Books · Classics · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Think Children Should Read

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Books I Want My Future Children to Read.” Now, I don’t expect to have my own children in the future, so I am making these recommendations based on what I think all children should read at some point in their lives. I chose books that have taught me valuable lessons about life, the world, and growing up.

…To avoid overthinking this whole thing (What age group are we talking about? Technically they’re still children if they are under the age of 18. But wait. are they?) I’m going to make my recommendations for children under the age of 12.

  1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  5. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco
  6. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
  10. Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel

 

Do you agree with any of these? Which of these are your favorites? 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Middle Grade

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

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My rating: 3 out 5 stars

When Farah, Essie, and Alex stumble across “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” they think it’s just an ordinary board game. Much to their surprise, the game is anything but. The trio get trapped inside the game and become pawns of the mastermind, referred to as The Architect. The only way out is to play the game and win the challenges, lest they want to remain there forever. 

This was a fun middle grade read, reminiscent of Jumanji and The Hunger Games. Farah was an interesting main character. It was refreshing to see a main character with a different ethnic (Indian) background, for once. I don’t typically feel like you see a lot of diversity in middle grade fiction, so this was pretty cool. I also enjoyed the close, albeit complicated, relationship between her and her little brother, Ahmad.

The game itself brings the characters to the clockwork city of Paheli, which again was brimming with Indian culture. The game and it’s rules were pretty simple. I would have liked for it to be a little more complicated than it was, but I imagine that may have made things too confusing for young readers. The city was really interesting, as it was laid out in layers rather than being flat and horizontal. Again, I wouldn’t have minded reading more about Paheli itself.

The supporting characters were entertaining and unique, I particularly liked Henrietta Peel, leader of the lizard Resistance.

Overall, the book didn’t blow me away. It was a nice way to kill a few hours though. I’d definitely recommend it to younger readers and anyone who appreciates games.

 

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Middle Grade

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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I picked up The Gauntlet a few weeks ago at Barnes & Noble on a whim. It’s a fun read, reminiscent of Jumanji and The Hunger Games. I’m about halfway through this one already. I didn’t want to dive into anything too lengthy this week, as I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a book I pre-ordered and I want to be able to read it right away.

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What are you currently reading? 

 

Adult · Books · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Book Titles

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Unique Book Titles.” Some of the ones on my list I’ve read and some I haven’t. Either way, I enjoy their titles.

  • Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
  • All My Friends are Dead by Avery Monsen
  • Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  • I Could Pee on This And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Adult · Books · Fiction · Middle Grade · Young Adult

Goodreads Reading Challenge Progress

Friday is upon us once again! 🙂 I hope you’ve all had a good week. The past few weeks have been a little crazy for me. I’ve been crafting away and putting the final touches on my Halloween costume and dancing my ass off. Our studio is doing our annual Halloween showcase tomorrow evening, so I’ve been rehearsing quite a bit. (I’m kinda glad we’re almost done with it though. I’m quite sore and bruised at the moment!)

Earlier today I was messing around on my Goodreads page and I realized that I’m actually doing really well with my reading challenge for this year. I only set a goal of 30 books for the year. Between having a full-time job, dance, and a lot of personal issues that I’ve been dealing with, 30 seemed like a reasonable number for me. According to Goodreads I’ve already read 25 books so far, which puts me one ahead of schedule.

This isn’t a huge number compared to what I’ve been able to manage in the past and compared to some of your challenges, but I’m pretty pleased with myself anyway.

Capture 1

Capture 2

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How are your reading challenges going so far? 

Adult · Books · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade · Young Adult

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Fall Covers/Themes

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is another fun one: Ten Books with Fall Covers/Themes. Since I am obsessed with all things Halloween at the moment, all I can say in response to this week’s theme is YAY.

Don’t worry, there is nothing pertaining to pumpkin spice anything on this list.

Top Ten Books with Fall Covers/Themes

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Cemeteries are one of my favorite places to visit this time of year.

To Kill a Mockingburd by Harper Lee – I confess that I dislike this book, but the cover of this particular version feels very Fall-y to me with with colors and the tree.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackon – Creepy family and a black cat. Perfect for a Halloween read!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – The colors on this one reminds me of the leaves changing from green to orange to brown. (Obviously, the themes of the series itself are perfectly suited for Fall reading.)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving – I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory.

The Books of Elsewhere series by Jaqueline West – The series is an appropriate one as most of it takes place during Fall and around Halloween. Pus, magic, talking cats, witches, people trapped in paintings…

The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass – I actually know nothing about this book, but I’ve seen it pop up on the blogosphere and the cover is appropriate.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I love the creepy covers on these books.

Dracula by Bram Stoker – There’s no such thing as October without vampires.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – This one is a cozy, gothic-mystery to curl up with in the evenings.

Book Reviews · Books · Fiction · Middle Grade · Mystery

Book Review: The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

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My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Orphans Molly and Pip have been through some rough times. When they show up at the strange Windsor manor they are hopeful that their lives are about to get easier, but instead they only get weirder. Neither the house nor the family are what they seem. The family is pale and sickly, there’s a giant tree coming out of the house, and there’s a man roaming the halls at night. Molly can’t figure out exactly what’s going on, but she knows that if she can’t figure it out soon she and her brother will be the next to fall victim to the sinister ways of the Night Gardener. 

I really enjoyed this book. I definitely would have been creeped out by this one when I was a kid. It felt like something that belonged on the pages of Grimm’s or Poe’s tales.

Molly and Pip were good protagonists. Neither of them were the “hero” type or the “chosen one,” which I appreciated. Despite the young ages of the two, Molly and Pip struggled with some very adult problems (poverty, losing their parents, disability, etc.) and, as a result, interjected some real wisdom into the story.

The tree and the night gardener were spooky and weird. I liked the way the way the “monsters” and the house were all tied together.

Overall, this one gets a thumbs up from me. The story is good, the characters are great, and it was a fun read. The only potential problem a young reader might have with this is understanding the Irish dialect.

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That’s one book down for the Halloween read-a-thon. On to the next one!