Tag Archives: 2014 Hub Reading Challenge

2014 Hub Reading Challenge Week # 10

12 Apr

Every language seems to have a word for it:

So so

comme ci comme ça

έτσι κι έτσι
(étsi ki étsi)
así así
så som så
mar sin-sin
I’m sharing this because many times I read a book and think it’s pretty good, so so, worth the time to read. And every once in a while something knocks my socks off. This week, I read two books for the HUB Reading Challenge
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and one really knocked my socks off and I highly recommend that you read it.
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence was an Alex Award winner. Here is the Goodreads summary:
A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn’t had the easiest childhood.
But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.
So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing …
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world. 
That doesn’t really do it justice. It’s about Kurt Vonnegut, friendship, ethical and existential questions.I highly encourage you to read it. I will admit that I’ve never read any Kurt Vonnegut, but I’m thinking now that maybe I should. 

2014 Hub Reading Challenge Week #9

5 Apr

This week I finished two HUB Challenge books. I’ve been busy with report cards and conferences, which means two late nights at work. By Friday, I was toast, just exhausted all day long.

First, I finished John Searles’ Help for the Haunted. It was almost too creepy for me, but I managed not to get too creeped out.


Goodreads Summary: It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different from the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family’s past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

I didn’t love this book. It felt hopeless. I can take a lot of bad stuff in a book, but I need to know that there is hope.

I also finished Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington, which tells about persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis. A mix of historical research, first-person accounts and individual stories brings this time to life for young readers.  


2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #7

22 Mar

In spite of all this, I actually managed two HUB Challenge books. I have finally read Better Nate Than Ever  by Tim Federle. It was OK. I didn;t really love it, but I can see why many people did. It’s sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate, on my pile of Spring Break Books.

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I also read  Rust V.2: Secrets of the Cell by Royden Lepp.


This is a graphic novel that I enjoyed, but I really wish i’d read the first volume. Secrets of the Cell follows the story of a young-looking mechanical soldier powered by a fuel cell. The soldier runs away from his place of service and attempts to hide as a semi-normal boy living with a family and helping out. A young man discovers his secret and their previously cordial relationship devolves with the young man not trusting the mechanical soldier. The mechanical soldier later has a choice to make – save the young man or escape and maintain his freedom and ability to function.The artwork is excellent and helped me fill in bits I probably would have known had I read the first book.

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2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #6

15 Mar

A bit of a slow reading week. I am madly trying to finish sweaters for an auction. They will be late, but I think that;s probably built into the plan.I managed 3 books, brining my total to 30 so far.

28. MIND MGMT V.1: The Manager by Matt Kindt  – A graphic novel I didn’t enjoy much.

29. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina – A reread. I loved this as much the second time as I did the first. If you haven;t read it, please do. Don;t be put off by the title. It is all about a girl being bullied and definitely worth reading.

30. Zombie Baseball Breakdown by Paolo Bacigalupi -This was my big surprise of the week.


I would never have chosen this book based on the cover. For me, it’s a turn real turn off. Thank goodness it was son the list because I’m really glad I read it. It is sort of Upton Sinclair’s Jungle  meets  Shaun of the Dead. It’s all about the meat-packing industry, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, illegal immigration. It’s a funny book tackling some serious issues. So, as with Yaqui Delgado, look past the cover and give it a try.

2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #5

8 Mar

Between writing for the Slice of Life Story Challenge and knitting to complete a project by the end of the month, I haven;t been reading as much. I only managed two books for the HUB Challenge this week.

I read the graphic novel  Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge. It was OK. Not the best one I’ve read, but OK.


The biggest surprise of the week was that I not only read, but enjoyed  Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, a book I’d vowed to not read because I thought it would be too scary.


The book had eerie moments, but wasn’t scary. In fact, it was very much like the Grimm’s fairy tales it refers to. I figured out the baddy early on, but that didn’t detract from the story. I wanted to know how he would impact the main character and find out his story. I especially like that Jakob Grimm was the narrator. I’m really glad this book was on the list because I was pleasantly surprised.

2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #4

1 Mar

I’m in a bit of a pickle. Today I begin my first Slice of Life Story Challenge, (SOLSC) which means I will be writing a Slice of Life Story daily in March. Either I write only for the SOLSC, or I write two posts some days. I will probably opt for the latter and double up on the books I mention in each books related post. Let’s see if I can pull this off.

I managed 4 books again, this week for the HUB Challenge.Here’s the list:

22. Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

23. Viva Jacquelina! Being an Account of the Further Adventuresof Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away by L. A. Meyer

24. The Adventurees of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

25. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

Twenty-five is the goal, so technically, I have finished. The Challenge, however,  continues into June, so I’m going to keep reading things I haven’t read from the list.

My favorite this week was the audiobook of Viva Jacquelina! Being an Account of the Further Adventuresof Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away by L. A. Meyer. Olé.


What a romp!!!

When the audio first started playing, I thought the cockney accent of the narrator, Katherine Kellgren, might be too much. But she nails Jacky. She has found the exact voice, tone and pacing for her. Our heroine, Jacky Faber, is sent to Spain by British Intelligence to spy for the Crown during the early days of the Peninsular War. She works on Wellington’s staff,  finds herself in the company of guerilla freedom fighters, poses for the famous artist Goya, runs with the bulls, is kidnapped by the Spanish Inquisition, and travels with a caravan of gypsies…all while hoping to one day reunite with her beloved Jaimy Fletcher. It’s like Forest Gump, but better!

