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

Yellow Brick War

Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die) - Danielle  Paige

 

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover

Owned

 

The witches were waiting.

- first sentence

 

The third book in the series takes Amy back to Kansas to continue her fight to save Oz (and The Other Place (Kansas) too). New characters become involved, we get a look at how Amy's disappearance affected her negligent mother, and find out some new details about Dorothy. And of course, there are twists and deception.

 

This book is a fun continuation of the series. I remain spellbound by this version of Oz and the entire cast of characters. Recommended to fans of alternate realities and fractured fairy tales.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

 

 

Oz like you've never seen it...

The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die) - Danielle  Paige

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover

Owned

 

The Emerald City was burning.

- first sentence

 

 

I loved this continuation of the series. The end was quite a surprise and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Catching Fire - Audiobook

Catching Fire - Suzanne  Collins, Carolyn McCormick

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

Library Copy

I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.

- first sentence

 

I decided to continue my re-read with the audiobook for book two. While I enjoyed listening to the book, I was disappointed with the narrator (Carolyn McCormick). She totally missed the character, and after listening to Tatiana Maslany narrate the special edition of The Hunger Games, it was even worse. McCormick's narration was irritating and didn't fit Katniss's character at all. Her voice is breathy, whiny, overdramatic, and grating. I think she would be good in a different book, like maybe a historical drama.

 

I knocked off one star for the narration, but I loved the story and would have given it 5 stars.

The Hunger Games (Special Edition) - audiobook

The Hunger Games - Tatiana Maslany, Suzanne  Collins

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

Library Copy

 

 

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

- first sentence

 

This is a re-read for me. I watched the movies during a marathon over the holiday break and was inspired to read the books again. This time I decided to go with the audiobook.

 

I chose the new "Special Edition" and am so glad I did. The narrator is Tatiana Maslany and she did a fantastic job.

 

There isn't much I can say that hasn't been said about this book except I loved it. I will mention that this series, Harry Potter, and Twilight are the books that got me back into reading after a very long slump approximately 10 years ago. To say these books changed my life is not an understatement. :)

Arduous journey towards freedom or disaster

Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys

 

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

Library Copy

 

Guilt is a hunter.

- First sentence

 

This is more than just a story about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, although that is the historical event that inspired it. The book follows the journey of a group of refugees trying to escape war and find freedom. They have a long and arduous journey ahead of them, but if they can make it to the ship (and get aboard), they will have a chance to survive.

 

We follow the journey from the point of view of four teens: three refugees (each with their own secrets) and a sociopathic soldier with an inflated sense of his own importance. The point of view changes with each section and the effect can be disconcerting. Even though the change of narrator was tough to follow, I did like knowing what the characters were thinking and seeing the different ways they reacted to the same situation. 

 

I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do, it tends to be from the WWII era. I did enjoy the book and felt it was extremely realistic. Sepetys doesn't shy away from horrific events or from showing the reactions of the characters. By the time the ship started sinking, I was totally rooting for the good characters to live and the bad ones to die, and on the edge of my seat. And of course, the end was heartbreaking even though parts of it were good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

— feeling nerd

 

Merry Christmas!!

The Golden Tower (Book 5 - Magisterium series)

The Golden Tower - Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

Audience: Middle Grade

 

For the first time in Call's life, the house he had grown up in looked small.

- first sentence

 

I've missed the Magisterium; I didn't realize how much until I started reading this book. It has been a while, so I went to the Book Series Recaps website and read the summaries of the first four books. Call and his friends have been through a lot in the past 4 years, and the final year of magic school isn't any easier, in fact, it may be the toughest year yet.

 

Call is full of doubt and flaws; he wants to be good, but he has reason to doubt who he is at his very core. He questions his actions and decisions constantly, but his intentions are always good. He wants to protect his friends and the school, he wants the girl to like him, he wants to please his father and impress his teachers. He insists he isn't a hero, he is just left with no choice. But he never runs from danger, in fact, he seems to find it more than most.

 

In this final year at school, Call isn't the only one who doubts his intentions. Most of the other students fear and resent him and his connection to the Enemy of Death. Many of his friends aren't exactly his friends anymore. He feels alone, except for the voice in his head that is (I won't explain this because I don't want to spoil it).

 

This book is fantastic. My only complaint is that this is the final book in the series. I keep hoping the story might continue when Call and his friends go to the Collegium, but the summary refers to this as "the monumental conclusion to the Magisterium series," so it seems like I'm out of luck.

 

I highly recommend this book especially to grades 4-8.

