#FakeReadathon: 7 Books

Sharon and Chris joined us on Sunday for #FakeReadathon and it was fun. I also managed to finish seven books, which was also fun.

Happily Ever After: short stories about characters from The Selection series. It wasn’t bad, a lot of repeat of what happened in earlier books so the stories could be read as a stand-alone.

The Crown: The final book in the selection series. I’m glad it turned out the way I thought it would turn out.

There Is No Darkness: I finally finished this ebook that I started months (a year?) ago? I generally just read a chapter or two every time I traveled, while waiting for inflight wifi to kick in. Yesterday, I decided I was doing to finish it and I did. I don’t really love Science Fiction but I definitely enjoyed it. An interesting coming of age story. (Someone in an Amazon review said the Haldeman brothers wrote this in 1955, almost 20 years before Joe wrote The Forever War. I’m all… Wait, what!?! Goodness… Lorena wasn’t even born? Wait, what?!!! Is this true. Someone remind me to ask Lore about this.)

I checked four children’s picture books out of the library, two picture books and two board books (both Cybils), because I thought I might have a chance to read some new books to Pippin and Squshy when they were hear a couple of weeks ago. I also thought even if that didn’t happen, these might be books I would want to buy them for Christmas. Turns out… it was a mixed bag.

– Dinosaur Dance was boring. Unless your child really LOVES dinosaurs, in which case it’s still boring but your kid will still love it because dinosaurs.
– Look, Look Again was cute and interesting. It’s a fold out style book. The first page shows one… something (a mushroom, a strawberry, an apple, etc.) but when you fold out the connecting page, you see more than one something (and it’s actually a counting book.) Pretty cute. I liked it. I’d buy that.
– A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals. This book is troubling… if you buy it or check it out of the library, read it before you share it with your child. It might be fine, it might not be. Great illustrations but the “hungry lion” eats the cute animals… after the story tricks you into thinking that’s not what is going to happen, it wants you to believe the little animals have just created a surprise party for the hungry lion. Jokes on you because, yea, the hungry lion at the cute animals after all. Very troubling.
– Strictly No Elephants was a good story. Again, great illustrations and nobody gets eaten. The beginning is sad because the child with the pet elephant isn’t allowed to go to the club or party or whatever that the other kids with pets go to. But the child with the elephant meets a child with a skunk who also doesn’t have anyone to play with. They build their own club and make sure EVERYONE is welcome. Really nice story. I’d buy this.

The A to Z of You and Me

Such a sad book, The A to Z of You and Me but well worth reading. I was hooked from the letter A and pretty much didn’t put it down until I’d finished it.

The Weight of Zero

The Weight of Zero is on the YA Cybils shortlist and it’s good. It’s also probably very triggering for a lot of people. TW started reading it and before she got too far, she made me tell her whether Catherine dies or not…it’s a rough story. Definitely worth reading.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

I can’t believe how good Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus was. I picked it up because the cover was interesting and fun but I almost didn’t read it because I have a huge stack of Cybils that I knew I’d want to get through. TW read it first and said she really liked it, I see why.

A girl with no arms. A boy with Tourette. A fat boy. And, an old wild west style amusement park. Win win win win!

Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale is on the Cybils shortlist in the audiobook category — so we listened to it on audio and I loved every single thing about it. I chuckled at the 70s southern characters. Little Miss Central Florida Tire… baton twirling… hahaha.

But it wasn’t all amusing, either. The three girls had a lot to deal with and they did it together. LOVED IT.

The Velveteen Daughter

When I was little, The Velveteen Rabbit was one of my favorite stories so I had to pick up The Velveteen Daughter. HAD TO.

I didn’t know a darn thing about Margery Williams, except that she wrote a bunch of children’s books long before I was born. I didn’t know she had kids. Or, that her daughter was a child prodigy. Or any damn other thing about her. And while this book is primarily about her daughter, I learned a lot about Margery Williams. So interesting.

About her daughter, Pamela Bianco… what a heartbreaking story! (The book IS fiction but it’s based on news accounts and personal correspondence.)

Shades of London 1 & 2

Maureen Johnson is awesome and I really enjoyed the first and second books in the Shades of London series — though I do admit to being a little frustrated with Rory in the second book (The Madness Underneath.) TW particularly enjoyed Johnson’s descriptions of rain in London – spot on.

I just downloaded the free prequel, The Boy in the Smoke and I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the series. UPDATED 10/28: I read The Boy in the Smoke prequel. It was excellent!

Salt to the Sea

We listened to Salt to the Sea (a YA Cybil) on audio and it took awhile. It’s tough to listen to this kind of book on audio – the subject matter is SO depressing and it’s not really something you are dying to listen to while driving to/from Walt Disney World, ya know?

It was well-written, good character choices and development, good ending (you know what I mean, since there really aren’t good endings to WWII historical fiction), and it’s definitely worth reading.

TW says it’s going to be a movie. I hope they do the book justice and don’t turn it into a WWII version of Titanic. I really hope they don’t do that. Maybe you should read the book before the movie comes out, just in case.

Shadow Magic and Dream Magic

Shadow Magic is the Cybil, Dream Magic is the sequel. We read them back to back and very quickly. We’d have read another if there was one.

At first, I thought this was going to be just another middle grade fantasy with female characters in the supporting role — turns out, that’s not the case at all. (Though there are more male characters than female, obviously. Because magic is against the law for women and men are the adventurers, etc.)

Good series, the giant bat is cool and so is the troll (I wonder if she’ll be in the next book or if she’s going home. I hope she sticks around.) I’m not a huge fan of the zombies but you can’t have everything, can you?

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)