Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mini Reviews [6] We Are Okay, You & Sloppy Takes the Plunge


We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Narrated by Jorjeana Marie

Synopsis (via Goodreads): You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
“I wonder if there's a secret current that connects people who have lost something. Not in the way that everyone loses something, but in the way that undoes your life, undoes your self, so that when you look at your face it isn't yours anymore.”
I've been meaning to read this one for a long time, and when I realized the audiobook was short (I think it was around 5 hours) I decided to just go for it! I was pleasantly surprised by the story, although it does start off a little slow. It's a story about loss and betrayal, but also love and hope. It's hard to forgive someone when they've wronged you in the worst way imaginable, but we see Marin's progress as she struggles through her thoughts and feelings surrounding the event.

There are a few flashbacks to the past that give us an idea of Marin's present, but in the end I couldn't make sense of her actions. They seemed too extreme. She essentially dropped everything and did the unthinkable, but her reasoning was... off. Her reaction didn't make sense to me, because I feel like she had so many other options. I'm not sure how this one event was able to change the core of her so drastically. 

We Are Okay deals with loss and the importance of friendship and love. Love doesn't have to come from people you're related to, and sometimes you just need to look a little closer to realize it's something you've had all along.

You (You, #1) by Caroline Kepnes
Narrated by Santino Fontana
Synopsis (via Goodreads): When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.



“I don't say anything. I know the power of silence. I remember my dad saying nothing and I remember his silences more vividly than I remember the things he said.”
A friend recommended this to me before I knew it was going to be a movie, but seeing the trailer just made me want to read it even more! I like Penn Badgley and could easily picture him and his voice as I listened to the audiobook. Side note: the narrator is also Prince Hans from Frozen! I'll never be able to watch that movie the same way again. 

I was really addicted to this book when I first started it! It was crazy (literally) being inside Joe's head and seeing how he viewed the world. He has a skewed sense of right and wrong, and what should be done to "punish" those that fall into the latter category. I'll admit... it was oddly fascinating to watch how his mind worked. 

Beck and her friends annoyed the heck out of me. I never connected with any of the characters and wondered how anyone could be so selfish and vain. They were spoiled, insecure, obnoxious people that behaved one way in public and another in private. I could actually understand Joe's frustrations with society and how fake people appeared to be.

However, about halfway through the book I started to get bored with the story. It felt like the same things were being repeated in a different way with different people. I'm also not a big fan of the way it ended. I was briefly surprised, but that was quickly eclipsed by everything else going on. 

If you're looking for a good mindfuck, this is the book for you. My brain feels tainted just from being inside Joe's head for so long. I think listening to the audiobook made it feel more real, and it was a great audiobook. I just wish the middle had been condensed a lot more!


Sloppy Takes the Plunge by Sean Julian
Expected Publication: September 4, 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Everyone loves a good hug and a good bath!

Sloppy the tree dragon doesn’t want to take a bath.

“Being mucky is what a tree dragon is all about.” Could it be that getting clean is nearly as fun as getting dirty?


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was such a cute book! If your child wants to play in the mud and not take a bath afterward--this might be a book for you!

Dewdrop uses a hug as incentive for Sloppy to take a bath, and it was fun watching this dragon inspect the water with a few ducklings to make sure it was safe.

I also loved the illustrations and how there was a giant plug in the lake making it resemble a bathtub. My son really enjoyed this one, too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My Weekly Pull [21]



My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #1 (of 4) by Charles Soule, Jim Zub, David Marquez, Chris Bachalo
Legion #5 (of 5) by Peter Milligan, Wilfredo Torres, Javier Rodriguez
Moon Knight #195 by Max Bemis, Ty Templeton, Greg Smallwood (Deadpool Variant)
Old Man Hawkeye #5 (of 12) by Ethan Sacks, Marco Checchetto

My pull list is going to start looking a lot smaller! I've decided to stop including the comics Jacob and I get together each week, and instead focus only on the comics I'm reading. I've decided to do this for a lot of reasons: a) time commitment, b) I'm not actually reading some of them right now (but I might in the future), and c) it's hard for me to respond to questions about comics I haven't actually read yet.

This week we're continuing with Hunt for Wolverine from a different perspective. I finally read the first issue (!!!) and now know that there are different teams looking for Wolverine, so these different mini series are the different groups that are out looking. I love how it's pulling in a lot of different characters! Daredevil, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, etc. This issue is going to focus on a group of women that are looking for him, like Rogue and Storm. 

Legion is on its last issue and I don't know what the flark is going on. I think I've been inside his head for too long, and there is some weirdness going on (if that cover is any indication). 

I love the Deadpool variant for Moon Knight! His speech bubble says, "How in the world am I supposed to keep this outfit clean?!" 🀣 It's a very Deadpool thing to say from a Moon Knight perspective.

As for Old Man Hawkeye...it's getting dark. I'm actually hesitant about reading this newest issue. It might make or break the series for me, to be honest. I've always loved Hawkeye, especially the Kate Bishop version, but I don't know if I can stick with this series for seven more issues. 

Reading any new comics this week? Old?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I (Virginia Shreves #2) by Carolyn Mackler



Expected Publication: May 29, 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Virginia Shreves’ life is finally back on course: she’s accepted who she is inside and out and is rebuilding her relationship with brother Byron, whose date-rape charge shattered everything.

