Friday, January 26, 2018

Firebolt by Adrienne Woods

(The Dragonian #1)
3 stars
R- 2 (but it looks like that will maybe go up in later books)

Definitely YA-- parents should know that there is discussion of sex, especially virginity, which at first is played for comic effect and later actually has bearing on the plot. Also language-- both crudity and profanity.

Good premise.  Is the execution great? No.  But... even being sensitive to various things from reading the negative reviews... it wasn't THAT bad.

Elena's obnoxious but she's a pretty normal teen.  I'm more annoyed by the adults who put her in that position so soon after everything she'd been through.  (And she needed to be older.... they all did.)

Also really wish more would have developed in this first book.... some of what's coming (please tell me it's going to happen with how glaringly obvious it seems) really could have happened in this one.  I wish the pacing had been better and the book a little longer so that it all fit in one volume rather than dragging it into a series.

So after writing that bit ^^ I went looking.... And ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

There are FOUR more novels plus THREE novellas AND a spinoff series.

Oh heck no.

Sorry, ain't nobody got time for that.

As far as I can tell (after reading all the most spoiler-y reviews I could find) books 2 and 4 are filler.  Books 3 and 5.... stuff happens, but I seriously DO NOT see why there needed to be that many books.

It really could have just been 1.... maybe 2. 

(Also, parents should know that there's a major rape scene in a later book.... sorry for any spoilers there.  It doesn't seem to actually have a point other than, I suppose, how else does one draw a storyline out for 4 books more than it needed to be)

In the end it appears that everything works out how you expect it to from how much hinting there is in book 1.... and I'm perfectly fine know that without reading all the insanity in between.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hug Chickenpenny by S. Craig Zahler

The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child
(received for review)

3.5 stars
R- 0

This is a fairly quick read, but very hard to rate. 

My copy had editing issues, but I'm guessing (hoping) that all of them were caught between the ARCs and final published copies.

The overreaching vocabulary annoyed me in places... but I think it was extreme on purpose and after a bit you fall into the flow of it.

Many parts made me uncomfortable.  How does anyone treat a child that way?  But again, I think it was meant to cause discomfort.

There are many questions that are never answered, but somehow that's okay.

If you liked the movie Big Fish or you're a fan of Neil Gaiman.... yeah you should really pick this one up.

It's out there, to be sure, but it's a touching tale.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ghoulish Middle Grade

(Disclaimer: I have not actually read these.  Some have been read by my kids, some have not.)

(Received for review... for the most part)

Stick Dog Craves Candy
by Tom Watson
Stick Dog is quite popular at my house, so I'm sure this new trick-or-treat offering will be a welcome one.

The School for Good and Evil (series)
by Soman Chainani
I'm not actually super familiar with these, but they look really interesting.  I think, though, that Boo is a little past them and MeiMei's not there yet.... and they just aren't Mister's thing.  So not the right fit in our house at the moment.

The Supernormal Sluething Service: The Lost Legacy
by Gwenda Bond and Glenn Thomas
So, you know a book must look good when a kid who doesn't like fantasy AND doesn't like mystery.... scoops this up immediately, reads it, and tells you how good it was.  Seriously folks, it was weird.  If it had been Boo, that would have been completely normal, but MISTER went after this one.  I've not read it, but I'm already impressed.

Monsters Unleashed
by John Kloepfer
This one looks like a good fit for those who are on the diary-style kick.  So pretty much any latter-elementary aged kid, right?  What would you do if your monsters came to life?  Freddie has to figure it out.... fast.

Spirit Hunters
by Ellen Oh
This one looks CREEPY and is totally not my thing.  I didn't think my kids would care, but Mister took it from me to read, so there's that.  Then again, he still hasn't actually read it.... so there's also that.  If you've got an older one who's into creepy, take a look.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Spooktacular Picture Books

(I know, that was terribly cheesy)

(Books received for review)

Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show 
by Diana Murray

Another Grimelda book!  I really enjoyed the first one and this one does not disappoint.  The twist at the end is pretty fun.  I haven't actually shown this one to the girlies yet, but I am positive it's going to be a hit.

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur: Perfect Pumpkin
by Kallie George

Poor Spike.... he just doesn't get it quite right.  Cute "I Can Read" book about the dino and the ducklings and the search for a pumpkin.

I Love You More Than The Smell of Swamp Gas
by Kevan Atteberry

BUNNIES!  Okay, not really, but it IS the same author which made me pretty excited.  This one is cute and hilarious.

Other titles you might take a look at include:
Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete
Flat Stanley and the Missing Pumkins
Even Monsters Need to Sleep (which we've actually already reviewed)

Also, MeiMei recommends In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

More Review Books

by Suzanne Kaufman
Oh my goodness.  All the toys go in time out and finally the dinos have to learn to play and work together.  Not my favorite, but cute. :)

Paddington Goes to Town
by Michael Bond
Ah the bittersweet arrival of another Paddington book.  It's a repackage but how can you not love Paddington (and it matches the others, which I'm a little OCD about).  But... receiving it so close to the sad news that Michael Bond had passed away..... it's not been a good year for beloved authors.

(I swear to you, if anything happens to Mo Willems I will have to hurt something.)

Even Fairies Fart
by Jennifer Stinson
Meh.  I get what they're going for-- no one's perfect-- but there are better ways to get there.  Ugh.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Picture Books Everywhere

Like seriously.  EVERYWHERE.

Newish ones we've received for review are as follows.

Good Night, Baby Animals, You've Had a Busy Day
by Karen B Winnick
A picture book of short stories featuring tigers, elephants, pandas, etc.
Personally the text didn't do anything for me, but MeiMei enjoyed it (though it's baby animals, so it would have to be REALLY bad for MeiMei to not like it, lol) and really since she's more the target audience we'll go with it.

The Big Adventures of Tiny House 
by Susan Schaefer Bernardo
A cute story of a tiny house on wheels who travels the country and meets other interesting vehicular housing units.  Good choice for preschoolish kids who like vehicles or are weirdly in to tiny houses.

Sonya Sahni and the First Grade It's International Day!
by Soma Mandal
Sigh.  Formatting issues.... editing/typo issues.... and a truly poor choice in rhyming scheme/style.  It drove both my husband and me crazy.
BUT MeiMei liked it.  And since she's the target demographic (ish... she's in 2nd grade), she's maybe the better judge.
(Older elementary kids are probably not going to embrace it as well.... Mister was not a fan... on any level.)
It is a good message, and I could see it being a good resource in a classroom.  Maybe to springboard an international day activity.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison

(Tyme #1)
5 stars
YF- emotionally complex, so maybe err on the side of older elementary


That. Was. So. Weird.

(Seriously... I know I said Woman in the Wall was weird [it totally was] and Big Bad Fox.... but dang.)

But.  Weird does not equal bad.

And I couldn't actually find a reason not to give it 5 stars.

It is seriously emotionally complex... in a Stockholm Syndrome "dang people need therapy" kind of a way... but it's so well handled in the text.

(It's actually totally got a Star Wars arc going on-- naive hero, brooding bad guy, "maybe there is some good in you after all"....)

I'm shocked and impressed that this is a debut novel.

This is a retelling of Rapunzel, but it's not like any other retelling you've read.

(At least it's not like any I've read... if you find that it IS like one you've read, give me that title.)

Overall.  Read it.