Children’s Book Chat: The Day the Aunts Disappeared

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The Day the Aunts Disappeared

author : KayeC Jones

pages : [ebook]

summary :

Hungry and tired of bug bites, Greg the Anteater decided to go to town to find an easy meal.

He quickly finds out that there are aunts all around the town! But “aunts” and “ants” are not the same thing, as he quickly finds out.

Find out what happens to Greg and all the aunts in town in this colorful and nonsensical story that will make you laugh and giggle.

review :

This book was adorable! I’ve read one other of Jones’ picture books (Kitty Conquers the Big Bully) and I love the artwork in both. Greg is cute (even when he’s kind of terrifying the town) and the little details really make the story unique. I like the little things that you only notice if you really engage with the picture, like Greg’s tongue forming a heart, because it’s cute, tells so much more about the story, and shows us more about Greg.

I have to admit at first I was a little taken aback that Greg was actually eating people. He didn’t really mean any harm (no one would want to eat bugs ALL their life) but I feel like adults reading this book to or with their children will find it funny on a different level. We can imagine an anteater doing something like this and find it hilarious; kids might find it funnier that Greg thinks people are tasty, or because he’s so confused, or because of the (accidental) chaos he causes.

I’ve never read anything like this, so I think it’s great and unique just in that respect. Pair that with the great artwork and it’s a cute, fun little book. I think that a lot of people would enjoy it, so I highly recommend it!

4/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: Thor, Goddess of Thunder

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Thor, Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder

author : jason aaron

illustrator : russell dauterman

pages : [hardcover] 136

favorite character : thor

summary :

WHO IS THE GODDESS OF THUNDER?

The secrets of Original Sin have laid low one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. The God of Thunder is unworthy, and Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted! But when Frost Giants invade Earth, a new hand will grasp the hammer–and a mysterious woman will take up the mantle of the mighty Thor! Her identity is secret to even Odin, but she may be Earth’s only hope against the Frost Giants. Get ready for a Thor like you’ve never seen before as this all-new heroine takes Midgard by storm! Plus: The Odinson clearly doesn’t like that someone else is holding his hammer–it’s Thor vs. Thor! And Odin, desperate to see Mjolnir returned, will call on some very dangerous, very unexpected allies. It’s a bold new chapter in the storied history of Thor!

Collecting Thor (2014) #1-5

review :

This was awesome! I went into this with low expectations because I’d heard some people weren’t pleased with female Thor and somehow got the misconstrued idea that Thor himself was female in this version. But, no, he’s just unworthy, so someone else is wielding Mjolnir now. I don’t get why this annoyed people so much. It isn’t her fault that Thor’s off being unworthy and the universe still needs the God of Thunder out there in some form. Plus apparently Marvel tried this alternative Thor back in the 70s too so it isn’t like it’s an incredibly new idea.

I loved not knowing who exactly was the female Thor because it kept an added mystery and added some humor when you start to narrow down the possibilities and compare the rest of the candidates to female Thor’s reactions to these villains she’s defeating. Though apparently wielding Mjolnir means that you speak like the rest of the Asgardians and only sound like a “normal” person in your thoughts, which makes me wonder what all of the Asgardians’ thoughts sound like.

Thor himself aggravated me in this volume SO MUCH because he just can’t accept that someone else has Mjolnir and is jealous over a hammer. As in he’d prefer for it to sit around doing nothing just because he can’t currently use it. I understand that he’s been through a lot, but he’s still a god. Maybe he still has some growing up to do.

Even though I haven’t read any other specific Thor comics (most of my knowledge of him comes from the movies and his random appearances in other comics) I didn’t  have trouble following this at all. Even if you’ve only seen the films, the characters and villains are so familiar that Thor: Goddess of Thunder won’t confuse you at all.

5/5 stars

 

Teen Titans: Earth One, Vol 1

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Teen Titans: Earth One, Vol 1

author : jess lemire

illustrator : terry dodson

pages : [hardcover] 144

favorite character : raven

summary :

A new original graphic novel in DC’s popular “Earth One” series, TEEN TITANS: EARTH ONE follows in the tradition of SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE and BATMAN: EARTH ONE, both of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers.

The Teen Titans never felt like normal kids… but they had no idea how right they were. Their seemingly idyllic Oregon upbringing hides a secret — one that will bring killers, shamans, and extraterrestrials down on their heads, and force them into an alliance that could shake the planet to its foundations!
Superstars Jeff Lemire (ANIMAL MAN, GREEN ARROW) and Terry Dodson (WONDER WOMAN) reinvent DC’s youngest heroes, with an all-new mythos in an all-new world!

review :

I absolutely loved this take on the Teen Titans! Most of my previous experience has admittedly come from the TV cartoon, and a few random appearances in other comics, but I loved this presentation and honestly can’t wait to get to more.

