Saturday, December 31, 2016

The 2016 Book Awards!

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!! Welcome to the annual 2016 Book awards ceremony where yours truly, Ronyell, will pick her favorite books of 2016 and give each of her favorite books an award! There are going to be three sections to this awards ceremony which includes an adult and young adult section, a graphic novels section and a picture book section! So just sit back, relax and enjoy the show! 

2016 Adult / Young Adult Novels Awards



* Seraphina by Rachel Hartman:  After hearing so many good things about this book, I've decided to check it out and I was glad that I did since this turned out to be one of the most unique fantasy novels I had ever read and I can't wait to check out the second book in this series!


* The Storyteller by Antonia Michealis:
This book has been on my TBR list for a long time and when I finally got around to it, it was nothing like I ever expected from any romance novel!  Because of the surprising twist that happened in this book, this became my all time favorite romance novel of this year!


* Red Rising by Pierce Brown:
Another popular book that got lots of praise from fellow readers and one that I really enjoyed since it is like "The Hunger Games" in outer space and I can't wait to read more from this series!


*Seraphina from Seraphina: Not only is she a good musician, but the fact that she's half dragon and uses her wits to get out of any trouble really made me connect with this character!


* Darrow from Red Rising: Seriously, how could I not love a hero who is an awesome fighter and a strategist in a dangerous world and can take on anything thrown at him?


* Pierce Brown: This was a tough choice since I also wanted to choose Antonia Michaelis for this title, but Pierce Brown's story about a young miner worker trying to survive the dangerous world of Mars really blew me away and he become my favorite author of the year!


*Red Rising by Pierce Brown:

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."
~ Darrow and Eo

This quote really sells Eo's dream and the very moment where Darrow goes from meek miner to a strong leader!


* Red Rising by Pierce Brown: Seriously , this was one awesome cover as it clearly shows the uprising that will take place in this book!


* Red Rising by Pierce Brown: Tough choice once again since I was torn between "Red Rising" and "The Storyteller," but "Red Rising" ultimately made my choice for best novel of the year since it's got action and drama that has rarely been seen in young adult books!

2016 Graphic Novels Awards




*Brian K. Vaughan on Saga  and Paper Girls: Brian K. Vaughan keeps on hitting it out of the park with not only his hit series "Saga," but with his most recent series "Paper Girls!"  He is seriously one writer who knows how to balance character interactions and action all into one page!



* Sana Takeda on Monstress : Sana Takeda's artwork on "Monstress" was truly gorgeous to look at as the pages just glow every time I look at them and I would love to see more of her artwork in the near future!


*Ms. Marvel: No Normal Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson : After hearing good things about this particular comic book, I've decided to give this series a whirl and now after reading this graphic nove, Kamala Khan has become of my most favorite Marvel heroines to date and I can't wait to read more adventures from her!


*Lio: There's a Monster in my Socks by Mark Tatulli :  Since I mostly had read Garfield and Peanuts in terms of newspaper comics, I was surprised to finally read the "Lio" series and this has certainly become one of my most favorite newspaper comic book series!



* Monstress: Awakening Volume 1 (Part 1) by Marjorie Liu : This was the first year that I had actually started reviewing single issues of comic books since I normally review their graphic novel counterparts.  However, Marjorie Liu's "Monstress" series was a great series to read in single issues and I can't wait to read more of this series!


* Archie Volume 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid: I will admit that when I heard that Archie was getting a reboot, I was a bit skeptical about whether or not this series would be worth buying and if it would even compete with the original comics.  However, I was absolutely blown away by this reboot series as the characters were still faithful to their original portrayals and I'm definitely going to buy more of this series soon!


* Rin-Ne by Rumiko Takahashi: I'm a huge fan of anything that Rumiko Takahashi has done over the years and her "Rin-Ne" series hasn't failed to disappoint me and I can't wait  to read more from this series!


*Frank and Joe Hardy from the "Hardy Boys" : Even though the Hardy Boys comics were okay, what made reading those books worth the read is reading about how Frank and Joe Hardy solve the case and their awesome dynamic with each other!


* Kamala Khan from "Ms. Marvel" :Thank you!  This was the year that I was introduced to Kamala Khan in "Ms. Marvel" and I'm so glad to make her acquaintance since she has become one of my most favorite Marvel heroines ever created!


* I Hate Fairyland: Madly Ever After Volume 1 by Skottie Young: I just seriously loved this comic book because it's an interesting and devious twist on what we come to expect from stories that involves fairy lands and this was seriously one of the greatest deconstructions of the genre I had ever seen!


