2016 Reading Wrap Up

2016

Remember this time a year ago I set some really ambitious reading goals? I am here to report, that I failed. Miserably. I’m not ashamed though.

I read 24 books this year. This is way less than I read in 2015, where I read almost double that at 37 books. I started my first job this year where most weeks, I work and average of twenty hours. In addition to that, I’m a full time college student. It really saddens me  but I haven’t had the time, or even the energy to read as much as I’d like to.

Remember how I said that I wanted to finish the Harry Potter Series this year? Hehehe, that didn’t happen. I did, however, read the second and third books in the series and I loved them. It’s not that I didn’t want to read more of them. It’s that i’m now at the point in the series where the books are super duper long and it goes back to not having the time.

Another goal I had set for myself reading wise this year was to reread/ finish reading Ally Carter’s Gallager Girl series. I had every intention of doing this- I even bought the books in the series missing from my collection in late January or early February. Sadly, I haven’t touched any of them. Also, I did this right before the rerelease of the series with the cool new covers. I mean, i’m happy I have them with the covers I knew them having when I was initially reading the books in middle school/ high school but damn, those new covers are cool.

The third reading goal I had set for myself this year was to read at least one nonfiction book per month. I did this in January, with Kelly Cutorone’s book Normal Gets You Nowhere Then, I pretty much forgot about that goal. I am not going to set this goal for myself again for 2017 but there are some nonfiction books that i’d like to read such as Yes: My Impossible Journey to the Main Event of Wrestlemania by Daniel Bryan, Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham and The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gains. I’m not making any promises and I’ll talk more about my 2017 reading goals in next week’s post.

So at this point you’re thinking, what did you read in 2016, Kaitlyn? I read 24 really good books, that’s what I read. And with the fact I have zero free time, i’m really proud of that. In those 24 books, I had one reread, The Clique by Lisi Harrison, that’s my favorite book of all time. I read one comic book WWE: Then, Now, Forever. I read seven American Girl books, a short story (it was for a writing class I took), a memoir, and thirteen novels.

Best and Worst of 2016:

I hope you had a fabulous 2016 and accomplished all your reading goals. If not, I hope you read some really good books!

Much Love,

Kate

 

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2016 Reading Wrap Up

Saige Paints the Sky

Saige Paints the Sky by Jessie Haas is the second book of two about Saige, American Girl’s 2012 Girl of the Year. WARNING: This is the second book and while this review is spoiler free, reading it might accidentally spoil what happens in Saige.

The sequel picks up right where the first book leaves off. There’s still no art program in the school and Mimi is still in the rehab center. Saige misses spending time with Mimi after school at the ranch, riding horses and painting in the art studio. Mimi let’s Saige ride her horse, Georgia with Luis, her next door neighbor but Saige finds out that Mimi might sell Georgia and this worries her. Also, Saige is having problems balancing her two friends Gabbi and Tessa.

Honestly, I feel like this book didn’t need to be written and reading it dragged out the story line. I was very happy with how everything wrapped up at the end of the first book. This book was around 120 pages and I read these American Girl books in about an hour. So the fact that like 10 pages in, it felt like it was dragging says something. I also think that if I was eight or nine years old reading this, it’s something I wouldn’t have noticed.

I did still enjoy reading the book. I liked getting to know Saige more. I really loved reading about her painting and riding horses, the things she’s most passionate about. I love how Saige is willing to fight for those passions. I think Saige is a good role model for little girls.

I enjoyed reading Saige Paints the Sky but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the second part was unnecessary and because of that I give it 3/5 stars.

Much Love,

Kait

Saige Paints the Sky

Isabelle

Isabelle by Laurence Yep is the first book in a series of three about Isabelle, American Girl’s 2014 Girl of the year.

Isabelle has just started school at Anna Hart School of the Arts. And while she’s excited to finally get to go to school there, she can’t help but noticing that all of her classmates are so talented, especially Jade, her older sister. The Autumn Festival is coming up and while she does great helping her mom design costumes, Isabelle can’t help but feel like she’s falling behind her classmates in the dace room. She has to learn to stop comparing herself to others and become her own dancer.

