Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Sunday Post - 2019 Week 29

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
and is a chance to share news, both new and old!

Hey there, bloggers!

Last week was extra busy for me. Between everything going on, birthdays, family visits, and remembering those I've lost, this month has been so overwhelming. We ended up taking a few day-cation adventures to take my mind off of things.  It was a bit more than usual so I don't even have time to tell you all about it but we did have a great time!

But I did realize there's no way I can keep up with The Sunday Post weekly! My weeks seem to fly by now and I'm lucky to get my reviews in so I'm going to try to make this an every other week post unless I have a lot of extra time on my hands!

Oh, it's too early. I need coffee.
Have a great day!

Currently Reading:

I'm currently reading too many books! Teeth in the Mist is a big book so I've been taking Down Among the Sticks and Bones with me on road trips, etc. where I can read a few pages at a time. I've been reading Hocus Pocus as an ebook at night and am almost done reading The Space Between to my daughter.

Recently Finished:

I didn't get much reading done this past week and need to catch up now so my next Sunday post should be nice and full! I'll have my reviews for these two up asap!

Recently posted reviews:

I reviewed The Big Book of Monsters: The Creepiest Creatures from Classic Literature by Hal Johnson for Netgalley and reviewed an ARC of The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills which was a fantastic MG ghost story about grief and loss.

My daughter and I learned about birds we see in our own backyard in Bird Watch by Christie Matheson and learned all about being brave in I Will Be Fierce by Bea Birdsong.

I finally got my review of the young adult horror novel Wilder Girls by Rory Power up but I didn't love it. I also reviewed the picture book Look, It's Raining by Matthieu Pierloot for Netgalley.

I recently read and reviewed Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel because I couldn't find my paperback copy and I needed the motivation to read it before the adaptation is out. I also started the Wayward Children series, starting with Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire!

Currently Watching:

I finally got a chance to watch the new Pet Sematary and I actually really enjoyed it! The original was always my favorite King film and the remake was pretty good!

Have a great week! Happy reading!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Young Adult Book Review)

Every Heart A Doorway
by Seanan McGuire
(Wayward Children #1)
Published by Tor
on April 5, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 176 pages

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss Eleanor West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost. 

My Thoughts:
When Nancy arrives at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, she doesn't quite understand what everyone is hinting at with their talk of Nonsense and Logic, Wickedness and Virtue and wants nothing more than to return to the Halls of the Dead. She soon learns that she is in the right place. Each and every one of the people in this school have traveled through mysterious doors that have taken them to some other world and then spit them back out again.

Eleanor West, a world-traveler herself, created the Home for all of those that have returned from their worlds and don't quite fit in with reality anymore. But shortly after Nancy's arrival, students start turning up dead, and Nancy and her new friends must find out who it is before they too end up dead.

"For us, the places we went were home. We didn't care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn't have to pretend to be something we weren't. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world."

I loved the idea of children flitting off to their own little fantasy world through some magically appearing door. Like Narnia or Wonderland. But also darker worlds that resemble gothic literature as well.
Of course, this is all after the fact. The young adults in this school have already lived out their magical stories and are now mostly suffering through normal existence, still looking for their door and hoping that it will let them back in someday.

I loved the lgbt+ representation and explanations. There was also a certain level of feminism and snark in this book that I loved.

"This world is unforgiving and cruel to those it judges as even the slightest bit outside the norm."
What didn't I love?
How short the story is for one.
I wished there were more to it overall. Some of it was abrupt with things left unexplained.
It also seemed to whiplash from a fantastical magical realism story to a murder mystery that no one seemed all that serious about, even after it kept happening. And then it all wrapped up in a rush.
I felt like there should have been a reason that Nancy returned and was sent to this special school with people so similar to her right in the middle of a murderous plot, but it ended up feeling so random (nonsense) instead. Perhaps that was the point.

I really enjoyed this but I also wished there were more to it. It was intriguing enough to make me want to continue the series if only to get the rest of the story we are missing here!

Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? Should I continue the series?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer & Michael Moreci (Graphic Novel Review)

Artemis Fowl:
The Graphic Novel
by Eoin Colfer
Adapted by Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Published by Disney-Hyperion
on June 28, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Length: 128 pages
Ages: 9 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

In 2001, audiences first met and fell in love with a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind named Artemis Fowl. Since then, the eight-book series about his adventures has sold over twenty-five million copies throughout the world. To coincide with the major motion picture coming from the Walt Disney Studios in May 2020, here is an all-new graphic novel adaptation of the book with crisp, accessible storytelling and clear, cinematic perspectives. Readers of all ages can now follow the siege at Fowl Manor between Artemis and the fairies in action-packed, full-color panels.

My Thoughts:

Brilliant twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl acquires and translates a fairy's magical book and learns all the secrets he needs to get what he wants from the fairies. He captures one to fulfill his plan but the fairies won't give in so easily!

This was action-packed and illustrated well.
I felt like it was sort of a Lara Croft for boys with Artemis's wealthy upbringing and luxurious family estate. Likewise, Artemis is very intelligent and has all the latest technological gadgets and advancements as well as a highly-trained butler/housemade brother/sister combo to keep him safe and protected.

Also, I think this was the first time I've come across an anti-hero main character in middle-grade fiction. Artemis Fowl doesn't seem all that bad since he's the character we're supposed to be rooting for but his motives are purely selfish and materialistic and he's willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants.

I've been meaning to read the actual novel ever since I heard about the movie adaptation but, of course, my copy seems to have disappeared. I picked this up from the library to get the story in a quicker format since I'm running out of time to read everything on my TBR list this year. I do feel like I'm missing a bit of the story or back story with this adaptation but that just means I'm more likely to read the actual novel once I get my hands on it again! 


