March 2017 Month in Review

March Month in Review banner

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

March was a much more consistent month for me than February. Although I still ended up travelling for four days! I snagged some last minute work up north during spring break (when there’s no work for an EA). The most exciting bit of March is that piece of news I shared above 🙂 I will be attending the University of British Columbia in the fall. This means moving to Vancouver from the prairies. I am so excited about living out west, but less excited about finding a place to live (let alone an affordable one, hah…). Reading wise, I had better success than in February. I still haven’t quite caught up to my Goodreads goal. I didn’t read as much middle grade as I thought I might have, so I plan to remedy that during the 24 hour read-a-thon towards the end of April.

Books Finished

  • Minds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin
  • Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • A Secret Vice by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Mad Richard by Leslye Krueger
  • Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist by Sunil Yapa
  • The Plants of Middle-Earth by Dinah Hazell

Books Reviewed

  • Shadowshaper by Daniel JosĂ© Older
  • Middle Grade feat. Some Personal Favourites (from the 2016 Cybils middle-grade fiction nominees):
    • Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
    • Allie, First at Last by Angela Cervantes
    • Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
    • Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • The Girl Who Beat ISIS by Farida Khalaf
  • Neverhome by Laird Hunt
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  • Minds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin
  • Middle Grade feat. Historical Fiction (from the 2016 Cybils middle-grade fiction nominees):
    • Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
    • Ruby Lee and Me by Shannon Hitchcock
    • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
    • Finding Fortune by Delia Ray
    • Aim by Joyce Meyer Hostetter
    • Some Kind of Courage by Dan Geimenhart
    • Nine, Ten by Nora Raleigh Bashkin
  • Tolkien in Translation edited by Thomas Honegger (guest post at Pages Unbound)

Words and Pictures

  • A Silent Voice Vol. 2 and Vol. 3  by Yoshitoki Ooima  – I ranked vol. 3 higher than vol. 2 on GoodReads because the main issue I was concerned about (Nishimiya not being depicted as having any agency) is starting to be addressed. I think the point of vol. 2 and 3 were to demonstrate how self-centered Shoya was being in his desire to make things right with Nishimiya. His actions and therefore the story was about him instead of her. Kind of a ‘manic pixie dream girl’ thing going on, though Shoya is clearly depicted as being in the wrong. Towards the end of vol. 3, Nishimiya starts taking visible action for herself, so I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing more of her character in the next volumes.  (Not sure about where the ‘cliffhanger’ is going, though…) The inclusion of more old classmates from grade six added new perspectives to the story. I was so glad when Shoya realized how awful one of his classmates still is.
  • Will I See? by David Alexander Robertson, GMB Chomichuk and Iskwe – I started writing about this graphic novel about missing and murdered Indigenous women, but I have now decided it deserves its own post.
  • Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen – TriangleAnother excellent release from this duo. I had the pleasure of first encountering this book through a reading Klassen did. I would love to find more picture books with this kind of humour.
  • What Do You Say, Dear? by Seslye Joslin and Maurice Sendak – I read this book and the next when I checked out an exhibition of the Perry Nodelman Maurice Sendak collection at my alma mater (on until April 10 at the University of Winnipeg, if you’re in the area!). Originally published in the 1950s, this cute book introduces polite phrases in creative ways (ex. “What do you say when you bump into a crocodile on a crowded city street?”)
  • Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak – See above. This book inspired the film Labyrinth (which I was wondering about when I read it, haha – “Was this published before or after Labyrinth?”, I thought.)

outside over there

Features

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Upcoming in April

Borne by Jeff VandermeerSputnik's Childrengutenberg's fingerprintMusic of the Ghosts

  • 11 Apr – Publication of Sputnik’s Children by Terri Favro (woman writes a Cold War-era inspired comic book featuring a heroine based on herself in an alternate reality – I’m currently reading this and it’s actually pretty cool, more so than I can briefly sum up here), Gutenberg’s Fingerprint by Merilyn Simonds (memoir about the “past, present, and evolving future of the book”), and Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner (woman returns to Cambodia from America for the first time since fleeing as a child refugee)
  • 24 Apr – Elizabeth Goudge Reading Day hosted by Emerald City Book Review
  • 25 Apr – Publication of Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (How do you sum up a VanderMeeer novel? New weird scifi release from author of The Southern Reach trilogy)
  • 29 Apr Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon

What new releases or bookish events are you looking forward to in April?

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February Month in Review

February Month in Review

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

February posed a challenge when it came to staying on top of reading and blogging. I was travelling and offline for seven days of that short month. Plus, I found myself a full time job! 🙂 I am now working as an educational assistant in my local school division. Even with all the distractions, my posting goal didn’t suffer too much (only one post short). My reading goal took more of a hit. I’m currently 3 books behind. I plan on making up for February’s lost time with some middle grade and some (hopefully) unputdownable reads!

Books Finished

  • When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
  • Neverhome by Laird Hunt
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Books Reviewed

  • Middle Grade feat. Animals (from the Cybils middle-grade fiction nominees):
    • Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast
    • When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin
    • Wish by Barbara O’Connor
    • The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs by Cylin Busby
  • You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris
  • When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
  • Middle Grade feat. Multiple Narrators (from tje Cybils middle-grade fiction nominees):
    • Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick
    • Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson
    • Slacker by Gordon Korman
  • Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Words and Pictures

  • A Silent Voice Vol. 1A Silent Voice Vol. 1 by Yoshitoki Ooima – It’s been a long time since I read manga. I checked out this series on Neko Neha‘s recommendation. The first volume depicts what unfolds when Shoko, a girl who is deaf, enters a six grade classroom and becomes the bullying target of Shoya, the narrator. I taught sixth grade occasionally when I was in Japan. The students were generally on their best behaviour for me (I think because my time in their classroom was rare) so I didn’t see any bullying. Of course, I know bullying like what’s depicted in this volume occurs, as I heard tragic stories about 12 year olds committing suicide and schools refusing to discuss it, let alone acknowledge that bullying was probably a significant factor. Bullying is one issue. The treatment of students with disabilities is a whole nother one. Suffice it to say they are often more stigmatized than in western society. So, A Silent Voice begins as a sad story, but one that is important to share, especially in Japanese society. Vol. 1 reads a bit like a prologue. The rest of the series fast-forwards six years to Shoya trying to make amends with Shoko. I’m curious to see how that will pan out, so I will keep reading this series!

Features

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Upcoming in March

Star-Crossed The Beast is an AnimalAmina's Voice

  • 7 Mar – Publication of The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arnsdale (YA dark fairy tale)
  • 14 Mar – Publication of Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee (MG featuring a protagonist who learns about her bisexuality after developing a crush on girl at school during a production of Romeo and Juliet) and Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (MG contemporary about a Pakistani-American girl navigating her identity)
  • 14 Mar – Local launch of Will I See? by David Alexander Robertson, GMB Chomichuk, and Iskwe (graphic novel about missing and murdered Indigenous women).
  • 20 Mar – Start of Pages Unbound‘s 2017 Tolkien Reading Event
  • 25 Mar – “All Who Wander”, an evening of dramatic readings and a capella renditions of music from The Lord of the Rings.
  • 28 Mar – Publication of Radio Silence by Alice Osman (YA contemporary LGBTQA+ diverse characters and a male-female friendship(!)) and Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (picture book by an excellent duo)

February whirled by for me! How was your month? Did you read any great books?

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January Month in Review

January Month In Review

January has set a great precedent for my reading and blogging this year. I’m on track with my two general challenges: 100 books/year and 8 posts/month including 4 review posts. I have a lot of reading challenges, new releases, and scheduled blog posts to keep track of. So far I’m staying on top of my Word document that has all that information. We’ll see how long that lasts 😉

Books Finished

  • You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris
  • Beast by Brie Spangler
  • Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Healthcare for All Canadians by Dr. Danielle Martin
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  • Beowulf by Anonymous
  • Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On being black and white in Canada by Lawrence Hill
  • The Girl Who Beat ISIS: My Story by Farida Khalaf
  • The Wizard’s Dog by Eric Kahn Gale

Books Reviewed

Words and Pictures

This is a new segment I’m starting in 2017. I want to read more picture books, comics, manga, graphic novels, even though I don’t count them towards any of my reading goals. I’ve decided to do little summary of what I’ve read each month.

Ghost World

  • Ghost World by Daniel Clowes – I heard a lot about this book during university. I’ve finally read it! I suppose I can see what the fuss would have been about when this was originally published. It has a very particular style and mood.
  • Murder Mysteries by P. Craig Russell (adapted from a Neil Gaiman story) – The way this is presented is a little misleading. I thought it was Murder Mysteriesan original comic written by Gaiman. I eventually figure out it was written and illustrated by another guy (who has worked with Gaiman in the past). I liked the story (though I did find it a little predictable – side effect of reading took much Gaiman?). However, I don’t think the graphic novel form added anything to it. Not a fan of Russell’s art.
  • When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson – AWhen We Were Alone newly released picture book from a local author, When We Were Alone makes an excellent introduction to residential schools for very young readers, as it focuses on survivance. I attended the book’s launch at a local bookstore (see tweet below). Robertson’s daughter and Elder Betty Ross, a residential school survivor, read the story together. Very moving.
  • I Am Not a NumberI Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis – Another picture books about residential schools, though for an older audience. Still an excellent resource! I liked that Dupuis writes about her grandmother and includes historical information after the story.

Features

  • The Cybils 2016 shortlists were announced on January 1st. Here are my thoughts on the books in middle-grade fiction (the category for which I was a panelist).
  • My annual ‘Wrapping Up, Looking Forward‘ post summarizes the year just concluded and outlines goals for the year forthcoming.
  • I wrote about a tragic incident I witnessed at my favourite library.
  • The Top 10 Tuesday I participated in in January features 2016 Releases I Didn’t Get To.
  • I signed up for two more reading challenges (Diverse Reads 2017 and the Newbery Challenge).

