Friday, July 28, 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

By Mackenzi Lee
501 pages
July Owlcrate book

This book was very readable, but I'm not sure I'll ever read it again. The protagonist, Henry, is a hot mess who sets off to do his Grand Tour with his sister and his best friend. His sister would rather study medicine than embroidery. His friend is biracial and has a medical condition. Henry doesn't want to be stuck at home running the estate.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eliza and her Monsters

By Francesca Zappia
385 pages

The feels. Oh my, the feels. The protagonist, Eliza, has issues. Anxiety etc. Her issues feel so real and relatable and understandable -

This book was just so good. I can't even articulate. I was almost late to work this morning because I just wanted to keep reading it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Martian

By Andy Weir
369 pages

I was interested to read this because I saw the movie on a plane and really enjoyed it. From what I remember, the movie is pretty close to the book.

The weird part is that even though I knew what was going to happen, there was still a lot of page turning suspense for me.

I liked to book a lot!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

An Ember in the Ashes

By Sabaa Tahir
446 pages

I've heard a lot of hype about this book, but to be honest it took a little while for me to get into it.

The plot is interesting, the worldbuilding is pretty solid, and the characters are likeable.

I read it because I was considering it for incorporating into my curriculum next year. I won't, but I am glad to have read it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Knights of the Hill Country

By Tim Tharp
233 pages

So it's a football book. I don't sport. But I enjoyed the book - I even set aside my delicious homemade cheesy ham his cute because I was so close to finishing it and wanted to focus.

There is a lot of football in the book, but it's not really a book about football.

The protagonist is a high school senior. He plays defense for the football team - which has been undefeated for 4 straight seasons.

His home life is a bit of a mess, and so is his best friend.

It was a surprisingly engaging book!

I picked it up to vet for lit circle choices in my classroom, and it doesn't quite meet what I want for that, but I am glad that I read it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

How it Went Down

By Kekla Magoon
325 pages

Tariq Johnson was shot outside of a convenience store and then the shooter drove off. The shooter was a white man in a predominantly black neighborhood, and was released by police the next day.
The book explores the impact of this event on a community, and it also explores the questions of equity, justice, and racism.
There are 18 distinct viewpoints that the story is told from - which at first was a bit confusing; however, the characters are each so vivid that it becomes easy to follow.
This book was engaging, affecting, and a quick read. I picked it up because I'm thinking of adding it to the curriculum As a lit circle book.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold
328 pages

It's bittersweet and sad. The protagonist is murdered as the book begins, and the story follows the aftermath her death causes for her friends and family.

I read this in one day.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


George Orwell

I reread this recently, in one of those one line sites. I was really frustrated because the end of part 2 chapter 9 was cut off and the next chapter was missing. I had to spark note those to remember what happened so that I could keep reading.

I love this book; it's one of my favorites.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Of Fire and Stars

By Audrey Coulthurst

January Owlcrate

Double point of view first person. Usually this is a turn off for me in books, but I honestly didn't even really notice until just now.

Both princesses are likeable, and the Prince isn't the worst thing ever. In all, the characters felt very round and real. No clear good and evil, just people making choices that they think are right (or know are wrong...) and dealing with the consequences.

The magic in this world is interesting and there are a lot of things that aren't fully explained. The worldbuilding is rich.

The plot comes to a satisfying conclusion. As I got closer and closer to the end of the book I was really worried that the author was setting up for a sequel, because I couldn't see the way out of the mess! But it was wrapped up well.

Stealing Snow

By Danielle Paige

This one is a retelling of The Snow Queen. Our protagonist starts in a mental institution. Sometimes I wonder if she ever got out or if the whole thing was her psychotic breakdown. Still, interesting world and magical system.

Vassa in the Night

By Sarah Porter
Hardback - Owlcrate

Fantasy/retelling - Baba Yaga.

Super neat book. Replete with the most amazing and lush personification. Great story. The protagonist, assisted by a small magical doll, has to survive three days and nights working in an enchanted supermarket in chicken legs. For a witch.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Great line!


By AG Howard

It's a Phantom of the Opera retelling. That's not a favorite of mine to begin with. I didn't love it.

