Tag Archives: YA

Top Ten Tuesday #12

I STILL Haven't Read Yet...toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

August 23: Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf (Or TBR) From Before I Started Blogging That I STILL Haven’t Read Yet…

Well seeing as how I started tracking and reviewing the books I read on MySpace in 2006, and then moving them to each new system… the “before I started blogging” clause is going to be ignored. 10 years is a looong time and I haven’t kept close track of my TBR shelf that whole time. So this list is just going to be of books I’ve had on the TBR for several years, one’s I’ve been meaning to get to but just haven’t managed to read yet.

I am participating in the 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge. I encourage you to take a look at that post. And maybe this will kick start me towards digging a little deeper into the TBR.

Top Ten Books I STILL Haven’t Read Yet…

In no particular order…

  1. The Borrowers – I remember the TV show from when I was a kid, so we picked up a couple of the books years ago at a thrift shop. I really have no excuse for not reading this book, except for I’m not sure where it’s at. I know we have it, but it escaped from the YA TBR shelf.
  2. The Kitchen Gods WifeI really enjoy Amy Tan, but somehow this book sunk to the bottom of the pile and has stayed there. One of those ones I know I’ll enjoy if I ever get around to it.
  3. Casino Royale (And the rest of the James Bond series) – My sister bought these for me, one at a time over a couple of years (of course she read each one, before sending them to me.) I feel bad because she sent me the WHOLE series and I’ve read one of them. 🙁
  4. The Forth Turning – I talk about this book ALL the time. If you ever mention anything about generations to me, I will bring up this book. It was a cornerstone of the curriculum when I did a church internship. But we only had excerpts. I keep telling myself I’ll read the whole thing one of these days. It’s really an important book and has a ton of good stuff in it. Maybe I should go get it off the shelf now…
  5. The Wizard of Oz – Yes, it’s true, I have not read the Wizard of Oz. And it’s been sitting on my shelf for a least 5 years. The only excuse I have is the other 200 or so books overflowing the TBR shelves.
  6. City of Illusions / Left Hand of Darkness – This time I actually have an excuse. I got these books before reading EarthSea, and well they have stayed on the shelf because EarthSea kinda ruined me on Le Guin (even though Lathe of Heaven was super fantastic and I still think about it every now and them.) I know that these are important sci-fi books that many TV shows, etc have been inspired by. I keep them around hoping I’ll feel like picking them up one day.
  7. Childhood’s End – Another important sci-fi classic that I just haven’t gotten around to. I think this one suffers from the same sort of fate that the Le Guin books do and that’s that I felt burned after reading the Rama series (my advice read Rendezvous with Rama, it’s a sure fire classic, and none of the rest.) I know the end of the series wasn’t written by Clarke, but still the let down of the Rama series was immense.
  8. Galaxies Like Grains of Sand – Another sci-fi classic that’s been on the back burner because of a different piece by the author. My husband and I both read The Long Dark Afternoon of Earth, and thought it was fantastic. So we sought out other Aldiss books. I wish I had read this before his short story collection, Super Toys Last All Summer Long (which the movie A.I. is based off of.) Unfortunately other than the title story the books is a bunch of veganism propaganda, which makes me afraid to read a book he wrote about 4 million years of man kinds future.
  9. A Princess of Mars – After reading Burroughs lesser known Venus series I meant to read the Mars Series, I actually loaded them all up on my kindle (it’s kind enough to remind me) in April, 2012. Until I was looking through my lists today, I had forgotten I had them. Oops! 😜
  10. King Solomon’s Mines – Let’s say ditto for this one, put it on the Kindle and then forgot about it. This despite the fact that my sister is a fan of H Rider Haggard I haven’t read any of his books.


June 2016 Book Pick-Ups

June Book Pick-Ups

The Deliberate ReaderSo many books… June has been a crazy month for book pick-ups. From A christianbook.com sale, to a ton of Kindle pick-ups, to my father-in-laws estate, we were just getting books right and left this month.

For Kindle:

Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure: A Christian Historical and Inspirational Romance of World War Two
Why I got it: I don’t actually remember getting this book, but since it’s in my Amazon history… I’m guessing free from BookBub?

Journey’s End (Gilded Promises)
Why I got it: This month Kindle First choice. I haven’t really been into the Kindle First choices the last few months. I use to be, if not excited, at least mildly interested, but not these last few months.

Blood of Requiem (Song of Dragons Book 1)
Why I got it: Someone suggested this author to me, and this is the first book in his dragon series. So got to begin at the very beginning, right?

Firefly Island
Why I got it: Same author as above, but not the same series. A stand alone fantasy book that sounded really good.

