Raising Readers: Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

I have two children, both of whom love books. My oldest taught himself to read at a very young age, and is able to read pretty much anything (he’s a big fan of the dictionary, which is also pretty cool). The Toddler Tornado can’t read just yet, but he loves to listen to me read and is constantly looking at books. Recently, I was asked for tips on raising kids who love books. I can only give suggestions based on my limited experience, but here are some things that have worked for my kids:

1. Make reading aloud a daily activity: I love reading to my kids. It’s an excellent bonding experience, as well as a good way to encourage an early love of books. I still read aloud to my oldest, even though he’s perfectly capable of reading his own books. It’s special for my kids, and it’s special for me. They won’t be kids forever; I’ll cherish my memories of reading to them. At the moment, we’re going through Alice: Through the Looking Glass.

2. Do the voices: It’s okay to be silly. Make it fun! If you’re reading about a grumpy lion, for example, give him a gruff, cantankerous voice. My toddler loves books about historical figures. I give them accents. I’m absolutely horrible at doing accents, so there are lots of giggles. Making your child laugh is the best!

3. Take trips to the library: If you’re lucky enough to have a library nearby, take advantage of it! My husband and I take the kids every Saturday. Libraries often have fun activities your kids can participate in as well. Plus, as long as you don’t accrue huge late fees, it’s free fun!

4. Let them choose: It’s easy to pick the books that you are okay reading ad nauseam, since youngsters can get hung up on reading the same thing over and over. However, if you allow your kids to pick their own books, it will spark their interest. When we take a trip to the bookstore, my oldest picks fantasy novels. My toddler chooses adult history books, especially ones about the U.S presidents. We’ve gotten some odd looks over that, but he loves them, so that’s what he gets.

5. Add activities: I think this is the homeschool parent in me making itself known, but if I can add extra fun to reading time, I’m all over that jazz. For example, after reading Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems, I found a printout on Pinterest (I love Pinterest!) that had a picture of the pigeon and a speech bubble where kids could add their own “Don’t let the pigeon…”. It was a blast! Eat strawberries after reading The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big, Hungry Bear. Things like that add extra fun.

6. Be an example: Let your kids see you reading! If they grow up seeing reading as a fun activity, they’ll realize that it is. I love this tip, because I can use it as an excuse for the amount of reading I do. It doesn’t happen often, because my toddler doesn’t like holding still for long, but I love the rare occasion when everyone is sitting and reading their own favorite book. It’s a wonderful, cozy feeling.

So, there you have it! How about you? What suggestions do you have for raising readers?

Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag

I’ve seen this tag floating around (actually, I’ve been tagged by a few people), but I’m just barely getting around to it now. Better late than never, right? This tag originated on Jenniely’s fantastic blog. Click on the name to check it out. Credit for the awesome graphic also goes to her. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag

Rules

  • Tag & link the person who tagged you
  • Tag and link me/this post (if you would be so kind, I love reading your answers!)
  • Tick/cross off the ones you’ve done

Tag another 10 people!
Received an ARC and not reviewed it? Naughty!
I’ve only done this once. I didn’t finish the book because it was much too harsh for me and, since I didn’t get far in at all, I opted to let the publisher know that I wouldn’t be reviewing it since I couldn’t give an informed opinion.

Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley? Nice
I’m at 84% right now, which is about normal for me. I am hoping to do a little better after things slow down but- let’s face it- things don’t really slow down in my house. The color of the chaos changes, but that’s about it.

Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review to come on your blog (but it never did)? Nice

The only reason I’ve never been guilty of this is that I am constantly forgetting to add my finished books to Goodreads. I’m horrible at keeping track of what I’ve read in any given year.

Folded down the page of a book? Nice

Of course I don’t fold down pages! I’m not a monster!

Accidentally spilled on a book? Nice

I haven’t spilled on a book this year. I get so sad whenever I mess up a book that I’m overly careful about it. I’d probably pull a book out of the way of a spill before I’d save the laptop. That shows rather poor judgement on my part, now that I think about it…

Didn’t finish a book this year? Naughty
There were a few that I didn’t make it through this year. Most of them were due to content (I don’t read rape or child abuse and I really don’t like being surprised by that showing up in a book) , but there was one that was just too boring for me to make it through.

Bought a book purely because it was pretty, with no intention of reading it? Nice

I read every book I buy, eventually. It might take me a very long time, but I don’t buy books without planning on enjoying them.

Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else? Naughty
I don’t think that makes me naughty. I think that makes me awesome. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Skim read a book? Naughty
I skim past sex scenes in books (they’re just not my bag).