The characters were okay - but Rune especially was kind of obnoxious. The concept was interesting and the setting was neat- but I just didn't really buy the romance or care much about what happened.

The text was red, so that was cool.


Neverland/Peter Pan retelling

It wasn't what I wanted. It wasn't bad. I liked the idea that the island stole memories. I disliked the Queen - her character and her role in the story.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Research class reading

Doing homework for my first PhD class - research. Came across this term: Paradigm Wars.
Sounds awesome.
I need to work it in a story somehow.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


By Gail Carriger

370 pages

This book was a gift from my Owlcrate Secret Santa.

I had never heard of the series before (this is #1) but I am in love!

It's set in Victorian England - and is deliciously steampunky.

The protagonist is a spinster - not beautiful in the way that society demands. She's also smart (a bluestocking) assertive, and completely lacking in soul (- it has perks!).

Society has embraced werewolves, vampires, and ghosts; however while stealing a quiet moment at a ball, Alexia is rudely accosted by a vampire who has no apparent knowledge of manners, acceptable dress, or the rules of comportment.

She kills him in self defense. With her hair stick. And parasol.

And thus is she sucked into the mystery of where he came from, where others have disappeared to, and how the supernatural are made. Along the way, she is helped (and is distracted by) the local Alpha Werewolf.

The book made me laugh, I'm a good way, and I'm definitely interested in reading the other books - although the story did come to a satisfactory conclusion.

This book is what I wanted Jane and the Damned to be.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Vindictive Punctuation (poem)

Poisoned Apple's
Poetry by Christie Heppermann


By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


599 pages

I've been reading this book for weeks. I read 6 other books while I read this book.

On the surface - it's amazing; I especially love the crazy formatting.

Kady Grant - whose name I often forgot while reading and usually just mentally revered to as ByteMe - is part of a tag tag fugitive fleet...

Wait, it's not Battlestar Galactica.

Anyway, the refugee fleet is laboriously trying to survive and make it to safety while another ship hunts them down.

But - there is a contagion spreading through the fleet. Also, the battleship guarding them suffered major damage during the initial skirmish, rendering their systems faulty.

I had some trouble getting into it. Everything about it did seem compelling, but the way it was told - through transcripts etc. - gave me a bit too much distance from the characters. It didn't feel urgent to me. 

However, it did keep me coming back to it, and the last third is when I really got into the swing of it.

I know that there is a sequel/second book (oh, this is the start of a trilogy) however, I don't know that I feel the burning need to go get the next installment.

Baking Buttermilk bread-

Today I woke up and knew that all I wanted to do was bake and read.

So I tried to make buttermilk honey bread.

I used this recipe - which was literally the first one to come up on a Google search.

First, I couldn't find the yeast.
Well I found the jar in the spice cabinet - expired and open and unrefrigerated. Thought about using it anyway - but then I found the new and sealed and unexpired jar hiding in the pantry. Yay!

So I threw out the foamy experiment of old yeast and started fresh.

Next I needed to add buttermilk. Our powdered buttermilk had gone bad.
I threw it away.
I considered giving up.
I looked up substitutes for buttermilk.
You can do it, apparently, by adding a little white vinegar to normal milk.

So I made bread.

I burned the tops a bit - but I like it that way.


Howl's Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones

I read this book today. I got up around 9 and alternated between reading and baking bread. 6 hours later - done.

It was cute, though I wish it hasn't turned out so love story in the end.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Monster Calls

By Ness

The protagonist is a 13 year old boy whose mother has cancer. He has horrible nightmares and starts talking to monster who manifests from the yew tree in his back yard.

It made me cry.
So much.

...such an amazing book.

And it is also full of pretty art.

Throne of Glass Series

Also Maas

All of them up through Empire of Storms - but not Assassin's Blade (prequel novellas).

Interesting plot, but a bit basic - light versus dark blah blah blah. The characters are neat - I love Manon the Ironteeth Witch so much! - and there is some complexity to the storyline.

What a cliffhanger!
And I don't think that the next one is out until September 2017. Pout.

A Court of...

Thorns and Roses
Mist and Fury

By Maas

Good books! I found the fairy tale retelling elements to the first one kind of distracting - but the world is great and I adore some of the characters.
Excited to read the next one in May.