Here are this month's questions:
1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it.
I just finished The Demon King, the first book in the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. It was recommended to me by one of my former students and two of my current students are reading the series along with me. I knew they were fantasy, but had put off starting the series for a while because I'd really assumed they were "boy books" (I was in a very female-focused reading mood for pretty much all of 2015), and this series seems to attract my guys when they've finished the Ranger's Apprentice or Percy Jackson books. I was surprised to find out that The Demon King actually has two main characters - one male and one female! Han Alister, the male lead, is a reformed street thief who was practically raised by the mountain clan who taught him their ways when he was a child and sheltered him from his enemies when he left street life behind. The book's conflict is introduced when Han and his friend confront three cocky young wizards fleeing a magical fire in the mountains and Han ends up with a frightening magical amulet. On the other side of the Queendom (yep) is our female lead, Princess Raisa, who has tasted clan life herself and is now back at court and finds herself courted by many suitors who send extravagant gifts. Raisa isn't interested in her suitors or in a hurry to marry - she longs for freedom and to reconnect with the friend who has just returned from military training.
2. Are you doing any reading challenges in 2016? Share them with us.
The only challenge I'm holding myself to is my Goodreads challenge, which I've upped to 50 books because I'm trying to read every day in 2016. There are a few challenge lists I'm going to look to for inspiration when I'm in a rut - from Modern Mrs. Darcy, Popsugar, Stxrybooks, and Worthington Ave. - and I'm also working my way through the Newbery Medal winners I missed between being a kid and teaching kids, as well as the AP novel list so I can help my students be better prepared for high school course work. I'm planning a fun post for next week with some ideas and recommendations for these challenges!
3. Have you discovered any new authors lately?
In addition to digging Cinda Williams Chima's work in The Demon King, I've recently become obsessed with Sarah J. Maas and I'm plowing through the Throne of Glass series - I'm in fantasy euphoria land right now, basically. Both of these authors get an A+ in worldbuilding.
4. There are a ton of book to movie adaptations coming out this year. Are you excited for any in particular or disappointed in any?
I haven't read The 5th Wave yet - when I saw the movie trailer, my first thought was "is that the book from the book fair?" I remembered thinking it sounded like yet another Hunger Games knock-off when I showed the book trailer before the book fair rolled into the school media center, but now I'm thinking I should read it before all the kids want to (and they will - movies have a powerful impact on what kids want to read) so I'm not out of the loop!
I've heard nothing but good things about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, so I'll be trying to get that one read before the movie comes out in March!
5. What is a book you were looking forward to reading and then had a complete let-down feeling when you finished?
I tend not to finish books that aren't doing it for me - life's too short! The last book I can remember truly feeling disappointed by was Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick - it was a Printz award winner and Carnegie Medal nominee, and the premise intrigued me - seven interwined stories taking place on a Scandinavian island that has been home to Vikings, vampires, ghosts, artists, and lovers, exploring the magical bond linking the characters. Unfortunately, the overarching mythology of the story didn't interest me and it felt like Sedgwick was having to work too hard to make the seven stories connect. I felt like he was aiming for a YA Cloud Atlas, but I don't think real teenagers could engage with most of the stories.