MINI MONDAY: Reign the Earth by A.C.Gaughen (AUDIOBOOK)

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen was released in North America on January 30, 2018, and while it was on my Reading List, it wasn’t one I was really highly anticipating, so I did not get to it until March, in the form of an audiobook I listened to whilst at the gym, driving to and from work, and around the house.

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands. But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

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A Court of Frost and Starlight (NOVELLA) by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas, released on May 1, 2018, is a new, original novella in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series that picks up several months after the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin, and will serve as a bridge between that series and Maas’ upcoming series set in the same world.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

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MINI MONDAY: The Bird and the Blade (ARC) by Megan Bannen

The Bird and the Blade is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from debut author Megan Bannen. Set to release in North America on June 5, 2018, The Bird and the Blade is sure to stun fans of the YA Fantasy genre, and those who enjoy a well told, creative retelling.

Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader’s Copy of The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review. 

As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father as they flee from their enemies across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into a hopeless love. Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die. Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of … even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.

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A Brief Blog Update (May 2018)

Hello Bookworms!

Perhaps you’ve been wondering where I disappeared to this month? Well, to keep it short and sweet, I’ve simply been overwhelmed by life. Between school, work, and moving house, I simply haven’t had the time to read, much less blog!

But that is going to change – and soon! I have several new book reviews lined up for the coming weeks, including The Bird and the Blade (ARC) by Megan Bannen, A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas, To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, and Reign the Earth (Audiobook) by A.C. Gaughen – beginning with a spoiler-free review of The Bird and the Blade (ARC) by Megan Bannen on Monday May 14 at 10 am!

PS. The beautiful custom bookmark shown in the featured photo of this post was created by the lovely @kimcarlika. You can check out her shop here.

May 2018 Reading List

As I am writing this list, I find myself struggling to find the motivation to do so. I have just moved house, and after an exhausting week of packing, unpacking, and re-arranging, I am quite exhausted. On top of that, life has been overwhelmingly busy, filled to the brim with school, lesson planning, work, and the general goings on of life. It’s hard to find this inspiration or any real motivation for a clever new blog post.

Yet here I am, writing another Monthly Reading List.

I’ll be honest with you all (to those of you who actually read these, anyways), I mostly share these lists for my own personal reference, for months from now (when I actually have free time) when I want to go back a read books I missed during the mayhem that is the school year. And let’s be honest – 2018 has been riddled with fantastic YA Fantasy and Sci-Fi releases thus far, not to mention all the Adult Fantasy books that have found their way onto my shelves in recent weeks. I don’t want to miss a thing!

MY MAY 2018 READING LIST IS:

  1. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (Release Date: January 16, 2018)
  2. Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima (Release Date: April 3, 2018)
  3. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (Release Date: April 24, 2018)
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (Release Date: May 1, 2018)
  5. War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (Release Date: May 15, 2018)
  6. Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett (Release Date: May 15, 2018)
  7. Furyborn by Claire Legrande (Release Date: May 22, 2018)
  8. Legendary by Stephanie Garber (Release Date: May 29, 2018)
  9. The Bird and the Blade (ARC) by Megan Bannen (Release Date: June 5, 2018)
  10. The Girl You Thought I Was (ARC) by Rebecca Phillips (Release Date: July 31, 2018)

This month I am undoubtedly most excited for this month are A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (Release Date: May 1, 2018) and War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (Release Date: May 15, 2018) – which I have ordered as part of the second ever Indigo Teen Book Box! I’ve included a synopsis of the two books below!

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (Release Date: May 1, 2018)

Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated—scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

ACOFAS

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (Release Date: May 15, 2018)

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head. But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path. War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, released in North America on March 13, 2018, was perhaps one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. Despite my initial apprehension, I ended up loving Illuminae, then Gemina, unable to tear my eyes away from the video logs, journal entries, chat logs, hand drawn images, and visually stunning word art, I fell in love with the unique style I once thought I would find jarring, and I could not wait to dive into this unique world in Obsidio once again.

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

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TEACHER TUESDAY: How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

This week’s Teacher Tuesday post is all about How to Read a Story by accomplished storytellers Kate Messner (author) and Mark Siegel (illustrator) chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and-finally-coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.