* Saga by Brian K. Vaughan: This series can never fail in entertaining me, even through the sixth volume! I feel like as long as this series keeps getting made, I will always rank this as number one!


2016 Picture Book Awards



*Jon Klassen: I was introduced to Jon Klassen's work this year and I have to say that I was quite impressed with the twists he puts in children's books as a whole and that's why he's my favorite author of the year!


*Patricia Polacco: Patricia Polacco has won this year again and she truly deserves this honor for her beautiful artwork in "The Art of Miss Chew!"


* I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen: 
This was a truly hilarious and awesome as it not only twisted my expectations for children's books, but it was quite hilarious for its rather funny (in a dark way) solution to the main problem!


* The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco:  Another story that details Patricia Polacco's childhood, this one was probably one of the most inspirational books in Polacco's list of books as it shows us the very teacher who taught Patricia Polacco how to draw with her heart!


* Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel : This African folktale is seriously one of the most clever and hilarious folktales I had ever read as it is about Anansi tricking his friends into thinking that the melon can actually talk when it's really him giving the melon a voice and I just enjoyed the hilarious antics that Anansi and the other animals go through in this story!


* D.W. the Picky Eater by Marc Brown: I am a huge fan of Marc Brown's "Arthur" series and getting introduced to the "D.W." spin off series was worth reading!  I also loved the fact that the them of this book is relatable to any family member who has to deal with a child who is a picky eater!


* Rosie the Raven by Helga Bansch: The message in this book about the importance of true family no matter how different you are from your other family members, is portrayed extremely well and this is definitely one book I would go to to learn the true meaning of family!


* I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen:
Yep! This book won this honor just for being a deconstruction on what we expect to happen in children's books and it was creative while being entertaining about it at the same time!  Definitely one of the best picture books I've read in a long time!

My Year in Books: 2016 Edition!

Hey everyone!  So, here's my yearly book stats for 2016 and even though I still didn't reach 100 books like I originally planned, I still managed to read more books this year than I did last year, which was a huge accomplishment!  This time around, I will not list a TBR list since that usually distracts me from reaching my goals and I feel that I can be much more successful with my reading goals if I just pick whatever book interests me at the moment rather than read a book from an assigned TBR pile (although I'm still trying to lower my TBR list).

So, since it would take me a long time to go back and check back on the books I've read this year, I will cheat a bit and use the Goodreads year in books chart to show everyone what books I've read in 2016!

Total Books Read in 2016: 69 (+ 1 2015 Wrap Up Book)
Number of Graphic Novels / Manga Read: 36
Number of Picture Books Read: 27
Number of Young Adult / Adult Books Read: 5
Number of Middle Grade Books Read: 1
Number of NetGalley Books Read: 13
Number of Reading Alley Books Read:
First Book Read: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

What the Statistics Are Telling Me:

* I've noticed that I've read a lot of graphic novels and picture books this year, although that has always been a thing with me when it comes to reading. I've always found graphic novels and picture books easier to read because they are quicker to get through and I can always reach my reading goals a bit faster with picture books and graphic novels.  However, me only reading 5 young adult and adult novels is a bit of a letdown since this would be the year that I've read the lowest number of young adult and adult books ever.

* I've also added in NetGalley and Reading Alley reads to the statistics since I just started using both NetGalley and Reading Alley this year.  I'm surprised that I even read over 13 books for NetGalley this year since this was the first year that I've used it and it's actually quite a large number for a first time user!  As for not reading a book from Reading Alley, because I've joined Reading Alley towards the end of the year, I didn't have enough time to request many books due to trying to get my reads from NetGalley down a level and trying to get the golden 80% rating, which I haven't gotten yet as of this post.

* The fact that I was able to read over 69 books this year was a huge improvement from last year. Even though I didn't read up to 100 books this year like I planned to, it was still an accomplishment to read 20 books more this year than last year!

Things to Improve On:

* I really want to reach up to 80% on NetGalley and I will start requesting more books for next year, but I will also try to continue to read up the books that are still on my NetGalley shelf in order to reach that goal.  I will also try to read more books from Reading Alley and try to read my first Reading Alley book for 2017 "Immortal Flame."

* I'm going to try to read more young adult and adult books in 2017 since that was the lowest number of books I've read for 2016 and since there's a lot of great new books coming out next year, this goal should be easy to get through!

