Having just come off of finishing Lumberjanes #4, and knowing it's at least another month until the next Jem and the Holograms is available, I found mHaving just come off of finishing Lumberjanes #4, and knowing it's at least another month until the next Jem and the Holograms is available, I found myself in desperate need of an uber-adorable, uber-fun, and uber-colorful graphic novel to read while on break. I thought I was out of luck. That I'd just have to suffer through my cravings and, maybe, I'd eventually forget about Ripley and Mel and Jo and Kimber and Stormer and Pizazz and all my favorite characters.
What's a librarian in need of a good book to do?
Then fate smiled upon the OPL Teen Area and My Little Pony Friends Forever, V. 1 crossed my desk. And I thought: "Hmmmm... Well, it's something. It'll get me by." Right?
Even better than just mearly "something to get me through" until the next issue of Lumberjanes or Jem (or even Giant Days or Archie), My Little Pony Friends Forever turned out to be exactly the thing my literary palate was craving! Exactly!
Here we have cute.
We have color.
We have fun.
We have friendship to the max (wait...wrong series).
We have the sort of weird humor I like! Btw: loved the pop-culture references to old-school Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pinkie and the Brain (Anyone remember Pinkie and the Brain? Anyone? Bueller?), and The B-52s (the band, not the aircraft). To name a few...
This first volume contains four pony adventures, each one as cute and fun and colorful as the next. But my favorite was Cutie Mark Crusaders & Discord. It's a completely spazzed-out explosion of action and randomness, but wraps up nicely (Let's do the "Super Feel-Good After School Special" ending).
Squee! It's too cute!
So cute I might explode!
I think that, maybe, I just might have found my next thing. Or, more accurately, something else to add to my list of "things." Even better, two more collections await me after I return this one to the New Book shelf.
You don't have to be a Pure Blood Wizard (or even a Half-Blood Wizard) to appreciate the magical magic of the world of Harry Potter. In fact, I know SYou don't have to be a Pure Blood Wizard (or even a Half-Blood Wizard) to appreciate the magical magic of the world of Harry Potter. In fact, I know Squibs and Muggles (non-magical people, in layman's terms) who are into it even more than the magical sort. Of course for magical people all that is commonplace.
But I digress...
Now you too can own items that, previously, could only be purchaed in Diagon Ally (or maybe even bartered for in the dark shadows of Knockturn Ally): A vial of Polyjuice Potion... A pet Nargle... A Monster Book of Monsters (fangs and all)... A mini Mirror of Erised... Even your very own Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's stone for those "across the pond"). How is this possible, you ask?
Crafting of course!
For the creative HP fangirls-and-boys out there, I present for your ultimate enjoyment: The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter. Sure to appeal to the crafter and Potter fan alike. And for the non-crfters among you: This is a fun read...even if you're just browsing.
As for me...I'm just super stoked that I can finally (Finally!) get that tie-dye shirt in my House Colors (green & silver*) that I've always wanted.
*BTW: That's Slytherin, NOT Michigan State (Sorry, Spartans...I know I maylooklike I'm flaunting green and white, but I'm not. No offence). ...more
I really had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it read like the script for a Lifetime "television for women" Movie of the Week. Perhaps one witI really had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it read like the script for a Lifetime "television for women" Movie of the Week. Perhaps one with cheesy/bad acting, a supporting role by a near-forgotten 1980s starlet (like that chick from Ferris Bueller's Day Off), and an accompanying review by Oprah.
I may have enjoyed it more if I'd actually liked Sammy, but most of the time she came across as snotty and pretentious. And her "lapses" felt a little too forced. Other characters were kept at arm's length, so I never connected with anyone.
My overall reaction went something like, "Meh-whatever..."...more
A highly influential bit of "cult classic" literature, a turtle named Don Quixote, and a near-stereotypical Good Girl who wants to know if there's morA highly influential bit of "cult classic" literature, a turtle named Don Quixote, and a near-stereotypical Good Girl who wants to know if there's more to life than being the Perfect Daughter/Perfect Student/Perfect Whatever. Sounds like a setup for a great story.
Like a quest for The Great Perhaps, mayhaps?
Oops. Wait...wrong book.
The basic storyline of Matthew Quick's Every Exquisite Thing bore a striking resemblance to that of John Green's debut novel, Looking for Alaska (which I liked, BTW). Here we have a Protagonist who goes with the flow, never sticks their neck out for any reason, and is maybe a little too sheltered. Here we have the Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl-or-Boy crush/love interest, who, at first, appears the very embodiment of everything the Protag wants to be: Outgoing free thinker who is full of life and isn't afraid to speak their mind and stand up to The Man.
Something of a relationship develops and the Protag's desire to rebel against the world is suddenly awakened. It's somewhat directionless, though (And, it seems, to me, said Protag is still being a follower. They're just following a different crowd).
From here, things slide downhill pretty quickly:
Friends and family are alienated.
Feelings are hurt.
Hearts are broken.
Bombs are dropped ("F" and otherwise)
There's a great abundance of angst and drama.
