Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World By Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Summary (from Goodreads):

WHO RUNS THE WORLD? SQUIRRELS! Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of . . . a squirrel! After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, liked a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born! She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and dissuades vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go . . . NUTS?
Yes, yes, yes! This book was exactly what I needed. A kick butt girl hero, check. A girl who puts others (including babies, animals, and mean kids) before herself, check. A hilarious non-stop joke of a story that made me laugh out loud on several occasions, check. Homage well paid to the comic, check. A brand new origin story for one of my all time favorite super heroes, check.
I just love Squirrel Girl. I love her graphic novel series. I love her powers. I lover her satire. I love her good spirit. I was ecstatic to learn of this YA version of her.  I was a tiny bit worried that the book in no way could live up to my crazy high expectations. But, I should have known it would be fabulous just because of the authors. I love them too.
If anything, this origin story was funnier than the actual comic. Seriously, I could not stop laughing. There are cameos and text conversations with other famous superheroes.  And some of these conversations were just the best. Also, the hilarious footnotes of the graphic novel are here too.
I also loved seeing how Doreen met Tippy for the first time. I loved Doreen’s human best friend too. It was great watching her become the super cocky, brave, unbeatable hero I know her as now. I love the idea of a superhero with strict parent rules. I also love the high school backdrop. This was a bit reminiscent of Spider-Man’s teen years for me.
All in all, this was a great book. The characters were amazing. The humor was remarkable. The plot was a lot of fun, and just a tad over-the-top, which is perfect for this hero. This is the story where Squirrel Girl learns what she’s capable of. She breaks out of her shell and learns to always do what’s right. It’s a fluffy, un-put-downable girl hero story. And I give this a 10/10.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Good Week in Books (155)

I had a nice, little book week. I finished one book and made serious headway into two new ones –I’ve got two super awesome fantasy novels going right now, and it’s the best. I received one ARC from Penguin Random House and two finished books for review from Macmillan. Good books ahead!
The lovelies:

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
A Lie for a Lie by Robin Merrow MacCready
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
How was your week in books?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and read by Jenna Lamia

Summary (from Goodreads):
Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.
This book was rather remarkable. Seriously, I don’t know how Kate DiCamillo does it. Her writing is gold. Her ability to get into the mindset of a young girl is just insane. There’s things she just knows. And there’s this overall sense of naïveté in the main character, Raymie. Like, how could winning a beauty pageant bring home a cheating father? Yet, at the same time, she’s so wise. She knows what to say at nurses at the hospital to get the appropriate reaction.
This book was powerful stuff. It dealt with some seriously dark concepts: cheating husbands, no-good fathers, death, the meaning of life, sorrow, grief, and pain. But, like how Raymie has this coating of naiveté, the story has this overlay of optimism, baton twirling, cat rescuing, and tuna feasting. This is the making of one extraordinary middle grade book.
And no one, absolutely no one can write a middle grade character like DiCamillo. Raymie was me as a kid –afraid to walk on the wrong colored tiles in fear of bad luck. She hears important words and statements and repeats them, and tries to suck them up like a sponge, but isn’t quite at the understanding level to do so. She helps her elderly neighbor by clipping her toenails. She believes in ghosts and sees the magic in a container of candy corn. Yet, when her more realist friend, Beverly, says things like there are no such things as ghosts or extremely friendly animal shelters, Raymie understands that she’s probably wrong.
Opposite the realist, is the dramatic Louisiana, whose first words in the book revolve around betraying someone named Archie. Later you learn that Archie is a cat. But still, this girl is a dramatic ray of sunshine. And the three girls together just make weird, believable kind of balance.
This is not a plot-driven story. It’s 100% for the character lovers. It’s a character driven story, filled with dark humor, sadness, and love. This previous year just killed it with the middle grade books. And if I had read this one a little earlier, it would have been another middle grade to add to my Best of 2016 books. I give it a 10/10. I highly recommend it to people who like friendship stories and character-driven stories.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (223)