The Dragon Chronicles
Why I got it: A free collection of fantasy novels about dragons.

Galactic Empires: Eight Novels of Deep Space Adventure
Why I got it: Another free collection, this time of sci-fi stories.

LEGENDS: Fifteen Tales of Sword and Sorcery
Why I got it: And yet another free collection, do you see a trend here?

Spirit Legacy
Why I got it: This was free from BookBub and sounded really good. Again a book where dreams play an important role, plus it’s a coming of age story, two wins for me.

Call of the Herald
Why I got it: I’ve got to stop opening up BookBub emails. My TBR list is already overflowing, but I can’t seem to resist a free fantasy story, especially if its a coming of age one. And when the description says, “Catrin unknowingly triggers powerful, ancient, magic and fulfills a prophecy that says she will destroy entire nations.” Well that sealed it now I really want to read it.


Called to Community
Why I got it: It was actually the tagline that made me request this book, “The Life Jesus Wants for His People.” This is something that has been on my mind, so I’m interested to see what the authors, it’s a collection of essays, have to say about it.


Rags and Ruins
Why I got it: I recently joined the early reviewer team at Ravenswood Publishing and they ASKED me what I’d like to review next! What an awesome opportunity! I choose Rags and Ruins because it seems to be a fun twist on an old story. A fantasy story where the main character seems to be a human child raised as a goblin. Look for a review coming soon.

Coloring Book:

Creative Haven Peacock Designs Coloring Book
Why I got it: My husband is a great guy and when we saw this at the mall, he suggested we buy it. Because he knows how much I enjoy both coloring and peacocks. 🙂


Classic Young Adult Titles

As with the pick-up from my grandparents there are too many books to list here, so I’ll just give you a few highlights. (Plus all of the classic young adult books pictured above.)

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West
Why I got it: My husband picked this one out, but we are both interesting in Lewis and Clark (it’s an Oregon thing.)

The Pathfinder: Or, The Inland Sea 1914
Why I got it: A 1914 adventure books for boys. This one has obviously seen some use. And I believe this is the sequel to the Last of the Mohicans.

All Dressed Down and Nowhere to Go
Why I got it: One word: Dilbert.

How to Calculate Quickly: Full Course in Speed Arithmetic
Why I got it: My husband is the one who bought this for his dad. They both shared a lot of mathematics.

Why I got it: Carl Sagan’s classic is one we didn’t have yet.

Mysteries of the ancient world
Why I got it: A Nat Geo book that looks pretty interesting.

IMG_634575 Scrambles In Oregon: The Best Non-technical ascents
Why I got it: My father-in-law will most be remembered for his love of hiking.

Super Bowl XI Program Guide
Why I got it: My father-in-law went to this super bowl. And although we were in hope that his ticket would be inside(it wasn’t) it’s still a neat piece of family history.

Taekwondo Tigers Series:

ATA Tiger-books

Why I got it: Little Bug has been taking Taekwondo class since last July. Recently our school has launch a new program for the Tigers class (4 to 6 year olds.) This new program includes a cast of characters for the different belt ranks. And each character has their own book. Score for bookworms! (Note: We are still waiting on the last book Baron to come in.)

Kindergarten Readers:

Kinder Readers

Schools out for the summer! And guess what the newly minted 1st Grader came home with? A stack of books from school. They were getting rid of some of the old practice and phonics readers (most are 8-10 pages long) and like a good little bookworm little bug brought home a stack including: old Five Little Ducks, Whose Baby?, Dune Bug, Look, Mom, No Words! , In a Dark, Dark Wood, White Rabbit’s Color Book…

Christianbook.com Sale

Forbidden (The Books of Mortals)
Why I got it: I’ve heard good things about this Christian dystopian series and the prices was ridiculously low.

Emma of Aurora: The Complete Change and Cherish Trilogy: A Clearing in the Wild, A Tendering in the Storm, A Mending at the Edge
Why I got it: I thought this would be a series that my mom, my grandmother and I could share and enjoy. However the book is HUGE! So big I can’t imagine my 90 year-old grandmother holding it to read. Even looking at it I am imaging getting carpel tunnel from trying to read the thing. But I enjoy Jane Kirkpatrick, and the book was only $1.99 so it’s waiting for me on the TBR shelf.

Landon Snow and the Shadows of Malus Quidam, Landon Snow & The Island Of Arcanum, Landon Snow & The Volucer Dragon, Landon Snow & The Auctor’s Kingdom
Why I got it: They were .99 cents each and I am always on the look out for the next Cooper Kids adventure series to share with my nephew.

