Things I’ve Read Recently (92): Some Old Books aka I REALLY wanted to hit my goodreads reading goal

Wow, January kind of flew by, didn’t it? We need some actual content around here, so let’s talk about the books I read to desperately try to hit my goodreads goal in the last few days of 2019. (Can you say reading slump?)

If you’re new around here, Things I’ve Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn’t have enough to say for a full review, or just didn’t want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

1836882Charlotte the Starlet by Barbara Ware Holmes

Published: Goodreads says April 1st, 1989, but my copy has an 1988 copyright date so who knows. It was published by Harper Trophy.
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 120
Part of a series? There are other books featuring these characters, but the continuity doesn’t matter.
Got via: I think I bought it at a garage sale.

Summary (from goodreads): Charlotte Cheetham’s done it at last. She’s stopped telling tall tales and started writing a book. It’s called Fat Pat Flack, and it’s really gross. Everyone at school thinks it’s great – even Tina, who usually hates anything Charlotte does.

But being popular is confusing. Are Charlotte’s fans two-faced rats who want to take over her book, as her best friend, Annie, claims? Or is Annie just jealous? And what happens when Charlotte doesn’t write what her fans want to hear? Charlotte soon finds that even though she’s a star, she’s in as much trouble as ever!

Thoughts: Like not to be mean, but this book was really dull. It’s – have you ever seen that Arthur episode where Fern draws a mean comic strip of Francine and everyone gets really excited about it? It’s like that, but not as interesting. Ala Booklist apparently though this would be a good read for kids looking for somthing funny, and I honestly can’t see it. There’s nothing funny here.

Also, honestly, the fatmisic language just got super old, and the book’s illustrations are kind of ugly. There’s nothing appealing about them at all. This has not aged particularly well, and I do not care to keep it on my shelf, so I’ll be passing this one along.

402307._sy475_Please Remove Your Elbow From My Ear by Martyn Godfrey

Published: July 7th, 1993 by Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary… MG probably?
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 122 plus an about the author and some advertising for other books.
Part of a series? I don’t believe so.
Got via: Library reject.

Summary (from goodreads): Stormy Sprague is convinced he’s always in trouble because he just can’t think or act like everyone else. One minute he’s being pushed around; the next he’s in trouble with a teacher and serving time in detention with all the other “misfits”. Who would think the bunch they call “the dregs of the detention dungeon” would form a floor hockey team and have the nerve to compete against the unbeatable Screaming Eagles?

The challenge is one big joke as far as the Screaming Eagles are concerned. But these wiseguys underestimate Stormy and the Dregs who have their own game plan – for dealing with bullies, and for winning the trophy cup. And it’s all based on being just a bunch of nuts!

Thoughts: So this is a book about sports. I am not into sports very much at all. So this is not so much the book for me just on that aspect alone. If you like underdog sports stories, you might be more into that, but that kind of story just isn’t for me.

I will give it props for showing girls playing floor hockey, and having the teams be mixed by default, and no one making a big deal out of that. It’s just how the school is doing it, not something the girls have to fight for, and no one acts like girls can’t play sports or keep up with boys. There are girl characters who are way more into sports, and a lot better at them, than some of the boy characters, and that’s just treated as normal. The girls, for the most part, also do have personalities. Which, you know, doesn’t always happen in books written by men aimed more at boys, let’s be honest.

This also had some funny moments. I wasn’t crying from laughter, but I smiled a few times. This is also one of those weird 90s books where the characters are twelve and in seventh grade, but reads like they’re fifteen or sixteen. It’s an interesting thing that happened in the 80s and 90s before the boundaries of middle grade and young adult were more firmly defined.

Anyways, not the worst thing I’ve read but I don’t feel the need to keep this one. I did laugh at the dates inside though – my library used to stamp the due date on the inside cover of books, so this book was taken out October 1994, July 1995, and April 2005. There may have been an index card paperclipped to the first page at some point with other dates, but who took this book out in 2005? Was it me? It might have been me. I read a lot of books from our library in 2005.

Also I just found out Martyn Godfrey died in 2000, and I’m sad now. You were awesome, dude. I’m pouring a bag of barbecue chips out for you.

