Friday, May 25, 2018

The Cat Who Went to Heaven

The Cat Who Went to HeavenGoodreads Synopsis:    In ancient Japan, a struggling artist is angered when his housekeeper brings home a tiny white cat he can barely afford to feed. But when the village's head priest commissions a painting of the Buddha for a healthy sum, the artist softens toward the animal he believes has brought him luck. 

According to legend, the proud and haughty cat was denied the Buddha's blessing for refusing to accept his teachings and pay him homage. So when the artist, moved by compassion for his pet, includes the cat in his painting, the priest rejects the work and decrees that it must be destroyed. It seems the artist's life is ruined as well -- until he is rewarded for his act of love by a Buddhist miracle. 

This timeless fable has been a classic since its first publication in 1930, and this beautifully reillustrated edition brings the magic and wonder of the tale to a new generation of readers.

My Thoughts:

-    The title of this book should have been The Artist Paints with His Imagination. There is a cat, and it has a decent role in the book, but most of the story is about this artist imagining he is different animals.

-    The cat's story is odd yet tender. I was happy and sad for the cat in the end.

-    The book is really short, so that was nice. I hope there are more short Newbery winners.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Leia: Princess of Alderaan


Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the thrown of Alderaan. She's taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren't acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents' secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice; dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan--including the make she loves--or the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.

My Thoughts:

-    I didn't feel like the author captured Leia's character. When you write an iconic character like Leia, you need to nail her personality. 

-    The story was really slow. Leia was supposed to be proving herself worthy to be princess, but she spent a lot of time hiking with friends. 

-    I didn't like that Leia's parents were keeping the rebellion a secret from her. She is perfectly capable of handling the truth. I was so bugged, and I didn't feel like it was in Bail's character to hide that from Leia. 

-    I wish the story had covered more of the early days of the rebellion and Leia's role in that. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance

Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance (Ivy and Bean, #6)Goodreads Synopsis:    Finally! After begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want...well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not include karate chops and roundhouse kicks to the villain's heart. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises.

My Thoughts:

-    This book was pretty funny. I love that Ivy and Bean wanted to take ballet because they read about a gruesome scene from a ballet. Ha!

-    It was funny to read about Ivy and Bean trying to get locked in the aquarium too. They have some fun shenanigans. 

-    I can't believe Gnome and I are still reading these. I think I need a break though. 

Previous Books

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Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (Ivy and Bean, #4) Ivy and Bean: Bound to be Bad (Ivy and Bean, #5)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Deep Dark Fears and The Creeps

Deep Dark FearsGoodreads Synopsis:    A charmingly creepy collection of 100 illustrated comics based on idiosyncratic and universal "deep dark fears."

We all have weird fears, from getting sliced to ribbons in subway station revolving gate to getting turned around by the wind while swimming and going too far out to sea. Based on the wildly popular eponymous Tumblr, Deep Dark Fears explores our odd, creepy, and hilariously singular fears. Animator, illustrator, and cartoonist Fran Krause brings these fears to life in vividly illustrated comics based on real fears submitted by readers (plus a few of his own). These "deep dark fears" run the gamut from unlikely but plausible to completely ridiculous, highlighting both our deeply human similarities and our peculiar uniquenesses.

The CreepsFrom Goodreads:    Illustrator, animator, teacher, and comic artist Fran Krause has touched a collective nerve with his wildly popular web comic series–and subsequent New York Times best-selling book–Deep Dark Fears. Here he brings readers more of the creepy, funny, and idiosyncratic fears they love illustrated in comic form-–such as the fear that your pets will tell other animals all your embarrassing secrets, or that someone uses your house while you’re not home-–as well as two longer comic short-stories about ghosts.

My Thoughts:

-    Both books are full of irrational fears people sent to the author.

-    A lot of the fears were so outlandish that they were hilarious, but some of the fears were pretty dumb. When I say dumb, I mean there is NO possible way that could EVER happen dumb.

-    Both books were fun quick reads, and they were perfect for the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.

Monday, May 21, 2018



Minos thought he could
Pull a fast one
On me,
God of the Sea!
But I’m the last one
On whom you
Should try such a thing.
The nerve of that guy.
The balls. The audacity.
I got capacity!
Depths! Darkness! Delphic power!
So his sweet little plan
Went big-time sour
And his wife had a son
Born with horns and a muzzle
Who ended up
In an underground puzzle.
What is it with you mortals?
You just can’t seem to learn:
If you play with fire, babies,
You’re gonna get burned.

