Month: March 2014

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George | Book Review

Posted March 31, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Middle Grade, That Artsy Librarian / 2 Comments

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George | Book ReviewMy Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Series: Mountain #1
Published by Puffin on 1959
Genres: Survival
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Terribly unhappy in his family's crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude and danger of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.

I read this book for my children’s literature class as part of my library and information science grad program. One of our assignments was to write a professional book review (like one that could be published in Publisher’s Weekly or Kirkus) of one of our books for the semester, and so I chose to review My Side of the Mountain!

Roughing it in the mountain wilderness never sounded so appealing! Sam Gribley, tired of his monotonous life in New York City, runs away with his parents’ permission to live a simpler life, equipped with only a few of the bare essentials. This is his account, written as though he were talking directly to the reader, of his yearlong adventure in the Catskills Mountains. He tells of his fight for survival, battles against the elements, love of nature, and wild animal friends. He describes his experiences of making fire, building a shelter, finding food, hunting animals, making clothes, and ultimately discovering what he is truly capable of. Readers are also along for the journey as Sam captures, raises, and trains a falcon named Frightful to be his constant and devoted companion. Mixed in with his exciting feats are pieces of advice he has for the reader on surviving the wilderness such as, “…the more you stroke and handle a falcon, the easier they are to train.”

Jean Craighead George has created a wonderfully timeless escape for readers, both male and female, even though the story is about the experiences, thoughts, and feelings of a young boy. The scenery leaps off the page, and the coordinating drawings and diagrams help the reader picture different contraptions Sam builds and also the wildlife of the region in which he lives. Young readers will open their imaginations to the possibilities found within the pages, and more seasoned readers might have to suspend a little disbelief while reading about some of Sam’s escapades, not to mention the fact that his parents let him go on such a dangerous adventure. In any case, Sam Gribley’s adventure will have readers tearing through the pages, and leave them dreaming of going on one of their very own someday.

5 Stars

What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long | Mini Book Review

Posted March 28, 2014 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long | Mini Book ReviewWhat I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #5
Published by Avon on February 22, 2011
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 371
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

For years, he's been an object of fear, fascination . . . and fantasy. But of all the wicked rumors that shadow the formidable Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, the ton knows one thing for certain: only fools dare cross him. And when Ian Eversea does just that, Moncrieffe knows the perfect revenge: he'll seduce Ian's innocent sister, Genevieve, the only Eversea as yet untouched by scandal. First he'll capture her heart . . . and then he'll break it.

But everything about Genevieve is unexpected: the passion simmering beneath her cool control, the sharp wit tempered by gentleness . . . And though Genevieve has heard the whispers about the duke's dark past, and knows she trifles with him at her peril, one incendiary kiss tempts her deeper into a world of extraordinary sensuality. Until Genevieve is faced with a fateful choice . . . is there anything she won't do for a duke?

This is an Epic Recs book review! My partner, Raquel, recommended What I Did for a Duke because she thought I could use some awesome historical romance in my life. Personally, I love the genre and was eager to read a book recommended by someone so well-read in the genre! I ended up really loving this book, and am excited to get my hands on more of the books in the series!

I think my favorite part of the entire book is the witty banter between Genevieve and Alex. They are hilarious, and I could not help smiling and/or cringing as I read what they said to each other. They also have this sexual tension that is so real and intriguing. There was no insta-anything, and the slow burn was so slow that I was going crazy wondering why these two wouldn’t just kiss each other already! When things finally did start to happen I was just so on board, and really believed there was something more between them than just a physical attraction.

Genevieve is not your typical historical romance heroine. She is smart and feisty and knows exactly who she is and what she deserves. She put Alex in his place a time or two, and I loved that! Alex is so swoony and dreamy, even though he is twice Genevieve’s age. I just loved him. There was a bit of a role reversal between him and Genevieve, which was a pleasant surprise. You don’t usually read about men who want to commit, but the woman is having a hard time wanting to.

