Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Sleeper & the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

The Sleeper & the Spindle

Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Year: 2013
Genre: Graphic Novel/ Fairytale Retelling
Age: YA 16+
This is not the classic fairytale that you know...

Our story begins with three dwarfs. They are traveling below the mountain to Dorimar to trade a beautiful ruby for the finest silk they can buy. When they get to the village of Giff they are told they can't complete their journey because a plague has fallen over the capital. A wicked enchantress has cursed the princess to prick her finger & die. But a good fairy made it so she would fall into a magical sleep instead. All those in the castle will sleep as well, not changing or aging until the princess awakens. Over time a great wall of roses grows around the castle. Many brave knights have traveled from far off lands to try & get through the wall to break the spell on the princess.

Now the magical sleep has traveled & people beyond the castle in the village are falling asleep as well. The dwarfs do not fall asleep because they are magical beings. When they arrive home they enlist the help of their queen to go with them & save the princess, the castle, & the villages beyond before it's too late.

They travel through the Forest of Acaire, before they reach the castle protected by thick brambles they go through a town full of sleeping people. The only things that do not sleep during this plague are spiders. The spiders have covered everything & everyone in thick sticky webs. The people in the town surprisingly start sleepwalking, trying to halt the queen & dwarfs from completing their journey. This means they must hurry.

They make it through the brambles by way of fire & blade. Racing up the tower they find the sleeping princess & a frail old woman. The queen knows what she has to do to break the curse as she presses her lips to the princess's own. The princess wakes up but the sleepwalkers do not halt. The queen knows that something must be wrong.

The sleeping young woman is actually the evil enchantress & she can control the sleepwalkers. The old woman was once a beautiful princess who had her life taken from her. In order to wake the sleeping people they both must give their lives to the spindle.

Once the deed is done the queen & the dwarfs head west into the night & their next adventure in this new land...
Likes: I knew this story was going to have Snow White & Sleeping Beauty kissing each other but I didn't think there would be that twist at the end with the princess & the enchantress.

In true Neil Gaiman style this story was a little inappropriate in places, kinda dark, & had a twist.

The pictures are BEAUTIFUL in this story!

This book is really short, less than 100 pages. I was about to read it in about 30 minutes.

This book also counts towards my challenge for a book with a white cover.

Dislikes: -


Best Juv Stand Alone Books

I don't read very many JUV books although I'm hoping to read more this year. But out of the ones I've read this is my top 10 list of the best JUV standalone books. These are in no particular order. Most of these books I read before I started my blog so I will include the Goodreads link as well as my review if it's available. 

 James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
(I'm pretty sure I've read every book that Roald Dahl has written & I love them all. This is one of my favorites.)

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
(A coworker of mine recently read this book & it got me remembering when I read it in high school. Even though it's a sad story it's a great book) 

 Frindle by Andrew Clements
(I read this book when I was a school librarian because it was a requirement for one of my 3rd grade classes. It was funny & light hearted which you need sometimes, even as an adult.)

 Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
( I think I had just started my blog or read this right before. I loved Holes as a kid & so I was really happy to see another book by this author.)

 Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
(I'm a sucker for a good fairytale retelling. I have also bought this author's other books but haven;t read them yet.)

 The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale
(This was a book I read for my 2015 book challenge this & I enjoyed it. I would have read it just before I started my blog or shortly after.)

 Matilda by Roald Dahl
My review is here. 

 Caroline by Neil Gaiman
(I have read this book & watched the movie several times. I enjoy both!)

 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
(This is another classic that my school kids had to read once so I decided to read it too.)

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
(I read this book as a kid & really enjoyed it. I was very happy to see it turned into a super cute movie.)

Best YA Stand Alone Books

This is a list of the top 10 YA standalone books that I've read. I read mostly/all YA so there is plenty of books that could be on this list. These are in no particular order. Some of them I have done reviews on & some of them I have read in the past so I will link my review if you are interested & the Goodreads link for the book as well. 

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell 
My review is here.

 Soundless by Richelle Mead
(I have read Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series & her book The Glittering Court. All the books I've read so far I have really liked)

 The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
( I have read almost all of Sarah Dessen's books & I would recommend all of them to you. But this one was the first one I ever read & it's still my favorite)

 The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
(I have read all of the books by this author & I have loved them all. I picked this one because it was very trippy & the concept is out of this world...literally)
My review is here.

 Heartless by Marissa Meyer
(I have read almost all the books this author has written as well & I really enjoyed her Lunar Chronicles series. This book in particular was GREAT! I read it in one sitting)
My review is here.

