My Winter Break Reading Challenge...

I brought home a sizable pile of books for winter break. My personal challenge was to read one book a day. I pretty much failed although according to my goodreads additions, I did finish 10. I have 2 on the go and a number of picture books in the bin that I could whip through so I might actually make it. 

The problem is that the time before Christmas is always crazy busy in our house. I really didn't have much time for reading because I was trying my best to finish up home made gifts. (three shirts for the guys in my family and a pair of socks for my mom) While busy doing this I did listen to a number of audio books. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, by Catherynne M. Valente was good, but not as fabulous as The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of her Own Making.

I also listened to Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli.  I love every book of Spinelli's that I read and this one was right up there with the best of them. It is the story of twins who grow apart as they grow up. It isn't easy for either of them. Jake has to learn to listen to his heart and conscience while Lily has to learn how to get her own life.  ★★★★

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case was a short delightful listen. I loved learning how Precious got her start as a detective. Smith captured the essence of elementary schools everywhere. Things go missing and innocents get blamed. Thank goodness Precious Ramotswe is there to figure it all out. ★★★★
One of my Christmas gifts was The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (an adult read) I liked this book but it didn't live up to my expectations. Numerous people told me that it was a fabulous laugh out loud read. It did have some absurd and wry moments. It had a lot to say about the way we look at and treat others in general and elders in particular. Maybe I just expected too much from it... (I also got a collection of Steinbeck but haven't started that) ★★★

I loved The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen. I actually wrote a blog about it, but I was out of range of internet and tried to write it on my new ipad. It was there and then it wasn't. Sigh.... Henry, the protagonist, writes about his life after IT. IT is when his older brother killed the persecutor who brutally bullied him and then turned the gun on himself. It is very dark, but it is also a story of hope. This one will go on our grade 7 shelf. ★★★★

The Wednesday Wars, by has been on my to read list for a long time. I'm so glad I finally got around to it. I was about the same age as Holling Hoodhood in 1967 so this book resonated with me in a way it probably won't with kids today. Okay for Now, the sequel, is on my 2014 list of books to read.  ★★★★

I cried buckets reading See you at Harry's by Jo Knowles. It is about grief and loss and how you just might manage to get through it.  ★★★★

Vikki Vansikle is another one of my favorite writers. I adore her Words series.  I wanted to love Summer Days, Starry Nights, but it just didn't work for me. ★★★

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender was in my pile because I like mysteries and I wanted to know if it would be appropriate for the students at my Elementary school. It was an okay read. I am not really into mean girl stories but since it was a mystery and I needed to check it out, I persisted. I'm glad I did. Thankfully, Collette, the protagonist, grows up and learns what is important in life. There are a number of murders but I was never really terrified (and I am generally a wus) I enjoyed the historical information and the details about Paris. I think students in grades 6 and 7 could easily handle this book. In fact I have a reader in mind to give it to when I return to school on Monday. ★★★

One of my library monitors has been trying to convince me to read Pierdomenico Baccalario's Century series. I started Ring of Fire ages ago but couldn't get into it. However, this reader has never steered me wrong before so I gave it another try. This time I finally got into it. The beginning was kind of slow but eventually I got hooked. I love that as a series this book finishes up with a satisfying ending. It is full of magic, myth and mystery! I have put the next book in the series, Star of Stone, on my 2014 to read list. ★★★1/2

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