Tag Archives: YA

Top Ten Tuesday #26


toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

May 23, 2017: Summer Reads Freebie: In preparation for Memorial Day (which is always the unofficial summer kickoff for me), let’s rec some summer/beach reads: books to go in your beach bag, best books set in summer, books with summer-y covers, best beach reads for people who don’t enjoy contemporary/realistic reads, best beach reads for fans of X genre, etc. etc.

Summer reads is always a hard one for me. I’m not really a “beach reads” kind of person. I don’t get the summer off, so it’s not like I can go on a reading blitz. Plus summer is hot and icky. I’m much more of an autumn girl.

But since we are going to have the big solar eclipse here in Oregon this summer. (What’s the big deal about a total solar eclipse in Oregon?) I thought I’d dig through my books to find 10 books with the sun (or a sun) on the cover.

Ten Books I Own With the Sun on The Cover

  1. On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres – This book was on the assigned reading list for a college class. However, I never finished it. In fact, no one in the class did. Even the professor admitted he couldn’t get through it.On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
  2. Perseus Spur – This is on my TBR shelf, we got it at the library book sale a few years back. (I have to admit that sometimes I go over board when it come to their end of the sale $5 book bag. As in I’ve heard of this author, throw it in the bag.)Perseus Spur
  3. Galaxies Like Grains of Sand – I really want to read this one, but just keep forgetting about it. Both my husband and I loved Aldiss’ The Long Afternoon of Earth.Galaxies Like Grains of Sand
  4. Hyperion – I very weird sort of book… like aSci-fi Canterbury Tales.Hyperion
  5. Neutron Star – This may not actually be a star, but possible a Ringworld on fire. Still “star” is in the title.Neutron Star
  6. Rockets in Ursa Major – My husband collects these old Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle books. Classic sci-fi has such cool covers.Rockets in Ursa Major
  7. The Lord of Chaos – My go-to writer for when I feel a need for a quick and cheesy fantasy. This is the only title of her left on my TBR. (BTW: I love the cloud hands grabbing for the sun.)The Lord of Chaos
  8. Seven Steps to the Sun – More Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle. Really crazy mind-bending cover.Seven Steps to the Sun
  9. Space Dictionary for Kids – I had to include this one 🙂 It’s a really great resource if you want to teach your kids about space. In fact, you might want to pick up a copy before the Aug 21st eclipse.Space Dictionary for Kids
  10. What’s This? A Seeds Story – Mostly including this one because it was our latest pickup. We went to a multi-cultural fair this weekend and there was a independant book seller there.What's This? A Seeds Story

Ok there you have it, I found 10 books with the sun on the cover. Will the eclipse be visible from where you live? If so do you have plans to watch it? What’s on your summer reading list? Let me know in the comments.

Also I just start a Bookstagram account. Check it out!

Book Blitz: Lady of Sherwood

Lady of Sherwood 
Molly Bilinski
(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Meet A New Book

Robin Hood is pretty much an instaread for me. I love that this book is by a publisher that promises clean reads. As they say on their website, “We do not believe in censorship; we believe in the right to know. Every reader, no matter what their age is, has certain boundaries they don’t want to cross.” If you’ve been a reader on my blog you have probably picked up on the fact that I do not enjoy graphic sex scenes in my books. I’m excited to find a publisher that will let me know what I’m getting into before I pick up the book.

Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.

As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.

Download a bonus scene.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

—

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Top Ten Tuesday #23


toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

May 2, 2015: Cover Theme Freebie: literally anyyyything about covers….top ten covers that scream Spring, ten books with ice cream on the cover, ten books with blue covers, etc. etc.

Thinking about what covers I could cover for this weeks topic ;-), I started to think of Nancy Drew (especially since the 87th anniversary of the Secret of the Old Clock was on April 28th, Happy Birthday Nancy Drew!!!) and all the great cover art done for that series. Thanks to NancyDrew.info and their great list of ALL of the Nancy Drew editions I was able to take a stroll down memory lane and pick out my 10 favorite for this weeks list.

