IMWAYR – September 26, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I read Once Upon a Dream, by Liz Braswell.  This is another wonderful book for my collection of flipped or twisted tales.  This takes my favorite princess movie, Sleeping Beauty, and asks the question “What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up?”

Aurora is living with Maleficent in the Thorn Castle.  She loves her adopted aunt, but life in the castle is quite boring.

One day, Aurora sees some strange dust mites.  They are colored and seem to speak to her.  Aurora decides to try to sneak out of the Thorn Castle.

Upon her escape from the castle, Aurora meets up with a prince.  They embark on a quest to beat Maleficent, awaken Aurora, and hope to escape the dream world they are all trapped in.  There are demons, returning memories, magic, action, and outwitting.

I loved this book!  It is a bit long (430+ pages).  However, there was action all the way through.  I loved how much the author stayed true to the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty (it was published by Disney presses), yet Aurora Rose discovers her true strength, intelligence, and grace to lead her kingdom.  She has compassion and bravery.  A true strong princess.  Great example of a strong woman!!


Well, this book and the huge amount of school work took my time this week!  Up next the he highly anticipated Danielle Paige book Stealing Snow that arrived on Thursday!  I’m excited to get started with it.  😀

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IMWAYR – September 19, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicHappy Monday!  This past week I really got into a couple of books.  I mean, they were so good that I couldn’t put them down.  Interested?  Let’s check them out…..


First up, we have Shannon Hale and Dean Hale’s story of an awesome, crime-fighting princess, Princess in Black.  In this one we are introduced to our superhero princess, Princess Magnolia.  She has the nosy Duchess Wigtower over for hot cocoa.  Just then, the secret monster alarm goes off.  Magnolia excuses herself and takes on her ninja-like crime fighting identity – the Princess in Black!  The Princess in Black goes to save the goat herd and send the invading monster back to his land.

With gorgeous illustrations, fast moving plot, and engaging action, Princess in Black is a must read for children of all ages!


I then went in a different direction and read an amazing YA novel.  Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, tells the story of Melinda.  Melinda is a high school freshman who is suddenly outcast from her group of friends.  As the novel progresses, Melinda speaks less and less.  The reader discovers why she is not speaking, and the events surrounding the night that changed her life forever.

This powerful novel was a tough one to put down.  It is written without much dialogue, but rather, as a stream of consciousness type narrative.  Laurie Halse Anderson has said that she woke up one night from a nightmare to hear a girl screaming.  That inner girl is the character who became Melinda.  I loved the writing and totally relate to Melinda’s feelings of being lost within oneself.


Finally, I went back to one of the books on my TBR from last fall’s Children’s Lit class.  The Poet Slave of Cuba, by Margarita Engle, tells the story of Juan Francisco Manzano.  Juan was a slave in Havanna who is incredibly talented at reciting and creating poems and songs.  This biographical tale, adapted from Juan’s own autobiography, explores the confusion, frustration, and growth of this amazing poet.

I loved the verse writing style!  She truly attempted to keep close to the essence of Manzano.  His story is one of heartbreak, joy, pain, and love.  This was a true “book-a-day” read as I started and finished it in an afternoon!


Well, that’s what is up for this past week!  I am currently reading a twisted Sleeping Beauty tale and anxiously awaiting the arrival of Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige.  My Amazon account estimates I’ll get that one by Friday – a full 2 1/2 days post publication day.  I guess I have to survive though!

IMWAYR – September 12, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicIt’s Monday and I am actually blogging!  Actually, I’m writing on Sunday evening, but still…..  This is improvement!


This past week I finished up a pretty amazing YA mystery novel.  Ripper, by Stefan Petrucha, follows Carver, a young teen in late 1800’s New York.  He is adopted by an eccentric old detective.  His new mentor, Mr. Hawking, wants him to discover the identity of his father from a mysterious note left at the orphanage for Carver.

