Smoke

It took me a very long time to read Smoke because of the holidays and this darn flu that won’t go away. I almost want to read it again because I’m pretty sure there were some sections that just didn’t “stick” because I was distracted or unwell.

I liked it. I liked it a lot. But, there were a lot of moving pieces and there was a lot of missing info about the Smoke itself both of which caused me to feel a little frustrated by the ending.

And, as I was grabbing a link to throw in here, I realized that some people are calling this YA but… I’m not sure it was intended to be YA. Hmmm. YA is weird that way, ya know?

Talking as Fast as I Can

I actually bought Lauren Graham’s audiobook version of Talking as Fast as I can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls because Gilmore Girls and because Lauren Graham!

It’s a really short audiobook and there’s not a lot of “substance” here but it was fun and it made me unreasonably happy to listen to it during all of our trips to/from the airport after Christmas and it was especially nice to listen to something I loved while I was really, really sick.

One problem, though. She refers often to “photos” included in the book and of course we were in the car listening and had no photos. This is always annoying about audiobooks and I commented on that. Then, I realized after we finished that there is supposed to be a PDF included that has all of the photos. Err, umm, oops? I suspect I threw it away just thinking it was a random piece of paper. Gah. So annoying.

I think I’ll buzz all of the kids and ask them if they want to listen to it — they can make a round robin of it and pass it to all of their siblings.

Related: Didn’t you think the ending was more of a cliffhanger than an ending? Didn’t you????

Life of the Party

Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire was excellent but it pissed me the hell off. If Earl Tupper was still alive, I’d take my ass down to Costa Rica and tell him off.

Dumb ass.

(It also made me think about Tupperware and home party sales people and stuff a lot more than I expected it too, lol. I might have also, almost, considered having a Tupperware party.)

I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual

I finally made time to sit down with Luvvie’s Im Judging You: The Do Better manual. As expected, Luvvie nailed it all. This is shit some of y’all don’t know and SHOULD know. You should just go ahead and read it right now. And give a copy to your family members who should know better and don’t.

You should also follow Luvvie on FB and Twitter. Immediately.

Small Great Things

Damn Jodi Picoult (in a good way.)

If you’re not generally a fan or you used to be a fan but got tired of the formulaic stories, characters and writing … you need to read Small Great Things — particularly if you are WHITE. Particularly right now with P45 choosing White Supremacists for his team. (Have a clueless WHITE mom or sister or friend who loves to read? Buy her this book for Christmas… just sayin’.)

This is not a perfect book. It’s still formulaic. It’s still got everything a Jodi Picoult novel has, that you may not love or may be tired of, but it is a must read RIGHT NOW. (And, do yourself a favor and follow her on Twitter, as well. She’s done a very good job of speaking up and speaking out. I respect that and appreciate it.)

The Fog Diver

My expectations for The Fog Diver were low. Another post-apocalyptic/middlegrade/ya/adventure book. Ho hum? OK not ho hum, because I LIKE this genre but still… turns out, this was one of the better ones.

Really clever cultural references gone wrong, gone very very wrong. Likable characters. A plot that moved fairly quickly. Mostly it was the cultural references that got me.

***

Off-topic but not really: I’m considering not doing the Cybils Challenge next year. Or ever again. It’s not that I don’t love these books, I do. But, so many of them are series’ books and I just can’t keep up with the series’ while also reading a bunch of newly introduced series. When I try, I find myself reading nothing but YA and Middle Grade fiction/scifi/fantasy. I need to find some sort of balance. So… stay tuned, this may be the last full shortlist challenge I attempt. Figures, since odds are high that I’m not going to successfully complete it, for the first time – ever.

Four Graphic Novels

Lion of Rora was the graphic novel that I expected to like the least. Turns out, it was pretty darn good. Well drawn and well written.

I also really enjoyed Secret Coders #1 but was so annoyed when it ended. I understand cliffhangers but geez, really? You couldn’t give us just a tiny bit more??? Oy. (Also, those birds are kind of creepy.)

Ms Marvel was excellent, as expected.

And, the big winner for me was The Marvels. This was really well done. All graphic novel in the beginning and then text at the end. Beautiful. Also, sad.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Again, we were in need of an audiobook and I had to just pick one from the shelf. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B was an excellent choice.

POOR Adam! Also, what a great kid. All of the characters were well written but Adam especially so. I’m not sure whether the author has written anything else but you can bet I’ll be checking. I really enjoyed this story.

Miss Cayley’s Adventures

I couldn’t resist checking out Miss Cayley’s Adventures when I saw it on the library shelf last week (or was it the week before?) Written in the late 1800s and features one of the first female detectives. This is right up my alley, right?

And, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Lois was smart and daring and (gasp!) and adventuress!

7 Cybil Picture Books

I reserved these with the intention of reading at least some of them to JMP and SquishyFace when they were here and… I didn’t read them a single book. Not one. Gasp. What is the world coming too? Boo!

Oh well, some of them were really really great and they were all good.

My favorites:

Mango, Abuela, and Me – loved it. Such a great story. I’ll read this to the boys, some day.
Last Stop on Market Street – perfection.
Sidwalk Flowers – awwwww. How cute was that?

Really liked these:

Blizzard – though I wouldn’t want to give JMP any ideas about heading out for food after a blizzard, lol.
Bug in a Vacuum – hah. Totally amusing.
In a Village By the Sea – I loved the illustrations.

Good ones:

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise – loved the illustrations, the story not quite as much.