Before it's all said and done, the whole hot mess cumulates in tragedy. It's inevitable.
And the Protag eventually emerges a wiser, more mature person with a better life direction. One would hope.
No more spoilers, though.
John Green did this well. Very well. Like I said, I really liked Looking for Alaska. It was perhaps one of the few books I HAD to read (for a class assignment) that I actually enjoyed. Enough to re-read.
Matthew Quick with Every Exquisite Thing...not so much. I mean, it was a good story. It had depth. It had a lesson. The plot did NOT hinge on the outcome of a love triangle. But the whole thing felt like an echo of Deja Vu. And I couldn't help but feel like everything had been done before (and better).
Overall, I'd recommend Every Exquisite Thing as a read-alike for Looking For Alaska, but I'd guess that the reader won't like it as much. ...more
Not nearly as fan-fraking-tastic as Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love (but really, that one's pretty hard to live up to), but enjoyable and cute just thNot nearly as fan-fraking-tastic as Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love (but really, that one's pretty hard to live up to), but enjoyable and cute just the same. Sweet, light summer romance that's perfect to take to the beach...or on a road trip...or just to the lawn chair on your back deck.
An interesting concept, but would have worked better had the kids been 10 or 11 rather than 6. Couldn't suspend my belief to cover that these parentsAn interesting concept, but would have worked better had the kids been 10 or 11 rather than 6. Couldn't suspend my belief to cover that these parents just let their tots run amok in the woods at all hours of the day and night. Overall, of the weirdest things I ever read and, although the descriptions were gorgeous, it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. ...more
I heard this book compared with E.Lockhart's We Were Liars, a book I devoured in one sitting and raved about to just about anyone who would listen. II heard this book compared with E.Lockhart's We Were Liars, a book I devoured in one sitting and raved about to just about anyone who would listen. I guess, by now, I should know better than to listen to hype-ful comparisons to beloved books. About the only element the two books shared was an affluent main character with amnesia. With Malice held none of the mystery and magic and romance of We Were Liars. Instead, I just got mean girl drama...and lots of it. The way Jill regained her memory at the last moment ((view spoiler)[a dream (hide spoiler)]) felt almost too conveinient, and the ending wrapped up too neatly. As a result, I ended up not enjoying the book as much as I hoped I would. ...more
Transgender seems to be the "It" thing lately. It's the new Vampire (the kind that sparkles, of course). It's the new Dystopian thriller (the kind witTransgender seems to be the "It" thing lately. It's the new Vampire (the kind that sparkles, of course). It's the new Dystopian thriller (the kind with the badass female heroine). Left and right, it seems people are coming out and "transitioning" into their true gender. Everyone from famous people to the boy (girl?) next door. Like it's a fashion trend or something. Like skinny jeans.
Or so it seems.
In truth, I think what's really happening is, more and more, people are becoming aware that the transgender condition exists. And, more and more, I think, people are accepting it. What was once taboo is now becoming something that just IS. It's ok to talk about it. And that is totally cool. Sure, there's bad press and haters too, but you can find bad press and haters for anything, if you look hard enough. Believe it or not, there are people out there who even hate kittens (shocker!).
Lets focus on the positive:
Lately, I've read a couple excellent novels by trans authors that featured trans characters, so when Jazz Jennings' autobiography, Being Jazz: My Life As A Transgender Teen, crossed my literary path, I had to check it out. Having read lots of positive reviews about the book helped me want to read it all the more. And all those wonderful reviews... They only scratched the surface of how awesome this book really is.
Jazz, who began transitioning into a girl when she was still in Kindergarten, is a delightful young woman, and reading her first-person account about her journey to becoming herself was truly inspiring. I loved that Jazz's family was so supportive of her from day one. But what really struck me was Jazz's unshakable confidence in herself. She always knew exactly who she was and never tried to be anyone or anything else. She never caved to pressure, peer, media, or otherwise. She never put on an act to win friends or popularity. She was true to herself from Day One.
This is a rare quality in a teen.
Actually, it's a rare quality in anyone.
Of course Jazz's journey hasn't been paved with sparkles and mermaid tails. There were bullies, bans, hormones, depression, and people who didn't just get it. All this on top of the normal adolescent dramas. Still, she overcame the hurdles thrown at her, and did so admirably. Jazz seems a very REAL, down-t0-earth, sweet girl. I enjoyed hanging out with her as I read her story.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Being Jazz to anyone who is struggling with identity. Or anyone who just needs a good read. Her story is enough to inspire anyone to find the courage to be true to themselves....more
There are a very small handful of books where the very idea of them, the mere suggestion, make me angry. Legit angry.
Th**spoiler alert** *Start Rant*
There are a very small handful of books where the very idea of them, the mere suggestion, make me angry. Legit angry.
There was Great Expectations, which I had to read for Freshman AP English. Basically, whiny boy is tortured throughout his life by man-hating Crazy Cat Lady (sans cats) and her equally man-hating minion (Please stop whining, kid. I beg you! And get Miss H. a few hundred cats. She'll be a much happier person if she has Mittens, Socks, Buttons, Morris, and Fluffy 1-98 to look after).
