Friday, September 2, 2016

August Reads

Holy moly, I read a lot in August! About half and half graphic novels and novel-novels. In the interest of not writing a million words, I'll keep it short and sweet.

Of Neptune (Anna Banks)- The final book in the mermaid trilogy I talked about reading last month. It was pretty meh. It got very Twilight-y for me, which doesn't ALWAYS have to be bad, but the love triangle and the very controlling boyfriend and the teen angst sexual tension felt boring. Overall I thought it was a pretty meh ending. Seemed too easy and tidy to me. The conflict between characters just kind of magically disappeared instead of actually being resolved. There was some good action though and some more interesting mermaid mythology woven in there.

Little Robot (Ben Hatke)- This is a graphic novel composed of illustrations and not text. It is adorable and wonder-filled and the kid body language is spot on. Every little kid that likes pictures books will love this book. Kittens, a feisty little girl and robots?! Yes please.

The Paper Magician (Charlie N. Holmberg)- This book is set in an alternate universe England where magic exists and the magically inclined can choose to bond with one material and master it. Ceony, a young magic school graduate, is forced into Paper Folding, a dying magical art, but discovers that it's actually quite marvelous. And then of course all hell breaks loose. I really really enjoyed this book! I thought the characters were lovely and the relationships they built were interesting and it was such a new plot idea to me! Material magics. Magicking paper or metal or glass or plastic or whatever the case maybe be. The back story was so intricate and thought out and displayed for the reader in really interesting and beautiful ways.

Mouse Guard Fall 1152 (Daved Petersen)- This graphic novel kind of read as a little Red Wall-ish to me. But I guess any sort of book about warrior rodents might. It was a beautiful book. Drawn lavishly. Bright pages. Lovely to look at. The story felt a little underdeveloped for a fantasy story but there is something to be said for simplicity. It's marketed (or at least my library had it so) for 8+ but I'm not sure I'd let my particular 8 year old read this. Maybe 10+. There are some deaths and I know my kid would be pretty upset by that.

Zita the Spacegirl (Ben Hatke)- Another Hatke graphic novel. And actually, to save myself some time, I'm going to go ahead and talk about the entire trilogy here in this one space instead of making 3 separate entries. A little girl gets transported through time and space and winds up somewhere nutso out in the universe and makes a bunch of neat friends and these are all the stories of her adventures. A great female hero and really interesting side characters make for such a good book. The illustrations are beautiful and bright and attention grabbing, the story lines are perfect for children and it only gets better as the series progresses. Plus it's also an online comic so you can keep up with Zita after the books are done! Hatke is a genius. Highly recommend his graphic novels for all kiddos.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Chris Grabenstein)- The gist is this- a highly eccentric bajillionaire builds a library in a town that hasn't had one for 12 years. Before the library is opened to the public a bunch of 12 year olds are given the opportunity to sleep over but when they wake up they realize that a game is afoot. If they can figure out how to escape the library using library resources they will win big! I really wanted to love this book. It had good moments. My main problem with it was that the characters were SO one dimensional. They fell flat. I didn't really care about any of them or care who won the game. The best thing to be said for this book is that it is absolutely overflowing with a love of books and libraries, and that's wonderful! It's very much a Willy Wonka like feeling but for books instead of candy.

Trigger Warning (Neil Gaiman)- Continuing my reading of all things Gaiman, I ordered this book of short stories after reading a story from the collection in my book store. Most of the tales are quite spooky. I really enjoyed it so much. I liked that in the front of the book he explained the inspiration behind each story so you can get some behind the scenes of writing the book. The stories were all really great and if you are a lover of BBC shows it has some fun surprises for you in delightful Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes tales.

 The Glass Magician (Charlie N. Holmberg)- This is the 2nd novel in the Paper Magician trilogy and it was thrilling. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading this book. I say again, such an imaginative and interesting idea to have these different magicians all bonded to a material and that is their field of study and magic. The characters are sweeping and the romance isn't overpowering to the story and is really very sweet and the tale itself is scary and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Cleopatra In Space (Mike Maihack)- A young Cleopatra is transported thousands of years into a future where she is meant to be the savior of a universe. The first book is all about her first few months of school and her first mission. I can see where it would be really thrilling for kids, and indeed my own children have been reading it and really enjoy it. The illustrations are great and kind of old school comic feeling. Again, it's so nice to have another fun, fast paced, adventurous graphic novel with a great female protagonist.

The World Will Follow Joy (Alice Walker)- Last but not least, a collection of poems by the gifted and beauty-filled Alice Walker. There were quite a few that stood out to me in a personal way (namely When You See Water and My Desire) and they have stayed with me since I read it.

Upward and onward to September and maybe even some Fall weather to look forward to! I'm looking for some spooky Halloween reads to start later this month/early next month. If you have any suggestions for a good Halloween book, let me know! Happy reading.