Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hedgie's Must Reads: July 2014

Hello, hello! Wow, July was a terrific reading month! I had a mix of good and bad books, but mostly good, and setting that aside - I just read a lot! It was mostly a quiet month, so I was able to sit down and pound through lots of books. The weather was too hot to even really go outside, unless you're going swimming, so as soon as I got home from work, I grabbed Hedgie and we hung out by the air vent in my library and read. Plus, with my new ottoman, it's ten times more comfy reading in my reading chair, so I can go for longer stints of reading. Anyway, here are the books!

July Reading Wrap-Up

Pirates! by Celia Rees (3/5)
For Nancy, the life of piracy is a way to escape marriage to the frightening and creepy Brazilian plantation owner Bartholome. For Minerva, Nancy's house slave and only friend, it's an escape from the unwanted attentions of the cruel overseer. But Bartholome isn't willing to give Nancy up so easily, and over the high seas and across the world, he hunts them both. This was a fun re-read, because the first time I read it, I didn't like it. But I actually enjoyed it a lot this time through! It's well-written, has good characters, and an interesting plot. Girl-read, sixteen-and-up, fans of historical fantasy and pirates!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (3/5)
Book #1 in The Mortal Instruments series. Clary is living a typical teenage life in New York - up until she witnesses a murder at the Pandemonium Club. A murder that no one else can see. Suddenly, she's thrust into the world of the Shadowhunters - people sworn to hunt down and kill the demons that haunt the world. And when Clary's mom disappears and she's attacked by the demon in her apartment, it becomes clear that Clary is far more involved in the Shadowhunter world that she ever knew. Yep, I read it. Yep, I liked it. I wouldn't call it literature or even good fiction - or original. But it's entertaining, the characters are likable, and the world well thought out. Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of paranormal and urban fantasy.

July Best Reads

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau (4/5)
Book #2 in The Testing trilogy. Cia has passed the Testing and is now at the university, starting her future career for the United Commonwealth of America. But she's haunted by memories from The Testing, and it soon becomes clear that even though she passed, the Testing isn't truly over. I enjoyed The Testing, but I really liked Independent Study. There was more world and character development, Cia proved herself to be a tremendously strong protagonist, and she wasn't a reluctant rebel leader. She stepped up and did what needed to be done. And there's no annoying love triangles! Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of dystopian and post-apocalyptic!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (4/5)
Book #1 in the Bitter Kingdom Trilogy. Elisa is the chosen one; she was born with the Godstone in her navel. But being the youngest out of two princesses - and inept at everything - Elisa doesn't feel like the Chosen One. When she's forced to marry the king of a neighboring kingdom, her destiny feels closer at hand. Until Elisa begins to learn the fates of past Godstone bearers. This has been on my list for forever, and I finally got to read it for one of my book clubs! I really enjoyed it. Elisa is a protagonist who matures and grows as the story progresses, the world is intriguing, the Author isn't afraid to push boundaries with her story, and there wasn't a single character that I didn't have strong emotion for. Girl-read, sixteen-and-up, fans of fantasy!

Sea Monster! by Jordan Quinn (5/5)
Book #3 in The Kingdom of Wrenly series. Prince Lucas and his best friend Clara set out to pursue rumors of a sea monster terrorizing the coast of Wrenly! Is the sea monster as terrifying as everyone says it is? Or does the sea monster want something else? This is a delightful addition to this beginning reader's fantasy series, as we explore more of the Kingdom of Wrenly and meet new - and old - characters along the way. Full of beautiful black-and-white illustrations and bursting with adventure, this is my new favorite out of the series. Girl-and-boy read, four-to-six (would be my guess; I'm bad with judging age range).

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (5/5)
Book #3 in The Grisha trilogy. The Darkling is on the throne of Ravka and Alina has been forced to take refuge from the Apparat and his zealots while she recovers from her last battle with the Darkling. But the Apparat isn't to be trusted, and Alina must find the firebird - the third and final amplifier - before it's too late. This was just amazing! A terrific conclusion to a terrific trilogy. I loved everyone in this one, including Mal, and I felt so awful for the Darkling. The Author pulled twist after twist, and just totally wrenched my heart out. Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of fantasy and Russian culture.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (4/5)
Dad and the kids have been for the weekend to fend for themselves - without Mum! Everything is fine, until Dad forgets to buy milk and the kids wake up to dry cereal. Dad has to go out and get milk - but it turns into more of an adventure than any of them expected! This is a hilarious, nonsensical kids' book that is a super fast read and just fun. It's also my second Neil Gaiman book (sad, I know). Coupled with amusing black-and-white illustrations, it's guaranteed to make you laugh. Girl-and-boy read, beginning reader, anyone who likes Neil Gaiman!

Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed (4/5)
Book #2 in the At Somerton trilogy. It's Rose's first London Season, and she's got to make an impression in order to wipe out her past as the illegitimate daughter of the Somerton housekeeper. Meanwhile, Ada is preparing for her wedding to Lord Fintan. But her heart still belongs to Ravi. There is, sadly, too much drama in this book to sum it all up in a few sentences. You thought Cinders & Sapphires was dramatic - oh no. This one far surpasses it. And I loved it. Why? Because there are likable, sympathetic characters; they're not all bad or stupid. Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of Downton Abbey and historical fiction!

July Worst Reads

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (2/5)
Maggie and her parents have just moved from Chicago to remote Door County. Maggie doesn't like it there, but she won't complain. Her parents have enough to worry about. Then tragedy strikes: girls start turning up dead in neighboring counties, presumably having killed themselves. Around that time, Maggie befriends outgoing Pauline and her childhood friend Liam. And things get tricky. This book is not nearly as exciting or interesting as it sounds. It had potential, but totally came crashing down at the end. It's too bad, too, because it had good characters, a creepy premise, but absolutely no delivery. Girl-read, sixteen-and-up.

Jackie by John Tammela (1/5)
This is an autobiography about the author, written in the style of a novel. It tells the story of John "Jackie" Tammela's early childhood in 1930's-1940's Niagara Falls, Canada. And it isn't about much else. I love autobiographies, but something interesting has got to have happened in your life. Or your writing style has got to be entertaining. That is not the case for Jackie at all. It was dull, it wasn't well written, and it was just. . . .bleh. For a Middle Grade audience, it had some shockingly inappropriate moments, and I can't see it holding the attention of even an adult.

High Stakes by Brandy Schillace (2/5)
Book #1 in The Jacob Maresbeth Chronicles. Jacob isn't a vampire. Sure, he has to live on a diet of blood, and he's most active at night. But he doesn't suck other people's blood, he isn't allergic to the light, and no - he doesn't sparkle. Even so, his parents don't want people knowing his true condition, so they've made up some bogus blood disease. Which causes problems when Jake and his sister Lizzy go and spend summer vacation at their Aunt Syl's house. Aunt Syl, who loves to play nursemaid and won't stop asking questions about Jake's condition. This is a very funny book, with great characters, but it whips through everything way too fast and isn't as fully realized as it could have been. Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of comedy and paranormal.

Conversion by Katherine Howe (2/5)
It's the final year at St. Joan's private high school, and the pressure is on to get good grades, submit college applications, and fight for the position of valedictorian. Colleen is on top of it all. But then girls start having weird fits and tics, and no one can figure out what's wrong. Only Colleen knows; she's reading The Crucible for extra credit, and she also knows that their town is built on what used to be Salem Village. This had a lot going for it, but it kind of petered out and flopped at the end. It didn't deliver what it promised, and it was just too slow at critical moments. I was mostly disappointed. Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of supernatural.

Best and Worst Reads of the Month

  • Jackie by John Tammela (Worst Read of the Month)
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Best Read of the Month)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 2014 Book Haul

So, this month I was only supposed to buy 12 books. . . .Yeah, that didn't happen. 59 total, and only 3 of those were given to me. But to be fair to myself, I bought most of them - and I mean most of them - for as little as $1.00! So, really, should I feel guilty for the number of books I bought when I really didn't actually spend that much? Anyway, this book haul is in 2 parts, and I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #55 + Teaser Tuesday #16

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 

This week's topic? Top 10 Authors I Own the Most Books From. For this one, I was going to do a video, but I was too lazy and didn't feel like it. So, this will be pretty boring - it's just a list. Sorry!

