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Month in review

Reviews
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
Allie, First at Last by Angela Cervantes
Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South, Part One by Gene Luen Yang
Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder
Cat vs Human: Another Dose of Catnip by Yasmine Surovec
Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain by Valeri Gorbachev
Click Here to Start by Denis Markell
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
Darned if You Do by Monica Ferris
The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon
Framed! by James Ponti
Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat
How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel by Jennifer Brown
The Journey of the Penguin by Emiliano Ponzi
Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern
Kiki and Jacques by Susan Ross
A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
Lost Cat by Caroline Paul
Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs by Cylin Busby
OCDaniel by Wesley King
The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale
Ratpunzel by Ursula Vernon
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Sticks & Stones by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Valley of Kings by Michael Northrop
You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo

Miscellaneous
Favorite books of 2016 by month
Favorite Own Voices read in 2016
Favorite series read in 2016
Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy read in 2016

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Favorite books of 2016 by month: 12/11/16

Favorite books

Here we are in December. As the year winds down it's time to look back and reflect on the standouts. My first list isn't a top ten. It's a top twelve, if you will. I went through my reading list for the year and picked one favorite from each month.

Keep in mind, these are my strictly my favorites. They're picked for sentimental reasons, for that initial emotional zing.

 

January:
cover art

Steal the Sky by Megan E. O'Keefe
Review

Derring-do, airships, capering, and general mayhem. A simple heist turns out to be anything but, throwing the crew into the middle of a hot steaming mess of political intrigue, shape shifters, and revolt.

 

February:
cover art

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Review

I'm reminded here of 1Q84 for how competing decisions can cleave the world as we know into distinct possibilities. Only those directly involved in that moment can interact, cross form one reality to the other. But crossing is hard and heart breaking. Knowing how things should have worked out, is ultimately devastating.

 

March:
cover art

Amulet 7: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi
Review

The Amulet series is coming to a close with two more volumes planned. I've been following it since the very beginning. While I'll be sad to see it go, I've enjoyed watching the characters grow and the world expand. There's a very definite arc to the series.

The artwork throughout the series has been beautiful and detailed. Every volume, though, seems to be prettier and more complex than the last. This one features wonderful cutaway diagrams of an airship. It also has a delightfully silly fish slap.

 

April:
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The Circle of Lies by Crystal Velasquez
Review

This is the sequel to Hunters of Chaos. A group of girls at an elite all girls school in New Mexico have learned they have the power to transform into magical cats. Their powers have gotten the attention of Anubis and he is trying to keep the girls separated to conquer them one by one. Three of the girls head to Mexico to look for Ana's missing aunt and uncle. The other one has been sent to India to find her family completely changed and probably under Anubis's spell!

Book two ends on a cliff hanger and I hope that means a third one is the works.

 

May:
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Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 2: Feasts of Fury by Eric Colossal
Review

Feasts of Fury is another sequel. It's a graphic novel series that I've been talking up since the first book was published last year. Usually in a quest story, the main character carries a sword. That's not always, of course. Look at Taran from the Chronicles of Prydain; he's an assistant pig keeper. Rutabaga, is a chef. He travels the world looking for new recipes, new ingredients, and heroes or kings to cook for.

To me, this series is a mashup of Food Wars! and Avatar: The Last Airbender. I don't know if there's a third book in the works, but I guarantee you I will be first in line to preorder it, if one is announced.

 

June:
cover art

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
Review

Here's a book that everyone's been talking about. It's a graphic novel about a city that has been conquered so many times, no one is sure of it's history. Kaidu, has come to the city to learn how to be a warrior but his world view is turned upside down and inside out by a chance meeting with a street urchin named Rat.

It's an entertaining but thought provoking introduction to conquest, privilege, and institutionalized racism.

 

July:
cover art

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
Review

This book takes place in New Mexico and I happened to read it while on a road trip through New Mexico and Arizona. I admit, the timing of the two contributed to an extra magical reading experience. At first glance, this book is about a family coming to terms with the deteriorating health of the patriarch — a man who has stubbornly stayed on his drought ridden ranch. As the family works to move him off the ranch and into assisted living, he tells his grand daughter a magical story of a village kept young by a tree. As the villagers grew bored with a sheltered life they began to take apart the tree, hoping to carry its protection with them into the world. Ultimately the destroy the tree and with it, the land among them.

The question then becomes, how much truth is in the grandfather's story? How real is the magic he speaks of? Did the bees really steal the water and are keeping the rain away?

 

August:
cover art

Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 by Ed Piskor
Review

Hip Hop Family Tree is another of my favorite series. This one uses comics to chronicle the history of hip hop. 1984-1985 covers artists and albums that even I as a clueless suburbanite had heard of back in the day.

 

September:
cover art

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Review

Ravi and Joe don't seem like they would end up being friends. Ravi is from India and is struggling with no longer being the popular kid. He's also insulted at being given ESL lessons. Joe needs extra help coping with the stress of school. He knows the subjects but he gets distracted. Meanwhile, the boy that Ravi looks up to is the same sort of bully that he used to be. Except now, Ravi's the one being bullied.

Normally I'm skeptical of alternative points of view, but here Weeks and Varadarajan take turns to make their characters shine. We get into both boys' heads to see the big picture. All this comes together in the final chapter when there's a class exercise to see how well the students know each other.

 

October:
cover art

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Review

Radio Girls was my lunchtime book for the remainder of summer. The book is set in the late 1920s and the early 1930s in London. Maisie Musgrave is struggling to make a go at living here. She doesn't want to go back to New York. She's been hired into a tug of war between the director general of the BBC and the head of Talks, Hilda Matheson.

Maisie quickly catches the eye of Hilda and eventually becomes her personal secretary. It is through the interactions of the two that we get to see Europe gearing up for WWII.

 

November:
cover art

Finding Fortune by Delia Ray
Review coming

An absent father prompts Ren to explore the failing town of Fortune, once a boomtown in era of buttons made from shells. She befriends the woman and her boarders who are trying to keep the place going. She has a treasure hunt. And it's all based on a real place — there is an afterword with photographs and other info.

 

December:
cover art

Ruby Lee and Me by Shannon Hitchcock
Review coming

Shannon Hitchcock draws on her own childhood experiences to write a fascinating story of a family adjusting after a horrific car accident. The youngest, a six year old, survives but needs physical therapy. The physio combined with the other hospital expenses forces them to move to the family home. All of this family drama is played against desegregation. Sarah and Ruby have been friends forever but the stress of Robin's recovery and the adults talking in shushed tones about how much trouble desegregation will bring, takes their friendship to the breaking point. It's a very frank look at racism and doesn't offer any sort of pat, happy ending — save for Robin's eventual recovery.

 

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Comment #1: Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 23:03:30

Kathleen Burkinshaw

Great books!



Comment #2: Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 22:32:33

Pussreboots

Yes, yes they are. Thanks.