only show events four weeks in advance.  However, due to the fact that there just aren't any book events going on in the next two weeks, this post is showing all the events I can find for the month of January.  The master calendar will continue to show all the events I can find that are listed on each bookstore's site.

Bookstores in this list may include:  
Barnes & Noble (various Bay Area Locations)
Book Passage (Corte Madera & San Francisco)
The Booksmith (San Francisco)
Books Inc. (various Bay Area Locations)
Pegasus Books (Berkeley & Oakland)
Hicklebee's Children's Books (San Jose)
A Great Good Place For Books (Oakland)
Kepler's Books (Menlo Park) 

I am attempting to make this a one stop place to find book signings in the San Francisco Bay Area! I will mostly focus on YA books, but I will also include some general fiction if I think it will be of interest.  I do not list non-fiction books.  I think this is an extensive list, but there is always the possibility that I missed an event (Hey, I'm human). If you think there is an event that I should include, please leave me a note in the comments section. Thanks.

All  book graphics have links to GoodReads so you can check them out.

As always, it is a good idea to call the store a day or two before to confirm that the scheduled event is still on.  I have learned that these events change constantly.



January 2017:
Sunday, January 8th, 2017 at 1:00pm


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29993718-at-what-cost?ac=1&from_search=true


Book:  At What Cost
Author:  Jim L'etoile
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 7:30pm


Book:  Dragon Springs Road
Author:  Janie Chang
Location:  Kepler's Books
Address:  1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA
Tel: (650) 324-4321

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28390369-swing-time?from_search=true

Book:  Swing Time
Author:  Zadie Smith
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909

Friday, January 13th, at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30027381-an-unsettling-crime-for-samuel-craddock?from_search=true

Book:  An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock
Author:  Terry Shames
Location:  Books Inc. (Berkeley)
Address:  1491 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley
Tel:  (510) 525-7777 

Friday, January 13th, at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20983366-wayfarer?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29939390-windwitch?ac=1&from_search=true

Book:  WindWitch
Author:  Susan Dennard

Book:  Wayfarer
Author:  Alexandra Bracken 

Location:  Kepler's Books
Address:  1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA
Tel: (650) 324-4321 

Saturday, January 14th, at 4:00pm Mock Caldecott


Space is very limited, so reservations are required! Call (415) 927-0960 ext. 1 for details

From Book Passage:
The Caldecott Medal is given every year to the most distinguished illustrated book for children. But what is the Mock Caldecott? These somewhat cheeky programs are held all over the country, and they provide readers a chance to get a jump on the awards and have a little fun doing it. During this evening of wine and discussion, we’ll read the criteria by which the American Library Association judges books for this prestigious award. Then we’ll use that criteria to judge a list of books ourselves according to those rules and vote on the winners.
Event:  Mock Caldecott
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909

Tuesday, January 17th, at 6:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30316148-the-old-man?from_search=true

Book:  The Old Man
Author:  Thomas Perry
Location:  Book Passage (San Francisco)
Address 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco
Tel:  (415) 835-1020 


Tuesday, January 17th, at 7:00pm


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29938372-this-is-not-over?from_search=true

Book:  This Is Not Over
Author:  Holly Brown
Location:  Books Inc. (Alameda)
Address:  1344 Park Street, Alameda
Tel:  (510) 522-2226


Thursday, January 19th, at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25431238-the-portable-veblen?from_search=true


Book:  The Portable Velben
Author:  Elizabeth McKenzie
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909

Friday, January 20th, at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32737635-the-most-dangerous-place-on-earth?ac=1&from_search=true

Book:  The Most Dangerous Place On Earth
Author:  Lindsey Lee Johnson
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909

Friday, January 20th, at 7:00pm


Book:  The Dark Room
Author:  Jonathan Moore
Location:  Books Inc., Opera Plaza
Address:  601 Van Ness, San Francisco
Tel: (415) 776-1111 


Monday, January 23rd, 2017 at 7:00pm



Book:  The Nowhere Man
Author:  Gregg Hurwitz

Location:  Barnes & Noble San Jose
Address:  3600 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose
Tel:  (498) 984-3495

Wednesday, January 25th, at 7:00pm


Book:  The Nowhere Man
Author:  Gregg Hurwitz
Location:  Books Inc., Palo Alto
Address:  855 El Camino Real #74, Palo Alto
Tel: (650) 321-0600

Thursday, January 26th, at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30652305-if-you-are-there?from_search=true

Book:  If You Are There
Author:  Susan Sherman
Location:  Books Inc., Palo Alto
Address:  855 El Camino Real #74, Palo Alto
Tel: (650) 321-0600

Thursday, January 26th, at 7:00pm




Book:  The You I've Never Known
Author:  Ellen Hopkins
Location:  A Great Good Place For Books
Address:  6120 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland
Tel:  (510) 339-8210

Friday, January 27th, at 7:00pm
YANovCon Kickoff Party

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20308537-the-game-of-love-and-death?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28958920-a-week-of-mondays?from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27779274-the-nerdy-and-the-dirty?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28259094-i-m-not-your-manic-pixie-dream-girl?ac=1&from_search=true

 Authors:  B.T. Goddfred, Martha Brockenbrough,
Jessica Brody, Gretchen McNeil

Location:  Books Inc., Opera Plaza
Address:  601 Van Ness, San Francisco
Tel: (415) 776-1111

Saturday, January 28th at 1:00pm
YANovCon

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23633796-what-s-broken-between-us?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28958920-a-week-of-mondays?from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22896551-none-of-the-above?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22466277-the-alex-crow?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20308537-the-game-of-love-and-death?from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25331997-saving-montgomery-sole?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27774725-the-smaller-evil?from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28259094-i-m-not-your-manic-pixie-dream-girl?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18075234-challenger-deep?from_search=true

Location:  Millbrae Library
Address:  1 Library Avenue, Millbrae
More information at: http://www.booksinc.net/event/ya-novcon-millbrae-library 


Saturday, January 28th, at 4:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28210683-santorini-caesars?from_search=true


Book:  Santorini Caesars
Author:  Jeffrey Siger
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909 

Sunday, January 29th, at 4:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25817493-news-of-the-world?ac=1&from_search=true

Book:  News Of The World
Author:  Paulette Jiles
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909

Monday, January 30th, at 7:00pm


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30652305-if-you-are-there?from_search=true
Book:  If You Are There
Author:  Susan Sherman

Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909

Tuesday, January 31st, at 7:00pm
YA Launch Party!


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27883214-caraval?ac=1&from_search=true


Book:  The Secret Of A Heart Note
Author: Stacey Lee

Book:  Caravel
Author:  Stephanie Garber

Location:  Kepler's Books
Address:  1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA
Tel: (650) 324-4321 


Tuesday, January 31st, at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27274383-fatal?from_search=true

Book:  Fatal
Author:  John LesCroart
Location:  Burlingame Public Library
Address:  480 Primrose Road, Burlingame, CA


Tuesday, January 31st, at 7:00pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29741905-the-fifth-petal?ac=1&from_search=true

Book:  The Fifth Petal
Author:  Brunonia Barry
Location:  Book Passage (Corte Madera)
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Tel: (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909
 



Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30pm


Book:  Perfect Little World
Author:  Kevin Wilson
Location:  The BookSmith
Address:  1644 Haight Street, San Francisco
Tel:  (415) 863-8688


 

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2017 Reading Challenge

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


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