Top 10 Tuesday: Recent Middle Grade Fantasy/ Speculative Fiction TBRs

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Middle grade fantasy is supposedly one of my favourite genres, yet it’s one I don’t seem to get around to reading very often! That genre’s the theme of this list, though I’ve decided to add the term ‘speculative fiction’ here so I include a few books that aren’t quite traditional fantasy. (Last summer I wrote a blog on my understanding of the term spec fic.) Links to GoodReads, followed by a brief note on what about the book appeals to me.

Bone Jack A Single Stone The Painting Prisoner of ice and Snow In Darkling Wood

  1. The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste – Caribbean folklore
  2. The Whipser in the Stone by Kamilla Benko – unicorns
  3. In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll – a wood with secrets
  4. Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren – “fantasy that’s equal parts Prison Break and Frozen” (via GoodReads)
  5. The Painting by Charis Cotter – ghosts and friendship
  6. A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay – mountain mines with a sinister backstory
  7. Bone Jack by Sara Crowe – dark Celtic myths (via Charlotte’s Library)
  8. The Doll’s Eye by Marina Cohen – creepy house and spooky dolls
  9. The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente – Valente wrote it
  10. The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis – dragon loves chocolate

The Whisper in the Stone The Jumbies The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart The doll's Eye The Glass Town Game

From which genre have you added the most books to your TBR lately? Are any of these books on your list?

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May 2017 Month in Review

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This post is linked up at the Monthly Round-Up Wrap-Up @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

Hello June! Lovely weather has arrived. I’ve been participating in Armchair Book Expo the past few days. Reading so many thoughtful posts and engaging with blogging friends both new and old has got me feeling exciting about blogging again. I’ll try to keep up that feeling throughout this month.

May turned out to be the first month I didn’t reach my posting goal, but I’m pleased with the reviews that I did write. I was surprised to realize I only read six books in May. But thanks to the April readathon, I remain on track to reach my mid-year target of 50 books read.

Books Finished

  1. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  2. Icemen by Mick Conefrey and Tim Jordan
  3. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
  4. Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel
  5. Drift & Dagger by Kendall Kulper
  6. In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle

Books Reviewed

Features

Shared on Twitter

Upcoming in June

A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueSaints and Misfits

  • 4 June – Armchair Book Expo concludes today (my giveaway runs until the end of the day, so check it out if you haven’t already!).
  • 13 June – Publication of Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali (Arab Indian-American hijabi MC. Might be too romance-y for my tastes…)
  • June 17 and 18 – Mini Bloggiesta
  • 27 June – Publication of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (“Two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.” – this one sounds more to my taste, even if there’s romance. Gay MC.)

How was your May? What June events or releases should I check out this month? 

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Armchair Book Expo – Giveaway

Armchair Book ExpoGiveaway day has arrived! In preparation for a cross-country move in August, I have been clearing out my bookshelves. I’ve picked four books from which you can choose your prize:

  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – “When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?”
  • Success Secrets of Sherlock Holmes: Life Lessons from the Master Detective by David Acord – “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle funneled much of his real-life genius-and the brilliance of others around him-into Sherlock Holmes, creating a character greater than the sum of his parts. In this quirky and intriguing look at the traits that made Sherlock Holmes successful, David Acord explores how to unleash our own genius.”
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – “Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.”
  • Majalis al-ilm: Reclaiming and Representing the Lives of Muslim Women by Salima Bhimani – “Through lively provocative discussions (“sessions”), thoughtful analyses, and personal creative expression, nine young people from diverse backgrounds consider their lives a modern Muslim women in Canada. With the current view of Islam in vogue in the West, Muslim women have often been presented to the mainstream as victims and products of a misogynistic religion and of barbaric societies. Majalis al-ilm: Sessions of Knowledge counters these stereotypes with stories, views, and concerns that are complex and not simplisctic. The women consider issues such as identity, gender, faith, and community. They probe the importance of Islam in their lives, and ask searching questions about its history and evolution.”

