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)

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?

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.)

A School for Unusual Girls

TW said I should read A School for Unusual Girls because it was like a YA Pink Carnation book. She’s right, it is like that. It’s also like a non-steampunk Gail Carriger Finishing School book.

Obviously I enjoyed it.

Totally fun and the next book in the series is waiting for us at the library.

The Lotterys Plus One

I’m not sure what I expected from a children’s book written by Emma Donoghue but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t The Lotterys Plus One. Oh sure, I expected an LGBTQ family but this family? Not so much, lol.

There are FOUR parents, a lesbian couple and a gay couple. They have quirky names like PopCorn and CardaMom. The kids are all named after trees, except for Briar… she changed her name to Brian, and while she is adamant about NOT being a GIRl, she’s also not saying she’s a BOY. Gender is hard, or really simple — take your pick, both are true.

Besides the fact that there are eight zillion people in this book, all with quirky names, and you have to try to keep track of who is who you also have to deal with the fact that the family has weird names for EVERYTHING. Family meetings are called “fleetings,” the back porch of the house is called the “derriere,” the extra bedroom is called “spare oom,” something isn’t excellent, it’s egg salad… this is all a little overwheling. It’s fun, but on top of the all of the weird family names, it’s messy.

In fact everything about this book is messy, which is why you should absolutely read it.

The family is super messy and quirky and I kind of love them, even if I could do without the weird/cutesy names. The children came to the family in a variety of ways and have a variety of ethnicity, personalities, (and some issues.) Some were biological to some of the parents. One has what’s probably ADHD, one is a shaken baby.

And then there’s the grandfather… the one who has messy problems of his own, the least of which is that he’s an old white conservative dude from a small town in Canada and he things families should be made up of one man, one woman, and hopefully the same race/ethnicity. He also thinks people should behave in more traditional ways. And, there’s more… he is the plus one in this story, and he is what drives the plot line.

Donoghue throws a lot into this one tiny book and in the end, I loved it. I could do with fewer odd names/language choices but I get it. The family is quirky. I’ll take them as they are (and TW says there are or will be more books, so I’ll read them.)

Tuesday Night Miracles

Awhile back, TW asked me to name some books about women’s journeys — where they go on a trip and find themselves or learn some lesson or bond with other women and I immediately said Kris Radish has written a lot of those books, hasn’t she? Which led me to see if she’s written any books we haven’t read (since we haven’t read any of her books in years, I figured it was likely) and whether any of her books were available in large print for TW’s mom because I wasn’t sure she’d read them…

Which is how Tuesday Night Miracles made it onto our shelf.

Typical Radish — women facing huge issues come together and get their lives together, mostly. It was a nice book to read in between some of the longer or more complex things on my shelf.