Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (3 stars)

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Mini-reviews are tweaked versions of reviews I wrote before starting the blog. It's a good way to show some love to older books (and keep me from panicking when I slack off and don't have anything new). The originals remain on Goodreads (unless it was, like, one sentence), and the new reviews get posted here in between reviews of books I'm currently reading. How to tell them apart? The mini-reviews get this cool intro paragraph. :)


The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Series: The Dark Unwinding #1
Genres: YA, Steampunk, Suspense
Published on August 27, 2012
Published by Scholastic Press
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it.

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Updates: Life, Death and Books

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Not too much to report this week. I'm still recouping after so many evenings of productivity while dogsitting. Um, I cooked food without burning down the kitchen! That's good, right? I'm also itching to practice drawing again...but I really love the idea of hot tea and a movie (or sleeping) right now. ;)

Family is flying in for the funeral of my dad's father early next week. It wasn't a surprise, but if you think of it, prayer for them, especially my dad and his brothers, would be appreciated. (Heads up that posting may be temporarily interrupted on those days.)

I'm ashamed to report I haven't finished even one book this week. Just a continuation of...

Currently Reading:

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Top 15 Childhood Books I'd Love to Revisit

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This was a fun but hard topic. I left out some of the obvious, well known titles/series, like Narnia and The Boxcar Children and American Girl and The Baby-sitter's Club (though I read tons of all of those). Of course, even leaving the big names out, I still went 5 over the limit. Oh well. :)

I decided to use this topic to shine the spotlight on some lesser known books and series. At least, I think they're lesser known. Maybe all of you read these as a kid. >.>

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Discussion: Magazines

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I remember reading magazines as a kid and teenager. Highlights, anyone? And then in junior high it was American Girl and Brio in high school. Fast forward to present: I pick up a magazine every now and then (usually in a waiting room) and read an article or two, but it's not a consistent thing.

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I think a big reason magazines have phased out of my life is because I get most of my "magazine" content online. Between blogs, websites, and online sites where magazines post most of their articles, I can get all my graphics-heavy, bite-sized chunks of information in a convenient to-go format. And if one article doesn't answer my question, or makes me curious to know more, I can Google search to my heart's content.

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Art It Up! - All Our Yesterdays

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Art It Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

It's been a week for doodling! I had two quick sketches on Instagram plus a special piece of fan art for one of my favorite books from last year.

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (4 stars)

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Mini-reviews are tweaked versions of reviews I wrote before starting the blog. It's a good way to show some love to older books (and keep me from panicking when I slack off and don't have anything new). The originals remain on Goodreads (unless it was, like, one sentence), and the new reviews get posted here in between reviews of books I'm currently reading. How to tell them apart? The mini-reviews get this cool intro paragraph. :)


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Series: n/a
Genres: MG/YA, Paranormal, Fantasy
Published on September 30, 2008
Published by HarperCollins
Final Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis:
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

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Updates: Books, Crafts and Dogsitting

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I started my dogsitting gig Friday morning and, despite the usual lack of sleep and general tiredness, it's gone well. The house has no TV, and I've been fairly productive: a little reading, a little doodling, a little Netflix. (I almost engaged in a little writing, too, but didn't have quite enough energy/brain power for that.)

Crafts:


I pulled out Hat #1 to make...Hat #2! Which fits much better and is actually being used. :) See this week's Art It Up post for details.

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Top 10 Books on My Spring TBR List

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It's time once again for the seasonal walk of shame. I don't have a solid, scheduled TBR pile- just a list of eARC's and a general sense of shame surrounding titles I've been meaning to read for forever. But I was sneaky this time. I put a couple books on the list that I KNOW I'll finish. Huzzah, we'll look back on one of these lists and feel a sense of accomplishment yet!

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Discussion: Scholastic Reading Report

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Recently, Scholastic released the 5th edition of its "Kids and Family Reading Report," a national survey on the state of kids and reading. There are five subsections with some pretty cool numbers, and they have great infographics available for download, too.

I highly recommend checking out the whole report because it goes into detail and breaks things down by age group and the nerd in me loved it, but two of the sections that really caught my attention are...

What Makes Frequent Readers:

There are a lot of elements here with strong correlations to frequent readers, but the top 3 for kids 6-17 are:

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Art It Up! - Crocheted Hat #2

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Art It Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

Y'all remember that crocheted hat I posted on last week's Art It Up? The one I said didn't turn out quite right that I was thinking about pulling out? Well, I pulled it out. And when the glorious unraveling at last ended and I had a ball of gray yarn sitting in my hand, I started again.


