My 2017 GoodReads Reading Challenge Update – Halfway There!

I love GoodReads, and I love the Annual Reading Challenge. This year, I’ve set my goal at 60 books. Well, June 30th is approaching and I’ve now completed 31 books, which puts me 2 books ahead of schedule.

So far, my favourite read of 2017 has been The Girl Who Drank The Moon. I seriously love this book and it is now on my absolute favourites list along with books like The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Predjudice, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, and The Historian. Yeah, I know, my list is a complete mish-mash of genres. I could also go on listing my absolute favourite books, but I think I’ll save that for another time.

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In the past couple weeks, I’ve finished reading a few books I haven’t blogged about, mostly because I try to only blog about middle-grade and Young Adult books, though my reading preference is much more broad than that. I finished Career of Evil on audiobook (loved it!) and And The Birds Rained Down (a 2015 Canada Reads pick). I’m into reading Canadian Fiction as Canada’s 150th birthday is coming up July 1st!

Currently, I’m reading a few different books (I very rarely read one at a time). I have a bunch of half-read books, and I’m hoping that by the end of the year I’ll have surpassed my 60 book goal (70 would be lovely). But I have a lot of hefty picks waiting on my TBR shelf.

Here’s hoping! What are you reading?

JEH

 

What I’m Reading: Legend by Marie Lu

Young Adult Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

This book had been on my ereader waiting to be read for literally forever. I’m currently attempting to get through my backlog, and Legend was actually a nice, quick read. Oh how I wish I had more time for reading!

I found the beginning of the book a bit confusing, since I didn’t know if Day was a boy or girl, but once everything was sorted out, things moved along smoothly. Legend is a dystopian novel, set in a future world at war after enormous flooding. The narrative alternates back and forth between June and Day, two kids on opposite sides of the war.

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I picked this book up because on of my friends told me she like it more than the Hunger Games. And I was like, what?!? More? Not possible. So, now that I’ve read legend I can honestly say I stick to that opinion (sorry friend, you know who you are). I still love Hunger Games more, but Legend was a solid YA dystopian read with a nice pace and a nice mystery that keeps you turning page after page.

The second novel in this trilogy, Prodigy, has also been on my ereader forever, and after I finished Legend, I began reading it right away. The series is definately worth a word.

A solid 4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A few years back I went on an East Coast road trip. During the trip, my husband and I spent a couple days on Prince Edward Island, so of course I had to go see Green Gables. I’d never read the world renowned books written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, even though I’d spent hours of my childhood watching the CBC television movie specials and tuning in every week to watch Road to Avonlea.

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I bought my copy of Anne of Green Gables at the Green Gables gift shop, with the intent of reading it during the trip, but that never happened. Then, the other week, I heard a radio program discussing the 75th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s death (what is with all the death anniversaries lately?). This inspired me to pick up the book and I began reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

Anne of Green Gables was written in the early 1900’s, so the style is much different than books today. But I found this refreshing. There is something so charming in Anne’s page long ramblings that just puts a smile on my face. Not only did the book remind me of childhood and make me long for the days of playing outside, it also reminded me of my trip to the island. And let me say, Prince Edward Island is a beautiful place. Reading this book made me want to go back there. Below are a few pictures from my time on the island, if you’ve never gone, or read Anne of Green Gables, I highly recommend both.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I’m almost ashamed of admitting how long it took me to finish reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I made a pact with myself a while back to read more classics. I know and love Pride and Predjudice very well, but I haven’t read all that many classics other than everything by Jane Austen. Since I’ve begun reading more of the old famous books, I’ve found a few that I love, Dracula and Frankenstein, and a few that I’ve hated, Lolita and Madame Bovary. Jane Eyre fit somewhere in between those two ends.

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Jane Eyre wasn’t quite as romantic as Pride and Predjudice, and it wasn’t quite as gothic as Frankenstein and Dracula. I’ve noticed the obvious pattern that even amongst the classics I mostly prefer those with a fantastical twist. Part of the reason I picked up this particular copy of Jane Eyre was because of the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? Here’s a better look.

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Previous to reading the novel, I’d seen a couple different remakes of Jane Eyre in cinema format, and I’ve never particularly loved any of those either. Part of the reason, I think, is that the pieces of the novel I found more interesting always seemed to be wiped out of the movie. For instance, i really enjoyed the beginning of Jane Eyre when Jane’s at school. This took up at least a good quarter of the book, but I’ve never seen a movie dedicate that much time to it.