  1. Lemony Snicket - He clocks in at 18 books, and that's not counting the kid picture books of his I own. I was a little surprised, actually, that he was at No. 1. I know I have all of his books, but I thought another specific author would beat him out. And that author is. . . .
  2. John Flanagan - Clocking in at 16 books. So he isn't No. 1, but No. 2. I can live with that. I own all of his books, and though I don't like all of his books equally, I will always buy his books.
  3. Anthony Horowitz - 12 books. And this number will only increase, as I collect more and more of his series.
  4. Caroline Lawrence - Also clocking in at 12 books. And when I get a chance, I will buy the rest of her books.
  5. Charles Dickens - Another clocking in at 12. I think I'm only missing 3 of his books, then I'll have them all. :)
  6. Cornelia Funke - 9 books! And another author who I will always collect.
  7. Rick Riordan - 9 books. I am missing The Lighting Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Lost Hero. Sad, I know. I'm working on it!
  8. K. M. Grant - 7 books. I am only missing one book, and it's sadly not published in the U.S. :(
  9. Gail Carson Levine - 6 books. I also have all of her books, except the little mini princess retellings - and I will eventually get those.
  10. Jane Austen - Also clocking in at 6. I am very proud of my Jane Austen collection.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading

- Grab the book you're currently reading.
- Flip to a random page.
- Share 2 teaser sentences from that page!

The assassin tugged at the sapphire pendant between her breasts, but the chain refused to give. He pulled harder and the chain bit into the back of Kelsea's neck. Kelsea stiffened, fury blooming from nowhere. It was a gift; her fear melted quickly and silently away. She could feel the sapphire now, a throbbing pressure that burned like a pulse inside her mind. With every jerk on the chain, Kelsea became angrier. The sapphire didn't want to be removed.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (pg. 261)

Monday, July 28, 2014

ARC Review: Conversion - Katherine Howe

Conversion by Katherine Howe
Genre: YA, suspense
Published on July 1, 2014
Published by Putnam
Pages: 402
Read From: 7.15.24 - 7.19.14

It's senior year at St. Joan's Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys' texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. 
Until they can't. 
First it's the school's queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan's buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic. 
Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking it? Only Colleen - who's been reading The Crucible for extra credit - comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago. . . .


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I do really like the simple cover art, with the yellow bird and not much else. There is something very intriguing about it.

Characters: I can't say that I became especially attached to anyone. Colleen and her friends are either pushy or downright jerky and pretty typical snotty clique chicks. Not that I didn't understand their being proud of their academic accomplishments and drive to do their absolute best. I totally get that; I'm competitive, I always strive to do my best, and I am never happy when I screw up. But Colleen and her friends are still cliquish, and totally absorbed in themselves and mean to people who aren't part of the "in" crowd. It's hard to like a protagonist and her friends who are so trivial. Academic smarts aren't enough to make me like a character. I rather liked Colleen's little sister Wheezy, but she wasn't in it much. She just turned up in odd places and her whole family always seemed to forget about her. One character I did come to rather sympathize with, surprisingly, was Anne Putnam. It was weird meeting a sympathetic Anne Putnam, as all of the previous novels I've read dealing with the Salem Witch Trials has always painted her as the ringleader, instigator, and quite the bratty, conniving little witch (no pun intended). It was new viewing her in a different way, and it was interesting.

The Romance: Colleen gets a boyfriend, but the romance is hardly focused on.

Plot: It's the last semester at the St. Joan's private school for girls, and the pressure is on to get college applications in, beat out competition for valedictorian, and beefing up one's GPA. Colleen and her friends are only a few out of many who are feeling the pressure. And then weird things begin to happen, when the school's queen bee falls into a sudden fit during class. Soon, other girls follow, displaying strange tics, hair loss, and garbled speech. No one knows what's happening, and it isn't long before it hits the news. Colleen thinks she knows what's happening. She's been reading The Crucible for extra credit, and it sounds exactly like what is happening to the girls at St. Joan's. Was there more to what happened at the Salem Witch Trials than history tells? Or are the girls of St. Joan's faking it, too? If so, why would they do that? And if not, what's possessing them and what do they do about it? Conversion sounded very creepy, very intriguing, and very exciting. Unfortunately, Conversion is as false as the accusations the girls made against the innocent at Salem Village. It's sloooooow, and the build-up is disappointing. I expected to be freaked out, but there was nothing scary about this book - or even suspenseful. The characters profess to being stressed out and scared over what's happening, but they still all go to classes and get on with their lives. The book mostly consists of news reporters and absurd theories on what's happening. Colleen's realization that the symptoms are like those in The Crucible hardly plays a role whatsoever. She doesn't even realize this until towards the end of the book, and the whole time, the Reader is waiting for it to happen. The only time the book takes a somewhat freaky turn is when one of Colleen's friends starts coughing up pins. On the other side, the parts that follow Anne Putnam, as she confesses what really happened in Salem Village, were much more interesting. But they also turned out to not be all that important to the future plot. They only seemed to be there to inform any Readers who know nothing about the Salem Witch Trials.