3582552._sy475_Could Dracula Live in Woodford? by Mary Howarth

Published: Sometime in 1983 by Kids Can Press
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 157 pages exactly
Part of a series? Not that I am aware of.
Got via: It is also a library reject.

Summary (from goodreads): When ten-year-old Jennie discovers that she can communicate with her neighbor’s dog, they join forces to spy on an elderly recluse suspected of being a vampire.

Thoughts: Why was this so much fun? This alternates between Jennie’s POV and Sam’s POV. Sam being the dog. Which honestly is kind of hilarious, but also fun – kind of like how Bunnicula is narrated from the dog’s POV, you know, if you’ve ever read that. You just can’t take this type of thing too seriously.

Woodford is a real place in Ontario, and it’s a very Canadian book. It’s really just cute and fun and honestly I’m going to keep this one XD I was surprisingly charmed by it. Honestly, yeah, it’s a little dated, but mostly in an amusing way (seventy-five cents a day! What a score!) and I liked it.

199ac54838c0c51592b6c6b5651444341587343Sophie Hits Six by Dick King-Smith

Published: Originally published in 1991, I think the edition I have came in 1995 from Candlewick.
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 127
Part of a series? This is book three of the Sophie series,
Got via: Library reject

Summary (from goodreads): Sophie, the small but determined would-be farmer of Sophie’s Snail and Sophie’s Tom, turns six on Christmas Day. With a new pet and a new best friend (who lives on a real farm) she’s well on her way to reaching her goal of becoming a farmer. Now, if she can just convince her parents that a puppy would be the perfect present…

Thoughts: This was adorable. It’s very British and pretty old-fashioned. It’s definitely set in the late 80s or early 90s (Princess Diana is mentioned and… well, alive) but there’s also minimal technology and Sophie’s school performs a nativity play. That is, to be fair, at least thirty years ago if not more. It’s just a much gentler setting in most ways.

Also I love Sophie. She’s just quietly stubborn and kind of hilarious at times. I liked how her parents didn’t cave to her every demand, but they do have their soft moments and care about what she wants. It’s a very balanced parenting style, which MG like this doesn’t always strike. I’d gladly put Sophie next to Ramona and Julie B. Jones on my “classic MG” list, especially for any kid who’s a big animal lover. Would recommend, would read more of these, and I am keeping this one.

Interesting round up this time! What have you all been reading? Anything weird?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (87)

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill Breaking the Spine.

39673190._sy475_Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller

Release date: February 4th, 2020

Summary (from goodreads): Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies.

The part where I talk: I really like the sound of this, and I know a lot of people who really like Miller’s work. The Prince and the Pauper is a really fun thing to use as a trope (see, The Princess Switch) and this just sounds really fun.

What are you all looking forward to reading this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Book Blogger Hop (53)

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books and is now hosted by Billy of Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question is: Do you have a reading challenge for 2020?

My answer: I do, in fact! I wrote all about it here. I’m doing the 50 Book Pledge again, which is now apparently called My Book Pledge, but I’m still putting 50 on it. You can… maybe find my account of that here, or just search Laina and you can find me that way.

I also am doing a Goodreads challenge, the FOLD 2020 reading challenge, and a brand new one to me, the #StartOnYourShelfathon. Check out my other post for more details on those!

For someone who’s really not into resolutions, I sure do like reading challenges. I feel like I do better now. Back in 2009ish when I first started blogging, I signed up for a ton and inevitably failed a ton. In 2009, I signed up for a Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, and read no books, signed up for a Chick Lit Challenge and read one, signed up for a Read Your Name Challenge and did actually complete it, a My Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge and read all of two books, though I read one on my list later, and a 100+ Reading Challenge which shockingly I did complete.

In 2010, I wanted to read 150 books (who are you, past me) and I got to 66. In 2011, I wanted to do 100 and got to 40. After that I quit for a bit. In recent years, I’ve been doing yearly challenges based on reading more diversely, and that works pretty well in challenging me without being too much. I think I’ve learned a better balance these days!

I really love talking challenges – what are you all doing this year?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Book Blogger Hop (52)

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books and is now hosted by Billy of Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question is: Do you have any New Year’s Blogging Resolutions?