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Fairest by Marissa Meyer (2 stars)

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Fairest isn't bad, but I was a little disappointed. Levana failed to terrify and, though she's definitely dangerous, the whole story left me with a kind of meh feeling.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Genres: YA, SFF, Fairy Tale Retelling
Published on January 27, 2015
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

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Updates: Books, Crafts and Taxes

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My taxes and FAFSA are officially done! Woohoo! I also got some housework out of the way, which is good because I start a dogsitting gig this Friday. Wish me luck. I also have an intro day at the law school coming up, after which I'll hopefully have a better idea of what I launched myself into. ;)

Crafts:

I crocheted my first hat! You can find more photos and specifics on this week's Art It Up post.

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Top 10 Books for Readers Who Like Fairy Tale Retellings

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I know I'm not the only one out there who loves fairy tale retellings (and not just because Disney has conditioned us to like them from a young age >.>). And there are a ton of them being published, especially in YA, these days! Which means I have a lot of reading to do, but in the meanwhile, here are a few I think you'll like and/or will make you see an old tale a new way...

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Art It Up! - Crocheted Hat

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Art It Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

It's been a while since I posted anything artsy or crafty, but we're back with my first completed crocheted hat!

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I Mustache You Some Questions

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I was tagged by Summer @ Blue Sky Bookshelf
Not sure who started the meme, but I just got tagged, and I'm answering in a timely fashion (for once). :)

Four names people call me other than my real name:
I don't think there's a lot you can do with Kelly...?

1. Kel - my blog and general internet name, and what my family winds up using half the time.

2. Future Dictator of the World - official title from my college writing club.

I can't think of anything else. :P


Four jobs I've had:
1. Babysitter - a.k.a. the drill sergeant. Gotta have a routine if you want everyone up, dressed, fed and on the bus in time.

2. Video Editor/DVD Maker - a.k.a. the compiler of pretty memories. On a deadline.

3. Program Assistant Intern - a.k.a. the office elf.

4. Legal Assistant - a.k.a. the Jack-of-all-trades to the extreme. You learn something new every day.

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Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop eARC (3 stars)

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And we're back with a review of Book 3 in Anne Bishop's amazing series, The Others. (I may or may not have groveled and begged for this eARC. No regrets.) The synopsis and review may contain spoilers for the first two books, so if you haven't read them yet, you may want to check out my reviews of Written in Red and Murder of Crows instead.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #3
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published on March 3, 2015
Published by Roc
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

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Updates: Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

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But curling up under a thick blanket with a cup of hot tea and a good book makes you forget about the miserable snow-cloud skies. Until you have to get up and go to work the next morning. ;) But it's nice while it lasts. I saw someone write in a recent post that she'd never seen snow, and I was like, "You. Me. Trade. NOW." Oh well, fingers crossed the weather people get the snow forecast totally wrong. Again. ;)

Recent Posts:
Death Marked by Leah Cypess eARC (3 stars)
Discussion: A Lasting Impression
Top 10 Favorite Books of the Last 3 Years

Read:

The last quarter of the book finally delivered on some of the action and magical danger the synopsis promised, but it was too little, too late. Unless you want to read about a girl who won't shut up about her crush, I recommend passing on Hexed.

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Top 10 Favorite Books of the Last 3 Years

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Figuring out my favorite books from the last three years was really easy...and really hard. My Goodreads stats quickly revealed all the 4-star reads, but there were only so many of those. And then I wanted to find a way to slip in series and other books that, while they didn't hit 4 or 5 stars, still left a big impression and I'll re-read them or read the next book in the series.

So, without further rambling, I present:

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Discussion: A Lasting Impression

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On my drive to work this morning, the trees were absolutely stunning. We had a wintry mix yesterday that left ice everywhere, and today, it clung to every branch. Each outline reflected the stun against a perfect blue sky. It was beautiful. And when I drove home this evening, it had all melted and the branches were once again empty, leafless branches, dark, spindly shadows against the sky.

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I was reflecting on the fleeting nature of it, the transience, when I thought of books. Stories are like those trees; you read them and are completely immersed for a time. Then the story ends. The memory of the story may remain, like that of the trees, but the firsthand experience is over.

Here, I think books have a slight edge over trees. As beautiful as the trees are, good stories evoke a stronger response and leave a lasting impression. Some stories stay with us all our lives. And, once written down, we can go back and experience the source material again and again.

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