Teen Titans: Earth One starts out like a normal coming of age story. It’s the beginning of the school year, all of these teens are dealing with bullies, angst, parent drama, and making new friends. Until things start getting weird. Something is drawing all of these kids together and isn’t about to let go until they join forces, solve a few clues, get into trouble–to put it mildly.

I loved seeing the different take on how the teens get their abilities and deal with them. How they’ve become a part of them and their personalities. It was very unique, with some elements that I’ve never seen before, which is always refreshing in the superhero realm. The artwork was fantastic, too. It really captured the feel for the story and made me feel more connected with all of the characters.

Honestly, as soon as I finished this, I was so angry to find out that the next volume doesn’t come out until August. I’d prefer to have it now, thanks. It wasn’t like this first volume wasn’t good, but now that the background and characters are established I’m ready for everything to get even crazier. This was a great set-up for what’s to come and I can only imagine what adventures the characters will go on next now that they have their powers and purpose.

I loved this so much!

5/5 stars

 

DNF Review: Somebody Else’s Business by Charlton James

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Somebody Else’s Business

author : charlton james

pages : [paperback] 400

summary :

Somebody Else’s Business, embarks on the lives of everyday people facing dilemmas of circumstance and fate. The fascinating journey begins with John and Kelly’s wholesome love affair and their expectant wedding date. Circumstance begins with the deployment of John, and the acceptance and trust with Tiffany. John sends Tiffany a letter of reassurance on his love, drizzling from one relationship to another, snowballing the lives of others bringing guilt, destroying trust, honor and relationships. How do we handle somebody Else’s Business? Whether measured with the soft touch or the hard hand, prepare for the circumstances that follow when dealing with Somebody Else’s Business.

review :

I think that this book had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the way that the story was taken, it just wasn’t for me.

The book begins with an “about the author” that details how this manuscript caught the attention of an unnamed production company and, for some reason, James decided to self-publish the manuscript instead. It’s a little confusing to me that something that could potentially have been made into a film wasn’t picked up by a mainstream publisher. I feel like this novel might have been better off in some other form.

I read over fifty pages of this book and gave up before I’d gotten to any of the premise. This is the kind of book that you will enjoy if you like to hear every detail of the characters’ lives, but they seem much too perfect, perky, and unrealistic in these beginning pages. Everyone seems to love them. The other characters they meet are stereotypes of people that seem to be placed into random roles surrounding them.

There are also some basic typos in this book that are disappointing because they appear so often I feel like they should have been caught. The characters’ dialogue is also stranger, stilted, and doesn’t flow well. It’s hard to say much more because I’m not sure when in the book the basic plot structure was set to begin.

I feel like someone out there would probably enjoy Somebody Else’s Business, but that just wasn’t me.

1/5 stars

 

 

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

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Goodbye Stranger

author : rebecca stead

pages : [hardcover] 289

favorite character : bridge

summary :

Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

review :

I really, really liked this book and was so surprised that I did. When I first opened it, I’d forgotten most of the premise so dove right into it and was a little disappointed to see how young the characters were supposed to be. Lately I haven’t had any luck with middle grades. But, here, Rebecca Stead has created a beautiful book that I feel will be enjoyed by people of several age groups. At 22, I certainly enjoyed this one.

It speaks about so many important issues faced by students today. Betrayal in friendships. Peer pressure. Fighting to let go of the past. Sometimes these things are more intense–like Bridge getting hit by a car and nearly dying at the start of the book, or Emily being pressured by a fellow seventh grader to send her pictures in her underwear. It’s scary just because I know these things really happen and, looking back, seventh grade seems so young. But I know that girls will do so many things just to feel accepted, or to please a boy they like, or just because they’re confident about themselves. Which leads me to another thing I really loved about the subplot of Emily’s dilemma: she discussed how adults wanted her to feel ashamed of herself, when really she still loved herself. Which is perfect.

Even though this book kind of has a little bit of everything, with two different storylines going on, it worked. I was slightly confused about why the “high school girl”  narrator needed to remain anonymous. I wanted to know who she was, but because of the age difference it was obvious that her situation was removed from the three middle school girls. It was interesting to see those chapters written in second person, though, and the writing was beautiful here too.

