Friday, July 29, 2016

Harry Potter Month: Books for Harry Potter Fans

So, Micheline inspired me to go back and look at my list that I made for my library a few years ago. I tweaked it a bit and decided to make it just for Middle Grade. Then, I made a whole new list for people who read YA.

Do you think I’m missing anything? Also, is anyone else going to a midnight party tomorrow?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

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

Summary on Goodreads:
She's your new favorite. She's everyone's new favorite. And now she's joining the big leagues. Look out world, Kamala Khan is officially an Avenger! But will being one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes be everything she imagined? Or is life as a celebrity harder than she thought? But while saving the world is important, Jersey City still needs its protector too. A development company that co-opted Ms. Marvel's face for its project might well have more in mind for gentrification than just real estate. Can Kamala take down the evil suits destroying her home without ruining her personal life? Speaking of which, who exactly is that with Bruno? Get back on board and cling on, Kamala Korps, the ride is about to get wilder than ever!
These graphic novels are so good. If you have not read any of Ms. Marvel yet, what are you waiting for? They are all about Kamala Khan, a teen, Muslim girl trying to balance out, family, faith, school, friends, and saving the world. I love getting the whole newbie superhero experience from Kamala’s point of view.  Her point of view is fresh, funny, sarcastic, and so very YA.
I particularly loved that this installment was about Kamala’s balancing act. She felt like she had to do everything. And when her solution to trying to do everything fails, she’s calls in the big guns: the Avengers and Captain Marvel. And I love that Iron Man pretty much tells her that going to school is important. That being with family is important. And sometimes you just have to do what you know you’ll regret missing a few years down the line. I love that Kamala knows what is most important in the end.
I also love the new Mike character! I think it’s great the Bruno isn’t just sitting around, pining any more. Good for him. I also love the storyline with Kamala’s brother getting engaged. It’s nice seeing a super hero have real life problems, on top of all the not so typical super hero problems.
I love all the Avenger cameos. Loki makes a brief appearance too. And it’s beyond cool to see Iron Man play the mentor character, and not mess it up. The artwork, as always, is top notch. The overarching plot lines are fun to return to. The new bad guys weren’t quite as intense as older bad guys, but still rather entertaining.
I give this one a 9/10. I highly recommend these comics to anyone and everyone in need of a good girl hero.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (197)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer (11/15/16):

Description on Goodreads:
In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life, but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors.
Why I’m Waiting:
Okay, so I know that not everyone likes Stephenie Meyer. I kinda do. I’ve reread all her Twilight books. And I devoured The Host. I was really excited to learn of this new one. The story sounds like a lot of fun. It sounds more adult than her other books. Basically, it sounds kinda like a Bourne movie, but with a female lead…and well, yes please!
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Summary from Goodreads:
Ink and Bone introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history—continues. . . .

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control. . . .
The first book was my favorite book of the year, last year. When I haven’t been crazy busy with work stuff (aka: 99% of the time), I’ve been obsessing about this book’s release and of course the Harry Potter book release as well. July was pretty much all about this book and the next Harry Potter book. The fact that I could be excited about any book that wasn’t Harry Potter is a major compliment.
Paper and Fire did not disappoint. How can I not love a series of dystopias designed for booklovers? The first book was described as being a mixure of the Harry Potter series, The Book Thief, and Fahrenheit 451. I guess that description holds true in book 2, but now also throw in Catching Fire, The Giver, and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. Seriously, this book is some magical book pyramid of awesome that combines all the best elements of past books I love.
Like with Catching Fire, this second installment was non-stop action, filled with various twists, surprises, and secrets. Ahhh, I loved this. Oh, and the setting was so cool. From Alexandria, to Rome, to London, to secret libraries, to the Tower, to where I know they are all headed in book 3, every place is so exciting and fun to read about.
The first book seemed to be about survival. Jess had to survive his jobs, his training, his tests, and then he could get on with his life. This book, has that need of survival still, but also, more importantly, there’s this under root of rebellion. The library is evil. It kills and tortures and destroys. And the further along I got in this book, the more clear it became that a rebellion was necessary. It just involves a lot of giving up of things along the way.
So much is learned about the tower, about the automata, and about the library in general in this installment. Books are burnt, war has sprung in Europe, and more characters die. There’s never a good moment to put this book down. Never. It was hard going to work and not just staying home and reading this.
I loved reuniting with old characters, I loved the new settings, I loved the action, and I loved the much-raised stakes of everything. I cannot wait for the third book to come out. I give this one a 10/10. What a fantastic sequel!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Harry Potter Month: Harry Potter Birthday Party

