Tag Archives: 2016 Writing Reviews Challenge

Book Review: Up to This Pointe

Up to This Pointe
Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I’ve been in Antarctica a total of eighty-three minutes, so I’m positive more exciting surprises will probably (hopefully) reveal themselves, but for now, the most intriguing thing about McMurdo, the American science station, is all the condoms.

Synopsis: At seventeen, Harper Scott is on the verge of achieving her lifelong dream. Since they were very small, she and her best friend, Kate, have been following The Plan. The Plan involves total dedication to ballet, and it culminates in both of them joining the San Francisco Ballet shortly after their early graduation from high school. But Harper doesn’t have Kate’s undeniable natural ability, so despite all the years of hard work, one audition might just crush her dreams. When things get suddenly and surprisingly complicated, Harper decides to follow her distant relative Robert Falcon Scott’s footsteps to Antarctica. She manages to land a highly coveted research assistant position for the six-month winter at McMurdo. No matter how far she goes, though, the problems she has to deal with come right along.

Review: This is a finely-crafted young adult novel, packed with descriptive details that bring life in San Francisco and Antarctica to life. The chapters alternate between Harper’s present, in Antarctica, and what happened back in San Francisco several months earlier. The sharp dichotomy between the first two chapters sets the tone for the book, as the reader knows where Harper ends up, but has no idea how she got there. Enough information about ballet is provided that readers without a background in dance can understand, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming. Life at McMurdo, too, is explained through the eyes of a newcomer without any tedious “information dumps”. For reader who do want to know more, there is a short bibliography at the end, listing recommended books and films.

Personal Thoughts: I’ve long been fascinated by Antarctica, and I dearly hope to visit one day. (I found all but one of the books on Antarctica in the bibliography already in my to-read queue here at GoodReads.) I loved the glimpse into the life of those staying there long-term, rather than tourists. I kind of wish they hadn’t gone for the ballet pun in the title, but that’s really just me.

Recommend to: Fans of character-driven contemporary realistic fiction

Source: e-ARC courtesy of NetGalley

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Book Review: Roller Girl

Roller Girl
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


At first I couldn’t tell what was going on – just a bunch of skating, hitting, and falling.

Synopsis: Astrid and Nicole have been best friends since first grade, after an incident involving the class Mean Girl, Rachel. They do everything together. Astrid assumes this means that they’ll spend the summer following fifth grade together at Roller Derby Camp – Astrid’s newfound passion. She is stunned to discover that Nicole has other plans, namely, Dance Camp… with Rachel. With middle school looming and things changing all around her, Astrid rolls into the toughest summer of her life.

Review: A smart and funny realistic look at that stage so familiar to anyone who was once an almost-teenager, when friends start growing into their own people, and sometimes growing apart. Astrid speaks, thinks, and feels like a regular kid, someone you might know (or remember). She likes the way things are and doesn’t want them to change, but she ultimately faces those changes with good humor and strength. There are lessons in her story about growing up, accepting yourself and others for who they are, and working hard to achieve a dream, even when it doesn’t turn out quite the way you hoped, but it avoids didactic condescension easily. Totally charming.

Personal Thoughts: I happen to love roller skating, and I am a little sad that I didn’t encounter the whole roller derby phenomenon at an age/time/place when I might have joined in. I’ll just have to live vicariously through Astrid, I suppose. I loved everything about this book, from the painfully realistic depictions of the way pre-teen girls interact to the wonderful relationship between Astrid and her mother. (There’s a fourth-wall-breaking moment in which Astrid literally winks at the reader about an interaction with her mother that cracked me up.) I adore this book.

Recommend to: Fans of Raina Telgemeier… and pretty much any tween girl, actually. (Although I’d *love* to see some tween boys reading this one.)

Source: Checked out from my public library.

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2016 Reading Challenges Check-In 1/12

 

Here we are, a month into 2016, and I have not forgotten about my Reading Challenges for the year!

Let’s see where we stand. First up…

I Love Libraries RC BBN

I Love Libraries Challenge
hosted by Bea’s Book Nook

Goal: Middle Grades (18 books)

End of January Progress: 17% (target pace: 8%)

 

One month in, and I’ve read three library books. I haven’t managed to post a single review for any of them (we’ll come back to that later), but it’s still not a bad start.

Moving on to…

Mount TBR 2016Mt. TBR Challenge
hosted by My Reader’s Block

Goal: Pike’s Peak (12 books)

End of January Progress: 8% (target pace: 8%)

Right on target with one book from Mt. TBR. I’d kind of like to get ahead of this one, though, to be honest.

Okay, now for the embarrassing confessions.

NERC2016Button12016 Netgalley/Edelweiss Challenge
hosted by Falling For YA

Goal: Bronze Level (10 books)

End of January Progress: 0% (target pace: 8%)

Oh, dear. I did start a book from NetGalley. Did I finish it? No. Is my Nook sitting on my nightstand, looking sad and neglected? Yes.

 

Writing-Reviews-Challenge1
2016 Review Writing Challenge
hosted by DelightedReader.com

Goal: 50 Reviews

End of January Progress: 0% (target pace: 8%)

No reviews yet. I really have no excuse, either. That image is pretty spot-on.

So, how’s your 2016 reading going?

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Challenges 2016

I found this list of 2016 Reading Challenges.

I promise, I will not sign up for all of them. But I am signing up for these:

 

I Love Libraries RC BBNI Love Libraries Challenge
hosted by Bea’s Book Nook

Goal: Middle Grades (18 books)

I check out a lot of library books. This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, given that I spend 40+ hours per week in a public library. The books are right there! And they’re free! I am choosing a low-ish goal for this, though, because I have a few other book sources I want to focus on in 2016.

Mount TBR 2016Mt. TBR Challenge
hosted by My Reader’s Block

Goal: Pike’s Peak (12 books)

And here’s the main complement to the library challenge, because this one is specifically for books one already owns but has not read. A great many of the books in my GoodReads to-read queue are not books I own, but I certainly own more than 12 books I haven’t yet read. In an attempt to give myself the best possible start (and – okay, let’s be honest – because I really, really, really love the planning phase of these things), I’ve tagged 12 books for this already.

NERC2016Button12016 Netgalley/Edelweiss Challenge
hosted by Falling For YA

Goal: Bronze Level (10 books)

I have a terrible habit of requesting books from Netgalley and Edelweiss and then neglecting to read them before the files expire. This challenge is intended to force gently prod me to actually read the books. The next step, of course, is to write and post a review of each book, but there’s a whole separate challenge for that. I’m going for the lowest level on this one, because, honestly, 10 books would be way more than I read from Netgalley/Edelweiss in 2015.

Writing-Reviews-Challenge1
2016 Review Writing Challenge
hosted by DelightedReader.com

Goal: 50 Reviews

I already mentioned my issue with downloading e-ARCs and then letting the files expire. Now that I’ll be reading them, how about some reviews, eh? My feedback percentage on Netgalley is appallingly low, and I’d like to change that. I’m not limiting my reviews to e-books, though. I’m setting a goal of 50 reviews – just under one review per week.

I’m not sure that I have ever successfully completed any Reading Challenge I have signed up for in the past. 2016 will be the year, yes? Yes.

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