My answer: I am really not a resolutions person. I kind of think the whole culture surrounding New Year’s resolutions can be kind of toxic, especially when it teams up with diet culture. That probably colours my view of the New Year’s Resolution thing – it’s such a giant trigger for diet companies to tell you that there’s something wrong with your body and you need to pay them to futilely try to change it even though that’s not how it works and the odds of successfully maintaining significant weight loss are basically zero.

In general, I just don’t think this kind of thing is sustainable. You make giant changes that make you kind of miserable but you ride the high of being A Good Person and then you crash in about a month. Unfuck Your Habitat kind of makes me anxious (a lot of their tips/guidelines just don’t work with how I live, like when to wash dishes, but that’s a me thing), but they had a really great Twitter thread about resolutions regarding cleaning/tidying that I really think can apply to a lot of things.

So, long post to say, I don’t have resolutions, but I do have plans for this year! As for what those are… you’ll have to wait and see 😉

How about you all? And don’t get me wrong, if the resolution thing works for you, great! It’s just heavily not my thing.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

 

2020 Reading Challenges (and 2019 Update) + #StartOnYourShelfathon

Let’s talk about last year first!

I did a couple of challenges in 2019. The first one was the Fold 2019 Reading Challenge.

fold 2019

And here’s what I read.

January, February and March

April, May, June

July, August, September

And then here’s where I kind of fell down. So, first of all, I forgot to order books from the library. So by the time they got here, it was like… mid-December. And then I had the October one, and it’s “a book by an African writer”. And I realized I’d ordered a book by a white African author and realized, you know. That was perhaps Missing The Point and rather tone-deaf.

Since clearly I could do much better, I ordered a different book… but by then it was like December 20th, and none of my holds came in before the library closed for Christmas, and it’s not opening again til this week. So I could read one of the four books I had left, but that seemed a bit pointless.

So! Since I still have holds on those, I’ll probably just read them anyways and update… let’s be real, probably December 2020 😛 I’m being flexible. I’m trying to be more flexible. Anyways, I’ll be doing the challenge again in 2020, but they haven’t updated their website yet, so I don’t have much on that one yet.

I also said I was doing Beat the Backlist, but I didn’t do very well on that. Here’s what I did read:

  1. The Kind of Friends We Used to Be by Frances O’Roark Dowell
  2. Kimchi & Calamari by Rose Kent
  3. Flunked by Jen Calonita
  4. Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
  5. Killing Britney by Sean Olin
  6. The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
  7. Obsessed (aka The Crush and The Crush II) by Jo Gibson
  8. Charlotte the Starlet by Barbara Ware Holmes
  9. Could Dracula Live in Woodford? by Mary Howarth
  10. Please Remove Your Elbow From My Ear by Martyn Godfrey
  11. Sophie Hits Six by Dick King-Smith
  12. Voices by Damien Graves
  13. Blood and Sand -//-
  14. Night of the Pet Zombies by A. G. Cascone
  15. Welcome to the Terror-Go-Round -//-

I also continued the “throw all the books I read in a box in my closet for a year” thing, so pictures!

GEDC3312 (2)

Books on the left are books I read and I’m keeping, and books on the right are ones I read and I’m giving away.

GEDC3315 (2)

And these are the books that I decided not to read and to give away for whatever reason, either just admitting I was never going to read them, or because I tried them and wasn’t into them.

Goodreads:

goodreads goal

Like I said, I’m setting my goal to 52 books this year!

50 Book Challenge has not updated yet!

So, I did a decent job at the Beat the Backlist challenge, but I think a lot of it is that it’s not exactly what I want from my challenge in this particular area. Sooooo when I saw this?

startonyourshelfathon banner

This is *specifically* a challenge to read the books you own, and that’s exactly what I wanted! Also, it started on my birthday, so clearly it’s meant to be. All the graphics for this challenge are so cute, too.

I don’t normally make solid goals within this, but maybe I should. I think I’ll say… since blue stars are for finishing a goal, maybe I’ll say for every 5 books I do, I’ll get one of those? That seems reasonable.

As for a TBR list. Uh. Mine is this:

GEDC3323 (2)

It’s a French fry box with… stuff. A lot of stuff.

So I think that’s all the post for now! The 2020 FOLD Challenge still hasn’t posted so I can’t really do much there, but this is where I’m sitting now. I think that’s all the info we need right now. You get an idea of things!

