Monthly Archives: December 2016

Our Top Six Books of 2016

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Isis’s picks:

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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This book was amazing. It was my first Oscar Wilde book and he did not disappoint. Last year, my mom gave me a beautiful purple Barnes & Noble edition and I’m glad I decided to pick it up this year. Before I even picked up the book I had recurring dreams about Dorian Gray, which was pretty interesting. The witty characters made for a fascinating story. 

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

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I read this book for my Philosophy of Food class and I devoured it. (Get it?) This is a nonfiction book about the cruel reality of the meat industry and the treatment animals receive in most company farms. Not only was the book eye-opening and compelling, it was incredibly engaging. The writing style was similar to that of a contemporary novel, which was refreshing. 

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

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This was one of those thought-provoking books that leave you with more questions than answers. I’m still not sure what the hell even happened in the book, but I have many theories. I adored the characters, friendships, families, and the writing style in this book. It was frustrating at times, but it felt realistic. I plan on reading everything else by the author. 

St. Clair (Gives Light #3) by Rose Christo

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This is the third book in a long-ish series. I have to admit, I didn’t love the final book (though I’m not sure the series is over). But this third book was perfection. I adored every character, every storyline, every twist, every turn. I wanted this book to be a thousand pages long. Actually, I recommend reading this series as a trilogy and stopping here. It’s such a sweet, heartwarming m/m love story that talks about heritage, tradition, and perseverance. 

In Perfect Light by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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I really don’t know what to say about this one. Saenz is, of course, the best author in the world (to me, ’cause I’m biased). And I think this is one of the best works of fiction out there. I haven’t heard a single person talk about this book, which is disappointing. I loved the honest, raw pain in every page, the heartbreaking characters, the beautiful family ties, and that hopeful ending that gave me the biggest smile. This is one of my top favorite books of all time. It is stunning. 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 

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I read this book for a Lit class in college. The class sucked, but this book didn’t. It’s set in a dystopian world although it appears ordinary at first glance. Again, the characters were my favorite part of this book. The close relationship between the three main characters was fascinating. I loved watching them grow and evolve separately and together. I hated everything that happened to them. I didn’t realize how attached I’d been to them until I put the book down and could not stop thinking about it. I had such a terrible book hangover afterwards. It just stuck with me. 

Nicole’s picks:

Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike

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I only read this book for a little research on Faeries since Isis and my book involves them, and I was really surprised to like it so much. It was really interesting, and I loved reading it. Before this book I was struggling to finish any book, and it kind of cured my reading slump.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd 

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I read this during our summer read-a-thon, and I read it within one day. I was surprised I liked this book so much, especially since I thought that the first half of the book was kind of boring. But I loved all the female relationships, and I loved May the most even if she did make me cry.

Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster (Dragonbreath #4) by Ursula Vernon

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I don’t think this should come as a surprise to anyone since I feel like I’ve talked talked about this series so much this year. This one was my favorite out of the six I’ve read, and I think that’s all I need to say about this one.

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

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This book completely swept my off my feet. I don’t typically read thrillers, so maybe I’m just easily impressed, but I was completely enthralled in every page. Wylie is one of my new favorite characters.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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I did not expect to like this book at all, but I still picked it up since I heard so much about it. I remained critical throughout it, and ended up liking it despite all that. I thought it was creative and fun, and I can’t wait to continue the series.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

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This was such a fun read. I loved Magnus, and all of the other characters. There is actually a deaf character in this, and I don’t think I’ve read about a deaf character. Especially not in fantasy. I also enjoyed learning about Norse mythology.

Dragonbreath Books 4-6 Review

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This series keeps geting better and better. I’ve reviewed the first three books here if you want to check it out. The Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon is children’s books that mixes novel form with comics, and follows the adventures of Danny, the only mythical creature in his school. 

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They were best friends. They had a system. Danny was fearless and Wendell was terrified, and it worked out between them.

But at the moment, what his best friend needed wasn’t a coward.

In Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster Danny and Wendell take a trip to the pool, and end up saving a bat from drowning. They end up taking it to Danny’s mom to make sure it isn’t hurt. She doesn’t know anything about bats, but, luckily, they have a cousin who works with them down in Mexico. One bus ride later, they get into a big, monster of an adventure.

This one had a lot more of Wendell’s point of view, and I really liked that. His anxiety and worry is both funny and relatable, and make the book more enjoyable to read. This book had a lot of focus on Danny’s and Wendell’s friendship, and since I’ve talked about how that is my favorite part of these books, I obviously loved that. The adventure with the bats was really fun as well. I rated this book five stars.

 

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“Well, anyway, Occam’s Razor is this principle that the fewer assumptions you have to make, the more likely you are to be right.”

“Awhuh?”

“The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.”

“Ghosts are pretty simple.

Dragonbreath: No Such Thing as Ghosts takes place on Halloween. Danny goes trick-or-treating with Wendell and Christiana, a girl from school. They run into Big Eddy, the school bully, who dares them to go into a haunted house.

A little slow in the beginning, but this was still a nice read. It’s as funny and interesting as the others. Christiana is a new character. She’s really into science and is very skeptical of anything that can’t be proven with hard facts. I like the dynamics between all three of them. I rated this one a four point five out of five stars.

 

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Danny wished his mother could see him, being responsible and everything. She’d better appreciate it later. The next time he needed a new video game, for example.

Dragonbreath: Revenge of the Horned Bunnies takes Danny to summer camp at Camp Jackalope. He’s joined by Wendell and Christiana and Spencer, his annoying seven year old cousin. Under the regular crafts and horseback riding, a conspiracy is brewing, and you bet Danny lands right in the middle of it.

This story was different than all of the previous ones and it was a welcomed change. Christiana appears to be becoming a regular in the books which I like. There was one small annoying thing with blaming the other girls for liking nail polish and makeup, but that’s small. Spencer was a cute character. I liked his relationship with Danny. A solid four star book. 

I think these three books are little different than the first three. I could be mistaken since I read the others back in the summer, but these ones have a lot more science in them. Personally, I think it has elevated the series, and has made them that much more enjoyable. I hope the rest of the series continues to include it. I’m not sure when I will be picking up the rest of these, but I know I definitely will one day.