This graphic novel is awesome! It is Diverse, Inclusive, magical, and fun! Moonstruck is set in a universe where centaurs and lesbian werewolves work together in coffee shops that serve everyone. Two werewolves, Selena and Julie are in the very beginning stages of a relationship and are still getting to know each other when they go on a date that includes Chet, their centaur friend, who ends up becoming human in an evil magic show and loses his horse butt. While funny, the graphic novel does an amazing job of showing how disastrous and emotionally traumatizing this is to him. The girls and their friends have to help find the evil magician that put on the magic show, get Chet’s butt back, and stop him from hurting others all while trying to figure out their feelings and new relationship!
The main character, Julie the werewolf, is pretty whiny and emotional, but she is a great representation of how feelings of others need to be respected and how to be kind. Overall, this was a great book!
The world has been invaded by aliens that abduct teenagers and children from their families, people who are identified as "strong," and loaded up into robots that are taken to other planets (I assume). In this particular graphic novel, the two main characters, Sam and Wyatt, are twins who are trying to help other people from their town while searching for their parents. Wyatt, who has autism, classifies the aliens and helps Sam escape them. The two deliver food and supplies to other people under the code name "Bird One." When the aliens trick them by using a video of their parents to lure them to them, one of them is taken and the other has to find a way to save them on their own.
While the plot took a while to pick up, I enjoyed this graphic novel. The theme of working together and looking past weaknesses is one that really shines through the illustrations. The people of Elizabethtown learn to work together despite their differences to rally against the aliens that are ripping their families apart.
My first book sketchnote in a LOONNGG time! THE LOVE LETTERS OF ABELARD AND LILY is a super sweet romance between a boy on the autism spectrum and a girl with ADHD. I LOVED it so much that I finished it in a day! I also really liked that it was set in Austin so I could actually picture where events were taking place! I used the Apple Pencil and the Doodle Art app, which is why there’s an awkward border on the left. 😂😂. I’ll be booktalking this book and a few others in a Junior Library Guild webinar next month-check back for details!
ALL SUMMER LONG, a graphic novel by Hope Larson (illustrator of the Wrinkle In Time graphic novel) was a fun, quick read. 📚Austin and Bina have been friends their entire lives and spend every summer together. The summer before eighth grade, though, Austin goes away to soccer camp while Bina stays home and learns how to play guitar and indie bands. A really sweet sort of friendship and growing apart while staying friends and growing into who you are.
Shoutout to my librarian bestie, Allie Cornejo, for being featured on the Nerdy Book Club today! You can read her review of Dhonielle Clayon's The Belles below or on Nerdy Book club!
Mentally rich and decadent — this is how I would describe The Belles. I listened to The Belles on Audible with Rosie Jones (@rosiejonesactor) as the narrator. She did a wonderful job at her narration, which makes all the difference. Her English accent added such an elegant air to an exquisitely written book. However, I did find her reading pace a bit slow due to her immaculate enunciation, so I sped the audio book up to 1.25x, which was perfect. My 30 minute commute to and from work was something I Iooked forward to everyday, because I was going to listen to The Belles!
I enjoyed this book very much! The realization that I really liked it came toward the last third of the book, though. The first two thirds were good, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t become a real page turner in the last third. What requires the most applause for Dhonielle Clayton’s work was the imagery she used to create this fantasy world of Orleans. She created a world full of color, beauty, and emotion. Words and phrases like “pink and yellow macarons,” “pastel colored dresses,” “complexion of lilies and belle-rose lips,” “drizzles of honey” and the like, are heavily sprinkled throughout this book. If it was possible to read a dessert and be satisfied as if you ate it, this is the book that did just that for me! Dhonielle whisked me away to a beautiful world where the book cover model served as a baseline for the Belle beauty found in the setting of Orleans. Her words drew up a masterpiece of art in my mind. And let me just draw attention to the lovely Belle names… Camellia, Ambrosia, Padma, Edelweiss,..Wow!
The story was so unique! Belles having control over making people beautiful, but not really having any power over themselves or their lives was intriguing. The monarchy and the laws suppress their freedoms in the guise of protecting them. Camellia, our protagonist, was a great character laced with ambition, talent, originality, and a hint of rebellion. Her growing contempt for the obsession Orleans has for beauty makes her character strong and admirable. The love she has for her sisters makes her endearing, and the fact that Belles cannot experience a romantic love is heartbreaking and ironic, given their irresistible appearance. Our antagonist, Princess Sofia, is formidable and hate-worthy with the torment she bestows on hr court. Beware of those who defy her. They end up with a pig snout! Yes, she scared the living daylights out of me with her cruelty, and the tension she caused within a simple conversation with Camellia made my palms sweat. Princess Sofia’s dangerous obsession with beauty and utter dominance over the people around her makes this story very entertaining and nerve-racking.