That’s it for me for today. What are your goals? Or are you just winging it this year?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

2019 Wrap Post + How is it 2020 already?

Well, it’s 2019 for a few more hours and time still doesn’t feel real! Let’s talk about the year.

I posted 144 posts this year, which is a very solid number. And I hope you all liked those posts! I continue to enjoy doing Can’t Wait Wednesday and Book Blogger Hop, though I really need to get better at commenting on other peoples’ posts of those.

In March, I switched from Blogger to WordPress! It was something I’d been thinking about for a while, and I’m really glad I finally made the move. It works a lot better for me!

We also launched the Queer Summer Reading blog, which will return in summer 2020 when QSR itself returns, but you can read all the great content we have there now, of course!

One of the reasons that I’m glad I switched to WordPress is I really like how adding images to posts works on it, and for #LainaReadsAnne, that’s important! And #LainaReadsAnne will return very shortly! It got a little away from me, but I have not forgotten! I’ve got a bit of catching up to do on other projects, and then we’ll be back!

Some of my other favourite posts this year were my Queer MG Books Coming Out in 2020 That I’m Excited About post, this Things I’ve Read Recently post about trashy books I’d read, and my podcast post.

And something really amazing – in September, the (Other) F Word was published, and I might have mentioned a time or two that I have an essay in it?

The Other F Word_Cover

This is just one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. So I’m not gonna stop talking about this ever XD

Now, books I read. I read 61, which was just over my goal, but was seriously a struggle. I kind of hit a slump this year. Still going to link to my Goodreads Year In Books because I think they look neat. Oh, and it’s pie chart time, isn’t it?

20200101020114

Pretty colours this year, if I do say so myself! Not my most mixed-up year, but not bad! For fun, let’s compare other years:

4 years (2015-2018)

(Click to enlarge.)

The comics continue to get a larger wedge each year!

Goals time – it’s not up yet, but I decided to make my 2020 Goodreads goal by 52 books. A book a week is manageable and since I do the 50 Book Pledge, it fits in well with that. I think I’m going to do a seperate reading challenge post talking about everything I want to do reading-wise this year because this post is getting quite long, so stay tuned for that.

I mainly want to be easier on myself when it comes to reading so much so I can work on creative projects more. I have a lot of goals in those areas, and I’ve missed doing… like, anything. Frankly, 2019 has been a little rough in the mental health department. I’m sure that was true of many people.

So, here’s hoping the new decade brings better times. We’ll be cautiously optimistic!

Happy New Year or something!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday Update (9)

This is a series where I look at my old Waiting on Wednesday posts and talk about if I actually ever did read the book, if I liked it if I did, and if I haven’t, would I or not. That kind of thing. I think it’s an interesting idea, and I hope you do, too.

I did not feel like writing a blog post on Boxing Day to have up today, and I generally don’t get a lot of book presents (plus I’m trying not really to bring in books til I read more of what I already own) sooooo I decided to skip the Book Blogger Hop this week and do one of these!

WoWed April 7th, 2010:

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin

Release date: August 26th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): All new girl Raye Archer wants is a way into the in crowd, so when ice-queen Ella Parker picks her to get back at her ex, the gorgeous Julian Kilgarry, Raye is more than game. Even if it means creating a fake Facebook identity so she can learn enough about Julian to sabotage him. It’s a fun and dangerous thrill at first, but Raye hadn’t counted on falling for Julian herself-and igniting Ella’s rage.

As Raye works to reconcile the temptress Elizabeth with her real-life self, Ella serves up her own revenge, creating an online smear campaign of nasty rumors and trashy photographs. Suddenly notorious, Raye has to find a way out of the web of deceit that she’s helped to build, and back to the relationships that matter.

Update: Hey, I read this one! It was sent to me for review consideration, and I did just that. How about that. I’m not linking it, because it’s really old and probably embarassing. I remember liking it at the time.

WoWed April 14th, 2010:

Dark Water by Laura McNeal

Release date: September 14th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt and her mother live in Fallbrook, California, where it’s sunny 340 days of the year, and where her uncle owns a grove of 900 avocado trees. Uncle Hoyt hires migrant workers regularly, but Pearl doesn’t pay much attention to them . . . until Amiel. From the moment she sees him, Pearl is drawn to this boy who keeps to himself, fears being caught by la migra, and is mysteriously unable to talk. And after coming across Amiel’s makeshift hut near Agua Prieta Creek, Pearl falls into a precarious friendship and a forbidden romance.