But just as she adjusts to her new normal, her world turns upside down again. Sparks with boyfriend Froggy fade, her best friend bombshells bad news, and then the police arrest Byron. As Virginia struggles to cope, she meets Nate, an artist with his own baggage. The pair vow not to share personal drama. But secrets have a way of coming out, and theirs could ruin everything.
For some girls it’s sexy when a guy bench-presses or throws a football, but he’s slaying me with the book references.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

I didn't realize this was the second book in a series, but The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I was able to stand on its own. If anything, it makes me more curious about the first book!

I'm relieved Virginia didn't immediately back her brother when he was charged with date-rape. Families tend to do that with their loved ones, because they don't want to see them in pain or in trouble, despite what they've done. Virginia knew Byron's actions were wrong, but she also remembers her brother from before the suspension and charges. She's conflicted over her feelings, but never wants Byron to avoid punishment. It was an interesting perspective to read from, because her head and heart were constantly conflicted.

Virginia was an amazing character. I hated that her parents would body-shame people in front of her, or even hint that she could do better herself. It was awful to view from the outside, and I cannot imagine how someone would feel on the receiving end of those offhanded comments. They destroyed her confidence and made her question herself. Parents: love your children as they are. I never want my children to feel like something about them needs to be changed. Society has dictated what people should look like today, and frankly... it's bullshit. I'm a "curvaceous chick," too. We should respect all body types and love people for who they are.

I wasn't sure where this story was going to go, and I was a little disappointed by the ending. It was similar to being suspended on a roller coaster and waiting for a drop that never happens. There wasn't a cliffhanger, or any indication that things would be continued later on, and maybe an epilogue would have made the story feel more final. Instead, I'm left with questions and feeling like there is more story to be read. Twice I've caught myself going back to pick this book up, only to remember that I've finished it and there's nothing left to read.

Overall, the story was wonderful and I really enjoyed being in Virginia's head. She's an incredibly compassionate person that appreciates people. She makes a point to learn their names, so they're not simply referred to by their job descriptions (example: the tree woman or the lawn man). Her relationship with Sebastian was sweet, and I loved their interactions with each other. The family dynamics were imperfect but realistic. There were little arguments and disagreements, but they did care about each other. They may not have always shown it in the best way, but it was there.

Everything about this book felt authentic, and now I feel like the author purposefully ended the story the way she did. It feels like Carolyn Mackler stopped in the middle of a thought, but that's life. Life is forever flowing around us. Virginia, Sebastian, Bryon, Annie... their lives are going to continue moving forward in one way or another. We get to see a glimpse of what might happen to them, but there are so many different paths they could take. I think we're supposed to be left feeling curious and optimistic about their future.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Q [4] Why are we okay with human voilence but not animal cruelty?

After reviewing The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, I realized a lot of people weren't going to read it simply because animals get hurt. However, this book includes rape, murder, drugs, etc., but fewer people have an issue with reading about those topics. What is the difference? Why can we read about people getting hurt but not animals?

I've had people tell me that animals are innocent and defenseless, but a drugged teenager in the woods with a group of heroin addicts is also innocent and defenseless. She didn't ask for that to happen to her, she doesn't want to suffer their abuse, but we can read about that and say the book was powerful or highlighted important aspects of society. I'm pretty sure I said similar things in my review, but also mentioned how I wish the animal cruelty had been left out. I can understand its importance and why the author included it, but I don't like to read about it. I don't like to read about people getting hurt either, but I don't seem to have as much trouble with it.

This question has been on my mind since yesterday, so I thought I'd ask and see what everyone else had to say. Why are we okay when we read about human violence and disturbing or dark topics, but we tend to avoid books that hurt animals? If the books are fiction, shouldn't we be able to tolerate reading about both?

Another example would be Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. It was very violent, but the parts that made me cringe were the animal sacrifices. An owl having its throat slit was worse that a guy being stabbed through the torso. I feel like I should be equally disturbed by both.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Narrated by Amanda Dolan,
Justis Bolding & Dan Bittner
Synopsis (via Goodreads): A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.



“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”
We're raised to know the difference between right and wrong, but who actually determines what those are? If your child was murdered, would it be wrong for you to seek your own justice? Would you feel bad about exacting revenge on someone that hurt you or a person you cared about? Where do you draw the line? It's easy to look at someone else's life and judge their decisions based on what we think we know, but we honestly have no idea what another person has lived through.

The Female of the Species was a lot darker than I originally expected it to be. The synopsis alone tells you that Alex killed someone and got away with it, but the reasons behind the murder feel... justified. I know that sounds awful, because killing for any reason should be wrong, but it was hard for me to feel that way when I was so caught up in Alex's thoughts and feelings. What would I have done in her situation? 

Alex was a little off kilter from the beginning. She knew she had issues with rage and controlling her actions. Her best friend over the years was a punching bag her father left behind. She didn't understand what made her this way, and none of her research provided answers. Alex could never accurately identify what she believed to be wrong with her, but she was perceptive, thoughtful, and incredibly protective of others. Alex had a way of appreciating people that she knew very little about. Her worldview may have been a little skewed, but she was able to rationalize everything in a way that made sense. I guess you could say she used her "powers" for good, but that didn't make it any easier to read about. 