I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone. I feel like it stretches across such a wide age group that a lot of people could enjoy it. This also brings up important issues, so it could bring some awareness or discussion to them.

5/5 stars

 

DNF Review: Username: Evie was a hot mess of a graphic novel

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Username: Evie

author : joe sugg

pages : [paperback] 192

summary :

Like anyone who feels as though they just don’t fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself.

Despite his failing health, Evie’s father comes close to creating such a virtual idyll. Passing away before it’s finished, he leaves her the key in the form of an app, and Evie finds herself transported to a world where the population is influenced by her personality. Everyone shines in her presence, until her devious cousin, Mallory, discovers the app… and the power to cause trouble in paradise.

review :

DNF 55 pages in.

Well. This was so disappointing. I picked this book up because I’ve been really into graphic novels and comics lately and this looked like a cool concept. Evie basically doesn’t fit into her real world so, before her father dies of a fatal illness, he creates a virtual world for her to live in where she can essentially make everyone positive and affect things around her.

To start, I’d like to say that I had no idea who Joe Sugg was or why he was creating a graphic novel. Apparently he’s a YouTube creator, which is cool. I love watching YouTube, but I’ve never watched him. I was thrown off, however, when I opened this graphic novel and the first thing it lists on the inside cover is the rest of the team behind Username: Evie. This is where I became really confused as to why Sugg’s name was the only one on the cover. He isn’t the illustrator or the writer. He’s merely the person who came up with the idea and characters and then let other people run with it to make it into a cohesive narrative. I think that’s probably why it turned out to be a bit of a mess. Knowing nothing about Sugg, I can assume that he’s passionate about the storyline, because he’s the one who thought up this world and Evie. But he isn’t the one who translated that world to words, or artwork, or even the coloring in the panels. This left everything feeling stiff and wrong. None of the characters speak the way that people would–I mean, even for a graphic novel. I know there’s some leeway. But these voices were so cardboard and awkward.

Also, for some reason Evie climbs into her fridge every time she’s anxious and throws all of the stuff (shelves included) onto the floor of the kitchen when she does this. And her dad does nothing about this? I mean, they must waste a lot of food.

I barely got into the part where Evie explores the world her father has created for her. I just wasn’t interested. I doubt that even a world like that could have gripped me.

I was also extremely confused about why everyone was so terrible to Evie even after she experiences personal tragedy because, y’know, her own cousin doesn’t even like her. And it seems like Evie has done nothing wrong? I can’t tell. I couldn’t tell most of her personality apart from her being “different”. A loner for . . . no real reason.

I won’t end up recommending this book to anyone.

1/5 stars

 

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh WAS INSANE

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I Let You Go

author : clare mackintosh

pages : [hardcover] 369

favorite character : patrick

summary :

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl...a novel with “an astonishing intensity that drags you in and never—ever—lets you go.” (Daily Mail, UK)
 
On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

review :

I received this book as my May Book of the Month from the Book of the Month Club (yes, I’m way behind in my reading, but it’s in no way a reflection of how amazing this book is).

I picked this book because it looked like a very emotional thriller or mystery. I knew that it involved the accidental death of a child, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in a rainstorm. What I didn’t know was how many other layers this book would have or how devastatingly beautiful it would be. There are so many clever twists in this book that I couldn’t hope to describe without giving away; you’ll just need to read it for yourself. There are things that you’ll never see coming, even in what seems like a simple case like this.

This book follows several years as the case is being investigated. It tracks Jenna, who has isolated herself after the accident in hopes that no one from her past will find her and that she can begin to forget. It also focuses on the detective who leads the case, which is cold almost as soon as it begins. Through the years, he and his rookie partner are convinced that there is more to this story, that more can still be done, so they gradually begin to undercover clues even years after the incident. Even when everyone else, including the mother of the killed boy, has given up hope that the crime will ever be solved.

It was gruesome, terrifying, and all too realistic, but I loved it. Another voice enters the book about halfway through and it was actually so terrifying that I had trouble falling asleep after reading those chapters. Because it felt too real. The author really has a gift, not only in crafting the story but truly finding the voices of her characters. While the chapters about the police investigation weren’t my favorite, it held a completely different tone and style from Jenna’s chapters, which were completely different from this third voice’s. Switching between them didn’t feel jarring at all because you know immediately who and what you’re reading about. I can’t wait to read more by Clare Mackintosh. I’m sure that whatever else she writes, I’ll love it.

I can’t emphasize how much I love this book–and it’s completely different from most things I’ve read. I don’t think I could compare this accurately to anything because it’s just so special. Go out and get a copy yourself!

5/5 stars