Believability: No complaints.

Writing Style: First person, past and present. Colleen's narration is in past tense, and Anne's in present. It worked in both cases.

Content: 7 g--damns. Colleen also relates a night she spent with a guy, in rather graphic detail. (pg 120)

Conclusion: For a brief moment, it seemed like Conversion was going to take a spooky turn. But it ultimately ended with disappointment. I'm fine with open endings that let the Reader decide what really happened. But in this case, it just left me feeling irked and like the book had no point. Which I guess it didn't have one.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, eighteen-and-up.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #57

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Review


Love by the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan
On the brink of World War II, two girls are sent to the grand English country estate of Starkers. Hannah, the half-Jewish daughter of a disgraced distant relative, has been living an artistic bohemian life in a cabaret in pre-war Germany and now is supposed to be welcomed into the family. Anna, the social-climbing daughter of working-class British fascists, is supposed to be hired as a maid so that she can spy for the Nazis. But there's a mix-up, and nice Hannah is sent to the kitchen as a maid while arrogant Anna is welcomed as a relative.

And then both girls fall for the same man, the handsome heir of the estate. . . .or do they?


The Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little
When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls in a disconnected old phone in her family's antique shop, she just knows she's in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy riverbank, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress trees and cattails each evening at twilight.

The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious and they take Larissa on a magical journey through time, where she learns the secrets of her family's tragic past - deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could endanger the future of her family as she knows it. And when her mother suddenly disappears, it becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself, and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves.

Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
Betrayed by their cousins, abandoned by their uncle, and with only the slimmest hint to guide them, fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her younger brother, Dan, rush off to Egypt on the hunt for 39 Clues that lead to a source to an unimaginable power. But when they arrive, Amy and Dan get something completely unexpected - a message from their dead grandmother, Grace. Did Grace set out to help the two orphans. . . .or are Amy and Dan heading for the most devastating betrayal of them all?

Bird by Crystal Chan
Jewel never knew her brother, Bird, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. She lives in a house drenched in silence. Filled with secrets. Then one night, a boy in a tree changes everything. . . .

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister, Alice, are still grieving for their mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it never stops snowing. On her very first day exploring the museum, Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty, the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting a long time for Ophelia's help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible adventure to rescue the boy, everything she believes is tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Amy and Matthew didn't know each other, really. They weren't friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn't friends with now.

Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he's helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything - except the one thing that matters most.

Game by Barry Lyga
Several months have passed since Jazz helped the Lobo's Nod police force catch the serial killer known as the Impressionist. Every day since then, Jazz has dealt with the guilt of knowing he was responsible for his father's escape from prison. Now Billy Dent is on the loose, ready to kill again.

Jazz's reputation has spread far beyond the borders of his sleepy hometown, and when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz's door asking for help with a new case, Jazz can't say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple in a panic, and the police are running scared.

Jazz has already solved one crime, but a high cost. Innocent people were murdered because of him. Is the Hat-Dog Killer his means of redemption? Or will Jazz get caught up in a killer's murderous game?

And somewhere out there, Billy is watching. . . .and waiting.

The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene
Nancy Drew arrives in Phoenix, Arizona, eagerly looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch, but abruptly finds herself involved in a baffling mystery. The ranch is being haunted by a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enemy. Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dirk Valentine, the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch, where he had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart.

