books read in September

September was a month of children’s fiction. My reading was firmly planted in the land of late elementary and middle school. It was not planned, it just happened. I did listen to one adult fiction title and it was a pleasant surprise. And I picked up the latest graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley, which is definitely for adults. I have already started an adult book that I’m hoping to finish for the October list because I really should read something from that side of the library!

Then again, the new Scott Westerfeld just showed up on my desk today and Undivided comes out in two weeks…**Sigh** at least those are YA!

SistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another strong story from Raina Telgemeier’s childhood that will still strike a chord with tween today because siblings, especially little sisters, will always have a very unique dynamic. And growing up will never be easy. Plus a family road trip and reunion? Always traumatizing, no matter when it happened. Smile is still my favorite but Sisters is really good too.

SecondsSeconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know what it was about “Seconds” but I just loved it. I think I loved how you don’t exactly love the main character, she has some major flaws (which is apparently O’Malley’s speciality – crafting characters I am both frustrated by but identify with too?)

Honestly, I didn’t know anything about this book except that it was the new Bryan Lee O’Malley and I loved going into it totally unaware and being surprised by the twists and turns.

Moldylocks and the Three Beards (Princess Pink and the Land of Fake Believe, #1)Moldylocks and the Three Beards by Noah Z. Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was sold on this from page one, mostly because Princess Pink has a Darth Vader drawing on her wall. But also because this clever book will find its way into the hands of little girls obsessed with Princesses only to turn the story around on theme, with this adventurous girl who has no problem getting dressing up as a hairy caveman dinosaur hunter and splashing in cold chili.

I think kids will really enjoy the fractured fairy tales and the play on a story they are probably very familiar with.

Cute, funny, and perfect for kids who are ready to move from easy readers into very basic chapter books.

Bandette, Volume 1: Presto!Bandette, Volume 1: Presto! by Colleen Coover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is really cute, I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Bandette is so adorable, her town so French, everyone so charming. It was a lot of fun to read and I will pick up the sequel.

One More Thing: Stories and Other StoriesOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of short stories, read aloud by the author and some of his famous friends, was a real treat. I feel like I need to star each story separately as some I really enjoyed, others were cute, and a few were sorta…ok.

…actually, there are too many stories to do that! Some of the stories are 5 stars in my book, great to read, even room for discussion afterwards, some are just hilarious one-offs that exist only for the punchline, and others are more shaggy dog stories that kind of go on for awhile but the pay off isn’t that great.

I HIGHLY recommend listening to this because of Novak & Co.s readings. Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Jason Schwartzman and more make this a treat to hear. (though looking at the table of contents, it appears the audio is in a different order than the physical book? WEIRD.)

Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils ChroniclePhoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first, I didn’t think this bright pink book with a unicorn on the cover was for me. Then I saw the unicorn’s name “Marigold Heavenly Nostrils” and started to flip through the book. And THEN I saw the introduction by Peter Beagle and KNEW I had to give this a read. I’m so glad I did! This book is cute and clever and a fun collection of comic strips about a little girl who befriends a unicorn after hitting it in the head with a rock. I was giggling the whole time I read this. Great for kids and young at heart.

OH! Apparently this is a syndicated comic strip and this book is the first collection. If you need more (like I did) you can find them here:…

Little Red Quacking Hood (Princess Pink and the Land of Fake Believe #2)Little Red Quacking Hood by Noah Z. Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not quite as adorkable as the first one, but still a fun read and perfect for a new-to-chapter books reader. I do love Princess Pink and her aversion to all things pink LOL. I hope to see a few kids dressed as Moldylocks when Halloween rolls around in a few weeks.

LootLoot by Jude Watson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Loot: How to steal a fortune” is a great read for middle school age kids who are into mystery, suspense, and thrillers. The story opens with the death of March’s master thief father and we follow March as he tries to unravel the events that lead up to that night.

This was my first Jude Watson book (I’ve read both of her the Judy Blundell young adult titles). She does a good job of writing for a younger age group without talking down. The short chapters make this book a really easy read (each chapter is 2-4 pages) so even reluctant readers will find this hard to put down.

The title leaves something to be desired, as does the cover. It doesn’t quite capture the intrigue and dark moments hidden in these pages.

What did you read this month?

#movies watched in August

#movies watched in August


August was a month of rewatches. Some of the movies survived the repeat viewings and others…well, I found out why I had forgotten about them in the first place!

Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the Second Dimension — Everything you would want out of a Phineas and Ferb special – jokes for all ages, references for hard core fans, lots of action and adventure. And all of your favorite characters featured TWICE! Totally a blast and I found myself laughing out loud more than once.

Guardians of the Galaxy — This is the shot in the arm the Marvel Universe needed. After a year of sequels to Super Hero franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy crashes the party with a band of losers, lead by the hilarious and likeable Chris Pratt and a furry version of Bradley Cooper.

