orangerful: (belle and a book)
This was a light month, finished off a few books but never really got "hooked" on anything else. I have a few that I am going to mark as "finished" even though I technically didn't read to the last page - they were more collections of things so it wasn't like I missed out on a twist ending (unless David McCullough's last speech at a college graduation was just "fuck it, you guys are SCREWED!" but I doubt that)

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, five stars because this audiobook is such a great listen. This is a sit-in-the-driveway-happy-I-have-to-drive-to-that-meeting audiobook.

Noah is a fantastic storyteller and I could listen to him recount his childhood memories for another 7 CDs. His narration felt almost conversational and I'm glad I listened to the book so I could hear the African words and all of the accents of the region that he puts on.

The book made me think about race and identity in new ways and I hope lots of people listen to his story and try to put themselves in the shoes of someone who has lived a very different life from them.

Loved it.

Gwendy's Button BoxGwendy's Button Box by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

This is more of a short story/novella and it is a pretty solid one, though if you were expecting something with more depth, you'll be disappointed. It feels more like an episode of 'The Twilight Zone' than anything else, especially with the omniscient narrator. Creepy through-out with some real scares near the end.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea  (Narwhal and Jelly)Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG THE CUTEST! Great for beginner readers, but the adorableness will appeal to everyone. And the waffles. Because who doesn't love waffles?

The Upside of UnrequitedThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. It was cute but I didn't find it as interesting as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. That's the problem with second books, they have a lot to live up to! But I did enjoy the story. I'm sure many teens will identify with Molly and her list of crushes, never really being brave enough to confess that you like someone to that actual person.

If you like family stories, a little bit of romance, and super mega happy endings, you'll enjoy this.

Jabari JumpsJabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jabari is MUCH braver than me! That high dive is really high.

A sweet little story about a boy jumping off the high dive at his public pool. Great illustrations and simple text will make this a hit with storytime crowds or just reading together. Especially if you are fans of the swimming pool.

Goldfish GhostGoldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About as odd as you would expect a picture book by Lemony Snicket to be! I might save this one for a Halloween storytime as it has a ghost, but isn't exactly scary. Perfect for little ones that want a ghost story.

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand ForThe American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For by David McCullough

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't technically "finish" this but as it was a collection of McCullough's speeches from over the past several years, I got the gist of it when my due date came up at the library. It was nice to sit and read some positive thoughts on America - our past, our future and then some. Each word was still relevant even for the speeches that happened over twenty years ago. I might pick it up again once the request list goes down at the library. It was a nice change of pace and a good reminder that we are always changing and growing as a country, but at the same time we still face many of the same struggles we have always faced - and that is okay because we keep going.

And Then You're Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over NiagaraAnd Then You're Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara by Cody Cassidy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun collection of pieces about different ways to die or be in pain. I was reading this on vacation and it got a little bit repetitive the last two thirds, because, it turns out, humans are pretty squishy in certain situation - like when there is no oxygen or you crush us. Who knew! Still, I had a lot of fun shouting out random anecdotes ("The most painful place to be stung by a bee is inside your nose, FYI!") at my family while we were sitting around.

Currently Reading/Listening:

P.S. I'm back home again yay!!!! It was a long week in Wisconsin but we are back. Obviously, I have fallen behind on the ol' friends list. I've skimmed a bit but if I try to comment on all the posts, I will never sleep again LOL. You guys are all so chatty. <3

TTFN Back to reality (and work) tomorrow!
orangerful: (belle and a book)
Not my most prolific month but one of the best books of the year is on this list, no doubt.

The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild WestThe Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West by Steve Sheinkin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute collection of comics that place a Rabbi in the middle of the old west where he dispenses helpful advice to the townsfolk. Lots of little jokes.

Sheinkin mentions in the notes that he was inspired to write this because he had two favorite books as a kid - a book of Jewish wit and wisdom and a book about the Wild West so he put them together to create this. It really is a book for all ages when it comes to the lessons that are taught through each little story.

Anything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of MagicAnything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just fantastic - a true story of an amazing women who performed magic for 60 years! Gorgeous illustrations and short, to the point text makes this a great book for a read-aloud or for early elementary school students.

Just have your "How to do magic tricks" book ready to go after they read this because it is sure to inspire them!

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this book.
Get it into the hands of every teen out there.
Put yourself into the shoes of this teen girl.

This book sucked me in and did not let go. This is a world I know so little about yet struggle to understand. I know that Starr doesn't represent every African-American teenage girl in the world, but she represents some of them, and being put into her shoes, living her life, reading her story...

Yes, it is fiction, but Thomas draws from the stories that have been around us for years now, from Ferguson and Baltimore and, sadly, so many other places.

Just read it. And talk about it.

NewsPrintsNewsPrints by Ru Xu

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think this book suffered from over-hype for me. The blurbs on the back from some of my favorite graphic novel writers, the positive reviews, the Scholastic imprint - such high hopes!