Suspecting that a treasure hidden by Valentine may be at the root of the Shadow Ranch mystery, Nancy undertakes a challenging search, aided by her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne. The first vital clue is found in an antique watch and sparks a series of clever deductions and dangerous developments. While seeking further clues, the girls' investigation in a ghost town ends in near disaster when Nancy is trapped inside a building that is toppled by a rockslide - a rockslide which is deliberately caused. But the pretty titian-haired detective remains undaunted in her determination to solve the mystery.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Katherine V thought boys were gross. Katherine X just wanted to be friend. Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail. K-19 broke his heart.

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
After a family tragedy, Emily, Navin, and their mother move to an ancestral home to start a new life. On the family's very first night in the mysterious house, Em and Navin's mom is kidnapped by a tentacled creature. Now it's up to Em and Navin to figure out how to set things right and save their mother's life!

The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi

This Week, On The Reading Hedgehog.........

July 21, 2014 - Monday
July 22, 2014 - Tuesday
July 23, 2014 - Wednesday
July 24, 2014 - Thursday
July 25, 2014 - Friday
July 26, 2014 - Saturday

Next Week, On The Reading Hedgehog...........

July 28, 2014 - Monday
ARC Review: Conversion - Katherine Howe
July 29, 2014 - Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday #55: 10 Authors I Own the Most Books From
Teaser Tuesday #16
July 30, 2014 - Wednesday
July Book Haul
July 31, 2014 - Thursday
Hedgie's Must Reads: July 2014
August 1, 2014 - Friday
Review: The Warrior Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
August 2, 2014 - Saturday
Weekend Recommendations #38

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Guest Post: On My Shelf

Because last month's topic was so weighty, I thought it would be fun to just do something - well, fun! So this month's topic is this:

- My guests were told to number their shelves.
- Then they were to figure out, roughly, the number of books on each shelf.
- They were then told to come up with 10 sets of random numbers.
- The first number in each set refers to a shelf.
- The second number refers to a book on that shelf.
- My guests then share what books they found with those numbers!

This post was inspired by a tag video that's going around on YouTube. I'm not sure who first came up with it, but I think I first saw it on either Heather at Bookables channel, or Reagan at PeruseProject. One of them! Anyway, I asked my friends Hazel and Katherine to participate. And I also have a new guest post participant! Welcome, Cayla! Thanks for joining us, and I hope to have you on my blog for future guest posts; not just this one!

What's On Katherine's Shelf

Shelf 4, Book 1
Part of the Royal Diaries series, this tells the story of a young Cleopatra VII and her exile to Rome with her father. I was OBSESSED with the Royal Diary/Dear America series back in Middle School. I think I read every single one of those books back in those days. I honestly don't know where I got this (probably Barnes & Noble). This is one of my favorites (but let's be honest; they were all my favorite back then). The sumptuous descriptions of Alexandria and Rome swept me away. I would recommend this series as a whole to those who love historical fiction.

Shelf 11, Book 8
The doomed story of Heathcliff and Cathy on the wild Yorkshire moors. When I was in high school, I never went and read a classic on my own. The only classic literature reading I ever did was what my English teacher assigned us to read. I read this book my junior year, partially because I had just finished watching the BBC version of Wuthering Heights starring Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley (I know, I know, I committed the cardinal sin of watching the cinematic version before reading the book). It got me curious, so I ended up reading Wuthering Heights on my own and. . . .surprising myself by enjoying it far more than I ever thought I would. I got this beautiful edition from It's part of the Classic Lines series, and totally worth getting.

Shelf 4, Book 16
The last book in the Black Stallion series. This was another series that I was obsessed with in Middle School. I've never owned a horse, but I have a cousin who does and I've rode them numerous times. I loved reading about the adventures of the Black Stallion and Alec (along with the Island stallion). I haven't gotten around to reading this one yet, but I intend to do so. Got this copy at Barnes & Noble, since I was intent on collecting all the books in the series at the time.

Shelf 8, Book 22
This story follows a girl named Andi who goes with her father to Paris and finds a diary of a girl living during the French Revolution. The plot sounded interesting so I picked it up at Barnes & Noble one day. I attempted to read this book once before, but put it down for some reason without picking it back up. I plan on doing that soon. But can I just say that this edition has a butt-ugly cover. Bleh!!