This is book 10 in the series, and the first of the series I have read. I have already put the first audiobook on hold at the library. I want to get to know Jacky’s past, and I want to hear it in Katherine Kellgren’s voice.

2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #3

22 Feb

One of the good things about the HUB Challenge is that it is chock full of graphic novels and audiobooks. I can listen while I drive and whip through graphic novels quickly. So, although I only have one novel on my list, I read 4 books! The two graphic novels were rereads, but the other two were new.

Can I just say, Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner blew my mind.


I had checked this out from the library earlier this year, but the first page didn’t grab me, so I returned it and never checked it out again until the Challenge began. I’m glad it was on the list because this is an amazing book. While reading it, I had visions of 1995’s Richard III with Ian McKellan,


set it an alternate fascist England. And that is where this book is set. Dystopian historical fantasy is the genre category I’d give this book. Standish Treadwell lives is Zone 7, a terrible place where where outcasts and political anarchists are sent.  So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And Standish has to decide if  he is willing to risk everything to expose the truth.

I listened to  Etiquette & Espionage  by  Gail Carriger, which I wrote about last week. I enjoyed it so much, I downloaded the second book in the series,  Curtsies & Conspiracies.

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The two graphic novel rereads were  Relish by Lucy Kinsley and Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang.

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2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #2

16 Feb

Thank goodness for the snow! I was able to finish 4 books for the Challenge. Two were new to me, two were rereads.

The first new book was  Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox. It’s the only one I will talk about in depth today because I have blogged about the others.


It is a graphic novel that tells three stories about dogs during three different wars: World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War. Each story is a little different and  tells the remarkable adventures of a soldier and his service dog. The fictional stories were  based on the real-life roles of military dogs that served as Red Cross rescuers, messengers, scouts, search-and-rescue teams, sentries, and mascots.

“Boots” takes place during World War I, with a dog who was involved in the famous Christmas truce between the British and German soldiers.


“Loki” is a sled dog in Greenland during World War II, where he helps his trainer survive being tracked by Nazis.


The final story, “Sheba,” shows how the dog helped troops detect Viet Cong threats and the impact on her trainer after he was sent home without her and is trying to recalibrate to normal life.


The three other books I read were War Brothers: The Graphic Novel by Sharon McKay and Daniel  Lafrance, The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal, and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.

2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #1

8 Feb

I was a little worried as the week began because I knew it would be a busy one. Would I have enough time to read? Fortunately, Snowmaggedon has helped me out ad I finished two books for the Challenge.

During ELPA testing, I started reading  Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronin-Wills.


What a great read!! I started making a list of all the songs mentioned in the book and wanted to make myself a CD because so many of the titles reminded me of my youth. Although Gabe, the main character is the heart f the story, I was really drawn to John’s story, too. Cronin-Wills has drawn such believable characters, and it is amazing to me that she can write in a teen voice as well as a senior citizen voice.

Because of the winter storm that has shut down the town, I also read Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. It was a Stonewall Winner.


I was surprised at the poetry of the writing.It weaves together several story lines, all narrated by a chorus of generation of gay men lost to AIDS. In the afterward, Levithan describes the real-life events that inspired the book.

So, in all, I did better this week than I had anticipated. I am looking forward to what next week brings. I just have to wait for the snow to melt and the library to reopen.

2014 HUB Reading Challenge – Day One

3 Feb

I was hoping the post  for the 2014 HUB Reading Challenge would be ready this morning. But it is not.  If you want details, for now, you can get them here.

I get to spend most of the next three days doing ELPA testing. That’s the English Language Proficiency  Assessment for kids who qualify for ESL services. We now call them ELLs (English Language Learners) or ELD (English Language Development) students because education loves acronyms.

It is a funny test because there is a speaking component, so the room is mostly quiet, until they get to the speaking parts. They are hesitant at first because they worry others can hear them.

There is quite a bit of downtime as I proctor the test, so I’m bringing along my first HUB book.


Beautiful Music for Ugly Children  by Kirstin Cronin-Wills.

Here’s the Booklist  summary:

Gabe has a secret. He is really Liz. Born a female, he is cautiously beginning his transition to male. Only his parents and his lifelong best friend, Paige, know. But when a girl at school, where he is callously called “that lesbo chick,” discovers the truth and outs Gabe, things become difficult, if not downright dangerous. In the meantime, Gabe is a part-time DJ on the local community radio station, where his show, “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children,” is fast becoming an underground hit. Will his fans reject him when they, too, discover the truth? What, as Gabe thinks in difficult circumstances, would Elvis do? Obviously, there are nuggets of humor in an otherwise serious story. Cronn-Mills’ thoughtful book joins a small but growing body of literature that gives faces to this traditionally invisible minority. Despite a few incidents that require a willing suspension of disbelief, the story is a model of integrity, and Gabe is an always appealing character. Grades 9-12.

I chose this one for today because it is a small paperback that I can easily carry with me to & from the computer lab.  I’m excited to read it and hoe I get a little time to do so.

UPDATE:  The post is up now. You can join in the fun at THIS LINK.

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