Books of the Month: April Edition

Here we are again looking over the books I read in a month. I’m afraid the number is not as impressive as last time’s, but life has a habit of sucking reading time away. Or is that Facebook that does that? Hmm….

Books read this month:

  1. Fable Weaver by Carlie Gernhart
  2. The House on the Gulf by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  3. Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  4. Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Yes, another Haddix month. I mean, when they are all on the shelf together and you’re working through reading all on that shelf it’s kind of unavoidable. But I digress.

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Favorite Book of the Month: Claim to Fame

Why?  I think it was the most well written, and you can really see how Haddix grew as an author when you compare Running out of Time to Claim to Fame.  I also was intrigued by the concept, how she wove the story together, and the character of Lindsey. While this was I think aimed a bit more to YA, it wasn’t so focused on what YA normally is focused on and almost had a bit of a Mid Grade feel. But I actually enjoyed that balance of styles. The character of Lindsey was one of the best MCs of Haddix’s that I have read.

Least Favorite Book of the Month: Running Out of Time

Why? It wasn’t that this book was bad in any way, it was actually a great Mid Grade/almost YA read. But there are some parts that are a little disjointed and felt that they didn’t flow quite as well. Also some telling that I ended up skimming over so I could get back to the action and interesting bits.

A Quick Look at the Other Books: 

Fable Weaver

  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Thoughts: Finally, after seven years of being an OYANer, I have read Fable Weaver! This novel was written by a fellow One Year Adventure Novel student – one of the original live class group – and was published by Clear Water Press as an example of a student’s exceptional work.  For her first novel, Carlie did an incredible job! The story is imaginative, fun, quirky, and emotional.
  • Favorite Moment: Meeting Merlin

The House on the Gulf

  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Thoughts: This novel was actually really really good. It just about tied with Claim to Fame as my favorite of this month. What I really loved about this story was how Haddix really transported me to Florida. I could feel the heat, see the houses, smell the baked goods of the neighbor lady.  And the mystery was really intriguing and took twists I did not expect. Overall this one was a real winner.
  • Favorite Moment: When all the pieces of the puzzle came together and you just sit there in shock and horror at the mess.

And that wraps things up for April! I’m not really sure I’ll have much of an impressive post at all for May. I’ll be lucky to finish the one book I’m into right now.  I’ll be wrapped up in story, but they will be stories of my own creation. May is writing month, and I’m very excited about that. But don’t worry! I’ll come back strong in reading after that.

Did you read any books in April? What was your favorite?

Whirlwind of Events

You may have noticed I did not blog last week. I almost wasn’t going to this week, but I figured I would give a quick life update and explanation as to the absence of posts.

Last weekend I traveled to Cincinnati to The Great Homeschool Conventions Midwest where I proudly represented The One Year Adventure Novel in the vendor hall. I’ll be posting about that over at Rollicking Through Life later on this or next week. For now, here’s a low quality picture:

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After that incredible weekend I was prepared to really get back into the swing of normal life things. But my Monday had other plans…

I got an email from Splickety Magazine and it turns out one of my short stories has been accepted for publication in their May issue (YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!).

And then I got a text asking if I’d work another convention down in ORLANDO next month on my birthday weekend at a convention center that is FIFTEEN MINUTES FROM DISNEY WORLD.

So now my week is filled with meticulous planning, plotting, and editing, much to the woe of my messy apartment.

Looks like my husband is going to win the bet that I will not have it all clean by Friday….

Your Name

Ever watched a movie that had you in mortal fear that it would end and leave you hanging on the edge of a cliff forever doomed to be in agony?

No?

Well then, I have the movie for you!

Last weekend my husband and sister and I went to see Your Name in theaters (in Japanese with English subs yay!) and wow. We were not disappointed.

Aside from a few awkward moments (because body switching with the opposite sex will do that) I found this film to be breathtaking, beautiful, well written, solid, and fun. Well, fun in a heart pounding “Oh my gosh does this fade to black mean the end please don’t say it ends this way I will scream in the middle of this theater” type of way.

As you have noticed in my talking about stories, I really hate to go into much detail because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I feel that is especially important for this film because the twists were just wow, and I didn’t see them coming. So in order to protect you from spoilers, I’m just going to leave the trailer here, back away slowly, and tell you emphatically: Go see this film.

 

Have you seen a movie recently that you’re excited about? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! 

Books of the Month: March Edition

Another month has come and gone, and for my reading life it was very successful! I finished 7 books total (really wanted it to be 8, but the last week of March was threw too many adult responsibilities at me and I didn’t get enough time *harrumphs*).

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  2. Among the Imposters by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  3. Among the Betrayed by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  4. Among the Barons by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  5. Among the Brave by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  6. Among the Enemy by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  7. Among the Free by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Notice a trend?

For the past couple years I’ve been collecting books by Margaret Peterson Haddix, in particular the Shadow Children series. I read the first book, and wanted to complete the series, but I wanted to own all of them so I could read through them all at once. That time, obviously, finally came.