Shelf 1, Book 4
As soon as I heard the synopsis for this book, I immediately preordered it from Barnes & Noble. Pre-WWII Germany? Nazi conspiracies? Alternate history? A forbidden romance? Sign me up!! Gretchen Mueller is the daughter of one of Hitler's most trusted advisers, until the day her father is killed protecting the man he works for. Now Gretchen has to find out what really happened to her father, finding help in the most unlikely of places. This book is AMAZING. It has everything I could ever want in a historical fiction novel; mystery, intrigue, and a touch of romance (Daniel Cohen is the perfect book boyfriend). The characters felt so real that it was like they were in the same room with me. If you haven't read this, do so immediately. You won't regret it!!

Shelf 3, Book 5
This follows the life of a slave girl who is a favorite of the woman of the house and ends up becoming a skilled healer. I first found out about this from a woman who runs a book blog named Book Snob (I can't remember her name, but check her out!). So I ordered this from and tried this out. And I found a gem! This kind of sounded like a historical version of The Help (which I didn't like too much). But the concept was very interesting to read about. I even got my mother to read this book, and she normally never reads historical fiction. She almost exclusively reads mystery and thriller novels, so I considered it a plus that she read it. And liked it!!

Shelf 10, Book 7
I love these new covers that the publishers (and Barnes & Noble) designed. Not that there was anything horribly bad with the first editions, but these covers are much more adorable. A companion to Anna and the French Kiss, this follows budding costume designer Lola and her unrequited love for the boy next door, Cricket. Sometimes, I just need to read light, fluffy, adorable romance. I liked it (but didn't love it). I'd love to have a costume designer for a best friend, though!

Shelf 11, Book 2
A girl and her best friend take getting thin too far, with one girl dead and another girl suffering from bulimia. Such as I need a fluffy read, sometimes I crave a serious read. I'm a bit blurry on the specifics on what I really liked about this, but I remember enjoying this one. I've never had an eating disorder (I love food much to do that), but I know some friends who have, and it's heartbreaking to watch them wither away before your eyes. A word on where I got this: I had heard some BookTubers talk about The Book Depository and how there was free shipping, and I got this book from there. There was free shipping, but an extra charge for an international order attached to it that I wasn't expecting. ._. I don't think I'll order from there again. (The Reading Hedgehog interjecting a comment here: that's annoying)

Shelf  2, Book 8
This was one of those books I bought because of the serious, SERIOUS hype surrounding this read. And while I did enjoy this book, I don't think it deserves the hype it gets. Also, I totally didn't intend to get the collector's edition of this book; it just happened to be there at Barnes & Noble one day. Frankly, I'm getting sick of hearing about this book and the movie (starring our favorite little hippie Shailene Woodley).

Shelf 10, Book 13
We're at the finish line. A book that was part of a binge Book Outlet order. Book Outlet is bad for my wallet, I swear; they have brand new hardcover releases on there for six bucks. Can't beat that!! I got this for 2 bucks, and I'll be honest - I got it for the cover. Hello, hottie!! Fun fact: my mom saw this when it first came out, and she remarked that I would probably like it because it looks like a vampire book. It's not, BTW; it's about fallen angels who represent the seven deadly sins. I affectionately nicknamed the main male character Sex on Legs, since he represents Lust. It's one of those reads where it's not great writing, but it's totally a guilty pleasure read.

What's On Cayla's Shelf

Shelf 1, Book 15
This is a book that I got from my dad as sort of a 'hand-me-down.' I haven't read it yet, but I have read the basis of it, condensed, in The Simarillion. Admittedly, it's not the cheeriest premise, but anything from J. R. R. Tolkien is on my to-read list. I'm hoping to get it soon, although I must admit that books I personally own always seem to get read last. But I am determined to read it! :P

Shelf 1, Book 8
This book, for me, is kind of the cautionary tale of how a person should never shop on Amazon while under the influence of books. :P My library didn't own this book, but the plot sounded so intriguing to me that I proceeded to buy it (and then stalk the poor mail woman until it arrived). When I did finally read it, however, I wasn't amazed. It is by no means a terrible book, but neither is it something that I'd been in a hurry to read again.

Shelf 2, Book 5
I bought this book quite a while ago, when I was still reading through the Warrior series. I don't remember how much I enjoyed this particular book, but I do remember liking the series up to a point, after which I sort of lost interest. I probably wouldn't read it again.