The Bernstein Bears God Bless Our Country
Why I got it: For Little Bug because, #1 she has discovered the Bernstein Bears books this year and loves them, and #2 because we have been talking about the 4th of July and what it means.

The Bernstein Bears’ Harvest Festival
Why I got it: Again I got it for Little Bug because she has totally fallen in love with the Bear of Bear Country this year.

Curious George Time for School
Why I got it: This book is really cool, the has a fold out practice clock that you use as you read the book. Makes teaching time extra fun and it’s practical.


Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don’t)
Why I got it: Staples had this book in the back of the store and marked down to $1.97 because the paper cover was torn.

Before You Go: A Daily Devotional
Why I got it: I am working on writing a e- booklet for my client Forever Changed International and their missions trips. (Ok so it’s been on my to-do list for 6 months, but I still plan to get to it sometime.) My business partner, Bradley suggested this book to help me get the creative juice flowing.

The Ghost Bride
Why I got it: We’ve recently re-opened the Carnegie Library for Saturday hours, so to help promote our newly expanded hours the Library Foundation had a booth at the nearby Farmers Market where they gave away old ARCs from the Library. This was the one I picked.


Top Ten Tuesday #2


Top Ten Tues

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

June 7: Ten Reasons I Love Dystopian Fiction

(In no particular order)

  1. Dystopian fiction often takes an idea from sociology and stretches it to the limit. Once upon a time I was a sociology major. It’s interesting to connect the dots, to see how the ideas that have been talked about in my classes play out in a fictional world.
  2. The setting is familiar and new at the same time. There are usually bits and pieces of the modern world, places and things we’d recognize. The authors like to surprise the readers with the ruins of the modern world.
  3. There is so much variety. Like any other genre it has it’s troupes (super teenagers,) but I love how there are also so many different ways that the world could fall into chaos, and then be rebuilt.
  4. Allegory. Most dystopian fiction serves as an allegory usually exaggerating an excess of society. Such as live TV shows being taken to the extreme in books like the Running Man and the Hunger Games. Even if it’s not an intentional allegory, most of it can be read as one. How could you not read a downfall and rebuilding of society as an allegory? Even unintentionally there are sure to be political or cultural undertones.
  5. It plays with the idea of authority. It is easy for us to view authority the way its portrayed in dystopian stories. In most dystopian stories the leaders are corrupt, oppressive,  they keep secrets, and do or allow terrible things. Corporate or military powers that have gone out of control. Political leaders who lie to us, and manipulate us, etc.
  6. Hero’s who rise up against this authority.
  7. Philosophy lessons. My philosophy professor hated making any connection between fiction and philosophy. But for many the ideas of philosophy are too hard to reach, too abstract. Fiction often borrows from philosophy and in dystopian fiction it is particularly strong. For example, I can think of a dozen stories that use Plato’s cave.
  8. Lies we accept. Many people live with the feeling that we are being lied to, that the truth is just below to surface. Dystopian fiction preys on that fear, and in return is cathartic too. (This also ties in with the philosophy lessons.)
  9. Coming of age. I enjoy the coming of age sub-genre. Which is probably why I’ve made reading the Newbery books a goal. These days dystopian fiction is pretty much all coming of age tales (goodbye to the days of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.) What’s really interesting about the dystopian version is that it’s always a coming of age in a time of extreme adversity, and usually the main character who comes of age makes decisions that ultimately change their society.
  10. It’s a guilty pleasure.

Opening Lines

3066777026_8d5f941606Young adult books often have some of the best opening lines, probably because their audience is likely to drop it and look for something else if they aren’t interested right away. Here are some of my favorites:

The Series of Unfortunate Events – The Bad Beginning “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.”

Winnie-The-Pooh “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.”

Junie B. Jones “My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don’t like Beatrice. I just like B and that’s all.”

The Box Car Children “One warm night four children stood in front of a bakery. No one knew them. No one knew where they had come from.”

Uglies “The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”

What’s your favorite opening line? Is it one here or some other? I’d be very interested to know.


Review: Ratha’s Creature

Ever finished a book and were just like “Uh?” That was Ratha’s Creature for me.

While well written and engaging I’m not sure what the point was. The book is about a clan of intelligent cats living in a prehistoric world. The cats have learned to herd wild game for domestic use. This allows them to develop a more sophisticated society, language and laws. When we meet Ratha she is a young cat learning how to catch wild game and tame it to add to their herding stock.

Ratha is more intelligent than even most of the clan cats, and has a fatal flaw of being too honest. Basically she can’t keep her mouth shut when she should. It’s gets her into trouble with friends and enemies alike.