And it just flopped for me. It didn't feel like anything new, it took a long time for anything to really happen and by then, I was already over the book.

This might be a hit with younger kids who are scrounging for something while they wait for the next 'Amulet' book or after they have finished off 'Bone' but it's not good enough for me to want to recommend it. :\

Scrappy Little NobodyScrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so much fun to listen to because Anna read it and, yeah.

Though now I'm going to go pick up the book to find the photos she references and maybe jot down a few quotes because she said some funny stuff.

The Midnight War of Mateo MartinezThe Midnight War of Mateo Martinez by Robin Yardi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars (joins the ranks of people saying "When do we get half stars, GoodReads?)

Cute story, perfect for upper elementary school readers who want something quirky.

Mateo is already annoyed that his parents want him to give his little sister his old tricycle. He's tired of having to watch after her and share with her. To top it off, his ex-friend Johnny has joined a group of bullies who pick on his new friend Ashwin. But he doesn't have time for that right now, because as he sits looking out the window late one night he sees something that makes him question his own sanity - two skunks sneak into his yard and steal the tricycle!

There's a lot going on in this book and I am curious how much of it the target audience picks up on. The story of the animals don't run parallel to Mateo's real world problems, but they do let him reflect on what is happening in his backyard and the schoolyard.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFFMoon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF by Amy Reeder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very cute beginning to a series. Not perfect, but fun. Crazy cliffhanger so now I pretty much have to read book 2!

Saga, Vol. 7Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Saga' is an amazing series that always pulls me in, no matter how long it has been since I read the last volume. Amazing artwork, a story that twists and turns like a roller coaster. This volume works even better because it is one big story arc.

But, damn. Those last few pages wrecked me. I seriously had to take a moment after closing the book.

Still the best on-going series.

View all my reviews
orangerful: (belle and a book)
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah book cover

Okay, I'm not even close to done with this book yet. I'm listening to it in the car, Trevor Noah reads it, and I'm just a disc in, but I can't tear myself away. It's the kind of audiobook you would sit in the driveway listening to, even after a long day at work.

First, I know this is much better than reading it because Noah can correctly pronounce the different words and phrases from all the different languages spoken in South Africa. I'm not sure what my brain would do when confronted with these phrases in text, probably just skip over them, but listening to Noah say them out loud, with just the right tone and inflection is beautiful, even when the phrase pretty much translates that his Mom is about to smack him upside the head for giving her lip.

Second, once again, I know nothing about apartheid beyond the basic idea of "it was bad and based on racism." To be honest, everything I know about apartheid, I learned from watching District 9. :| Noah not only breaks it all down for me, but he somehow manages to keep a sense of humor about it. As he points out many times, racism is stupid, and once you begin to question it, it begins to crumble. But, yeah, it is horrifying to think that this isn't some 150 year old bit of history that is so far in the past, it ended recently and South Africa is still trying to find a way to recover.

Third, (I'm not sure why I numbered these), listen to this book. Trevor Noah is just a very good speaker and a very smart man. I'm sad that I don't have access to The Daily Show now because I really want to start watching it again. I guess I could find clips on YouTube. But listening to this book, I can see why Jon Stewart saw a kindred spirit - they both come from backgrounds where they were part of an abused people but still found the joy in the world. They are both optimists and realists, somehow at the same time. They have religious backgrounds from parents that grounded them, but they have grown to question some things about organized religion.

Yeah, I'm only one CD into this and I am gushing and I want to tell everyone about it. It's that kind of book. Have you read/listened to any books like that before?
orangerful: (belle and a book)
"Daddy claims the Hogwarts houses are really gangs. They have their own colors, their own hideouts, and they are always riding for each other, like gangs. Harry, Ron, and Hermione never snitch on one another, just like gangbangers. Death Eaters even have matching tattoos. And look at Voldemort. They're scared to say his name. Really, that "He Who Must Not Be Named" stuff is like giving him a street name. That's some gangbanging shit right there."

-- from "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas
orangerful: (easily distracted // orangerful)
For all my book quote nerd out there, check out this amazing site someone made:

Literary Clock

It has a book quote for EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY!!!!!!!!!

I've had the tab open for the last hour and I keep checking it and it's like OOOH NEW QUOTE!
orangerful: (book belle // orangerful)
Honestly, at this point, the Russians have had access to my info for a few years now and nothing has happened so...I'm just going to keep posting here until the day LJ disappears or you all start ignoring me completely. :)

Really it is so hard to go to a new site where you get no comments on anything. I am so spoiled now with all my wonderful, chatty LJ friends!

Here's what I read in March. Not as impressive as February but still some good stuff in the mix!

The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and GuestsThe Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests by Chris Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read half of this and then listened to the rest. I was a little disappointed the audiobook wasn't narrated by anyone from the show but that would be pretty amazing to get that cast back together. That being said, the readers did a wonderful job mimicking the voices and tone where they could without it being too distracting.