 These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly 
My review is here.

 Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
My review is here.

 The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
(The only other books I have read by this author are The Spiderwick Chronicles. I enjoyed all of those as well as this book)
My review is here.

 Sweet by Emmy Laybourne 
(I originally heard about this book at a conference I went to & it was a pretty crazy story but good overall.)
My review is here.

 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
(This is one of my all time favorite books! I've read it many times & enjoyed it each time. I also think the movie is pretty good.)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Year: 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA16+
This review will contain spoilers. If you have not read the book, the series, or do not wish to see spoilers do not read this review.
Let me preface this review by saying that I LOVE this series but...I hate Chaol Westfall...or I did when I started this book. I dislike his character so much that I almost didn't read this book. But now that it's over I'm very glad I did & I have warmed to him a little bit.

Also please be gentle if a name is spelled wrong in this review. I do my best to make sure names & places etc are correct but there are a lot of difficult names in this series. 

If you'd like to read the other reviews I've done with this series (that also contain spoilers) I will link them below:
Heir of Fire
The Assassin's Blade
Empire of Storms
Our story begins on a ship that is sailing to the southern continent with the new Hand of the King, Chaol Westfall, he as promoted from being Captain of the Royal Guard after the events that took place in Queen of Shadows that made Dorian Havillard the new king. Chaol is traveling with the new Captain of the Royal Guard, Nesryn Faliq.

They are going to Antica to seek out help in the upcoming war against the Valg & also to find healing at the Torre Cesme.

The southern continent is ruled by the Khagan & his 6 children. This land was settled hundreds of years ago after civil war tore the country apart. Now the Khagan rules & keeps the peace. He alone can decide who becomes the next ruler, it is not decided by birth order as is tradition. Antica is where Nesryn's family is from & some members still live there. It is a city rich with not only gold but culture, food, & history.

High above the city is the magnificent Torre Cesme. People from all over the world travel there to seek help from it's wise healers.Chaol has come to do just that. After the events that unfolded in Rifthold he has been left paralyzed from the waist down. He's hoping to be healed & leave with the help of the Khagan & his armies, as well as some of the legions his children oversee.

Nesryn & Chaol had a brief romance before the war began & they are in a strange place in their relationship when they arrive. Chaol's attentions are distracted by the young & beautiful Yrene Towers, his healer. Yrene is a face we should remember from The Assassin's Blade, Aelin saved her from the horrors of working in a bar in a rundown, seaport town called Innish. Because of Aelin,Yrene was able to travel to Antica & become the healer she is today. Yrene has the gift of magic bestowed on her by the Goddess of Healing, Silba, she is also set to become the next Healer on High in the Torre. She uses her magic to not only heal Chaol but it may be the key to saving the Valg from the darkness inside them.

Meanwhile Nesryn has her eyes on the handsome Prince Sartaq. He is the leader of the ruk riders, known as the rukhin. While Chaol is being healed Nesryn decides to go on an adventure of her own to learn more about what Sartaq has to offer & look for answers on how to defeat the Valg. She does just that while also bonding with the prince from the back of a ruk as they search abandoned Fae watch  towers in the land of the kharankui or stygian spiders. It turns out that the spiders give them information that is vital to their success in the coming war.

Back in Antica there have been attacks at the Torre & even in the palace itself that lead Chaol to believe there is Valg that have followed Nesryn & him there. They seem to be after Yrene because of her tremendous power. Everyone must come together to save Antica before it suffers the same fate as Rifthold. One child of the Khagan has already died at the hands of the person being invaded by the Valg, how many more will die before they discover who it is among them?

They complete their task & secure an army or men, ships, & the rukhin to help Aelin win the war. Some reports have come to them across the sea but they do not have all the information that we learned in Empire of Storms.

Likes: I almost didn't read this book because I really strongly dislike Chaol. Ever since Heir of Fire when he figured out the truth but didn't tell Aelin. I was hoping his story would end in Rifthold when the glass castle shattered & he was injured. Now after reading this book I am liking him a little bit more because he plays a big part in them winning the war.

In true Maas fashion there is several love stories entwined in the magic of the story. There was also some steamy scenes towards the end but nothing like in Empire of Storms.

We got to learn more about the history of the country as well as stories from the past. There was also more characters introduced & lots of action along the way!

There was a very important piece of info given by the spiders that changes everything.