Favorite Book of the Month: Divergent

Why? See my full post on what I thought of the book here. But in summary, I was just so pleasantly surprised by this book. It drew me in, I had fun, I had not fun when I was supposed to, and I cared for the characters. I just really wanted a good YA Sci-fi Dystopian and this was it.

Least Favorite Book of the Month: Among the Free

Why? I’m honestly so sad to say this, but the last book in this seven book series disappointed me so much.   It was from my favorite character’s perspective, and yet he wasn’t the same character I had learned to love. It was like all the progress and growth he made was gone. He changed in a way I didn’t like and it really effected my enjoyment. But not only that, the ending just…. fell flat. It was too easy. I realize this is a Mid Grade book, but still. I felt cheated.

A Quick Look at the Other Books: 

Among the Imposters

  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Thoughts: By far my favorite book in the series (besides book one). Luke grows so much here, the mystery is great, and the kids act smart. It makes me happy.
  • Favorite Moment: Hard to choose… but I’m going to say when Luke looses his garden. It’s so devastating, and I ached for him. The emotions were perfect in that scene.

Among the Betrayed

  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Thoughts: Not my favorite by far. I really disliked Nina as a character in this book. Later on she became a favorite, but in this book she was very much different and I didn’t like being in her head. The other characters were a mixture of “okay I like these kids” to “gosh stop being jerks” and the whole book I felt myself skimming to just get through all this already.
  • Favorite Moment: When Alia whips out fake ID cards to Nina’s shock.

Among the Barons

  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Thoughts: I loved this book! We’re back in Luke’s mind, he’s so much braver and stronger now. He’s smart. The entire book kept me absorbed and was incredibly interesting. It probably ties in favorite book of the series place for me, come to think of it.
  • Favorite Moment: The final party before the… Big Crash. *whispers* Spoilers!

Among the Brave

  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Thoughts: I really enjoyed being with Trey. His character growth was beautiful and while I did find myself skimming a bit, I believe that was more because of the age difference between me and the target audience. Again, kids acting smart. I love that. And I loved that we got to see a lot of other characters in this one, and pieces of the puzzle start to fall together.  The only reason this one gets a 3.5 instead of a 4 is because of the few dry parts of skimming.
  • Favorite Moment: Busting out of a Population Police camp ❤

Among the Enemy

  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Thoughts: This one was incredibly interesting. Because I really enjoyed it. But there were parts that were very slow and bored me. And then it hit a point in the middle and it sped up and had me hooked again.  But I really loved how she took us into someone else’s head, but also away from the main action, and delved into the emotions of the bad guys a bit. It intrigued me.
  • Favorite Moment: There are lots of little moments I loved in this one. I think my favorite is just in general how Matthias’ grief and small actions caused such huge ripples in the enemy ranks.

Well, that’s it for this month!  April is proving to be pretty busy, but hopefully I’ll have more than just one book to show for it next month. Until then, happy reading everyone!

How many books did you finish in March? What was your favorite? 

Tale as Old as Time

I sat on my parents’ bed, the time to leave for church fast approaching, watching Belle and Beast as they glided across the floor in their iconic first dance.

Something stirred inside of me then. Something big and beautiful that I didn’t have words for. As I put on my coat a short while later, about to head out the door, I realized that there was a word to describe it: Romance. That feeling, that pull, that longing for it to be me someday. Despite Ariel and Eric deciding my marital goals at an early age (I would of course be marrying a Prince named Eric and changing my name to match the Mermaid’s), it was Belle and Beast who first conveyed to my young heart what a beautiful romance looked like.

I sat in the theater, tears welling in my eyes, hugging my husband’s arm, watching Belle and Beast as they glided across the floor in their first dance. Emma Thompson sang of the “Tale as old as Time”. The room around them burst into sparkles of light as they spun around.

Something stirred inside me then. A deeper understanding now of the type of love that is worth everything, and, perhaps, a breath of a future in which my daughter would watch this scene and feel an awakening inside of her. Perhaps she will grow up to draw inspiration from this story for her wedding. Perhaps I will watch her twirl around a room with her love.

 

Yes, Beauty and the Beast is a Tale as old as Time.

But more so is what it represents.

Divergent: A Pleasant Surprise

First off, I know this is old news. These books have been out for quite a while now, but I’m not giving a review or anything, just gushing.

I have avoided Divergent since the movies came out and everything I saw about them just made it look like this story was all about steamy teen romance set in a dystopian world trying to be the Hunger Games.

I was wrong.

Divergent sucked me in so hard, that I had it read in two days. I was delighted with this book. So much so I had to write about it here! It is so rare for me to find a YA novel that I really enjoy, that has a romance that doesn’t go into places I don’t care to tread. Really, I am still so impressed with the story and the characters and the romance without sex, and and and…. This book just made me happy (aside from being sad about sad things at the end).

So, there’s a little super delayed fangirl reaction to one of my new favorite YA books.

Is there a book you read thinking you’d be disappointed, and were happily surprised? I’d love to hear about it!