Friday, August 28, 2015

Bunnicula (and some sequels) by James Howe

Bunnicula was one of the books that I loved reading as a kid.  It had some mystery and interesting characters, but was just this side of ridiculous (I mean, come on, a vampire bunny who sucks the juice out of all the veggies?)  I like the dynamic between all of the characters, how one dog was simultaneously smart (he's writing books after all!) and yet didn't really like to concern himself with much more than sleeping and eating.

I like how the Bunnicula never talks, even though all the other animals are very verbose, but yet we always seem to know what he's feeling.  He has a very prominent role for a character that never talks.

Inevitably, the books end up being more about Chester (the cat) and Harold (the dog) then Bunnicula, so Bunnicula Strikes Again was a nice change because it focused on the bunny and his past a little more than we had seen before.  But, inevitably, it was the same animals up to the same antics.

Monday, August 24, 2015


If you've been following our twitter (or our Facebook page), you might have noticed that I took a little trip!  And since I had nine relaxing days away from work, I decided to read nine books while I was away.

I'm only going to review seven of them today (you're going to have to wait until the end of the week when Alex and I do Bunnicula books), but I'm going to review the rest of them right here, right now, including TWO books that aren't out yet!!

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld (Release date 9/29/15)

Really, did you expect a Westerfeld book to be bad?  Well, if you're waiting for one, this isn't it.  You have dynamic characters, who grow not only in their characters but in their powers too.  And you know what?  They pushed the envelope on what we think super heroes are.  We think of people with powers as either good or evil, but these kids?  They could really go either way.  And that's kind of what I love about this book.  At the end of the day, they're still just people.

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

This is one of Shusterman's earlier ones and, honestly, I was a little weary.  I had read Downsiders and had been a little disappointed, so I wasn't sure how I would feel.  the Unwind distology is a high bar to set, and some of his other writings hasn't met it.  However, Full Tilt isn't in that category.  It was gritty and in your face and really made you think about life.  It was this nice middle ground between Goosebumps and Fear Street.  Scary, but not so scary you had to put the book down.

The Lightning Thief Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson #1) by Rick Riordan

What is there to say about Percy Jackson that hasn't already been said?  Do I love him?  Of course I do.  Percy Jackson is one of my go to book series.  And, if your kid isn't big on the reading, I might direct you towards the Percy Jackson GNs.  Graphic Novels are great things, and I think they fill a certain niche.  But at the end of the day, this just doesn't even hold a candle to how good the first book was.

Poison by Sarah Pinborough

This one was the only real wildcard in my books this month.  All the other books were either ones I'd read before or by authors I adore.  Pinborough was the only author I knew nothing about, and really didn't know much about her books other than they were retellings of fairy tales.  But I like fairtale redos and the covers on her books look beautiful if nothing else (plus, I got them fairly cheap during employee appreciation.)

However, it was the biggest disappointment this week.  Really, Poison just ended up being the same old Snow White story we always knew, with a twist ending.  The only problem was that twist, wasn't really good enough to make up for the rest of the book.  Her writing was mediocre so, really, the book ends up just being something to look pretty on my shelf.

Sold by Patricia McCormack

I have found I have a love hate relationship with McCormack's book.  Some are AMAZING, some are... eh.  Some I think the topics are important, I think the execution just is a little wanky.  Sold I think falls into the last category.  It most definitely gets better as it goes along, but the beginning of it was just really slow and hard to get through (and not in the 'this is so terrible it's hard to read' kind of way.  In the 'this is kind of boring; please get to the story' kind of way.)  But once our main character had entered the brothel and we saw her deal with her life, her reality, and learn to make friends and negotiate her situation, I think that's where the real story came out.  So, good book, but one that you had to stick with to get there.

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

I actually expected more out of this book.  That's not to say that I didn't like it, because I did.  I think I've just gotten used to the shock factor in her books and this wasn't one of those books.  BUT I will say that I really did like her approach to the ideas of religion and there being a God.  The main character of our book is an atheist, and there are varying degrees of religious belief all around him, from his overtly christian girlfriend, to his mildly religious aunt, who believes in a creator, but doesn't push it.  As usual, Hopkins hits those topics that people are afraid to talk about, like the idea of a creator, and how people believe, and THAT is what I liked about this book.

Another Day by David Levithan ( Release Date 8/25/15)

When I saw this sitting on the break room table just two days after David Levithan had posted a picture of the cover, words can not describe the excitement I felt.  Seriously, I was jumping up and down in our break room, I was so stoked (we hardly ever get ARCs that I TRULY want to read.)  And this book was every word as good as I thought that it would be.

Levithan really pushes the bounds of sexuality for us, really making us rethink what is male and female, gay, straight, does it even matter, if we're in love?  And I like that it's not a straight forward answer either.  A has been like that his whole life, but it's much harder for Rhiannon to get past the conventions.  Either way, Levithan construction a most wonderful love story that pulls at our heart strings.  I've been waiting for this book for years, and I was not disappointed for a moment.