 

 

 

 

The Belles - audiobook

The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton, Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult

 

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

- opening lines

 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty - there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don't look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.

 

So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be "perfect," and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.

 

Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can't handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn't see what is happening around her - the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn't believe that Camellia wouldn't see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.

 

The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language - too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn't - I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.

 

The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator's accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 

 

I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn't come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don't know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.

 

I borrowed the audio from my local library. The book is a Florida Teens Read program nominated book for 2018-19.

 

 

 

The Last Star

The Last Star (The 5th Wave) - Rick Yancey

 

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

This is my body.

- first sentence

 

 

It's been a long time since I read the first book of the 5th Wave series. So long in fact, that I had to re-read the second book. But it was sooo worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it was a fitting and heartbreaking conclusion to the series.

 

Throughout the series, the characters have never been sure who the enemy is. In the end, it's about who you can trust, who you are willing to sacrifice for, and how much you are willing to sacrifice. Cassie stays true to herself until the very end; she is strong and never gives up trying to protect her family. It was fun to see Cassie and Ringer (who are complete opposites) working together to save someone and to finally get their revenge. 

 

There are some twists here that I didn't see coming and some I did. I'm enamored with Yancey's writing and storytelling ability. I will happily read anything else he writes. I noticed that this book is to be made into a movie (or maybe it already was). It is perfect movie material if they do a good job.

This is Our Story - Audiobook

This Is Our Story - Ashley Elston

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

 

A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor.

- opening sentence

 

 

This story revolves around the mystery of what happened at River Point when five friends went hunting and one was killed. Afterward, the "River Point Boys" decide to stick together and say that none of them knows who fired the shot that killed their friend. Kate is interning at the DA's office and she is determined to get justice for Grant. But it isn't clear who killed Grant and without evidence, the DA could succumb to the pressure from the powerful families of the boys to sweep the incident under the rug. 

 

The story is well-written and seems realistic, except for the fact that Kate is the only one who can find evidence to solve the crime. Adults aren't always as inept as YA novels make them out to be. But, I get it - Kate is the intrepid sleuth (ala Nancy Drew).

 

The plot was slow at times, but I always wanted to keep listening to try to figure out who the killer was. Most of the book is told from Kate's point of view with periodic sections from the POV of the killer (without giving away who it is). I enjoyed hearing what the killer was thinking and planning. I had a hard time keeping the names of the boys straight but that may have been a factor of listening to the audiobook. There are two narrators and they both did a great job. The plot twists, including one that reminds us how technology can hide the truth, make up for the slow parts of the book.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to YA mystery fans.

 

 

 

The Heir - audiobook

The Heir - Kiera Cass

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

I could not hold my breath for seven minutes.

- opening sentence

 

 

I read The Selection series and found it delightful. Granted it had problems, but it was fun. I found this book on my shelf and realized it has been sitting there for a while. I wanted to finish some of the series that I started but never completed, so I decided to start with this one.

 

Two of the things I enjoyed about The Selection were the main character America and her romance with Maxon. And the whole caste system and related prejudice were intriguing. But in The Heir, the main character is irritating and has a terrible personality. Princess Eadlyn is America's daughter, but she is a spoiled brat who thinks the world revolves around her. It is really difficult to listen to her whine and judge people through most of the book. Other than that, it's not a bad story. I like Cass's writing style and the book moves along quickly. The ending actually came faster than I expected and was a total cliffhanger. I should have expected it since I knew there was at least one more book, but I wasn't thinking.

 

I will not be reading any more of this series. I should have stopped with the third book.

Infinite Sea - audiobook

The Infinite Sea: The 5th Wave, Book 2 - Ben Yannette, Rick Yancey, Penguin Books Australia Limited, Phoebe Strole

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

The world is a clock winding down.

- opening sentence

 

This was a re-read for me to prepare for reading the final book in the series, The Last Star. I read a recap summary, but I felt like I needed more information.

 

I enjoyed revisiting Cassie, Ben, Evan, Ringer, Nugget, and the rest of the gang. There is a lot of confusion in this series about who the good guys and bad guys are and how exactly the aliens are achieving their destruction of the majority of the human race.

 

This is a fun book with a few unexpected twists and a lot of action, danger, and drama.

Swashbuckling Adventure with an Enchanting Twist

Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller

 

 

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

 

We're outnumbered. Outgunned. Seven of my men lie dead on their backs. Two more jumped overboard as soon as they saw the black flag of the Night Farer on the horizon.