You need no prior knowledge of the Marvel Universe to enjoy this movie. You just need to be prepared to have a good time. James Gunn manages to keep the focus on story but still pack in plenty of action sequences. The special effects were seamless, especially with Groot and Rocket. The dialogue is quick and witty and it will be quoted for years to come. The soundtrack is an awesome mix

A League of Their Own — Rewatched this for the first time in probably 10 years last night. Was in the mood for a baseball movie…and maybe in the mood to get a little teary eyed. It worked. Seriously, the scene with Marla and her Dad that’s like 20 minutes in? Holding them back.

It’s not a perfect movie, it’s a bit long but it’s trying to represent the time period as best it can…then again it’s also clearly trying to stay within the realm of a PG rating so it’s very CLEAN. I’m sure things were even worse for the girls.

Also…I was thinking if the applied the same standards that they did for these women back then to our sports stars today, maybe it would be a GOOD THING! I think maybe of these professional players need chaperones and behavioral training.

Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars — how could I NOT love this? You could tell the writers of this series are huge fans of the Star Wars movies long before this special, sneaking nods, winks, and entire lines into Phineas and Ferb episodes. Now they got to take their characters into the galaxy far far away and play in that Tattooine sized sandbox. Instant classic for Star Wars fans of all ages.

Airplane II: The Sequel — I wondered why the only thing I remembered about this movie was the bit with William Shatner…that’s pretty much the only part worth watching. This actually had too much plot, even though it was the exact same plot as Airplane! Too many repeat jokes and not enough belly laughs.

Wayne’s World — Some of the jokes are pretty dated, but it’s still got some great comedic moments. The ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene will never be beat. And how can resist the Scooby Doo ending? It’s a classic and THE best SNL movie ever made.

Enemy — Maybe the most frustrating movie I’ve seen in awhile. I spent this entire film thinking “what the hell is going on?!?!?!” and then the movie ended and then it ended and I was like “What the %&!&@! just happened!?!?!”

But, in the end, the more I think about it, the more I like it. It felt like a Twilight Zone episode, or a short story…or maybe the most elaborate Rorschach test. Show it to your friends and see what THEY think it was about.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes — My first rewatch since seeing this in the theater back in 2011. Still a fantastic, well put together action movie. Andy Serkis is AMAZING as Caesar and his acting really elevates this film. Probably James Franco’s best role too.

This is the only “reboot” or “prequel” that I can fully endorse. So well done, with enough nods to the originals for hardcore fans and plenty of story for those of us who only vaguely remember the original movie.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this movie is so much better than it had any right to be. Above and beyond what I expected, even upon repeat viewings.

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad — Like most comedy movies of this genre, it was a movie of the moment. With throw back jokes to the original series and even more gags that related to the mid-1980s, it’s not as funny as it once was. But it still has some great moments.

Want a good site for tracking your movies ala GoodReads? Check out my personal favorite: Letterboxd

#books read in August

Another light month for FINISHING books though I have started quite a few that ended up having holds…hopefully they will be on next month’s list if I can get them back.

My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)My Teacher Is a Monster! by Peter Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein StoryThe Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story by Vivek Tiwary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a MUST read. Not just for Beatles fans, Brian Epstein’s story is still relevant today and even if you are not a huge fan of the Fab Four, you will enjoy this beautiful graphic novel biography.

I’m not sure what else to say about this book. It gave me so many feels, a roller coaster of emotions and by the final page, I was starting to get a little choked up. Even though I knew how it all ended, it was just so heart-breaking.

This is the 2014 Eisner Award Winner for best non-fiction graphic novels and it definitely deserved the award.

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & SorceryRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this on my lunch break today, definitely a quick read, but lots of fun. This comic got a lot of attention online because of the character design for the heroines. I liked the artwork a lot.

This book reads like a D&D session where all of your friends are sorta fed up playing the game, possibly drunk, but for some reason they keep showing up for the game night.

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, #2)The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash by Frank Cammuso

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Salem Hyde is at it again! This little witch learns a lot about friendship, BIG wishes, and magic. And also why you shouldn’t buy a slushie for Whammy before going on a roller coaster ride. Cute and funny. Only slightly concerned about the PINK of this volumes cover, which may deter boy readers, who Salem’s hijinks would appeal to just as much as girls.

Amulet, Vol. 6: Escape From Lucien (Amulet, #6)Amulet, Vol. 6: Escape From Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stayed up all night reading this book. I don’t know why I had it in my mind that this was the finale…maybe because it took SO LONG to come out. But it’s not the end, though you can feel it winding down. Definitely surprised by at least one major event in this story. I think I need to reread the entire series before 7 comes out.

Currently Reading:
Monica Never Shuts Up (short stories) by A.S. King
Loot by Jude Watson
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (waiting for it to come back to library)
Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across American by John Waters (audiobook)
One More Thing: Stories and other stories by B.J. Novak (audiobook)