Free range teacher and school librarian.
Posted in Reading on April 11, 2017
So this was meant to be a round up of our favourite reads of 2016. Unfortunately, life got in the way and this post has sat in the draft pile for far too long! Anyway, if you haven’t come across any of these yet, the April holidays would be a great opportunity to grab a few and spend some quality time with some quality books.
I’ve had some reading slumps this year, that hardly ever happens to me and I found myself very frustrated and being unable to find the right book to get me out of it. I have had some brilliant highs and some pretty freakin awful lows. This year I was approved for Netgalley and that has definitely influenced my reading. Sometimes I’ve not been a fan of the book that everyone else is loving and I get all worried about my taste. Here is my Goodreads shelf, which has lots of other 5 star reads this year. Some highlights are:
The Road to Winter by Mark Smith
I loved everything about this book, it isn’t too long, it isn’t overwritten it is just small and perfectly formed. The main character is someone I totally related to and I enjoyed his trials and challenges. Set in a dystopian Australia it is the story of a boy all alone, coping as best he can with dangers aplenty. Then along comes a girl who challenges everything. Loved it.
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
This series is one that I’ve loved all the way through, I’ve become so attached to the characters in the story that when it was all done I sat and cried like a small angry child. If you haven’t read The Passage trilogy I think you are missing out on a treat. Then I got to meet Justin Cronin and the man was just as lovely as the characters he writes about. Sigh…
Good Morning Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
This book has stayed with me ever since I put it down. What a gem! I read this on a plane, sitting quietly (I hope) sobbing into my sleeve. So many feels. It is one of those books where you can’t say too much about the plot because it will spoil the book, but here is an attempt. There are two parallel stories. Argie is an older man, he is a scientist who has been based in the Arctic doing research into radio waves, he was once famous in his field. Suddenly everyone is evacuated from his base, he decides not to go. But he finds a young child called Iris has been left behind and now he is going to have to look after not just himself but this tiny person as well. At the same time a crew have been on a mission to space, they have been away 2 years and are headed back to earth. There have been no communications with ground control for a while now, Sully the radio specialist, along with the rest of the crew are wondering what will happen if they don’t hear anything as they get closer, and what exactly they will find if they get back.
Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
I read a heap of great YA this year and this one is the most recent of the ones I’ve loved. You can read my review of it – which is a bit long – here. I went straight out and bought 2 copies for school because I loved it so much, and I know that there are heaps of boys who will love it too. A book to savour and think about. For all those who love a great big book of feels and the best feisty big girl I’ve ever read.
I feel like I’ve had a bit of a “meh” year reading-wise. But that is possibly just my end-of-year-itis kicking in because, when I look at my Goodreads shelf, I actually have quite a large number of 4-star reads.
Anyway, some my favourite reads for this year have been:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I loved the clever structure of this book. The writing was beautiful and it was also a suspenseful read. I stayed up late to finish it and find out how all of the strands would come together. Read this before it is made into a movie!
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
This read was a classic case of the right book at the right time for me. Yes, it is completely predictable, but I just didn’t care. The characters were lovely, the writing was beautiful, and it’s a book about books. It even melted this old cynic’s heart.
Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Every time I try to talk about this book I just become tongue-tied and speechless. It is indescribable, smart, and moves along at a cracking pace. A great holiday read because once you start nothing will get done until you get to the end, exhausted and breathless.
On reviewing my year in books I read rather a lot, unfortunately not of the actual kinds I had planned. Only 26 of the 175 were YA but they were darned good reads. Yeah I know I’m a primary school librarian, but when has that ever stopped anyone reading outside their ‘area’? Actually my school reads were only 22, which when I think about it is pretty darned naughty and not good for promoting to our students. So lots of fantasy and sci-fantasy for me in 2016. And predominantly eBooks – Doh!!! Here is my Goodreads shelf if you are interested. New plan for 2017 …. write the reading plan down!!!!
So some of my favourite reads for 2016 were …
The Summoner series by Taran Matharu
What a brilliant new fantasy series. And no romantic entanglements involved, just good old ‘good vs evil’ with some pretty awesome demons. The character development is really good, and if you get the chance it is worth reading ‘Origins‘ – the prequel to the series and giving a further insight into some of the older key characters. And get this … Taran Matharu is only 25!!!
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
I know Steph has already mentioned it, but I’ve just got to say …. blimmin fantastic read!!! I’m not a fan of ‘literature’ but this story is just so darned well written and there were segments that I just had to re-read. If you love a story about small-town life, relationships in all their intricacies, and books … then you’ve just gotta get your mitts on this beautiful book.
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
An alternative-history story set during Hitler’s reign in Germany. Fantastic, mind altering, amazing!
Bookmarks are People Too (Young Hank Zipzer / Here’s Hank) by Henry Winkler
Henry Winkler … yah know … ‘The Fonz‘ … Happy Days … OMG don’t tell me you are too young to know this series … go and watch it!!!! And he’s a pretty darned good author to boot. A humorous and engaging read about a young boy who has learning difficulties and who is not a fan of school. Aimed at Yr 3-4 students. Written in quite short chapters with a number of B&W illustrations that help tell the story, and with widely spaced font these books are really good for our struggling readers, or even just those who want a fun read. Also makes for a really good ‘read aloud’. And the ‘Hank Zipzer‘ series is just as good, aimed at Yr 5-6, but the font is not so good for struggling readers 😦
Hope and Red (Empire of Storms) by Jon Skovron
Mother of God! This book is freaking fantastic!!!! Really strong characters and a great storyline make this is a really truly awesome fantasy read. Told from the POV of the two main characters – Hope (Bleak Hope) the sole survivor of a Biomancer attack, and Red, an orphan boy taken in and cared for by the slum criminal Sadie. Both are trying to take down the corrupt empire in their own way and their paths eventually cross. Piracy, murder, adventure, friendship and family.