First line: Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, it’s time for our mystery celebrity.
Summary: Hedy Lamarr, once considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world, was an actress and an inventor. She was born and grew up in Austria. However, when Europe seemed to be on the brink of world war, she fled to England and then the United States. Upon arrival she started her career in Hollywood. She starred in blockbuster films, married multiple times and lived the life of celebrity. But she also had a secret. She was a scientist. She loved inventing things and learning about the world around her.
My Thoughts: Several years ago, I read The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict, where I learned about Hedy Lamarr for the first time. It was a wonderful story about a fantastic woman. She was greatly overlooked for her inventions and only remembered for her looks. I love that people are now realizing her greatness.
I loved this version of her life. Graphic novels are becoming a form of literature that I have been more open to recently. I loved the artwork. It was all beautifully done and had lots of detail. Sometimes I find myself overlooking the art in a graphic novel but this one I took my time to look longer at the scenes before turning the page. If you are looking for a quick read and want to learn something new then this is perfect for you.
First Line: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Summary: Leia, the princess of Alderaan, is learning how to lead and one day take over the role of Queen. She needs to prove herself. But she is worried that she will not be able to live up to her parents expectations. And recently she has noticed her parents paying less attention to her. Are they disappointed? Or has she done something to upset them? She decides that she is going to take matters into her own hands with the hopes of earning their approval.
My Thoughts: I’ve read this story before but I had read the novel when it first came out and this is manga. This is my first venture into manga. If you have never read or even heard of manga I will give you a quick summary. Manga is a Japanese comic or graphic novel. They are usually printed in black and white. But the most challenging bit (for me at least) is reading from right to left. It took me a while to get used to the format and focus on following the story properly. I really enjoyed it!
I liked the artwork, the story was still great and it was a new adventure. If you want to try something different and are a fan of Star Wars I would highly recommend picking this up!
FYI: This is the same plot as the novel by the same name.
Summary: Walker and Alec Holland are twin brothers who are nothing alike but are still inseparable. Walker loves to be the center of attention while Alec is more quiet and reserved. Their last summer before college is spent in a rural town with their cousins. While Walker makes friends and parties, Alec spends his time working on a science experiment that starts to affect the swamp outside of town.
My Thoughts: This is a DC Comics reimagining of the origin story of Swamp Thing. Author Maggie Stiefvater works with illustrator, Morgan Beem to create a new beginning for one of their classic villains. I liked how they included science and information about plants into the story. It does a little teaching while also entertaining. I wasn’t completely sold on the art work but near the end as the swamp and its creatures started to appear I came to like it more. I am not familiar with the character Swamp Thing but I did enjoy this. It is a fast story from one of my favorite YA authors.
I got to watch an interview with the author, illustrator and moderator (Laini Taylor – another fantastic YA author) via Watermarks Books. It was great to listen to them talk about their work and how they developed the book. If you would like to see their conversation it can be found on Watermark’s Facebook page.
It has been just over one week since the start of the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon here at the library. And boy has it been one heck of a week. You do not realize the pressure you are under when you are given a set number of books to read in just a month! It is a little intimidating.
Going into the challenge I figured that this would be a piece of cake. I have already read over 100 books this year. Twelve books should be easy right?! I have finished three at this point which is a fairly good place to be but they were the shorter ones. Several on my list are hovering around five hundred pages. Yikes! Maybe I was overly ambitious but I am determined to finish this challenge.
So far I have finished reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (we own the movie but not the book) and The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way. Each has had their ups and downs but I would say my favorite so far has been The Umbrella Academy graphic novel. I have even read book two and have three on my desk for later.