Top 10 Nancy Drew Covers

  1. The Secret of the Old Clock: 80th Anniversary Limited Edition – This one is cool and classic. The iconic girl detective in blue is just about perfect. Plus the fact that it’s the 80th Anniversary Limited Edition makes it even better.
  2. The Mystery At Lilac Inn – This one has always appeared mysterious to me. What could they be signally each other for? The colors also just draw your eyes right to the action.
  3. The Password To Larkspur Lane – This is one of my favorite Nancy Drew stories, and I love the cover too. It makes her look like she’s doing some real sleuthing. And that guy is really angry, I just love it!
  4. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall – Two thing make this great, it has George and Bess and Nancy all on the cover and then just the eerie feel of the picture. It makes me want to go find it and read it again right now.
  5. The Haunted Bridge – Can’t you just feel the danger and tension? I love it. But somehow that look in Nancy’s eyes you just know she’s going to figure this out.
  6. The Hidden Window Mystery – I <3 peacocks! Really I do, I have a huge Pinterest board full of peacock love, and a jewelry box bursting with all sorts of peacock loveliness. And here is one distracting Nancy so somebody can sneak by. How could I not love it?The Hidden Window Mystery
  7. The Clue Of The Whistling Bagpipes – Nancy in a kilt playing the bagpipes! Do I need to say more?
  8. The Hidden Staircase – These new 2014 covers by Sabrina Gabrielli are beautiful. My favorite is this one on the Hidden Staircase. While they don’t really have the same feel as the old ones it is nice to see a fresh take on the Girl Detective.
  9. Mystery Of Crocodile Island – Is Nancy going to stab that croc with her knife? That’s the first thought that came to me when I looked at this cover. I just love how it draws you into the action.Mystery Of Crocodile Island
  10. The Secret Of The Forgotten City – Nancy looks so worried here. YOu have to wonder what’s going on. Plus I’m a nut for Monochromatic art. The colors here are just beautiful.The Secret Of The Forgotten City

So which is you favorite? Did you enjoy Nancy Drew (or the Hardy Boys) when you were younger? Let me know in the comments.

March 2017 Book Pick Ups

The Deliberate ReaderI am so far behind in my book pick up posts that I couldn’t hope to catch up, so I just decided to start fresh by posting just last months books.

Since our move I kinda settled down on picking up anything but kindle titles and kids books. We just have less space, and I have less time for personal reading right now. Hopefully as we get more settled in and use to our new routine that will change.

For Kindle:

The Daemoniac (Dominion Mysteries Book 1)
Why I got it: Because Kat Ross is an awesome author and I want to read more of her books. Go follow her on twitter and then check out my reviews for her other books Blood of the Prophet and Queen of Chaos.

Ella Dethroned
Why I got it: You know I forgot I had picked this one up, I’m assuming it was from Instafreebie or Book Bub. It’s the prequel to a fantasy series, and has mostly 4 and 5 star reviews. It sounds exciting so I’ll give it a shot.

The Silver Skull Preview
Why I got it: This one is going up to the front of my TBR list because it sounds so intriguing. Add Steampunk, plus spies, plus a dash of fantasy and I’m am in. (I believe this copy is just a sample though, and I will probably end up buying the full book.)

ARC:

Who Counts?: 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons
Why I got it: I got this children’s book through the LibraryThing early readers program. I requested it because it looked like a good childrens book about some of the parables of Jesus. However I had mixed feeling about it. Read my review here.

eARC:

The Waterfall Traveler
Why I got it: I am going to review this book for Xpresso Book Tour in May. It sounds like a good fantasy story, with rouges, fugitives, conspiracies and someone the power to travel through water. Also, the cover is just amazing.

Kids Books:

The Little Grumpy Cat that Wouldn’t (Little Golden Book)
Why I got it: I picked this up from my Goddaughter’s school book fair, partly because she loves Grumpy Cat and partly because this year is Little Golden Books 75th anniversary. And the thought of Grumpy cat in a Little golden Book is hilarious.

Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty
Why I got it: It was .99 cents at St. Vinny’s and I am a big sucker for collecting all the books in a series. Plus this gives me more to read than Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray: The Uproar at the front door, which is her favorite bad kitty book and therefore I have read it about 4,00 times.

Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet
Why I got it: Same reasons as above, but this one we got from the book fair.

Mary Poppins
Why I got it: .99 cent at St. Vinny’s and it a book I’ve always wanted to read. Now that my goddaughter is a little older I’ve started reading chapter books to her, like Winnie-the-Pooh and I think we’ll try Mary Poppins too.

The Shy Little Kitten (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: I remember reading this book as a Little Golden book when I was a kid. The step into reading version is just right for my goddaughter to practice her reading aloud.

Cinderella (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: A cheap thrift store pick up. And like I said before I like to collect books in a series, and we already have a bunch of Disney princess Step Into Reading titles.

The Sweetest Spring (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Ditto what I just said, but even more so because this one is part of a series-within-a-series of Disney princess seasonal books.

Tink’s Treasure Hunt (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Another Thrift store find, and who doesn’t love Tink?

Misc:

National Geographic Inside the Medieval World 2017
Why I got it: This is actually what I’m reading right now. I saw it on a supermarket newsstand and picked it up because I’m intrigued by the Medieval World and a century-by-century guide is a great tool for understand the pieces of history.

 

Review: The Last Treasure of Ancient England

The Last Treasure of Ancient England by MJ Colewood
Pages: 412
Date Finished: Dec 8, 2016

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

  • I received this book free from the author

Synopsis:

It is 1066 and in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings the lifeless corpse of King Harold has been looted. The disappearance of a particular item enrages Duke William, and only one of his knights knows its whereabouts. In his remaining years this knight has to make a decision: will he ever share his secret, or take the greatest enigma in English history to the grave? Centuries later, when Chester Bentley arrives at his new Devonshire boarding school, he is unprepared for the mystery it conceals. The discovery of an age-old riddle lures him and his new friends into a quest to uncover the secrets safeguarded by the stately manor house. Hidden somewhere in the county is an extraordinary treasure and the school holds the puzzling key to its surprising location. But something is lurking in the dark, shadowing them each time they venture out from their dormitory at night, and a ghostly legend puts fear into the bravest of pupils. In their last year at the remote school time is running out; so can they succeed where others have failed, and even died, in a chilling hunt to reveal the last treasure of ancient England?

Review:

You’ve probably heard a book claim to be the next so-and-so. You know the next Narnia, or new Lord of the Rings, or next Nancy Drew. Well I often dismiss those claims. Especially since I’ve been let down so many times because the comparision didn’t live up. However, I will dare to make a comparission here… This Chester Bentley Mystery is the closest I’ve come to reading something that captures, as an adult, the feelings I had when reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys as a child.

There is a real sense of wonder, mystery and discovery as you read this book. I felt like I was going on the adventure with Bentely, Montague, Iona, Zara and Q. The pace is much slower than a traditional mystery, yet there is a palpable sense of urgency building through out the book.

The book has three separate story lines that all take part in different times. I was really impressed with the one following the Norman invasion of 1066. I have read multiple books about this time period and never had a Norman character that was as compelling as Richard. Usually the Normans are all cast as bad guys with a serious case of blood lust, and there are those characters too, but Richard is not like them. It was nice to see a character that was three dimensional, and thoughtful.

The only problem I had with the book is what I call the “Harry Potter Effect,” where the book basically praises and reward children for breaking the rules. In fact, if they didn’t repeatedly break the rules the mystery would never have been solved. Add to that, the fact that some of the adults are bumbling and clueless and others are out to get the children, and you have a bad mix. This is just one of my pet peeves. I want to see books set a better example and for writers to find more creative ways to move the plot ahead.

