21 books on the original TBR list. Of these, 16 were read.
- This is a Whoopsie! by Andrew Cangelose
32 pgs., 5/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, E-Book
This is a really adorable, clever, funny book! And the illustrations are just darling!
This is a book that I can see myself reading over and over to the girls. There are some obvious gags, but some more subtle ones that they may not catch until they mature a bit and are able to read between the lines a little.
I like the message that it has as well – you may not be athletic or gifted in a certain area as you may want, but there’s something about you – even if you consider it to be a flaw – that can bless the world.
- Happy Veggies by Mayumi Oda
36 pgs., 3/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, E-Book
I enjoyed this book because I felt it was very evocative of my summers growing up, where my mother would plant a large garden and we kids would see the different plants growing and ripening at different times during the growing season.
This book definitely had an Asian-style spirituality about it, with a definite message about a harmony with Mother Nature. Perhaps in part due to this, I think it would almost appeal to adults more than children, although children can definitely learn about the life cycles of plants and where veggies come from by looking at this book.
The illustrations look deceptively simple, but there is a grace and beauty to them that keeps you looking again.
- Libby and the Class Election (Star Darlings #2) by Shana Muldoon Zappa
176 pgs., 3/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, Paperback, Library
A lot of the Children’s books that I picked up this month were because I had the idea that I’d finish the Harry Potter OWL and NEWT challenges by selecting kid’s books in the assigned categories. My follow-through wasn’t so good, so I don’t actually recall what categories these were selected for at this point, so if I ever attempt to finish the challenge at some point, I’ll have to start over.
I picked up this one, as it was the second in a series and I had read the first book. It was okay; I think I liked the first book better. I’m not sure I’m invested enough in the story to continue reading the series, though.
- A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
432 pgs., 4/5 stars, YA Fiction/Fantasy, Hardcover, Library
People have been talking about this book for a while, but for some reason, I wasn’t particularly interested in it. I’m not generally a high fantasy girl. Fairies (or faeries, I’m not sure why there’s different spellings) are not normally my thing. But this was an interesting story and the female lead was not a push-over.
I ended up enjoying the story quite a bit and then went to the library and checked out the rest of the series!
- Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
388 pgs., 3/5 stars, YA Fiction/Fantasy, Paperback, Owned
As a book, it took me too long to get into the story. I don’t know if it was really that slow-paced, but I kept setting it down for long periods of time. It probably has taken me over a year from when I first started reading this book to make it through and I’m sure there’s one section in the middle that I kept re-reading to try and re-familiarize myself with the plot.
I don’t think the story itself is bad. It is actually a very interesting idea. I would be quite interested to see this adapted for film.
Part of the reason why I am not loving this book is that the main character has several guys who could potentially be The Love Interest. However, all of them flip-flop throughout the book, and I didn’t have a clear sense in my heart of which one I hoped she ended up with. I think this contributed to me not being as invested as I could be, since I wasn’t rooting hard for one pairing over others.
- Secret of the Ninja (Choose Your Own Adventure #66) by Jay Leibold
124 pgs., 2/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, Paperback, Library
This was another pick for one of the Harry Potter challenges. It was short and mostly forgettable.
- The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
408 pgs., 4/5 stars, YA Fiction, Hardcover, Library
This was a little bit of magic, a little bit of mystery. It was an interesting story with some great characters. I’ll definitely pick up the rest of the series, especially as I hear the next book is not one to miss!
- The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
297 pgs., 3/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, Hardcover, Library
This was a cute story of siblings trying to save their home. Their landlord has decided to not renew their lease and they are facing having to move out of a home and neighborhood that they love. It is set just before Christmas and is a cozy tale.
It didn’t make me keep thinking about it long after the read, but it was a solid 3 star book. I didn’t feel the need to buy a copy for myself, but was glad that I picked it up from the library. It’s like one of those Hallmark channel movies; not going to be a blockbuster or one that you own, but you were glad for the experience at the time.