I would say this is a coming of age story except that she doesn’t really ever seem to grow up emotionally. She may be super intelligent and a great survivor, but she never learns how to filter her thoughts so as not to offend everyone around her. It makes her hard to connect with as a reader, and leads to tragedies that could have been avoided. Ratha is the cause of most of her own problems. Even when warned by her friend Thakur she can’t seem to act any differently than her impulses. Is the author implying that no matter how “cultured” a cat may get they are still “wild”? I find that hard to believe.

What Ratha does learn is bitterness and that leads her to revenge. Even when Thakur sacrifices himself so she can live she hates him for it. It’s just really weird that in such a well written book the main character and plot can be so messy.

Newbery Goal Update

I have a goal to read all of the Newbery Medal Award books. You can see the full checklist list of books here – Newbery Medal Books. I’ve been able to fit 4 Newbery books into my 2013 reading thus far. Which brings my total to 15 overall.

2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamill – A very innocent and sweet story (which is nothing like the movie.)

A word about the movie – Seriously what did they do base the movie on the description from the back of the book and a character list? It is so far off base. The book plot would have made a great movie, why they changed it to be more boring I don’t know.

Back to the book – its a sweet story about mistakes and forgiveness. It goes deep into the heart to show how different people handle disappointment, betrayal and grief. Yet it remains an innocent and fun adventure along the way. I think children will enjoy the story even if they don’t understand the deeper meaning, and adults will enjoy the many layers of depth.

1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy – So far my least favorite of the Newberry titles. The story is a Hungarian myth of how the Huns and the Magyars emigranted out of Asia and moved Westward toward Europe. Also covers the upbringing of Attila the Hun. As far as mythical writing go it’s not very descriptive, or interesting. As historical fiction it’s not interesting either. The characters are conquers who pretty much kill, maim, rape and enslave their way across the landscape. They aren’t characters you can relate to or even like. The book falls flat.

1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis – A very good coming of age story set in revolutionary China. To make it even more interesting I read is shortley after we returned from a trip to China, and one of the places we visited is the city this book is set in. Young Fu and his mother move into the big city, and he becomes the apprentice to a tough old cooper. What he really wants to do however is o learn how to read, however they are too poor to afford tutoring. On top of all of that China is changing, and times are uncertain. It is well written and well woven together. You get a glimpse of China during an important part of history through the eyes of Young Fu and I think you will grow to like Young Fu and care for him.

1926: Shen of The Sea : Chinese Stories for Children by Arthur Bowie Chrisman – This book is a sort of collection of Chinese-esque folk lore. I say Chinese-esque because they are set in China and have a mythic quality, but their origin is not actual Chinese mythology or lore. The stories mostly cover moral tales about hard work, clevarness and respect and the discovery of things like fireworks, tea, and ink.

Currently Reading: Supertoys Last All Summer Long: And Other Stories of Future Time

What’s Waiting For Me

I have 2 To-Read Shelves. One is specifically for YA titles, the other is, well, everything else. You can see them in the pictures on the right. They are basically overflowing right now. It’s hard for me to turn down cheap titles, and darn that St Vinnie’s and their 1/2 price book sales, oh and the fact that it’s garage sale season. So what have I got filling up those selves?

On the YA shelf a few notable titles:

Inkheart and Inkspell

Several titles by Scott O’Dell –The Black Pearl, Zia, and Sarah Bishop

Several Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys titles

Macbeth: The Graphic Novel

At least 5 different Redwall Books

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (the final title I have to read in her series)

James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and The BFG

War and Peace (it’s a joke, we leave it there just to see if anyone notices.)

Do you spot anything else interesting?

On the other shelf is a messy mismash of all sorts of genres. A random sample shows-

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ( I have read 7 Habits for Teens.)

Get a Grip on Physics

The Best of James Blish

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

3 books by Terry Goodkind

4 books by Stephen R Donaldson

An embarrassing number of Star Trek Titles (including Walter Koenig’s autobiography Warped Factors: A Neurotic’s Guide to the Universe.)


12 James Bond Titles

Sci-fi by Larry Niven, EE Doc Smith, Heinlein, Alastair Reynolds, Orson Scott Card, and a lot of others.

The Tao of Pooh

The picture is kinda small, but maybe you saw something else there that caught you eye. Let me know in the comments.

Currently I’m reading “The Spirit Well” by Stephen R Lawhead and The Story of Scripture: How We Got Our Bible and Why We Can Trust It by Robert L Plummer (which I got as part of the Librarything Early Reviewers program.) Next I plan on reading my friend Karen’s novel Mistaken: First Impressions Are Never What They Seem, and then ??? Well you can see I have plenty of options.