Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 


-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Alamo All Stars

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-Stars - Nathan Hale

Audience: Upper Elementary

Format: Physical Book/Library Copy



Kids at my school love these books, so I thought I should give the series a try. I learned some things about the Alamo that I didn't know before. The images are well-done and there is a great deal of humor infused into the stories. I'm sure the kids enjoy the bloody parts as well, but at least it isn't gory. I'm happy to have this series in my library and will encourage students to read all of them.

HP & The Order of the Phoenix - audiobook

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 5 - J.K. Rowling, Jim  Dale



Loving my re-read (listening) to the entire Harry Potter series. I guess I've seen the movies more recently so I've forgotten some details of the books. I love rediscovering things as I read. I'll be moving on to book 6 after a bit of a break. :)



Charlie Hernandez & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows - Ryan Calejo

Audience: 4th Grade & Up

Format: Audiobook/Library Copy


Myths, my abuela used to say, are truths long forgotten by the world.

- first sentence


Charlie Hernandez knows the Hispanic myths inside and out because his abuela (grandmother) has been telling him stories about them since he was very young. Then one day, he finds out that all the monsters that he thought were myths, are actually real. Not only are they real, but they are trying to break through the barrier between life and death. 


This a great book for fans of the Percy Jackson series. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and hearing the story told by someone who could pronounce all the words correctly instead of trying to imagine how they should sound in my head. We read this book for our middle school book club and will be zooming with the author this week. I'm so excited!


Pug's Snow Day by Kayla May

Pug's Snow Day - Kyla May



This is a cute story in the form of a diary written by Bub the pug. He hates water and loves peanut butter, but he especially loves Bella (his human girl). Another great Branches book for young readers - an early chapter book that kids will love, especially those who like animals. :)

The Stand by Stephen King (audiobook)

The Stand - Deutschland Random House Audio, Stephen King, Grover Gardner

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned




Another re-read (first time listen) of a Stephen King book. I figured this was as good a time as any to re-experience The Stand. My goal this year is to listen to all the Stephen King books I have previously read. This year seems like it is being written by Stephen King, so yeah.

This is one of my favorite Stephen King books and the audio version did not disappoint.

Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Drowned Cities - Paolo Bacigalupi

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy


Chains clanked in the darkness of the holding cells.

- first sentence


This book comes from the same universe as Shipbreaker. In this book, Mahlia and Mouse managed to find each other and escape the Drowned Cities and live with a doctor in a small town. One day, they find a bioengineered half-man (Tool) nearly dead in the jungle. Mahlia believes Tool will save them and help them travel north beyond the Drowned Cities to a place of safety and opportunity. But Mouse is taken by the soldier boys and Mahlia must decide whether to risk everything to try to save her friend or escape to a place where freedom is possible.


This is a heart-pounding story of loyalty, survival, and adventure and I loved it! Though it is a bit gory at times, so be warned.


Stargazing by Jen Wang

Stargazing - Jen Wang

Audience: Upper Elementary

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy




Jen Wang draws on her childhood to paint a deeply personal yet wholly relatable friendship story that’s at turns joyful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope.


This is a fantastic story of friendship between two girls who couldn't be more different. One of them is carefree and relaxed, the other feels like she has to be perfect for her parents and never feels good enough. Jen Wang does a great job depicting the challenges of teenage friendships. Another one for fans of Raina Telgemeier.

Peanut by Ayun Halliday

Peanut - Paul Hoppe, Ayun Halliday

Audience: Grades 6 & up

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy


No one at my old school knew about my peanut allergy...

- first line


Sadie is moving to a new high school. This is a chance to reinvent herself, and perhaps even be popular.  So she decides to pretend to have a peanut allergy, but she doesn't realize how hard it will be to keep up the pretense. By the time Sadie realizes that the popular girls are annoying and shallow, her lie is part of who she is at this school. She wants to tell her friends the truth, but she is scared of losing them.


This is a great graphic novel. I love Sadie's story and how things get away from her because she didn't really think about the consequences of one "little" lie. The drawings are mostly blue/black/gray but Sadie's shirt is a reddish/pink color. This makes Sadie stand out in every frame.


I highly recommend this book to fans of Raina Telgemeier though this book is written for a slightly older audience.


Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel at Night - Mélanie Watt

Audience: Elementary

Format: Ebook/Library


Scaredy Squirrel never sleeps.

- first sentence



This is a very cute book. Scaredy Squirrel is a delightful character who kids can relate to. In this book, Scaredy faces his fears about night time and bad dreams. The book points out the importance of sleep in a kid-friendly way. The kids loved it!!

The Great Eggscape by Jory John

The Great Eggscape! - Jory John

Audience: Early Elementary

Format: Ebook/Library


Howdy! I'm Shel. An egg. How's it going?

- first lines




This is a cute book brought to you by the same people who brought you The Bad Seed, The Good Egg, and the Cool Bean (Jory John and Pete Oswald). I read it to our library classes on Zoom last week and the kids loved it!

Warrior's Curse - audiobook

The Warrior's Curse - Jennifer A. Nielsen, Jesse Vilinsky, Michael Curran-Dorsano

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned



Winter had come, bringing harsh winds that cut like knives through my cloak, the land frozen beneath my feet each morning and continuing to chill, even when the sun rose.- opening line



The final book in the Traitor's Game series. This book doesn't disappoint. It's an amazing ending to a fabulous fantasy series. I loved Simon and Kestra and how they changed and grew throughout the series. Will they be able to defeat the evil Lord Endrick and is there any way they can even be together??


If you like YA fantasy, read this book!

Deceiver's Heart - audiobook

The Deceiver's Heart - Jennifer A. Nielsen, Jesse Vilinsky, Michael Curran-Dorsano



Book 2 in the series, after Traitor's Game, didn't disappoint. Kestra is tasked with killing Lord Endrick, but that doesn't go so well and she isn't the same after. Simon thinks he can save her without magic (because magic makes people evil like Lord Endrick). Coracks and Halderians are after her and Kestra's life is in danger. But who can she trust?


I loved it. Listened to it super quick and right away started book 3 (Warrior's Curse).

The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Traitor's Game - Jennifer A. Nielsen, Jesse Vilinsky, Michael Curran-Dorsano



"Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right-hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well - and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home. The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what - and who - it is they're fighting for." - Inside cover


This book enthralled me. I was so anxious to see what would happen to Kestra and all the people she met along the way that I jumped right into book 2 and then book 3. The whole series was great! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes YA Fantasy.  There will definitely be things you don't see coming.

A Heart so Fierce and Broken

A Heart so Fierce and Broken - Brigid Kemmerer


This book is a continuation of the story told in A Curse so Dark and Lonely (an enthralling retelling of Beauty and the Beast). I loved this second book even more than the first one!


In this book, we follow Grey as he deals with the fallout of the information he learned at the end of book 1.  NO SPOILERS HERE!!

Goblet of Fire - audiobook

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Book 4 - J.K. Rowling, J.K. Rowling, Jim  Dale


Book 4. I was flying through these, but now I feel like I need a break. Maybe it's because this was the first really heavy book emotionally (for me anyway). I still LOVED it and I will always love Harry Potter. It's great to be able to come back to this series whenever I want to escape the world.

Prisoner of Azkaban audiobook

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Book 3 - J.K. Rowling, Jim  Dale


Jim Dale again and I loved every minute of this one. On to the next. :)

Currently reading

Tracing The Trails: A Constant Reader's Reflections on the Work of Stephen King
Chad CLark, Duncan Ralston, Richard Chizmar

Reading is my Escape's Read 2018 book montage

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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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