Bottom Line:

A really good book that mixes a historical fiction of the Norman invasion with a mystery at a boarding school. The mystery had plenty of surprises (in fact I had not guessed which “particular item” it was that disappeared,) the characters were warm and likable, and the pace well thought out. I hope to read more of Bentley’s adventures in the future.

Purchase:
Amazon

Review: Elemental Secrets

Pages: ES368

Date Finished: Aug 20, 2016

Book Reviews- It Was OkayIt Was Okay

Synopsis:

Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).

With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.

But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.

SECRETS are revealed…

…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…

But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…

Review:

This story is 8 parts high school drama and 2 parts super natural. The high school drama is that of a Navy brat who is living with her Aunt while on her dad is deployed. She trying to fit in as the new kid at the high school, although she’s not too new because she was with this same group of students for 8th grade during another of her dads deployments.

It has the typical love triangle with the new girl having to choose between the hot, loud mouth, popular jock and the quiet guy she just can’t get out of her mind. The drama part is only made interesting because you are kept guessing at the motivation of a couple of the characters.

Soon you find out that there are two factions in the town and that Valerie has accidentally gotten caught between the two.

As she discovers more about what is really going on in the town the action finally begins to ramp up, but the transitions between scenes begin to fall apart. There are times when things have happened in one scene which should be game changers, but have NO bearing or impact on the next one. For example she gets shot, twice, and the next day goes out to breakfast and then to school. Seriously, it was like nothing happened. Like you would expect getting shot to be a major event in her character arc, but the day afterward it has had no effect on her.

It’s really on the transitions that the story lost me. It felt like it could have been a good read, but that it wasn’t tied together well enough.

Bottom Line:

I have had so many mixed feelings about this book that it’s taken me a long time to post this review. It has some compelling elements but jumps around too much and some of the transitions between settings are so jolting they take you out of the story. I wanted to like this book. I hope that it will see a cleaned up second edition.

Purchase:
Amazon

Review: Rags and Ruins

by Bob Dixon
Pages: 292
Date Finished: Sept 9, 2016

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

 

Synopsis:

Rags leads an idyllic life for a goblin child—he spends his days playing in the landfill with his gargoyle friend Ladin, going fishing with his father Hargo in the river, and developing his love of music. His parents love him intensely, and his mother Calin is fiercely protective of him. How could he ask for anything more as he lives an enchanted life on the reservation on the outskirts of the “civilized” world, surrounded by mystical creatures and magic? Little does Rags realize that he is not a goblin but instead a human who was abandoned shortly after his birth and left in the landfill to be raised by the goblins as a way to fulfill an ancient prophecy of good and evil, twin brothers separated at birth and reunited in the thirteenth year of their life, one to unleash an ancient evil, the other the only hope to stop it from happening. A powerful tale of magic, music, and danger, Rags and Ruins is sure to thrill readers of all ages with its mix of adventure, intrigue, and humor—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have to answer to a furious goblin mother.

Learn more.rarbanner

Review:

Rags and Ruins is a fantasy story that takes so much of what we think we know about fantasy tropes and turns them on their heads, in the best way possible.

Hargo, is a good-hearted, hard working goblin. Calin is a loving, protective mother goblin. Ladin is a fun loving, adventurous gargoyle. With the Man in the House to keep watch on him and the landfill where they and other “creatures of darkness” live. Rags is really lucky to have them all in his life. A boy never had it so good from so many “bad characters.”

The main story line is about a prophecy that Rags and a twin brother are destined to fulfill one day. Of course, as happens with most fantasy stories there is a magical council working behind the scenes to make sure that the “child of darkness” has as little training as possible and that the “child of light” as much as possible. Their plan is to stack the odds so that come the day of fulfillment evil will be easily overcome. But they are wrong… wrong about Rags, wrong about his brother, wrong about the true meaning of darkness and light, and wrong about themselves. (Telling you this is not a spoiler, you’ll see this coming from a mile away.)

Luckily Hargo and Calin have seen the truth of things and Rags’ love of music is no accident.

This isn’t rooting for the bad guys the way some dark fantasy and urban books have you rooting for the vampire with a soul, or the brooding bad guy. Rags and Ruins has a deep message about stereotypes but brings it out with a light touch.

