IT'S MY BLOGIVERSARY! (with MMGM)

Friday, March 11, 2016

As you can see from the post title, today is (Well, if you're here from MMGM, Friday was) my BLOGIVERSARY! 

For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a blog's birthday. Cindy Reads A Lot started on March 11, 2015 and today is March 11, 2016, which means that Cindy Reads A Lot is TURNING ONE! WOO! To celebrate, I have an special post that includes my top ten favorite books I've read in 2015 and the books I'm waiting on.  

PS. I think there's something wrong with my template coding, which is why you might see huge spaces between chunks of text. It's really bothering me (because when I type it in here, it's fine) so a new template might be in the works soon...and besides, I've had this look for a while, so now it's time for something new... :-)

All right, on to the festivities! 



1. Neverseen, by Shannon Messenger


Sophie battles the rebels—and recovers dark memories from her past—in this jaw-dropping fourth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.



Sophie Foster is on the run—but at least she's not alone.



Her closest friends from the Lost Cities have gone with her to join the Black Swan. They still have doubts about the shadowy organization, but the only way to find answers is to start working with them. And as they settle into their new lives, they uncover secrets bigger than anything they’d imagined.


But their enemies are far from done, and unleash a terrifying plague that threatens the safety of an entire species. Sophie and her friends fight with everything they have—with new allies joining them—but every choice has consequences. And trusting the wrong person could prove deadly.

In this game-changing fourth book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must question everything to find a truth that will either save her world—or shatter it.

2. Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
                                                  
You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page

3. Everything, Everything, by Nicole Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. 




4. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green 

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.








5. Blackbird Fly, by Erin Entrada Kelly

Future rock star, or friendless misfit? That’s no choice at all. In this debut tween novel, twelve-year-old Apple grapples with being different; with friends and backstabbers and following her dreams.

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods, makes mistakes with her English, and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” It becomes unbearable in middle school, when the boys—the stupid, stupid boys—in Apple’s class put her name on the Dog Log, the list of the most unpopular girls in school. When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show how special she really is. 

6. Fish In A Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.

“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. 

7. Every Soul A Star, Wendy Mass

And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now.

At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. It's also where three lives are about to be changed forever:

Ally likes the simple things in life--labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is, and she refuses to imagine it any other way.

Popular and gorgeous (everybody says so), Bree is a future homecoming queen for sure. Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. But what is she trying to hide?

Overweight and awkward, Jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined and making friends in the most unexpected situations.

Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one's place in the universe.

8. The Blood Guard, by Carter Roy 

When thirteen-year-old Ronan Truelove's seemingly ordinary mom snatches him from school, then sets off on a high speed car chase, Ronan is shocked. His quiet, nerdy dad has been kidnapped? And the kidnappers are after him, too? His mom, he quickly learns, is anything but ordinary. In fact, she's a member of an ancient order of knights, the Blood Guard, a sword-wielding secret society sworn to protect the Pure—thirty-six noble souls whose safety is crucial if the world as we know it is to survive. Now all those after-school activities—gymnastics, judo, survival training—she made him take, make sense. For suddenly Ronan is swept up in a sometimes funny, sometimes scary, but always thrilling adventure—dashing from one danger to the next, using his wits to escape the Bend Sinister, a posse of evil doers with strange powers. Falling in with two unlikely companions, Greta, a scrappy, strong-willed girl he's never much liked and Jack, a devil-may-care teenage pickpocket, Ronan is left with only his wits and his mom's last words of advice: Trust no one. That's a lot for an ordinary kid to deal with. But then again, maybe Ronan's not ordinary at all. 

9. Counting By 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan 


In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family. 

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life... until now.


Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

10.  Deep Blue, by Jennifer Donnelly

Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation - and burden - that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes.

The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.


