Top Ten Tuesday: (2014 Years) June 10, 2014

Here we are, dear readers, at the half way point in the year.  Which, if I were a good bookish blogger would mean I would be on book number 24 at this point.  I am not on book number 24 at this point.  That’s life folks.  Of the books I’ve read (or are actively reading at this moment) here is a list of the best.

Top Ten Books of 2014 (thus far)

  1. Burning for Revenge (Tomorrow Series #5) by John Marsden
    First of all, I have been loving this series in the first place, but the fifth book is perhaps the most intense plot line and action / adventure so far (I’m halfway through the sixth at the moment).  This is really the opportunity for the main characters to come into their own, being welcomed into the war by proper authorities gives them a sort of agency in the fight for Australia, and ultimately makes them adults and soliders in their own right.
  2. Insurgent (Divergent Series #2) by Veronica Roth
    I haven’t completed the final installment yet, but I found this novel to be sprisingly good.  Generally the second novel in a trilliogy can be filler- perpetuating the plot but not really enriching the story.  Insurgent was an exception to this rule, giving us a lovely independant plot, full of rich characterizations, real emotions and the harsh realities of a heronie not getting what she wants.
  3. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (reading-in-progress)
    The idea of a story set in the poorest slums of Mumbai may not be a great beach read, but Katherine Boo has turned this tragic story into one where elegant prose illuminates the small rays of hope and dignity found within a landfill town.  The story itself reminds us that life’s little details are futility precious.
  4. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
    Okay, last years NYT Best Seller is probably on everyone’s 2014 list because of the movie, but I re-read on a sleepless night a few months ago (before the hoopla for the movie got so intense) and cried a bucket of tears.  Heartwrenching and honest, and a reminder of the life behind the diagnosis- this is the book Green will be remembered for.
  5. My Story by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart
    An early memoir, I was expecting Mormon propaganda, but instead got a straight to the facts no fluff, filler, or sugarcoating account of the worst year of a young girls life.  Smart (with Stewarts help) narrates her time in captivity in a way that reminds us not only of the horrors of her captors, but also of the inadequate nature of the response system.
  6. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
    Okay, truth is its c**p from a literary point of view, but I still turn to it like Lays Origional potato chips.  (Read my actual review here).
  7. The Butler by Wil Haygood
    The origination of the Lee Daniels / Oprah Winfrey film this fast book is a more journalistic approach to the story of one man who went from a field slave to watching the first black President elected in the US in his lifetime, all while standing by watching history unfold every day.  This book is a great reminder that domestic work is not forgone, or forgotten.
  8. Growing Up Duggar by Jill, Jana, Jinger, and Jessa Duggar
    An enlightening memoir / instructional on the highly Evangelical beliefs and teachings in the Duggar Family (of 19 Kids and Counting Fame).  I picked this up in part because of my interest in the subculture of Extreme Christianity in the US, but kept with it largely because once you remove the biblical passages, they open a lively and important discussion about the way we choose to interact with the opposite sex.  I dont always agree with them, but they are some of the few people in the world even bothering to discuss this topic.
  9. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (book-in-progress)
    Half science fiction, half woe-is-me teen lit this book is far from high literature, but it never claims to be anything other than one big game of “what if.”  What if Cinderella lived in the future?  What if cyborgs existed?  What if there was an epidemic?  What if Cinderella could actually offer something to the prince, more than a pretty face and a dance in the woods?  What if this re-imagining ignites the love of fairy tales for a whole new generation of cell phone carrying, internet using tweens?
  10. Tuna fish on Banana bread with extra Mustard and Sauerkraut” by me
    Okay that’s not a book.  But I wildly amuse myself, and I’ve started telling people that instead of “I dont know.”  My favorite part is most people at work walk and talk and so they never notice, or they make it all the way down the hall before turning back and asking.

 

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday: (Summer TBR) June 3, 2014

Oh the summer… days spent in the yard, book in hand, pretending you don’t hear the call of chores from the house while you devour novel after novel.  The time of the year when you are allowed, as an adult, to be seen with a book filled with something other than literary merit and best seller status.  So here, dear friend, are the ones I plan on being lost in this summer.

