Books read in October

Lots of kid’s books and comic books, making my list seem more impressive than it really is. But I still feel pretty good about getting through this many in a month!

The Worst Class Trip EverThe Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. I think if I was a 12 year old boy, I probably wouldn’t care so much, and that is the target audience so it’s not that big of a deal. But reading this as an adult that lived through 9/11, it was hard for me to feel comfortable while reading about supposed terrorist plots and assassinations. It just kept me from laughing at all the fart jokes…I wanted to laugh but it was just really hard with that plot line yanking me out of the funny and into the real world.

I was really hoping that this was just going to be a story of shenanigans as the kinds bumbled around, I felt the terrorist plot was unnecessary. Wyatt and his friends were clearly dufuses and they didn’t need a wacky plot to make idiots of themselves. Just wandering D.C. as a class should have been funny enough.

Oh well…kind of a let down from some one who loved Dave Barry when she was 13…

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Everyone Loves BaconEveryone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a real treat to find on the new cart today! We all had a good LOL.

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Space DumplinsSpace Dumplins by Craig Thompson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Just so disappointed. I loved Habibi and Blankets, so I was really excited to read Thompson’s venture into children’s comics. But this fell flat to me. Too many agendas, too many soap boxes, far too text heavy and the panels on some page were a mess. And in the end, it had a cliche ending that didn’t even make the rest of the story worth my time.

The art and coloring are very nice. The story was a huge letdown. I had to speedread the last few chapters just to get it over with so I could make sure there wasn’t some twist I was missing. But, no, it was a huge letdown.

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The Dumbest Idea Ever!The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I could have read even more, I loved this story and how honest Gownley was about himself. So good. Get this into the hands of as many kids, tweens, and teens as you can. It is a story about not just living your dream, but making a dream work with reality. It’s about respecting your friends and family and the power of art. Fantastic.

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Baba Yaga's AssistantBaba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect spooky story for older elementary with a satisfying ending where everyone has learned a bit about themselves and each other.

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Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to EarthHilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, cute and fun little science fiction story. Really like the relationship between D.J. and Gina.

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Fraggle Rock: Journey to the EverspringFraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring by Kate Leth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute story with everyone’s favorite Fraggles. I think kids will really like it if they are familiar with the series…

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Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College TownMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to set this one aside for a little while. I’m close to being finished but it has become bogged down in all the legal stuff and I’m having a hard time getting through all the court reports. I need to switch to something lighter for a bit then come back. It’s been a struggle to read this, not because it isn’t well written – it IS well written and researched. It is just a horrible topic that makes you frustrated and sad.

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ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

Ready Player One was going to be a hard act to follow, so I knew Armada was already in trouble. I opted to listen to this one because Wil Wheaton once again reprised his role as The Reader. Which is good because as one of the geek royalty, he knew how to pronounce all the names and did his best at impressions of famous geek icons, along with making unique voices for all of the characters.

But, in the end, Armada fell flat. I think Cline had a lot of fun thinking of movies and games and music to reference. Maybe too much fun. Especially since we knew from the first page that this was going to be a riff on The Last Starfighter in some way. From page one, any geeky reader had a very good idea where this is all going. It didn’t make it a bad story, but it didn’t keep me on the edge the way Cline’s first novel did. I found myself daydreaming while the story went on. I wish things had happened faster and that the epilogue had been the second half of the novel.

For his sophomore effort, Cline could have done worse. The book is enjoyable enough but it can’t top Ready Player One. But it was fun and I will definitely stay abreast of any new books he puts out over the next few years (though I’m guessing he might be preoccupied with the RP1 movie)

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GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was fantastic. I think Alex Gino did a wonderful job getting into the mind of a 4th grade transgendered girl. I felt that Melissa’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions were spot on for how a child of that age would behave. I hope there are plenty of Kelly’s out there too.

This book is going to get you right in the feels. This should be required reading for everyone, children, teens, adults. And NOT limited to friends or family who know a (out) transgendered youth. Read this book, be aware of the people around you – their thoughts and feelings. They may be working through things in their head, things you wouldn’t imagine.

I hope this is the first of many LGBT books for kids that stress compassion and inclusion and also model how to be a good friend or parent to someone coming out.

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Books read in September

Wherein I should be reading books for a conference but get distracted by a bunch of comics for teens and kids that I just happened to see on the shelf:

Unicorn on a Roll (Heavenly Nostrils, #2)Unicorn on a Roll by Dana Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Not quite as good as the first collection, but still adorable and fun. I love this series!!!

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This One SummerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I think a lot of us have a “one summer” that we can remember. Maybe not quite as dramatic as this one, but I do remember having those crushes, the mystery of what being “older” was all about, and straddling that line between wanting to be a kid and wanting to be a teen. Tamaki and Tamaki capture it all perfectly.

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Storm Vol. 1: Make it RainStorm Vol. 1: Make it Rain by Greg Pak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always think of Storm as being a side character, usually shoved into the back of scenes in the movies, the writers never sure how to handle her powers. I mean, she can fly and control the weather – she could destroy us all pretty quickly. It was great to read a comic with her at the CENTER of the attention. This was a great start to the series and I am looking forward to reading more. She has been underutilized as a character for far too long.