- Memory and Magic (Disney Frozen: Anna & Elsa #2) by Erica David
128 pgs., 3/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, Paperback, Library
This was a longer story of Anna and Elsa that just gives you more scenes between some of your favorite Frozen characters.
- Luke and Lottie: It’s Halloween! by Ruth Wielockx
32 pgs., 5/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, Hardcover, Library
This was a delightful book about Halloween! I thought the illustrations were adorable and loved the children’s interactions with each other and their parents. I thought the Halloween snacks they made out of fruits were very clever – only to find out from the author’s intro that she studied nutrition and dietetics! I definitely have to snag a copy for Gabby now!
- Exploring Seeds (First Step Nonfiction: Let’s Look at Plants) by Kristin Sterling
23 pgs., 4/5 stars, Children’s Nonfiction, Hardcover, Library
This was a basic introduction to the topic of seeds and plants, geared toward children. I enjoyed the photographs, which were vibrant and detailed – great macro shots. While this book was rather short and simplistic, I think it could inspire young readers to want to learn more about the subject.
- Kitchen Princess, Vol. 01 (Kitchen Princess #1) by Natsumi Ando
187 pgs., 2/5 stars, Children’s Anime, Paperback, Library
While I couldn’t really get into the plot of the book, I do love the illustrations. They are both cute and expressive. After a while, I gave up on trying to figure out what was going on and just skimmed the text, enjoying the images.
- Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta
36 pgs., 4/5 stars, Children’s Biography, Hardcover, Library
I enjoyed this book far more than I was expecting to. To be frank, I expected it to be rather dry. To my surprise, it was quite entertaining while still informing me about all of the amazing things that Ben Franklin was responsible for. This is the kind of biography that you want to introduce your children to!
- Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali
48 pgs. 3/5 stars, Children’s Biography, Hardcover, Library
This is a solid story – biography, really. It tells the story of an indigenous boy taken away from his home land to Victorian England. The story is told in few words, but it is really the evocative illustrations in this book that makes this book great. I read this book to Gabby as last in a series of books we read that night, and by the time we got to this one, she was more interested in making up her own stories than listening to this one. However, these illustrations grabbed her imagination and she was able to tell her own fantastic tale and took pleasure in examining the details in the images. There were some which were magnificently detailed and full of things to look at. There were others which were stark and almost monochromatic. All of these tied in nicely with the emotions of Jemmy during his travels.
- Life as a Ninja: An Interactive History Adventure by Matt Doeden
112 pgs., 3/5 stars, Children’s Fiction, Hardcover, Library
This was an interesting take on a Choose Your Own Adventure style book. It sought to inform you about the history of the ninja, as well as entertain you. Unfortunately for me, I died. However, I died an honorable death and saved the person that I was entrusted to protect.
- Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu
353 pgs., 5/5 stars, YA Fiction/Dystopian, Hardcover, Library
This was a fantastic, edge-of-your-seat, engaging story! It hooked me in from the beginning and kept up the fast pace and startling reveals right to the end. It has a similar feel as Ready Player One without the time-period nostalgia. The descriptions of the world were so lush and vivid, I could almost see it. This would make a fantastic movie adaptation.
- A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
624 pgs., 4/5 stars, YA Fiction/Fantasy, Hardcover, Library
This was my favorite book of the ACOTAR series! It’s hard to be able to write about it without spoiling something for people who haven’t read it yet. But if you liked ACOTAR, you will love ACOMAF. Feyre’s romantic life heats up and becomes more mature and you will gain insight into several characters that will really enhance your experience of the story.
- A Court of Winds and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas
699 pgs., 4/5 stars, YA Fiction/Fantasy, Hardcover, Library
All of the grim predictions and fears of the previous two books come to a head in ACOWAR. As a resolution to the series, I was satisfied for the most part. There were some things that seemed a little out of place, or as if they were manipulated so that the plot would turn out as a the author had envisioned. This is something that could downgrade the story a bit for some readers, but I’m usually willing to be more forgiving for the sake of the story.
