Love, Lydia - Notes from a geeky, plus sized artist.: YA
Showing posts with label YA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label YA. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 - My Year in Books

Hi friends,

Today I was thinking I'd write a couple book reviews for you all, but I realized it's been a while since I looked at my reading challenge for 2015.  Last January I challenged myself to read a book every week, 52 in all.  Along the way I also started working on an overlapping list of 52 specific kinds of books as shown further down in this post.  And the results are in:

2015 Reading Challenge!

Books Read:

(Click any link in the list to see my review!)
  1. Fables Volume 19 Snow White
  2. Fables Volume 20 Camelot
  3. Fables Volume 21 Happily Ever After
  4. Fables Volume 22 Farewell
  5. The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 3
  6. Wren's War
  7. Wren's Quest
  8. Ms Marvel Volume 3
  9. Hexomancy
  10. Wayward Volume 1
  11. Ghosted Volume 1
  12. Figment Volume 1
  13. A Brides Story Volume 6
  14. Dead New World
  15. The Torment of Rachel Ames
  16. Alice in No-Man's-Land
  17. Top 12 Places to Visit in Texas
  18. Battling Boy: The Rise of Aurora West
  19. The Master of Formalities
  20. The Death and Life of Mal Evans
  21. Spell or High Water
  22. Off to Be The Wizard
  23. Princess Ugg Volume 1
  24. A Walk in The Woods
  25. Velvet Volume 1
  26. The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 2
  27. Lumberjanes Volume 1
  28. Bride of the Water God Volume 2
  29. Bride of the Water God Volume 1
  30. The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 1
  31. Avengers & X-Men - Axis
  32. Secret Wars
  33. The Two Princesses of Bamarre
  34. Wild Magic
  35. Wolf Speaker
  36. Emperor Mage
  37. Wren to the Rescue
  38. Captain Marvel Volume 3
  39. Captain Marvel Volume 2
  40. Captain Marvel Volume 1
  41. Ms Marvel Volume 2
  42. Batgirl Volume 1
  43. Fuse
  44. Burn
  45. Gifts of the Blood
  46. The Swap
  47. Cipher
  48. Waistcoats and Weaponry
  49. Manifest Destiny Volume 1
  50. Amulet Volume 2
  51. Amulet Volume 1
  52. Thor Goddess of Thunder Volume 1
  53. The Sculptor
  54. Rat Queens Volume 2
  55. Rat Queens Volume 1
  56. Celebromancy
  57. Geekomancy
  58. The Long Mars
  59. The Long War
  60. The Reluctant Midwife
  61. Pride and Prejudice
  62. Price and Prejudice and Zombies
  63. The Weekend Homesteader
  64. Call the Nurse
  65. Paradise Lot
  66. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  67. Injustice Gods Among Us Volume 2
  68. Injustice Gods Among Us Volume 1
  69. Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachians Mountains and Piedmont
  70. Midnight in Austenland
  71. The Permaculture Handbook
  72. Unlocked
  73. Lock In
  74. Ms Marvel Volume 1
  75. Landscaping with Fruit
  76. The Johnstown Flood
I think this is the full list, I may be a missing a couple more recent books, but this accounts for everything I can remember from a good go of looking at my records.  76 is better than I thought I'd do, so I'm quite happy with how my challenge went.  And I'm only a tiny bit surprised that 35 of the titles are comics, manga, or graphic novels!  Thanks to Fight or Flight Comics for that.  They opened almost a year ago and Bryan and I have found our perfect local comic book store in them!

As for the more complex challenge here's the worksheet all filled out:

I didn't want to double count anything, though I did read some books that would count under more than one of the headings in the checklist.  And I may have even missed something that might count, but I spent a good half hour trying to figure out what I read that could be added, and that's plenty!  I feel pretty good about all I ended up reading and can't wait to see what I read this year.  I'm not following any particular challenge, but I'm excited to read things I've been meaning to for a long time or have been recommended multiple times.  So I've started off the year with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and have many more to come.  I'll try to get in a good book post at least once a month too keep you all posted about it too!

Favorite Reads

I kind of hate picking favorites, but I have to say that some of the books I enjoyed most from this past year would be Lock In by John Scalzi, a sci fi novel, The Ancient Magus Bride fantasy manga series by Kore Yamazaki, The Ms Marvel series featuring Kamala Khan by Willow G Wilson and a team of very talented artists, and Call the Nurse a memoir of a nurse working on a remote Scottish island in the 1970's by Mary J. MacLeod.  (Links above are affiliate links.)  I recommend all of them very strongly and I'm looking forward to all the great new picks this year will bring as well.

That's all for today.  Sorry I didn't get this post out sooner, but sometimes stomach viruses happen.  Yep....

But I'm ready to tackle a video unboxing for a great new subscription box, so be on the lookout for my review of the new Enchanted Beauty Box, the beauty box for Disney fans!  Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rereading YA Fiction

Hi everyone,

I've got to the part of my reviews where I started rereading books I've owned and loved when I was younger.  Honestly I still love them, despite their young adult designation.

