Tag Archives: 2015 Hub Reading Challenge

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #11

26 Apr


So far, I have read 29 books for the Challenge, although I have actually read 47 books on the list.

It has become rather hard to read for the 2015 HUB Challenge and the 2016 Morris Award, so I have decided that this will be my last post on that topic, even through the Challenge continues through June 21st. I will officially consider myself finished after listening to the audiobook recording of Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen.


Carl Hiaasen is one of those authors I rarely seek out, but when I read one of his books, I wonder why I don’t read more that he’s written. I have never read any of his books for adults, which always seem to get good reviews and his fans love him.  I’m a little that way with Neil Gaiman, too.

I did finish listening to The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry this week. It was Ok, but I didn’t love it. We have an exciting author visit this week and I am trying to finish the third book in her most current series before she comes with the  co-author of their new book. I will keep you guessing about who it might be, but I am trying to control myself and not go completely gaga over her when she comes. Look for details on that in about a week.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #9

12 Apr


It was a slow reading week for The Hub Challenge. I only got to one book, which I have not yet finished.


This is just such a sad story. It isn’t sad because of the death of Lydia, with which the story opens. It is just sad to read about such a dysfunctional family.

The writing is good, which is what is keeping me going, but I am reading it in small chinks because I end up feeling dismal after reading for  a while. Don’t take that to mean that I don’t like the book. I really do, but it is sadly disturbing. In November, The Guardian published a lovely review which highlights the books strengths.

The book deals with family relationships, racism and unfulfilled aspirations. But it is Ng’s writing that s the real winner here.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #8

5 Apr

In a week full of business I actually managed to finish three books for the HUB Challenge!

The first, and by far my favorite read in a long time of any sort of book, was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This won the Alex Award and was a National Book Award Finalist.


If you liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  or Code Name Verity you will love this book.

Publisher’s Summary: Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

This is a beautifully written novel with characters I will cherish forever.

That said, I also read  Seconds,  a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley.


This is the story of Katie, a head chef who is opening a new restaurant and has made some personal and professional mistakes. A mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night and offers her a redo, a second chance. Who wouldn’t take it? Katie does, then finds a way to keep on having second chances. Maybe there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. This one was good, better than many graphic novels, which I guess is why it was on the Great Graphic Novels list.

Finally, I read a work of non-fiction. The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles


is Ebrahim’s memoir of growing up the son of the man who killed a famous rabbi and helped plan the first bombing of the World Trade Center. This is s tiny book and I read the whole thing in about an hour. I really could not put it down,  his story is so compelling and horrifying. What makes it truly great is the way Ebrahim shakes off the hatred he’s been taught and transforms himself.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #7

29 Mar

It was a light week for the Hub reading Challenge, mostly because I finished 4 books for the Morris award. But I can’t tell you about those.

The only book I actually finished was The Young Elites  by Marie Lu. The first in a fantasy series.


I have to be honest, if I weren’t reading it for the Challenge, I probably would have abandoned it. Lu has certainly created a rich fantasy world, and yet, it smacks a lot of the dystopian world she created in The Legend  series, which I liked more, though I didn’t love it.


Both series have a disease. Both are narrated in alternating voices. Both have a characters on both sides of power and one of these characters goes over to the other side.

As much as I love things foreign and exotic, the names in this book drove me crazy. It is as though Lu sat down and asked her self, “What are the most pretentious sounding names I can think of for the characters in my new book?”

I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See now, a much better book. But more n that next Sunday.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #6

22 Mar


This week, I finished two books for the HUB reading Challenge. Quite frankly, with report cards to finish, I am amazed that I read any!

First, I read, the graphic novel  This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.


This was FANTASTIC! Here is the publisher’s summary:

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

This book felt so real. I could have been either of those girls, doing what they did, thinking like they thought. I think the Tamaki cousins really captured the essence of girls on the edge of adolescence.

Then, I read the book I’ve picked up & put down a lot this year.


The earlier picking up & putting down did not involve any reading of this book. It involved me, picking up the book and thinking “UGH, a basketball book.” And putting it down. So, I finally opened it and read it. So not what I was expecting. I will be honest, I skimmed some of the basketball parts, but the story of the family really got me. As a twin, I loved the twin angle and I think Alexander really gets the complicated relationship twins can have. It isn’t always Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap. Written in verse, the book moves quickly. At first, I had a little trouble distinguishing which of the two boys was talking, but eventually, I got it.

