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text 2017-09-05 13:10
Children Books I've Read Recently

Recently I decided to go on a binge of reading children stories. I was just in a nostalgic mood and ended up reading some books I never got around to reading when I was younger, and some that are newer published.


Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator) 

#1 (4 stars)

I was browsing through the kid section of the overdrive library, because I was in the mood for some children/middle grade (possibly nostalgic stuff from my past) and I saw the cover for this book. I thought it looked cute, so I checked it out. I liked it. I think it was silly and fun, and of course cute. I'm in my 30s, but I like to believe I still have a firm grasp on my inner child. I can still relate to younger characters. In the case of these two, I can relate to their imagination and how they get along with family; especially annoying a sibling.




The Adventures of Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey

#1 (5 stars)

I think this book is fun, silly, weird, but I can see why it is a hit or miss with some people. I enjoyed the artwork.




Scream Street by Tommy Donbavand

Fang of the Vampire #1 (5 stars)


I thought this series looked interesting and it turned out pretty fun and cute.

Blood of the Witch #2 (4 stars)

I'm on the fence if I liked this one better than the first one or not. It was quite silly, but not in a bad way, and the author is obviously going with his own vampire lore of how vampires are made

and cured.

(spoiler show)

At least they don't sparkle. ha ha

A fun, quick paced read.




The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne, Salvatore Murdocca (Illustrator)


Dinosaurs Before Dark #1 (4 stars)

I never read this series as a kid. It is just one of the ones I over looked and never thought about. But I thought this was cute and fun, especially for the age group it is intended for. The only reason adult me would give it a lower rating is because I would love more details and I believe even as a child reading this, more details couldn't hurt!

The Knight at Dawn #2 (3 Stars)

The only reason I give the volumes after #1 a 3 star instead of a 4 star is because of the repetitiveness. The summery of past books within the new story would be really helpful for a person who hasn't read the series in a long time. I will give this series that! So I understand why it happens, but it takes something from me as an adult reader.

However the books are cute and fun. I can relate to them, even as an adult, because I love books and would love to be in their shoes, to see all the worlds in the books, and who wouldn't want a magic tree house?

Mummies In The Morning #3 (3 Stars)

Now that I have finished the 3rd book in the series, I am starting to wonder... is the magic tree house really there, or are the children making up everything in their heads? Either way, I really like it!

Pirates Past Noon #4 (3 Stars)

So now we know who "M" is. I still wonder if the children are making up everything in their minds. Imagination is a powerful thing! Either way, this series is really fun. Sure, it's simple and short for adult readers, but that is completely fine by me! It is nice to sit down with some books without all the young adult drama. Also, I feel like these "children" books and other nostalgia type books are really good when you are in a reading slump.




Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

#1 (4 stars)

I think I would have rated this higher if the kid hadn't been such a brat. I know kids can be bratty, but he seemed way over the top! I would even say he has a meanness to him and doesn't care what the coincidences of his actions are. I felt sorry for his so called best friend.

I do like diary format in books. I might read more in the series. I hope he grows as a character as the series goes on.

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review 2016-12-02 00:00
Unwrap My Heart: or It's Time For Mummies
Unwrap My Heart: or It's Time For Mummie... Unwrap My Heart: or It's Time For Mummies - Ezra Fox,Alex Falcone SPOILER: IT'S ABOUT MUMMIES.

This is, without a doubt, the silliest book I have read in years. It's more than just a self-aware Twilight. I'm probably biased since I'm a long time listener to the Read It and Weep podcast, but I think they did an excellent job writing this book, making fun of what the public loves about paranormal YA romance.

I'm definitely the middle of their target audience demographic Venn Diagram. Not sure how much reread value there is in this, but I had a lot of fun reading it. Finally something good happened in 2016.
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review 2016-05-03 07:54
Needed something short to read
The Cankerworm of Memphis (Egyptos Book 1) - Clinton Seeber

The Cankerworm of Memphis

by Clinton A. Seeber

I needed to read something that would have a quick conclusion, so got this short one and its sequels while they were up for free.


Doctor John Benoit is a French Canadian archaeologist who visits the Sphinx in Egypt with his assistant from Alabama, Suzanne Bridges. They have a permit to study the site, but sneak in after hours and unsupervised, which in real life would get them deported.

