Mini Reviews: Mary Poppins, Dreaming Anastasia

I’m beginning to really like doing these mini-reviews. Though am thinking about reformatting the images that come along with the minis. Maybe when I find myself with time in my hands, I suppose!

I never actually read any of the Mary Poppins books when I was a kid, so I was weened off of the Disney movie that the author deplored. That said, I mean, it takes a special kind of person to dislike the casting of Dame Julie Andrews…buuuut I can see where she was going with things, I suppose. (I still love Julie Andrews so whatever.)

Dreaming Anastasia was something that landed on my lap for Fableulous Retellings so this was definitely something I needed to read. I mean, I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I do love Anastasia and the Baba Yaga folk tales, so I thought this would have been a classic love-hate relationship? It totally was.

Have you read either of these? What did you think?



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Dare I make a Fall to-read list? Even though, with my book mood swings, you never really know where I’m headed off to next book-wise?

Why yes. Yes I will. Let’s hope I stick reaaaal close to what I plan to read this month, but you never know. I guarantee you, though, that I’ll at least get through one of the books on this list? XD

(To be fair, the first three of these are current reads, so I’ll most likely get them all done before mid-October!)

Ten Books on My Fall 2018 TBR

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – This book has definitely been on my radar since it came out this year, and once I started seeing some Avatar the Last Airbender-esque homages up in this book I was all “YESPLS”. I definitely am tackling this book this fall, for sure.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – Weeeeeell…I really only read the prologue a while back, and I haven’t picked it up since, but the beginning kind of reminds me of Kvothe in Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind. That said, I’ve been putting this off for so long (to the point where a Netgalley ARC still remains unreviewed) that it’s about time to finish this.

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus – I’m actually in the middle of this audiobook, and liking it so far! But then again, I was one of those people who adored the movie, so sue me?

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu – I pretty much loved Warcross, so this has been on my high priority list after falling hard for her billionaire tall dark handsome character *coughHideocough*. That said, Batman has always been an interesting character to read, though honestly, the entire DC YA series is something on my high TBR priority list.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m…actually afraid to read this duology because I absolutely loved Ruin and Rising, and if I fall in love with Six of Crows, I might be bumping R&R out of my top ten favorites for the year. THIS IS AN IRRATIONAL FEAR BUT YOU UNDERSTAND, RIGHT?! Ugh. Let’s face it, though. Bardugo is my author-love at the moment and I’ll most likely read this book and its sequel if only so I can get my hands on King of Scars because because NIKOLAAAAAI.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – There’s a lot of YA authors on this list right now, but for good reason! I’ve kind of been avoiding the big YA names because of how much they’ve made me squee in the past. Maas is a different story, though. I’m mostly avoiding CoM because ship reasons, buuuut enough is enough. I need to rip off that band-aid and GET TO IT. Also, I’m being hounded to read more Maas, albeit I’m pretty sure my friend Meg is wanting me to pick up the next ACOTAR book…

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – This one’s a stretch. But I am determined to at least get through ONE Sanderson book this year, because I’ve done at least one every year since I started this blog, and I’m not about to stop now. All the same…you’d think I’d go for finishing the Steelheart series… *sobs inwardly*

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – Because it’s SCHWAB YOU GUYS. Of course I’m going to read this book as soon as I get my grubby hands on it. And that will be soooon, my lovelies.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – Another one on my high priority list which kept slipping out of my mind until I looked at one of my unread piles. I have a lot of those unread piles, so many books slip my priority list…but I really do want to read this soon.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – I have been loving the Valente books I’ve picked up so far, and this one is even more up my alley than the other two. I’ve been holding the copy for years now, but I just haven’t actually gotten around to reading it. This one’s another “I MUST READ REAL SOON” so why not this fall?

Phew. This looks like a daunting task. But you know what, this kind of does look like the set of books I plan to read in the near future.

How about you?

Mini Reviews: Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda, The Kite Runner

More minis! I went back to reading graphic novels, so you’ll probably see a few reviews regarding graphic novels and whatnot. That being said, it’s not all about the illustrations, because I’ve also been busy with audiobooks and good ole’ text.

I wasn’t such a big fan of the last coming-out book I’d read (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe), and I wasn’t really interested in reading Call Me by Your Name, but I actually super-loved this book.

I also super-loved this book as a graphic novel. I haven’t read the original novel, though not for lack of trying. I’m pretty sure I have a copy of it somewhere…though after going through the grueling images in the graphic novel, I might want to avoid The Kite Runner unless I want a really good cry.

Have you read either books? What did you think?

TTT: Hidden Gems

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Or maybe I should just title this “Books I didn’t think I would like but surprisingly ended up liking.” Nah, too long.

In any case, there have been a number of books that I picked up out of obligation as opposed to anticipation, and while I didn’t expect much out of these books, I will admit that I ended up liking–if not loving–them to bits.

Top Ten Hidden Book Gems

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus – I will admit the premise piqued my interest, though admittedly The Breakfast Club was just an okay movie for me. Alright, it’s iconic, and I could easily watch it a few more times because why not, but anyway…the book itself was fabulously done and I was really surprised that I’d love it enough to put it in my favorites list for the current year…for now, of course.