Jack and Peekay (thought it was PK while listening to the audiobook because it stands for Preacher's Kid) were interesting perspectives, too. Jack's job at a slaughterhouse was a little too detailed for my liking, and I could have done without that information being included in the book (wish I could erase it out of our reality, too), but I do understand the point the author was trying to make. Sometimes we have to do something we don't like in order to achieve something better. Peekay had the best parents, and not because they were religious. They were understanding and accepting of their daughter, her lesbian friend, and didn't try to invoke the wrath of God just because she drank alcohol and went to a party. 

I thought The Female of the Species raised a lot of important questions about rape, acceptance, and the punishments given to those who are "evil." It also shows us how speaking up or choosing to remain silent can have unforeseeable consequences in life. Not speaking up about an attempted rape allows that person to try again in the future. Could you live with the guilt if they were successful? What if someone else was hurt because you were too afraid to say something? This book also shows a victim's internal conflict between embarrassment, humiliation, anger, resentment, and a wide range of other emotions. Making the decision to call the police may seem simple on the surface, but is a lot more difficult in reality. 

I cannot tell you if you should read this book or not, because I know the content will be hard for a lot of people to stomach, but I do think it delivers an important message. We live in a world where people are raped and murdered. Animals are abused and neglected (Alex and Peekay work at an animal shelter, so there are a few uncomfortable situations involving animals) with little or no consequence. It might not be the easiest thing to talk about, but what happens if we ignore it? It doesn't go away or stop happening. 

This book had me hooked from the very beginning. I enjoyed the alternating perspectives and how honest everyone was with themselves. It was refreshing to read about teenagers that felt authentic. People admitted their flaws and failures, while also expressing their hopes and desires. I thought I knew how this story was going to play out, but I was wrong. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The Female of the Species will leave you feeling raw and conflicted, but also a little hopeful.

"You can love someone down to their core and they can love you right back just as hard, and if you traded diaries you’d learn things you never suspected. There’s a part of everyone deep down inside of them not meant for you. And the sooner you learn that, the easier your life is gonna be."

“There are laws in place that stop us from doing things. This is what we tell ourselves. In truth we stop ourselves; the law is a guideline for how to punish someone who is caught.” 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Final Thoughts [4] Rogue & Gambit (#1-5)

Rogue & Gambit (#1-5) by Kelly Thompson, Pere PΓ©rez (Illustrator), Kris Anka (Illustrator) 
I loved Kelly Thompson's take on Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), so I was thrilled when I saw she would also be writing Rogue & Gambit! I don't think these two get enough attention, and Thompson manages to cram a lot of their past and present into 5 issues. I actually learned a lot of new things about these two. They have a complicated history, but their love is fierce even when they're not together (or Rogue is smooching with Deadpool--ugh).

I would say this comic is romance with a twist! Rogue and Gambit go on a couple's retreat, but it's also their mission. Something hanky has been going on, so they're sent to figure out what it is. They were the best candidates, because their relationship was actually suffering. They needed outside assistance, but they had no idea what would happen once they arrived and started snooping around.

If you're looking for something short and engaging--this is it! These two are so much fun to read about, and you cannot help but fall in love with them, too. Their secret mission was unexpected, and I would love to know more about the baddie (don't want to be spoilery!) and their past. These are also some of my favorite illustrations, both inside and out. I honestly don't think I could pick a favorite cover... maybe #3... but just because we get to see a lot of the previous versions of Rogue and Gambit.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mini Reviews [5] Birds of a Feather & Ivy in Bloom

Birds of a Feather: A Book of Idioms and Silly
Pictures by Vanita Oelschlager,
Robin Hegan (Illustrator)


Synopsis (via Goodreads): Children are innately curious about words, especially phrases that make them laugh ("Ants in your pants!"), sound silly ("Barking up the wrong tree" or "Goosebumps") or trigger images that tickle a child's sense of the absurd ("Like a bull in a china shop"). Birds of a Feather introduces children to the magic of idioms words that separately have one meaning, but together take on something entirely different. Birds of a Feather introduces idioms with outlandish illustrations of what the words describe literally. The reader then has to guess the "real" meaning of the phrases (which is upside down in the corner of each spread). At the end of the book, the reader is invited to learn more about these figures of speech.

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I really loved the idea for this! The illustrations were beautiful, but I did have a problem with one: Let the cat out of the bag. It was a little too much. I understand the need to adequately convey the idiom through imagery, but I also think it sends the wrong message to kids. We shouldn't put animals in bags and tie them up, not even as a joke in a children's book. I feel like this could have been depicted in a better way.

My second issue with this book was the captions. They're upside down. Do you know how difficult it was to continuously flip the book over (impossible on an iPad that keeps adjusting the screen), to read the descriptions for the idioms? The idioms themselves were short and to the point, but the upside down portion (explanation and example) were a lot longer. My son was also frustrated because he wanted to look at the pictures, and I had to try and angle the book in a way that would allow me to read the captions. About halfway through I stopped flipping the book over and just gave my own explanations. I think it was a lovely idea that could have been executed better.


Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great
Poets and Writers from the Past
by Vanita Oelschlager,
Kristin Blackwood (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Ivy in Bloom captures the weariness of a young girl tired of a long winter. "I stare out the window," she says on the first spread of brown and gray, "looking for birds or flowers / or even warm showers / but I don't see any such thing." But then Spring comes when "March is out of breath snow melting to flowery waters and watery flowers spring rose from its wintry rest." And Ivy's "heart dances with daffodils." As these words also dance across each spread, Ivy's world erupts into a riot of color.

Ivy in Bloom introduces the poetry of Dickinson, Longfellow, Browning, Wordsworth, Frost and others. Excerpts from their writings, as seen through Ivy's eyes, will open up poetry as a way for children to express their own feelings about the changing of seasons. This book includes longer excerpts and brief bios of each author
.

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I thought Ivy in Bloom was very clever and creative! The author combines poems from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Charles Dickens, E.E. Cummings, and a few others. Pieces from their individual poems are layered together to create one comprehensive story.

Even though I know why it didn't flow well (people have different writing styles), the book was smooth in some places and choppy in others. I do think the author put a lot of research and work into this book, and the illustrations are gorgeous. They really brought this story to life and kept me turning the pages. There was also an unexpected reference to God at the end that didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the spring theme, but it didn't actually detract from the overall story. 

I enjoyed reading this one, and I like that the author breaks down the individual poems at the end. It shows us where they came from, who wrote them, and how they fit together.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Synopsis (via Goodreads): The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As the weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancΓ© only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhoods, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?

Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.
Addiction is, in that way, just like love—in the early moments, you don’t see the potential for it to bring you pain—it’s just something you slide into between laughs and smiles and moments of bliss. It’s something that feels like a shield, until you realize it’s actually a warhead, and it’s pointed right at you.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

Before I Let You Go was really hard for me to read. I don't mind reading books that make me uncomfortable, but there are no words to truly describe how awful child abuse is. Children trust adults to love and take care of them, and they shouldn't have to worry about someone hurting them physically or psychologically. They're impressionable, and if you tell them something long enough, and with enough force, they're likely to believe it themselves.

Kelly Rimmer touches on a lot of difficult subjects that both angered and saddened me. My heart broke for Annie, Lexie, Daisy, their mom, and even Sam. No one was untouched by the addiction and abuse, because they were all connected in some way. It effected the lives of everyone, but some more than others. Daisy is a sweet, innocent child that had no say in how she was born into this world. The fact that a newborn had to suffer through withdrawals killed me. I don't know what I would have done as a parent in that situation, or a relative in Lexie's case.

However, even though I was disgusted with Annie for allowing this to happen to her child, I also know that she suffers from an addiction, which is an illness. Addiction should be treated and people should be offered help instead of condemnation. We can never truly know someone's past, or what happened in their life that started them on a path of self-destruction. They are still people. A lot of states prosecute mothers who test positive for drugs when they are pregnant. It's a felony, and the rights of their child are given to someone else (while the mother is still pregnant). Annie's doctors had to get permission from the baby's guardian to perform an emergency C-section. She had no say over what happened to her own body, and even the medications she was prescribed had to go through someone other than her doctors.

I understand that the law wants to do what's best for the baby, but what about the mother? They only care about the baby while it's in the womb. They stop giving a shit the second it's born and can be placed in foster care. They'll still do whatever they can to punish the mother, but they don't give any more thought to the child or their future. How about putting more money into the foster care system? They could also offer to help the mothers instead of taking them away from their babies. I know this isn't the case for every mother with an addiction, but surely there are better ways for their situations to be handled.

Like I said, this book gave me a lot to think about, and it also challenged my views on addiction and how it affects people. As for the story, it was difficult to get through at times, but it was powerful. There are a lot of important things being said, and it's hard to wish for one specific outcome.

Lexie frequently got on my nerves. She was incredibly stubborn and insisted on doing everything herself. However, she does recognize this about herself, so that made her poor decisions easier to forgive. She was struggling to cope with everything being thrown at her, and she's used to doing it alone. It was easy for her to forget that Sam wanted to help. He also wanted her to be able to ask for it. Their relationship was sweet, but we also see their ups and downs as the story progresses. Taking on a baby, dealing with a relative in rehab, work--the logistics of it all is maddening. They were truly a team, though, especially when it mattered most.

If it were possible for me to reach into the book and pull Lexie's mom out, I would have done it in an instant. I wanted to shake her until she realized how blind and disturbingly obedient she was being. I understand that she was grieving, but your children should always come first. They should always be your main priority, and you should listen when they have something to say.

This book made me shake with anger, cry with helplessness, and wish for the impossible. I cared about all of these characters individually, and I really wanted their lives to work out in the best possible way. Before I Let You Go is a poignant story that makes you view things from a different perspective, feel every emotion imaginable, and appreciate the things in life you may have taken for granted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My Weekly Pull [20]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #82 by Tom Waltz, Brahm Revel, Kevin Eastman
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #22 by Paul Allor, Mark Torres
Kick-Ass #4 by Mark Millar, John Romita, Mike Mayhew
All-New Wolverine #35 by Tom Taylor, Ramon Rosanas, David Lopez
Daredevil #602 by Charles Soule, Mike Henderson, Mike Perkins (Deadpool Variant)

