Monday, October 26, 2015

Currently Reading 10/26/15

go to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for the roundups!


Thistle and Thyme: Tales & Legends from Scotland by Sorche Nic Leodhas - The stories are dated, certainly (does EVERY story have to end in a wedding?) but they actually hold up better than I would have expected considering the publication date (1962 for my edition) and the fact that the tales are much much older than that.  It's a delightful book, and Leodhas writes in such a way that you feel as if you can actually hear a Scottish lad or lass telling the story to you.  Great fun with some stellar Evaline Ness (my favorite artist!) illustrations.  Easily one of my favorite collections of short stories for children and probably my favorite Newbery book from the 60s that was not written by Lloyd Alexander. ****

Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee - This one didn't work for me at all.  It's so twee and predictable, with the talking bugs and the talking animals, and the "omg they just won't let me be myself!" and the unexpected friendships, and the "We were mean to you but our lives are boring without you!"  It seems oddly infantilized, as if the audience is children much too young to actually read the text or grasp the, at times, quite serious themes.  It wavers between saccharine and oddly depressing.  So, basically, not my thing - although it's gotten something like 4 starred reviews so clearly I'm in the minority here, but nope.  Not for me.  The illustrations are GORGEOUS though. **

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee - Took me a while to rate this one as it takes my favorite novel in a direction I would have never taken it.  Ultimately, though, this is a fascinating reimagining/alternative history of a familiar, but never boring story.  My favorite aspect is how ALL the characters seem to be, at one point or another, the villain.  Maybe too many crazy- random-happenstances in the plot, but it's compulsively readable and I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next. ****1/2

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord - this one took me completely by surprise.  I didn't care for it at first- seemed like any other YA overcoming grief/ finding yourself romance story but it's a YA overcoming grief/ finding yourself romance story as it SHOULD be done and yet so rarely is.  The writing struck me as awkward at first, until I realized it sounded EXACTLY how a girl like the narrator Paige (a very smart wannabe writer and grammar queen) would write (sentences maybe just a little bit too flowery, throwing in four syllable words when a two syllable one would do).  It's maybe too nice, there is conflict but it's fairly muted for the most part with little doubt it will be ultimately resolved - and the friendships are so lovely but probably unnaturally so, but sweet books have a place too, especially when they're as well-written as this. ****1/2

Railsea by China Mieville - this book is amazing.  I'm not sure I loved reading it, or would ever call it one of my favorites, but it's such an awe-inspiring accomplishment of writing I can't not give it 5 stars.  It starts out as a sort of YA dystopian version of Moby Dick (with trains) and ends up a sort of YA fantasy version of Mad Max (with trains) and the places it goes in between are frightening and brilliant.  Just the basic usage of words and construction of sentences are sights to behold.  Phenomenal.  *****

A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder - Quite a sweet little story of sisterly devotion - the best part is seeing how the two points of view come together in the end (in a way I wasn't expecting until shortly before it happened).  It's slight, but well-done (and, I think, my favorite cover of the year).  ****

Half of these are audiobooks that I checked out electronically but couldn't finish before they were due  (with holds so no renewals) and so had to start another one...I'm in the middle of something like 5 audiobooks right now :-(

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
We are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
**REREAD** Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
 Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes



Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee
Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness


Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle


  1. The renewals issue with the audiobooks drives me bonkers! I always forget to renew my audiobooks, and then I have to re-download the entire books again! And don't even get me started on the holds. Haha. I am glad that someone else runs into the same issues as me. My library doesn't have a lot of audiobooks on their subscription. After I get through two more, I might cave and get audible.

  2. I had considered reading Firefly Hollow, but some of the reviews I read also said it was predictable. I decided to skip it and you've confirmed my decision. I just loved Circus Mirandus. It was one of the best books I've read lately. I hope you get to finish reading it.

  3. Thanks for sharing such varied titles. I will definitely look for Railsea, and need to eventually read that new Patrick Ness. I do love his work. Happy Reading this spooky week!

  4. Wow! A lot of good books. What do you think of Red Queen so far? I finished it a few weeks ago and am looking forward to the sequel.

  5. You have a lot of good books here. I enjoyed This Monstrous Thing and Red Queen. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  6. Wow! so many interesting reads. Orbiting Jupiter is on my list of books to read. I've added Railsea based on your review here. I love those odd ball well written stories. I have no idea how you can manage so many audiobooks at one time. I can only start one and then finish it before I go on to the next. (if I am really into it, I have ear buds in all the time unless I have to actually interact with real people)

  7. I love the cover of The Nearer Moon. Makes me want to get it. I adored Circus Mirandus. I can relate to the audiobook thing. We can only check our out for 2 weeks and that simply isn't long enough for most of them since I don't have a super long commute. I have had that happen a few times. Bummer.

  8. I just finished reading The Rest of Us Just Live Here - probably not one of Patrick Ness' best, but still well worth the read. I was fascinated by your enthused review of China Mieville's novel - I think I have a collection of his titles here at home, that I haven't even started reading yet. The book cover of Serafina looks gorgeous.


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