So, I kind of joined the festivities a little later than expected this year. Mostly, July is the craziest month of the year (at work) for me, and I wasn’t sure I’d make this work. However, it’s Harry Potter…this had to work. And this is so much fun! Thank you Micheline, and Faith for putting this all together!
Part of my July craziness at work is actually throwing a Harry Potter birthday party. Since, my library is closed on Sunday, we are having it on Friday this year. What is entailed with the Harry Potter birthday party?  It starts with an hour of different stations: edible potion making, feather quill pen making, sorting quizzes, and jelly bean guessing. Then, there will be a giant Harry Potter birthday cake, while we play the first movie. I’m so excited! The one who gets the closest number of jelly beans in the jar, wins all the jelly beans and also a Harry Potter coloring book. I’m also handing out raffle tickets for the new book that comes out Sunday.
Here’s my example feather quill pens (all you do is use colored tape to tape around a feather and a pipe cleaner –though make sure you take the top off the pen first):

Here are two edible potion recipes, and then of course the potion cheat sheet (so we know what the kiddos are actually drinking):

Some past years potions pictures:

I’ll get a picture of the cake on Friday, and I’ll try to make sure to post about that later.

What better way to prepare for the new book can there be?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (196)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (3/28/17):

Description from Goodreads:
Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?
Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater.
Why I’m Waiting:
Well, this sounds awesome. I loved the first book. I only learned of the first book because I heard the author speak at a “We Need Diverse Books” panel at a library conference. She made her book sound so magical and amazing, I quickly requested a copy of it. And I was not disappointed. I love that it seems like this one will focus a little more on Nix’s relationship with Kash. And I love the idea of them meeting other travelers. The only problem is March is so far away!
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Trials of Apollo Book 1: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Summary from Goodreads:
How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies - gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.
I’ve been so excited to get started with this book. I learned of its existence way ahead of the game. Riordan talked about it on his first tour stop for the first Magnus Chase book. I remember it seeming like some faraway dream of a book, but also just hilariously amazing. Thankfully, my dreams that started so long ago did no disappoint.
This is the kind of book you wish for all your favorite authors to write. It’s a book that continues some serious past series plotlines with some of the best characters, but also brings in a side character you were never expecting. This side character happens to be a conceited, snobbish, poetry-writing God. And I can honestly say I never gave much thought to Apollo gaining his own series or even playing such a major role in things. I’m so glad he’s important now though. So, so glad.
It’s unbelievably gratifying to see a stuck up character getting his just-desserts. This is karma at it’s best. Apollo as mortal was not only satisfying to read about, but it was downright hilarious. I haven’t laughed out loud this much from a book in a very long time. This definitely constituted as a book I shouldn’t read in public because all my laughter would embarrass me.
I thought Percy was funny. Apollo’s fresh, sarcastic, egotistical perspective on life puts Percy’s humor to shame. And when the two characters are together? It’s priceless.
Every chapter starts with one of Apollo’s haikus! Every haiku was fantastic. I want to write each one down and save them for times where I’m in need of a good smile. I liked the new character, Meg too. I want to know so much more about her and I’m hoping things work out well with her in book 2. I also loved that this book didn’t waste time in the build-up. The action starts immediately. A war is brought to Camp Half Blood in book 1! I’m slightly worried book 2 will not be able to live up to this one’s level of epic.
I found the plot line with oracles to be really interesting. I never gave too much thought to their importance and necessity. I guessed the big plot twist early on; however, I have read so many Rick Riordan books that I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t. I love the weapons in this book. I love the way Apollo gets out of sticky situations. And I loved all the reunions with old friends.
This book was pure joy. I’m sad I read it so quickly. I want to go back and laugh some more. Rick Riordan is a genius. I give this a 10/10.