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, the New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers reevaluating one of mythology's most infamous monsters.

My Thoughts:

-    This was the classic tale of Theseus and the Minotaur, but it was SO hilarious! I laughed out loud several times.

-    The characters, especially Poseidon, speak a little more modernly than you would expect, which just adds to the humor.

-    Poseidon was my favorite! He is hilarious in this book!

-    I really liked how the words turned into art.

-    I didn't feel jipped from this book in verse. It has everything. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

Hitty, Her First Hundred YearsFrom Goodreads:    Hitty is a doll of great charm and character. It is indeed a privilege to publish her memoirs, which, besides being full of the most thrilling adventures on land and sea, also reveal her delightful personality. One glance at her portrait will show that she is no ordinary doll. Hitty, or Mehitable as she was really named, was made in the early 1800s for Phoebe Preble, a little girl from Maine. Young Phoebe was very proud of her beautiful doll and took her everywhere, even on a long sailing trip in a whaler. This is the story of Hitty's years with Phoebe, and the many that follow in the life of a well-loved doll.

My Thoughts:

-    I actually liked this Newbery Award winner. It was slow at times, but I liked Hitty and most of her adventures.

-    I really liked Hitty's down to earth personality. She was just happy to be around. She didn't mind who played with her or admired her as long as she had an owner who took care of her.

-    Hitty was the luckiest doll EVER! I can't believe she survived some of her adventures, especially being tossed into the ocean.

-    I liked most of the people that Hitty encountered. Each person was interesting in their own way.

-    Not bad for a 1920s book! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

By Your Side

By Your SideGoodreads Synopsis:    When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

My Thoughts:

-    This book pleasantly surprised me. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.

-    When I heard the library in this story was patterned after my own library, I knew I was going to read it. I love my library!

-    I thought the characters were going to spend the whole book in the library, but I was happy that they didn't, and I got to read about the aftermath stuff.

-    I liked that this wasn't just a romance. Dax and Autumn had issues to deal with. I like that Autumn was sensitive about her anxiety. A lot of people are scared to be open. 

-    I liked the characters, and there was great character development.

-    There were some eh moments, and there were some eye rolling moments, but overall it was a fun fluff book. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ivy and Bean Bound to Be Bad

Ivy and Bean: Bound to be Bad (Ivy and Bean, #5)From Goodreads:    The adventures of Ivy and Bean continue in the latest installment from series creators Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall. In Ivy and Bean Bound to Be Bad the two girls decide to be so good and kind and pure of thought that wild animals will befriend them. When this doesn't work, they decide that perhaps a little badness can be good.

My Thoughts:

-    When I was little, I wanted animals to be my friends just like in Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Sadly, I could never get a bird to land on my finger. I think it is hilarious that Ivy and Bean try to get animals to flock to them by being extra good.

-    I love when Bean decides she wants to be bad instead of good. She does some funny things. 

-    Can you believe Gnome and I have read 5 of these!? The series really grows on you. 

-    Gnome and I both enjoyed this. I think Gnome enjoys these more than me, but I think they are cute and true to life. 

Previous Books

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Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (Ivy and Bean, #4)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon

Gay-Neck: The Story of a PigeonFrom Goodreads:    Writing out of his own experience as a boy in India, Dhan Gopal Mukerji tells how Gay-Neck's master sent his prized pigeon to serve in World War I, and of how, because of his exceptional training and his brave heart, Gay-Neck served his new masters heroically. Winner of the 1928 Newbery Medal.

My Thoughts:

-    There were some interesting moments, but mostly I was really bored. 

-    When the pigeon would tell the story, it was kinda weird. I didn't like that the perspectives would change. 

-    These books from the 1920s are slow going. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

All's Faire in Middle School

33517044Goodreads Synopsis:    The author of Roller Girl is back with a graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she's eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she'll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind--she'll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it's not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don't) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family's unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

My Thoughts:

-    This was such a great book! This is a must read for Telgemeier fans and Roller Girl fans.

-    I loved how much I related to Imogene. I've never been a part of a Renaissance Faire, but I've lived through middle school, and it is an awkward time of life. 

-    I loved Impy's struggles and character development. She makes not-so-good choices, and has to fix them and recover from the consequences. 

-    I really enjoyed all the side characters as well, especially the Faire people. 

-    I think this book has something for everyone. I loved it!