Lioness Rampant (Tamora Pierce) + Year-End Review

Well, friends, it’s that time of year. My 2017 Reading Challenge goal of 36 books in the year has been met! I’ll list a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post. I’m not going to dedicate a separate post to what next year’s Reading Challenge parameters will be. I anticipate moving around April/May, and I have a stack of books I want to read through rather than pack in a box to take with me so I can’t be quite as particular about reading certain subjects or authors. BUT I will nonetheless keep the reviews coming! We’ll end the year with this gem:

TitleLioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4)

Author – Tamora Pierce

Year Published – 1988

Page Count – 384

Recommendation – A great way to end my year! The difficulty/complexity of these books has grown with each installment of the series, as if Pierce was writing these books to match the growing age of her target audience.

(If you haven’t read my reviews for the first three books, you can find those here, here, and here.)

This is the final book in Alanna’s “Song of the Lioness” series. Continue reading “Lioness Rampant (Tamora Pierce) + Year-End Review”


The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Tamora Pierce)

If you haven’t read my reviews of the first two books in this series, you can find those here and here. In full disclosure, I’ve actually already finished the fourth and final book in this series and LOVED it. (Which also means I reached my Reading Challenge goal of 36 books for the year…YAY! I wasn’t sure I was going to make it for awhile there, but this series pushed me over the top.)

Title – The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3)

Author – Tamora Pierce

Year Published – 1986

Page Count – 284

Recommendation – This installment impressed me less than the first two. It wasn’t bad…Just felt out of place. Like, this part of the story didn’t fit with the rest. I almost think you wouldn’t miss anything important if you just read the last three chapters (which were enjoyable and took me back to what I liked so much about the first two installments).

This book picks up where the second left off, after Alanna’s knighthood ceremony. She and her man-at-arms Coram (who has watched over her since she was a child and traveled with her to the palace when she first began her training) are traveling in the lands that make up the edges of Prince Jonathan’s kingdom. Continue reading “The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Tamora Pierce)”

In the Hand of the Goddess (Tamora Pierce)

If you haven’t read my review for the first book in the series, you can find that here. This review won’t make as much sense if you don’t have some idea of where the story left off.

TitleIn the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2)

Author – Tamora Pierce

Year Published – 1984

Page Count – 264

Recommendation – I liked this one even more than the first. The story is a little more involved, not as simplistic.

**Spoilers ahead!!** Continue reading “In the Hand of the Goddess (Tamora Pierce)”

Alanna: The First Adventure (Tamora Pierce)

Well, friends, I might actually make my goal of reading 36 books this year! This review’s book is the first in a series of four, and I am absolutely devouring them. I finished this one early yesterday and jumped right into the second, reading the entire day and finishing it before I could even get this review written. It’s been awhile since I had a book that I just could not. put. down.

Title Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1)

Author – Tamora Pierce

Year Published – 1983

Page Count – 274

Recommendation – I really enjoyed this book! It reminds me a lot of The Queen of the Tearling trilogy I read last year but geared toward a slightly younger audience.

Alanna starts this book as an eleven-year old girl preparing to be sent away from home to a school where she will learn to be a noble lady. Her twin brother Thom will go to the castle and learn to be a knight. Neither are very happy with this situation so Alanna decides they will switch roles. Thom will go to the school to develop his skills in sorcery (Both twins have the Gift of magic). Alanna will disguise herself as “Alan” and train to be a knight. Alanna plans to keep her identity hidden as she trains first as a page and a squire until she is knighted at age eighteen. Continue reading “Alanna: The First Adventure (Tamora Pierce)”

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz)

I’m doing something a little bit different with my “stats” section below. It seemed too crowded to put the title and year published on the same line so those are now separated out. And I’ve been ruminating for awhile on what to do with what I used to call the “Rating” line. I enjoy the Buy/Borrow/Bypass posts by Book Riot, but I don’t think it is actually as helpful in this format as I thought it would be. And just posting my Goodreads rating doesn’t feel like it’s giving you enough info. So I’m going to try a one- to two-sentence blurb about whether I would recommend this book and, if so, to whom. Any readers of this blog are welcome to comment with your thoughts about what you actually find helpful 🙂

Title – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Year published – 2007

Author – Junot Díaz

Page count – 335

Recommendation – My reaction to this reminds me of my thoughts on The Color Purple – I think everyone should definitely read this book at least once, but I don’t know that I need or want to read it again. Would be an interesting choice for a high school English class (and it would 100% get subsequently challenged/banned).

CW: the n-word, sexual assault/violence, suicide, depression – if those subjects could trigger trauma flashbacks for you, please make sure you’re in the right headspace before reading this. Continue reading “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz)”

Counting Descent (Clint Smith)

I went through a short poetry phase in high school, sparked by a unit we did in our AP English class. For whatever reason, that interest dropped off. This year’s Reading Challenge saw me pick it back up, and it has breathed new life into my reading routine. Not every author or type of poetry will speak to every person so don’t be turned off to poetry as a genre if you don’t happen to like what an authority figure has deemed “proper” or “good” poetry. And if you’re not into whatever author or type of poetry is in vogue, that’s fine, too. (If rupi kaur isn’t your thing, we won’t judge you.) I find that it’s like viewing art at a museum: don’t pay attention to the crowds or what’s highlighted in the guidebooks; find whatever speaks to you and go enjoy that.

Title/Year Published – Counting Descent (2016)

Author – Clint Smith (go follow his twitter too)

Page count – 70

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 4/5

This slim volume focuses on the theme of race, specifically what it means to live as a black man in America. Family relationships and histories are central to this story-telling. Continue reading “Counting Descent (Clint Smith)”

Second Nature (Michael Pollan)

Well, friends, the year is almost done. How are you doing on your own Reading Challenges? There’s still about three weeks left, and I would need to read six books in that time to meet my goal. Two per week is totally feasible, right?? If I really buckled down, I could make it work, but we’ll just have to see. 🙂

Title/Year Published – Second Nature: A gardener’s education (1991)

Author – Michael Pollan

Page count – 258

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 4/5

(I don’t know that I need to read this book again, but it’s definitely one I’m passing along to several gardening/horticulture/landscaper friends. And I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the books and authors he recommends/references.)

I hadn’t realized this when I got the book, but I’ve already read another by this author called The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Like I said in that review, it was a book that made me think about things in a philosophical way that I hadn’t considered before. Whereas Omnivore applied to anyone who, ya know, eats food, this book is really more of interest to those who do any type of horticultural work – whether you are a farmer, manage the landscape of a large estate, or just keep a couple pots of flowers on your front step. Continue reading “Second Nature (Michael Pollan)”