Then the wildfires strike. Fallbrook, the town of marigolds and palms, blood oranges and sweet limes is threatened by the Agua Prieta fire, and a mandatory evacuation order is issued. But Pearl knows that Amiel is in the direct path of the fire, with no one to warn him, no way to get out. Slipping away from safety and her family, Pearl moves toward the dark creek, where the smoke has become air, the air smoke.

Update: I didn’t read this one and I never heard much about it, but apparently it won some awards, so good for it.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Release date: September 7th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Update: Never had this one make it to me, but I do have a postcard or a bookmark of it, something like that. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and still one of my favourites.

WoWed April 28th, 2010:

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Release date: September 21st, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Update: I never got to this one, but I do really like the sound of it, and I’d be interested in it if I came across it.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Release date: October 12th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Update: Similar story. This does sound quite neat.

WoWed May 5th, 2010:

StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Release date: October 1st, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so.

Accepted as a lady’s maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold–as well as plenty of jewels for the taking.

But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren’t as apolitical as she thought… that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion.

Update: This seems kind of interesting. Honestly I think I would read this one if I came across it, gladly. That sounds like a neat premise. And I still like the MC’s name. It got a new cover since I WoWed it, and I like this one better, too.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Release date: October 26th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): “I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares.

But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Update: I no longer read David Levithan due to my distaste with how the fat character in Every Day was treated.

WoW May 12th, 2010:

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Release date: October 19th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers.

But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known.

By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Update: I actually own this. I traded an extra copy of a Harry Potter book I owned for an ARC of it. Back before it came out. Have I read it? Nope.

I’m awful *shrugs*

Inconvenient by Margie Gelbwasser

Released: November 8th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Welcome to Glenfair, New Jersey’s Little Moscow, where fifteen-year-old Alyssa Bondar lives with her Russian-born, Jewish parents. In their culture, drinking is as traditional as blinchiki and piroshkis. So when her mom starts having bad days, it seems like Alyssa’s the only one who notices-or cares.

Alyssa would love to focus on regular stuff like her first kiss with Keith, her cute track team partner-or simply come home without dread of what she might find. But someone has to clean up her mom’s mess. Her dad is steeped in work, the evening news, and denial. Her best friend Lana is busy-shamelessly vying for a place with the popular crowd who ridicule their Russian heritage.

It’s up to Alyssa to save her mom-and her family. But who will be there to catch Alyssa when her mom’s next fall off the wagon drags her down, too?

Update: Eh, I’m not that drawn in by this one. It doesn’t sound awful or anything, but it’s just not calling my name.

WoWed May 19th, 2010:

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Release date: November 2nd, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): On her twelfth birthday, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to her own Pegasus, Ebon. For a thousand years humans and pegasi have lived in peace, relying on human magicians and pegasi shamans to converse.

But close friends Sylvi and Ebon can talk. As their bond strengthens, can their friendship threaten to destroy the peace between their nations?

Update: I’ve always been a big Robin McKinley fan, and I’ve always enjoyed her writing, but I never got around to reading this one, honestly.

Nowadays I just don’t read a lot of this type of fantasy unless it’s queer, so I probably won’t seek this one out any time soon, but I wouldn’t pass it up at a yard sale or anything.

Only one out of ten this go around. But one I do own!

Do y’all find these interesting? I think they are, especially as we go into 2020 – it’s been almost ten years since I wrote about some of these!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (86)

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill Breaking the Spine.

I’m going to post this a day early since tomorrow’s Christmas. So to make up for that, let’s talk about two books today, that both have similar themes but one is YA and one is MG!

YA book first:

45239572Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

Release date: January 21st, 2020

Summary (from goodreads): Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed himself up for a Purity Pledge. His best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe anyone is worth this long of a long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl.

And that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word, but with other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move now. However, with all his plotting and scheming, Del never really stops to think: What does Kiera want? No matter, though—once he gets the girl, he’s sure all will sort itself out. Right?

The part where I talk: I think it’s a really import thing that this author is doing writing a book that is, likely, aimed mostly at teenaged boys. We spend a lot of time talking about rape culture with teenaged girls, as a culture, and what they’re supposed to do to avoid having something bad happen to them, and not enough time talking about it from the other side of things.