The ending. HELLO. I have never read a better ending in my life.


You should probably read this!

5 Stars

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | Book Thoughts

Posted March 27, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Middle Grade, That Artsy Librarian / 2 Comments

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | Book ThoughtsA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Series: The Time Quintet #1
Published by Square Fish on January 1, 1962
Genres: Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

A Wrinkle in Time and I, sadly, did not click. I found it to be rather boring and, at times, confusing. I read it for my children’s literature class, and am so glad I did because it gives me more credibility in the field of youth services librarianship. I’m sad I didn’t love it, though, because it’s a classic that has been well-loved for a very long time! I’ve decided to not write a formal review and instead, have chosen to post some of my thoughts that I was required to write for my class. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the book!

This book focuses a lot on the battle between good and evil, which I have always enjoyed. These children are really put to the test as they participate in this battle. Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who all represent a kind of messenger from something good, whether it be a Heavenly place or somewhere else. I think it’s up to the reader to decide what “good” comes from, which can facilitate a lot of interesting discussions.

Battles between good and evil usually bring with them Christian or other religious undertones. I can pick out a lot of Christian themes especially, including the mention of Jesus. Light and dark, Heavenly messengers, resisting temptation, and the mention of books in the Bible also show up in the story. The books of Isaiah and John are quoted. This book has been challenged before, and I can see that these themes might be the reason. At the same time, though, I’m not sure all children would pick up on them.

Children will be able to relate to homely little Meg and misunderstood Charles Wallace. I think they will also enjoy the love within this family, which is another huge theme in the story. Love conquers all. I can see that their imaginations will be stimulated, however, I don’t think I would have been a science fiction lover if I had started out with this book. I enjoyed The Giver and The Time Machine much more.

3 Stars

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama | Book Review

Posted March 24, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 6 Comments

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama | Book ReviewPlus One by Elizabeth Fama
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on April 8, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 373
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
1 Stars

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Can we just take a second and look at that cover!? HELLO, Lovely! I was super excited to read Plus One as soon as I read the synopsis, and was even MORE excited when I saw the cover! I tend to really love dystopias, and I also love romantic thrillers, which the book’s synopsis claims that this is. I suppose I was thinking of super super thrillery romantic thrillers like Victoria Holt or Daphne Du Maurier, because I was not thrilled with Plus One. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m saying this immediately, because it was probably the biggest issue I had with Plus One. It’s not a romantic thriller. It’s not suspenseful, and I didn’t feel like it was terribly romantic either. I mean, I guess there are some more tense moments when you’re wondering how these characters are going to get themselves out of the pickle they’ve gotten themselves into… but I never found myself holding my breath or gripping the edge of my seat. I think I probably just set my expectations too high.

2. Going along with the lack of thrill, I really did not feel the romance either. We’ve got two characters here, a day dweller/Ray named D’Arcy and a a night dweller/Smudge named Sol. Sol’s brother was promoted to a Ray because of his amazing technological skills. He got married, had a baby, and Sol wants nothing more than to let her grandfather, still a Smudge, see his great-grandchild. So she formulates a dangerous plan to kidnap her niece from the hospital and bring him to her grandfather. But she kidnaps the wrong child. D’Arcy, is a medical intern in the hospital who figured out what’s going on, but feels compelled to save/help Sol instead of turn her in to the authorities.

This is where I struggled. WHY would D’Arcy risk his career and his life to help a girl he does not know AT ALL to kidnap a child from his post in the hospital? I mean, any medical professional in their right mind, you would think, is against endangering their patients and allowing them to be harmed. ESPECIALLY if that professional does not even KNOW the person who is breaking the rules/law.