ARmchair book Expo giveaway

Giveaway terms: Open internationally to members of the online book community (i.e. you must have an active and primarily book-related blog or account on any platform). A winner will be randomly selected and announced via Twitter on Monday 5 June. You do not need to have a Twitter account to participate. I will contact the winner via e-mail. They will have 48 hours to respond; otherwise I will draw again.

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Please leave a link in the comments if you have posted book recommendations or a giveaway for ABE!
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48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hour book challengeI am taking a break from Armchair Book Expo posting today (though I am still reading and enjoying your posts on diversity and dining with authors) to mention that I am also participating in a 48 Hour Book Challenge (#48HBC) this weekend, hosted by Ms. Yingling Reads. This is a low-key, low-pressure reading event that essentially gives you an excuse to read and chat about books all weekend 😉 Below are four books I picked up from the library specifically for this challenge, plus one that I’ve owned for some time. All are middle-grade novels that have been on my TBR for at least two years.
48 Hour Book Challenge

I am not sure how much reading I’ll actually be able to accomplish this weekend, but I will provide updates on Twitter and perhaps a final recap post on Monday if all goes well. If you have even a few spare hours to devote to reading (or chatting about reading!) this weekend, I encourage you to check out this challenge. What bookish plans do you have for this weekend?
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Armchair Book Expo – Let’s Collaborate and Listen

Armchair Book Expo

I spent some time today getting caught up on posts from yesterday, during which I realized I do indeed have opinions on best practices when it comes to book blogging.  I have read a lot of thoughtful posts on the subject and look forward to reading more on today’s topics, one of which is…

Let’s collaborate and listen – The online book community has changed so much over the years. How do we keep up within our own book-sphere as well as within the community as a whole (i.e., libraries, bookstores, authors, publishers, etc.)? 

Listening

Something the best practices topic got me thinking about is how I engage with the online book community. In the past, I often felt like I was running behind when it came to keeping up with blogs, authors, and other bookish news. I checked Twitter multiple times a day, skimming through various lists to try and pick up on the significant news of the days. I glanced through hundreds of posts in my feed reader to find posts that mattered to me. How do I cut through the noise and find the bookish news that’s relevant to me? How do I choose which blogs can I find the time to read and comment on? How can I attempt to forge meaningful relationships when there are so many people trying to connect in this community?

This year, I think I have been succeeding in managing the neverending stream of voices from the book-sphere. I make rigorous use of Twitter lists and Feedly collections to prioritize my reading. For example, in Feedly, I have five categories of book blogs. I read and comment on blogs in the first category, then if I have time I move to the second, and so on. After a week, I mark all blogs as ‘read’ and move forward. This has helped me focus on the blogs I really love while also keeping an eye on blogs I don’t have the time to visit every day. I have stopped worrying so much about ‘missing something’, and just focused on enjoying the content that’s there in front of me. I don’t need to read every single blog update. The Forest app has also been an excellent help in restraining me from opening Twitter whenever I have a spare moment.

In keeping up with the greater community, I find Twitter (and Facebook to some extent) has been just as excellent a resource in keeping up with my local authors, publishers, and librarians as with my fellow book bloggers. I wonder sometimes how my life would be different without libraries, without the internet, and without Twitter! It’s truly an incredible platform – once you know how to find the voices that you should really be hearing.

Collaborating

I’ve written a lot about the listening part of this topic. I haven’t really addressed the collaboration aspect. Admittedly, this is something I’m still trying to get the hang of. I want to build more substantial relationships and have more meaningful conversations in the book community. (Armchair Book Expo has been an excellent way to do that so far!). This is also something I’ve been making a concentrated effort on in 2017. It may take me a little while longer to get the hang of than the listening side of things, but I’ll keep at it.

The other topic is What do readers want? I have plenty of thoughts to share on that topic as well, but as it’s almost bed time I’ve decided to save it for another time.

Please leave a link in the comments if you’ve written about today’s topic. How do you stay connected to the book world? Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information you have access to online?

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