#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.

When the Moon Was Ours

Well… When the Moon Was Ours is beautifully written. I appreciated the transgender characters and the Latinx influences.

The mystical realism genre just isn’t my thing, sometimes — particularly when there’s not a lot of plot to keep the story moving.

Beautifully written mystical realism needs a good plot — this one didn’t have the plot.

Off the Page

Awhile back, I was just wandering around the teen room in the library and noticed the sequel to Between the Lines (the book Jodi Picoult wrote with her daughter a few years ago.) I remembered thinking the first book was ok, and I needed some light and easy reads, so I grabbed Off the Page.

It was a light and easy read. It wasn’t great. I was compelled to keep reading to see how they solved the problem(s) that arose from characters jumping out, others jumping in, and some not where they want/need to be. I didn’t think there was a decent resolution to any of their situations and I pretty much hated the end. Though I shouldn’t because there is no decent resolution. Someone’s always going to be where they don’t want to be or where they shouldn’t be while some of the others have their “happily ever after” ending. Whatever. I’m not reading another, if there is another.

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!

The Voyage to Magical North

Another middle grade fantasy Cybil, The Voyage to Magical North was ok. I wanted to really love it but didn’t particularly like any of the characters until the end of the book.

Maybe I don’t love pirates? Or maybe I don’t love pirate satire for kids? I don’t know, this one just didn’t do it for me. (If you read the next book in the series, I’d love to know why Brine sneezes(d) around magic.)

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?

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?

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.)

The Mountain of Kept Memory

TW told me to read The Mountain of Kept Memory, so I did. Or I started to. It was really slow and I was having a hard time sticking with it and then… the book disappeared. I have no idea where it went. So, I read another book while I wandered around the house looking for it. Right about the time I was finishing The Two Family House, this book re-appeared on the library cart. NO idea what happened. The Keiba probably messed with it.

Anyway. This book… I slogged my way through it and it wasn’t until about 300 pages in that I decided it was pretty good. I still had to slog through it (SO MANY EXTRA WORDS! How many times must one Princess say the same damn thing in one damn paragraph? Really?) There’s still another evil guy to deal with and her brother’s ummm transition (not that kind of transition) to deal with so maybe a sequel? If so, I’m not sure I’ll read it. So much slogging. Maybe I could just read a thorough spoilery review instead.

A Shade of Vampire

I stumbled into A Shade of Vampire because I was looking for another series written by this author and realized that there seems to be some sort of “cultish” following of this series so I thought, what the heck… while I’m waiting for the book I really want (that has four holds ahead of me) I’ll grab the first book in this vampire series and see what the fuss is.

The fuss is that it’s exactly the kind of vampire series a Twilight lover would enjoy. Meaning, I ENJOYED IT. I don’t care who rolls their eyes (TW) and judges me for it. I absolutely enjoyed it and I’d read another (though I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t read all 40+ books that may or may not be in this series.)

PS… it looks like this sucker is self-published, too? Or pay to publish? I don’t know but I’m fascinated by the following and the lack of a big name publisher. The power of the internet is at work here. It just is. (Yea, I’m going to go reserve the second book in the series, now. Judge away. I DON’T CARE! lol)