Dislikes: Chaol is healed about halfway through the book. It was a relief because I wasn't sure it was going to happen. But the twist at the end leaves him injured again which is really crappy. Plus it introduces a whole new level of drama surrounding his new love interest & their fates. I think that the story could have ended similarly & the events played out the same with him just being healed in the first place. So that means the twist at the end must have some significance to the final story.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

26 Books to Read in 2018 (Starter List)

I've started looking at my new 2018 book challenge list & these are the books I'm planning on reading at this time. I will update the list as I figure out the others that I'm reading. 

2. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
5. Thunderstruck by Eric Larson
6. Artemis by Andy Weir
7. Little House in the Big Woods
8. Ready Player One
9. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (This might end up being a different book. It just depends on what my library gets first) 
15. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
17. The 100 by Kass Morgan
19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
20. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
23. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
24. Me Before You by JoJo Moyers
26. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Stay tuned for more info later!

26 Books to Read in 2017 (Final List)

Every year since I moved to the mountain I've participated in a reading challenge group on Facebook. It was started by a friend of mine & I've kept at it the past few years & I'm going to continue it in the next year. I've added a link to the books on Goodreads & I've also linked my review if you'd like to see that as well.  Here is my final list for the 26 Books to Read in 2017 challenge. 

1. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
My review is here.

2. The BFG by Roald Dahl
My review is here.

3. As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
My review is here.

5. A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
My review is here.

6. Beyond the Fence by Simon Tofield
***I never reviewed this book but I LOVE Simon's Cat***

7. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
My review is here.

8. The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli
My review is here.

10. Bunnicula by James Howe
My review is here.

11. Matilda by Roald Dahl
My review is here.

12. I Am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton
My review is here.

13. Found by S.A. Bodeen
My review is here.

14. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
My review is here.

15. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
My review is here.

16. Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
My review is here.

17. Atlantia by Ally Condie
My review is here.

18. Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
My review is here.

19. Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull
My review is here.

20. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
My review is here.

22. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
My review is here.

23. Fantastic Beasts by J.K. Rowling
My review is here.

24. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
My review is here.

25. I Work at a Public Library By Gina Sheridan
My review is here.

#'s I didn't finish: 4, 9, 21, & 26

Monday, January 1, 2018

Reading Resolutions 2018

I'm not a huge fan of making new years resolutions,I never have been. Generally you always pick something that is really out of your reach then you're disappointed that you didn't completely some big amazing goal that was never going to happen in the first place. That being said I do have some things that I'd like to do in 2018 that will make me a better Librarian, Blogger, & person...I hope! So here are my Reading Resolutions of 2018.

1. Read more! 
To me this one is very obvious. In 2016 I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal to 50 books & I surpassed it. So in 2017 I set it to 60 & only read 36 books. So this year I'm hoping to read 40 & maybe more. If I hit 40 that's about 3 a month which is a good goal for me.

2. Don't check out so many books
This is a 2 part goal along with my #3. Working in a library is hard & dangerous for an avid reader like me. Everyday you see hundreds of books & out of those about half you either have read or desperately want to read. Unfortunately there isn't enough time in one day. 

3. And then don't even read them!
Part 2 to the above resolution. Not only am I checking out a couple dozen books a month, I'm not even reading them...I'm just looking at them & then returning them. Don't get me wrong I really want to read them but on top of work, my house, etc there just isn't enough time. So I pine away for them wanting to get into their pages but never getting there. 

4. Blog new stuff
I'm hoping to blog more in 2018 & do more than reviews. I've got some new ideas so stay tuned for those. 

5. Stick to &/or complete my TBR's
This past year I would put 10 books on my monthly I was ever gonna read all that. See what I mean about goals, they must be attainable! So this year I'm thinking about sticking to 3 books on my TBR & if I finish them then great but if I read more that's gonna be a great surprise for me & you.

6. Try new genre's
As you can probably tell if you've been following me for a little bit I pretty much only read YA books. And as of late I have been reading mostly/all fantasy in whatever form. That is partially due to the fact that YA literature is migrating towards that & out of its dystopian phase. But with the new book club I'm starting at the library I will be reading different stuff each month. Who knows maybe I'll even like it!

7. Read more ebooks
I recently discovered that my library has added like 300 new YA books that I have been wanting to read to YEARS to it's online ebook server. So I added a bunch to my wishlist & I'm gonna try & get through them while they are available for FREE with my library card. If you have a library card you should see if your library offers something similar. My library uses the Cloud Library previously know as 3M. 

8. Get new bookshelf & condense (hopefully)
In my house I have 3 bookcases...3...I'm hoping to cleanse my life & condense that down to one bigger shelf & get rid of the other 3 small ones. Most of the books I have I have had for years from working in libraries & buying used books. Wish me luck!