3. In addition to this romance confusion, what aunt will deliberately put her niece in danger to bring her to her blind grandfather? I mean, this baby is brand new! And she is running around on a hot day carrying this baby in her sweatshirt, dodging bullets. She could feel the baby’s sweat on her skin. When she got it home, she put it in a kitchen drawer and then ignored its cries of hunger, pain, discomfort, and what have you. This is horrible! If she loved this niece so much, why would she put it in such grave danger? And I can’t think of a grandfather anywhere who would condone such acts. Did she not care at all about the baby’s parents or the baby itself? This book is centered around a plot that is dependent on the fact that Sol is incredibly dumb and selfish.

4. I wasn’t really a fan of any of the characters, just because they were making such dumb and pointless decisions. And since the romance wasn’t there, I just did not care.

In addition to Sol and D’Arcy, we are introduced to this rogue group of day and night dwellers (basically they’re out whenever they want to be), with extreme clothing and make-up. One of them is being sexually abused, which really bothered me. I really dislike reading about stuff like that. I never connected with any of these people, and the link they shared with Sol and her family bugged me. I’m not sure why. Things just got really political.

5. The world is never really explained. We’ve got a caste system and all these social rules, but I never knew the why’s and the how’s of it all! These details could have enriched the story so much more.

All in all, I pretty much know I am in the minority here. I’ve seen many raving reviews for this book, and I really don’t understand why. I did not believe the romance, and I was so confused by the plot itself. Because of these reasons, I had a hard time caring and even finishing the book, which is quite disappointing.

1 Stars

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review

Posted March 20, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 11 Comments

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book ReviewShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by HarperTEEN on November 15, 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I’m part of a really exciting book club with Karin and Kat, called The Transatlantic Bookshelf, and Shatter Me was our first read! I’ve had my eye on it for a long time, so it was nice to finally have an excuse to read it. Sadly, Karin did not finish it. She’s considering trying it again later, but did just not love it this first time around. Kat and I both enjoyed it, though. I figured I’d put my thoughts together here! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I don’t really see the hype. I mean, I liked the book. I really did. But I guess when you hear every good thing possible about a series, almost anything would be disappointing. I guess the best way to put it is that I don’t see why Shatter Me stands above any other book out there. My mind was not blown like I had hoped.

2. Mafi’s writing style really irked me at first. There is a lot of repetition of words and thoughts, plus a lot of thoughts are crossed out (actually, strikeout would be the best term), with new thoughts added behind. It took me quite some time to get used to, but I did end up getting myself to a point where I could skim over them. I have to hand it to Mafi, though, she has a very unique writing style. It’s unique enough, though, that you might take a while to appreciate it like I did.

3. I love the idea of this story. I love that Juliette’s touch is fatal, but sexy Adam is immune. So to see how she is being able to finally touch someone… it was powerful. Not being able to hold a person’s hand, or to hug them? That’s hard. Humans need human contact. So when Juliette discovers she can have that, it was like she all of a sudden discovered how to see.

4. The romance was kind of a slow burn, but also kind of insta-lovey. And I’m not sure if I will be able to decide exactly which one it is. On the one hand, Juliette and Adam meet in a rather deceptive way. She thinks he is someone totally different than he ends up being. For a while she really hates him. But then she starts to recognize him for some reason, and becomes intrigued by his complete caring for her. On the other hand, once she realizes she can touch him, there was kind of a romantic explosion if you will. And I felt like feelings happened really fast. But then you learn things and discover maybe it’s not so insta-lovey. *shrug*

5. In any case, the romance was pretty swoony. Mafi knows how to write sultry scenes.

6. I hate Warner. He’s the guy trying to make Juliette a weapon for The Reestablishment, and he is slimy and creepy. Kind of serial killery. And I’m scared abotu what role he might have in future books.

7. I LOVE ADAM. Can I have him? He is just so sweet and loyal and courageous. And I will be reading the next book for Adam alone.