I’d bought Isabelle off eBay in March. She didn’t come with her book so, when I was at the American Girl store for Melody‘s release and saw it was on sale for $3, I picked it along with the other two books in her series up without hesitation.

This was a nice fun read. I liked how it was simple and to the point without unnecessary characters and subplot lines. I really enjoyed the writing. I liked how the story was resolved but there was just enough at the end so that i’m intrigued to read the next book.

What I really liked was how Isabelle was dealing with the feeling that she isn’t as good as the others students at her school. This is something that we all go through at some point, feeling like we aren’t good enough. I applaud American Girl for taking on such strong themes and for doing it in a way that not just me as an adult can relate to but in a way that someone who is eight or nine years old, the target audience, can relate to. And while I won’t say what it is, (it would be a spoiler) I love the lesson that Isabelle learns at the end of the story.

Overall, I give Isabelle 4/5 stars and I can’t wait to read the second and third parts of Isabelle’s story!

Much Love,

Kait

Isabelle

No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic 1

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Melody Ellison is American Girl’s newest historical character. No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic One by Denise Lewis Patrick is the first book of two about her.

Melody Ellison is nine years old and she’s living in Detroit in 1963. She’s been choose to sing a solo for youth day at her church and she’s having a hard time decide what song to sing. She takes advice from her older bother who is a really good singer and whose dream is to be a Motown singer. She also takes advice from her grandmother, Big Momma, who is also a singer. What ultimately, inspires Melody to choose a song is the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are many unfair things happening during Melody’s time, even to Melody’s own family. It’s a tragedy that happens at a church in the south that leaves Melody silent. Will she be able to raise her voice and sing at youth day?

First things first, Melody is such a cute doll. I got her a week ago right when American Girl released her and I don’t like to play favorites with my dolls but she’s definitely one of mine.

Melody’s story struck a cord with me (musical pun intended). I remember learning about the Civil Rights Movement all throughout school but reading about it from Melody’s point of view. I liked seeing how Dr. King influenced her and gave her hope. They way that melody took the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church broke my heart. I almost cried reading that part.

I loved how bold and brave Melody is. She fights for what’s right and she won’t stand for the discrimination. Eventhough she’s a fictional character, I admire her.

I liked this Beforever bind up better that Maryellen’s. My biggest problem with Maryellen’s volume one was that it felt like it was three different short stories tied together in to one novel. This was not the case with Melody. Melody’s story was one story and I really appreciated that.

This story was beautifully written and because of that, I give it 5/5 stars. I will definitely be reading part two of Melody’s story in the very near future.

Much Love,

Kait

No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic 1

Isle of the Lost

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Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz is the prequel to the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants.

In The Isle of the Lost, we follow Mal the daughter of Maleficent, Evie the daughter of Evil Queen, Carlos who is Cruella De Vil’s son and Jay the son of Jafar. They live on The Isle of the Lost, and island where all the villains have been banished twenty years ago. It’s protected by a dome that makes leaving, no option and blocks out magic. Carlos thinks that a machine he built could possibly break the dome using science. When he turns on the machine, showing it to Evie, weird things start happening. Including the return of Maleficent’s evil sidekick, Diablo, the crow.Diablo says that the dragon’s eye is somewhere on the island and Maleficent sends Mal to go find it. Mal, enlists the help of Jay, Evie and Carlos to find the dragon’s eye. Will they be able to find it?

I love Disney. I watched the movie last summer when it premiered and thought it was the cutest thing ever. So naturally, I wanted to read the book. Reading this book after watching the movie won’t be confusing (that’s what I did) but reading the book before watching the movie won’t spoil anything. This story take place before the movie starts. In fact, the epilogue of the novel sets up for the movie.

I really enjoyed Mel’s (see what I did there? No, I didn’t come up with it.) writing style. I’m typically not a fan of third person but I found it very refreshing. I liked how the villian’s children were their own unique characters but you could still tell who their parent was.  I also enjoyed the alternating point’s of view between the four main characters. It helped keep up the pace of the story. Another point of view I enjoyed in the story was Prince Ben, of Auradon. He’s the son of Belle and the Beast. It was fun to see the perspective of the life of the princes and princesses of the “good” island and it was his point of view that helps this directly set up for the movie.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a fun and light read with an interesting take on these classic stories we all know and love. If you love the classic stories of these villains or love the disney movie, this book is a must read, no matter what your age. I rated this book 3/5 stars.