- A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas
229 pgs., 3/5 stars, YA Fiction/Fantasy, Hardcover, Library
A lot of other reviewers really didn’t like this novella. I can see where they are coming from. This was really a fluffy story, to give you just a little bit more time with the characters without a lot of substance. It deals with the aftermath of the events in ACOWAR, but on a somewhat superficial level. I’m glad I read it, but it definitely isn’t necessary for the series. If you enjoy the characters and want to read more about how they interact with each other, pick it up. If you were in the series for the action, you may be disappointed.
- The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
64 pgs., 3/5 stars, Thriller/Horror, Scribd Audiobook
This was a great book to have read (listened to) the night before Spookathon began. I’m just a little sad that I didn’t technically read it during Spookathon. There’s a bit of a mystery and the ending does have a twist that I didn’t see coming.
- You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes
424 pgs., 4/5 stars, Thriller, Hardcover, Owned
This was fairly unique, as it is written in the second person from the perspective of Joe, who is … kinda stalker-y. That’s not really a spoiler, as you can see this from the first interaction between Joe and Beck.
What I found most interesting about this book was Joe’s judgments and observations of Beck’s decisions. In most books, you see why a character does X or Y, but you don’t often get to be inside the head of others as they analyze the actions of the other characters to point out their flaws.
It was also interesting because, as a reader, you want to root for the protagonist, but also you really don’t.
- Bird Box by Josh Malerman
262 pgs., 3/5 stars, Thriller, Paperback, Owned
I got this book as a Birthday or Christmas present from my brother. It’s taken me a good 10 months to read it, but I’m glad that I did. I like that the author is local to our area and that the story is set in a neighboring city. It was a very interesting story and had a great mood.
This is another book where it’s hard to say a lot about it without spoilers. A good psychological thriller. Especially if you are in an abandoned city by yourself. Definitely read it then to give yourself the creeps.
- Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
400 pgs., 3/5 stars, Thriller, Paperback, Owned
Thrillers/mysteries are not my go-to genre, but Spookathon is a readathon hosted by @booksandlala on her YouTube channel, and it has prompted me to dive into more books in this genre.
This book was okay. It was interesting enough to keep me reading and I was able to finish it in about a day. There was a twist to it, which is probably standard in thrillers. For me, I wasn’t all that interested in the characters, which lowered the rating for me a bit.
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
323 pgs., 3/5 stars, Thriller, Hardcover, Owned
I think after several mystery/thrillers books that I’ve given a 3 star rating to, I’ve found that this genre is just not for me. It’s not horrible, and I’m sure that I’ll read more books in this genre in the future, but it’s not going to be a book that I hug and love and buy in all formats possible.
In this story, the main character drove me crazy. I really just wanted her to get her life together and she really just kept mucking things up for herself and making me frustrated. I get that the whole “unreliable” narrator thing adds to the story, but she really was not someone that I’d want to hang out with in real life.
The ending was not something that I suspected, but by the end of the book, I was okay with any of them going to jail.
- 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner
202 pgs., 5/5 stars, Humor, Hardcover, Owned
This not just a “children’s book”. It’s for anyone who likes cuteness, and illustrations, and ghosts… This book explores different looks for the “traditional” ghost, and let me tell you… they are ADORABLE! And incredibly creative! There’s just the right amount of pop culture references, yet not so many that would “date” the book.
Nevermind the godchild, *I’m* going to be re-reading this book many times to come! I can’t even pick a favorite ghost — there are too many ones that I love! I do know which one my godchild’s father would like best, though… 🙂 But, I’m not going to tell… I think I’ll have him read the book and see if we agree on which one is his favorite. 🙂
If these ghosts came in sticker-format, or as prints, I’d have them on everything. A llama-ghost on my phone… Ghost portraits on the living room wall…
This is one book that I don’t really want to put on the bookshelf… I’d rather have it on the counter so anyone stopping by can pick it up and fall in love, just as I have.
