Sunday, January 17, 2021

Build Your Library 2021 Reading Challenge

I homeschool my kids. We've always used a combination of many different curricula - picking and choosing what best fits the kids' goals each year. We started using the Charlotte Mason-based curriculum Build Your Library this year and wish we'd known about it all along! Lots of fantastic literature. This is the 2021 reading challenge put together by creators of the Build Your Library curriculum. The theme is Hygge. 

"Hygge is a Danish word that describes a lifestyle placing emphasis on coziness and happy living. Hygge can be anything from eating your favorite meal with the people you love to wrapping yourself up in a warm blanket and reading by candlelight. In 2021, embrace the hygge lifestyle by reading books that evoke feelings of warmth and comfort with the people you hold dear." 

I'll be using this post to keep track of my reading for this challenge. 

Completed 14 out of 41 books as of 14 April 2021.

✅  A book with your favorite color on the cover
       Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman 

❑  A story that takes place under the sea

❑  A story set in a country you want to visit 

❑  A story written in verse

❑  A story set in a library

✅  A story inspired by mythology
        Never Say Never by Justine Manzano

❑  A fairy tale retold

❑  A book written by an Indigenous author

❑  A genre you never pick up (ex: mystery, romance, fantasy…)

✅  A book about a game
        We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

✅  A sequel you have been meaning to pick up
       the witch doesn't burn in this one by amanda lovelace

✅  A book with a household pet in the story
The Squeaky Clean Skeleton by R.A. Muth

✅  A book in translation
The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler: Vienna's Sherlock Holmes by Balduin Groller

❑  A book by a favorite author

✅  A book by an author you have never read from before
       Falling into Magic by Elizabeth Pantley

❑  A book you think will be a new favorite

❑  A book that was released the year you were born

❑  A book about food

❑  A book with a house on the cover

❑  A book that makes you feel nostalgic

✅  A new release you are excited about
      Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

❑  A book recommended by a friend

❑  A book that a family member loves

❑  A biography or memoir

❑  A classic

❑  A book published in your lifetime that you think should be considered a classic

✅ A book that won an award
      Between Wild and Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson 

❑  A book about an issue that is important to you

✅  A book written by a person of color
        Cheat Sheets for Life: Over 750 hacks for health, happiness and success by  Ayesha Ratnayake

✅  A short story collection
Black Cat Crossing: A Collection of 11 Cozy Mysteries to Celebrate Halloween

❑  A book that was adapted into a movie or television show

❑  A book about music

✅  A book with LGBTQIA+ representation
Chasing The Taillights by Kate Larkindale 

❑  A play

❑  A book written by a local author

✅ A non-fiction book about a topic you want to learn more about
      Little House in the Suburbs 
by Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskins

❑  A book about girls in STEM

❑  A book set in your favorite vacation destination (ex: beach, camping, amusement park…)

✅ A book with an animal on the cover
      Queer Icons and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi

❑  A book with a cover that makes you feel cozy

❑  Your favorite book
       To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Between Wild and Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson

Between Wild and Ruin cover image

Between Wild and Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson

Publisher: Bad Apple Books

Publication date: December 2020

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The link above is an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through it, I will receive a small amount of the sale, at no cost to you. It helps me make a little money to support my book reviewing hobby. Thank you! 

Publisher's description:

Truth, like love, isn’t always obvious.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin in the forest behind her house and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, La Luna’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears near the ruin, Ruby finds herself teetering between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where spirits and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.

About the author:

From the author’s website: In a Godzilla-sized nutshell, I grew up in Los Angeles, dropped out of high school, rebelled the hell out of my teens, and spent a couple of rocky years dabbling in everything from car stereo sales, to animal rescue, to scalping concert tickets, to waiting tables. After quickly learning that limitations suck, I went on to complete a B.A. in Fine Arts-Sculpture with a minor in Criminology at the University of Minnesota and later, a J.D. in law school.

My review:

I received a digital copy of this book from BookSirens. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

I have read other fantasy fiction set in the American Southwest (check out the Shards of History series by Rebecca Roland). For that reason, I wanted to love this book. With all the awards (see below) it has won, I had high hopes. I did enjoy looking up the landmarks mentioned throughout so I could get a sense of what the landscape looked like. Unfortunately, I did not love the book. The world-building was lacking and rushed. Relationships were shallow… and rushed. The main character was a series of opposite personality traits that didn’t really mesh. I don’t regret reading the book. I did consider reading the second in the series (though other reviews I read for it changed my mind on that front).  

While I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it either. It is an interesting setup. I just wish it had been fleshed out more and less rushed when the “big reveal” came. Fantasy always asks us to suspend our disbelief but this took that suspension request a little too far. There are likable and loyal supporting characters and the history of the area is interesting. I would recommend it for anyone who loves the Southwest and magical realism (and doesn’t mind love triangles - another miss for me).  

Fun stuff:

** First Place Winner — Young Adult Fiction: 2020 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards

** First Place Winner - Young Adult Fiction: 2020 National Federation Press Women

** Gold Medal Winner (First Place) - Young Adult Mythology/Folklore; 2020 Reader's Choice International  

** First Place Winner - Young Adult Fiction: 2020 New Mexico Women's Press