Hunt for Wolverine Claws of a Killer #1 (of 4) by Mariko Tamaki, Greg Land, Butch Guice
Infinity Countdown Daredevil #1 by Gerry Duggan, Clayton Crain
Punisher #224 by Matthew Rosenberg, Guiu Vilanova, Clayton Crain
X-Men Red #4 by Tom Taylor, Mahmud A. Asrar, Brent Schoonover (Deadpool Variant)
You Are Deadpool #3 (of 5) by Al Ewing, Paco Diaz, Razzah, Salva Espin (RPG Variant)

I don't know what it is about the Hunt for Wolverine comics, but the site I normally use doesn't list an author or an illustrator. I only know the cover artist for this one because it's a variant. I'll do a little research this week and see what I can find out. Maybe it's a collaboration so they decided not to list them all on their website? It's weird that they're also not listed on the cover. (Edit 05/18/18: Ironically it was Goodreads that listed the relevant information, so now my posts are updated to reflect that!)

Marvel has also started changing the way they number their comics! People were getting really confused with the Legacy numbering, because some series have already started back at #1 (like Venom because there is a new writer). Now they list both! Each issue will list the number for the series and it's Legacy number on the cover of the comic. For example, there have been 602 issues of Daredevil as a whole, but this series might only be on its 24th issue. Marvel will now list both numbers to help with the confusion. (I don't actually know what issue this volume of Daredevil is on, so I just made up the number 24.)

The last few weeks we've had a lot of Venom variants, and it looks like they've moved on to Deadpool variants. We're getting two this week! I know you can't see it very well, but the X-Men Red variant says, "Telekinetic Chimichangas."

It's the last issue of All-New Wolverine! Tom Taylor isn't going to be writing it anymore, and the person taking over is changing the name to X-23 or something. UGH. I wanted more Laura and Gabby from Taylor's perspective! I'm so happy they're both in X-Men Red (which he also writes), so I'm not losing them completely. 

There was a massive cliffhanger at the end of the last Kick-Ass and I'm actually nervous about reading the next one... it can't end well. 

What about you lovely people? Have you picked up a comic book this week? Graphic novel? What was it?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Geekerella (Starfield #1) by Ashley Poston

Narrated by 
Eileen Stevens & Tristan Morris 
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad's old costume, Elle's determined to win - unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons - before he was famous. Now they're nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake - until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

“She wears life like Elvis wore sequins, with no apology laced into the seams.”
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

I just realized that Geekerella is going to be part of a series! This was an amazing Cinderella retelling with a clear ending, so I'm excited to see where the story will go from here.

First of all, the cover for this book is gorgeous! I feel like it encompasses all the best parts of the story. Secondly, I loved the main characters. Elle, Darien and Sage were incredible and I would love to be their friend! Thirdly, the author has created a world within a world. Starfield has a fandom just like Star Wars and Star Trek, and I wish it was something that existed in our reality and not just a fictional one. Ashley Poston really delivers a story you can believe in. Also, she references Firefly! I flarking love that show and was royally pissed when it was cancelled. #bringbackfirefly

I was pretty mad at Elle a few times. She would frequently view situations as hopeless or acted like her dreams weren't worth fighting for. Sage, Darien, Cal--everyone else was quick to come to her defense, but she took the abuse because she felt like she deserved it. I would cringe whenever her stepmother or Chloe would verbally attack her, but she was their punching bag and allowed herself to be pummeled. I really wanted Elle to fight back.

When Chloe lies at the end, why doesn't anyone call her out on it?? It would have been so easy to check! Argh. (This isn't spoilery because Chloe lies a lot and is just a horrible person in general, but you'll know exactly what I mean when you get there...)

Despite Elle's inability to defend herself and what she believes in, I found this book to be incredibly enjoyable. I loved learning about Starfield while also watching Elle and Darien dance around each other for weeks. It was fun to know who they were to each other before they did, and I liked watching everything fall into place. 

I feel like I should say more about this book, but I don't want to give too much away, so if you enjoy retellings, Cinderella, fanfiction, science fiction, cosplay, conventions, or just a fun story--this is definitely for you!

WARNING! If you listen to the audiobook, the narrators read with a southern drawl. This has resulted in my Texas twang making an unwanted appearance in casual conversation. I'll say something and it just slips out! Now I have to retrain my brain. 😱😭

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [6]

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. This meme is for sharing all the books you’ve added to your shelves throughout the week month (because I try not to add too many books during a single week, haha). 

Library:
Bannerless (The Coast Road, #1) by Carrie Vaughn
Warcross (Warcross, #1) by Marie Lu
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer

I am always happy to continue The Lunar Chronicles! This series is just really, really good. The audiobooks (which is what Cress is) have been stellar! Rebecca Soler is one of my favorite narrators. I've heard a lot of wonderful things about Warcross, too. Bannerless is new to me, but I love Carrie Vaughn.

NetGalley:
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart 
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back #2) by A.V. Geiger

I'm really excited about all of these! Especially Sadie! I cannot wait to dive into that one. I don't think any of them are going to be an easy read. Based on their blubs, I think the rest of my May books are going to be a tad darker than what I've been reading lately.

