Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I Want to Read It (62): Swing it, Sunny



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Swing it, Sunny (Sunny Side Up, 2) by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm, September 12, 2017. Published by Graphix. Source: Want to read it.
Summer's over and it's time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she's doing, she always tells him she's fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time.
Not only is the whole middle school thing confusing . . . but life at home is confusing, too. Sunny misses her brother Dale, who's been sent to boarding school. But when Dale comes back, she STILL misses him . . . because he's changed.
Luckily Sunny's got her best friend and a mysterious new neighbor on her side . . . because she is NOT going let all this confusion get her down. Instead, she's going to remain Sunny-side up!
Why

I don't know how I missed that Sunny Side Up, which was a perfect balance of humor and the ups-and-downs of real life, was a series... As surprised as I am, I'm actually excited to continue reading Sunny's story and seeing how things are shaping up for her and her family after what happened in the first book.

If you haven't read Sunny Side Up, feel free to check out my review to see why you should give it a chance!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Sunny Side Up


Sunny Side Up (Sunny Side Up, 1) by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm, colored by Lark Pien, September 1, 2015. 224 pages. Published by Graphix. Source: Borrowed from Library.
Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It's full of . . . old people. Really old people.

Luckily, Sunny isn't the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they're having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won't be secret to Sunny much longer. . . 


When I checked Sunny Side Up out from the library I assumed it was going to be a light, fluffy read. While it was funny, it had so many unexpectedly serious situations that it made it more than a "fluff read" and transformed into a slightly heartbreaking read.

  • Going in, my expectations were really low for Sunny Side Up. It sounded interesting enough, but I was unsure if the story would actually grab my attention, and hold it, so I was not, you know, all that concerned about being disappointed. To be quite honest, I ended up really enjoying this one. The story completely took me by surprise with the serious undertones that began to be revealed the further the story unraveled. 
  • From the get-go, you can see that there some kind of secret boiling beneath the surface of the book. One that has prompted Sunny's summer visit to her grandfathers; it was this family secret that gave the book so much depth. While I don't want to spoil what happened, I do want to talk about how it impacted the story. First off, Sunny had been holding back the truth on what happened; not that she entirely understood what her brother was doing, just that it was not, well, something good. What really made this situation impactful to the book was how it was portrayed. I felt so much for Sunny when things came crashing down and the truth, in its entirety, was made known. I really liked the relationship between Sunny and her grandpa. The two of them made me laugh.
  • While I liked the artwork, I did not love it. I'm apparently rather picky when it comes to illustrations in books. I'm afraid I cannot be any more specific than that I did not love it because, well, it has been quite some time, like a couple months, since I first read it. Oh yeah, if I'm not mistaken, or thinking about a different book, I believe the story is set in the mid-1970s...

Final Verdict: Sunny Side Up- I really enjoyed the balance of humor and seriousness in this graphic novel. Sunny's story was, in a good way, not what I was expecting. 

Sunny Side Up earns


A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Spinning Pages (16): Rebel Belle/Hurricane Venus


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 


While the following song may not be an all-time favorite from BoA, nor one I listen to often, it just popped into my head while I was working on a previous edition of Spinning Pages. After I was finally able to find the lyrics translated into English, I could not think of a more fitting song, except for maybe a country song or two, that would work so well for Rebel Belle!!

Hurricane Venus by BoA-
Oh, oh, oh, oh, Hurricane Oh, oh, oh, Venus
Oh, oh, oh, oh Hurricane Oh, oh, oh, Venus

If you provoke me, I’ll definitely devour you
As if hit by a huge raging storm, you can’t breath, without rest
Oh, my secret alone that drags you
Electronic, manic, supersonic, bionic energy

The uneasy whirlpools are born in there
The strong shock that was veiled reach
for you
Oh, oh, electronic, manic, supersonic, bionic energy
Hurricane Venus is for Harper (watch the video as it reminds me of the book)!! Why, because she chases perfection and, once she accepts her role as Paladin and even before, she was pretty fierce.

Want to find out why I enjoyed Rachel Hawkins' Rebel Belle so much, then be sure to check out my review (and, you know, add it to your TBR if you have yet to read it)!!

Don't forget to listen to BoA's Hurricane Venus and watch the video. It's a little odd, but the costume changes are fascinating throughout the entire video.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I Want to Read It (61): Ruby and Olivia



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Ruby and Olivia by Rachel Hawkins, October 24, 2017. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. Source: Want to read. 
Ruby is best friends with Emma, but she and Emma's twin sister Olivia are definitely not friends. Unfortunately, Emma will be away for the summer, while Ruby and Olivia are going to be stuck at a community service day camp for troublemakers--together. To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are outfitted with bright pink polka-dotted t-shirts with smiley faces on the front, then tasked with cataloging the contents of an abandoned mansion. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working with each other is that last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually pretty cool. There's everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to stuffed deer heads . . . and . . . wait . . . is that stuffed deer head watching them? When the taps run freezing cold and doors slam inexplicably, Ruby and Olivia wonder if the other campers are having a bit of fun, or if the abandoned mansion is looking for new residents. To solve the mystery, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their grudges aside and figure out how to be a team with or without Emma.

Why


The better question would be "Why would I not want to read this one"!! I don't know why, but the idea of Rachel Hawkins writing middle-grade books is, well, really exciting. Also, Ruby and Olivia sounds thrilling!! I cannot wait to see if the two girls can put aside their dislike of one another to solve the mystery!!!