I was watching the Daily Show with Craig Kilborn in high school and I remember when it changed hands to Jon Stewart. I have always been relatively progressive/liberal in my world view, so I wouldn't say that Jon changed that, but The Daily Show did let me know that I was not alone in thinking that way, it made me want to stay up to date on the news, it made me understand how politics really work.

The show, Stewart's version of the show, played a HUGE role in my young adult life and this book does an amazing job covering its evolution over the course of 12 years. If you are a fan of the show, if you remember watching it every night, if you attended the 'Rally for Sanity' -- pick up this book or give it a listen. You will be impressed by how much hard work this entire cast and crew put into keeping us both informed and entertained all these years, and how that ended up changing the media as a whole.

MooseMoose by Max de Radiguès

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this because we were discussing how it made it onto lots of top comic lists for teen readers but we cataloged it in adult. I understand the cataloging since our YA section is both a mix of middle and high school materials and this definitely is very mature content.

The story deals with bullying, and not just being picked on, but physical violence and a level of abuse that was disturbing.

I think it is a powerful story that will find its way into the hands of readers that need to find it, but I can understand why we opted to put it in the adult collection.

Me and Marvin GardensMe and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A.S. King is one of my favorite young adult authors so I was surprised to see this title cataloged as Children's Fiction. It still has that trademark King bit of magical realism, but the characters and themes run a little bit younger, or maybe just things that work for a wider age range of readers.

While not my favorite King book, this has a great story to give to kids who have a passion about the environment and interest in humans finding that balance between nature and progress. Definitely for the more thinky middle school reader who has already realized that their parents are not perfect and that the world has shades of gray.

Paper Girls, Vol. 2Paper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even better than the first volume (I did not think that would be possible). This series is amazing.

Don't read anything about it, don't find spoilers, just find the books and read them.

Samanthasaurus RexSamanthasaurus Rex by B.B. Mandell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How could I not read this? Adorable dinosaur with my name. The trick with the diamond seemed like a stretch. If there is a Samantha in your life, this is a solid purchase.

I Am Jim HensonI Am Jim Henson by Brad Meltzer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet and simple book, this would be great for a read-aloud to older elementary kids. The author does not mention that Jim has passed away, though kids can see it if they look at the timeline included on the last couple pages.

One of my personal heroes and I'm always glad to see his story being told and shared.

They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice MovementThey Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think Lowery does a good job of staying objective in his recounting of the tumult of the last few years. I knew about most of these events, but not all of them, and lumping them all together in this book, realizing that this is just a snapshot of two years in America, you can't help but wonder what, if anything, has changed.

The saddest part is how optimistic the afterward sounds when it comes to continuing to deal with these issues as a country...I feel like this has all be pushed out of the spotlight since November and the national rhetoric is not one that encourages discussion of racial issues.

The Private EyeThe Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is becoming VERY DISTURBING that every book I pick up this year has some kind of "THE CLOUD WILL END US ALL!" message to it...and Private Eye wasn't even a NEW book!

BKV does it again with a twisted story about a not-to-distant future where the world has gone to shit and, as usual, most people just deal with it. Loved the characters and their hints of backstory. I'm kind of glad this is a one-off, that the little teases are all we get and we have to make it up from there. The main story is enough to satisfy.

Sci-Fi Noir Action Thriller Graphic Novel.

Decelerate BlueDecelerate Blue by Adam Rapp

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another commentary on our short-attention span world. I liked the ideas here but I wish it had a little more to it all. I never felt like I got to know Angela and Gladys as well as I could have.

Still, some cool themes and ideas to talk about.

View all my reviews
orangerful: (book belle // orangerful)
In which I discover I like novels written in verse and then become a raving Neal Shusterman fangirl again:

Skip School, Fly to Space: A Pearls Before Swine CollectionSkip School, Fly to Space: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One too many Crocodile comics in this one for me as they tend to be my least favorite of the strips. Not sure why but this one didn't have as many stand-out strips as the other two.

The 13 ClocksThe 13 Clocks by James Thurber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My uncle that worked in a bookstore gave me a copy of this quirky title back in 1990. I remembered loving it though I couldn't tell you a thing about it. So when I found it in my parent's garage, I decided to read it again to see if the magic was still there.

James Thurber's humor is not for the uninitiated. He loves wordplay, rhyming and non-sequitur silliness. My Mom had copies of his short stories so I was familiar with his quirky sense of humor before starting this book, which reads like a blend of Dr. Seuss and Peter Beagle if they were both slightly tipsy.

It's a children's book but also have to be old enough to get the nods and winks to how fairy tales work.

It's an odd book, but I love it.

Princess Leia: Royal Rebel (Backstories)Princess Leia: Royal Rebel by Calliope Glass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Written as though it was a real biography, this book doesn't really have any new information about Leia, which was kind of disappointing. The book is a short 125 pages which I guess all that is canon now according to Disney. Though this could be used as a good teaching tool for what a biography should look like since it includes a chronology, timeline and even an index!

