Friday, December 30, 2016

Must Reads 2016

Last year, in an attempt to avoid having to pick my favorite books from the year for one of the "Best of" things, I created the Must Read shelf. Basically, I don't want to have to pick! Thusly and therefore, throughout the year, I have added books as I read them that I think are really worth reading or recommending for some reason. (Ignore the fact that I came up with categories and best of books for a series of twitter posts. No one asked you to point out my inconsistencies and no one likes a smarty pants.)

For 2015, there were enough books across both YA and non-YA categories for two separate posts. This year, though, most of the books I thought were Must Reads were YA and there were only about 20 in total. I actually may have read mostly YA this year, to be honest. But let's not quibble over facts! What did I say about being a smarty pants!? 

Because I tend to do reviews as often as possible for books that I really like, many of these have full reviews floating around this blog somewhere. Even for those without full review posts, I probably did a related outbox post so feel free to look around if you want to see what I had to say about these gems.

 Without further ado, here are the 2016 Must Reads!!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Challenge- Cheater Recap: TBRs and FairyTale Retelling 2016

I signed up for both the 2016 TBR Pile (#2016TBRPile) and the ROck My TBR Challenges (#RockMyTBR). Both of these challenges were supposed to be focused on reading books that I already own. However, I cheated. I don’t buy a lot of books (heh, only kind of true) but I really wanted to use these challenges to get books off my TBR list regardless of whether I owned them or not. Basically, I counted any book for this challenge that I read this year that was already on my Goodreads TBR shelf before 2016. This makes a little overlap with my I Love Libraries challenge but not much. That recap posted yesterday. It's almost like I check out a bunch of stuff that's not even related to what I've said I want to read. Crazy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dominique from Pirates and Pixie Dust: Songs to Accompany Shades of Magic (Guest Post)

Hello, Kenya's friends!

I'm Dominique and you can find me over at Pirates and Pixie Dust when I'm not reading (or tweeting about reading).'s post is about music, inspired by Kenya's love for musicals. I'd love to share which songs remind me of the Shades of Magic series by VE Schwab. Though I won't be revealing anything major about the stories, my song choices may be considered spoilery to some, especially if you're planning on reading the stories soon. However, if you have read the books (my favorite reads of 2016!), then I apologize. You'll never hear these two songs the same way again:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Challenge Recap: I Love Libraries 2016

The I Love Libraries Reading Challenge (#ILoveLibraries2016) was hosted by Bea’s Book Nook. The hashtag wasn’t getting much play on Twitter, so either it kind of fizzled out or most people were posting on the -gram or the -Tube. I didn’t really set a goal because most of my books I read come from the library. this challenge I did not include any of the audiobooks that I listened to through Overdrive but only physical books checked out from the library. I'm also not counting any books that I checked out but then had to return before I could read them. 

This post is basically a testament to the awesomeness that is the Monroe County Library System. 

Here are a couple of favorites: 

And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner 
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brenden Kiely 

Challenge Status
Goal: meh
Completed: 53 (when I wrote this)

Below, in picture blocks, are the Goodreads cover photos for all the books I read from the library this year with highlights and regrets.

Friday, December 23, 2016

As Told by Tina - Why I’m Not Doing the Goodreads Challenge In 2017 (Guest Post)

Hi! My name is Tina and I blog over at As Told By Tina. First, I would like to thank Kenya for having me on her blog today.

Today, I am going to talk to you about why I’m not doing the goodreads challenge for 2017 and how I plan on tracking my reading in 2017.

I’ve thought hard and long about what my goal should be for 2017 when it comes to the goodreads challenge. For the past two years my goal has been 150 and both years I didn’t make it. I was reading really short books in order to attempt to make my goal and most of the time this lead to me being in a reading slump. It also made me feel like a lot of pressure to meet my number. It was taking time away from my family because I was so focused on trying to reach this reading goal I set for myself.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

I’m not sure where I got this book or how long it’s been sitting on my shelf, which made it a great candidate for a ClearAShelf challenge book. I have not read the sequel (published September 2016), yet, but plan to.

The GoodReads lead in:

The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies. [Link to GoodReads page]

First, the summary doesn’t really do the book justice, which is why I didn’t post the whole thing as I typically do. So let me just cut to my bit.

My Two Cents: 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Series Review: Lockwood and Co by Jonathan Stroud

I read this book because it was suggested to me through my Overdrive app and was available “now” at the time that I was looking for something to download. I had never read any other Jonathan Stroud books but had already heard great things about The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Sequence #1), which I own. That series is also available on Overdrive and it’s likely I will listen to it super soon.
Ok, so Lockwood and Co. is a series about a supernatural detective agency. The world is London following an unknown event that has led to the infestation of the dead. The dead here are ghosts, phantasms, spirits and the like, not zombies. Children and teens, being those with the most sensitively to see other worldly being are recruited and trained to be Watchmen or hunters.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Review: A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

I got this book in one of Book Riot’s quarterly boxes last year. I love the cover. I love all the silhouette book covers that came out a while back. You know the ones. Anyway. A Sense of the Infinite is my first Clear A Shelf book for December. And it was a pretty good way to start.
The (edited) Goodreads bit [Link to GR page]:
It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

My Review:
This is a book where nothing big happens. It is also a book in which many important things happen.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

What Role... (Is "Theatre Tag" a Thing?)

This is from a Facebook post that a friend of mine posted. I decided to do it as a blog post so I could add pictures… because, duh! It's pretty self- explanatory. Unfortunately, I don't know any other people who have blogs that are theatre people so I can't tag anyone else, so if you want to do this, Jump in!

Role that was the most fun: Mary Poppins was the most fun show, I think, because the cast had so much fun, together. I played a few ensemble characters in it. Hopefully, no pictures will ever be released with me in that damn striped jacket. Urgh.