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Sunny Side UpSunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a surprise on so many levels. What I thought was going to be a little summer vacation story turned out to be a much more powerful semi-biography. Holm & Holm capture the innocence and confusion of being a child with a family member who has a substance abuse problem.

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Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to this book because I knew there was no way I could read it. It falls to far into the angst/trauma area of YA Lit that I tend to not read. But I am facilitating at a conference so I had to read it so I could help with the discussion.

My biggest complaint is that the whole “letter” thing, which wore thin by the end. Plus, sequences when she was, say, black out drunk…how exactly did she write that all out later? It just didn’t work and about halfway through the letter format would pull me out of the story and remind me that this was a book. I think it would have worked better if the letters had maybe been scattered in the book with just regular narration beyond that.

Plus, it just felt like too much for one story. Though this book might find its way into the hands of a young person who is dealing with one or all of these issues and it will help them. So I can’t discount it. But as far as being a “great book”, meh.

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The Worst Class Trip EverThe Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. I think if I was a 12 year old boy, I probably wouldn’t care so much, and that is the target audience so it’s not that big of a deal. But reading this as an adult that lived through 9/11, it was hard for me to feel comfortable while reading about supposed terrorist plots and assassinations. It just kept me from laughing at all the fart jokes…I wanted to laugh but it was just really hard with that plot line yanking me out of the funny and into the real world.

I was really hoping that this was just going to be a story of shenanigans as the kinds bumbled around, I felt the terrorist plot was unnecessary. Wyatt and his friends were clearly dufuses and they didn’t need a wacky plot to make idiots of themselves. Just wandering D.C. as a class should have been funny enough.

Oh well…kind of a let down from some one who loved Dave Barry when she was 13…

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books read in February

Glory O'Brien's History of the FutureGlory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another strong story from one of my all time favorite authors. If you have never read any A.S. King, she has this wonderful sense of magical realism. Her stories are grounded in reality but there is always something different about this. In this one, the book starts with Glory and her BFF drinking a dead bat and then they feel like they are hallucinating visions of the past and future. But really it is about growing up, that weird realm of existence right before high school graduation, when you know that the people who have been around you for the past 4 years are going to go away soon, that you are no longer a child but an adult…King’s books always hit me right in the feels and the voices of her characters are very real.

Saga, Volume 4 (Saga #19-24)Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just keeps getting better and better. I actually feel like this collection is the best it has been since the first trade. I just really hope that BKV has this all planned out. It has been compared to ‘Game of Thrones’ in it’s complexity which means it could be awesome or it could all fall apart if they don’t know where it will all end. Right now I am enjoying the ride.

Andre the Giant: Life and LegendAndre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My only knowledge of Andre is from the movie The Princess Bride. This was a fascinating look at the world of wrestling in it’s early form as an entertainment and the examination of a man who was unlike any other. Box Brown does not pull any punches (unlike the wrestlers) so you get a very balanced look at Andre, his life, his work, and his legacy.

Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across AmericaCarsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America by John Waters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this might have fared better as a blog that waters updated on the road rather than as a book. I think the only reason I made it through this was because Waters was reading it to me. The first half of the book, heck, the MAJORITY of this book is Waters fantasizing about the best and worst things that could happen to him on the road. I really did enjoy the last part of the book, the ACTUAL real rides of the trip. Probably not as exciting as Waters or his publishers had hoped (perhaps that was why they felt the need to create more dramatic rides in the beginning?) but fun.

If you are going to experience this book, definitely pick it up as an audiobook.

Adventure Time: The Flip SideAdventure Time: The Flip Side by Paul Tobin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not the best one. I think the story could have been half the length, which would have helped. I ended up speed reading/skimming the last few “chapters” just to see how it all ended.

My Little Pony:  Fluttershy and the Fine Furry Friends FairMy Little Pony: Fluttershy and the Fine Furry Friends Fair by G.M. Berrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s “Babe” meets “My Little Pony” is another adorable chapter book. Totally loved this one!

book meme: Stacking the Shelves

book meme: Stacking the Shelves

I found this awesome new meme thanks to new follower Brin’s Book Blog (**waves hello**) and I just had to participate!

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Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

It’s all about sharing the newest books you have “added” to your collection – be they new purchases, recently borrowed, or currently downloaded. As a librarian, I really like this idea because I have tons of books that show up from my request list all the time which I never get to read but I’m so excited to just flip through, this is a great way to share the titles, even if I won’t get around to reading them any time soon.

So, without further ado, here is the haul from this week:

Stacking the Shelves, November 15

For the record, I am listening to Amy Poehler read her book, which is so much fun.

I have started the first few pages of Revival and I’m really liking it so far even though I have no clue what it is going to be about.

I got a physical copy of As You Wish to look at the pictures but will probably not read it (the audio, which I’m #1 in line for, is read by Elwes…yeah, I need that).

I read the first few sentences of Not My Father’s Son and it’s already breaking my heart.

Sam and Dave Dig A Hole is a picture book and it’s adorable.

I have yet to crack open the cover of the Star Wars book though I know it’s totally my kind of geek reading.

SO – WHAT ARE YOU READING?

#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)