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 Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (10/19/2017):
Description on Goodreads:
Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent new novel, set ten years before Northern Lights and featuring his much-loved character, Lyra Belacqua.
Why I’m Waiting:
I would not be the reader, writer, or blogger I am today if not for Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I even dressed as the book The Amber Spyglass one year for Halloween. I could not contain my excitement when more information was released on his new books in the series last week. I’m both excited beyond what a normal person can feel excited for, and a little hesitant. I loved the sad ending of the The Amber Spyglass. It’s hard to picture anything after that ending. I know The Book of Dust will be more of a prequel, but Pullman has said that he will continue to write after the events of The Amber Spyglass.  And The Book of Dust is only book 1! There will be two more! Ahhh.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

Summary (from Goodreads):
Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, "The Valiant" recounts Fallon s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire."
I loved this. The world needs more books where girls can kick this much butt. I wasn’t expecting to get quite as sucked into this as I did. I’m not usually the biggest historical fiction fan. But, I could not put this story down.
The setting and the background were just phenomenal. I loved getting such insight into ancient Rome. I wasn’t expecting so much of the book to be Fallon’s journey to Rome, but it was. And I found that journey just as interesting and riveting as her time spent training with the toughest girls around.  The author could have easily done a lot of info dumping, but she didn’t. And I appreciated being able to see the gladiator tournaments in my own mind’s eye.
I’ve never read a YA book to take place in this time period. I loved the idea of a female gladiator. And I loved learning that they weren’t entirely fictional –the author mentions a recent discovery about real life female gladiators. This made the story for me seem so much more possible. I could see women training to do what these characters did. I can see slaves being bought for this. I can see so much of this culture and this time period. And Livingston did a nice job writing all this.
I particularly loved the training part of the book. I loved witnessing the friendships formed, the fights fought, and rivalries grown. I also loved getting to meat Cleopatra. I loved the Roman names (I recognized a lot from my Rick Riordan reading). I loved the pacing of the book. Things happen quickly. And there’s just enough time left for secret romance and the random sneaking out for a party.
The romance wasn’t my favorite. I just never felt like Fallon and Cai had much of a chance to fall so hard for each other yet. I mean they had one kiss and Cai was willing to risk everything for her…I do like that Fallon is not willing to give up any of her life style for any man (first love, second love, or other). Maybe Cai’s character will be developed more later.
Also, the only other thing I have to say is that the book was very predictable. There were two major plot twists that I called early on. The first one didn’t bother me too much because the author timed it and clearly planned it very well. The second one kind of irritated me. But, we’ll see where it goes. All in all, the setting was awesome, the characters and friendships were great, and the plot was fast paced though predictable. I give it a 9/10.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Good Week in Books (154)

I had a nice book week. I finished reading an ARC and an audio book. I received two new ARCs for review (Thank you, Penguin Random House!) And I received 4 new finished books for review (Thank you, Macmillan!)
The pretties:
The One Memory of Flora Banks
by Emily Barr
Words in Deep Blue
by Cath Crowley
After the Woods by Kim Savage
The Last Place on Earth by Carol Snow
Time Museum by Matthew Loux
Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage
How was your week in books?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Summary from Goodreads:
In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.
So, this is not a YA book. Not even close. But like, YA, Gilmore Girls has played such an important role in my escapism as a teen and then an adult.
Gilmore Girls helps me get through the good and the bad. It's one of the few shows out there that I never seem to get enough of. I've re-watched every episode at least once every year since it's been on. I own every episode on DVD. The best gift I could have ever hoped for was A Year in the Life. It was like someone asked me what I wanted most in regards to entertainment, and they listened. I never thought I'd get even more of a gift than that. This book was that gift. I have so much love for this actress. It turns out she's a lot like the character she plays: hilarious, witty, intelligent, feminist, and amazing. I wish I knew her in real life, but this makes me feel just a little bit closer.

My wonderful boyfriend, who is now on season 4 of the show with me, gave me this book for Christmas. But, I “patiently” waited until my library could get a hold of the audio book because Graham reads it herself. I highly recommend listening to this one if you can. Though, she does refer to a lot of photographs in the book, and it was nice to have that hard copy/Christmas present as well.
I liked that I started this book, loving this actress. And I finished this book, loving her even more. I learned so much about her. I had no idea she ever lived in Chicago (my home town), and worked in one my all time favorite breakfast places: Anne Sather, selling cinnamon rolls. And in the book world, she works closely with a fave YA author of mine: Jennifer E. Smith.
I connected with her stories about curly hair, not knowing fashion yet loving Project Runway, and her passion for all the cast of Gilmore Girls. Listening to her talk about the show and then about A Year in the Life, was jus perfect. I didn’t want to get out of my car. I could have listened to her talk about it for five more discs.
If you are a Gilmore fan, you must read this. It made me smile. It made me tear up. And most of all, it just gave a tiny bit more closure. So much love. I give this a 10/10.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (222)