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  1. The Other Side of Dawn (Tomorrow Series Book 6) by John Marsden
    The war begins to draw to a close, and Ellie and the crew dig in for one last novel battle.  This is their last chance to stay alive, stay together, and stay Australian.
  2. Allegiant (Divergent Book 3) (Divergent Book 3) by Veronica Roth
    Will Tris change everything like Katness did?  Or will this become another sad disappointment in the long chain of girl power trilogy conclusions?  And just who are these allies?  [yes this was on my Spring TBR Top 10]
  3. Behind the Beautiful Forever’s by Katherine Boo
    The Nerdfighter Book Club Summer Selection.  While the subject of poverty and social class is heavy, Boo’s writing has delicate and rings so personal I almost feel like I am personally being told this story.  {clearly I’ve already started it}
  4. Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith
    It’s all in the Amazon description “Warning: This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.”  [yes this was on my Spring TBR Top 10]
  5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
    I don’t really know what this book is, or why it is already purchased and on my kindle… but there it is, staring at me every time I reach for something else, and it seems like it should be read.  [yes this was on my Spring TBR Top 10]
  6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling
    Harry and the Gang try to solve a Scooby Mystery.  This is my slowest HP Book, largely because it just doesnt move at the pace I would like it to.  There’s a lot of world building, which is great… later… when I have the details for all the exciting stuff.
  7. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly
    After Pemberley Digital’s announcement about their new project, Frankenstein M.D. I’m ready to turn back to an old favorite.  The doctor, the monster, the gothic horror- it’s a better fall read, I think, but I want to be ready to see what the Lizzie Bennett Diaries crew has in store for me!
  8. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
    Speaking of Pemberley Digital and adaptations… Pride and Prejudice was adapted into The Lizzie Bennet Diaries which has been adapted into this book.  Christina at A Reader of Fictions gave it a lovely review.  And it has Darcy’s letter.  Ladies and Gentlemen pre-order now.
  9. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
    I accepted the conclusion of 13 Little Blue Envelopes with little complaint, though I always wanted to know what was in that last envelope… and now I’m gonna sit down, power through and find out!
  10. Please Ignore Vera Diez by A.S. King
    This just came in my Book Riot Quarterly Box, and I’m excited to dive into it, though I don’t really know what it’s about.  Apparently it’s got flow charts, and I love a good flow chart.

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag or Ten Books

March & April 2014: Wrap Up

(double duty, because I forgot to do wrap up/ start up last month)
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Cherry Blossoms in the Spring (c) S.M.Lennox

Things Read:

Things Watched:

  • (live) Game of Thrones: Season 4 (Television- HBO)
  • (liveThe Autobiography of Jane Eyre (YouTube)
  • (live) 19 Kids and Counting (Television- TLC)
  • (live) The Little Couple (Television- TLC)
  • Divergent (Film- 2014)
  • Captain America: Winter Soldier (Film- 2014)
  • Heartland: Season 6 (Television on DVD- 2013)
  • I Give It A Year (Film on Netflix- 2013)
  • The Big Wedding (Film on Netflix- 2013)
  • Hopelessly in June (Film on Television- 2011)
  • (unfinished) How I Met Your Mother: Season 1 (Television on Netflix- 2006)
  • (unfinished) Veronica Mars: Season 1 (Television on Amazon Prime- 2004)
  • (unfinished) Lab Rats: Season 1 (Television on Netflix- 2012)

Blogs Posted:

28 (March 2014)

Crisis Adverted
My Bookish Bucket List (Top Ten Tuesday)
Don’t Kiss Me, I’m Scottish-American
Canned Pressure
Cousin T and Auntie L on Wedding Day (Wordless Wednesday)

48 (April 2014)

X Marks the Spot (A to Z Challenge)
Rescuers (A to Z Challenge)
My Bookish Wish List (Top Ten Tuesday)
The Light Before the Dark (Flash Fiction)
My Little Life Coaches

Major Events:

Top Ten Tuesday: (Spring TBR) March 18, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 To Be Read List