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“Step One: Find a story (A good one). Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice). Step Three: Find a reading spot (Couches are cozy).”

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SUMMARY: Accomplished storytellers Kate Messner (author) and Mark Siegel (illustrator) chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and-finally-coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning, while also telling a story within a story that students will love – about a princess, a dragon, and a robot, who overcome their differences to be friends in The End.

RECOMMENDED AGES: 4 – 8 year olds (Grades K – 2).

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MY THOUGHTS: How to Read a Book by Messner and illustrated by Siegel is an engaging, funny, and beautiful book that children will love (trust me – my students absolutely adored this book!). It is fun, simple, and the illustrations perfectly suit the tone of the writing, supporting the text and adding rich details to this unique picture book. This book has the potential to serve as a mentor text for younger students, whether its used to support the development of good reading practices in the classroom, or as a mentor text for a Procedural Writing Unit.

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TEACHER TUESDAY: Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg

Hi Bookworms (and teachers)! If you’re reading this, it means that you have intentionally (or perhaps unintentionally) stumbled upon my newest feature – Teacher Tuesdays! This idea came to me as I was planning for an upcoming Language Arts unit, and realized that perhaps others could benefit from reviews of the children’s books I am using in with my class.

I have also decided to include potential lesson ideas and activity inspiration at the end of these posts (for those of you who are teachers, or who work/interact with children in some capacity). 

Each Teacher Tuesday review will contain a summary of the book, a recommended age range, my personal thought on the book, and potential classroom applications (linked to Ontario Curriculum). 

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This week’s Teacher Tuesday post is all about Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg, which tells the tale of two ants who decide to leave the safety of the others to venture into a danger-laden kitchen.

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SUMMARY: Accustomed to the orderly and uneventful life in the ant hole, all the ants enter the bizarre world of a kitchen in the search for sugar crystals for the queen. Two greedy ants stay behind in the sugar bowl, eating their fill and then falling asleep. Their slumbers end when a giant scoop drops them into a sea of boiling brown coffee. Further mishaps include a heated stay in the toaster, a hazardous swirl in the garbage disposal and a zap in an electrical outlet. When the ant troops return, the two bad ants gladly rejoin their friends and head for the safety of home.

RECOMMENDED AGES: 4 – 8 year olds (Grades K – 2). Older children may also enjoy reading Two Bad Ants independently.

MY THOUGHTS: Two Bad Ants has dazzling artwork that highlights the ants’ point of view, and children will be fascinated by the ant-eye view that Van Allsburg provides of common everyday items, such as sugar, coffee, and a toaster! Van Allsburg’s illustrations observe the world from unusual angles and perspectives as readers follow the ants on their journey. This book has the potential to serve as a mentor text for a variety of age groups and for a variety of topics, such as Voice (Point of View) and Descriptive Writing.

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Isle of Blood and Stone (ARC) by Makiia Lucier

In Isle of Blood and Stone, Makiia Lucier explores the repercussions of a story eighteen years in the making, that began when two princes vanished. Now, eighteen years later, a riddle hidden on a recently uncovered mysterious map could chart a course towards the truth and the missing royals. Set to be released in North America on April 10, 2018, this historical fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Rachel Hartman and Tamora Pierce!

(I would like to thank Raincoast Books for providing me with an Advance Reader’s Copy of Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier in exchange for an honest review). 

Eighteen years ago two princes of the island kingdom of St. John del Mar were kidnapped and murdered, a deadly plot by the rival kingdom of Mondrago. Everyone knows the story, but for Elias, Mercedes, and Ulises, the aftermath of that tragic day is deeply personal. Elias grew up without his father, who was killed trying to protect the princes. Mercedes is half-Mondragan, leaving her to grow up in the shadow of del Mar’s hate. And Ulises, as the youngest and only remaining prince, inherited the throne meant for his older brothers. Now, the three friends just want to move on with their lives. But when two maps surface—each with the same hidden riddle—troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young princes? And why do the maps look like they were drawn by Elias’s father, whose body was never found?  To discover what really happened that fateful day, Elias, Mercedes, and Ulises must follow the clues hidden in the maps, uncovering long-held secrets and unimaginable betrayals along the way. But the truth is dangerous, and not everyone wants it to come out. 

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