Shelf 5, Book 10
I got this one as a prize for a library summer reading program. It isn't the first in the series, so I haven't read it yet and it's been lying kind of forlorn and abandoned ever since I got it. I am interested in starting the series, but a little wary as I'm a chronic series starter (notice: not a chronic finisher) and have way too many that I need to get through already. I probably won't get to this series until I've finished a couple others first.

Shelf 4, Book 11
This book I bought at a sale. I picked it up just because it was a retold fairy tale and it turned out to be a good choice, because I quite enjoyed the story and have re-read it a time or two. It also opened me up to the rest of the Once Upon a Time series; Golden still remains one of my favorites, though, so it was a good one to buy.

Shelf 3, Book 1
This I got as a gift and still haven't read it, although I've picked it up and almost started a couple of times. I'm not really sure why I haven't read it; the juvenile cover turns me off a little, but I've read and enjoyed many Middle Grade books, as well as Inkheart by the author, so there's a good chance I'd like this book, too. I just can't seem to make myself pick it up, but I'm sure I will someday (sounds promising, right?)

Shelf 6, Book 9
This one has been around so long I honestly don't remember where it came from. It was my older brother's favorite book for a while and even though I wasn't really drawn to the cover or the plot at the time, he finally got me to read it. I really enjoyed it, to my surprise. The time period and premise were both engaging. It never made it to my "favorite book list," but it did merit a re-read or two. All in all, it's a very unassuming but charming book.

Shelf 3, Book 7
This one I also bought from a book sale. It was quite a few years ago, before I was really interested in historical fiction - honestly, I'm not sure what made me pick it up. I'm glad I did, though, because I really enjoyed it and it certainly played a big role in opening me up to historical fiction in general. I liked the humor, the "culture shock" situation, and how the plot didn't turn out like I thought it would. I've also read the rest of the series, but this remains my favorite. It was a wise buy. :)

Shelf 3, Book 19
This one I saved from a bunch of books that were being thrown out (doesn't that make me sound heroic). I love this series, so I was already excited about finding it, but as an added benefit it didn't cost a penny (perfect for my budget! :P) I've listened to these books lots of times on audiobook, but, surprisingly, I had never read the physical book until after I saved this copy. I have since read it, however and it's tied with The Silver Chair as my favorite in the series.

Shelf 1, Book 17
This tells you just about all you need to know about my (possibly unhealthy) Tolkien obsession. I received this as a Christmas gift (books make the best gifts!) and it is invaluable. It's not really the sort of book you read straight through (mostly because, if you're anything like me, you'll find yourself getting sucked in for hours at a time as you flip from one lovely little definition to the next), but it's a goldmine of a resource - particularly when you can't for the life of you remember all the names of the Valar (and other similarly nerdy things). I love it! :)

What's On Hazel's Shelf

Shelf 9, Book 15
I always enjoy John Flangan's books and I like this series a lot. I think I've read this one twice so far.

Shelf 12, Book 16
This is a series kind of like Redwall, which I really enjoyed when I was younger. I haven't read them for a while, but I remember liking them a lot.

Shelf 6, Book 13
I do love Louis L'Amour's books. This is actually one of my favorites. I've picked up quite a few of them over the years, but this is actually one of the only ones I bought new. Most of them I bought used.

Shelf 8, Book 10
I picked this one up at a used bookstore. I haven't read it yet, but I read the first of the series, and I'm excited to get to the others.

Shelf 13, Book 13
It's been a long time since I read this series, but I remember liking them quite a bit even though I don't remember much about them now.

Shelf 4, Book 12
This is one of my favorite classic adventure stories. I've read it a couple of times now.

Shelf 9, Book 8
This is the first book of a fun Viking series I read from the library a while back, and recently found this as a used bookstore.

Shelf 10, Book 13
Bought this one when it came out. I love this series a lot, it's one of my favorites!

Shelf 12, Book 18
This is one of my favorite books from my younger years. I still enjoy them. :) I have the entire series.

Shelf 1, Book 14
Always love books by Rosemary. This is probably the most expensive rubbish paperback I have ever bought in my life, but it was the only one I could get, so I can't complain. If I ever find a better copy I will replace it.

What's On The Reading Hedgehog's Shelf