Young Adult Books Round Two

My two favorite books in my preteen years were Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith.  I think Wren to the Rescue and many books about fairies were what began to interest me in fantasy books.  With Ella Enchanted I think I was 14 when I first read it, and it was an easy read, but I loved it so much I had to immediately read it again before returning it to the library.   Something I'd never done before with any book.  Ella (an adapted Cinderella figure) is spunky and at times obstinate as she fights her curse.   It's been a little while since I read Ella Enchanted, but I still read it every few years.  All the books below fall into the category of books that are great for advanced readers in 3-6th grade on up, though they're generally classified as "middle grades" level.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine -

A pair of sister princesses, a mysterious illness, fairies, a young wizard, and an epic quest are fairly average fantasy subjects.  But Levine writes renewed fairy tales and her own fantasies masterfully adding wonderful humor, and strong female characters that make great role models for young readers.  Characters also work to overcome their personal fears and weaknesses, with all problems being resolved neatly by the end of the book.

 Wild MagicWolf Speaker, and Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce - 

are the first three books featuring the character Daine, a young girl with wild magic.  Pierce's books have a much more fleshed out magical system and characters that appear in one book often make cameos in others too.  Daine has some interesting quirks, her wild magic is much stronger than in others who might have it, and those who do have it are an oddity in her world or specialize in one area, taking care of horses for instance.  But Daine's power goes beyond all that and her family origins are mysterious.  Throughout the series we see her grow into her powers and encounter new enemies as her new home is thrown into chaos with various immortals being unleashed from a realm they've been confined to for generations.  The books have both adventure and quest elements as well as mystery solving in a swords and sorcery world created for teen and preteen readers.

Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith - 

Has all the coming of age story hallmarks, orphans, a princess, sorcerers in training, and evil wizard kidnappings.  But it uses the familiar story line to introduce great characters and concepts that help shape young adults.  We see a woman with ambiguous morality and learn that people don't start out good or evil necessarily, but can be taught morals along the way.  The heroine and her best friend continue their relationship despite changes in status and new friends join them.  This book is the start of a series with the original trilogy available in both print and ebook, and the 4th book, written a bit later only as ebook.  The whole series is worth reading, and get a bit more serious in tone as they go on, but this first book is very lighthearted and would be a perfect introduction to fantasy books for young readers.  I have an 8 year old cousin who is about ready for it in fact.  The great part about Smith is she has also written books for teen and adult readers, so her books are perfect to grow up with.

Thanks for joining me, I'll be back with a full report on my capsule wardrobe Friday and more book reviews next week.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

YA Fiction Reviews Part 1

Hi everyone,

I'm back again with  a batch of young adult (YA) book reviews.  I still read YA books for a load of reasons.  The biggest being that quality wise they can often be just as good as fiction targeted to adults.  And with series like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and others having their stories told on the big screen I often like to be ahead of the curve in knowing what's next.  There's also my insatiable appetite for reading and my preference for strong female lead characters to think of, and YA books don't disappoint there either.

Anyway, today I'll review the books that are newer to me and I'll come back to the ones I've reread in a couple weeks for another set of reviews.  So, starting off we have Fuse by Julianna Baggott, it's the second in the Pure trilogy and kept me turning pages.  I haven't reviewed the first book here, so I'll do a quick summary - dystopian future world with people suffering after "the detonations" while those in the dome live as if it never happened, a girl from the outside and boy who's been sheltered are bound to meet and piece together truth from the lies they've been told.  Fuse picks up by expanding on the world as the young people go further afield on a mission to find out what secrets Partridge's father had.  We see how others have coped with the changes the detonations wrought and how fragile peace can be in this harsh world.

Burn, also by Julianna Baggott tries to finish off the trilogy, but seems to rush things immensely.  Characters regress and do things completely out of place from their established values.  Almost all the ending were left open in a series that really needed more of them to be tied up.  And what bothered me most of all was how we were finally getting a glimpse of what the whole world was like, and the author chose to focus in on a much smaller area putting all the exquisite world building to waste!  So I was less than happy with this one, despite enjoying the other two books before it so much.  Le sigh....

Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire is a more satisfying read which looks at a world with supernatural influences, particularly those of angelic forces.  It's the first in a series and includes both good and evil as well as romance alongside the story of a pair of siblings, where the brother is dying of cancer.  Not many books take on disease and fantasy together, and this one did well at it.  I look forward to reading the next in the series.

The Swap by Megan Shull was a fairly quick read with the premise of a boy and girl around puberty switching bodies because a person with magic just happened to hear their comments about the other sex having it easy.  Spoilers, neither has it easy!  The characters find this out and along the way find they had more strength for those obstacles that bothered them than they'd assumed once they got some perspective on their problems.  I found it was better written than I had thought it might be, which is always a plus when I take a chance on an Kindle book I've never heard of.

Cipher by Aileen Erin also falls into the "Kindle books bought on a whim" category, and again is a good pick.  Cipher has bad DNA that causes her to exhibit a mutation, the government likes to keep those with mutations under their experimental program's oversight or dead.  But there's a group working to keep these individuals alive and stabilize their powers and Cipher meets them when she needs them most.  From there the chase is on, and keeps a good pace.  Another series I'm looking forward to reading he second installment of!

Finally there's Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger.  It's the third book in a series by one of my favorite authors.  More Victorian era humor and adventure lies within as our protagonist hops a train filled with a surprise cargo and has a continuing love triangle pulling at her romantic sensibilities.  It's a steampunk world with werewolves, inventors, spies, and loads of excitement that's not to be missed.

That's all this time, but if you have any suggestions for new things to read let me know.  I've got a list going and am always adding to it.  Thanks!