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 Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey (4/11/2017):

Description on Goodreads:
Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father's choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won't hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert's help, Lydia strives to keep her family's good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds like a lot of fun! It kind of sounds like the plot of an old Meg Cabot YA historical romance, and yes please! Also, I really enjoyed the author’s fist book, Love, Lies, and Spies. If this one is anything like that one, I know it will be super entertaining, full of good romance, and plenty of mystery.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Summary from Goodreads:
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The acclaimed author of The Witch’s Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.
I have to admit I read this one after I learned it won the Newbery. I wanted to see what book beat Wolf Hollow, one of my favorite books of the year (which did get the Newbery Honor). I went into thinking there was no way this middle grade fairy tale could compare with some of the other amazing middle grade books I had read this past year. I was mistaken. The book was wonderful.
Above all else, there’s the beautiful writing. The book was lyrical at times. From the wise witch to the swamp monster, quoting poetry, the words in here were all thought out and well put. This is an author that values language and the beauty of it.
This book didn’t win me over right away either. To be honest, for a middle grade book, it’s strange that most of the plot was focused on the wise, grandmother witch, and not the child. I kept waiting for it to be more about the girl. And then when it was, I wanted to go back to the witch’s story. The story went back and forth between the witch and her odd family (the enmagicked girl, the poetic swamp monster, and a mini dragon that thinks he’s living among giants because he can’t admit he’s miniature) and the town that kept giving up babies.
The town believed they had to give up the youngest baby each year because a witch demanded it to keep peace. Xan thinks the town is insane and that she’s rescuing the children from some weird deadly sacrifice in the woods in each year. Finally, all the characters learn what’s really happening after much death, fighting, adventures, magic, journeys, and sorrow. And it all starts to unravel the day Luna is left in the woods, and Xan picks her up.
I love the fairy tale nature of it all. It sounds like a dark fairy tale written hundreds of years ago. It’s hard to fathom someone making this all up now. I loved the dragon and the swamp monster. The characters, even the evil ones, were fabulous. The world was believable and sad. I never imagined what trouble a toddler with magic could cause. Good thing, Hogwarts letters didn’t arrive until kids were 11.
I loved the focus on family. Family doesn’t have to be blood. And there was so much love in Xan and Luna’s family. I couldn’t believe how much Xan was giving up for Luna willingly. There were so many times I wanted Luna to know things. But, it all came together at the right moment, and I’m glad it did.
I can see why this won the Newbery. Truly, it’s a beautiful book. I’m glad it will get more attention now. I recommend it highly to fantasy and fairytale fans. I give it a 10/10.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Good Week in Books (153)

I had a nice book week. I received 5 new books for review (Thank you, Macmillan!) I finished one middle grade book, one adult memoir, and I re-read a couple of romance novels.  I was sick this week, and went through a couple of blizzards, so I had time to read.  I get a lot of reading accomplished when I’m trapped inside (even by terrible candlelight because I lost power for a day too).
The pretties:

Decelerate Blue
by Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser
The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom
Traveler by L. E. DeLano
Blueberry Pancakes Forever by Angelica Banks
How was your week in books?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and art by Doug Holgate

