Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 End of the Year Survey

I was so excited to find this survey from The Perpetual Page Turner! Let the fun begin!


Number Of Books You Read: 29
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Fiction

1. Best Book You Read In 2019?

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

Blanca & Roja by Anna Marie McLemore

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

5. Best series you started in 2019?

The Diviners by Libba Bray

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?

Rosalyn Eves

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

11. Most memorable character of 2019?

Alaska Young (Looking for Alaska by John Green)

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?

Looking for Alaska by John Green

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read?

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

15. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?

Shortest: Final Exam by Shaun J. McLaughlin
Longest: The Diviners by Libba Bray

16. Book That Shocked You The Most

No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor

17. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Death and Lisabeth Lewis in Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

18. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Pax and Peter in Pax by Sara Pennypacker

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Looking for Alaska by John Green

20. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

The Mosaic By Chris Keaton

21. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?

Gabor from Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

22. Best 2019 debut you read?

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

23. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

24. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

25. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019?

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

26. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Looking for Alaska by John Green

27. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?

Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison

28. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019?

The Perpetual Page Turner

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2019?

The Top Three Reasons I Love The Little Prince

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2019:?

I don't really take pictures of books unless my dog or cat is cuddling with one. I actually intend to work on my Bookstagram skills during 2020!

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?

I didn't get to do anything fun. Money was too tight this year.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?

Coming back to blogging after personal hardships.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Having to set blogging aside because of personal hardships.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Review: Silence the Echo by Alea Carroll

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I always wish for at least one comment on my reviews. I'm still trying to get there!

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Out of Print

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Not even close.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
The Frost Eater by Carol Beth Anderson

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?

None yet...

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020?

I would like to finish a book a week and I would love to get at least one comment on each of my posts!

6. A 2020 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

Unfortunately, not applicable.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Review: Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

About the Book 

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Published on June 1, 1999 by Penguin Books

GoodReads Description

Meet Bridget Jones—a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:

a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise
"123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)..."

Bridget Jones' Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you'll find yourself shouting, "Bridget Jones is me!"

My Thoughts

I picked up this book at GoodWill for a quarter.  I'm glad that is all I spent on this book.  I don't normally review books that I don't enjoy very much, but I'm curious to see your opinions of this book in the comments below.  I had really hoped to enjoy this book because the movie was decent.  Unfortunately, this is the rare case in which the book is actually better than the movie.

Although I found many of the characters either sweet or endearing, they were all two dimensional.  I know that this book is meant to be in a diary format, but that should not mean that there are no details or no specific aspects of the adventure.  If I kissed a guy who is described like Mark Darcy, I would be sharing every little moment and my favorite parts so that I could read about them over and over again.  I would not merely skim over the wonderful parts and explain the dull ones in detail. 

I did like that, as in most diaries, there is not much effort put into world building.  This was most definitely true to form and I do give Fielding credit there.  Unfortunately, it is as though she forgot that many of her readers have never been to England.  There was absolutely nothing to go by.  A reader should not have to research every place that the character goes in order to receive the smallest mental image of the location.

I know that my opinion is rather negative, but there was one thing that I truly enjoyed about this book.  It is funny.  It is easy to see some of the mistakes Bridget makes as my own.  I believe that the comedy is the main reason that so many readers think so highly of this novel.

My Rating

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

About the Book

Doll Bones by Holly Black
Published on May 7, 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

GoodReads Description

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice.

But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

My Thoughts

Lately, it seems that I have been reading books with the intention of bulking up my classroom library instead of bringing attention to books that have been more recently published.  Doll Bones is another book that I read in the interest of student enjoyment.  Luckily, this book did not disappoint me.

Zach was most definitely my favorite character.  I loved that he was not only conflicted, but conflicted about things that many of my students deal with.  This also made me chuckle a bit because the things that he considers the most important to him are definitely not the supernatural events happening around him.  It's so typical for a middle school kid to have his head cemented in his own world while the real world goes on around him.

Although I liked the realism of Zach's character, I didn't feel like the romance between him and another character made sense.  It just didn't seem necessary or planned out.  The novel did not need this after thought of an idea to progress.

The supernatural aspect of this novel was very well-written.  Another reviewer (sorry, I don't remember where I read this and I can't seem to find the quote) mentioned that they liked that the focus was on the kids and not on the supernatural things happening to them.  I can't agree with this more.  Black does a phenomenal job creating a world that happened to have magic in it.  Her focus is in the exact right place in this book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It definitely seems like something my middle school students will enjoy and has entered my classroom library.

My Rating

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

About the Book

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Published by Speak on December 28, 2006

GoodReads Description

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.

My Thoughts

I read this book because I knew that one of my students read it several times a year and loved it.  I wanted to know what drew her to this book so much that at one point she stole it from the school library and refused to let it go.  I did not read this book as a way to understand something that had happened in my own life.  I did not read this book to help myself grieve and work through some of the emotional parts of losing a student in a tragic car accident only four months ago.  I'm grateful for the ways that this novel, particular the ending, helped me to do so.  The situation was definitely very different, but the healing was much the same.

Green's characters are absolutely exquisite.  I was enraptured by how realistic all of them are.  In fact, I pictured several of my own students acting just the way that Pudge, the Colonel, Alaska, Takumi, and Lara would.  This intricate characterization held me so close to the book that I loathed having to set it down to go to bed.  I grabbed this novel at every moment I possibly could.  

Of all the characters, Pudge was my favorite.  Instead of having a main character who is forced to feel a certain way because the novel needs him/her to, Pudge's emotions are real and raw.  At no time did I sense that he was simply written into the part.  My favorite ting about Pudge is the way that he is constantly seeking more.  He would have been able to happily stay in Florida and could have escaped both the love and pain that were Alaska Young.  I think, however, that he truly came to life because of her.

The relationship between Alaska and Pudge bothered me just a little bit, but I'm sure that it was meant to.  It seems that Alaska has no real shame about leading Pudge on, whether she's drunk or not.  However, I hated this as much as I loved it.  After all, no person and no relationship are perfect.  There are several Alaska's in the world.  This layer of their relationship and Alaska's character lent another level of reality to the novel.

Despite desperately trying not to include spoilers, I must add that my absolute favorite part of this novel was the end.  Not because it was finally over, but because this is where Pudge really matured emotionally.  This is where he brings up the answers to a lot of questions that anyone who has ever dealt with a death needs to hear.  It is the most natural and most poetic conclusion possible.

I will be reading this book again and again, but have not yet decided if I will put a copy in my classroom.  While I believe that this book can and will help students through difficult times in their lives, I'm not sure that I want to have 6th and 7th graders easily reach this book. I'm not sure what our community standards have to say about a book including underage sex, drinking, and delinquent behavior.  If any teachers are reading this, please leave a comment with your suggestions! I would love to hear how you have handled this in your classroom.

My Rating