Goodbye April & hello May!
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel & I’m running toward it…
April seemed to drag on despite the days flying by. Does that even make sense? Like I’ve mentioned before, my days are filled with homeschooling, home projects, mask making, and reading. I’ve been doing my best to fill my hours to ease the COVID-19 anxiety.
I received the notification that I will be returning to work next week, which was welcome news. I’m ready to get back a little bit of normalcy in my life. Thankfully, our library system is reopening in phases. Our first phase will be employees only (3-5 employees in the building at one time) and offering curb-side service to our patrons. As of now, we will not open our doors to the public until June 1st at the earliest. At that point in time, we will be limiting the number of patrons allowed in the building. It is definitely going to be a learning curve to see what my new work normal is going to entail. I’m looking forward to adapting & rising to the occasion.
» Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
As per usual, Mindy McGinnis puts out another harrowing YA book. I love survival stories, so I enjoyed this story about a girl that has gotten lost in the woods. Be Not Far From Me was uncomfortable to read at certain points.
» Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker
This was a sweet story about two kids that form a friendship while hanging around an abandoned lot. The first half of this book didn’t grab me and moved far too slowly. I enjoyed the second half of this book a lot better than the first half.
» Keeper of Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1) by Shannon Messenger
An awesome MG fantasy! I cannot wait to continue on with this series. I’d recommend this to fans of Harry Potter.
» Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman
I read this for one of my book clubs. I think the author was attempting to write a book that would charm readers with eccentric characters & a humorous plotline, but don’t think it delivered. Instead of being funny, the story felt odd & forced.
» A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry
I think the author did a tremendous job writing a book from a wolf’s perspective. You can tell the author did extensive research into wolves & their behaviors. While I think this animal perspective was very well done, I didn’t think the plotline was all that entertaining.
» The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz #1) by L. Frank Baum
I’ve decided to challenge myself to read more children’s classics in 2020. To kick start this challenge, I started with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This was a delightful read! I was surprised to learn that the slippers were actually silver instead of ruby red… mind blown!
» SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is a must read for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. While you don’t HAVE to read Speak to read SHOUT, I feel like it makes a bigger impact if you read Speak prior to this. If you didn’t know, SHOUT is Anderson’s memoir told in verse.
» Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen
This is a guilty pleasure type of read. Actually, it reminded me a bit of Crazy Rich Asians a bit. It is a tad racy for a YA book… So I’d probably recommend for older YA readers that are 16+
» Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2) by Shannon Messenger
I am LOVING this MG fantasy series. While these books are a bit chunky, don’t let the page count deter you. I flew through the first two books in this series this month. Also, I’m happy to report that this second installment does NOT suffer from “second book syndrome.”
» Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson
Nooks & Crannies is an excellent MG historical mystery. Some of the elements of this story gave me Matilda mixed with A Series of Unfortunate Events vibes. The audiobook is well narrated.
» The Penderwicks (The Penderwicks #1) by Jeanne Birdsall
Goodreads Challenge Update: 46 books!
*I know it says 47, but I finished The Last (Endling #1) on May 1st*
If you were ever curious what a bookworm’s quarantine stress shopping spree looks like, here you go…
» The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1) by Kiersten White
There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.
Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.
To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.
Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?
» Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
The story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.
From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.
When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?
» Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.
When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.
But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.
Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.
» Girls Like Us by Randi Pink
Set in the summer of 1972, this moving YA historical novel is narrated by teen girls from different backgrounds with one thing in common: Each girl is dealing with pregnancy.
Four teenage girls. Four different stories. What they all have in common is that they’re dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
In rural Georgia, Izella is wise beyond her years, but burdened with the responsibility of her older sister, Ola, who has found out she’s pregnant. Their young neighbor, Missippi, is also pregnant, but doesn’t fully understand the extent of her predicament. When her father sends her to Chicago to give birth, she meets the final narrator, Susan, who is white and the daughter of an anti-choice senator.
Randi Pink masterfully weaves four lives into a larger story – as timely as ever – about a woman’s right to choose her future.
» The Island of the Sea Women by Lisa See
Set on the Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follows Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls from very different backgrounds, as they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective. Over many decades—through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, the Korean War, and the era of cellphones and wet suits for the women divers—Mi-ja and Young-sook develop the closest of bonds. Nevertheless, their differences are impossible to ignore: Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, forever marking her, and Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers. After hundreds of dives and years of friendship, forces outside their control will push their relationship to the breaking point.
This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a unique and unforgettable culture, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.