Bob Dixon can weave a tale. Rags and Ruins is a masterpiece, a must read for fantasy fans.

Bottom Line:

I loved it! From the first page to the last, I thought this book was adorable and the characters truly likable. It’s hard for me to imagine that in 2016 I will like another book more than I liked Rags and Ruins. I think I have found my book of the year.

Purchase:
Amazon

Review: Blood of the Prophet

bloodprophetThe Midnight Sea and The Blood of the Prophet 
by Kat Ross
Pages: 326 and 337
Date Finished:  Aug 24, 2016 and Sep 04, 2016

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

  • I received this book free from the Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest option.

Synopsis:

Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

Review:

I loved both of these books. Because I read them back-to-back so I’m going to review them as one here.

The Forth Element Series is a great example of a fantasy series that uses existing mythology to build its fantasy world, but does it in a really exciting new way. I don’t believe I’ve read another fantasy book set in the ancient empire of Persia, using some of the mythology of the area and weaving in the origins of Zoroastrianism. The setting alone is something to love!

I recently read the Greek play The Persians, and that perhaps was the perfect build up for a fantasy story set in the same empire. (Although the author does make note that the story is not an alternative history, it just borrows heavily from history.)

The stories center on Nazafareen, the The Midnight Sea starts out being a fish-out-of-water story about her leaving her nomadic tribe and coming to live in the palace of a Satrap while learning how to be a Water Dog (a warrior bonded to a deava, a being who can control the 3 elements of water, air and earth.) Each Water Dog is able through their bond to control the deava, so that they only use their powers when needed to fight demon called the Druj.

When the old deava’s break out of their prison Nazafareen, her bonded Darius, and their squad are sent after them turning the story into a fantasy quest that continues into Blood of the Prohpet. Things are not as they seem however and as the world around her begins to unravel Nazafereen experiences betrayal, love, loss, and finds in herself an inner magic she never imagined.

Between the two books there are lots of twists and turns and mysteries that lead into deeper mysteries as the lies that held the empire together unravel and enemies close in on every side.

Bottom Line:

It’s EPIC! I can’t wait to see what the next book brings. I love the rich and exotic world and characters. I am very excited to learn more about Bactra and the origins of the daevas. If you want a great original epic fantasy read pick up The Forth Element Series.

Purchase:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July/Aug 2016 Book Pick-ups

July/Aug Pick-UpsThe Deliberate ReaderSo July was busy, with a trip to New Mexico for a music department reunion, but it pale in comparison to August which was plain crazy. We had some family stuff that came up and took about 90% of my time and energy. That situation is still unfolding, so if I don’t blog as often as I had previously it’s because we are still working out a changing family situation. Buuuut on the up side I did end up with a lot of great kids books in the last couple of month.

For Kindle:

Rage
Why I got it: The Kindle First book for July. The picking haven’t really been up my alley for a while, but I guess if I need a mystery I have one more waiting on my Kindle.

Black Rain
Why I got it: The Kindle First book for August. August was frankly a blur and I don’t remember why I picked this.

ARC:

Space Dictionary for Kids: The Everything Guide for Kids Who Love Space
Why I got it: An Early Reviewer Book from LibraryThing. My husband likes watching astronomy videos on YouTube and is always trying to get Little Bug interested in space. While dinosaurs and ocean life are still her favorites she has been more interested in planets lately, and this dictionary looked very cool.

Prince Noah and the School Pirates
Why I got it: An Early Reviewer Book from LibraryThing. I got this book to add to the summer reading for little Bug. It’s a little long for her, but it’s possible that now that she’s a 1st-Grader her tolerance for longer books will probably get better. (And it’s not really the length so much as it is the amount of words on each page vs. the action/interest of the pictures on the page.)

eArc:

Elemental Secrets
Why I got it: I’m doing a Book Tour with Xpresso Book Tours on Oct 20th for Elemental Secrets.