The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way
First line: It was the same year “Tusslin’ Tom” Gurney knocked out the space-squid from Rigel X-9…
At the exact same moment forty-three babies were born to women who had
previously not been pregnant. Of the forty-three newborns born, seven of
them were adopted by the eccentrically wealthy Reginald Hargreeves. He
knew that there was something special about these children. For years
they lived quietly hidden away in his mansion until one day when they
reappeared in order to save the world. They called themselves The
My Thoughts: I am not one that is much interested in graphic novels but they are slowly growing on me. I have now read a handful and started to enjoy them. The Netflix show based on the graphic novels is why I chose this book for the reading challenge. There are many similarities between the two but lots of differences as well. Each stand well on their own. The art is very interesting to look at. It is not realistic but it is not too cartoonish.
I liked the story because it is dark and imaginative. The authors create such an interesting world that it is not hard to get sucked into it. One of the characters, Number One or Luther, is part man and part ape. He is gigantic and spends quite a bit of his youth on the moon. Who thinks this stuff up? It is different which makes it fun. I am looking forward to book three and on.
There is a lot of violence which did not affect me at all but it may be
too much for younger readers. This is book one in the series.
We recently added a new service called Hoopla! It is a website/app that patrons can use to check out ebooks, audiobooks, TV shows, movies and music on their devices. Each patron is allowed eight items a month. The items range from new and popular to the classics.
I have started to play around with it a little bit. I like that there are a wide variety of books, old Disney movies, British TV shows and soundtracks available. I recently realized that I can even add the app to my Fire Stick and stream the movies on my TV! How cool is that?!
One of the features I found most intriguing even though I do not read a lot in the genre is graphic novels. The site has a very good selection. While enjoying the story the reader can hover their mouse over the images to enlarge them (because sometimes that print is very small). This also helps when looking at the artwork and seeing more of the details.
Summary: Sabrina Spellman, a teenage witch is the daughter of a mortal and a warlock. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday she has to make the decision to join the Church of Night. She is currently living with her two maiden aunties in a funeral home.
Highlights: I picked this as one of my first items to check out from Hoopla. I had recently watched the new Netflix series based on the graphic novel and I watched the original TV show as a teenager. I enjoyed the stories in the first volume. They are very dark! The art work is very interesting. I never read the Archie comics (which these are a spinoff of) but several characters from their universe appear in the Sabrina stories.
So if you are expecting the nice and bright Melissa Joan Hart version this is not it. Salem, the cat, is still here as well as her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, but after that everything is different.
Lowlights: Since graphic novels are more centered around the art work the stories are much shorter. I wanted a little more story but I guess I will just have to check out volume 2 for that.
First line: Almost a year has passes since we overthrew the wicked tyrant, Queen Levana, and crowned my best friend, Cinder—AKA Princess Selene Blackburn—as the true queen of Luna.
Summary: In the second installment of the Wires and Nerve graphic novels by Marissa Meyer we see Iko and Steele continue to hunt the blood thirsty genetically altered soldiers of Queen Levana. The soldiers have refused to return to Luna and accept that the war is over. With the planned trip to Earth, Cinder and her friends are worried about being attacked while celebrating the new peace treaty between the two nations. It is up to Iko and Steele to prevent this from happening.
Highlights: I loved the Lunar Chronicles. The fairytales intermixed with science fiction/fantasy were fun and exciting. I was happy to see that Meyer was going to continue and expand her universe with the Wires and Nerve stories. I am not much of a graphic novel reader but these were fun. The drawings were simple and monotone but still fit perfectly into the Lunar universe.
Lowlights: With graphic novels, the stories are usually short and very basic. I wanted more. I wanted to see more of my favorite characters. This is why I cannot read too many graphic novels. I like a fuller story.
FYI: Second in the series. However, you need to read the Lunar Chronicles before reading these!
This review will not look like one of our normal reviews, because this graphic novel isn’t a story with a first line, or story, but a fun collection of ideas.
I love the subtitle of this book—”An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity” because I feel that’s the essence of this book. I’ve read a couple reviews that indicate that this book isn’t great at motivating or being a self-help book. However, I’m not sure that’s what it’s meant to be.