8. Too much metaphor? I think so. What do you think?

All in all, I enjoyed Shatter Me but do not really understand the hype. The writing style takes a while to get used to, but once I did I appreciated the glimpses it gave us into Juliette’s true thoughts. The idea of the story has me super intrigued, and I will be reading the next book because I have a crush on Adam and can’t wait for more of him.

4 Stars

Top Ten Books on My Spring 2014 Reading List

Posted March 17, 2014 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 18 Comments


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

There are SO many good books already out and that are coming out this spring, but I just have this feeling that I am going to gravitate towards the cute romantic contemporaries and the travel books. I am SO ready to be done with winter and school, and am really excited for warm weather and vacations!


Open Road Summer by Emry Lord
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson
For Real by Alison Cherry
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark
Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

What’s on your list this spring? Do we have any in common?
Have you read any of these books already?

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell | Book Review

Posted March 17, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 3 Comments

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell | Book ReviewWelcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
Published by Harry N Abrams on May 1, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Pages: 299
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

This is an Epic Recs review! Racquel from The Book Barbies is my partner, and she recommended this book to me because I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. It had not been on my tbr at all even though I had heard about it before. It just never really grabbed me enough to even read the summary. I am so glad Racquel pushed it on me, though, because I ended up really enjoying it! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. At first glance, this book looks bright and cheery. I was expecting a light and fluffy book as a result. While there are some very sweet, cute moments, this book tackles some major issues. I’m not usually a fan of issue books, but the author was able to do it in a way that made me hopeful instead of depressed. I can handle that.

2. Chloe is so much fun, and I love her snarky sarcasm and bluntness. She likes to be funny, and she really cares about people. And she is in love with vintage shoes, which made me love her. Because, really? I will talk about my beloved shoe collection with anyone. She is just real, and she is figuring herself out. Being a teen is tough, but I feel like she has risen above all the typical teen drama and knows what’s important. I would have loved a friend like her in high school.

3. I felt like the radio aspect gave us a larger opportunity to get to know Chloe. Rather than reading descriptions of her, or seeing what other people think of her in the story, we got this window into her thoughts through “listening” to her talk show. Teens giving teens advice does not always work out so well, but I really liked her genuine sensitivity and desire to help.

4. Speaking of the radio, I LOVED the characters who ran the radio station. They are all social outcasts for one reason or another, so they found each other and created this super close family. I particularly loved Clem, who is this hardened grump but ends up becoming a really sweet person. And I can tell she is so loyal. She and Chloe have a really entertaining relationship.

5. Duncan. I loved him so much. He’s super sensitive and caring, and he comes from a broken home, which I feel adds so much to his personality. He is always looking out for people and paying attention to them because that’s what he wants for himself.

6. Everything, and I mean everything in this book came about as a result of deep friendships. I loved that this book focused on friendship instead of romance. And these were not superficial friendships. They were stronger than some familial relationships, and I just drank it all in. Can I hug all of these people?

All in all, Welcome, Caller, this is Chloe was a darling contemporary that was fun, yet serious at the same time. I love the group of characters, and how they helped each other through their tough times. This book is so underrated, and I hope more people discover it and fall in love with it as I have. :)

4 Stars

Zips Goes Wandering by Chris March | Children’s Book Review + Giveaway

Posted March 14, 2014 by Jana in Blog Tour, Children's Book Review, Giveaway, Inner Child / 4 Comments

Zips Goes Wandering by Chris March | Children's Book Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Zips Goes Wandering tour, hosted by CBB Book Promotions! I’m excited to tell you all about this sweet little picture book, and offer a giveaway for your chance to win a copy of your own!


Zips Goes Wandering written and illustrated by Chris Marsh
Series: Savannah Friends #1
Published by booktrope on March 14, 2013
Pages: 21
Grade Level: Preschool through 2nd grade
Source: From the publisher
AmazonB&N • iTunes • Add to Goodreads

Zips is a zebra, a curious one at that. Despite his mum’s warnings, he follows his curiosity across the savannah. After a close brush with a lion and a croc, Zips discovers he’s lost, far from home. What should a youngster do when he’s lost and alone? Zips seeks friends he can trust and uses his wits till he’s reunited, safe and sound, with his mum. This colorful, rhyming picture book has lively pictures of African animals. Zips Goes Wandering can help parents and children discuss safety issues and what to do if they ever get lost or separated.

