June 2016 Wrap-Up!

In my effort to teach "the kids" that you're never too old to learn/ make horrible, soul-crushing mistakes, I deleted my post that I was adding to each month from January to May. It wasn't really for anyone but me, and the reading challenge I was in, but it still hurts, you know? My life is a Sia album. [Possibly a tad dramatic, but I love her right now, and she helps me wallow...]

For my Reading Challenge I am reading "Backlist Books" that are a year or older at the time of my perusal. Here's the reading challenge:

And here's my pretty amazing reads THIS MONTH!!! 

JUNE 2016

June 21, 2016

Title: Ted Saves the World (Ted Saves the World #1)
Author: Bryan Cohen
Publisher: Self-published
Published: 2014
Genre(s): urban-fantasy,YA
Synopsis (via goodreads.com): 

Ted Finley was your typical, wise-cracking teenager… …until an otherworldly force gave him abilities beyond his wildest dreams.
After an unintended public display of his powers, Ted has become an instant celebrity and the target of a gang of undead thugs.
Sixteen-year-old Erica LaPlante was six-feet-under when a blast of blue light brought her body back to life. Armed with the consciousness of a fierce warrior, Erica must keep her teenage urges at bay to protect the newfound hero.
When sparks fly between Ted and Erica, Erica wants nothing more than to hide who she really is and the dangerous mission they must face. But when their school comes under attack, Ted and Erica must use everything at their disposal to save their friends, the town and... well, the world.
Ted Saves the World is a YA sci-fi/fantasy novel that features fast-paced action, terrifying horror, side-splitting comedy and a touch of romance. Author Bryan Cohen has watched every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it shows in the first book of his new series.  
It would be rude to say this is a poor-man's Buffy. But it kinda is.

This is a good, light read. The characters have good chemistry, but the focus on teenage hormones getting in the way of saving the world was annoying (but that always annoys me).

Some good lines, could have tighter writing. Would be a good YA urban-fantasy beach-read type book...

~ SJ


June 18, 2016

Title: The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)

Author: Graeme Simsion

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: 2013

Genre(s): humour, romance, Austrailian

Synopsis (via goodreads.com):  

Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy.

Click HERE for my full review!! 
 ~ SJ


June 15, 2016

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Author: Sherman Alexie

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published: 2007

Genre(s): YA, contemporary, Aboriginal, semi-autobiographical

Synopsis (via goodreads.com): 

In his first book for young adults, Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. This heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written tale, featuring poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, is based on the author's own experiences. It chronicles contemporary adolescence as seen through the eyes of one Native American boy.

'Excellent in every way' Neil Gaiman

"Alexie’s writings are meant to evoke sadness, but at the same time he uses humor and pop culture that leaves the readers with a sense of respect, understanding, and compassion."

There was a point when reading this where I instantly went from thinking it was, "pretty good," to "HOW HAVE I NOT READ THIS YET!?"

My Full Review
~ SJ


June 12, 2016

Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M.L. Stedman
Publisher: Scribner
Published: January 2012
Genre(s): historical fiction, Austalian, post-WWI
Synopsis (via goodreads.com):  

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.


This is a really interesting read. I actually probably wouldn't have picked it up from reading the synopsis, but a mentor said I HAVE to read it. And while I was expecting a bit of a different plot (?) it turned out to be an excellent read.

My Full Review

~ SJ


 June 12, 2016

Title: Hyperbole and a Half
Author: Allie Brosh
Publisher: Touchstone
Published: October 2013
Genre(s): humour, comics, mental-illness, memoir
Synopsis (BY BROSH via goodreads.com):  

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!


~ SJ

June 6, 2016 

Title: The Silent Sister
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: January 2014
Genre(s): mystery, contemporary
Synopsis (via goodreads.com):  

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.



Ok, I'm hopping on a soap-box here: just because a plot happens to have a death with mysterious circumstances DOES NOT MAKE IT THE NEXT Gone Girl!!

This was a pretty good mystery, perhaps a "soft suspense" novel, if that were to exist. If you enjoy a nice read, with a horribly codependent protagonist (understandably, in hindsight) then u will enjoy this. I would even have given it 4 stars if it hadn't been on a bunch of "Must-read thrillers" lists!

If GG, or The Girl on the Train were too stressful for you, this one is a much easier paced book, and you'll probably like it better!

3.5 stars




June 3, 2016

Title: The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories #1)
Author: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Published: 2012
Genre(s): children's, fairy tales, contemporary, humour
Synopsis (via goodreads.com):  

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
"The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

Well, I know what I thought of this book, but was surprised at some of the haters' reviews! It's not mind-blowing literature, obviously, but it's a really fun adventure that's written by a young guy FOR KIDS. I realize that the Narnia books etc. are also written for kids but are maybe more poignant than Land of Stories. (The whole underlying Christianity message in Narnia, for instance...) This is not to say that The Wishing Spell doesn't have meaningful messages!

If you found Alex annoying, than you probably weren't lonely in middle school. At one point Conner, grunting with frustration, says, "helping this fairy isn't going to take away bad memories you have from school, Alex." And yet,
Something about this place made Alex feel as if everything were right in the world. It gave her more hope, excitement, and happiness with every step she took. It was paradise.
Which, as some lonely kids need, is a bit of escapism from some harsh realities!

Conner, too, doesn't just represent a "jock" stereotype, but a struggling student. When defending a fairy for making a mistake, he rants, "Listen... I'm not perfect either. I try to be the best person or the best student possible, but every once in a while I slip up... My best effort isn't as good as someone else's might be, and no one should have the right to scold or punish me or publicly humiliate me for it!"

I read this thinking of my young nephews and knew that they would enjoy it merely because Colfer uses modern day colloquialisms to describe the twins AND the fairy tale characters. At one point, one of the queens yells, "if I were Cinderella none of this crap would be happening!" Is that great writing? Nope. Is it kind of funny and engaging? Definitely. (Although parents might need to think of a different word for "floozy.")

Also, I give huge props to Colfer for his wonderful world-building, and twists on certain origin stories, as well as what happens after "happily ever after!" Writers need to start somewhere, and he obviously has a passion for story-telling!

Bottom line: This is a fun, action-packed fairy tale scavenger hunt that kids (and their parents) will enjoy.

~ SJ

~ FIN ~

No comments:

Post a Comment