The Unofficial Guide to Disney World

I finally finished The Unofficial Guide to Disney World it took many, many weeks — because this is a MONSTER book, (864 pages.) OK, fine. I didn’t read the part about sports at WDW and I just skimmed the section on Universal rides because I am not going to Universal any time soon and when I decide to go, I will read the Unofficial Guide to Universal… or join the Universal Touring Plans site… but I read every other word in the book.

I was pleased with just how much I already knew and how often I was able to say “oops, that’s not true anymore.” Which brings me to the only problem with this book. Because so many things at WDW don’t really change from year to year, some of the content in the book is identical to the content from the year before. That’s fine, it makes sense to not reinvent the wheel. However, there were some bits of info that weren’t accurate and hadn’t been accurate since what feels like before the book went to the publisher. I can’t remember what those things are but there were definitely two or three times when I said, wow – that’s not just a little outdated, it is really outdated.

I definitely recommend the book. And, then join Touring Plans and the Lines app. (Now I’m moving on to read the version for families taking children to WDW. lol)

The Hate U Give

I put The Hate U Give on my TBR list ages and ages ago. I reserved it at the library and then put the reservation on hold because I was traveling a lot and knew I wouldn’t be able to read it while traveling. I reactivated the hold and then completely cancelled it because you’ve seen my monthly reading counts – they’re abysmal! I knew I’d need a lot more time and energy to read this than I’ve had for most of the year.

So, September it was. Not an ideal month for this book but I really, really wanted to read it and I was tired of putting it off. I’m so glad I finally read it.

It was just as good as you’ve heard it was. Just as painful. Just as anger-inducing. Everyone should read this. Everyone should talk about it.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Two Middle Grade Cybils

Look at me reading all of the Cybils. (Well not all of them, obviously.) These two were good!

I started off kind of grouchy because the main characters in The Evil Wizard Smallbone are all male. All of them. Oh sure, we have a few solid female supporting characters (four, I think) but, bah humbug. Women and girls can be “evil wizards,” too. Whatever. The story was fun and I did like every single character, even if most of them were male. I loved the bookstore and the seals and wolves and the coyotes. Also loved the ending.

I loved everything about The Firefly Code except the ending — and that’s only because I am way too invested in these characters lives and I want to know what happens to them next! (The second book just came out but I can’t reserve it at my library yet and I’m grouchy about that.) This is the story of what happens when you start engineering your kids… the good, the bad, and the downright painful. Science is amazing. Technology is amazing. We can do a lot of good things with both — where you draw the line though, that’s the kicker, isn’t it?

A House for Happy Mothers

I have a love/hate with A House for Happy Mothers — I didn’t like most of the characters, which made it hard to enjoy the book. I liked the subject (outsourcing surrogacy to India) and thought the story covered a lot of ground rather than just skimming over the top of sensitive and difficult topics. And, you’ll never believe it, I liked the ending.

Hotel Ruby

I picked up Hotel Ruby when we wandered around the YA section of the library last month. The title and description sounded appealing — and I like horror but haven’t read a lot of it lately.

This wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible, either. I can’t decided if I liked the ending or not, at least it wasn’t an altogether happy ending. Heck, I’m not sure I liked the premise or not.

And, interestingly — it looks like this book got a new name in the paperback version, it’s Hotel for the Lost? (or maybe it’s a US vs Canadian version thing? I’m not sure but it’s interesting… the new name is possibly a better name for the book. I just hope people who read one version don’t buy the other version thinking it’s a sequel or a different book. I assumed it was a sequel at first.)

Run

Woot! A Cybil I loved, loved, LOVED. Run was excellent. Both Agnes and Bo felt like real people. I especially liked the ending — Agnes’s parents behaved true to character rather than tying things up in the perfect happily ever after. (And, I admit I might have shed a tear or two there towards the end.)

PS. Four books in the first four days of the month. How long has it been since I could say that?

Three YA! Yes, THREE!

Considering I read a whopping five books total in August, September is off to an amazing start! Three books down (all YA) and it’s 8amish on 9/4! How awesome is that? (And, today’s a holiday so I should be able to get some more reading in — even though we need to run into a city of some sort where there is a Lowes… anyway, back to the books…)

I read the next two books in the Stranje House series. (Refuge for Masterminds and Exile for Dreamers.) Both were just as good as the first one. Now, how long will it be before we get the next two books in the series?

After that, I read The One Memory of Flora Banks was difficult. I think it’s the mom part of me that read this and just shuddered all the way through it. I kept trying to figure out how I would parent a child who had no short-term memory. (I also wonder how kids feel about this story. I might have to go track down some kid reviews to find out.)

Reading in August

LOL Five. Five books. Total. Hahahahaha, sob.

1 Cybil! (Both the high point and low point in my month of reading.)
1 Audibook
1 YA
1 non-fiction

Five. Good grief. This is ridiculous.

The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of …etc.

I finally read a book from the Cybils shortlist! Can you believe it? We’re almost nine months into 2017 and I think it’s my first. Ugh. Oy. I miss YA, middle grade, and children’s fiction. Sigh.

Worse yet, I did not love The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice. In fact, I came close to saying I hated it. TW read it first and when I asked her how it was, she said it was “OK” but she made that face that means she didn’t/doesn’t like something. I see now why she felt that way.

I wanted to love it. It’s a CYBIL for goodness sake. I liked the kids, I liked the dragon and the goblin and even the ogre. The bad guys were well-written bad guys. But… the slavery storyline.

I understand why the author decided to write this (sort of) but I just kept picturing some middle school or late elementary school kid reading this and I do not think it was the right story. It certainly wasn’t the right ending. I mean do we really want to teach kids that the white powerful man only abolishes slavery because it won’t have any negative effect on his wallet or his kingdom because his kingdom doesn’t really have slaves anyway? (Yes, I know this is actually fairly true but the way it was told in the story actually celebrated the King’s decision without pointing out the problems with his decision. It’s a very shallow dive into this very complex issue.)

Also, the whole part of the story where the progressive white girl and the goblin (ugh) had to explain to the slave boy why slavery was bad and convince him (trick him?) into believing he shouldn’t be a slave boy. Really? We really need to perpetuate the idea that slaves liked being slaves and without the benevolent white folks dragging them out of slavery they’d still be there?

OK I didn’t mean to write all of this… clearly, since it’s a jumble. I could write more but I won’t because … whatever.

The adventure was fun. The kids, the dragon, the goblin, (and even the ogre) were fun. If you could strip out the underlying badly told aspects about slavery it would be a terrific book.

Beach House for Rent

We needed an audiobook so I grabbed Beach House for Rent because we always enjoy a book about a Charleston beach… this one was not our favorite. (But at least there weren’t a bunch of glaring inaccuracies about Sullivan’s Island/Isle of Palms, which happens quite a lot in books about my hometown.)