Catching a StoryfishCatching a Storyfish by Janice N. Harrington

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know why I always shy away from books written in verse. I don't consider myself a fan of poetry so I suppose the idea of reading a story in that format doesn't appeal to me. Yet the few times I have taken a chance, I have been very impressed. This is one of those times.

The short lines of verse are more powerful than any prose paragraph, capturing Katharen's emotions in a way that a normal sentence might not.

This is a beautiful story about a girl who moves from Alabama to a town further north, where she hides her talent for telling stories after the other kids mock her accent. She finds solace with her grandfather, hanging out with him and talking about fishing - well, she thinks he is talking about fishing, but he is giving her little life lessons.

Great story for middle grade readers (4th grade and up) and this actually might be a good pick for someone reading out loud to a classroom of students.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Scythe by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book, it's my favorite kind of science fiction - taking something to an extreme and playing out the consequences. In this case, we have The Cloud becoming the all knowing Thunderhead and science conquering death.

What I really liked about this book was that there were so many plot lines that could have been dragged out but instead were wrapped up by the end, leaving us with new options for book 2. There were plenty of loose ends but nothing so frustrating as to make you feel like you are being strung along as a reader. So if you are sick of series, fear not, you can read 'Scythe' and enjoy it.

I'm surprised this is a series because I think this first book wraps things up relatively well - but I said the same thing about 'Unwind' and that turned into an amazing series. So I will definitely pick up the second book when it comes out.

This Is Our StoryThis Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great mystery thriller, definitely would be great for fans of shows like Riverdale or Veronica Mars.

I was a little annoyed by how often the author had characters roll their eyes or put their hands on someone else to "frame their face" - these were overused and I'm not sure why the editor didn't flag them.

You'll also need to suspend your disbelief for how much a high school student would be allowed to do in a criminal case, no matter how small the town.

But whatever, if you can overlook those things, the story was tight enough that I could not stop reading and I had to know what would happen next.

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights CaseLoving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't realize this was a novel in verse when I ordered it, but as I had just finished another fantastic book in verse, I decided to read it. I am so glad I did. The book and the illustrations weave a beautiful story about two people in love, just trying to live their lives while a racist world spins around them. The story is told alternating voices between Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving. The focus is on their relationship and personal suffering more than the actual Civil Rights case.

Powell conducted interviews and did lots of research to make the story as real as possible. I was really impressed and highly recommend this title. Sadly, it is still relevant in 2017. As we struggle for equality for all, it is good to read a story like that, about the people behind the headlines and what they might think or feel. The Lovings did not set out to be the poster couple for interracial marriage, they just wanted to be able to live their lives, unafraid.

View all my reviews
orangerful: (one girl // orangerful)
If you're looking to add to your TBR pile, this year's Nebula Award nominees are up. There are even a few novellas/short stories you can access online. I just pulled all the young adult book nominees to flip through.

Also, Netflix is going to air the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 starting April 14!!!!!!! I don't know why this fell off my radar, but what a pleasant surprise to find this while clicking around the web today. I could use some good laughs!

We had 35 babies at the program this morning and I am just spent...debating taking some sick leave and just going home and crashing...maybe I'll try to get to lunch break at least...blah
orangerful: (book belle // orangerful)
So long January 2017. You were a strange month...though I think probably a reasonable portent of things to come.

ANYWAY, let's talk about BOOKS! Because I feel like I will be reading a lot of fantasy this year to escape reality. It will be the best way to relax.

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy DogThe Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so well done on so many levels. It may be "children's fiction" but there is something here for readers of all ages. Gidwitz uses his passion for Medieval history and storytelling to weave a tale infused with real historical figures, locations, and legends that may inspire you to read beyond the book to find out more (and don't worry, Gidwitz includes an annotated bibliography to help get you started).

If you're read his previous series, A Tale Dark & Grimm, the same snarky humor pops up in this book as well. But there are also great discussion topics, like theology and prejudice, that make this story a little bit heavier than the fairy tale retellings.

It's funny, it's serious, it's light-hearted and also full of sorrow. A great read! And also, I've been told, a great listen! Bump this up on your TBR pile right now!

Burn Baby BurnBurn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marisol Ramirez is the perfect narrator to give voice to a story taking place in New York City. Her voice is clear but she has just enough of the downtown accent to give the story the right feel. This is a great read for teens who like realistic fiction, coming of age stories. There are a few intense moments, but this is mostly a story about growing up.

Dark MatterDark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am seriously hovering over that 5th star right now, I just can't decide if it was amazing or not. It was pretty damn good. A great bit of science fiction, with enough of a thriller aspect to keep me up at night, turning the pages into the late hours. Fantastic!

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Glad to find another Newberry Award winner that I can approve of! Beautiful language, reminiscent of Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn with that mix of innocence and melancholy that both kids and adults will understand. Great fantasy story with magical characters that you will miss when you finish the book.

Unicorn vs. Goblins (Heavenly Nostrils, #3)Unicorn vs. Goblins by Dana Simpson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another cute entry in this series. Phoebe's time at music camp was my favorite part.