 

- opening paragraph

 

Seventeen-year-old Alosa is not only the daughter of the Pirate King, but also a captain of her own ship, and a powerful fighter with more than a few tricks up her sleeve. She allows herself to be captured in order to complete a mission for her father - to find one-third of an ancient map which leads to a legendary treasure.

 

Alosa is a strong, smart, fierce fighter, and she has a secret which can bend any man to her will. I like her character, but she seems a bit cocky at times and I couldn't figure out why (until the reveal). I love that Riden (the first mate of the pirates who unwittingly take Alosa prisoner) is clever enough to see through most of Alosa's tricks. Their rivalry makes it impossible for them to even imagine liking each other, but they can't deny they are both clever and strong-willed.

 

Alosa is easy to root for. Her relationship with Riden sometimes seems a certain disaster and other times seems meant to be. This book is well-written, exciting, and filled with action and unexpected twists. Even during the last battle, things happen that you won't see coming.

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a high seas adventure with a strong female lead - young adults and adults too.

 

 

 

 

The Woman in Black - audiobook

The Woman In Black - Susan Hill

 

 

It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.

-first sentence

 

 

This is a dark, gothic, ghost story. The narrator, Arthur, recounts his experience at Eel Marsh house with the Woman in Black and how it changed his life forever. The story has haunted him for years and by writing it down, he hopes to be able to forget.

 

Arthur goes to Eel Marsh house to settle the estate of a reclusive old woman. At first, he tries to find reasonable explanations for the noises coming from the empty marsh. Then he realizes that what he hears is an echo of something that happened years before.

 

This is a slow moving story that gradually builds suspense and fear. The house is isolated on a marsh that can only be reached at low tide (it reminded me of The Elementals in that sense). As in that story, the isolation makes Arthur's experience even more terrifying. 

 

The audio is well done and I enjoyed listening. At 4 hours and 33 minutes, it is one of the shorter audiobooks I've listened to, but it didn't exactly fly by. It's a good story, but a bit on the old-fashioned side for me.

Halloween Bingo - Final Update & my last Bingo!

 

My final bingo is the last row on the bottom. I was trying to finish one more book for the four corners & center bingo, but I ran out of time. As usual, Halloween Bingo was a huge hit and loads of fun. Thanks for OB & Moonlight for hosting and doing such an amazing job as always. You guys are fabulous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Called:

 

9/1   Classic Horror

9/3   Cryptozoologist

9/5   Cozy Mystery (not on my card)

9/7   New Release

9/9   Southern Gothic

9/11 Terrifying Women

9/13 A Grimm Tale

9/15 Modern Masters of Horror

9/17 Creepy Carnivals

9/19 Relics and Curiosities

9/21 Diverse Voices

9/23 Murder Most Foul

9/25 Amateur Sleuth

9/27 Genre: Suspense

9/29 Supernatural

10/1 Ghost Stories

10/3 Doomsday

10/5 Shifters

10/7 13 (not on my card)

10/9 Terror in a Small Town (not on my card)

10/11 Darkest London

10/13 Gothic

10/15 Genre: Horror

10/17 Fear the Drowning Deep

10/19 Spellbound (not on my card)

10/21 Country House Mystery

10/23 Deadlands

10/25 Romantic Suspense (not on my card)

 

Read:

 

Ghost Stories - Ghost Story

Fear the Drowning Deep - 100 Fathoms Below

Modern Masters of Horror - Revival

Doomsday - Not a Drop to Drink

Relics and Curiosities - Strange Weather

Diverse Voices - The Girl From the Well

Free Space - Murder House

Creepy Carnivals - Full Tilt

Terrifying Women - The Creek

Country House Mystery - Ten

Genre: Suspense - Glimpse

New Release - Obscura

Cryptozoologist - The Jersey Devil

Southern Gothic - The Elementals

Classic Horror - The Exorcist

Murder Most Foul - Hunting Fear by Kay Hooper

 

 

 

Currently reading

Amal Unbound
Aisha Saeed, Priya Ayyar
Pet Sematary
Stephen King
The Fifth Season
N.K. Jemisin, Robin Miles
Progress: 278/927 minutes

Reading is my Escape's Read 2018 book montage

Unwind
The Man in the Iron Mask
Truly Madly Guilty
The Reptile Room
The Wide Window
UnWholly
The Miserable Mill
The Austere Academy
UnSouled
The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend
The Ersatz Elevator
The Vile Village
The Hostile Hospital
UnDivided
The Nerdy Dozen
The Carnivorous Carnival
The Iron Giant
Awkward
Brave
The Slippery Slope


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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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