In the course of his search for his father, there are a series of grisly murders.  Carver, his friends, and the secret detective agency led by Mr. Hawking, work to discover where this Jack the Ripper is, and hope to stop the murders.

I really liked this book.  There were a few chapters in the early-middle that were slow, but I enjoyed all of the action and mystery.  I also liked that the author gave me some clues, just like Carver, but left some unknown.  It made for a great ending!


I also dove into and devoured the second prequel novella to Stealing Snow, the upcoming novel by Danielle Paige.  In this installment, Queen Rising, we find Margot and her brother Go are being sold by their poor, abusive mother for money.  Margot is adopted by the Witch of the Woods and goes to the Hollow to learn magic.

Well, a book isn’t good if there are no twists.  Paige does not fail in this at all!  After a few years, Margot is banished/sent out from the Hollow because she is not learning magic.  Desperate, she ends up taking up with a robber.  He teaches her the trade.  Margot’s brother Go, who has grown up as the companion/friend of the Prince, tells Margot to leave and not visit him anymore.
What’s a girl to do?  You have to read the novella to find out!

Side note:  Someone remind me to not to read Danielle Paige’s prequel novellas before I have the upcoming novel in my hot little hands.  This is really KILLING me waiting until next week!


That’s it for this week!  I’ve got some good ones coming up in the TBR pile.  Tune in next week to see what I’ve read!

IMWAYR – August 29, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis sure has been a busy week.  New semester started last week and then we’ve been away hanging out with family starting on Friday.  Needless to say, not much time for just leisure reading!

We did a library trip with the niece and nephew.  My niece and I got a chance to read together.  She read quite a bit of this one all by herself.  BOM! Went the Bear, by Nicki Greenberg, is about a bear and his drum.  But, once he starts playing music, all the other animals join in with their music.  Cute, fun, silly.  Great read for learning about onomatopoeia! 

In the meantime, I did have a chance to hit up the bookstore while we’ve been in the big city.  My TBR got bigger and my wallet got smaller.  Oh well, that’s the life of a reader!


What did you read this week?  What is your favorite thing to read with kids in your family?  Let’s talk below…..

IMWAYR – August 22, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicWelcome back to the “Oz and Other Lands” weekly  It’s Monday post!

Life has sort of gotten in the way, yet again, but I am re-vowing to be more regular in my blog posting.  That means I will be posting regularly here on Oz and Other Lands about what I am reading every Monday!

I will also work to post at least one other post per week.  Do you have any regular posting memes you think I should participate in?  Please mention them in the comments!

Meanwhile, here is what I finished reading this week…


I spent some time with Rebecca Musser’s The Witness Wore Red:  The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice.  Becky was a normal girl growing up in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) where they continued to practice polygamy.  Becky was wed to Rulon Jeffs – the leader of their church.  This memoir tells of her time before being sealed to Rulon, the time she spent as his 19th wife, his death and the takeover of the church by his son Warren Jeffs, Becky’s ultimate escape from the church and community, and her involvement in the the investigation and prosecution of men accused of practicing polygamy and marrying under age girls.

This was a really good book.  However, there are parts that could be triggering for people (frank talk of abuse, for instance).  However, I found her memoir to be intriguing and honest.  A good “adult” nonfiction book for me.

 

 

I then jumped back into sequel mode and read Where She Went, by Gayle Forman.  This sequel to If I Stay was just as intense and intriguing.  It follows Adam through a crazy night of insomnia where he reconnects with Mia.  Mia works to tell Adam what has occurred in the last three YEARS since she went to Julliard and never looked back.  She also uncovers his secret pain at this loss of relationship.

Engaging, heart breaking from page 1.  This book is a MUST if you read the first one.  If you haven’t – read them both.  Just do it.  It is that good.

Finally, I went to a book that has been buzzed about a bunch by the good folks at Book Riot.  After Anna, by Alex Lake, follows Julia, her soon to be ex-husband Brian, and his mother Edna, after her 5 year old daughter Anna is abducted from school.  BUT, one week later, Anna returns home.  Then the real drama starts.

