Books read in August

This was a very graphic novel heavy month. I blame whoever told me about ‘Revival’ – a fellow blogger, I believe. But how could I resist the undead in Wisconsin??? Exactly, you’re going to get a copy right now, I can tell. Well, at least skim this post before you go! There were a few other good picks this month!

Barrier #1Barrier #1 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Free Comic Book Day first issue of a new series. I didn’t realize half of the dialogue would be in Spanish, but I was feeling pretty good about my Duolingo obsession as I managed to translate it for myself and get the gist of each conversation. I might pick this up when it is a trade to see how it plays out. This really only gives you the most basic setup for the story and then it ends with an epic WTF cliffhanger.

Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among FriendsRevival, Vol. 1: You’re Among Friends by Tim Seeley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tweeted the other day that I was reading a story about zombies terrorizing a rural town in Wisconsin but that is SUCH an oversimplification of what this series is. Yes, the recently dead have returned to life but they are not mindless zombies and, in fact, if undiscovered, can pass as normal humans.

This is only the first trade, the first 4 comics, and you can see all the threads of different plots being laid out for you, even though it is unclear where they will all lead and when they will all meet up.

Revival, Vol. 2: Live Like You Mean ItRevival, Vol. 2: Live Like You Mean It by Tim Seeley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second book left me with even more “WHAT IS HAPPENINGS” feelings.

Revival, Vol. 3: A Faraway PlaceRevival, Vol. 3: A Faraway Place by Tim Seeley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WHOA! This was the big one, the book where things are starting to fall into place. I don’t know where that place is, but I feel like things are kind of sort of becoming clearer? Can’t wait for book 4!

What Does Consent Really Mean?What Does Consent Really Mean? by Pete Wallis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can’t decide if this was too preachy or not. I would like someone from the target demographic to read it and tell me if it was too eye-roll in the way the teens talked. It kinda felt like an after school special. Still, this would be a great addition to a high school library for students to “find” on the shelf on their own if they are trying to understand the discussion around defining consent.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 1: Aphra (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1)Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 1: Aphra by Kieron Gillen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize this was a character from a previous Star Wars comic, but I thought the first trade did a great job of introducing her but leaving enough mystery that I kind of want to go back and read the stories she appeared in before. Anti-hero, snarky, badass – yeah, she is pretty hard to resist!

Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader?Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s the Star Wars Halloween book I never knew I wanted until now!

>As the Crow FliesAs the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This title record needs a little more details – like the fact that this is just part 1 of a series. Melanie Gillman’s comics can be read online and the book ends suddenly because the story is not yet over, so it feel hard for me to really rate this because we have just met these characters.

But I would say this is off to a good start, a series to watch and I hope she gets enough funding to print the rest of it so more people have access to it.

Currently Reading: Authority by Jeff VanDermeer, the second book in the Southern Reach trilogy, “sequel” to Annihilation. This book makes Annihilation look straight forward! I’m almost finished too, no idea where it is all going and I know I’m going to need book 3 immediately.

Look at me, reading books written for adults! Don’t worry, it won’t last too long. As soon in this photo posted earlier this week, after I get through the rest of ‘Revival’ there are a lot of new YA novels begging me to pick them up.

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Books read in June and July

Books read in June and July

Whoops, I guess I forgot to post my June reads since we were away on vacation. Guess I’ll just make this list a teensy bit longer. Not by much though, reading Leviathan Wakes, the first book in The Expanse series has taken up a LOT of my time this month. I haven’t read a 564 page book in a long time!

And if you can’t tell, there was a new cart of children’s books to go through this past month. 🙂

HostageHostage by Guy Delisle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, this worked so well as a graphic. I could feel an inkling that lost, lonely feeling that Christophe must have been feeling for all that time. The strange mix of fear and boredom as each day went on, the rush of adrenaline each time the door creaked open. And those last 50 pages, my heart was pounding right along with Christophe.

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The Time MuseumThe Time Museum by Matthew Loux
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It started with an interesting premise and I got about halfway through and realized that the whole thing was going to be mediocre at best. Skimmed to the end and everything unfolded exactly like I anticipated. Not great, not awful. Just…meh.