Completely missed your Goodreads goal? Nice
Because I’m so bad at remembering to use Goodreads, I set my goals pretty low. I surpassed it this year and – even cooler- I added a good chunk of what I read. That’s only because Beth at Beforewegoblog reminded me about it, but still. Progress.

Borrowed a book and not returned it? Naughty
When I was young, I hid a couple favorites from the library. They may have “accidentally” been added to my shelf.

Broke a book buying ban? Naughty
I wouldn’t say that I spend too much money on books, but my husband has remarked that my book addiction is more expensive than an addiction to hard drugs would be. Hmm…maybe I should try harder to reign it in. Nah.

Started a review, left it for ages, then forgot what the book was about? Naughty
I’ve only done this once. I felt so horrible that I’ve not done it since.

Written in a book? Naughty
I write in my Bible, but that’s it.

Finished a book and forgotten to add it to Goodreads? Naughty
I do this all the stinking time. I honestly don’t know exactly how many books I’ve read this year, I just have a ballpark figure.

Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend? Naughty
I still need to return a Who Was? book that I borrowed for a subject I was teaching my oldest. My toddler tornado has fallen in love with it, though, so I’ll probably just buy a new copy for my friend and keep the other one for him. Sorry, Amy.

Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book?Naughty

I’ll give books, but I don’t loan them. I used to, but they were always either returned in horrible condition, or not returned at all. Now I’m like Gollum: “My precious!”

Broke the spine of someone else’s book? Nice
I would never do such a horrific thing!

Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged? Nice
I usually don’t even take the jackets off.

Sat on a book? Naughty
I sit on them, I fall asleep on them, I fall asleep and drop them on my face (ow!). Basically, I’m a mess.

I got “naughty” on twelve out of twenty. Gulp. I guess I’m just a bad egg.

What about you? How did you do? I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but if you choose to participate, please remember to tag the creator, and me as well, so I can see your answers.

Professionalism: Why Attitude Matters (even in writing)

In light of the recent shenanigans that have been going on regarding authors and bookbloggers, I’m feeling the urge to grab my soapbox. While it’s usually (as in, almost always) a bad idea for me to stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong, in this case I feel a bit validated in doing so. So, let me roll up my sleeves and dive right in.

First of all, I know that it stinks to receive a less than glowing review. I understand that authors put their hearts into their work and it must be incredibly difficult to read a negative review. If I were to write a book, I know I’d be heartbroken by a poor review. Which is why I would choose to not read any reviews of my book at all. That’s an absolutely valid choice, authors: you can leave Goodreads to the readers.

Barring that, there are some great ways to handle negative feedback. You could read the constructive criticism, learn from it, and use it to improve your work. Or you could discount it and carry on about your business. Either way is fine. What is not fine is verbally attacking a reviewer because you disagree with their opinion.

Reviews are just opinions. That’s all. Not every book is for every person. What one reader loves, I might hate, and vice versa. It’s important to remember that one negative review does not mean your book is crap, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed as an author. It won’t kill your career.

What can kill a career is an unprofessional attitude. In this day and age, how a person presents themselves online will be seen and taken into account. Not only will other readers balk at reading a book written by someone who acts in a vindictive manner, publishers might also be wary of working with that person. Harassing a bookblogger, or other reviewer, online will be noticed and it will affect future interactions. Please be aware of that.

That being said: bookbloggers, we also have a responsibility. We have a responsibility to not sink to a low level as a retaliation. The way we present ourselves also matters. We can (and should) report authors on sites such as Goodreads when they go against policy, especially in a way that is blatant harassment. We should stick up against bullying in the bookblogging world. But we can do so in a mature way. Even when it’s tempting to call names, let’s avoid that.

Lastly, let’s all remember why bookbloggers do what we do: we love to read. Authors, we want to give glowing reviews. We want to shout about your excellent work from the rooftops. Our opinions can help get a book noticed. And of course we want new, amazing stories to read. Let’s continue to work together. You write ’em, we’ll read ’em (unless you throw a temper tantrum).

Now, I’ll pack up my soapbox and head back to my massive tbr pile.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Adult Fiction Edition

I’m back with my final post of books that would make great gifts. I’ve already written posts suggesting gifts for picture book readers, middle-grade, YA, and adult nonfiction. If you’re interested in reading those posts, I’ll put the links at the bottom. Here are five suggestions for adult readers:
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This prose in this book is gorgeous. I’d recommend this to anyone who appreciates good writing with a sense of wonder liberally thrown in. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Holy guacamole, this book is fantastic! There’s heart (and gore, of course). It’s fun and engrossing. Any fantasy reader will love this book.

