December 31, 2016

Looking Back on My Sixteen 2016 Reads

Time for another check-in! I'm gonna do the same list format that I did for the check-in back in June, and I'll include my average rating for my Sixteen 2016 Reads.


Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth
Tumbling by Caela Carter
Wanderlost by Jen Malone
A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

GIPHY Originals confused lost awkward idk

Chloe in India by Kate Darnton
Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein
Vicarious by Paula Stokes


Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry
Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis
Perfect Liars by Kimberly Reid
Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige


Nemesis by Anna Banks


Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley
South by Southeast by Gail Shepherd
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
Stolen Crowns #1 by Jessica Day George
To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

So my average rating for the Sixteen 2016 Reads I have read is... 3.1 stars. Which is much lower than last year (3.7 stars, in case you were wondering). 2016 has been a rough year, book-wise, for me. I've found a great crop of new favorites, as evidenced by my Top Ten Tuesday post a couple days ago, but overall, I haven't liked a lot of books. 

Well, here's hoping my Seventeen 2017 Reads will end up being better.

December 30, 2016

Random Friday: Best Movies of 2016

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following: 
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
Let's talk about what movies I enjoyed this year! (A.k.a. all the ones I went to see in theaters.)

1. Zootopia
I didn't think I was looking forward to this one as much as Moana but I talked my mom into going to see it over spring break and IT WAS SO GOOD.

2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
A bit cheesy but so cute and funny.

3. Captain America: Civil War
Cap is my favorite, but Peggy. D: 

4. Finding Dory
One of the best Disney/Pixar sequels (after Monsters University of course).

5. Moana
Mostly because of the music and animation, but Moana herself was great.

6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The first Harry Potter movie I've seen in theaters. Newt Scamander is a precious cupcake.

What 2016 movies were your favorites?

December 29, 2016

If I Taught Adolescent Lit

Y'all may have seen me mention it a couple times this fall, but I took a class called Adolescent Lit. Over the course of the class, we read ten books aimed at middle grade and young adult readers, and I actually didn't enjoy half of the books we read. So I decided I would put together a curriculum for if I taught the class. First off, I couldn't decide on just ten books, so instead of having two units over three books and one unit over four books, I decided I'd have three units over three books and one unit over two books. Considering we're not doing anything the last week of classes and don't have an exam during finals week, I thought this worked out nicely. So here are the units and the books I'd teach. 

Unit One

2612801 317500 11852
~Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I suppose this might be aimed at younger readers, but it feels like classic American lit for young readers, so I thought it would be good to start with it. Plus it's semi-autobiographical, which would be interesting to talk about with my students.
This one is second on my prof's syllabus, too, and I felt it would be a good one to retain. (You'll notice I only retained the books I enjoyed.)
~The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
We only read three Newbery Award winners, and they all won within the last 20 years, so I thought it might be good to choose some winners from earlier in the canon. This one sort of replaces The Midwife's Apprentice from my prof's list as the one historical fiction novel.

Unit Two

1462487 164539 1192774
A classic Newbery winner.
~Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Because I love the blending of reality and fantasy. (Plus it's important to confront middle grade readers with the reality of death.)
~Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Another historical fiction novel, but it deals with tough issues.

Unit Three

24337 121121
~Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Probably the "girliest" of all the books I would assign, but I don't care. Reading fantasy and fairytale retellings I think is essential to understand cultures of storytelling and myths.
One of the biggest children's books of our day. Of course I had to leave it on the list.

Unit Four

685689 2767052 17290810
~Holes by Louis Sachar
Perhaps the one book I've included that boys would really enjoy, but I think it's an excellent example of artistic unity.
~The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Obviously I was leaving this one and the next one on the list.
~The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Good contemporary issues book.

So...if you were to teach a college-level class on adolescent lit, which books would you include?

December 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Reads of 2016

My list this year is most definitely shorter than it has been the last two years. Last year, my list totaled 38 (although I added one more to my Goodreads shelf after that post went up). This year? My total is only 21. 

21979832 25663572 25401324
1. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
2. What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae
3. Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

20443235 25203675 26114524
4. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
5. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

22056895 17838528 26156203
7. The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller
8. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
9. The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

25641597 23308084 25776221
10. Poison Is Not Polite by Robin Stevens
11. The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
12. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

24832518 25486998 28260587
14. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
15. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

27840861 685689 13260524
16. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
17. Holes by Louis Sachar
18. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

28960100 26156199 32877734
19. A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray
20. Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
21. The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter

So what books did you love this year?

December 26, 2016

The DNF, or I Still Don't Have My Tastes Figured Out

Over the last few years, as I've delved further into book blogging, I've given myself permission to not finish books and rate them a "DNF" (Did Not Finish). I've even created a Goodreads shelf particularly for this purpose. 

Usually when I DNF books it's because I'm not meshing with them. There's something about the writing style, characters, or plot that make me reluctant to read the book and so I'll often avoid picking it up when I have free time. Sometimes it's because there's objectionable content (something racist or bigoted, too much foul language, too much underage drinking, sexual content, etc.).

I figured as the years went by I'd start to DNF fewer and fewer books. While I definitely won't DNF as many as I did in 2014, I''m on track to DNF as many as I did in 2015. So what gives?

Best I can figure, I'm still trying to figure out what books I like. I still give a lot of books lower ratings because they sounded like they would be good and they weren't. I know I can't give all books high ratings (I wouldn't trust my reviews if I did), but it disappoints me that I don't love every book I read.

It also appears that I don't DNF more of one genre than another, so that doesn't help me narrow things down. I'm better about culling books from my TBR list lately, though. If it doesn't interest me anymore, I won't read it, thereby eliminating the opportunity for a low rating or a DNF.

But here's to me being more discerning in 2017! Hopefully my DNF total will go down and my average rating will go up...

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to the Book Characters: The Tradition Lives On

This is my fourth year doing this post, and I gotta say, they're really fun. I chose nine characters this year, and they're all getting PLENTY of books (we're pretending I have all the money in the world at my disposal). 

To Rachel from Devoted...

This is the first year I'm doing repeat characters, but Rachel deserves books the most. Since she likes time travel (well, A Wrinkle in Time), I had three perfect books for her.

21979832 20983362

To Marguerite from A Thousand Pieces of You...

I've got a book with an artist character and one with parallel universes.

16096824 16068916

To Nina from Six of Crows...

More Russian-inspired fantasy!


To Graham from The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love...

A love story about nerds.


To Kate from The Wrong Side of Right...

Since Kate cares about immigration issues, I thought this might be a good book for her.


To Allyson from Just One Day...

For the girl who wants to travel and loves Shakespeare.

26244548 22838927

To Lee from Walk on Earth a Stranger...

Historical fiction about girls who break the rules.

25734156 22056895

To Shahrzad from The Wrath & the Dawn...

The stuff of legends.

23848113 25203675

To Emma Hawthorne from The Mother-Daughter Book Club...

I've gifted Emma books before (in my first of this post series), but I thought it was time again, mostly because of these four editions...

13586310 16000355
13584792 13586309

What characters (particularly ones from 2016 releases) would you gift books to this Christmas?
Also Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! I hope you receive lots of books/bookish things.