There was Ethan Frome, which was about horrible people being horrible to each other. The only good thing about this one (other than it being mercifully short) was that Karma beyotch-slapped everyone with exactly what they deserved.
There was The Little Prince which...well...you can read my review to find out how I felt about that one.
But my hatred for Narnia trumps my feelings of dislike for any other book/series.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Hey, you're a librarian. Aren't you supposed to love all classics? How can you hate Narnia?" Shocker, I know. But it's true.
When I had the unfortunate experience of being force-fed this series a few years back, I thought it was the most preachy, pretentious, poorly-written bit of drivel that had ever crossed my literary palate. The storyline dragged, the dialogue was "Dick and Jane" tedious, and the characters were all so over-the-top Mary Sue I actually hoped they'd all be killed off in terrible, B-level horror movie Zombie Apocolypse ways(view spoiler)[(Well, a character DID kind of go bonkers at the end and kill everyone who pissed him off. Seriously, Cat-Dude. Take a Chill Pill. And some Anger Management classes.) (hide spoiler)]. And racist! Holy crap, these books are racist! Don't even get me started on this rant. How does stuff like this even get published, let alone make it to the list of "beloved childrens' classics"?
Bottom line: I about vibrate with anger whenever this series (or a book from this series) is mentioned. I hate it and I hate that it's so popular.
Seriously, if this book series had a face, I would punch it. Multiple times. With no remorse whatsoever.
The first time Stevie encounters Max, he's lying in the neighbor's yard in a pool of (fake) blood. The second time the two bump into each other, Max iThe first time Stevie encounters Max, he's lying in the neighbor's yard in a pool of (fake) blood. The second time the two bump into each other, Max is (fake) drowning in a local lake. Each time max is in peril, Stevie comes to his rescue. And each time she discovers Max's almost-deaths are nothing more than cleaverly-orchestrated acting. How frustrating!
With a meet-cute like this, how can it NOT be true love?
Stevie soon learns that Max recentely had a near-death experience and lived to tell about it. Ever since then, he's bound and determined to thumb his nose at Death by faking his death in as many ways as possible without... well, without actually dying. Stevie, along with her equally-quirky BFF Sanger, agrees to help Max complete his list, some of which are pretty bizarre (spontaneous combustion, anyone?).
What follows is a morbidly hilarious adventure, as the trio of teens cement their friendship over angry (and possibly rabid) peacock attacks, hypothermia, and deadly allergic reactions.
But as Max's two-month deadline to complete the list approaches, some very serious truths come to the surface. And Stevie realizes that there are things even more important than (fake) death. Like friendship, love, and life.
Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee is the perfect blend of quirky humor, serious life situations, and sweet romance. The characters were well-rounded, likable (but not without faults), and learns (tough) lessons that help them become a better person when everything is said and done. Another thing I liked: The ending wasn't one of those Happily Ever After types that's all wrapped up and tied with a big shiny ribbon. There are things that don't work out. There are loose ends. There are realizations that sometimes you can't erase certain things. But the ending is still satisfying.
For hundreds of years, the Quick family has been protecting Three Peaks, located in the shadow of The Cliff, from the terrible landslide that would moFor hundreds of years, the Quick family has been protecting Three Peaks, located in the shadow of The Cliff, from the terrible landslide that would most certainly kill everyone in town. They do this by reaching into the town's citizens and stealing memories, talents, afflictions, and other random things. Whenever someone begins to question the morality of what they do, family matriarch Grandma Willow reminds them of the deadly consequences of what happens if they stop stealing to repair the cliff.
If the cliff falls... everyone, everyone in town will die.
The summer he is 17, Aspen Quick comes to stay with Grandma Willow and Aunt Holly. Because of his unusually strong talent for Reaching, he is pulled into the ritual of repairing the cliff. Like anything, there are rules: You don't steal from family, You don't tell anyone about Reaching (or the ritual, or the cliff), and You don't talk about Cousin Heather.
Like anyone blessed/cursed with such unusual magical, Aspen occasionally abuses this power. He causes the girl he's got a crush on to stop loving her boyfriend. He steals a friend's sobriety at a party. He takes away the fears and hopes and negative memories of people he's close to, usually to benefit himself. He doesn't think about the consequences of his actions (he doesn't think there are consequences). Besides, he never takes away anthing that would be missed or anything so big others would notice and start gossiping. Basically, Aspen is a selfish, manipulative jerk.
Enter Leah, the one person Aspen can't steal from (and he's tried) and the one person outside his family who knows what's going on. In talking with this girl, he begins to learn the awful truth about what his family does and that it may not be so harmless after all. Once he knows the truth, Aspen vows to set things right...or at least stop the family tradition of Reaching before further harm is done to the people of Three Peaks.
But this may be easier said than done.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by author Lindsay Ribar is every bit as awesome and intriguing as the title suggests. Aspen is a complex character who undergoes a lot of personal growth throughout the story. The plot is suspenseful, creepy. and the many twists and turns keep the reader guessing until the Big Reveal at the end.