Duckett and Dyer: Dicks for Hire by G.M Nair

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This book is flat-out hilarious. I buddy read this one with Beth at beforewego (read her excellent review here) and we both loved it.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This was my most anticipated new release of the year. It did not disappoint. The writing is exquisite. It will suck the reader in and leave them breathless.

Master of Sorrows by Justin Call

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Last but most certainly not least, I loved every moment of this book. It had a bit of a Name of the Wind vibe and belongs on the shelf among greats like Tolkien.

So, there you have it. These books would be great gifts. Have you read any of these? Are you planning on giving them to anyone?

Links:

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Adult Nonfiction

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: YA Books

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Middle-grade Books

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Picture Books

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Adult Nonfiction

I’ve already uploaded posts with some suggestion for great picture, middle-grade, and YA books (click on the colored word to read those posts). Now I’m moving on to nonfiction. It’s a genre that I’m just dipping my toes in, but I’ve come across several nonfiction books that I enjoyed. Here goes:

For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives, Banned Books, Author Feuds, Extraordinary Characters, and More by Graham Tarrant

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The only thing I don’t love about this book is its ridiculously long title. It’s full of the most interesting facts about everything literary. For example: apparently, Norman Mailer feuds with almost everyone. This is a book I’ll come to again and again. It would make an excellent gift for any reader.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

This is the story of a Yemeni man who learns the history of coffee and how his people are involved. He leaves the U.S., traveling to Yemen, to see the roots of this history with the end goal of becoming a coffee entrepreneur. However, he becomes trapped in Yemen as war engulfs his homeland. This book read like a thriller and I was engrossed. This is one worth reading!

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

In 1986, the Los Angeles Public Library caught fire. Thousands of books were destroyed, including one-of-a-kind treasures. This book examines the tragedy. What happened? Was it purposeful? While the book-lover in me winced over the loss of all those wonderful books, it was an absolutely fascinating book. It was written with such enthusiasm that I couldn’t tear myself away. This would be a great gift.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: a Sortabiography by Eric Idle

This book is so much fun! It’s full of possibly-true reminiscences by the hilarious Eric Idle. He does drop names liberally, but it’s very true to brand. If you want a nonfiction that will give you a laugh, this is a good choice.

Dragon Art: Inspiration, Impact, and Technique in Fantasy Art by Graeme Aymer and John Howe

In case this book doesn’t give it away, I love dragons. If you have a fantasy-lover in your life, this would be an amazing gift. The art is incredible and many fantasy art greats have been included in this book: John Howe and Larry Elmore, to name a few.

Well, here you have it. Are you planning on giving some nonfiction books this year? Do any of these catch your fancy?

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas 2019- Middle-Grade Books


The other day I listed some picture books that would make fantastic gifts (you can find that post here.) In this post, I’m moving on to upper elementary and middle-grade books. After all, it’s good to continue to cultivate a love of reading.

The Origami Yoda Files by Tom Angleberger

My oldest has read this series multiple times. He loves these books! They’re fun stories, and have directions to make cute and simple origami Star Wars characters.
Cool side note: my son has written two fan letters to Tom Angleberger- and received two handwritten notes back! I’m more than happy to support authors who not only write quality books, but take the time to answer their fan mail. My oldest was over the moon.

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Not so long ago, in a middle school not so far away, a sixth grader named Dwight folded an origami finger puppet of Yoda. For class oddball Dwight, this wasn’t weird. It was typical Dwight behavior. But what is weird is that Origami Yoda is uncannily wise and prescient. He can predict the date of a pop quiz, guess who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and save a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, Tommy assembles this first case file in the blockbuster bestselling Origami Yoda series, hailed bySchool Library Journal as “honest, funny, and immensely entertaining.” (taken from Amazon)

Oddmire #1: Changeling by William Ritter

I’m hoping to grab this one for my oldest this Christmas. It’s the perfect blend of adventure and excellent character development. The story follows two brothers- one of which is a changeling- as they brave the Wild Wood to become magical heroes. What sets this story apart from many other fantasies is the subtle themes of friendship, loyalty, and learning to be proud of who you are. I loved it and I know my oldest will too (find my review here.)
Incidentally, William Ritter is also the author of the fabulous adult Jackaby series.


Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart, so he leaves both babies behind.

Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. When they are thirteen years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave their sleepy town and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and uncover who they truly are. (taken from Amazon)

The Return of King Lillian by Suzie Plakson

This absolutely wonderful book tells the hero’s journey from the perspective of a female. It’s charming, and has life-lessons subtly woven in. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good adventure. Find my review here.


When Lillian, the one and only heir to the throne, is cast out of her kingdom by malevolent forces, she accidentally wanders into the Forest of Forgetfullness, where she is rescued by wolves and raised by an eccentric old wise woman. When she comes of age, she is called by Destiny to return home. The trouble is, when Lillian steps out of the Forest, she has no memory of who she is or from whence she hails. Undaunted, the spirited, self-reliant young woman sets off into the unknown, determined to rediscover her long lost self and to reclaim her stolen birthright. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures. (taken from Amazon)

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Full of a delightful cast of characters, this madcap mystery/cover-up is great for any age. It’s perfect for upper elementary students as the macabre level is extremely low (nothing like a tasteful corpse, ha ha!), and this book is as far from creepy as a book can get. In fact, it’s pretty stinking funny. Find my review here.

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There’s a murderer on the loose – but that doesn’t stop the girls of St. Etheldreda’s from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce.

The students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home – unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong. (taken from Amazon)

Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson

My son loves this book! He devoured it and highly recommends it to anyone who likes Star Wars.
Interesting side-note: this author also wrote Kill the Farm Boy, an adult book that I really enjoy.


After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower – and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.

A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help.

To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu – before the First Order snuffs it out entirely. (taken from Amazon)

Are you planning on buying any books for your middle-grade reader in the next month? What are some middle-grade books that you’d suggest?

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas- Books that would make great gifts (picture book edition)

It’s getting to be that time of year. The time of year where, if you’re like me, you start to think about what book/s you’d like to give as gifts this year. I try to buy my children at least one book every Christmas. My youngest is a toddler, so I’m pretty well-versed in picture books. Here are a few that would make wonderful gifts.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, illustrated by Joe Bluhm

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This charming story is about the magic of books, so of course I love it. The language is pretty, yet simple, and the illustrations are absolutely wonderful. I love sharing this one with my kids.
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems

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Our family loves the Pigeon books. There are several, but this one is my personal favorite. The words are simple and written largely, so new readers can follow along. All of Mo Willems’ books encourage participation from everyone listening, so story time is a lot of fun.
Frankenstein: A Babylit Anatomy Primer

All of the Babylit board books are adorable and fun. This one is no exception. There’s something funny about using Frankenstein’s monster to teach body parts. There are several other Babylit books that are equally great: The Hound of the Baskervilles Sounds Primer, and Dracula: A Counting Primer happen to be my three favorites.
U.S. Presidents: Oval Office All-Stars by Dan Green

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My toddler has a surprising interest: he loves historical figures. He’ll say he wants to tell me a secret, then whisper “Ibn Battuta.” His favorites are the American presidents. He likes all of them, even dressing up as Abraham Lincoln for Halloween. He likes looking at adult history books and this is one of the few children’s books about presidents that passes muster for him.
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

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This book is flat-out awesome. It’s perfect for transitioning from picture books to chapter books. As the title suggests, there are no pictures, but the letters are brightly colored and the entire book is about how the readers’ parents have to say whatever is in the book even if it’s silly and ridiculous. This story is always accompanied by giggles and requests to read it again.

Here’s a short list of books that are winners in our house. Are you buying any picture books for little ones this year? What are some that you like to give as gifts?

Why I Reread Books

I’ll admit it: I reread books. A lot. Chances are, if I really like a book, I’ll read it more than once. If I love it, I’ll read it more than twice. There are a couple reasons for this. The first is simple: I have a horrible memory. Because I have epilepsy, both my medications and seizures I’ve had have caused me to have lapses in memory. Add in depression and bipolar, as well as being the mom of a toddler, and my memory doesn’t stand a chance.

The main reason that I reread, though, is because a good book is like a friend. Over time, friendships change. I grow. Maybe a book won’t stand the test of time. There are others, though, that still stick with me. They’ve become more than just words on a page. They’re memories and comfort.

Often, when I reread, I pick up on things that I didn’t notice or appreciate the first time through. When I read a book the first time, I pay attention to the story as a whole. Tiny nuances, or subtle foreshadowing might escape me. However, reading through again, I’ll pick up on those things. It brings a new level of appreciation, both for the book and the author.