If you’ve ever consciously engaged in the creative process in any way (art, writing, creating in any form including sewing, fiber arts, paper crafts, anything!) you’ll find some familiar feels in this book. From variations on a blank page to a walk in the park, I love the thoughts and experiences shared in this fun book.
The pictures are so detailed and fun to examine. And it seemed like on every page I found words or a picture that just spoke to me and my own creative experiences.
Man, it feels like we were just here talking about early August new releases, and now it’s time for late August new books already! The good news is we have THREE more Tuesdays in August for that much more good reading to be available!
Here are a few of the books we think will make an end-of-summer splash with their releases later this month. Which ones will make it onto your list of to-reads?
Aug. 15: Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler (picture book)
If you have a child who is anxious about starting school, check out this adorable picture book about Bonaparte, who has issues when playing catch (his arm flies off with the ball) and other minor mishaps. His good friends Franky Stein, Black Widow and Mummicula are there to help him out.
Aug. 15: How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas
Meet Isidore Mazal, an average 11-year-old who lives in France with his five exceptional older siblings. While his siblings are on track to have their doctorates by age 24, writing a novel or playing with a symphony, Isidore notices things and asks questions others are afraid to ask. When the Mazal family experiences a tragedy, Isidore is the one to notice how the rest of the family is handling their grief and he may be the only one who can save the family, if he doesn’t decide to run away from home first.
Aug. 15: A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor (young adult)
Emma and Henri are sisters who have always been best friends. Emma trusted Henri implicitly, and then something happens that wrecks them and they end up washed ashore. They are stranded with only Alex, a troubled boy who has secrets of his own.
Aug. 22: Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
In the second-to-last installment of Grafton’s alphabet mysteries, Kinsey Millhone finds herself in drawn into one of her most disturbing cases yet. In 1979, four boys sexually assaulted a teenage girl, videotaped it, and not long after the videotape went missing and one of the boys was killed. Fast forward to 1989 when one of the perpetrators is released from prison. A copy of the missing videotape shows up with a note demanding ransom, and the perpetrator’s family calls Kinsey in.
Aug. 22: The Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen by Catherine Lloyd Burns (middle-grades novel)
From Goodreads: “Cricket Cohen isn’t a liar, but she doesn’t always tell the exact truth. She loves thinking about geology and astronomy and performing tricky brain surgery on her stuffed animals. She also loves conspiring with Dodo, her feisty grandmother who lives in the apartment right next door. And one Manhattan weekend when she’s in hot water with her teacher and her controlling parents over a fanciful memoir essay, Cricket goes along with Dodo’s questionable decision to hit the bricks. Imagining all sorts of escapades, Cricket is happy to leave home behind. But on a crosstown adventure with an elderly woman who has her own habit of mixing truth and fantasy, some hard realities may start to get in the way of all the fun.”
Aug. 22: Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
Aviva Grossman is a congressional intern in Florida. When she engages in an affair with her boss — a very married congressman — then blogs about it, she takes the fall when it goes public. She changes her name and moves to Maine to become a wedding planner. However, as events in her life unfold, she discovers that thanks to the power of the Internet, her past is never actually left behind.
Aug. 29:Glass Houses (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13) by Louise Penny
A mysterious figure appears on the village green in Three Pines. A body is discovered when it vanishes and it is up to Gamache to discover the ins and outs of the murder. The story takes the reader not just through the discovery of the body and the arrest of the suspect, but through the trial of the accused. All the while, Gamache wrestles with the actions he’s set in motion, and his conscience.
Aug. 29: Pretend You’re Safe by Alexandra Ivy
A serial killer buries his victims on the banks of the Mississippi. Years later, the rains and floods unearth the bodies. While his victims were disappearing, Jaci Patterson was finding “gifts” on her porch — the first was a golden locket with a few strands of hair wrapped around a bloodstained ribbon inside. The deputy sheriff at the time was convinced that Jaci was just a publicity-seeking teen. Until Jaci comes home again, and the nightmare has started again.