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn (Heavenly Nostrils, #4)Razzle Dazzle Unicorn by Dana Simpson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not the best in the series. Still adorable though.

View all my reviews
orangerful: (muppets kermit fozzie reading // lostaca)
Short list because HOLIDAYS! Just too much going on, distracted me from making time to read.

At least there were some good ones!

Descender, Volume Two: Machine MoonDescender, Volume Two: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars - This volume wasn't quite as engaging as the first, maybe because the story is starting to tread some familiar water to anyone who who is a fan of the sci-fi genre. Still, beautiful artwork and the characters are engaging enough that I want to know more about what happens next. This ends on a crazy cliffhanger !!!

As I DescendedAs I Descended by Robin Talley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Robin Talley does a really great job of reworking 'MacBeth' in our modern world. She didn't just copy+paste the story, she reinterpreted it to work with modern young adults and the hierarchy that exists in high school. That doesn't mean she had to hold back on the horrific aspects of the Scottish play.

MacBeth is my favorite of Shakespeare's tragedies, maybe my favorite play of his overall. I would be curious how someone unfamiliar with the play, who wasn't reading it because it was a retelling, would feel about this book. I know I enjoyed it a lot because I was looking for the parallel stories and really enjoying the new twists that Talley added.

If you're a fan of MacBeth, definitely pick this one up!

MooncopMooncop by Tom Gauld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not sure what to say about this short but not simple graphic novel. Gauld's sparse use of text means you can finish a first read through in a matter of minutes, but the story and the ideas behind it will stick with you.

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads says this is a series, but it does NOT end on a giant cliffhanger, thank goodness! I started to slow down in my reading when I saw the "Brooklyn Brujas #1" in the record. I'm so tired of series.

Alejandra comes from a family of brujas, powerful witches that live in our world. But she isn't sure she wants to embrace that side of her. But her Deathday celebration is approaching, a ritual that will bind her powers to her for ever. Alex must decide if she wants to stay a bruja, like her mother and aunt and sisters - or just be a normal girl.

This book is a great blend of magic and Mexican folklore. I think it would be a great read for teens who read Harry Potter when they were younger and want more magical people living in our world stories. Lots of adventure, a bit of romance, and real characters from Mexican folklore. The author even included notes in the back of the book to let the reader know which magical creatures are part of established myth.

If there are more adventures of the Brooklyn Brujas, I will definitely pick them up! But I am glad that Alex's story was wrapped up at the end of this book.

View all my reviews
orangerful: (book belle // orangerful)
2016 will be OVER in a little over 24 hours. SO LONG! I hope that nothing else awful happens before we can wrap this one up and shove it out the door. Blargh!

I'll do my usual "Books read in December" post soon, but GoodReads created this cool infographic of everything I have read this year and I had to share.

orangerful: My Year in Books

Now I'm going to finish off this glass of wine!
orangerful: (whiny Luke // snarkel)
I think I'm going to put a personal ban on books/movies/tv shows about robots/clones for awhile because I feel like I have experienced SO MANY of these "humans create robots/clones, they are better than humans, they question their place in human world, they rebel/run away/attack" stories that I'm just finding myself bored with them. After watching the 'Westworld' finale this past week, I happened to pick up Descender volume 2, which is about a robot rebellion, and after I finished that I picked up Lauren Oliver's Replica not realizing it was about genetically engineered people.

It was like a perfect storm of "humans always suck so bad" stories in a row and I need some more positive tales right now!

Just a random rant from someone who takes in far too much pop culture apparently LOL.
orangerful: (book abby reading)
I've been very distracted by holiday shopping this past week, mostly obsessing over what to get my parents because parents are HARD TO SHOP FOR! But I think I figured it out, and it is now December so that reminded me to post my book list for the month. Didn't read much (HOLIDAY DISTRACTIONS!) but I did read some good stuff! I'll probably make an end-of-the-year roundup post at some point too.

Books Read in November 2016

A Head Full of GhostsA Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this before bedtime and it did give me some creepy dreams! Good thriller/spooky and perfect for the Halloween season! I really loved the three different views of the same story, making you wonder which version was true and what you should believe.

Still Life with TornadoStill Life with Tornado by A.S. King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A.S. King is one of my all time favorite authors. I drop EVERYTHING when her new books come out. I've read almost all of her YA books (except for The Dust of 100 Dogs which I started but couldn't get into). I love her voice.

Still Life with Tornado would definitely be near the top of my list if I had to rank her books. I loved Sarah and I could understand her struggle, her angst, and also that feeling of "my problems aren't that big compared to some, I shouldn't complain" that so many of us have. But our feelings are valid, we should vent, we should talk to people about what bothers us, we shouldn't get ourselves become our own victims.

This is a great book for teens, young adults, and adults since the story focuses on not just 16-year old Sarah, but also her older brother and mother.

Beautiful, poetic, and real. Another winner from King.

Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His HomelandBest. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland by Dave Barry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Barry highlights some of the weird and wild bits of Florida while having a lot of fun. It starts out as a goofy "in defense of Florida" book but then morphs into a strange travelogue. Good for a giggle, especially if you've ever lived in Florida.

Demon Book 1Demon Book 1 by Jason Shiga

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't say Andy didn't warn me that this was messed up but....WOW! This book is so wrong and so right. I just hope that Shiga has a plan for where this will all end because this is a hell of a start!

Speaking American: Sneakers, Hoagies, and Soda Pop—An Illustrated Guide to How America TalksSpeaking American: Sneakers, Hoagies, and Soda Pop—An Illustrated Guide to How America Talks by Josh Katz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is great to have on hand at a gathering with friends and family. We "read" it together in between the Thanksgiving meal and dessert.

You might remember taking the dialect quiz that Josh Katz posted online back in 2013. These are the more interesting results, presented with percentages and fun maps.

If you're worried about a family gathering this year and what to talk about, buy this book and take it with you! It will give you a good solid hour of "safe" discussion.

orangerful: (one girl // orangerful)
This Thanksgiving, you can really have your friends and family for dinner with this cookbook. #hannibal #fannibal #bookface

btw this is the new Feeding Hannibal cookbook! The library purchased it (I swear, I don't think I requested it!)! It is GORGEOUS! Glossy pages, full color photos from the show AND of the food. I want it for my collection even though I am pretty sure I am not a high enough level cook to attempt half of the things in the book. But it is SO SHINY!

I've been trying to get back to normal, though it is hard to do with all the headlines swirling around. But, gotta move forward, right? Can't sit and cry about how it is all unfair (it is) and we have to overthrow the Electoral College (we can't, they have submitted changes to Congress 700 times and it has never been approved). So, instead, I'm just gonna hunker down and prepare to be there for those in need and fight for things I believe in.

I've also been playing A LOT of Stardew Valley because that is a perfect little world where I go out and farm and live with my wife Leah and milk the goats and sometimes fight and/or grow slimes of my own. Farms Sims are oddly calming.

Pumpkin donut time! (I am a sucker for a BOGO Free deal at the grocery store when it concerns baked goods of any king so we now how donuts and bagels).

And I'm just realizing I forgot my cream cheese at work. DAMMIT!
orangerful: (muppets kermit fozzie reading // lostaca)
I feel like I've been absent a lot, not sure what I have been doing with myself, mostly playing video games! Anyway, I will mark my return with a book post!

You can clearly see that I had a book hangover after Kindred and struggled to find anything that would hold my attention and be as good of a story. Which is why it is mostly comic books.

KindredKindred by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing book and, sadly, still very relevant. I am thrilled they are teaching this in high schools. Talk about trying to teach empathy - Kindred puts you in the shoes of a modern Black woman and then sends that woman back in time to the antebellum South. I really enjoyed the whole book and found myself staying up late to finish it last night to see how it all ended. A modern classic.

The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A ManThe Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man by Tom King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was so good, I did not want to stop reading it and when that final page happened, I wanted to call out "NOOOOOOO!" -- I didn't realize this was an ongoing series, I thought it would all be wrapped up in this trade. Now I have to wait to find out what happens next? Wow.

Prez, Vol. 1: Corndog-in-ChiefPrez, Vol. 1: Corndog-in-Chief by Mark Russell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Starts out ridiculous but manages to become eerily relevant.

Orange: The Complete Collection 2Orange: The Complete Collection 2 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn't as fond of this volume as much book 1. I found Naho to be a tad annoying, more so than she was in the first book, making mistakes that were frustrating. I did enjoy the ending though, it just took me awhile to get into this book.

Giant Days, Vol. 2Giant Days, Vol. 2 by John Allison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this one more than the first one but I'm still not enthralled by this series. Cute art style and quick read but not something I think I would recommend.

Mighty JackMighty Jack by Ben Hatke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ben Hatke is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. This was a great start to a series that I am looking forward to reading more about. Fantastic reworking of the "Jack and the Beanstalk" story, updated and tweaked to be a modern adventure. My only regret is reading it so soon after it came out because now I have to wait for book 2!

A Child of BooksA Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is beautiful. It is definitely the kind of picture book you could read to a young child and as they get older, they will want to read it and investigate the images. Jeffries' poetic words and Winston's artwork create a new and magical world of words.

I Am a StoryI Am a Story by Dan Yaccarino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deceptively simple, this book could lead to a lot of conversations with your child about the power of stories and the history of how humans have shared their stories.

And, of course, it mentions public libraries so it gets bonus points for that!

I think this would be a great book to take when visiting a classroom of 1st and 2nd graders.

Hamilton: The RevolutionHamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I was initially disappointed that Lin didn't read the entire book, this was still a fascinating look into the creation of a musical and how long it takes to go from page to stage. Lin reading the notes at the end was a treat though. If you like musical theater, this is a great listen and if you love Hamilton, you wont' want to miss out on all of Lin's notes and the evolution of this modern classic.