Zips Goes Wandering is a fun rhyming picture book about a little zebra who goes on an adventure and gets lost. Reminiscent of Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, Zips goes to different animals to ask if they have seen his mother. He searches and searches before finding a really tall giraffe who is able to help him. Children will enjoy the repetition of Zips asking for his mom and then rushing off to see if that animal directed him in the correct direction or sent him to the wrong place again.

The illustrations are absolutely delightful, and are my favorite part of the book. Each illustration is bright, colorful, and enhances the text of the story so that emerging readers feel confident in trying to sound out the words. Children will love looking at pictures of several different animals. The author plays with perspective and Zips’s nose is frequently fish-eyed on the page, big and adorable. He has the sweetest little face, and so much personality.

The story presents a very important message to its readers, and that is to be careful and stay close by so as not to get lost. I think this is a great book to read to a child in order to explain this lesson, as well as come up with a plan for what to do if someone does get lost. Zips comes close to getting hurt by a crocodile and a lion, which is a compelling reason to not wander off. Luckily Zips was taught to ask other grow-ups for help, and he ended up home safe. I’ve found several lost children in stores over the course of my life, and it’s a super scary thing for everyone involved. This is such an important lesson to discuss with children, and I’m so happy to see such a sweet book that does just that. Highly recommended.


About the Author

Chris Marsh grew up in the heart of the English Countryside and spent many sunny days going on wild adventures and long expeditions, with his mother constantly reminding him to be careful. On those rainy days he would spend hours either reading, painting or drawing, letting his imagination go wild and creating a variety of stories and tales about his adventures. Surrounded by pets and constantly exploring the local wildlife and farm animals, Chris developed a love for animals which crept into his creativity. Years later it was Chris’ turn to do the careful reminding to his adventurous nieces and nephews and he found the only way to engage them was through stories.

Savannah Friends Website  |  Savannah Friends Facebook  |  Author on Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That Artsy Librarian | My Children’s Lit Class Reading List

Posted March 13, 2014 by Jana in That Artsy Librarian / 8 Comments


That Artsy Librarian is a feature all about my journey through graduate school as I work towards my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

Last week Kel requested that I post my entire reading list for this semester’s children’s lit class. For the most part I have the option of choosing between a number of different titles. These titles are listed in my textbook, Essentials for Children’s Literature, in the genre indexes. Below, you will find my choices. If I review them on the blog, I’ll link you to my reviews. :)

Week 1: Newbery Medal Award
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Week 2: Other Book Awards
The Westing Games by Elixabeth Raskin
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Week 3: Poetry
Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart selected by Mary Ann Hoberman (anthology)
Around the World in Eighty Poems selected by James Berry (collection)
Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins (collection)

Week 4: Baby Books
Hello, Baby! by Mem Fox
Hello, Day! by Anita Lobel
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
Lemons are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Week 5: Picture Books
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (Caldecott)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems (Caldecott)Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (Caldecott)
The Problem with Chickens by Bruce McMillan
Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson
Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Week 6: Beginning Readers
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassel (Geisel)
Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes (Geisel)
Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont (Geisel)Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas by Cynthia Rylant
Mr. Putter and Tabby See the Stars by Cynthia Rylant
Snowed in with Grandmother Silk by Carol Fenner
Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look

Week 7: Folklore, Fairytales, Fables, and Myths
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (folktale)
Stone Soup by Marica Brown (folktale)
Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley (fractured fairytale)
The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story by Judy Sierra (cultural fairytale version)
The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo (cultural fairytale version)
Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Meyer (fiarytale)
Beauty and the Beastly Children by Michael O. Tunnell (fractured fairytale)
The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty and the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep (cultural fairytale version)