All in all, reading Jane Eyre was a pleasant experience, so pleasant in fact that I kept falling asleep when reading it, which is part of why it took me over six months to get around to finishing it. But I’m glad I’m done, and that I can now add it to my GoodReads count.

4/5 Stars.

JEH

 

What I’m Reading: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Young Adult Audiobook Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I borrowed These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner from my e-library for my most recent road trip. I found the book quickly addicting. This ebook was a change from the others I’d listened to lately, because it had three readers: one for Lilac, one for Tarver, and one for the mysterious General. I thought the actors were well chosen to do the voices, especially Johnathan McClain, who voiced Tarver, because he sounds just like I imagine a young army officer might.

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What I liked best about These Broken Stars was the mystery that permeates the entire novel. There are so many questions that are not answered, and then, when something is answered, there are still remaining questions that don’t have answers. What I didn’t like about the book, and the only reason I’ll give it four stars instead of five, was that sometimes Lilac was just a bit too much of a damsel in distress. There were times when her behaviour was just too weak for my taste, and I longed for her to be a bit more like Celaena Sardothien.

Still, it was a good story, and a great audiobook. I’m not sure I’ll listen to the other two books in the series though, because—and I didn’t realize this when I borrowed book one—the following books feature different characters. That said, I liked the writing enough that the sequels might be worth my time, it will just depend if something else catches my eye first.

4/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Hunted (Spirit Animals #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Audiobook Review: Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater

The first book I listened to on my long road trip was Hunted, Spirit Animals #2 by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a middle grade fantasy series, and a bit of change of pace from my regular Young Adult readings. I really enjoyed the first audiobook in this series, read by Nicola Barber. Hunted was also read by Barber, and again she did a fantastic job.

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The Spirit Animals is a great light read, and the audiobooks would be great listening for a family road trip. The second book felt a bit formulaic (different events happened in much the same pattern as the first book), but they were paced well and still kept me alert. The four main characters (Conor, Rollan, Meilin, and Abeke). Each book in the series is written by a different author, but Hunted had much the same feel as Wild Born, which was written by Brandon Mull.

I really enjoy these books on audio, as they are only around 5 hours each (opposed to YA books which tend to be around 10-15 hours). That means I can listen to a full Spirit Animals book on one road trip, or one week at the gym. (I haven’t been going to the gym much lately but that is kind of beside the point). I don’t think I would get the same enjoyment out the books if I read them, but I might pick one up in order to compare the audio experience to the print one.

If you’re a fantasy lover who needs something to listen to during a long drive, or a bit of action to get you moving at the gym, then you might want to check out this audiobook series.

4/5 Stars.

JEH

Book Shopping: Or Going to that Really Happy Place

I’ve been pretty quiet for the past week. That’s because I’m gearing up for my birthday, which is tomorrow, and my trip to that really happy place: the bookstore.

There are so many different book stores, there are new ones and old ones and small ones and big ones, stores for new books and stores for old books. And they all make me so happy. There’s just something about the atmosphere. It’s like I step into a book store and am just overwhelmed by all the words and pictures and collective thoughts and I just can’t help but smile. Given no time constraints, I could browse for hours. But on average i’d say that I spend one hour opening select books and reading a few lines, searching for what captures and holds my attention. In today’s world, there is an over abundance of books (maybe…I”m not too sure about this but some people think there is such a thing as too many books), it can be very difficult to choose.

Here is my suggestion for choosing a book:

  1. Pick up the book, open it about on third the way through. This is often where it gets pretty interesting. Read it. Do you like the style? The action? The dialogue? If it doesn’t make you want to read more, put it back and continue browsing.
  2. A recommendation made to you by someone you know who has similar taste in books (but doesn’t actually eat them).

Now, I probably shouldn’t be negative, but there are more ways I have for NOT choosing a book:

  1. By Smell.
  2. By On-line Reviews and Star Ratings (there are sooooo many fake reviews out there – more on this later), unless you know they come for a credible source.
  3. By Cover.
  4. By Taste (see above).

Tomorrow, this is what I’ll be doing. Weighing my selections and spending my book shopping savings wisely. I can’t wait.

JEH