The writing was decent, but fell into beginner traps like giving a laundry list of what the characters wore right at the beginning. There were a couple of typos that slipped through, even in just these ten pages.

It was still interesting enough to go on to the second part. It's the start of a five part series, but reads more like a first chapter. It's just enough to start to get to know the characters and have one weird thing happen to grab interest.

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review 2015-09-09 02:48
Another exceptional Owl adventure
Owl and the City of Angels - Kristi Charish

“Many people out there don't have a choice in choosing their friends and the people they're being manipulated by. Thank God, I have that choice. I can use my judgment and choose.” -- Javier Bardem

“When it comes to controlling human beings, there is no better instrument than lies. Because you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts.” -- Michael Ende

Owl just can’t catch a break. She should have learned, from her run-ins with all that is supernatural in Owl and the Japanese Circus that, the more she learns about the supernatural, the more there is to learn. And the more she would regret breaking her one rule. It was so simple, really. Don’t mess with the supernatural. Well, that’s all blown to hell and back. And hell is exactly where she might end up this time. She had to go and open up that sarcophagus, hence pissing off the vampires. Bloody cockroaches. Then she had to get on the wrong side of a Naga and a dragon. Oh, and if that isn’t enough? Now it is curses and mummies. You just had to touch it, didn’t you? Just had to unwrap it and touch it. Sigh.

I said about Owl in my last review, “Owl is a damaged character. Her default reaction to, well, everything is to break and run for the hills. Sure, it can save your backside to run away. But sometimes, you are just running further into the fire. And sometimes, the people you believe you know are not the people you thought they were at all. For good, or for bad. And Owl needs to learn the difference, quickly, if she wants to live, and to grow into something more than a child in a grownup world. Owl definitely needs to grow as a person, and as a character.” And I have to say, she definitely does show personal and professional growth in “Owl and the City of Angels.” Oh, that isn’t to say she doesn’t still make dumb choices – she does. Hence the whole “mummies and curses” thing. But she is growing.

“Come to think of it, I’m amazed how much I’ve grown over the past few months. I’m becoming an interesting person. Not well adjusted, but someone who occasionally sees through the messes they create.”

Of course, Owl being Owl, she winds up in shitstorms of monstrous proportions, but that is to be expected. And vacillates between funny – and just plain causing me to plant a face-palm.

“You are correct in your assessment of the City of the Dead. Keep in mind that even we supernaturals sometimes lose places for a reason.”

The story itself is as good as Japanese Circus. There is as much going on in this book, if not more, and as the cast of characters expands Owl begins to learn more about the supernatural, and more about herself as well. Old characters come back, both good and bad, and Owl becomes a pawn once more in the political power struggles of both the supernatural and of the IAA. Layers are peeled back, only to reveal more layers of rot and lies underneath. As always, this is an adventure heavy, Indiana Jane sort of tale, and Owl impresses me more and more with both her capability, her savvy, and her ability to piss everyone around her off in new and inventive ways. And the authors interest in, and knowledge of, archaeology really adds depth and dimension to the story. I am, of course, a geek at heart, and I found all sorts of things to highlight and look up later.

I can’t recommend this series highly enough for readers who like strong women characters who are still learning about themselves and about how to manage their pain and grow. Some wrongs are righted in this volume, though some even more horrible wrongs occur – one particular one which ripped my insides out. Captain, Owl’s Egyptian Mau partner is still a strong part of the story – who can’t love a cat who was bred specifically to attack and poison vampires with his teeth and claws? Awesome! The only bad part? I have to WAIT for the next volume! And from the epilogue? Oh, yeah. The waiting is gonna be very, very hard. Everyone wants to use Owl for their own plots and plans . . . and here is hoping that at least a couple of those people get exactly what is coming to them!!

I received Owl and the City of Angels from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. Kristi Charish has assured her place on my Auto-Read list. Very highly recommended!

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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text 2015-01-31 22:34
Why I Still Buy Paper Books - And Two That Just Arrived in the Mail
Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs. Manley - Fidelis Morgan
Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Hoving, Thomas (1994) Paperback - Thomas Hoving

One of those things I think of as "not really arguments" are the essays/articles/ponderings people write about paper vs ebook - you know, the ones that seem to have the idea that ebooks are truly making all paper books disappear, or are threatening the entire future of paper books. This isn't going to happen ever, by the way. Why am I so sure? Because there will never be a time when all the paper books previously published will all be available in digital format. Unless of course there's suddenly a new process that will be as easy for digitizing as the speed of the Transporter compares to today's air travel. (Actually the Replicator is a better comparison isn't it? I'm too lazy to rewrite that. Let's pretend it was my first thought.) It could happen - and I would enjoy to see that in my lifetime. But I'm not going to count on it. Now, there may be fewer new paper books published in the future - but there will always be people who want paper copies of some of them. As a species, humans like to obtain certain objects just to touch and hold.