The theme of beauty obsession had me reflect constantly on the state of affairs we find ourselves today. What I loved about Camellia, was her preference to always let her patron’s natural features shine. She encouraged curves and shapely figures, and she attempted to convince her patrons that imperfections compliment personality. She warned against unnatural beauty requests because of the harm they caused to the body. I began to research today’s real obsession with beauty and I found the following information to be deeply disturbing:
According to the National Institute on Media and Family via the University of Washington, in a survey taken by girls 9 and 10 years old, 40 percent of them have tried to lose weight and by “age thirteen, 53% of American girls are ‘unhappy with their bodies.’ This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.”
Dhonielle has done a phenomenal job of including these disturbing trends of self-disapproval into her novel. Camellia’s patrons desire dangerously small waists and breasts that are too large. She warns them of the risks, but her warnings fall on deaf ears. I am very grateful for the attention the author brings to the very important issue of beauty obsession. Young girls will find an important lesson here.
The cliffhanger was fantastic and unbelievably frustrating, as I would give my right arm for book two! I originally thought this was a stand-alone novel, but I’m elated that it will be a trilogy; I am definitely not done with The Belles and the world of Orleans.
Hosain, Anna. “Constructed Beauty and Our Obsession With Image.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Feb. 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-hosain/constructed-beauty-and-ou_b_4809399.html.
Alexandra Cornejo is a high school librarian at a specialty school for future health professionals in the Rio Grande Valley. Her drive is to motivate her students to be passionate readers and responsible digital citizens. She is an enthusiast for young adult literature, education technology, and instructional design, and can often be found on edtech Twitter chats. You can find her on Twitter @allie_cornejo, Instagram @YAlitenthusiast or her YA Review blog https://sites.google.com/view/yalittech/home
Riddles in Mathematics by Katie Cotugno: 3/5 stars
This story was mildly predictable but sweet. The main character is in love with her brother's best friend.
Dread South by Justina Ireland: 4/5
WOW! A super fun story with zombies during the slavery period of U.S. History.
Omega Ship by Rae Carson: 5/5 HOLY SHIT!
Two boys and a girl are the last remaining humans in existence and have inhabited a new planet. That HOLY SHIT factor is for the main character being a straight badass and not choosing between two boys, but *SPOILERS* choosing herself.
La Reyencha del Tango by Renee Ahdieh: 4/5
The main character is visiting Brazil and is (conveniently) a pro-tango dancer which leads to her finding herself in a triangle between a douchey guy and a "Tango God."
Cass, An, and Dra by Natalie C. Parker: 3/5
This story was interesting but dry. Cass can see the future of her choices when she is about to make a big decision, but still has to choose.
Lessons for Beginners by Julie Murphy: 4/5
The main character gives kissing lessons to couples where kissing is an issue, and finds herself coming between a relationship.
Triangle Solo by Garth Nix: 2/5 Meh.
This one felt very middle-grade-esque. Two boys are in a school band on another planet (where it seems like Earth has colonized) and are visited by a girl from their past.
Vim and Vigor by Veronica Roth: 5/5 YAY!
A group of girls are mourning a death of one of their friends and comes back together one more time for a movie premiere of their favorite female superheroines which leads to another "future seeing."
Work In progress by E. K. Johnston: 0/5 Nope.
I couldn't even get through the first few pages of this one, the narrator shifted without any way of referencing who it was and it was just overall confusing and not appealing. #sorrynotsorry
Hurdles by Brandy Colbert: 4/5 UGH THAT ENDING!
Mavis is a track star set who has been training to eventually go to the Olympics, but when her best friend's brother returns from rehab, she questions her life choices.
The Historian, The Garrison, and the Cantankerous Cat Woman by Lamar Giles:
5/5 HOLY SHIT!
This story is great for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but is a little confusing in the beginning. Overall it was FREAKING FANTASTIC! The main character is the "Giles" of this Universe and has to make a tough decision regarding the person who is the town guardian's life.
Waiting by Sabaa Tahir: 5/5 bc SABAA!
The main character's best friend (who she is in love with) is in jail while she prepares to leave for Stanford with a boy who is in love with her. SO GOOD!
Vega by Brenna Yovanoff: 2/5 stars
This one was a bit confusing until you understood who was speaking, but from what I understood, the love triangle was between Las Vegas (the city), Elizabeth, and Alex, who hates living in Las Vegas. It showed both the nightlife scene and how people living in Vegas live.
A Hundred Thousand Threads by Alaya Dawn: 4/5 stars
This one took some getting used to as you definitely have to figure out who is narrating or questioning or explaining, but it is worth sticking with! It takes place in the future in Mexico while a small town is being overtaken and industrialized by powerful people who are also involved in a trafficking scandal.
Before She Was Blood by Tessa Gratton: 0/5 stars
Nope. Tried. Gave up.
