Tuesday, February 23, 2016

TTT: Ten Book I Enjoyed Reading Recently (last yearish)

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish  This week's Top Ten Tuesday is Ten Books I Enjoyed Reading Recently (last yearish) That Weren't My Typical Genre.  

So, most of my reading last year was reading for the  Cybils awards in the category of Elementary/MG Speculative Fiction.  I'm going to adjust my list this week to books that I enjoyed reading, but didn't get to write a review for, well not all of them.  (Summary and links to Goodreads or to my review provided in the title). 

22551747"Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion! 

Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie’s sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake’s combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it’s too late."

My thoughts:  Amusing battle between Miss Drake and Winnie over which one of them is really "the pet."  Recommended age range 8-12
"When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is."
My thoughts:  A very cute, humorous story with lovely messages of friendship and standing up for oneself.  Recommended age range 8-12

3.  Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan 
"Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. 
Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, this impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck."

My thoughts:  Weaves together four stories, four settings, four time periods.  Part historical fiction, part folktale.  Winner of a 2016 Newbery Honor.  Recommended age range 10-14

22827605"When Burdock the barn cat sneaks into the Baxters’ farmhouse kitchen to hide behind a warm stove, he overhears a sinister plot that endangers all the animals on the farm. It’s up to him and his cacophonous cohorts to figure out how to bust out of the barn before it's too late. In this winning debut, readers will fall in love with the solitary cat, the self-effacing cow, the unstoppable pig, even a wayward she-owl—all brought to life with clever dialogue, poetic descriptions, and expressive black-and-white illustrations. This warm, lively read-aloud story about teamwork and friendship has the timeless appeal of a much-loved quilt."
My thoughts:  Classic feel of Charlotte's Web.  Lovely, detailed pen and ink illustrations and descriptions of the farm/animals.  Messages of  what it means to be a true friend and a moral message of what "if saving yourself meant abandoning someone else."  Recommended age range 7-10 

25205326"Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and “invention” is a curse word.

Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion—an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.

Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on—and quite possibly their very lives." 

 My thoughts:  Nice blend of science, nature, physics, a mechanical dragon and a story that was both interesting and fun for me and my kiddo to read.  And, Steampunk Dragons!  Recommended age range 8-12

224004786.   I'm With Cupid by Anna Staniszewski
"Marcus is a Cupid. Lena is a Reaper. Opposites attract in the exciting new Switched At First Kiss series by the acclaimed author of The Dirt Diary. 

When she's dared to kiss the adorkable Marcus Torelli at a party, Lena thinks it's the perfect opportunity to cross First Kiss off her list of "Things to Accomplish Before I Turn Fourteen."

It's only when she gets sent on an assignment the next day that she realizes something went horribly wrong. That ZING she felt wasn't the thrill of her first kiss--she and Marcus have swapped powers! Lena is not your average eighth grader; she's a soul collector with a serious job to do. And Marcus turns out to be a supernatural matchmaker (like Cupid, but without the diaper).

Now logical Lena finds herself with the love touch, and sweet, sentimental Marcus has death at his fingertips. The truth is that Lena should never have taken that dare...because one little kiss has Lena and Marcus in a whole lotta trouble."
My Thoughts:   A Cupid and Reaper swap powers and jobs over a shared kiss with interesting mishaps. Reminded me a little of the movie Thirteen Going on Thirty.  Nice beginning to a new series.  

7.   Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson

23309600"Tabitha Crum is a girl with a big imagination and a love for mystery novels, though her parents think her only talent is being a nuisance. She doesn't have a friend in the world, except her pet mouse, Pemberley, with whom she shares her dingy attic bedroom.

Then, on the heels of a rather devastating announcement made by her mother and father, Tabitha receives a mysterious invitation to the country estate of the wealthy but reclusive Countess of Windermere, whose mansion is rumored to be haunted. There, she finds herself among five other children, none of them sure why they've been summoned. But soon, a very big secret will be revealed— a secret that will change their lives forever and put Tabitha’s investigative skills to the test."  

My Thoughts:  Reminded me of The Westing Game and Matilda.  Plus,  I just adore old mysterious houses and children who like to roam around investigating them.  Loved Lawson's description of the setting, such a wordsmith.  Recommended age range 8-12

8.  Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon
22929592"The night her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley must learn to fend for herself. Her home, Nott City, has been taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown. After fleeing for her life, Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers-misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown's merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can't rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected." 
 My Thoughts:  Nice re-imaging of Robin Hood with diverse characters and lots of action.  

9.  The Fog Diver by Joel Ross 
"A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious and strong. Bea is the mechanic: cheerful and brilliant. And Chess is the tetherboy: quiet and quick…and tougher than he looks. But Chess has a secret, one he’s kept hidden his whole life. One that Lord Kodoc is desperate to exploit for his own evil plans. And even as Chess unearths the crew’s biggest treasure ever, they are running out of time..." 

 My Thoughts:  Fast paced steampunk pirate adventure, with a nice inclusion of technology. Winner of the Cybils 2015 Award for Elementary/MG Speculative Fiction.

2263967510.  Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

"Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they’ve inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the entire henhouse....
And then more of her great-uncle’s unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.
Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, Unusual Chickensis a quirky, clucky classic in the making." Recommended age range 8-12
My Thoughts:  Lots of fun details about chickens, very humorous and lovely illustrations.  I still think about those force using chickens from time to time.  

So What books made it on your Top Ten List for this week?  Feel free to post your links in the comments.  


  1. This is a fun list of a lot of entertaining books! I will have to add some of these to my TBR. Thanks for sharing!

    My TTT: https://greenishbookshelf.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/top-10-tuesday-outsider-tbr/

  2. I have Echo, The Fog Diver, A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans, and Nooks and Crannies on my TBR list already! Sounds like all of the books on your list are great! Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. I highly recommend you read Nooks and Crannies, I think it would be right up your alley.

  3. Interesting books-especially the first one!! Have a good week!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Joann! A Dragon's Guide certainly makes for an interesting twist. Happy Reading.

  4. Another great list of books. Thanks!

    1. Hope there is some that will work for your granddaughter.