What I’m Reading: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

I picked up Storm Glass, by Maria V. Snyder, from my local library after my daughter grabbed it off the shelf and suggested it to me (she’s three, so it was pretty cute). The blurb sounded okay so I dove in, and overall I enjoyed the books.

IMG_1299

There were a couple of weak spots in the writing, but overall, I enjoyed following Opal, the only glass magician, on her journey or self-exploration, romance, and adventure. The most enjoyable part of this book was the world-the world-building, the magic rules-but mostly the world of glass. How glass is made, what is it used for, what can it be used for, how can it be sabotaged. It actually made me want to go a glass factor and learn how to make glass myself!

This is the first book of three, and unfortunately the library does not have the second book, only the first and the third. I would like to continue reading this series, so I’ll have to figure out how to request a book from my library. I have a friend that does this a lot, so I’m hoping she can help me.

4/5 Stars

JEH

 

What I’m Reading: Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey

If you know me, then you know I love pirates. So when I saw Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey on the shelves, I had to pick it up. This middle-grade book is a quick read, and follows a boy who suddenly finds himself with seven pirate ghosts for roommates.

IMG_1521

Now, there are two types of middle grade fiction: the kind written for kids, and the kind that is shelved as middle grade because of the age of the characters. I recently read The Girl Who Drank The Moon, which is shelved as middle-grade but I would argue is definitely all ages. Seven Dead Pirates is the opposite, and it is a great book for young readers. I look forward to reading this book to my kids in a few years, when they old enough to sit still and LISTEN for at least five minutes straight. They both love pirates and ghosts, so I’m sure it will be a win for them.

As an adult reading this book, I found it to be well written and engaging, but not that exciting since the problems in the book were the problems of a twelve-year-old boy and easily solvable (to me, anyway). There were some great lessons in this book for young readers, like sticking up for yourself and finding friends where you least expect them. A solid story.

4/5 Stars

JEH

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.

IMG_1189

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’ve Read: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

As I continue to scroll through my book journals from the years before I used Goodreads, I’m pulling out entries and posting them on this blog. Insurgent by Veronica Roth is the second book in the young adult Divergent trilogy. I read this book in 2012 (man, five years ago already!). I think from the review that I really liked this book, see below for my handwritten review.
IMG_0706

IMG_0729

Was this book a quick read for you?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Young Adult Book Review: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

This week I was pretty obsessed with finishing the last book in Brandon Sanderson’s Young Adult Reckoners Trilogy. If you haven’t read the review of the first book, Steelheart, you can find it here. Now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I can admit a few things: Steelheart was my favourite book of the Reckoners, I wish I could write as well as Brandon Sanderson, and I’m sad that I never got to go back to Newcago. While the setting of every book was unique and interesting, Newcago was my favourite by far. I would definitely go visit it if I could, if the Reckoners wasn’t a dystopian-Marvel-esque- Fantasy.

IMG_0403

Brandon Sanderson has already announced that his next Young Adult series will be called the Apocolypse Guard and will be set in the same world as Reckoners. I will definitely pick it up. The ending of Calamity definitely left me thinking, and there are still a couple things I’m trying to figure out (like most of Sanderson’s books, I’m not sure I’m supposed to understand everything). You can read more about his next series on his blog if you’re interested.

Calamity of course was  full of action, fairly quick paced (though I thought it dragged slightly more than the other two books, though I would hardly call it dragging). There were lots of laughs and lots of tension.

A solid 4.5/5 Stars.

NOTE: Finishing this book puts me at 16/60 books on my Goodreads goal, 2 books ahead of  schedule!

JEH

Choosing Your Next Great Read

Last Friday I spent all day absorbed in a book. it was so good that I just could not put it down. I mean, I did have to actually put it down now and again, but i picked it up immediately as soon as I was able. That book was The Girl on the Train. I loved it, but I’m not going to review it on here, because it is out of the norm for what I do review. What I am going to talk about is how to choose your next great read after having an epic-ly good time reading something else. Or rather, how I choose my next great read. Especially on a snow-bound weekend.

IMG_0261

Every reader is familiar with that post-good-book lull. The, ‘that was fun but now what’ blues. I find they always leave me floundering. How do I choose my next book? I have an easier time choosing my next read after finishing something okay or so-so. I have a really easy time choosing my next read after reading something I didn’t particularly enjoy (because anything seems entertaining after that). But after reading a really great book…. SIGH… I flounder.

IMG_0149

After finishing The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I picked up about five different novels, read a paragraph or two, flipped through the pages and debated. What did I want to read now? I already had a stack of books next to my bed, the ‘read-next’ stack, which I order and rearrange on a regular basis. In the stack was, The Invasion of the Tearling, Steelheart, Seven Dead Pirates, Jane Eyre (which has been waiting half finished for over a year now), Fate of Flames, Splintered, and What Light. So I bounced, from book to book to book attempting to find something to hold my attention.

IMG_0249

It might have been easier to just toss a coin. But it probably wouldn’t have been as fun. I read the first chapter of Fate of Flames, and enjoyed it, but it’s an e-book, and I decided I felt like reading a paper book. I read a few pages of The Invasion of the Tearling, but discovered I needed something faster paced following The Girl on the Train. I read a little bit more of What Light, which I’ve been slowly reading on my phone whenever I’m on the move, but couldn’t commit to it fully. I continued to ignore my beautiful copy of Jane Eyre because no matter what, I always just seem to feel too tired to pick it up. Then I picked up Steelheart and was like I FOUND IT.

