Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I thought the ending of this book was clever, but it wasn't really a book that I would read again. For its target audience, it is a great read. Children with big imaginations will love it. There is a reason it has won so many children's book awards. It just doesn't hold up as well for an adult. That's okay.

I would recommend this for young readers.

Author: Brian Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2007

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1)Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wish I could give half stars, because this book isn't really a two star book. I only gave it two stars because of the language used. I understand that people swear, that's part of life, but there is a lot of it in this book, and it made it less enjoyable for me.

Aside from the language, I really liked the book. It is a great teen read about figuring out who you are and learning to embrace the things that make you unique. Simon shows that trying to blend in and be like everyone else is not the way to actual happiness. Only when he decided to forget trying to blend in and start being true to himself did he really find joy.

I'm not sure how I feel about having the blackmail threat helping to push the story along. There were times when I was really just annoyed that it was being brought up. I guess that's kind of the point. If the reader can get upset at the character and wish that they would stop what they are doing, it makes the story something they can relate to.

Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 7th 2015

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sanity & Tallulah

Sanity & TallulahSanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is a graphic novel and a pretty easy read. It just wasn't really my cup of tea. I would have liked some back story, which I know is hard to do with the format it is in.

I really liked Princess, Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds, even though I'm not a cat person.

The story line was okay, and I think kids that are into science and space will really like this book.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Molly Brooks
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: 16 Oct 2018

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PostedPosted by John David Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a pretty heavy book, which is something I wasn't expecting with the whole post-it note thing. I appreciate the fact that the author took the idea of writing messages on post-its, which could have just been a really light-hearted story, and really brought some depth into it. It makes it a book that I think teenagers will be able to relate to more than something that just skims the surface of what it is really like to go to school feeling different than those around you. I love the idea of finding your tribe.

The events of the story take place when phones are banned in school, and the students start using post-it notes stuck to lockers, hallways, and passed in class to send messages to each other. Like most things, everything starts out fine, but soon the dark underbelly arises, and bullies that are two cowardly to do anything in person find power in the little anonymous notes. It's something I could almost tell was going to happen, but I was not prepared for what happened after the bullies appeared. I think that showing the aftermath, showing what happens after the bullies is something a lot of teenagers, and really everyone, needs to see.

I also learned one very important lesson, if you can make an origami fish, you can call it anything you like, and it will magically be that thing. Now I just have to learn how to make a fish.

Author: John David Anderson
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017

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Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race

Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #3)Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Before I get started with my actual review, a note. Although Kyle is the main character, let's be real, the two kids that start the race and leave part way through because they find a book sale, are the true heroes. They are me in book form.

In this third installment of the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series, the kids are given a chance to compete in another one of Mr. Lemoncello's crazy competitions. Those fighting against our heroes are of course Charles and his mother, but also a couple new characters, rival game makers who have struggled to compete with Mr. Lemoncello's games.

I have to admit, I was really annoyed by Kyle at the beginning of the book. He was so focused on himself and believing he was right without considering those he was working with. I wanted to knock some sense into him and make him act like a team player. While it was annoying, it did give him a chance to grow as a character, and I was glad to see that Chris Grabenstein took that opportunity.

I used to say that I wanted a library like the one in the books, but now that I've read about Mr. Lemoncello's house and plane, I kind of just want to be his friend and have access to everything he invents. If only he was not a fictional character.

I like that once again, readers cannot say for certain who is on what side from the start. As the book progresses, alliances seem to change as you learn more about someone. This gives the book an unpredictable quality that I enjoyed. I will say though, for a town that was determined to not be embarrassed again by making a huge mistake, especially when it came to Mr. Lemoncello, they were really stuck in their ways and so sure they were right. I think that was my one point that was hard to get past. To me, I would think they would actually want to try and look at all the facts before automatically believing someone.

As always, I loved all the literary references, and had to smile every time I found one.

All in all, an good read.

Author: Chris Grabenstein
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 10th 2017

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Gillbert #1

Gillbert #1Gillbert #1 by Art Baltazar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gillbert is the story of a baby sea creature that discovers something from the human world, a message in a bottle, and wants to know what it says. Before he has a chance to, things start happening. He meets a mermaid who shows him the wonders of the ocean deep below anywhere he has ever traveled before, and introduces him to new friends.

While Gillbert is having new adventures, his parents are having new experiences of their own, and try to figure out how to deal with the changes happening to their world.

The story was cute and the drawings were cute, but one question remains, what was written on the letter?

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Art Baltazar
Publisher: Papercutz
Publication Date: 30 Oct 2018

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Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #2)Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I always enjoy the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series because there are all these little nods to other books, and I like to see how many of them I can spot. Also, I just really wish the library was real and in my town.

In this book, kids all over the country want their chance to prove themselves against the winners from the first book, so a new game is declared, library Olympics. Part of me thinks I would love to be a part of this, and part of me, after having read this book, realizes that I know absolutely nothing that would qualify me to enter. These kids are smart. The ones that are chosen not only know a lot about what happens in different books, I could do that, but they know the Dewey decimal system backwards and forwards, and can solve rebus puzzles in no time. It's those last two that get me.

Charles, who was the sour loser in the first book is back, with an annoying addition. He makes for a good adversary just because of how annoying he is. Really, how can someone hold a grudge for as long as he does? It has to be a record of some kind.

There were a lot of new characters, which I always find hard to keep straight, but Chris Grabenstein did a good job of really focusing on the characters that mattered and just mentioning the others in passing. It helped move the story forward without bogging it down with a lot of unnecessary dialog or action.

As the book was coming to a close, before everything was brought to light, I was kind of getting anxiety. I think that anyone who really loves books will get a little worried with the way things are progressing close to the end, especially lovers of banned books.

All in all, a good book that was another enjoyable read.

Author: Chris Grabenstein
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 5th 2016

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Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically MindedMiss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I decided to read this book after reading Jinx, by the same author. I have to say, this book did not go the way I thought it would. Part of me is wondering if the bad guys were really bad, or just misguided. I'm sure at some point there was someone who was really not a good person, but I'm not sure it was anyone in the story. With the approved books and the revised history, it seems like maybe they just didn't know better.

There were a lot of characters, and some of them got lost to me. What I mean by that is that when the character was mentioned as doing something that apparently was not out of the ordinary, I couldn't remember where that character had been introduced, and the facts about them that would help me put everything into perspective. They were the smaller side characters, so it wasn't as important that I remember all the details about them, but it did happen a couple times.

All in all, it was a good read, with dragons, magic, kings, and queens. It's a good fantasy novel for kids reading chapter books.

Author: Sage Blackwood
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 21st 2017

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