Giveaways:
In Her Skin by Kim Savage
Doll Hearts by Colleen Clayton
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

I've won a few giveaways over the last few weeks! This never happens! Doll Hearts also came with a Yankee candle that smells divine. It's called Flowers in the Sun and is essentially happiness in a jar. Sniffing it right now for verification! πŸ˜‰ Fifty and Other F-Words is going to be hilarious! I skimmed the first few pages and can tell that I'll enjoy reading it. I may not be able to relate to everything, but there will be a lot that resonates with me.

Baby Teeth is going to freak me out... "But Mommy stands in her way, and she'll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good." That's from the synopsis on Goodreads! 😱 In Her Skin sounds like it will be incredibly suspenseful! Can you imagine taking on a missing person's identity just to have a home?

Purchased: 
Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins
Night After Night (Seductive Nights, #1) by Lauren Blakely 
Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1) by Ellen Oh
Mad Love (A Mad Love Story, #1) by Colet Abedi
What's Left of Me (What's Left of Me, #1) by Amanda Maxlyn
Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Most of these were ridiculously good deals on Amazon! They were either $1.99 or free! I've wanted to read Gem & Dixie for ages!

These are my newest additions over the last few weeks! Have you read any of them? Which one would you recommend I read first?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Narrated by
Deacon Lee & Kyle Mason
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
But how can I send my heart to him when he's just said, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn't speak its language?
All the smiling hurt my cheeks! I loved being inside Tanner's head and hearing his thoughts. He was adorable, funny, and I thoroughly enjoyed his story.

I cannot imagine being an open bisexual and suddenly having to pretend that I'm not. I understand his parents were worried about him living in a very religious community, but he shouldn't have to hide himself away until it's safe for him to be who he is. Speaking of his parents, I loved how overly supportive they were of their children. When they found out he was bisexual, they told him nothing had changed, and he was free to be himself no matter what (until they moved to Utah and didn't want things to be harder for him). Tanner repeatedly mentions how lucky he is, because most children don't get that unconditional love from their parents, and it was a joy to read about a family that supported rather than condemned. 

Sebastian's parents are not as accepting, and it frustrated the hell out of me when they said or did something that was judgmental of others. I'm not familiar with the Mormon church or their beliefs, but I think the authors (Christina and Lauren are two separate people), did a wonderful job of conveying their ideology. In reality, it's not much different from the religion I grew up with, and it makes me wonder about a lot of things, but that's a conversation for another time.

Sebastian is confused and conflicted about himself, and Tanner is blissfully uncomplicated. I thought the two of them were fun to watch, and it was easy to see how Tanner wrote a book based on his thoughts alone. At times they were poetic and funny, but others had a sadness to them that was hard to hear. The audiobook for this was outstanding! I really wanted more of this story as soon as it ended, but it left me with a smile.

Autumn was an amazing best friend! I wish Tanner had confided in her sooner, but their relationship had its own complications. They haven't known each other very long, but the ease of their friendship was beautiful. You know they're going to stay in touch no matter where they are in life.

Autoboyography had a lot of highs and just as many lows. The ending was a tad confusing because the perspective changes without any warning. We've been in Tanner's head for the majority of the book, but then suddenly Sebastian is getting his thoughts out there. Even when Tanner does pop back up, it's weird. I wasn't in his head anymore, but viewing things from another perspective. I wish the authors had kept things the same, because changing everything really messed up the flow for me.

Overall, this was an incredible story that I loved listening to. Tanner and Sebastian are so very different, but they share something important. It was easy to fall in love with them and wish for the best. A person's identity is important and shouldn't be a secret, but that's hard when your family (the people that are supposed to love you the most) cannot accept the truth of who you are. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Final Thoughts [3] Tales of Suspense (#100-104)

 Tales of Suspense (#100-104) by Matthew Rosenberg, Travel Foreman (Illustrator), Marco Checchetto (Illustrator) 
I finished this series last night and was pleasantly surprised! I wasn't sure which direction Rosenberg would take their story, but wow! I hate that it ended when it did, and I hope there is a continuation in the future. Tales of Suspense will leave you with quite a few questions, but the major plot has a resolution.

I really loved Hawkeye and Bucky together! They're an unlikely pair with very little in common, but they did love the same woman. That makes things even more interesting... Is Black Widow dead or alive? It's what everyone wants to know, especially these two.

It wasn't my favorite comic, but the story was enjoyable. The best part was the bantering between Bucky and Hawkeye! They have a love-to-hate-you relationship that was fun to read about. 🀣

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina Marchetta

Synopsis (via Goodreads): From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
“If we forget who we lost, then we forget who we once were, and if we forget who we once were, we lose sight of who we are now.”
It has been years since I read the first book, Finnikin of the Rock, but I had no trouble falling back into the beautiful world Melina Marchetta created. It was like I had never left even though the story starts three years after the first one ended. A lot of sequels try to summarize the first book within the second, but that wasn't the case here. Tidbits of information are dropped throughout, but they were gentle reminders that didn't take away from the current story.

I don't really remember how I felt about Froi from Finnikin of the Rock, but I absolutely loved him in this! He's so devoted to Isaboe and the kingdom of Lumatere. He's made a home for himself and would do anything to protect those he loves. However, he isn't expecting to form new relationships when he leaves on a secret mission for his queen and king. He didn't think anyone could matter to him as much, but he cannot help his feelings or how they develop.