I highly recommend both of these books.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #5

15 Mar

I finished three books for the HUB Challenge this week. The first was a crime novel, Those Who Wish me Dead by Michael Koryta.


 I don’t really read this genre, so, if not for the challenge, I would never have picked this one up. It is a fast-paced adventure about a boy, named Jace, who is a key witness to a murder. He is sent to hide in a wilderness skill camp for troubled boys, but the killers track him there. And, a wildfire is raging. This is total escapist literature and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

I also padded my list with two more graphic novels. I liked one, but not the other.

I really liked Ms. Marvel: No Normal  by G. Willow Wilson.


Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. Holy smokes, a female muslim superhero! This was a really fun read.

Less fun and infinitely more creepy was Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale  by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla.


This was a stretch for me because I don’t do creepy. Even the cover was too scary to look at. I whipped through it quickly trying not to look at the scary pictures. In a nutshell, Jughead’s dog dies. Sabrina the teenaged witch brings it back to life. All heck breaks loose. Not my cup of tea.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #4

8 Mar

I read three books for the HUB Challenge this week. The first was  Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.


This one reminded me a lot of How to Catch a Bogle,  for a slightly older audience.

Goodreads Summary:For more than fifty years, Great Britain has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Lucy narrates the story and I really like her. In fact, I like her so much I will probably get the next book in the series to see what happened. This is the kind of ghost story I can take: not gory or frightening. It is more about the characters than the haunting.

Then, I read two graphic novels. I really liked  47 Ronin  by Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai which retells the ancient Japanese story. I was so into this that I’ve put two different DVDs on hold at the library that offer movie versions.


I also read Trillium by Jeff LeMire, which I liked less. I just couldn’t get into the story, though you might.It’s a love story about two souls separated by time & space but who manage to find each other.


2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #3

1 Mar


Although I had a very busy week, I managed to finish three Alex Award winners. I didn’t love them all.

My least favorite was Wolf in White Van  by John Darnielle.


This sad and dark novel tells the story of Sean Phillips who lives in isolation due to a disfiguring injury He runs a role plying game from his small apartment in Southern California. As the story unfolds we find out about the trial Sean faces following the death and serious injury of two player. This pulls us back to the moment of his own self-inflicted injury.

Yesterday, I finished Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine.


Bingo Mwolo is small for his age and the greatest drug runner in the slums of Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. When he witnesses a murder, he is hidden in an orphanage, where he discovers that life after drug running has just as many scams and tricksters as life in the slums.

My favorite Challenge book this week was  Define “Normal”  by Julie Anne Peters. about two girls–a “punk” and a “priss”–who find themselves facing each other in a peer-counseling program and discover that they have some surprising things in common.


 All three of these had contemporary settings. I think my next read needs to be historical or fantastic.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #2

22 Feb


I’m starting off slowly this year. This week I listened to Revolution by Deborah Wiles,


which was on the 2015 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list. I was skeptical about how this book would translate to audio, since it was so full of photos from the freedom summer in Mississippi. But it is fantastic. You hear speeches narrated by the original speakers like MLK & LBJ in between the story line. This is the second of three documentary novels by Wiles, and I like this one even more than I did Countdown. 

Publisher’s summary: It’s 1964, and Sunny’s town is being invaded. Or at least that’s what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They’re calling it Freedom Summer.

Meanwhile, Sunny can’t help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool — where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.

This is a wonderful novel about a young girl coming to terms with changes in her personal life and community, and how the changes in each help her with the other.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #1

15 Feb


It was a busy week that saw me out almost every evening. UGH. So, I only finished one book for the Challenge. My goal during the 2015 Hub Reading Challenge is to read all the Alex Award winners, ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. Since I can count the books I read for the Morris/Nonfiction Challenge towards this challenge,reading the Alex list will get me to the 25 required to “complete” the challenge. Everything else after that is icing on the cake.


Confessions,  by Kanae Minato, is a book I really wouldn’t have read if not for the challenge. It is dark and shows the worst side of human nature. The prose seems simple and unadorned, but the story os very dark and twisted. It opens on the last day of school with a teacher proving a last lecture to her class, a class in which sit the two students responsible for her daughter’s murder. From there is spins out, explaining what happened, how the teacher takes her revenge, and the consequences of everyone’s actions. The story is narrated in different voices, each shedding more light on the events, adding new perspectives and horrifying the reader. It is not a horror story, just horrific to think people could treat each other so.

I am not a big reader of crime fiction, but if you enjoy it, this one is worth picking up.

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