Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hedgie's Must Reads: November 2014

It's the end of November and the beginning of December - the month of CHRISTMAS! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. November was a bit of a crazy month for me. Not necessarily busy, but I go through moods and reading wasn't one of them for this month. I've been really getting into swing dancing, and have recently taken up rock climbing as well, and that has encouraged me to take on a proper diet of smoothies, fruit, and vitamins - and that has created energy that I didn't know I had. Sitting down and reading is a little hard to do when you're on a high of feeling physically good and drinking too much tea at work to keep yourself focused. Anyway, I still read a lot of good books this month, and I hope you enjoy.

November Reading Wrap-Up

The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams (3/5)
Haven Hospital and Halls is a safe place for teens dying of an illness. These Terminals are kept comfortable, healthy, and educated. And they don't ask questions. Except Shiloh - Shiloh has a lot of questions. And Haven Hospital may in fact not be the safe place they all thought. The plot "twist" is pretty easy to figure out; I had it pegged three pages in. But it's a short read with surprisingly sympathetic characters and a creepy, surreal ambiance. I found it highly entertaining and a great filler-in for going in between two much longer, more hefty books. Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of short sci-fi stories.

The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis (3/5)
Book #1 in the Seven Wonders series. Jack is going to die. He and three other kids are descendants of the people of Atlantis. And unless they find Atlantis's seven Loculi - its source of power - the gene that makes them extraordinary will kill them when they turn fifteen. This was a really fun, classic adventure novel in the same vein as The 39 Clues, The Eternity Ring, and Rick Riordan's books. The characters are all awesome, though not quite as fleshed out as they could be. However, the concept is awesome, the world building done very well, and the climax heartpounding. Boy-read, eight-and-up, fans of the series listed above and Rick Riordan.

Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster (3/5)
Book #2 in the Bhinian Empire series. Mara has been banished from her clan. Now, she must train to protect others in order to regain her lost honor. But Mara had no idea that the Imperial city could be so dangerous - and when she assigns herself to protect a noblewoman, she is in the thick of it. This was so much better than the first book - and it's also a prequel to City of a Thousand Dolls, so you can read it first. The characters were better, the world building better (though it still needs work), and the plot was more intriguing and fast-paced. I really look forward to seeing what the rest of the series brings. Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of fantasy.

November Best Reads

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket (4/5)
A companion novel to Lemony Snicket's All the Wrong Questions series! Wherein are 13 suspicious short stories. It's Lemony Snicket - of course I loved this book. As usual, it was hilarious and bizarre and probably has a million clues and puzzles in it, but I am an adult now and therefore don't have time to try and solve them! :-( Some of the stories were, of course, better than others, and having the endings of all the stories at the end of the book was strange. But that's Lemony Snicket! Girl-and-boy read, seven-and-up, fans of Lemony Snicket!

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo is back with a very fun, inspiring, unique, and funny new novel - told in words and partly in comic strips! Flora is a cynic, and Ulysses is an unassuming squirrel. Then both their lives are turned upside down when Ulysses is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner and is reborn. . . .as a super hero! But all super heroes need a villain, and Flora's mother is the perfect candidate. Another really fun, quick read to put in between two very long, massive reads and you need a break. The characters are great, the writing style very lovely, and the story heartwarming and amusing all at once. Girl-read, six-and-up, fans of Kate DiCamillo!

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad (4/5)
In a bid to regain funding, NASA is hosting an international sweepstake where three lucky teenage winners will spend 172 hours on the moon! What the world doesn't know is that they are going to an abandoned moon base secretly built in the 70's. And that moon base has been abandoned for a reason. . . .This was seriously awesome. While I didn't especially care about any of the characters, this was totally plot driven and I was okay with that. The whole atmosphere was creepy, the twist was creepy, the ending was awesome! It was just too cool; so glad I picked it up! Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of weird, creepy books.

Silver by Chris Wooding (4/5)
It's the beginning of another regular Christmas break at the exclusive prep school in the English countryside. But then. . . .the silver beetles show up. And nothing will be the same again. I can't say too much without giving things away. Let's just say that this book took a concept I usually criticize and added another concept to it I love, and now I've found something totally awesome. The characters are surprisingly sympathetic, and the plot actually creepy. Guy-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of zombies and cyborgs (but it isn't a zombie book! Not really! Just read it).

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5)
Book #3 in The Raven Quartet. Blue's mother is missing, Greenmantle has come to town, and things are getting weird. I can't say much else about the book. Other than it was flippin' amazing! Characters are all good still, plot is getting better and better (still no answers!), more amazing twists and turns, and that ending! I need Book #4! Well, actually, I need a rest from all the feels, but I still really want Book #4. People, if you are a fan of this series, you won't be disappointed. If you haven't started this series yet, you need to. I can't say who exactly this will appeal to. Either you'll love it or hate it; there's never an in between for people.

The Witch's Curse by Jordan Quinn (5/5)
Book #4 in The Kingdom of Wrenly. Someone has cursed the kingdom of Wrenly with eternal rain! Prince Lucas is convinced that it's the shady sorcerer who kept Ruskin's eggshells for powerful magic. And he's determined to prove it to his father. I know I say it every time, but this one was definitely my favorite. And it's not just because there's a hedgehog illustration! Of course, as an adult, I knew who was really to blame, but I loved this book so much.

Adventures in Flatfrost by Jordan Quinn (5/5)
Book #5 in The Kingdom of Wrenly series. Lucas and Ruskin are in trouble; they've melted all the ice in the royal kitchens. So the king send them both to the land of the giants to help harvest more ice and maybe learn a lesson in appreciating hard work. I still really loved this book - I love them all. But in comparison to the others, it was my least favorite. These books have always taught little life lessons, as kids' books usually do, but they've never been preachy. This one borderlined on being a little bit preachy. But it was still awesome seeing more of the world in this series.


  1. "Silver" actually sounds really good, I might have to check that one out. It definitely sounds unique. I really need to read the "Seven Wonders" series too, it's been on my TBR forever.

    1. SILVER is very interesting; I was pleasantly surprised. The SEVEN WONDERS series is so much fun!

  2. Haha, sounds like you had a very energetic month. I think if I ate that much health food I'd keel over. ;) And you still got in reading!

    1. To be honest, the health food kick wasn't entirely by choice. When I get over excited and/or enthusiastic about something, butterflies replace my appetite, and that's been going on for a good month now. But I need energy for swing and rock climbing, and I found that I could eat fruit and smoothies, so I decided, "Health food kick!" Of course, I don't know how healthy it really was since I came down with a cold over Thanksgiving weekend. Thank goodness it cleared up enough to go dancing again!


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