There are not enough words to describe how magical and wonderful this world is. I cannot fathom how Melina Marchetta's mind works, or how she created something so complex and completely captivating. This book is a beast... like 600 pages, but I never wanted to stop reading. The length of Froi of the Exiles is what kept me from starting this one for so long, and I want to thank Andi for giving me the push I needed to finally commit to reading it.

I like to think I'm pretty good at figuring things out in a book before they happen, but damn... I never knew what was coming, and I was often so surprised I had to re-read a few pages to make sure I really understood what was going on. There are so many things happening at once, and everyone has a secret (or five). It wasn't until everyone started explaining themselves that a complete picture was formed.

This book also made me feel. They weren't always good feelings either, because there are things that happen that make me want to be a very violent person. I don't know how Froi was able to restrain himself at times, and I know his bond had to be strong to keep himself from lashing out and killing everyone. Quintana broke my heart, and what happens to her is cruel and despicable. Gah, I can't even talk about this without getting worked up.

Quintana was a fascinating character that cannot be easily explained. She's so much more than people think, and my heart repeatedly broke for her. Despite everything she has lived through, she still remains a fierce force to be reckoned with.

I love all the characters in this book, and it would be impossible for me to list each one and what I liked about them. We see various perspectives throughout the book (though mostly Froi's), and it was wonderful to watch each of them as the story progresses. I'm so happy Marchetta included everyone from the first book, and that we get to see what's happening in their lives, too.

Have I said enough? Maybe. Can I say enough? Definitely not. I could go on and on about everything I loved about this book, but I'll simply ask that you read it for yourself. It's something that needs to be experienced by you and not just talked about by me. Technically, you could skip Finnikin of the Rock and just read Froi of the Exiles, because they can stand on their own. However, I would recommend reading them both so you can stay in Marchetta's incredibly enchanting world just a little bit longer.

*Originally reviewed for the feature New to You on Andi's ABCs!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

My Weekly Pull [19]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!
Analog #2 by Gerry Duggan, David O'Sullivan, Jordie Bellaire
Despicable Deadpool #300 by Gerry Duggan, Mike Hawthorne, Tony Moore
Domino #2 by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Greg Land
Hunt for Wolverine Adamantium Agenda #1 (of 4) by Tom Taylor, Greg Land, R. Silva 
New Mutants Dead Souls #3 (of 6) by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Ryan Stegman

Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #304 by Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones
Runaways #9 by Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka
Spider-Man Deadpool #32 by Robbie Thompson, Chris Bachalo
Venom #1 by Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, Paolo Rivera
You are Deadpool #2 (of 5) by Al Ewing, Paco Diaz, Razzah

I recently read the first issue of Analog per my husband's request, and it wasn't bad... but I don't think it's my cup of tea. Words can no longer be safely sent via the internet, so messengers are hired to hand-deliver correspondences between important people. As you can imagine, it's a dangerous job, and most people don't care if you're handcuffed to the case.

Gerry Duggan is writing Analog, but this is also his last issue of Despicable Deadpool. It's not a series I've read, but I hear this final issue is incredibly disgusting. 

I am loving these Domino covers! They're quickly becoming some of my favorites. The inner artwork is equally stellar. Speaking of spectacular illustrations... Kris Anka from Runaways is amazing! I need to find the issues I'm missing so I can catch up to the current releases.

Donny Cates' Venom is out today!! I cannot wait to see what his perspective is going to be, and how his Venom is going to be portrayed.

Are you reading any comics this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday [1] To Read or Not to Read Excerpts?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings! It's a weekly meme that discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. I've seen this feature around the blogosphere, and I'm happy to finally be participating. 😁

Q: Do you really read excerpts when featured on blogs?

No, but I know that excerpts serve a purpose. They give readers a look at the writing style and provide more information on what the book will be about. However, I prefer not knowing anything about a story before I read it. A lot of blurbs have started giving away key information that I would like to discover on my own.

Honestly, I'd rather read reviews for a book! I follow blogs for a reason, and it's usually because I trust the person doing the reviewing. If you are raving over a book that looks interesting, I'll likely add it to my list! Book blogs really do play a large role in what I decide to read.

I've included excerpts for blog tours before, but I always place them at the end of the post. My review is at the top with information about the book, and then I add a page break. This gives readers the option of continuing on to the excerpt, or stopping right after the review. I might not read them, but someone else might appreciate the opportunity.

In the end, it really comes down to time, which I don't have an abundance of. If I manage to squeeze a little blogging into my day, I want to visit blogs and read reviews that are personal and unique to the blogger. Excerpts are normally distributed over various blogs during the course of a blog tour (or something similar), so they tend to pop up often. I also love commenting on other blogs, and reading excerpts takes time that I'm not willing to share!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Runaways (#1-3) by Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka (Illustrator)

I didn't know much about Runaways before starting this, and I'm still fairly new since I've only read the first three issues. I know there have been other arcs with various writers, but I was intrigued when I discovered Rainbow Rowell was the newest voice behind these characters.

I've enjoyed a lot of Rainbow Rowell's books, which is what initially promoted my interest in this current series. I was not disappointed! I already adore these characters and feel very invested in their lives. It's all new to me, too, so I don't have any expectations when I read (like I would with a Spider-Man or Hulk).