Do y'all have Rachel Hawkins' Ruby and Olivia on your TBR??? 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Rebel Belle


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Vintage Reads YA Review: Rebel Belle



Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, 1) by Rachel Hawkins, April 8, 2014. 368 pages. Published by Spark. Source: Own.
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

First Sentence
Looking back, none of this would have happened if I'd brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.

Since I absolutely adored Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall books, I knew that I wanted to read more of her books. So, after much delay, like around three years, I finally found an opportunity to get a copy of Rebel Belle and read it.
  • In my defense, between the time I heard about Rebel Belle and actually read it, was, well a couple years so I forgot what it was about. To the point that in the beginning, I was like "where's the action...". Fear not, there was just the right amount of action and some great fight scenes to please me. It was just a really fun book to read, you know!! 
  • As much as I liked Sophie, from Hex Hall, she has been replaced by one Harper Jane Price. As a reader, I just really liked Harper and how hard she worked on everything in her life. Sure, she had a tendency to over do things, head of all the school committees in all, but seeing a character so driven to succeed was really nice. In that aspect, she reminded me of myself in her tendency to give anything and everything all she had. 

  • In order to keep this review from beginning super lengthy, I'll just finish off with three final things that solidified my love of this book. The first would be the snarky bantering that went on between Harper and David. The barbs they threw at each other had me in stitches; though it was enjoyable mainly because there were moments, before things got super awkward, where they went beyond ribbing each other and were semi-decent to each other. Secondly, I liked how well Rachel Hawkins capture the feel of the south and it ness. Her depiction of a small town in the south was pretty spot-on. And last, I really enjoyed the way the story and characters evolved throughout the book.   

Final Verdict: Rebel Belle- It had pretty much everything: snarky banter, characters that were driven, not to mention action and humor. It was just one of those books that is a pleasure to read. I'm really excited to continue reading this series!!!


A copy of this book was purchased by me. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Spinning Pages (15): Nimona/ Bad Girl, Good Girl


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 



I had not fully decided to feature Nimona on Spinning Pages, that is until I was writing out my thoughts on it. I was half-way through my review when one of Miss A's songs popped into my head, and it just felt oh so right!! Keep reading to see a) which of Miss A's songs and b) the lyrics from, said song, that I chose this week!!!

Bad Girl, Good Girl by Miss A-
Hello, Hello, Hello.
It seems like the first time, time, time you’ve seen a girl like me.
Why do you judge me?
Are you afraid of me, perhaps?

On the outside, I’m a Bad Girl.
On the inside, I’m a Good Girl.
You don’t even know me well, you only look at me from the outside.
I find your gaze to be funny because you see me as a pitiful girl.


Miss A's Bad Girl, Good Girl is for Nimona, now just the book but more precisely the character. Yes, she was dangerous and bloodthirsty but there was also so much more to her story. Did she have evil tendencies, yes, but she, in an odd way, was/had the potential to be good. Plus I just like this song and the lyrics, I, included made me think of her, Nimona, and the overall book.

Curious to see what I thought about Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, then be sure to check out my review.

You can listen to Miss A's Bad Girl, Good Girl below!!!

          

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I Want to Read It (60): Baba Yaga's Assistant



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Baba Yoga's Assistant by Marika McCoola and illustrated by Emily Carroll, August 4, 2015. Published by Candlewick Press. Source: Want to read it.
ASSISTANT WANTED ASAPMust have skills in hauling, obeying orders, cooking, and cleaning. Magical talent a bonus. Must be good with heights. Enter Baba Yaga's house to apply. 
Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, and that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga's house on chicken legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu! 
Why

Goodreads seems determined to bring up all the old books that I've missed over the years. Example: Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll; I had not heard of it till I was preparing a different post and found myself on GR to gather information. Now, well now I really want to read it because it sounds fascinating. Also, I'm really curious as to how Masha will stand against Baba Yaga...really, everything in the write up sounds so interesting and right up my alley. 

Have you read Baba Yaga's Assistant? If so, what did you think of it?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Nimona


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Nimona


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, May 12, 2015. 266 pages. Published by Harper Teen. Source; Borrowed from Library.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. 

Thoughts


I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked up Nimona from the library. What I was not expecting was a graphic novel that would be, well, fairly interesting and maybe just a tad heartbreaking.

  • I'll  try to keep this short. One of the things I enjoyed best about Nimona was the main villain, Lord Ballister Blackheart. Now, I don't usually like the villains more than the hero/heroine, but there was something about the way his character was written that made him interesting. Even though he was the villain of the book, he was not all that terrible; the "hero" was more villainous than he was. I could really delve into how Blackheart was basically forced into the role, by the forces that be, but I think his story is one that should be read in the context of the book rather than me trying to poorly explain why it was so fascinating.
  • Nimona herself was also an interesting character. Bloodthirsty, extremely, but interesting nonetheless. While I liked her, I wish that her story had been, well, better revealed. You see, there was all this build up and mystery surrounding her and then, well, then it was just anticlimactic and expected. I guess I was hoping for more originality in her origin story; though she was absolutely fascinating in a way.
  • While I liked the art, I did not love it. At times it was difficult to tell what the artist was trying to depict based on the coloring choices. Example, Nimona, was the back of her head bald, was it a weird hat, I don't know and that really bothers me. Other than that minor irritation, the art was really enjoyable and did a great job illustrating the story.

Final Verdict: Nimona- If we're just going with the character dynamics, this book is fascinating as the villain/hero storyline is different. 

Nimona earns


A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

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