Aug. 29: Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey
Dog Man is back in his third adventure from the author of the Captain Underpants series. Dog Man is on the police force, which hasn’t always been the best thing to happen. But now, Petey the cat has dragged in some trouble, in the form of a kitten, and Dog Man is going to have to work extra hard to stay top dog!
It’s nearly time for the kids to be back in school and summer is coming to a close. Those long, lazy days by the pool (did you actually get any of those?) are soon to be a memory, but there are plenty of good books coming out the first two Tuesdays in August, that I wish I could have endless days by the pool to read!
Here are eight (eight!) picks that we think will be satisfying reads for the end of summer. Our next new releases blog post will cover new releases for Aug. 15, 22 and 29. Click on the title of the book to go to the library catalog, where you can see if it’s available and place it on hold.
Aug. 1: The Address by Fiona Barton
From the author of The Dollhouse comes a compelling story, set around New York City’s most famous residence: The Dakota. It’s 1884 and Sara Smythe, who is working her way to head housekeeper at a posh London hotel, has a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of a grand new apartment building in New York. In 1985, Bailey Camden, once an interior designer and huge party girl, finds herself fresh out of rehab, homeless and needing a new start. One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey face similar struggles, and Bailey’s discovery in the basement of the Dakota could change everything she thought she knew.
Aug. 1: The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
If you are familiar with the story of two young women who convinced the world through their photographs in 1917 that faeries existed, this novel reimagines their story. But 100 years later, Olivia discovers that her life intertwines with the lives of Frances and Elsie. Olivia finds an old manuscript in her grandfather’s bookshop, but when she also discovers an old photograph, past and present begin to blur and Olivia’s understanding of what is real and what is imagined begins to blur.
Aug. 1: Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
Eve Fletcher is 46, divorced and her only child is moving away to attend college, leaving Eve trying to figure out what comes next in her life. One night her phone lights up with an intriguing text from an anonymous number: “U R my MILF!” Over the next several months, she becomes obsessed by the message and a website called MILFateria.com, about the sexual exploits of middle-aged women like herself. Meanwhile, her son is struggling with his own issues at college, where his hard-partying lifestyle isn’t quite as welcomed as he’d hoped.
Aug. 1: The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley
A former East India Company smuggler is stuck at home after an accident leaves him with a broken leg. Then he begins seeing things that shouldn’t be happening and his brother says he must be mad. When presented an opportunity to go to the jungles of South America in search of quinine, he knows he shouldn’t. After all, everyone who has ever gone to Peru on a similar expedition has ended up dead. Despite barely being able to walk, he sets off against his better judgment.
Aug. 8: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Suzette attends boarding school in New England, but when she goes home to L.A., she doesn’t want to go back. Her brother needs her support when he is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And besides, L.A. is where her family and friends are. She’s settling into her life again, but finds herself confronted with the knowledge that she is falling for the same girl her brother is in love with. As her brother’s illness threatens to overwhelm him, she has to find a way to help her brother and confront her own mistakes.
Aug. 8: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter A new thriller from a No. 1 bestselling author. Sisters Samantha and Charlotte Quinn had their lives torn apart 28 years ago, when a brutal attack on their family home left their mother dead and their father devastated. Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps and become an attorney, when her small town is plunged into terror once again. Charlie find herself besieged by memories that she’s tried to keep buried.
Aug. 8: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
Sisters are a theme in this thriller, where two sisters go missing and one comes back. Forensic psychologist Abby Winter looks deeper into the dysfunctional family, and from what she sees, something just doesn’t add up.
Aug. 8: Paper Girls Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
This is the collection of issues 11 through 15 in the popular graphic novel series. From Goodreads: “The multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning series from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG continues, as newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ in an unexpected new era, where the girls must uncover the secret origins of time travel… or risk never returning home to 1988.”