Week 8: Fantasy and Science Fiction
A Wrinkle in Time my Madeleine L’Engle
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Week 9: Popular Children’s Books
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Keff Kinney
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Week 10: Contemporary Realism
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Double Digit Club by Marion Dane Bauer
The Summer Sherman Loved Me by Jane St. Anthony

Week 11: Historical Fiction, Mystery, and Adventure
Roland Wright, Future Knight by Tony Davis
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Week 12: Multicultural Literature
The Jamie and Angus Stories by Anne Fine

Week 13: Information Books
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Flemming
Leonardo da Vinci by Kathleen Krull
A sex ed book (I have not received the list of approved titles yet)
The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole
An art or music book (I have not received the list of approved titles yet)

Week 14: Graphic Novels and Non-Book Resources
Magic Pickle by Scott Morse
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hal

Week 15: Censorship and Banned Books
1 banned picture book (I have not received the list of approved titles yet)
1 banned picture book (I have not received the list of approved titles yet)
a banned fiction book (I have not received the list of approved titles yet)

And there you have it! It’s a LONG list of books, but I’m a week passed halfway through the semester and it has actually been a pretty fun class, even though it is a ton of work!

Have you read any of these books? Which ones do you like or dislike?

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book Review

Posted March 12, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book ReviewThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on March 4, 2014
Genres: Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.

Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I read The Winner’s Curse MONTHS ago. I’m not kidding. Almost 5 months ago, actually. And I have been mulling this book over in the back of my mind ever since. And I am so distraught, because during all these months of mulling I still have no idea what to write. None. I’m hoping that things will come to me as I write now, and that hopefully I will have some sort of epiphany. Now, don’t get me wrong. I did not dislike this book. I loved it! And that’s why I’m so perplexed as to why I can’t figure out what to say about it. Normally if I love a book I go crazy and fangirlie and have SO much to say that I can’t organize it and end up feeling like a babbling idiot. This time, though, I’m experiencing something completely different. I loved it, yet I have no idea how to tell you why. I’m going to try here, and I’m going to let things flow. No numbered and bolded lists this time! This is going to be a complete brain dump.

  • I love the idea of a girl saving a boy for once. Kestrel purchases Arin, a slave, at an auction. And she does it because he is musical. What a unique way to begin a story.
  • Things started out really slow for me. I was honestly terrified that I was missing something because I was seeing all these raving reviews, and I was just not on board at all. Things change, though, and as I read more I became entranced.
  • I love that Kestrel is smart. She has so much power within her mind, which makes her strong in a way that is not usually written about. She is strong mentally instead of physically.
  • Arin is swoony in a very understated and mysterious way. He observes and watches from the sidelines. I love that about him. He is also very intelligent, and challenges Kestrel. I love the tension this creates.
  • I know that there is some romance that is just barely beginning to bloom. There’s no instalove, but there is definite interest. Kestrel and Arin watch each other. They are figuring each other out. And when they start to realize that they are being discovered by one other, the intrigue grows. I just get this feeling that neither of them is used to being at the forefront of someone’s mind. They are both quiet and broody and smart. They are so good for each other, even though society views them are being very far apart.
  • I’m not usually a fan of politics, but they worked for me here.
  • The writing is very pretty. The story is beautifully told.
  • I cannot WAIT to learn more about these characters. I am hoping for lots of details in the next two books, because I want to become even more invested in their lives.

Wow. I think this review is full of fail. Haha! I have never had such a hard time getting my thoughts out. I just know I loved this book, and I guess that will have to be good enough. I just loved it, ok!?!?!

Anyone want to help me out here? What did you think of The Winner’s Curse? And please help me feel better by telling me I am not the only person who has loved a book just because they loved it!! Has this happened to you before?

4 Stars