IMG_0260

So, how do you choose your next great read?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Young Adult Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

I believe I came across this book while browsing in the bookstore. it might have been the feather on the cover which initially captured by attention. What held my attention when i began to read was the author’s unique and varied writing. Aza, the main character in Magonia (associate link), is on Earth and dying, by the narration is anything but dead. Aza has such a smart, lively and unique voice, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with her. What interested me the most was that the story is based on a little known piece of folklore (at least to me). I love myths and folk tales, and generally love books that elaborate upon them.

fullsizerender-23

It felt like there was a fair bit of setup before the story really took off, but the set-up was all worthwhile. Once the two main characters, Aza and Jason, are separated, the real adventure begins. While the characterization could have been stronger for some of the secondary characters, this was obviously the first book in a series, and I’m hoping the deepening of the world and the people populating it is to come. The second book, Aerie, was just released in October, and I’ve already added it to my list of Want to Reads. A good solid fantasy novel.

4/5 Stars.

JEH

Top Young Adult Dystopian Novels

If you read the news, then you probably know that everyone is fretting about the impending destruction of the earth. There’s the recent Brexit vote, Donald Trump’s win, the never-ending war in Syria, Terrorism. If you’re a Doom Thinker, then you probably like dystopian novels. I’ve read my fair share of Young Adult end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it books, so here’s my round-up of my favorites, and a few selections that I hope to fit into my reading schedule in the near future.

  1. Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes

I’m sure I’ve written before about my love for Monica Hughes. In my teen years, I read everything by her that I could get my hands on, but Inivtation to the Game remained my favorite book. It’s about a group of teens invited to play a virtual reality game to escape their horrible lives in a world where there are no jobs, and no money. Only the game isn’t everything it seems. It’s a quick, easy read, but well worth it.

Associate Link

2. The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is near the top of almost every book list I make. I love this series, book or movies. If you haven’t heard of The Hunger Games, then you must have spent the past five years living in the middle of the ocean with no connection to the modern world. If you’ve heard about the books but haven’t read them yet, then pick them up. Suzanne Collins has beautiful writing that you don’t want to miss out on.

Associate Link

3. The Selection (series) by Kiera Cass

This pick might be highly controversial to some, as The Selection series is primarily romance versus dystopian. I was surprised by how much I liked this series, and in truth, I enjoyed it more for the romance aspects than the dystopian ones, but I still think The Selection series is a great read.

Associate Link

4. The Maze Runner (series) by James Dashner

The world as we know it has been destroyed by disease and teens have been stuck in some kind of weird maze. Yeah. You’ve probably heard of this series or watched the movies. The Maze Runner is a great action book, and makes me think a lot about scientific experimentation, the truth about disease, and what’s really real.

Associate Link

5. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

I read this amazing piece of Young Adult fiction and award winner a few years ago, and have yet to post a back dated review for it. But I really enjoyed the story, and when I finished it, I went looking for a second book, which at the time there wasn’t one. There is now, and Drowned Cities is another book on my Want to Read List. Ship Breaker follows Nailer, a young boy who has to scavange for valuable parts on old ships to get by in a world ruined by the melting of the polar ice caps.

Associate Link

6. Undertow by Michael Buckley

This book is a bit different than the rest on the list, because the dystopian-ness is caused by the rise of sea creatures from the ocean floor (not a virus, corruption, or a collapse in government). But I have a weakness for all things ocean, and I loved the main character, Lyric, and the grimy, gritty feel of this story.

Associate Link

7. Divergent (series) by Veronica Roth

I know that a lot of lists ove this book at the top, and while I liked, I didn’t find the world as convincing as some of those above, but I still loved the series. The movies are pretty good too, even if they are up in the air regarding whether or not the last movie will go to television or theaters, and whether Shailene Woodley will actually be in the show (you can read more about this here).

Associate Link

8. Wither (The Chemical Garden Series) by Lauren DeStefano

This series, like The Selection, is more romance driven than dystopian focused. However, the characters were strong and the mystery keep one reading. If you haven’t read this series yet, and you’ve read everything else on my list, you might as well try this one.

Associate Link

9. Pretties (series) by Scott Westerfeld

If there’s one thing I was obsessed with in this book, it was the hover-boards. I still want one to this day. This dystopian series primarily deals with a world obsessed with looks and social media. If you feel this kind of pressure, then you’ll probably relate to the main character, who realizes that maybe a perfect looking world, isn’t so perfect underneath.

Associate Link

The following are books I haven’t read yet, but that are on my Want To Read list. Legend has been sitting on my ereader for four years. There just isn’t enough time in the world for books!

10. The 5th Wave (series)

Aliens and the end of the world. Yes Please!

Associate Link

11. Legend by Marie Lu

I’ve heard such good things about this book, and like I mentioned above, it’s been waiting to be read for four years! That’s probably the longest of any book on my To Be Read shelf. Poor book! Hopefully I’ll find time for you soon!

Associate Link

12. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I love Cinderella. I fear for a sad, dystopian future. I’m sure I’ll love this series when I get around to reading it.

Associate Link

Have you read any of these books? What would you add to this list?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Hexed by Michelle Krys

I picked this book up for my e-reader a month ago, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Hexed was the perfect read for pre-Halloween. Hexed is a classic “Teenaged girl discovers she’s a witch, story,” but the voice of the main character, Indigo, is unique and easy to fall in love with. Indigo’s more than a little bit self-centred and naive at the beginning of the book, but I love the progression and growth of a character who learns some hard lessons.

img_4693-2

Hexed(associate link) is a quick read with lots of action, which takes the leader on a journey into a simple magical world of “good guys” vs “bad guys”. The story is set in LA, which I found fresh, because doesn’t it seem like everything is set in New York or London these days (and not just books but TV and Movies too)? I mean, there are so many other places in the world to see (side note: This was part of why I really enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, because it was set in Prague and I’ve always wanted to go there).

Once I finished Hexed, I picked up the sequel, Charmed, right away. It’s that good.

5/5 Stars.

JEH