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  1. The Dead of Night (Tomorrow Series Book 2) by John Marsden
    REREAD: As the war burns like a bush fire in Australia, how with the kids cope with missing friends, family, and the end of the world as they know it?
  2. A Killing Frost (Tomorrow Series Book 3) by John Marsden
    REREAD: Facing capture and imprisonment, the kids most no longer need to fight to survive… but now they must come to terms with their choices.
  3. Darkness Be My Friend (Tomorrow Series Book 4) by John Marsden
    REREAD: Recruited to officially join the war, the kids have to choose between safety, and the opportunity to face their demons again.
  4. Burning For Revenge (Tomorrow Series Book 5) by John Marsden
    Abandoned by the very allies who returned them to the warfront, the kids have to face guerrilla war again… and this time, they’ve decided if it’s suicide, they are okay with it.
  5. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, narrated by Anne Hathaway
    A classic tale of girl gets swallowed by nature and finds a supernatural world… narrated by one of the most wonderfully expressive female voices in Hollywood.
  6. Insurgent (Divergent Book 2) by Veronica Roth
    Even the title fascinates me- immoderately turning your hero into a morally objectionable player in war, how will Tris affect this world where she never fit in?
  7. Allegiant (Divergent Book 3) (Divergent Book 3) by Veronica Roth
    Will Tris change everything like Katness did?  Or will this become another sad disappointment in the long chain of girl power trilogy conclusions?  And just who are these allies?
  8. Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith
    It’s all in the Amazon description “Warning: This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.”
  9. Lexicon by Max Barry
    I received Lexicon from my Book Riot Quarterly Subscription in January… and I keep meaning to pick it up from the coffee table where it has sat since…
  10. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
    I don’t really know what this book is, or why it is already purchased and on my kindle… but there it is, staring at me every time I reach for something else, and it seems like it should be read.

See any patterns there???  I think I might be on a bit of an action-adventure sort of role, with sides of awkward youth and a depressing adult life status.

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten Books in Your Spring To Be Read List”

Top Ten Tuesday: (Books in YA) March 11, 2014

Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in Young Adult Literature

For this topic, I made rules for myself to ensure a diverse list.  Really, the top 7 would be Harry Potter books, and then we’d round out the house with John Green.  But that’s not really in the spirit of these sort of things- so I only allowed myself one book per author and series.  That being said… any of these authors or series could be and should be read in their entirety (for most of them I have or am in the process of doing so) because they are all awesome.

  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green.  A poignant portrait of youthful indiscretion, and the consequences of impending adulthood.  The book sincerely examines friendship, romance, growing up, and the after effects of all of these.
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter Book 4) by J.K. Rowling.  Harry Potter should be required reading for all middle and young adults.   I chose to specifically list Goblet because it is the turning point in the series, where Harry and Voldemort really engage in the epic narrative, and the characters reach a point in their development where there is true opportunities to engage a reader with social, political, and moral issues, not just action.
  3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  A haunting exploration of the human mind, and hive culture at the heart of High School, this book is a great introduction to harder hitting literature as it discusses sexual assault, bullying, and other real world horrors.  The movie is also very good.
  4. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden.  A group of teen-aged friends heads out to camp at a beautiful spot called “Hell” and return home to find their country has been invaded.  Living and fighting as a small Resistance, these teens struggle to define themselves and their values in an age of war.  While they are instantly forced to grow up, they must come to terms with life and death, as citizens, friends and individuals.
  5. Catching Fire (Hunger Games Book 2) by Suzanne Collins.  With the world of Hunger Games well established, Catching Fire is able to explore the socio-political nature of the dictatorial world, and allows the characters to manipulate this new society they find themselves in.  It is my favorite Hunger Games book.
  6. Shade’s Children by Garth Nix.  A novel of dystopian nature, where children are left to fend for themselves after a horrible unknown has taken apart society as we know it.  Less focused on the romance and glamour of societies collapse this book is squarely in the action adventure knitty gritty reality camp.
  7. Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Another dystopian exploration of a young woman, this novel does a grand job of exploring more adult themes, including choosing one’s future, and the consequences of functioning outside the norm- while not specifically discouraging (or encouraging) young rebels.  It’s great for those who perhaps encounter things they don’t like, but aren’t ready to raise a voice about it.
  8. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.   Falling into the “it” crowd can change everything… and this novel examines how popular or desired isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  Revealing some of the truth behind the perfect posse’s facade, Chbosky enlightens outsiders about what it means to be an insider.
  9. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  A child prodigy must balance the various traits he finds in himself to be the best student he can.  Ender recognizes what he could become, and actively strives for what is right instead of what is easy.  What is most interesting is the build up this internal conflict creates as he progresses in his schooling, and ultimately in the series.
  10. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.  An adventure story of epic follow the clues treasure hunt, where the whole point is to lose your self, and find out who you really are.  I read this book at just the right moment in my life, and it has followed me ever since.

What are your top ten favorites in YA?  Do you think I’m wrong?  Or did I just add to your reading list?

XOXO Mae

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in X Genre(you pick the genre!)”