Thursday, June 7, 2018

Brainstorm 145: Summer reading plans

Forgive the few weeks of no Brainstorm. Our Media Center is getting remodeled this summer (Hooray!) which means I spent the past two weeks busy packing things up (Whew!). Now the books are all packed up and summer break is upon us in just a few hours. I often come up with a summer reading challenge, but my busy schedule didn’t permit that this year. And you know, that’s ok. I think a summer reading goal is best chosen by the individual. Some people need a challenge to push their reading lives. Some people need the summer to just indulge in their favorite genres and all those books they want to read but have been putting off for the books they think they should read. This summer I’m personally letting myself just pick the books I want to read. Want to see some of what’s on my summer reading radar? Feel free to snatch a few ideas from my list for your own, or go make your own list of books you just feel like reading this summer. And if you're one of those people who need a challenge, you can check out my challenge from last year or just search "summer reading challenge," you'll find lots of options.

Brainstorms will be sporadic over summer break but will be back to regular weekly installments in August. Happy summer reading!

Picture Books

Today I’ll Be a Unicorn by Dana Simpson
I love Phoebe and Her Unicorn, and can’t wait to read their first picture book with my unicorn-obsessed little nieces.

Lower Grade Fiction

Journey to Juno (Galaxy Zack, #2) by Ray O’Ryan, ill. by Colin Jack
I’ve been checking out some of the popular lower grade series now that students have turned them in, and I was thrilled with the first Galaxy Zack book. Looking forward to more fun with this intergalactic third culture kid.

Charge of the Lightning Bugs (The Notebook of Doom, #8) by Troy Cummings
These books look way scarier than they really are. I recently picked one up because I was worried about it being too scary for kids, but found the opposite. And I can’t stop reading them! Cummings has created a series of stories about an unlikely trio of friends who help save their town repeatedly from the most imaginative (and un-scary) monsters you’ll ever come across and record their monster observations in a notebook. Lots of problem solving fun with a trio learning about friendship along the way. Kids can feel super tough reading these and parents won’t have to worry about bad dreams at night. (P.S. Adults who enjoy really bad scifi monster movies should love reading these with their kids…or by themselves. The best way I can describe it to adults is that it’s like a kid-friendly version of MST3K in a book.)

Middle Grade Fiction

The Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede
Wrede is one of my favorite fantasy writers. Her Enchanted Forest Chronicles is my favorite middle grade series of all time, and her young adult fantasy series are also ones I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve been meaning to read this short story collection of hers for forever. It’s about time.

Juvenile Nonfiction

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman 
I read another biography of Maria Sibylla Merian earlier this year and she’s a fascinating woman. This bio has been getting rave reviews so I’m eager to check it out.

YA & Adult Fiction

Arabella the Traitor of Mars (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #3) by David D. Levine
I have most thoroughly enjoyed adventuring with Arabella in her first and second books. See my reviews of book 1 and book 2 by clicking on their links. The publisher was kind enough to give me an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of this book that doesn’t come out till the end of July. I’ve already started it. And I can’t tell you much about it yet, but I will say it hasn’t disappointed. It’s just as good if not better than the first two, and in this one Arabella has to wrestle with whether her allegiance should belong to her passport country or the planet she grew up on. (My full review will be accessible July 17, 2018 via the title link.)

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
I have eagerly devoured every book Chokshi has released of late. Her two young adult fantasy books that blend in Indian mythology are both beautifully written and incorporate some fantastic messages. (See my reviews for The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes by clicking on their titles.) Her new middle grade series released under Rick Riordan’s imprint about some girls who are Indian demigods and introduces kids to some of the Mahabharata was just as good. (See my review of Aru Shah and the End of Time by click on its title.) So I’m super excited the publisher gave me an ARC of Chokshi’s next young adult book that promises a thrilling adventure in a reimagined 1889 Paris. Sorry, but it doesn’t come out till January 2019, so you’ll have to wait awhile for this review.

Station Zero (Railhead, #3) by Philip Reeve
If you want to experience some amazing world building, you need to pick up this series. (See my reviews of Railhead and Black Light Express by clicking on their titles.) I can't wait to dive back into the amazing universe that Reeve has created with a several characters caught up in an intergalactic power struggle in a universe transversed by sentient trains and portals…and maybe this book will tell us more about who set up that system.


Death in the Air: the True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City by Kate Winkler Dawson
This part history of an environment disaster and part true crime looks fascinating to me.

Hope in the Dark: Believing God Is Good When Life Is Not by Craig Groeschel
I’ve found Craig Groeschel’s writing refreshing for my spiritual life in the past, so I’m thankful the publisher was kind enough to grant me an ARC of his newest book. I’ve already started it and so far it feels like his most heartfelt book yet. It doesn’t come out till late August, so I can’t say much. But if you ever wrestle with why bad things happen and doubts, keep your eyes open for this book in August.

MI5 and Me: a Coronet among the Spooks by Charlotte Bingham
This sounds like a very unique and interesting memoir by a lady whose father, an MI5 operative, recruited her to work as a secretary in MI5 in the 1950s.

And…who knows what else might jump in my suitcase this summer?