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Upcoming in February

  • 9 Feb – Publication of The Good People by Hannah Kent (sophomore novel by Burial Rites author. Looks like some stunning book design!)
  • 14 Feb – Cybils winners announced :O
  • 21 Feb – Publication of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (conclusion to the Shades of Magic trilogy)
  • 28 Feb – Publication of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (inspired by Black Lives Matter)

How was the start of your 2017? What are you looking forward to in February?

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

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October Month in Review

October Month in Review bannerI started last month’s post with a comment about how I updated less frequently than my ideal. Once again I’ve fallen short of my post goal, but this time around I was anticipating that. Between NerdCon, Comic-con, and an unexpected but appreciated increase in my work load, I didn’t make a lot of time for blogging. I dislike not having a regular schedule. I crave predictability, but my work schedule currently doesn’t have that feature. As blogging is an independent hobby, it’s the first to thing to go when I’m on a time crunch. Over the past couple years, I’ve been working out how to balance my spare time between reading and blogging about reading. Although I didn’t find the time for blogging in October, I did manage to squeeze in lots of reading, so without further ado, here are the books I read in October:

Books Finished

  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • My Life with the Liars by Caela Carter
  • Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
  • All Rise for the Honourable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
  • OCDaniel by Wesley King
  • The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
  • Slacker by Gordon Korman
  • When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

Books Reviewed

Features

  • I’m a round one judge for the Cybils. Here’s my post introducing the awards and what my role is.
  • Part 3 of my New Zealand literary pilgrimage series explores a variety of filming locations around Queenstown.
  • I attempt to describe why NerdCon deserves another shot in my post “Why I Loved NerdCon: Stories“.
  • For the October KidLit Blog Hop, I wrote about the books I’d read so far for the Cybils.
  • The fall edition of Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon took place on October 22. Here’s my master post.

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Upcoming in November

  • Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 Witch Week (“an opportunity to celebrate our favorite fantasy books and authors”) @ The Emerald City Book Review.
  • Nov. 10 An Evening with Ami McKay @ McNally Robinson. I finished McKay’s new novel The Witches of New York during last month’s Read-a-thon. Highly recommended! I will have a review up tomorrow.
  • Nov. 29 – Publication of Scythe by Neal Shusterman, a YA ‘dystopia’ in which “the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). I adore Shusterman. Scythe sounds like an excellent follow to the Unwind books.

Now that I’ve finally posted on my own blog, I’ve got a lot of commenting to do. I have 40-some blog posts saved in Pocket that I want to check out. Then we’ll see how far ahead I can get with scheduling some posts. This weekend is shaping up to be a ‘catch up’ weekend for me. How was your October? What are you looking forward to in November?

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September Month in Review

September month in reviewLook at this! My first monthly review post. I’m not really sure why I’ve never written one before, but now it seems like a tidy way to keep track of what I did in a month and what I’m looking forward to in the next. I updated less frequently than usual in September. Migrating my blog ate up my spare time (although admittedly procrastinating via playing around with the design is what actually ate my time….). I added some momiji (Japanese maple leaves) and orange to my navy colour scheme. I’m not much of a designer so this is probably as creative as I’ll get for now 😛 But so far, so good.

Books Finished

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • A Song to Take the World Apart by Zan Romanoff
  • Pax by Sarah Pennypacker
  • The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Books Reviewed

Features

  • My sister and I discussed Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls for Family Reads.
  • I posted Part 2 of my literary pilgrimage series documenting my travels around New Zealand, AKA Middle-earth.

Shared on Twitter

Upcoming in October

  • Oct. 4 – Publication of When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin (MG fantasy inspired by Chinese folklore) and When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (YA magical realism starring a Pakistani trans boy and a Latina girl)
  • Oct. 11 – Publication of Beast by Brie Spangler (contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a trans character) and “We Found a Hat” by Jon Klassen (final book of his picture book trilogy).
  • Oct. 14 and 15 NerdCon: Stories. I’ll be heading down to Minneapolis for this convention for the second time with my best friend and my sister. The whole event has been something of an experiment, but I think it has a lot of potential this year. Unfortunately, this will probably be it’s last year. You can get 20% off with the discount code DFTBA, so maybe check it out?
  • Oct. 19Kid Lit Blog Hop
  • Oct. 22Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon
  • Oct. 25 – Publication of The Witches of New York by Ami McKay (Not sure how to describe this one. Key descriptors include 1880s, witches, tea shop, spirits, and missing woman.) I’ve seen 4 publications dates for this. I’m going with what NetGalley says, which I believe is the Canadian publication date.

October is going to be a hectic time! I’m also attending the local comic convention at the end of the month, during which I’ll be volunteering for four days straight. How was your September? What are you looking forward to in October?

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