And especially because this is by an author who as far as I know identifies as male. It’s a really important thing, I think, for young boys to see men confronting this kind of toxic masculinity.

And now the MG book!

40985944._sy475_That’s What Real Friends Do by Cathleen Barnhart

Release date: March 3rd, 2020

Summary (from goodreads): Samantha Goldstein and David Fisher have been friends ever since they met on their town’s Little League baseball team. But when a new kid named Luke starts hanging out with them, what was a comfortable pair becomes an awkward trio.

Luke’s comments make Sammie feel uncomfortable—but all David sees is how easily Luke flirts with Sammie, and so David decides to finally make a move on the friend he’s always had a crush on.

Soon things go all wrong and too far, and Sammie and David are both left feeling hurt, confused, and unsure of themselves, without anyone to talk to about what happened.

As rumors start flying around the school, David must try to make things right (if he can) and Sammie must learn to speak up about what’s been done to her.

The part where I talk: In my opinion, there is not a topic that YA address that MG can’t or doesn’t also address. It’s done differently, sure, but I honestly don’t think anything is truly off-limits in MG. It’s just about how it’s handled.

Case in points, I think these books truly are addressing something very similar, and I think seeing how that’s presented for the different age groups could be very interesting. I also think it’s a neat thing that this apparently is told in alternating POVs – I think that’s a good idea for an MG book on this topic.

So that’s my post!

Boy, this was a bit of a depressing post for Christmas Eve. Um, here’s a picture of a dog in a Santa hat to make us all feel a little better.

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What are you all looking forward to reading? Are there any books you want to be given for your next gift-giving occasion? Let me know!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Reading Challenge Check-In: July to September

This year, I am doing the Fold’s annual reading challenge and I decided to do my check-ins every three months. Every month is a lot, and I didn’t want quite that much pressure.

Yeah, we’re in December and just catching up so. Clearly I wasn’t wrong.

July’s challenge was to read a play by Canadian playwright from a marginalized community.

23338772Age of Minority by Jordan Tannahill

Published: October 2013 by Playwrights Canada
Genre: Play
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 120 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? It’s a play
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Based on a true story, Get Yourself Home Skyler James follows the harrowing journey of a young lesbian who defects from the army when she is outed by fellow soldiers. Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes chronicles the last hour of Peter Fechter’s life, a teenager in East Berlin shot while attempting to cross the Berlin Wall in 1962 with his companion. Finally, the award-winning rihannaboi95 centers around a Toronto teen whose world comes crashing in when YouTube videos of him dancing to songs by his favourite pop heroine go viral. Together these solo plays explore the lives of three queer youth and their resilience in the face of violence and intolerance.

The part where I talk: I think plays just aren’t for me. Will work on a review for this.

August’s challenge was to read a book by an East Coast Canadian, and I read:

1137209The Gravesavers by Sheree Fitch

Published: May 10th, 2005 by Doubleday Canada
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: 336 pages
Page Count: 303 plus the author’s note and whatnot.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: The library.

Summary (from goodreads): In the wake of a family tragedy, twelve-year-old Minn Hotchkiss is sent to spend the summer with her sour grandmother in the tiny seaside town of Boulder Basin, Nova Scotia. Almost as soon as she arrives, Minn discovers the skull of a human child on the beach. She is swiftly caught up in a mystery that reaches back more than a century, to the aftermath of the most tragic shipwreck in Maritime history before the Titanic.

Over the course of this extraordinary summer, Minn will discover romance with a boy who turns out to be much more than he seems, and learn that the grandmother she resented is more curious, dedicated, and surprising than she had ever guessed. She might even meet a world-famous rock star!

By summer’s end, Minn will solve a ghostly mystery and, most importantly, finally be able to give up the terrible secret she has kept locked in her heart.

The part where I talk: This was a bit of an odd one. Will also talk about it in a blog post soon.

September’s challenge was to read a young adult novel by a writer of colour, and I read:

38097294The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

Published: August 20th, 2019 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 336
Part of a series? I do not think so.
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.

The part where I talk: I really liked this! You get the review theme here.

Getting closer to caught up!

Peace and cookies,
Laina