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut – This was something I read for Fableulous Retellings Podcast, but it wasn’t as though I had a gun over my head forcing me to read it. That being said, this was my first foray into Vonnegut, and I actually have no regrets. It was a good book, and I’d recommend it, even though it really didn’t have much to do with the fairy tale titled “Bluebeard”…

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper – One of my previous students just about shoved this book at me, telling me to read it. She’s an odd one, but occasionally I do have students whose book tastes are pretty good. Out of My Mind isn’t my usual faire but I actually liked it!

The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith – I didn’t take this book seriously, but I couldn’t pass it up either. I was actually surprised over how much enjoyment I got listening to the audiobook of this.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – I both regret and don’t regret reading this book. Well, I don’t regret reading it…up until the last 50 pages of the book. THAT WAS WHEN THINGS GET REALLY SAD AND OMG I DON’T NEED TO DWELL ON IT AGAIN. But, um, really good book, yep!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – Gasp! Unpopular opinion time! Actually, no, I’m pretty much with the crowd when I say I absolutely adored Throne of Glass. That being said, I still refuse to go past the first book of Throne because ship reasons. And I’m figuring that ACOTAR is going the same route, what with Rhysand being such a fangirl fave. But ugh, I can’t see that in the first book. THAT SAID, I enjoyed ACOTAR, actually, albeit the weird kinky NEW ADULT (yes, NA, this book is NOT a young adult book at all!) grim-dark things happening in the book.

Gilded Cage by Vic James – In the light of a dystopia glut, I honestly didn’t know why I requested this book, because I was on my way to being tired of dystopias. But then I read Gilded Cage and, well, again, no regrets. I really should pick up the next book, but again…me and series don’t get along very well.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins – A Southern belle debutante who kicks ass. What’s not to love about that?! But really, though, this book was a hoot and a half, and I honestly didn’t think much of it before I’d actually read it.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I was mostly wary about this book, because there were A LOT OF PAGES about Scotsmen in the 1700s. The time period isn’t exactly my cup of tea, and historical romance fiction of this caliber isn’t really something I read on a regular basis. That said…the show definitely opened my eyes. Hem hem. As did the book, of course. Of course…

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger – Another new adult book that actually had me entertained! But then again, when your story involves magical cocktail-induced superpowers…yeah, you totally got me by that point. Definitely enjoyed this one enough.

Long Tails and Ears for Hats || Josie and the Pussycats Review

Initial Thoughts: 

This brings me back to a lot of the pop culture I grew up with, and now I’ve got the theme tune stuck in my head and it will not go away. The artwork is fantastic! I loved the numerous pop culture references, puns, and fourth wall breakage (it reminded me of the irreverence and parodic style of Ouran High School Host Club), but it did have the tendency to get out of hand. If things pick up in plot in later issues, it would be even awesomer!


by Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio, and Audrey Mok (illustrator)
Archie Comic Publications, June 2017
Graphic novel
Rated: 4 / 5 cookies

Friends, countrymen, lend me your long tails and ears for hats–the Pussycats are back! In this series kick-off, Josie’s getting the band together to help achieve her dreams of musical stardom. But for the group to last, it needs a strong foundation of friendship and trust. Can the girls get going, or will Alexandra Cabot’s plotting put a stop to the whole thing? Don’t miss comics’ supreme songstresses’ return to the limelight in this exciting first volume!

I will let you know right now that this review is completely biased. I grew up reading old Archie comics and watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons on Saturday mornings. When the live-action movie came out in 2001, I watched the heck out of that, too. (I am unashamed to say I enjoyed the movie, and it wasn’t just because the music–sung by Letters to Cleo vocalist Kay Hanley–was toe-tapping addicting!)

I still have my meager collection of the comics! I…am somewhat surprised these are still in decent condition…

So yeah. I’m biased when it comes to Josie and the Pussycats. And when I found this volume at the library, I eagerly read it and quietly fangirled at the fact that the sassy cat-band got makeovers–and mostly for the better!

Josie and the Pussycats is a rebooted take on the 1960s comic and this first volume pretty much covers the origin story of the band. It focuses–obviously–on Josie, Valerie, and Melody, three young ladies who come together to make sweet, sweet music. The volume also brings in familiar characters from the original set, including the Cabot siblings and of course Alan M.

What I loved about this reboot was the fact that the three girls had a bit more depth to them, and Melody’s entire “dumb blonde” persona gets replaced with a geeky, though still-bubbly nerd, and honestly, she’s cute as a button this way. Josie herself isn’t the perfect band leader, either, and it’s her faults–and amusing quips that got me to like her. And honestly, I’ve always liked Val, so there’s that.

The volume was certainly energetic, fun, and amusing to read. It paid homage to the original as well as added in some fourth wall breakage, puns up the wazoo, and pop culture references that made me giggle because I knew them all (some of them were from the ’90s okay?! Definitely one of the best decades ever). It’s definitely something light to read, and if you were looking for some deep insight into life, the universe, and everything, Josie and the Pussycats is definitely not the right direction to go to. Frankly, that’s probably why I loved this volume; it didn’t take itself seriously, and I was in the mood for that.

4 out of 5 cookies! Also, now I’ve got the 2001 movie’s songs stuck in my head. #noshame

Have you read this book? What did you think?