I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to read a book more than someone telling me I can’t or shouldn’t read it. Maybe this is why I love banned books so much. I just have to know what all the fuss is about! Today’s review is of the newly released Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise from Algonquin Young Readers. The book is an illustrated novel for young readers in grades 3 through 7. As the title suggests, it’s all about fighting censorship and corruption.
Over the last year or so I’ve really developed an appreciation of graphic novels. To be completely honest, I didn’t really “get” graphic novels when I initially discovered them a few years ago. They looked more like comic books than novels and they were packed with illustrations and very little text compared to other middle grade and YA novels. But I’ve come to discover the value of graphic novels on multiple levels.
The fact that graphic novels have less text doesn’t make them any less of a book. In fact, some reluctant or struggling readers who might not pick up a traditional middle grade or YA novel might opt for a graphic novel instead. This is wonderful because rather than missing out on the book altogether, these reluctant or struggling readers can still follow the plot, utilizing the images where the text proves challenging. This is huge because the graphics allow these readers to absorb and learn from the stories and engage in active discussion with friends, classmates, and teachers. Graphic novels also offer the added bonus of visual storytelling. You know that saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, with a graphic novel, the pictures are many and the words are few because the images so beautifully illustrate the characters’ emotions, motives, struggles, and victories.
My 2020 reading challenge is to read 50 books, and I plan to add more graphic novels to my reading list. I can’t wait to discover more new graphic novel authors and illustrators!
Today, I’ll be reviewing a very timely new graphic novel, Go With The Flow by Lily Williams & Karen Schneemann.
After enjoying a couple of books for young readers, I decided to change things up a bit and dive into some adult fiction. If you’ve followed the blog or my social media accounts for a while, you’re familiar with my love of mysteries and thrillers, particularly psychological suspense.
My first thriller of 2020 was the upcoming release You Are Not Alone from the dynamic writing duo of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. These two make such an amazing suspenseful storytelling team that their novels have become an automatic read for me. The downside of their efforts is that providing a review for one of their books without giving away any spoilers is always especially challenging; however, I’m up for the challenge!
So far 2020 has brought incredible reading my way. If you missed my review of Cynthia L. Copeland’s debut graphic novel for young readers, Cub, you can go back and read it here. My second read of the New Year, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, has been on my TBR for some time. I am so happy I finally got to read this book and only wish that I’d pushed some others out of the way and gotten to it sooner!
Front Desk is a book I will keep, re-read, and recommend. In fact, I hope everyone reads and recommends this book, especially teachers. Front Desk is a timely tale about a ten year old Chinese girl named Mia who immigrates to America with her parents. Drawn largely from Ms. Yang’s own experiences growing up, Front Desk is an emotionally charged novel sure to tug on your heart strings and get you fired up at the same time.
From the publisher:
“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?”
A new year means new books, and I’m kicking off 2020 with a stack that I can’t wait to tackle. I have a combination of middle grade reads, picture books, and memoirs. So far, 2020 reading has gotten off to a great start with Cynthia L. Copeland’s first graphic novel for kids, Cub.
Well it’s officially October and time for all things spooky and magical! I started my month off with a new book from Algonquin Young Readers, The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz. As the cover art and title suggest, this is a fantasy book for young readers filled with magic and adventure with a storybook feel to it. It is a great pick if your kiddos want something to suit the season or for any kids who enjoy adventure stories. Additionally, this book features a strong female lead with strong female supporting characters. Definitely a plus in my book, as I feel that adventure stories still tend to lean toward male protagonists. But not in this book. This book is all about Lady Clementine, daughter to the Dark Lord Elithor and heir to Castle Brack, where hundreds of years of Dark Lords have ruled before her. But…what if Clementine doesn’t want to be a Dark Lord? What if she doesn’t want to be a Dark anything?
This month I am thrilled to be a part of the Revell Reads blog tour for Erin Bartels’s newest release, The Words Between Us. I was drawn to this book right away by – you guessed it – the cover art! I have often admitted to not necessarily judging books by their covers but being drawn to books by their covers. I mean, that’s what cover art is supposed to do, right? The cover of this new novel is books – stacks of books upon stacks of books. We see the pages but never the covers or spines. I liked that. It made the cover intriguing. Between the cover art and the title, it was clear that books and writing play a big role in this story, and that is always a plus for me. There is also a grey feather loosely placed among the books, which I found out is attributed to a certain feathered character who ended up becoming a favorite of mine.
While the cover art drew my eye, the summary really made me want to read this book. It’s about a woman named Robin whose past catches up to her after she’s spent years running from it – from a disgraced, tainted family name. The story opens on the day of Robin’s father’s scheduled execution. Yes, execution. Robin was just fourteen when her father was accused of murder and her parents ended up behind bars. Years later, she runs a used bookstore (yay for second-hand books!). On execution day, a vintage book shows up sent by someone from her past. She begins receiving regular packages of old books. She knows right away who they’re from – Peter, the boy who changed everything for her, who ruined everything for her. But why is he contacting her after all these years?
The humid summer weather is finally letting up here, bringing a welcome rush of cool air. There’s nothing quite like opening the windows and having that fresh, crisp air breeze through the house. Of course with the cooler weather comes back to school followed by all things Halloween. I was surprised to see Halloween décor hitting shelves in August, but now that we’re a couple of weeks from October, I don’t mind it so much. I really enjoyed the displays of scary stories I saw at the bookstore this week. There was something for everyone, from Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute, to middle grade scary stories and even Halloween and monster themed picture and board books for kiddos. Today I’ll be reviewing two new children’s picture books that have released just in time for scary story season.
Well summer has flown by! I can’t believe it’s September, but I’m glad it is. Fall is my favorite season, and I was thrilled to see leaves changing as I took my dogs for their walks over the last week or so. I’m also enjoying the cooler nights and pumpkin decorations at the stores, and of course, I’m ready for all things magical and spooky when it comes to books! I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series as it’s been years since I’ve given them a read, and they are just as good as I remember them. I’m also looking forward to some new fall releases. But first, end of summer reading…
Happy August everyone! I can’t believe it’s already August, but I am pleased with the change in temperature here in the northeast. We’re still getting warm, sunny afternoons, but we woke up to a cool, crisp 60 degrees this morning, which felt amazing! Between the chilly air and September being a mere month away, I’m finding myself in the mood for fall – the colors, the refreshing cool down, pumpkins, and of course all things magical and spooky. Speaking of spooky, I have quite the creepy tale to talk about today, Ruth Ware’s upcoming release, The Turn of the Key.