There are always going to be books that it won't be profitable to turn into digital books. For those books the only options/hopes for digitization are that a hobbyist/fan, an academic, or an academic institution (or something Google-ish) will work on formatting them, purely out of desire to have others read them, or continue scholarship on the author/subject. Which means there will still be those of us that will bump into mentions of obscure books which we will want to read and paper will be our only option. This isn't entirely sad - but it does mean that paper's going to be around a while. And since paper books do tend to last, we'll still be buying them. (Gadgetry however - well, do you still have your first cassette player? Record player? CD player? Mp3 player? All of those?)


Short version: We're still in the early days of ebook tech. It's still in progress and the old tech has not been completely replaced. (Tech advances more quickly now, but adoption of tech never has been that rapid. Also see: vinyl records. It's really hard to call when something's definitely died out.)


Also remember that loads of people (the kind who love making predictions) decades ago were certain we'd all be using flying cars by now. (Words to google: flying car predictions.)


Now to the (vaguely) more interesting bit - why I had to buy these paper books!

Short answer, the obvious: They were only available in paper.


A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs. Manley

by Fidelis Morgan

hardback: Faber and Faber, January 1, 1987


There are sooooo many biographies or academic writings on certain women in our history that are only available via used books online. (Am not going into a lengthy Not All Libraries bit here, for fear of being dull.) You're not going to easily find these in physical used book stores - not without some continuous looking, emails or phone calls. Unless you've got the motivation of a research paper there's a lot of history you're going to miss out on. Me, I hate missing out on these sorts of stories, and I have an insatiable curiosity problem. And I'm rarely happy with just a biographical line or two in random history books. (Note: Edited out a long burble on "I seem to have this problem with more women's histories than men, because I can't really quantify that. I could do an entire post just on "random guys in history I ran down books about because they didn't get much attention in histories." I'm a sucker for this kinda obscure history. But I do find that many of these "not well known" women in history have very few books devoted just to them. I suspect this has to do with how many women's history dissertations get published.) (And so much for editing that out, huh.)


I bumped into first heard about Delarivier Manley in reading Lucy Moore's Thieves' Opera, and posted about her in this Reading in Progress post. There you'll see I googled her, and wanted to know more. I added a book to my TBR list/wish list and it might have ended there. Except I had to buy some other things at Amazon, and I got into my "oh what the hell, I'm buying other stuff so I might as well..." moods. I have an Amazon wish list just for books that I can only buy in paper, and this was at the top - plus I was still thinking about her. Impulse buy!


Luckily this book was published in the 80s, so not a huge problem getting a copy. No idea what the writing's like yet - but I'll let you know.


Also if you want a unique name for a fictional character, do let me suggest Delarivier. I'm somewhat fond of it.


Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

by Thomas Hoving

hardback: Touchstone, February 15, 1994


This one's been on my Amazon list for so long that I've completely forgotten where I discovered its existence - I know it was another book's bibliography. Which means I can't tell you any interesting story that caught my eye this time - that's usually how books get on my Need To Read This list. If you read his wikipedia page - Thomas Hoving - I think you'll quickly see why I felt he might have an interesting take on working in the museum.


Note: I will squee over anyone who's worked at The Cloisters - as Hoving did. I still have not been there (I have been to the Met). Someday I must. I've always been in love with the idea and descriptions and photos of the place. I think I can blame some of this on an art history class in Gothic cathedral architecture. Great stuff. With a really difficult final exam where you were shown interior photos and had to name the cathedral and its time period. (Studying for a visual part of an exam is not easy!)


Is there a fandom for those of us who love Museums? Because I know there are many of us. I see others like me whenever I'm in a museum. We're the ones that carefully read the text next to the objects, who pick up and read the paper brochures, who stand aside to let a group pass through so we can take our time looking. I always smile hugely when I see people do this, and then quickly pretend I'm not looking. Everyone needs their museum-alone-time.

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