I've only encountered a few of the main characters, but the last issue makes me think they will all be reunited soon (and it looks like trouble will be there, too). I'm curious who the first villain/baddie will be, but I do think it's going to be personal to them somehow (just a feeling!).

The group got their name after running away from home when they witnessed their parents doing some sort of ritual sacrifice on a young girl. They took magical items belonging to their parents, and also discovered new things about themselves.

I feel like there is a lot of history behind these characters, and I cannot wait to dive back in and discover more about them (I think the series is up to 8-9 issues now). Nico has magic, but she can only use a spell once. That makes things really challenging as time passes, because her words and phrasing have to be unique but also applicable. Her maybe relationship (I'm thinking there was one in the past) with Karolina appears to be complicated but like those feelings could still be there.

I love how this group seems to be female-focused, and I really like Chase--he has heart. I think he leads with that most days and just deals with the consequences later. Whatever he does, his friends are there for him regardless, and I feel like that would be true for any one of them.

If you've enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's books, I'm pretty positive you'd like her version of Runaways. You don't need to know their history or have read any of the previous arcs. I know there are things that I'm unaware of, but Rowell doesn't make me feel blindsided by the information. Everything is being revealed in time, and I'm enjoying getting to know these characters along the way. They've each been given a unique voice, and their story is only made better by Kris Anka and his beautiful illustrations.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mini Reviews [4] A House for Everyone, Africa Calling: Nighttime Falling & Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover

A House for Everyone: A Story to Help Children Learn about
Gender Identity and Gender Expression by Jo Hirst
*Expected Publication: May 2018

Synopsis (via Goodreads): At lunchtime, all of Tom's friends gather at school to work together building their house. Each one of them has a special job to do, and each one of them has a different way of expressing their gender identity.

Jackson is a boy who likes to wear dresses. Ivy is a girl who likes her hair cut really short. Alex doesn't feel like 'just' a boy, or 'just' a girl. They are all the same, they are all different - but they are all friends.

A very simple story that challenges gender stereotypes and shows 4 to 8 year olds that it is OK to be yourself. An engaging story that is more than just an educational tool; this book will assist parents and teachers in giving children the space to explore the full spectrum of gender diversity and will show children the many ways they can express their gender in a truly positive light.

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I wanted to read this book to my son because I liked that it conveyed an important message we don't often see in children's literature. Gender identity is this thing we hear about, but a lot of people aren't very educated on the vocabulary or concept. I'll admit that I could be more knowledgeable myself, and I feel like A House for Everyone did a wonderful job of explaining everything in a way that was easy to understand. 

Jo Hirst uses one activity to highlight a lot of different scenarios and gives appropriate examples for each. It's told from the children's perspective, which added an unexpected viewpoint to the story.

However, while this book was educational, it was not entertaining. I enjoyed it and loved the content, but my son was often confused and barely engaged in the overall story. He wanted to know more about what they were doing on the playground, what kind of blocks they were building with, etc. I'm not sure if was his age that caused the problem, or if maybe the story could have been a little more kid-friendly. It's a tough topic to appropriately convey, but if it's written for children it should make them want to pay attention, too. 


Africa Calling: Nighttime Falling
by Daniel Adlerman
Synopsis (via Goodreads): An African-American girl imagines herself in the jungles of Africa amongst lions, elephants, monkeys, and other animals.
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I enjoyed the story for this one, but the illustrations blew me away. They are so creative and eye-catching! It took us forever to turn the page, because we kept wanting to talk about everything we saw.

For example: A stick (real not drawn) is placed on the page, and then cut-outs of elephants can be seen in the background. The elephants are walking on watercolor grass with little pieces of live grass woven in.

Dirt is the background for one page with a paper snake crawling out of the frame, twine was used for vines... it was really a wonderful experience! Stunning, unique, and three-dimensional. 


Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover
(The Kissing Hand Series)
by Audrey Penn, Barbara Leonard Gibson (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): “Are we almost there?” Chester Raccoon asked his mother. Chester is excited about going to his very first sleepover. After his mother drops him off at Pepper Opossum’s house with a Kissing Hand in his palm, Chester and his animal friends have a long day of playing games and eating snacks. But when the animals decide to bed down, Chester can’t go to sleep. While his Kissing Hand has kept him from getting scared, he isn’t in his own bedroom, and he misses his family. When Chester returns home, Mrs. Raccoon welcomes her little cub and reassures him that his home is always there when he needs it.

Young readers will enjoy reading about the party fun and take comfort when Chester finds himself in a situation they can relate to.

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I adore The Kissing Hand and love reading it to my children! I believe it expresses a mother's love in a beautiful way, and my son kept wanting to try it for himself! (For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the mother raccoon kisses her son's hand so he always has her love with him. If he feels sad, he just has to press that hand to his cheek to be reminded of his mother.)

Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover was another wonderful story that we've already read more than once. Instead of starting school like in the previous book, he's going on his very first sleepover (which is during the day, because raccoons). We get to see him playing games with his friends and being excited about the idea of staying somewhere else. 

However, once it's time to sleep, Chester finds himself missing his mother and even his sibling. It's a story that shows children it's okay to have new experiences, but it's also normal to want what is familiar. He isn't picked on for his decision, but welcomed home with loving, open arms. I highly recommend any of Audrey Penn's books for children.