Unus, Duo, tres by Bethany Hagen: 5/5 stars
If you don't read any other short story in this anthology, READ THIS ONE! It is set in a private school where two vampires attend and meet a girl who has leukemia. Interesting concept as well as carry out. I loved it!
Overall, this anthology gave me all of the feels. Like all romance fan girls, I love a good love triangle, but what made this anthology special was that there was so many diverse authors that I wasn't familiar with and now can go find more from them.
This second instalment of the Brooklyn Brujas series was SO MUCH BETTER than the first! Where the first book felt too fast and missed opportunities, BRUJA BORN was WONDERFUL! I felt so much closer to this character, Lula, then I did to Alex. Where Alex was quick-tempered, Lula was thoughtful. She felt how things would affect not just herself, but her family, which was one of the things that I didn't like about Alex, but all three of the sisters seem to have grown in this book.
Lula, the oldest of the Mortiz sisters, has just been broken up with before boarding the bus to the district championship soccer game with her friends and teammates. On the way to the game, there is a terrible accident and everyone is killed except for Lula. In the hospital, she and her sisters stop death from coming for Macks, Lula's (ex) boyfriend and create a much bigger problem than 28 dead teenagers-they end up keeping them all from fully dying and creating an army of "casimuertos" or non-dead people who live off of human hearts and can't pass on. Lula has to figure out how to help these casimiertos move on from this world BEFORE they destroy all of New York, and free Lady de la Muerte-Lady Death-who is trapped between worlds.
The whole "having to find the Spear of Death" piece of the story honestly felt a bit unnecessary, but I see how it made the family and community have to come together to help Lula. The scenes leading up to finding the spear and returning it to La Muerte felt rushed, but great and anticipatory nonetheless.
Overall, the book had a very familiar feel as the movie Practical Magic, but with more culture and history embedded which I appreciated. Strong female lead characters, a great family theme, and plenty of magic gave this book five stars. My favorite thing about this book that the first didn't have was how there are other magical groups at play in New York that are both for regulatory purposes but also that help keep the non-magical people safe as well as some hinting as to where Lula and Alex' father was while he was "gone."
Zoraida Cordova outdid herself with this story; my only complaint is having to wait for the next one!
I have not read THE GOLDEN COMPASS novel, nor have I seen the movie, but for someone who has always wanted to understand the hype around the series, but hasn't had time to read it, this graphic novel was PERFECTION! The illustrations are gorgeous and make keeping track of characters much easier than having to remember all of the names. I had no trouble at all understanding and following Lyra's story. It begins at Jordan College where she is under the care of the "Master" and overhears Lord Asriel speaking about "dust" to the other scholars. Roger, her best friend, gets taken by the "Gobblers," who are the General Oblation Unit, who we later learn are trying to find a way to separate children from the daemons (outward extension of their soul) to use the energy and dust created from the separation to find a way to get in to the "other world." This was where I got confused and had to do some digging, but thankfully, as the book goes on, we learn more about dust and this other world that is referenced. When Roger is taken by the Gobblers, Lyra sets out to bring him home but meets Mrs. Coulter (who is actually her mother) who is charming and buys Lyra nice dresses, but Lyra thinks that she is hiding something and wants to take the alethiometer from her, so she runs away. Lyra meets a band of "Gyptians" who tell her about her origins and who her true parents are and why she is being hunted by the General Oblation Board, she also meets their astronaut, Lee Scoresby, and an armoured bear named Iorek Byrnison. With these people, she sets off to the North (the Arctic) to find all of the children who have been taken by the Gobblers as well as setting Lord Asriel (who she learns is her father) free from the armoured bears. Lyra's team is a great way of showing readers that people of all different backgrounds (and species-haha) can work together successfully.
While the story was a bit hard to follow at times and required A LOT of re-reading, I thought the graphic novel was amazing. The pages displaying the aurora borealis were absolutely stunning. When Lord Asriel explains what Dust is to Lyra (and the reader) it is easy to understand with a visual explanation that the graphic novel offers. Overall, I give it four stars for amazing illustrations and a great story.
For the past three years I have participated in the Goodreads Challenge. The Challenge is set by you, the reader. You set a reading goal for the year and then log your books as you read them throughout the year. You can "cheat" a bit by adjusting your goal as the year goes by, but it is always your CHOICE. I set a goal to read 80 books this year. (In 2016 my goal was 100 and I felt like I put too much pressure on myself to read quickly and not enjoy the books, so I set my goal a little lower for 2017.
I am proud to say that with 25 days left in 2017-today I completed my 2017 Goodreads Challenge of reading 80 books! Now that I've met my goal, I plan on making a "Top 10 of 2017" books list, but in my opinion, and based off of the books that I read that were published in 2017. So that books that I read this year are as follows (In backwards order):