SpontaneousSpontaneous by Aaron Starmer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first 150 pages of this book. I couldn't put it down, I wanted to know what it all meant, where it was going, how would it all end. Then I it all suddenly came to a screeching halt. The plot stalled, the main characters voice went from quirky to obnoxious and it felt like the story was grasping for an ending.

This could have been so good with a bit of editing but instead it felt like it started as one kind of story and then lost its way for about 100 pages. I won't lie, I sped read the last bit of this book, hoping to find out what the ending would be.

I think I'm just spoiled by authors like A.S. King who know how to right real teen voices dealing with real teens issues but still get in a bit of magical realism - like tripping on dead bat water, communicating with plane passengers as they fly overhead or imagining your boyfriend building a helicopter in the back yard. When this book started, I was hoping Starmer had a vision of what it all meant, how it would start silly but end up giving us glimpse into a side of teenage life we hadn't thought about. Instead it just randomly exploded all over and left me feeling NOT invigorated.

Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygothRat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as much fun - actually, maybe more? - that the first one. A bit more story, a bit more depth, really a great read and a lot of fun!

I'm *almost* done with Head Full of Ghosts which I wanted to finish on Halloween but I was SO TIRED last night I kept dozing off while reading!

I'm really hoping the new A.S. King shows up on my desk today or tomorrow. I can see it is in transit to me...she is one of my favorite authors and I drop everything when her new books come out.
orangerful: (doctor who bowties are cool // orangerfu)
BBC is promoting their new Doctor Who short story collection The Twelve Doctors of Christmas by giving away a free short story from the collection. I know there are a lot of Whovians on my flist. Grab the pdf of The Red Bicycle before they change their mind!
orangerful: (one girl // orangerful)
[ profile] phenomenal asked for a picture of my favorite book.

I stole this copy from my parents when I found it on the downstairs bookshelf in middle school. My Mom told me I would like it. I LOVED IT!

picture of a well loved book )
orangerful: (pigeon w books // orangerful)
#librarianproblems all the new books look so good! I'm taking them all! #books #reading

THIS. This is what happens when I decide to read book reviews, start following Jon Scalzi's blog and then a new cart of books arrives in delivery and I get first dibs.

And also when you are allowed 5 renewals of books so you just keep them on your desk because you know there is no space on the shelf anyway and you do want to read them eventually (yes, I think if you click back to the last time I posted a picture of the pile of books on my desk, two of these were probably there. I want to read Exit, Pursued by a Bear but I know the subject matter is going to be intense and upsetting and I gotta be in the right mood.)

I can build a small fort with all these books!

And to top it off, I'm reading a non-library book right now! Sylvia has to read Kindred by Octavia Butler for school and it has been on my to-read list FOREVER so I took this as a sign. I really love it, I'm about halfway through and even though it was published in the mid-70s it, sadly, is still very relevant when it comes to history, race and gender and the United States.

At lunch today I started Prez which is hilarious and horrifying because, yeah, our politics are so screwed up, I could see a star of a viral video accidentally being elected President.

Oh, and I apparently hit my 80 book mark yesterday! Now, a few of those were picture books so I don't feel like I've really hit my goal, but by December I will definitely have read 80 chapter books of some kind. Go me!
orangerful: (book belle // orangerful)
This was a pretty great month with lots of really good books, some that I had been meaning to read for awhile and others that I stumbled upon (the dangers of helping with the new materials delivery is that I see all the shiny new graphic novels that I've never heard of before but sound awesome. Also the same danger of working with people who read a wide variety of books themselves and then you want to read what they say is good).

Citizen: An American LyricCitizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've never really read a book of freeform poetry before. Luckily, Rankine eased me into it by starting with more of a prose style and then slowly moving into more of a poetry rhythm. A short little book with lots of powerful moments. These feelings and images will stick with me for awhile.

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't expecting much from yet another Batman comic but WOW! I loved the reimagining of Gotham and the Wayne family, and, of course, Alfred. This was not at all what I was expecting and really hard to put down - which I didn't! Read it all in one sitting.

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

I didn't feel this one was quite as good as Batman. I don't know why it is so hard to write a good Wonder Woman story. Maybe it is because that she, like Thor, is just born awesome. She doesn't have the whole "death of her family" like Superman and Batman, nothing to really overcome so her origin story isn't quite as engaging. They tried to give her some mother issues but she came off more as a spoiled brat than a struggling hero.

Also, the art was just so typical...all the girls have their mouths hanging half open and they were supposed to be shocked when Diana came home wearing makeup, she didn't look that much different from when she left.

I love that in a world that is devoid of men and no influence from men, everyone likes to imagine women would still wear skimpy clothing and bustiers. Be real - it would be a land of sweatpants and t-shirts, maybe jean shorts when it is cold.

Dark Night: A True Batman StoryDark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book and the idea of using your superhero figures to help you cope with life. Dini really took a chance, bearing his soul like this, but he did it right and this is a great book, a great story, inspiring and affirming but not in a cliche kind of way? He's not perfect but that is what made it such a great read - I could identify with his insecurities even if I wasn't exactly like him.

Nobody Likes a GoblinNobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't usually include picture books on this list, but this one is just so fun and I feel like a lot of you with kiddos in your life might enjoy it because a lot of you grew up with 'Labyrinth' and other movies with weird yet adorable creatures. Cute story, great illustrations, perfect for the older picture book reader who likes a silly fantasy tale. Pair this with The Princess and the Pony for a quirky family read-together.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of TimeLumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better! What could have just been a goofy, one-note story about a group of goofy girl scouts has turned into an epic, layered tale of hardcore lady-types. Keep it coming Team Lumberjanes!

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)Jackaby by William Ritter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this book! I would suggest it for fans that lik "Monstrumologist" or "The X Files" - anything with a supernatural twist. I love that all the monsters are not "bad" and that it pulls from a variety of myths and stories to create the creature world.

I definitely plan on picking up the second book soon!

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super FamousMs. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This might be my favorite Ms. Marvel arc yet! It is a lesson that all of us need to be reminded of from time to time - teens and adults. Just loved it.

View all my reviews
orangerful: (pigeon w books // orangerful)
Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through FilmFilmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film by Edward Ross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic graphic non-fiction exploration of the power of movies. I would compare it to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art in how it helps break down things that we sort of know in our gut, but putting those feelings into words. At first I was like "Why is this a book? It should be a documentary!" but making that film would be impossible because getting the rights to all the movies references would cost millions! This graphic novel is an amazing introduction to film studies and remind you that those images on the big screen are more than just eye candy.

French MilkFrench Milk by Lucy Knisley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

About what I expected for an early book. It really is just Knisley's journal from her trip to Paris, nothing amazing, no real self discovery like in 'Relish'. But you can see all the potential in the pages for her books to come.

Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South BronxBecoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can't think of anyway else to describe this but a first-person limited memoir. Sonia Manzano tells her own story of growing up in the South Bronx and channels her childhood, writing the book from her point of view as a girl growing up in the 1950s New York City. She does not make any reference to her life today, she does not talk about the things that happened to her as a child in the context of how we view things today. She and her mother are both beaten, they live in the ghetto, she talks about being felt up by strangers, but she tells it as if it is just happening, never stepping out of that moment.

This is definitely a young adult/adult biography, if only because of the abuse that takes place and the occasional f-bomb that gets dropped.

To me, this felt like an honest and revealing look at growing up as a child of Puerto Rican immigrants in the United States and also growing up a girl and also growing up ethnic but in a way that is both invisible and visible when it comes to the United States.

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at WarGrunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another fun bit of pop science reading, though this is perhaps more terrifying the the rest of her books because it connects to war. But still a very good read.

Orange: The Complete Collection 1Orange: The Complete Collection 1 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picked this up because everyone who read it raved about it and I can see why! Not at all what I expected. Just a dash of sci-fi in this otherwise slice of life story, with a melancholy edge. I don't want to say any more because I read this spoiler free and so should you. Just have volume 2 ready to go because what a cliffhanger!

The World According to Star WarsThe World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so much fun to read! A great way of thinking about Star Wars and stories and how they reflect and effect our society. Even a casual fan can enjoy Sunstein's thoughts about this movie series.

GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Telgemeier's first foray into supernatural stories. I enjoyed it, but the bar was set really high by her previous three books. I just didn't feel like this one packed the emotional punch that Smile, Sisters, and Drama did. I'd say this is a 3.5 star book where Smile is a 5 star book. (which means it is still a really great book! She has just spoiled me!)

Buffy: The High School Years - Freaks & Geeks (Buffy: The High School Years, #1)Buffy: The High School Years - Freaks & Geeks by Faith Erin Hicks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Within the first few pages of this book, I knew Faith Erin Hicks was a Buffy fan. She had the tone just right - the Scooby Gang had all the same wit and snark of the show. This comic book takes place early in Season 1. It feels like a lost episode. It was really fun to read this, especially since I just finished rewatching the first season of the show recently!

We Stand On GuardWe Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! This has all the makings of the next epic BKV series, lots of in common with Y The Last Man and Saga when it comes to using science fiction to examine issues happening today. I loved this so much and the final section left me in shock. I need the next volume now!

Saga, Volume 6Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great entry in the series, I really love little-kid Hazel, glad she is growing up now and part of the adventure rather than a prop. Her voice is a great mix of her father and mother.

The Ballad of Black TomThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read any Lovecraft and I haven't read any real adult horror stories in a long time. This made me want to pick up both! It had all the flavor of a classic scary story, LaValle's book could have been published in the early 1900s, his prose felt both new and classic. And CREEPY!!!!!!! Made the mistake of trying to finish the book late one night and gave myself the heebie-jeebies!

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