Summary from Goodreads:
In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure -- with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.
Last week was such a treat for me. I loved all the books I read. And I have to admit I was a little worried about this one. Marissa Meyer books are hit or miss with me. I loved all of the Lunar Chronicles, but kind of hated Heartless and Fairest.  Thankfully, this graphic novel was awesome!
When I first heard news of this, I was skeptical. I thought it would end up being a graphic novel of one of Meyer’s books that already existed. When I learned it was about Iko, I was super excited, and then worried it would be a story I already read but in her point of view. But, it wasn’t that either! It takes place after the last Lunar Chronicles ends. It’s a story we have not seen yet. And Iko is such a wonderful main character to have.
There are cameos from all of our favorite characters of books past. And while things center around Iko, it’s so nice to see what everyone is up to after the craziness of the last book. It’s an added bonus: getting to check in on old friends you never thought you’d get to see again.
The art was amazing. I loved the kind of Manga versions of everyone. I loved the mixtures of races and cultures. The one thing that was way off from my imagination though was the wolves. Were they really supposed to be that “wolfy?” I pictured them more human, less Lupin on a full moon.
I love that humor that comes with Iko’s character. I love her long-lasting crush on a certain prince, her memories of her and Cinder’s past family, her fashion sense, and her need to prove to people that she’s so much more than a robot. There’s a definite AI prejudice thing going on. She’s the only one not recognized for her efforts in saving the world from a deadly situation with the moon. So many strangers think there’s something wrong with her for not serving humans all the time. More than once, the need for a new personality chip is recommended.
And we get to see a whole new, kick-butt version of Iko too. She’s fighting the escaped wolves, and traveling the world to take them all down. She takes on large groups at once and does her part in helping her best friend. There’s also a new romance that’s hinted at for her, and I can’t wait to see how this develops. Iko deserves it.
The characters are all there! Iko’s character is getting some much-needed attention, action, adventure, fancy dresses, and hopefully romance. The art is amazing, aside from some very wolfy looking wolves. And I can’t wait to keep reading more. I give it a 9/10.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein and read by Jesse Bernstein

Summary from Goodreads:
Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.
I feel like this book was written for me. Do you ever read (or in this case listen) to a book and go, “does this author know me?” And okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but this is the ultimate book for teachers and Youth Services librarians. The children’s book references abound! The praise of libraries, of learning, of researching, and of sharing is so astounding that I can’t help but read this book and feel amazing for the job that I do.
I have had a lot of tough days in the last couple of months. Books have always been a source of escape for me. This was more than that. It was such a positive, understanding, and enjoyable book about the services provided at a library, and all the magic knowledge can award people.
This is also a book for Ravenclaws. Seriously, the riddles, word problems, trivia, and information in here is a Ravenclaw’s dream vacay. Basically, all the characters win an overnight in the new town library (before the public has access). Then, a famous game inventor turns figuring out how to leave the library into a giant, scavenger hunt/escape game. Much research, reading, game playing, clue solving, riddle answering and games ensue.
I also loved the characters. I love that Kyle is a good guy. He shares his initial essay award with each member of his family. He’s open to anyone joining his team. He goes to help people who need him, even when it interrupts game time. He’s a truly good main character. I love his friends too. I of course loved Sierra, the character who was always reading. And Akimi was great too. I really did not want Andrew Peckleman to win.
What’s genius about this book is that it is designed for book lovers, but it will also appeal to people who aren’t readers. It appeals to the game show lovers, the reality show watchers, the Escape Room goers, and the gamers out there. It is seriously a book that can appeal to a lot of different people.
I loved the narrator as well. I listened to the audio, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear my favorite Rick Riordan book reader. Bernstein had the voices down! He clearly knew how to read kids voices and how to build suspense. I’m really impressed by his reading of this. There were a few times where I wished I had the physical book because I would have liked to read the clues instead of hear about them –some of them involved pictures and were rather visually orientated. But, I got the point.
I liked that all the kids playing were rather intelligent. I mean what other kids would enter an extra credit essay contest to spend the night in a new library? The game aspect to it all was not mentioned until way past the essay-writing stage.
I also loved the library. I want a sky dome, animatronics in the kids room, a bunny that says, “hush,” and “Goodnight room,” Dewey screens, game rooms, etc. This was one amazing library. My jaw kept dropping each time more of the library was revealed. The setting was pure magic, but also totally and completely believable. I can see libraries going in this direction.
This book had it all: good setting, wonderful characters, a game to end all games, tons of book references, a survival of the fittest type competition, riddles and clues to solve, friendships, competitions, and so much more. The one thing I thought was missing was YA references. The kids were sort of in that age between kid and teen, but still. They were reading Sherlock Holmes and adult nonfiction about banks, and referencing a million kids books a minute. Where was the YA representation? But, all in all, I loved it. I give it a 10/10.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (221)

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 Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan (5/2/2017):