The Midnight Sea(The Fourth Element, #1)
Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2)
Why I got it: I’m doing a Book Tour with Xpresso Book Tours on Sept 21st for the two Forth Elements books. **Review SPOILER: I LOVED THEM!

Misc:

Flutterby Fly
Why I got it: Thrift store Serendepity book will be a yes every time. I love the Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James combination. These books are brilliant!

Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Dark Water
Why I got it: The author/illustrator of this book was at the Oregon State Fair. The Little Bug likes everything ocean themed so I picked this one up for her. (Signed Copy)

Sixteen Cows
Why I got it: The author/illustrator above also illustrated this book, a very cute cowboy/cowgirl story in light rhyme. (Signed Copy)

Curious George Around Town (6 Volume Set)
Why I got it: This set was deeply discounted for Amazon Prime day, It ended up being a little over $1/book. We love Curious George and didn’t have any of the books in this set so WIN!

Apples Grow on a Tree (How Fruits and Vegetables Grow)
Why I got it: Amazon’s big Prime day sale include 20% off of one book. This series is absolutely excellent and I’ve been trying to collect all of the books, but since they are a little expensive I used the sale as an excuse to get one. If you have kids and want to teach them how their food grows get this series!

Top Ten Tuesday #13 BONUS

Back to School 2

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.toptentuesday

August 30: Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher.

This week topic was so good I had to come back to it. And reading all the other posts really was creativity fuel. So here is a bonus top ten back to school list.

Top Ten Book That Were Required Reading…

  1. The Odyssey – Because of a fluke I didn’t get the senior reading list until 2 weeks before the school year started. So I ended up having to read the Odyssey in 2 weeks because there was going to be a test on it the first day of senior AP English!
  2. The Heart of Darkness – I fully admit to being a fan of Joseph Conrad and the Heart of Darkness was only the tip of the iceberg. Due to the same fluke that caused me to get my reading list late I ended up taking 2 senior English classes and we covered this book in both.
  3. Hamlet – I ❤️ Hamlet. I’m so glad that we had to study this in high school. And I’m so glad that the Kenneth Branagh movie adaptation came out about the same time because it added another layer of depth to the my learning. (I also read Romeo and Juliette, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth in high school.)
  4. The Canterbury Tales – Okay so we didn’t read the whole things, just the prologue, the Knights Tale and the Wife’s Tale. But more importantly we had to memorize the first 14 lines in Old English which has served me well to this day as I often quote it to give kids a taste of Old English when I do classroom visits as Queen Anne.
  5. A Tale of Two Cities – The opening page of this book blew me away. The character and setting in the book are both really rich and real. It got me interested in a part of history I had never considered before.
  6. The Joy Luck Club – I have always had an interest in China but probably would have never picked up an Amy Tan novel if not for it being on our reading list. I am not always a fan of contemporary literature or chick-lit, but I really enjoyed this book and have read a couple of her other books as an adult.
  7. Medea – Enter a lifetime love of Greek plays in 5,4,3,2,1. While the Odyssey is great it doesn’t have the same feel of plays like Medea, Electra or Prometheus Bound (my personal favorite.) One thing you learn in these plays is that Greek women probably invented revenge, and if they didn’t invent it they perfected it. DO NOT CROSS a Greek Woman.
  8. Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Okay not really a book, but thanks to reading EBB during a poetry unit in high school I found my favorite poet. Also as I studied her for a college project I found out that her first published work was a translation of Prometheus Bound which is how I came to read what has become my favorite Greek Play.
  9. Sign of the Beaver / Hatchet – Going back to Middle School on these two. Again a these stories opened up my world to new genres to read. I thought that adventure books like these were probably just for boys (although I had already read the Hardy Boys books.) However I got a real interest in the YA survival adventure genre after reading these (and Island of the Blue Dolphins.)
  10. The Forgotten Door – Also going back to Middle School. I vividly remember this book. It’s strange that it was a school book because it’s kind of a mystery, sci-fi, fantasy story. But I enjoyed the book and it obviously made a mark.