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The Witch BoyThe Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really quick read but a great way to get kids thinking about gender roles without beating them over the head with it. Aster is a boy and boys cannot be witches, at least according to his communities rules. Boys are shapeshifters, they turn into different animals and fight to protect the village. Girls are witches that use magic to help things grow and for protection spells. But Aster has not shapeshifted yet and finds magic to be far more interesting. He begins to listen in on the girl’s classes, taking notes and practicing when no one is watching. But then he learns from his grandmother about another boy who wanted to be a witch and how things went badly for him. When boys around the village start to disappear, Aster wonders if it is his fault for dabbling in magic instead of following the rules.

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SLAM! Vol. 1SLAM! Vol. 1 by Pamela Ribon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My only complaint about this graphic is sometimes it was hard to tell the characters apart when they were all playing together. I mean, obviously they are in their team uniforms, but since they are drawings rather than real people, it was hard to know who was who sometimes.

But otherwise this was a really fun read and I love the idea of telling the story of these two BFFs while using Roller Derby to frame it all. It’s like Roller Girl but all grown up!

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Unicorn of Many Hats (Heavenly Nostrils, #7)Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Usual level of whimsy and fun. Perfect reading for a rainy day.

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A Day in the Life of Marlon BundoA Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That final page. I want to frame it and put it on my wall. “Stink bugs are temporary. Love is forever.”

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Pink Is for BoysPink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfect in its simplicity. Colors are colors and everyone can enjoy them. The end.

And also unicorns. Because unicorns.

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Rock Candy Mountain, Vol. 2Rock Candy Mountain, Vol. 2 by Kyle Starks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wraps up the story well, part of me wished there was more but I know that dragging it out wouldn’t have made it better. Quick read.

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Lennon: The New York YearsLennon: The New York Years by David Foenkinos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully illustrated and I love how the images are framed, then cropped to evoke different emotions. I don’t think I learned anything I didn’t already know about Lennon but I’m a pretty hardcore fans, but I still found this very readable and could have read more in this style.

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SquareSquare by Mac Barnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Another really odd little book by Barnett. I just love his quirky sense of humor. I didn’t know this was a trilogy! I guess circle must get the final book?

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Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don't CareSnotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was such a strange story, I’m not sure what the heck it is all about, but I am compelled to keep reading! We will see what happens in the further adventures of Lonnie Person in Snotgirl Vol. 2!

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This Jazz ManThis Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The only thing that would make this better is if it came with an audio bonus that had all the instrument sounds. Or even a mp3 of the melody using jazz instruments. I’m already plotting finding a way to get the high school jazz band to visit and maybe use them in a storytime…

but even without that, this is a really fun book. Sing it to the melody of “This Old Man” and have fun with it. I did it with the toddlers today and we counted every time we turned the page and then acted out the instrument. Another librarian did it with preschool age and it was also a big hit. So this one is staying on the storytime shelf.

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The Big Bad FoxThe Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While you know where this book is going right off the bat, the journey is worth it. Renner’s art is great and the fox’s antics, it made me think of Looney Tunes cartoons, with Bugs and Daffy running around and getting whacked by things (or each other). Really fun read. Can’t wait to see the animated version!

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Most PeopleMost People by Michael Leannah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A book with the best intentions, too bad the editors didn’t pick up on a few lines of text that feel a little problematic (see other reviews). But I did love the idea of assuming that most people want to do good things, want to be good and helpful. It is true!

(Also, I’m really tempted to do a nerdy parody of this with all of the apparent strife going on in the fandom world right now…)

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Teddy's Favorite ToyTeddy’s Favorite Toy by Christian Trimmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So adorable! Though not sure we should tell kids that once something has been picked up by the trash collectors that we can ever see it again because…yeah nope. 😦

But otherwise SO CUTE!

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Books Read in March

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.

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Books read in February

Whoa, hey, I swear I did not forget about this blog…or maybe I did. I just always feel like I need to have something to say when I post here versus my usual ramblings about life, the universe, and everything over on my livejournal. I’ll try to get this blog back into the posting mix at some point.

But anyway, here are the books I read in February 2017:

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 not…you 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.

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Books read in December

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.

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what I read in September

what I read in September

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 but…um, 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

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.

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