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Reading Queue: April

The Reading QueueHi there!

As of today I’ve officially been a mom for a month! I have to say that it’s pretty darn challenging…but also very, very awesome as well! Colin and I are getting to know each other a little better every single day.

But as I said, it’s a new month which means it is time for a new Reading Queue. I co-host this monthly event with Jessica at Books A True Story, so be sure to visit her blog (and her Reading Queue) too!

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How I Did Last Month

I had no idea what to expect reading-wise during my first month with a newborn, but I was pleasantly surprised! I managed to read three books during March. I already loved audiobooks to begin with (which you already know! haha), but I can see that they’re going to be my main source of reading material in these early months because I can “read” and be hands-free!

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford Ruby Red by Kertin Gier Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (print)

Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy #1) by Kerstin Gier (audiobook)

Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red Trilogy #2) by Kerstin Gier (audiobook)

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My April Reading Queue

I have high hopes for this month because I hit the mother load when I visited my local library the other day. I found a bunch of new titles on audiobook! I couldn’t believe some of them were just sitting there on the shelf! I was like “WHAT?! NO ONE HAS CHECKED THESE OUT YET?!” It was awesome. So here are the titles that are in my plans for the month – all are audiobooks.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Emerald Green (The Ruby Red Trilogy #3) by Kerstin Gier

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson

All Fall Down by Ally Carter Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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What are you planning to read in April? Did you reach your goals in March?  We would love for you to join up with us! It’s a fun way to see what others are planning to read each month. Plus, you never know who wants to read the same book you do! If you’d like to join up, just link to your own Reading Queue post below!

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An Art History Mystery! Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Hiya!

It was recently announced that Under the Egg, a debut by Laura Marx Fitzgerald, is on the 2015-16 South Carolina Junior Award Book list! I read it this past fall and I  can tell you that this art history mystery definitely deserves the recognition!

Overview

When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgeralddiscovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo’s search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she’ll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

My Thoughts

Two topics of history that my students are always interested in are World War II and the Holocaust. Under the Egg is a middle grades mystery with quirky characters that includes a little bit of WWII, Holocaust, and art history tidbits in it. These history tidbits are definitely an intriguing side story to the WWII narrative, one that might not be known to many middle grade readers.

One thing that makes Under the Egg such a fun book is the quirky characters and friendships formed between them. Theo, our main character, is not your average thirteen year old – she has been raised mostly by her grandfather, who has recently died, has a mother who requires more care than Theo can give, and because of her family’s financial situation worries about how to make ends meet and wears the strangest clothes. Theo doesn’t realize that she’s lonely until she meets Bodhi, the daughter of two movie stars who lives in the neighborhood, who is also quirky and also lonely. The friendship that unfolds between Bodhi and Theo while they attempt to solve the mystery of the painting is one of the things that makes this book so special because neither girl realized just how much they needed companionship. The supporting cast of characters are also eccentric and each (An Episcopalian priest, the local diner owner and a helpful librarian) play an important role in uncovering the truth behind Theo’s painting. Characters like these are just plain fun to read!

Overall Under the Egg is a really quick read. I finished it in less than a day because I was so fascinated by the painting’s puzzle. Middle grade readers who are interested in World War II history or those who are just looking for a quality mystery with a witty, smart, and resourceful heroine will most definitely enjoy this one. Also if fans of other art related mysteries like Shakespeare’s Secret, Masterpiece, and Chasing Vermeer will find Under the Egg just as entertaining!

Details

Author: Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Publisher: Dial Books (March 18, 2014)
Format: Hardcover
Length: 247 pages
Series: Standalone
YA/MG: MG

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Epic Fantasy: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Hi there!

In preparation for little Colin’s entrance into the world I scheduled a few blog posts ahead of time. Today we’ll be taking a look at my thoughts on Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdoms.

Overview

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reignedFalling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface. As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love. The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct. Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making. Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword.

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

My Thoughts

I feel like Morgan Rhodes wrote this book (and series) for me. But then again, I feel like most fantasy novels were written for me because I can almost always get completely lost in this genre! Falling Kingdoms has all the characteristics I love in a quality fantasy novel. There is secret magic waiting to be reawakened, political intrigue and murder, action, power struggles, romance, and a cast of intriguing characters. There is no doubt that this series is an epic YA fantasy!

With all of those things happening in one story at once, Falling Kingdoms could have been bulky with too many plot layers, especially when shifting between four main characters in a fantasy world as deeply created as Mytica is . However, I feel like Rhodes has really done a fabulous job with keeping the story accessible and just layered enough to be interesting and exciting without being overwhelming and confusing.

Often times when a book shifts between the different characters in each chapter, I can get confused as to who’s perspective I’m reading or I get bored and want to skip ahead to the more interesting characters. Not so with this book! Each character (Jonas, Cleo, Magnus and Lucia) is fascinating in their own way (although I do have my favorites) and their individual chapters all fit into the story in such a way that makes you feel like you can’t miss anything anyone says or does!

If you’re a fan of high fantasy then you should definitely pick up Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (and the sequels) because I swear it’s so engrossing you won’t want to put it down!

Details

Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill (December 11, 2012)
Format: Audiobook (Penguin Audio)
Length: 11 hours and 35 minutes
Series: First in the Falling Kingdom series
YA/MG: YA

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Big News and An Introduction!

I‘d like to take a moment to introduce you to Colin Thomas!

Colin was born on March 2 (his due date, actually) at 6:01 p.m. and weighed in at 7 lbs. and 13 oz. He was born with his round eyes wide open and a full head of hair! He is pretty stinkin’ awesome and we’ve been enjoying getting to know him more and more over the last week, although it has not been without it’s challenges (haha)!

We received tons of books as gifts for him so we’ve been doing our best to read one each night, when we’re sane enough to remember that is!

!Colin and Me  My favorite pic

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Reading Queue: March

The Reading QueueHi!

Happy March! Here at BookTasty we are officially on Baby Watch! My due date is tomorrow and I’ve been having contractions every hour or so, so things are definitely progressing and are about to real, really soon!

It’s also time for another Reading Queue! The Reading Queue is a monthly event hosted by myself and Jessica at Books a True Story where we reflect on our reading from the previous month and set our reading plans for the upcoming month. I find that having reading plans for the month (even loose ones) helps keep me relatively focused…most of the time! haha

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How I Did Last Month

Audiobooks are my friends! When I feel like I don’t have time to sit and read a print book, audiobooks keep my “reading” going! In February 3 of the four books I finished were on audio.

Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (audio)

Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter #2) by Megan Shepherd (audio)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (print)

Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes (audio)

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 My March Reading Queue

With Marshmallow coming soon, I have no idea how much reading I’ll actually get done in March, but it’s totally okay to bit off more than I can chew right?!

Ruby Red by Kertin Gier The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford

Ruby Red by Kerstin Geir (audio)

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (print)

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman (e-galley)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (print)

Siege and Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo (print)

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Okay, so there you have it! March’s plans are, let’s say…optimistic…with a newborn on the very near horizon, but we’ll just have to see how things work out. I already started both Ruby Red and The Boy on the Bridge yesterday, but which titles from my queue should I pick up next?

As always, please join up with us for this month’s Reading Queue! We love to checkout what everyone else’s reading plans are!