Disclaimer: Just so you know, I’d be raving about this book even if I hadn’t received a free copy from Random House, but… I did. Thank you, Goodreads First Reads! 🙂
- Trauma Room Two by Philip Allen Green, MD
164 pgs., 4/5 stars, Contemporary/Medical/Memoir/Nonfiction, Scribd Audiobook
This was a compelling collection of short passages that tell experiences within Trauma Room Two from a variety of perspectives: the doctor, the patient, support staff….
Emotions, not medicine, were the focus of each of the stories, which really helped the reader to connect. While each story was fairly short, there was something challenging about it that made you think about the issue or the perspective presented.
- Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
309 pgs., 4/5 stars, YA Fiction, E-Book, Kindle
I read this one for a Book Club by @peanutbuttertaco. It was a really good story with good character development and an important subject matter.
Unfortunately, the ending was all too realistic, which was great for the authenticity of the book, but not good if you were anticipating a read where everything is rainbows and butterflies in the end.
- Once and Always by Judith McNaught
375 pgs., 5/5 stars, Historical Romance, Kindle
(The actual cover on my Kindle edition of this book is different, but this is the cover that I had on the paperback that I owned when growing up, so I’m partial to it.)
Okay, so I grew up reading a lot of romance novels at a very young age. I was a voracious reader, and my mom had a book swap at her work, and the books that were there most frequently were the serial Harlequin romance novels. This is what she brought home for me. When we bought books, they would tend to get me large novels that might take me a few more days to read, so I grew up with a lot of Stephen King as well.
With reading all of these romance novels, I found the niche that I preferred were the Regency era historical romances. I was all about the strong, brooding tough guy realizing that he was in love with the girl. He was a badass, but would do anything for the one girl who had his heart.
I’m still a sucker for those.
Just before I re-read this book – and this book is one that was an all-time favorite – I read a review of it where they were very critical of the relationship. Granted, that there are a lot of things in these books which are highly questionable or which would be criminal in modern society. But as I said before, I can be a very forgiving reader for the sake of a story. In this time period, women were often treated like property, and I don’t necessarily knock the characters for misogyny, etc. since they are being true to societal norms of the time. Do I think that that behavior is horrible and am glad that society has made strides in changing what’s socially acceptable? Of course!
Here we are, decades later (Yikes!), and I still love this book. It has a very high tension, heart wrenching scene that is one of my favorites scenes of all times. They have a love that is passionate and tender and grabs you by the feels. Growing up, it was this book that had me thinking, “I want a guy who will love me like *this*.”
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
169 pgs., 4/5 stars, Fantasy, Novella, Scribd
This was a very interesting story and a great one to have read the day before Halloween!
It’s about a girl who had entered a doorway and found herself in a fantastical new land. She adapted to this new land and loved being there. But now she’s back in the real world, and she is having a hard time adjusting to mundane life. Her parents send her to the school for Wayward Children, which poses as a school meant to rehabilitate children who have been “lost” for a period of time. And this is where our story begins.
I loved the unique characters in this story, they were quite original and each had their own motivations and secrets. The world building was great, very detailed, but it left you with enough of a mystery to want to keep discovering more.
There was a mysterious danger in the story, which prompted much of the action in the book. I could tell where it was headed to a degree fairly early in, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
Some people say that the POV was distracting, but I read this as an audiobook and was able to immerse myself in this world quite easily.
- Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
187 pgs., 4/5 stars, Fantasy, Novella, Scribd
I read the first 3 books in this series quickly, one right after the other. They were really good, absorbing, great world-building, and a fantastic story to read at Halloween!
I feel that the first book set up the story well, and this second novella went deep into characterization of some side characters from the first novella.
If I’m going to be reading books at a higher rate, it might make sense to separate my review posts out into smaller posts, then link those into a monthly wrap-up post. Putting all of them into one post seems to be getting a little large. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!