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Look, It's Raining! by Mathieu Pierloot (Picture Book Review)

I received a free ecopy of this picture book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Look, It's Raining!
Written by Mathieu Pierloot
Illustrated by Maria Dek
Published by Princeton Architectural Press
on September 17, 2019
Genre: Children's, Picture Book
Ages: 3 - 6 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

It's Sunday, and Camille, having finished her school work, is feeling a little bored. Her parents are busy with their own projects, so she puts on her raincoat and goes outside to play. Suddenly she hears the thunder roar, and shivers with excitement. She sticks out her tongue to catch raindrops. They taste like clouds. She notices a group of red ants zigzagging along a trail and asks "Where are you going?" The ants reply, "We're going to a show." Camille embarks on an adventure to discover what the show is about and the astounding beauty to be found by closely observing her surroundings. 

Our Thoughts:
It's a rainy day and Camille is bored. She's read all her books and organized her pencils by color. Her parents are busy so she puts on her raincoat and sneaks out to play. Outside in her garden, she marvels at the rain and the sea of green plants. Noticing many insects heading in one direction she asks where they are going and learns that there is to be a show so she follows along and ends up witnessing something magnificent! 

Look, It's Raining! reminds us of the joy of and wonder of a rainy day. Camille bravely sets out into the rain in search of excitement and finds so much of it her own backyard. From dew-drop covered plants to a wide array of insects and other critters that hang about in the garden. This book reminds us to explore, observe, and enjoy the great outdoors no matter the weather.

I enjoyed the message of this book but the illustrations and execution of the story leave a bit to be desired. The illustrations are a bit childish and disproportional but still colorful and detailed.

Monday, September 16, 2019

I Will Be Fierce by Bea Birdsong & Nidhi Chanani (Picture Book Review)

I Will Be Fierce!
Written by Bea Birdsong
Illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
Published by Roaring Brook Press
on April 23, 2019
Genre: Children's, Picture Book
Length: 40 pages
Ages: 3 - 6 years

It's a brand-new day, and a young girl decides to take on the world like a brave explorer heading off on an epic fairytale quest. From home to school and back again, our hero conquers the Mountain of Knowledge (the library), forges new bridges (friendships), and leads the victorious charge home on her steed (the school bus).

This story is a powerful declaration about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments. 

Our Thoughts:

This little girl begins her day with the affirmation that she will be fierce and continues that positive state of mind throughout her day as she conquers the trials set before her.

I Will Be Fierce is an inspiring and beautifully illustrated picture book about starting your day out right, having a positive mindset, conquering your fears, being yourself, standing up for others, and more. Every page is both a story and a positive message. This book will have you ready to be fierce and take on your own day.

My daughter and I loved the combination of adventurous fairy tale prose with the illustrated acts of simply getting ready for and going to school. She dons her armor (a rainbow sweater) and fills her treasure chest (a backpack) and goes forth into the world to face the monsters of the day (big kids and the noisy bus). 

I especially love that the little girl charted her own course straight to the library as soon as she got to school to 'climb the Mountain of Knowledge' and 'trick the Guardian of Wisdom into revealing her secrets to solve the mysteries of the unknown'.


Friday, September 13, 2019

Wilder Girls by Rory Power (Young Adult Book Review)

Wilder Girls
by Rory Power
Published by Delacorte Press
on July 9, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Length: 353 pages
Ages: 14 - 17 years

It's been eighteen months since Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her. 

It started slow. First, the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. 

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true. 

My Thoughts:
I had originally seen this book compared to The Lord of the Flies by William Golding 'but with girls' and that's what drew me in. It ended up being much more comparable to The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, which was a surprising horror-like twist so I'm surprised I didn't love this more.

I did love the premise that all these high school girls were quarantined in their private boarding school on an island off the coast of Maine thanks to a naturally occurring toxin that affects them all differently, making them all sick and killing some while maiming others. Some end up with invisible ailments while others grow visible gills or scales and end up like some version of a horror movie monster. 

The story really fell flat for me after that. I ended up scanning the rest of the book and that's something I really never do. I lost interest but scanned to continue the story and find out what happened because I had high hopes.

It had a very dystopian/post-apocalyptic feel with a twisted horror element and a bit of lgbt+ love mixed in. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Bird Watch by Christie Matheson (Picture Book Review)

Bird Watch
by Christie Matheson
Published by Greenwillow Books
on February 26, 2019
Genre: Children's, Picture Book, 
Length: 48 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Count backward from ten as you search for hidden birds in this seek-and-find picture book. Delicate artwork, a focus on counting, and an engaging treasure hunt will entice fans of Bill Martin Jr's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Steve Light's Have You Seen My Dragon?

With different species of birds and other forest animals hiding in the trees and bushes, there is something new to discover on every page. Patience is rewarded as readers learn to count backward from ten, meet new birds, and learn about the diverse ecosystem of the forest. Beautiful watercolor art, a playful counting text, and a search-and-find theme will inspire children and parents to return to Bird Watch again and again.

Our Thoughts:

Bird Watch is a fantastic picture book that teaches you about ten beautiful birds you may encounter in your very own yard! You just have to slow down and take the time to look! 

We countdown from ten as we are introduced to ten lovely birds, from the itty bitty chickadee to the great owl, and must find them hidden among the plants and trees. There are a few insects to find as well! 

The watercolor illustrations are beautiful and make this fun look-and-find extra life-like. Could you spot all ten black-capped chickadees in the blackberry bushes and in the trees? Most of the birds blend easily into their natural surroundings which makes this a nice little challenge but it wasn't too difficult for my four-year-old. 

There's also educational information at the end of the book about bird-watching - or 'birding' - and extra information about the ten birds it features!