Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Utah Beehive Book Awards 2013-2014

As far as the YAL category goes, I've read the following and here is my input:

Shadow and Bone: Felt like I'd been there, done that. I am very tired of whiny teenagers taking leadership over a group of adults or other teenagers just because they have some super power and not for any particle of leadership ability. I didn't like this well enough to seek out the sequels.

The Lions of Little Rock: I loved this book. I particularly liked the relationship between the mother and the daughter; because I could really relate. Readers who enjoy historical fiction should eat this up.

The Fault in Our Stars: Dare I say that I've had this on my Kindle for months (along with Code Name Verity) but I've yet to read it? I know both of them are good, it's just that I tend to give all my attention to the books I have out from the library.

Cinder: I liked this one well enough to check out the sequel, Scarlett, and I actually liked that one the best. This one was pretty good even if it felt a little formulaic. I'm a sucker for Byronic heroes, and the main squeeze from number two is definitely a Byronic kind of guy...

Code Name Verity: See above.

Legend: I found this one to be fairly interesting. I thought the author's comments that she based this on Les Miserables and the scenes with Marius and Eponine were telling. What would happen if the detective and the fugitive hooked up? Hmmm.... I liked this one well enough to pick up the next in the series, Prodigy, but I just got it on hold from the library yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

The Scorpio Races: I thought that the characterization was very interesting in this book, but I couldn't really get into the whole water horse thing. The author didn't sell me on why in the world anyone would do such a thing. If you are a fan of great character writing, you'll like this. I also liked the double perspective between Kate and Sean. I'm not sure why I don't rate this book higher than I do -- I think it's because as stated above, I just didn't buy into the mythology.

Ungifted: I haven't read this one yet because it's never in the stacks, which means it's probably a pretty good read.

The False Prince: Ditto Ungifted. I just started working my way through these last month, so this one will be next on my list.

Welcome Caller, This is Chloe: Honestly, I may or may not get to this one as it is not really my cup of tea. I'm just judging from the cover on this, which tells you how important a cover really is.

Rot & Ruin: I liked this one well enough to read all the sequels that are available. It may be my current craze with The Walking Dead, but I liked it. It's more about relationships (and good versus evil) than Zombies, really.

Wrapped: Although this book was completely unbelievable, I did like it enough to read it all the way to the end. I won't be picking up any sequels, as the characters were just slightly off kilter for me.

How was I able to read this many books in about three weeks? Well, my new teaching assignment leads to a lot less time spent at home grading. I used to spend tons of time creating and tweaking curriculum and then added a ton of grading on top. With ELD the curriculum is set, so I just spend time tweaking. Most of my feedback is instant right there in the classroom, so the grading load is very light. If it wasn't for most of my students hating to read and write, this would be a perfect job.

Science is for Those Who Learn; Poetry for Those Who Know

2013 was a rich year for novels in verse. Here is one list.
It's great to see some appreciation for the beauty of language! I generally appreciate the effort an author takes to write in a different style.