Sometimes after finishing a book that was harsh, or where I felt the narrative got away from the author a bit, I’ll reread an old favorite. I like the comfort of knowing that I’m “safe” in the author’s ability to weave the tale. I can relax, already knowing that I like the ending.

I tend to reread more in the fall and early winter. I’m not sure why that is. It could be that the warm fuzzies from the different family celebrations carry over to my reading preferences. This is the time of year when I most find myself reaching for old favorites. Books like The Hobbit, Harry Potter (of course), the Dragonlance Chronicles, and the Amelia Peabody books are greeted like the old friends they are.

I talk a lot on my blog about the magic of books, how a good book transcends the written words, and takes on a life all its own. I guess that’s the real reason I reread so much: why experience the magic of an amazing book only once?

What about you? Do you reread books? What are some of your favorites to pull out?

Quick Fire Fantasy Book Tag

Irresponsiblereader had this awesome tag on his blog today. You know I never miss a chance to talk about fantasy books, so I’m taking part.

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Link to the creator’s blog (thebookwormdreamer.wordpress.com) in your post
  • Answer the prompts below – all fantasy books!
  • Tag 5 others to take part

Enjoy!

5 Star Read: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

See, here’s the weird thing: I really, really don’t like the sequel to this book. The first book is so amazing, though, that it doesn’t matter. I fell in love with The Name of the Wind from the very beginning, when I read about the silence of three parts. Read it below, and you’ll see why:

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“The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind, it would have sighed through the trees, set the inn’s sign swinging on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with conversation and laughter, the clatter and clamor one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of the night. If there had been music…but no, of course there was no music. In fact, there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.

Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. They drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing these they added a small, sullen silence to the larger, hollow one. it made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint.

The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone hearth that held the heat of a long-dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. And it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight.

The man had true-red hair, red as flame. his eyes was dark and distant, and he moved with the subtle certainty that comes from knowing many things.

The Waystone was His, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the other inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.”

Always going to recommend: The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

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Yup, these books keep showing up on my blog. I’m sure I’m annoying the gravy out of everyone who reads my posts, but I’ll unapologetically tout them as often as I can squeeze them in. They’re my favorite fantasy books, after all. If you want to read my loving rant about them, you can find it here.

Own it but haven’t read it yet: The Shadow of What Was Lost by (The Licanius Trilogy #1) by James Islington

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I’m really looking forward to this one. Here’s the Amazon description:

As destiny calls, a journey begins.
It has been twenty years since the godlike Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them — the Gifted — are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their powers.
As a Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he and his friends Wirr and Asha set into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. (taken from Amazon)

Would read again:  Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read this series. It’s dark, gritty, and absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it.

In another world: Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman

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This excellent book is about a priest and an evil sorcerer who must work together to defeat an evil that threatens everyone on their world. That’s a bare bones description: there’s much more to this fascinating book that I think that every fantasy lover should read.

Back on earth: Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

This book is kind of odd, but in a fantastic way. Put healers, vampires, shape-shifters, magicians all in one place, and it gets a little frenetic. It’s great!

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So, there you have it. I might tag a few people via Twitter, but if you want to take part, please do so! I love reading more fantasy suggestions.

Middle-Grade Gems: Interview with a Sixth Grader

About six months ago, I interviewed my oldest about books he was loving at the time. He devours books (not literally; that would be cause for concern) and I love hearing his opinions. I figure the time is ripe for round two. So, here are his current favorites:

The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

Why he liked it: “It’s a very good adventure and fantasy book with good characters. There’s a ton of books in the series so it doesn’t end super fast. There’s a lot of awesome action and it’s just a really good series.”

The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

Why he liked it: “It’s awesome that it’s Egyptian: it’s got a good mythology behind it. It’s got some good comedy, but a lot of good action too.”

Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed

Why he liked it: “This book is full of great action, great characters, and a great story! My favorite character was Wyl Lark, a determined pilot with a knack for flying.”

Star Wars: Blackspire Outpost by Dlilah S. Dawson

Why he liked it: “This book is full of action, importance, and great, engaging characters that really drew me in. Ten out of ten.”

Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstong and M.A. Marr

Why he liked it: The book is about Matt, who is a descendant of Thor; Fen, a descendant of Loki; and Laurie, another descendant of Loki. Together, they must stop Ragnarok! My favorite character is probably Fen. He’s not like the other characters. He’s a bit more wild than the others, but he’s also a good brother, and I like that.”

Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger

Why he liked it: “One of my favorite things about this book was how believable the characters are. I haven’t read any other books like this. It’s really nice to see such a unique book. I really liked it.”