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2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

30 / 30 books. 100% done!

20 Books of Summer 2023

My Progress:

17 / 20 books. 85% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (2)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (2)
- Arkansas (1)
- California (16)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (3)
- Delaware (1)
- Florida (2)
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (1)
- Illinois (1)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (4)
- Maryland (3)
- Massachusetts (4)
- Michigan (4)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri (1)
- Montana (2)
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (15)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota (1)
- Ohio (3)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (1)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota (1)
- Tennessee (2)
- Texas (4)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (4)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (6)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (2)
- (1)
- Washington, D.C.* (1)


- Australia (3)
- Barbados (1)
- Canada (9)
- Chile (1)
- England (26)
- France (2)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Nigeria (1)
- Norway (1)
- Scotland (3)
- South Korea (1)
- Sweden (1)
- The Netherlands (2)
- Ukraine (1)
-Vietnam (1)

My Progress:

51 / 51 states. 100% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 25 books. 100% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

50 / 50 books. 100% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

52 / 52 books. 100% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

52 / 52 books. 100% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 40 books. 100% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 25 books. 64% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

109 / 109 books. 100% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Re-Booted" Fairy Tale Series Comes to an Exciting, Satisfying End

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Winter, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Lunar Chronicles novels.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Queen Levana's mesmerizing beauty is legendary.  So is that of her stepdaughter, Princess Winter.  Despite the scars that mar her face, Winter is lovely to look upon.  Even more appealing is her kind, gentle nature—her natural sweetness endears her to royals and commoners alike.  Levana can't stand her simpering young charge.  The feeling is mutual, but Winter keeps her true feelings for her stepmother carefully concealed.  As she has observed countless times, crossing the queen never ends well.

Winter isn't as cautious with her feelings for Jacin Clay, her royal guard.  She has loved him—her protector, her confidante, her only true friend—for as long as she can remember.  Queen Levana knows the depth of Winter's feelings for him and uses the younger woman's romantic longings in the cruelest ways possible.  Is Winter strong enough to fight back against her evil stepmother?  Is anyone?

A revolution against the heartless queen is already in progress.  Can Linh Cinder and friends succeed in overthrowing Levana?  Will aiding them help Winter win her own freedom?  Or will the all-powerful Levana be victorious in her scheme to bring the entire world under her iron-fisted rule?  

If you're a fan of The Lunar Chronicles—and I most certainly am—then you will not want to miss Winter, the exciting conclusion to the series.  Reading the mammoth 823-page novel is a daunting task, I know.  I put off reading it for a year!  In the end, though, Winter was totally worth the read—as I knew it would be.  My only complaint is that the series is now over.  Marissa Meyer totally captivated me with fun characters, action-packed plot lines, unique interpretations of age-old fairy tales, and engaging storytelling.  I know there are many exciting things to come from this author, but I don't know if anything she does from now on will enthrall me quite as much as The Lunar Chronicles has.  I hope she proves me wrong.  In the meantime, I'll miss this enjoyable series, one of my favorite YA series ever.

(Readalikes: Other books in The Lunar Chronicles series, including Cinder; Scarlet; Cress; Fairest; Stars Above; and Wires and Nerve)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence; blood/gore; brief, mild language (no F-bombs), and mild sexual innuendo/sensuality

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Winter with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

"Kinder, Gentler Wimpy Kid" Series A Hit

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for My Life as a Cartoonist, it may inadvertently ruin plot surprises from earlier My Life As ... books.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

When a new kid comes rolling into Derek Fallon's classroom in a wheelchair, a brilliant idea lights up Derek's brain.  The Fallons have been fostering a capuchin monkey who will eventually be trained to help assist disabled people with daily tasks (a real thing, by the way—check out Helping Hands Monkey Helpers).  Umberto is disabled; maybe Frank the monkey could be his companion!  It really is a perfect plan.

So, why isn't Umberto into the idea?  And why is the new kid picking on Derek?  It makes no sense.  Things go from bad to worse when Umberto starts stealing Derek's cartoon ideas.  Even more annoying is that Umberto draws Super Frank better than Derek, the comic strip's creator.  Derek is at the end of his rope.  What should he do?  He's being bullied by a boy in a wheelchair—he can't fight back against a disabled kid.  Or can he?

I haven't read the first two books in Janet Tashjian's My Life As ... series, but I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the third installment, My Life as a Cartoonist.  I love that the author features a disabled character who feels real.  Umberto isn't a tragic figure or a saint or anything but a normal kid with personality traits that are both charming and annoying.  Derek is likewise flawed.  As the two of them learn to appreciate each other, they teach the reader some valuable lessons about kindness, acceptance, and putting someone else's needs before your own.  The story doesn't feel preachy, though.  In fact, it's fast, it's funny, and it's full of heart.  Simple cartoons drawn by Tashjian's son, Jake, enhance the tale.  Jeff Kinney fans will find much to love about My Life as a Cartoonist and its fellows.  One reviewer described the series as "a kinder, gentler Wimpy Kid with all the fun and more plot."  I couldn't agree more.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the My Life As ... series by Janet Tashjian and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center


Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

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