Description on Goodreads:
Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he's gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .
Why I’m Waiting:
I’m beyond excited for the next installment. I’ve come to love Rick Riordan over the years. And the first book in this particular series had me laughing out loud over and over. It’s not every day that a girl gets read a fantasy book with that much humor. It had all the high action, fast paced fun of Riordan’s previous books and series, but with the added bonus of hilariousness. Apollo is unlike any other character. And I cannot wait to read more from his point of view.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ms. Marvel Volume 6: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson

Summary from Goodreads:
While CIVIL WAR II brews, the next generation of Avengers has bigger things to worry about - like a tri-state academic competition! As rival schools clash, Ms. Marvel's teammates Spider-Man and Nova are now her enemies! But when Kamala gets called to the real battle's front line, she faces a fight she can't embiggen her way out of. She's about to learn a valuable lesson: Never meet your idols! As war intensifies, tragedy strikes too close to home - and Ms. Marvel must choose between her heroes and her family. When friends become foes, Ms. Marvel struggles to put her life and Jersey City back together. Kamala will be forced to grow up fast and find her true place in the world. But will she be an international sensation...or a menace?
Everyone needs to read these. Seriously, it is so simple. Go to the library.  Pick them all up. There are 6 volumes now. They’re all super short, fast paced, and un-put-downable. This is one of those crazy cool examples of comic books imititating real life. Nothing pleases me more than getting this perspective of a teen Muslim girl/world saver. I need more girl heroes like Kamala. The world needs more girl heroes like Kamala.
Sometimes, having a little background knowledge of other heroes comes in handy. This one is clearly connected to a certain Captain America story arc. It’s tying in to the current Avengers storyline (Spider-Man has a cameo in the science competition!) But, you also don’t need to know all that stuff. Really, what it comes down to is a Muslim teen nerd saving the world.
There are 3 great things about this particular installment. 1) The ties in to current politics. 2) Kamala as a character, learning that the right thing isn’t always clear and sometimes you need to chose the wrong decision to learn what the right one is. And 3) All the pieces/flashbacks of Kamala’s family’s history in Pakistan. I have to admit my knowledge on the history of Pakistan is rather limited. But this section was by far my favorite. The journeys and stories of Kamala’s immigrant mother and grandmother were so strong and powerful. You don’t need a cape to do something heroic.
This of course then ties in to what is happening right now with immigration in this country, with a certain travel ban (that currently does not include Pakistan). And I can’t help but make comparisons to current day immigrants, refugees, and people who want to come to America for a chance at a better life.
There’s also a huge chunk of this installment that deals with Kamala figuring out who to listen to: her friends and steadfast allies/sidekicks or her role model/hero, Captain Marvel. Kamala knows when she makes the wrong decision and tries to fix things, but life isn’t always easy and some times good people get hurt. The whole thing ends with Kamala visiting family in Pakistan and learning another important lesson: not to judge things in new places too quickly.
This is one of my favorite installments of this comic. The lessons and connections are so much stronger than before. The character development and the family history really stood out for me. I loved learning about Pakistan. I loved the ever-present inner struggle Kamala has with her religious family and background meshing with her super hero calling.
And like I said, more and more people need to read this! If you like comics, graphic novels, girl heroes, strong girl main characters who can kick serious butt, any Marvel movie…I can almost guarantee your love for this. I give it a 10/10.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Good Week in Books (152)

I had a very nice book week. I received an ARC for review from Penguin Random House. And I got 5 finished books for review from Macmillan. I read 3 books, and started 2 more…I also, for the first time in my life started subscribing to a magazine: Teen Vogue. I can’t wait to start getting issues of that. And so many good books are coming out this month!
The pretties:

Trusting You and Other Lies
by Nicole Williams
Underwater by Marisa Rechardt
You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando
Teen Frakenstein by Chandler Baker
Teen Hyde by Chandler Baker
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
How was your week in books?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (220)

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 Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson (5/1/2017):

Description on Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram's son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver's constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she'd finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram's, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver's stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn't want to be won, and she doesn't want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver's heart—and keep her own—she'll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.
Why I’m Waiting:
I love Jane Austen. While Mansfield Park is my least favorite of her novels, I still have read it several times. And I’m beyond surprised and ecstatic to have a YA retelling of it! I actually don’t think I’ve ever read a retelling of this particular book. I love the theater element of it. And I love that the snooty neighbors are teen movie stars…I can’t wait to see the other similarities/differences.
What are you waiting on this week?