(Note: Some of these books are already available. I just haven't gotten the chance to read them yet. ;-p) 

1. Sea Spell, by Jennifer Donnelly

At the end of Dark Tide, Book 3 in the Waterfire Saga, Astrid leaves her mermaid friends to confront her ancestor, Orfeo, the evil force behind the rise of the monster Abbadon. Orfeo possesses one of the six talismans that the merls need in order to keep the monster locked up forever. But without the ability to songcast, how will Astrid be able to defeat the most powerful mage in history? Meanwhile, Serafina and her Black Fins train goblin troops for battle against her uncle Vallerio's death riders. Will Sera ever see her beloved home--and her beloved Mahdi--again, or will the Volneros take over the mer realms while Orfeo takes on the gods themselves? Nothing less than the fate of the underwater world is at stake in this breathtaking finale. 






2. Lodestar, by Shannon Messenger (The wait is an agony. Ughh...) 


Dark schemes unfold--and Sophie's loyalty is pushed to the limit--in this thrilling fifth book in the best-selling KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES SERIES. 

Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities--but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc. 

The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she's warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act. 


A mysterious symbol could be the key--if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world's underbelly and the Black Swan aren't the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn't stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her. 
3. Out Of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper 


From award-winning author Sharon Draper comes Out of My Mind, the story of a brilliant girl who cannot speak or write.

"If there is one book teens and parents (and everyone else) should read this year, Out of My Mind should be it." (Denver Post).

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom - the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it - somehow.


In this breakthrough story, reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability. 

4. The Julian Chapter, by 


A brand new, exclusive chapter from the bestselling, award-winning, and critically acclaimed novel Wonder.

Over 1 million people have read Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Now readers will have a chance to hear from the book's most controversial character—Julian. 

From the very first day Auggie and Julian met in the pages of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder, it was clear they were never going to be friends, with Julian treating Auggie like he had the plague. And while Wonder told Auggie's story through six different viewpoints, Julian's perspective was never shared. Readers could only guess what he was thinking.

Until now. The Julian Chapter will finally reveal the bully's side of the story. Why is Julian so unkind to Auggie? And does he have a chance for redemption? 





And joining me for MMGM! (Next week I'll have a review up) I also wanted to let you guys know that I have a Goodreads account now, so if you'd like to add me as a friend and/or follow my reviews, my name is cindyreadsalot. 

See you next Monday!!!

10 comments:

  1. Happy first blogiversary! How many is that it people years? (That was lame. Sorry, I just had to ask!)

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    1. LOL, haha, thanks! I'm not sure how other bloggers count, but it's been a year since my first post! So, the answer would be I count in people years, I guess? ;-P

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  2. Good list a happy blogiversary. Time flies when you are reading books. Keep it up!

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    1. Thanks! Time does go by quick with books!

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  3. Happy Blogiversary! I've been doing this since 2009 and I don't think I've ever once celebrated my blog's milestones.

    Great book lists! Some of my 2015 favorites are the same as yours, especially Blackbird Fly and Everything, Everything.

    And I have the same problem with white spaces between paragraphs. I keep fiddling and hitting backspace and it usually gets better. But I suspect it's a Blogger issue. People I know who use Word Press say it's better.

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    1. Thanks so much! Happy 5th Blogiversary! (I think...) I loved Everything, Everything, and am glad that you agree. I've tried backspacing them (if you have email subscriptions you'll see that everything was as squished in there as they could be) but it makes no difference for me. :-( I've been wanting to switch to WordPress or Weebly, but don't want to have to transfer all of my posts over. And even when I transfer all the posts, the sweet comments you guys left me won't be there either. So I've decided to stay on Blogger for now. It's really annoying, though, I agree. ;-p Thanks for the comment!

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  4. Happy Blogiversary! What a great list. A lot of them are ones I've read, but Everything stood out as one I haven't read, but really need to. You're going to love Out of my Mind. That is one of my favorite books.

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    1. Thank you! Now I'm SUPER excited to read Out of My Mind! I have it on my bookshelf and it's going to be next one up once I finish the last book in the series I'm reading. Thanks for commenting! :-)

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  5. A very happy blogiversary to you, Cindy. Quite a great list of books. I like many of these as well. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Thank YOU for the comment! :-) I'm glad that you like the books I listed, as I enjoyed them too!

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