» The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
A music-loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.
Melati Ahmad looks like your typical moviegoing, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied.
But there are things that Melati can’t protect her mother from. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chinese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her mother become separated by a city in flames.
With a 24-hour curfew in place and all lines of communication down, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing.
» Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
Nadia’s family is forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria, when the Arab Spring sparks a civil war in this timely coming-of-age novel from award-winning author N.H. Senzai.
Silver and gold balloons. A birthday cake covered in pink roses. A new dress.
Nadia stands at the center of attention in her parents’ elegant dining room. This is the best day of my life, she thinks. Everyone is about to sing “Happy Birthday,” when her uncle calls from the living room, “Baba, brothers, you need to see this.” Reluctantly, she follows her family into the other room. On TV, a reporter stands near an overturned vegetable cart on a dusty street. Beside it is a mound of smoldering ashes. The reporter explains that a vegetable vendor in the city of Tunis burned himself alive, protesting corrupt government officials who have been harassing his business. Nadia frowns.
It is December 17, 2010: Nadia’s twelfth birthday and the beginning of the Arab Spring. Soon anti-government protests erupt across the Middle East and, one by one, countries are thrown into turmoil. As civil war flares in Syria and bombs fall across Nadia’s home city of Aleppo, her family decides to flee to safety. Inspired by current events, this novel sheds light on the complicated situation in Syria that has led to an international refugee crisis, and tells the story of one girl’s journey to safety.
» The Two Princesses of Bamarre (The Two Princesses of Bamarre #1) by Gail Carson Levine
Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys.
But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys – along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending.
» The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre (The Two Princesses of Bamarre 0.5) by Gail Carson Levine
In this compelling and thought-provoking fantasy set in the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Newbery Honor-winning author Gail Carson Levine introduces a spirited heroine who must overcome deeply rooted prejudice—including her own—to heal her broken country.
Peregrine strives to be the Latki ideal—and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, who she knows to be weak and cowardly. The Lakti always wage war, and the battlefield will give her the chance to show her valor.
But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is a Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti might, free her people from tyranny.
» A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman
An enchanting historical fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Thanhha Lai’s Newbery Honor-winning Inside Out and Back Again
No one comes to the Second World on purpose. The doorway between worlds opens only when least expected. The Raft King is desperate to change that by finding the doorway that will finally take him and the people of Raftworld back home. To do it, he needs Pip, a young boy with an incredible gift—he can speak to fish; and the Raft King is not above kidnapping to get what he wants. Pip’s sister Kinchen, though, is determined to rescue her brother and foil the Raft King’s plans.
This is but the first of three extraordinary stories that collide on the high seas of the Second World. The second story takes us back to the beginning: Venus and Swimmer are twins captured aboard a slave ship bound for Jamaica in 1781. They save themselves and others from a life of enslavement with a risky, magical plan—one that leads them from the shark-infested waters of the first world to the second. Pip and Kinchen will hear all about them before their own story is said and done. So will Thanh and his sister Sang, who we meet in 1976 on a small boat as they try to escape post-war Vietnam. But after a storm and a pirate attack, they’re not sure they’ll ever see shore again. What brings these three sets of siblings together on an adventure of a lifetime is a little magic, helpful sea monsters and that very special portal, A Crack in the Sea.
» The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead … but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!
» Ballet Shoes (Shoes #1) by Noel Streatfeild
Pauline, Petrova and Posy are orphans determined to help out their new family by joining the Children’s Academy of Dancing and Stage Training. But when they vow to make a name for themselves, they have no idea it’s going to be such hard work! They launch themselves into the world of show business, complete with working papers, the glare of the spotlight, and practice, practice, practice! Pauline is destined for the movies. Posy is a born dancer. But practical Petrova finds she’d rather pilot a plane than perform a pirouette. Each girl must find the courage to follow her dream.
» Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .
Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.
You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.
» The Library of Ever (The Library of Ever #1) by Zeno Alexander
With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored–until she discovers a secret doorway in the library and becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.
In her new job, Lenora finds herself helping future civilizations figure out the date, relocates lost penguins, uncovers the city with the longest name on Earth, and more in a quest to help patrons. But there are sinister forces at work that want to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.
» Chains (Seeds of America #1) by Laurie Halse Anderson
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.
» The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.
One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.
The acclaimed author of The Witch’s Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.
Which books did you read in April?
Have you read any of the books I read or hauled this month? If so, what did you think?
Did you buy any books? If so, which ones?
Comment below & let me know 🙂