This is told in alternating view points of the abductor and Julia.  I couldn’t believe that this would be a book that I couldn’t put down, but it truly was.  The twists, turns, and genuine crazy in this book kept me up way to late for a couple of nights.  Total crazy fest, but oh, so good!


So, there you have it:  the books I have buried myself in during my free time.  Got another for me to add to my ever growing TBR?  Mention it below!

Have an idea for a bookish blogging meme for me to try?  Mention it below!  As always, you can tweet me or find me on GoodReads using the icons in the side bar.

Happy Reading!

IMWAYR – August 1, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I read two tragedies for my Shakespeare class.  I also finished reading a hilarious memoir by Jenny Lawson.


This week we focused on the tragedies in my Shakespeare class.  We read Othello and Macbeth.  I had never read either one before.  I actually loved both plays.

Othello was interesting because of the influence the other characters had on him.  He gave in to the influence of Iago and doubted Desdemona!

In Macbeth, we had a lot of interesting discussion about who was at fault for the death of Duncan.  The debate has centered blame on either Macbeth himself, Lady Macbeth, and fate (aka the witches).  Such a great discussion.

As for my personal reading, I finished Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy.  With a moderate amount of language, Lawson approaches life as someone who suffers from a multitude of mental and physical illnesses.  What I loved the most was her honest approach to the struggles she faces and the humor she finds in these situations!


Well, what did you read this week?  What do I need to add to my TBR?

Shakespeare – Weeks 1 and 2

Hello again readers!

I know, every time I come post I think, I should post more often.  Then, I don’t….

In any case, I have started my first few weeks of studying Shakespeare!  The plays and sonnets we are going to read are all new to me.  The reading, analysis, and discussion has been really interesting.  I am certainly enjoying it!

Here is what we’ve read so far!

Week 1 – Comedies
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Can you believe I have never read this comedy?  It was pretty funny.  I enjoyed the whimsical nature of the plot.  It reminded me a lot of Aristophanes and his comedies.  In fact, I learned that Shakespeare was educated using Greek and Roman plays.  I analyzed Act V and discussed the meta-theater of the “Pyramus and Thisbe” play.  All in all, a good play.

The Merchant of Venice

One of our focuses during these five weeks is the comparison between performance and reading the plays.  Our first week we watched a production of The Merchant of Venice as we read along.  I really didn’t care so much for this play.  I felt like the characters were just trying to get the better of each other.  Not my favorite, but certainly another interesting comedy to read.

Week 2 – The Histories
The Tragedy of Richard III

We started our week of history plays with Richard III.  The opening soliloquy was the topic of much discussion.  Shakespeare has Richard open by laying out his entire evil plan.  Shakespeare’s Richard is apparently very deformed, so instead of finding a girlfriend/wife, he wants to manipulate others and work his way to be king.  Now, being a “tragedy”, you can guess what happens.

It dawned on me about halfway through the week that some archaeologists analyzed a skeleton that they think is Richard III.  What I found intriguing is that the osteology shows the person suffered from serious scoliosis, but was not a disfigured as Shakespeare’s Richard.  That led to interesting thoughts and discussion about the literary purpose that Shakespeare had for creating an even more disfigured Richard.

The Life of Henry V

Our read/watch play for this week was The Life of Henry V.  Henry is painted as the “mirror of a Christian king”.  He leads his people into battle in France.  We watched a performance with Lawrence Oliver as Henry.  Again, the second play this week was not one of my favorites.


On the side, I’m reading a hilarious comedic collection of essays called Furiously Happy.  The author, Jenny Lawson, presents a honest, cynical look at her life with anxiety, depression, and a crazy family and loving husband.  If you are interested, you should certainly check it out.  She also has a blog you can read here.

Seriously, read it.  (Warning:  moderate amount of cursing, some possibly triggering portions for those who struggle with self-harm, depression, and other mental illnesses.  However, a great, positive look at the nature of surviving a mental illness!)