Much Love,

Kaitlyn

 

Isle of the Lost

The One & Only: A Maryellen Classic 1

img_7257Sick of the American Girl book reviews yet? Well, too bad if you are because i’m coming at 1bc1d5232ecc045155b91fa789de7fd9you this week with another one (and there are more to come). This week, I’m telling you about Maryellen, A girl who is growing up in 1954.

First, let’s talk about how adorable this doll is. Her dress is so pretty and those side bangs are just too cute! Especially when reading the story and you learn how they come about. I want this doll and I can’t promise that I won’t buy her at some point during the year…

I don’t know how to start with describing this book because it’s like three stories in one. You get to meet Maryellen and her family, go with her when she starts the fourth grade and spend the holidays with her and her family. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid, the books that went with American Girl dolls was a series of six so I can see where one “book” would have ended and where the next would have started. I know Maryellen is the newest doll in the historical, or beforever (as it’s now called) so her books were never released as a six part series. I don’t like these new bind ups and will not be buying anymore expect for the ones that are only releases in this way, such as Maryellen.So basically, a very valid excuse to be a frequent visitor at half price books!

Maryellen reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age. She is obsessed with the movies and television and often pretends that she is a in a TV show. I love her active imagination. Something else I thought was relatable in the book was that like me, Maryellen’s first day of fourth grade was horrible. I loved reading about all her siblings and all their such distinct personalities.

I didn’t like how this was written in third person. It’s not something that took away from the story but is a personal preference in writing style. Also, I didn’t like how all the other family members are mentioned and have distinct personalities but Maryellen’s dad is barely mentioned- I think though that just has a lot to do with how families were in the 1950’s. The dad worked and that was pretty much all he did- provide for the family.

Overall, I had a fun time reading about Maryellen and I can’t wait to read her second set of stories. I gave The One and Only: A Maryellen Classic 1 4/5 stars.

What do you guys think about American Girl’s rebranding of the historical characters?

Much love,

Kate

The One & Only: A Maryellen Classic 1

Lea Dives In

img_7256Lea Dives In  by  Lisa Yee is the first book in a series of three about American Girl’s 2016 Girl of The Year, Lea Clark.

Lea is ten years old and she could not be more excited to leave her town of St. Louis to go visit her big bother who is studying abroad in Brazil and she’s just as excited about swimming in the ocean for the very first time. Lea wants to be a great traveller, just like her grandmother, Ama, was. But when Lea gets there she has a bad experience with the ocean decides that she’d much rather take pictures of it than swim in it. Also, things with her brother aren’t how she’d hoped they’d be.

I loved reading about Lea. This book is what made me decide that I wanted to buy Lea’s dollht_american_girl_lea_clark_02_jc_151230_16x9_992 for my birthday. Isn’t she beautiful?

Everything I liked about this book, is pretty much the same thing I like about all the other American Girl books i’ve reviewed on this site but i’m going to tell you anyways. I love how simplistic this is. There are no unnecessary side plot lines. This book isn’t trying to be cool and hip to reach out to the target demographic. Lea Dives In, tells an authentic story that girls of all ages can relate to. Something that I really appreciate is that while yes, this book is the first of three, all the loose ends were tied up at the end of the story but you know exactly what to expect in the next book.I liked Lea Immediately and I didn’t want to put her story down.

Some thing specifically I liked about Lea Dives In, is that significance of  the dress the doll comes in as well as her necklace are explained. I think this is something that jumped out at me versus some of the other Girl of the Year books I read because i’ve been eyeballing this doll for quiet sometime. Still, I don’t remember seeing this in the girl of year books for the dolls I have (Marisol 2005, Nikki 2007, Mia 2008 & I have Isabelle from 2014 who i got off ebay this year but I still need to read her books).

Have you read Lea Dives In? Do you have the Lea Clark doll?

Much Love,

Kate

 

Lea Dives In