* I probably won't do anymore TBR lists for my reading goals since it only distracts me from reaching my goals and I'm one of those people who prefers to read whatever comes my way rather than going by a set list (even though another goal of my in 2017 is to lower my TBR list down to at least 200 books so I can catch up on books that I haven't read yet).

* I'm not sure about whether or not I should make it my goal to read up to 100 books for 2017 since that's a goal that I have trouble getting through, but I will probably try to read up to 80 books for 2017 and if it turns out that I was able to read up to 80 books midway through 2017, then I will raise my goal up to 100 books or more depending on how much reading I get done next year.

* I'm going to try to read up to at least 5 classic books for next year since I rarely read classic books like "Dracula" and "Frankenstein," but I seriously do need some classic books in my book pile!

* If I can complete at least 6 reading challenges for next year, then that will be a nice goal for me to reach since I'm definitely joining a ton of reading challenges next year!

* I'm so going to try and use more pie graphs and statistics to calculate my book reads since I find that very interesting and it's a good way to keep up with the type of books and ratings you get for your yearly reads!

[ARC REVIEW] Rosie the Raven by Helga Bansch

Title:  Rosie the Raven

Author:  Helga Bansch

Genre:  Animals / Family / Peer Pressure / Self Esteem

Year Published: 2016

Year Read:  2016

Publisher: Annick Press

Source: eARC (NetGalley)

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Scary Imagery)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository

I would like to thank NetGalley and Annick Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Now, I have heard many stories that involve a human character being adopted by an animal family or being born with an animal family.  So, when I found this interesting children’s book called “Rosie the Raven” which is written and illustrated by Helga Bansch on NetGalley, I just had to check this book out and it was a pretty sweet and short little read!

The story starts off with a pair of raven parents seeing their five eggs hatching and while the four other eggs had baby ravens hatching out, the fifth egg had a little human girl hatching out!  The little girl was named Rosie and at first, Rosie did not notice that she was different from the other ravens.  But when the other birds started making insulting comments about Rosie’s strange appearance, Rosie then wanted to be like her brothers and sisters by trying to fly and make caw noises.  But Rosie soon finds out that she could not do the things that her brothers and sisters could do and it was then that she discovered that her unique appearance might actually have some benefits…

As I mentioned before, I have seen many stories that has a human character being adopted by an animal family, but I had never read an animal/human family story where the main human character was actually born to a family of animals.  Helga Bansch has done an excellent job at conveying the message of the importance of family through a supernatural yet heartwarming way as Rosie is presented as being a human who was somehow born the natural way a baby raven would be born…by hatching through an egg.  There was no clear explanation about how this phenomena even happened and Rosie’s raven family did not seem to mind how bizarre this event is, which really made the story truly heartwarming to read as it shows that Rosie’s raven family does not care about how different Rosie looks from the other Raven children, they just care that Rosie is part of the family.  Helga Bansch’s artwork is quite unique as the characters are drawn in a scratchy manner and the colorings are a bit of an earthly hue as we mainly see black, white and pink colors in the artwork.  I also thought it was quite unique that Rosie’s skin tone is completely white, which makes her look extremely pale and it gives her a sort of unnatural appearance that really makes her stand out in the story.

Parents should know that some of the images in this book might be a tad bit scary for some children, especially since most characters look quite unnatural in this book.  Probably the images that might scare some children the most would be the close up images of Rosie’s face as her eyes tend to look blank and her eyes seem a bit too misshapen.  There were also the images of the other birds as they have newspaper collages as their feathers and that makes them look quite uncanny.  Parents might want to read this book first to see if their child would enjoy seeing strange imagery in a book.

Overall, “Rosie the Raven” is a truly beautiful story about the importance of being in a loving family that cares about you no matter how different you are from them.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the some of the strange imagery might scare some children.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Top Ten of 2016 Day 5 (December 30, 2016) : Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2017!

Hello everyone!  Today's "Top 10 of 2016" topic is "Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2017!"  In this topic, I will list the books I am most excited for in 2017 and there are certainly a lot of good books coming out in 2017!  So here are my top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2017 (in no particular order)!

1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor : March 28th, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

2. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh : May 16th, 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber: January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books

4.  Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo : August 29th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers

5. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer: January 31st 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

6.  Hunted by Meagan Spooner: March 14th 2017 by HarperTeen

7. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown: August 22nd 2017 by Del Rey

8.  Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones : February 7th, 2017 by Thomas Dunne

9.  Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller : February 28th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

10. The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich : May 16th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends