Books of the Month – January

Lots of kids books this month because I was obsessed with John Hendrix after reading The Faithful Spy last month. And then I had a pile of graphic novels on my desk I wanted to get through. Way to pad my GoodReads so I’m “ahead of schedule” on my reading for 2019, yeah?

Aquicorn CoveAquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a beautiful little book. I love Katie O’Neill’s art style.

I think this would be a great suggestion for fans of ‘Steven Universe’ and kids who love the environment and come home with plants and little critters in their hands, wanting to care for them.

Royal City, Vol. 1: Next of KinRoyal City, Vol. 1: Next of Kin by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s always hard to rate a book in a series, especially when you have the other two volumes on your desk so you know there is a lot more to come. But I guess the fact that I want to read more says enough? This dark family drama pulls you in really fast. Lemire is one of the hardest working writers out there, these books just keep coming and I don’t think I’ve read a dud yet!

I feel like this series would be a good suggestion to someone who enjoyed the series “DARK” on Netflix, for the small town/intertwined plot lines.

ADDITION: I read the rest of the trilogy and it was REALLY GOOD.

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex LifeCome as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tim picked this audiobook to listen to on the drive to Wisconsin since it was just the two of us. Yes, that is the kind of man I married, he’s very interested in sexuality and understanding how I feel versus how he feels. We listened to about half of it on our drive out, then discussed for a bit and then finished it up on the way home.
The subtitle of this book is a little bit too “click bait” sounding – it is actually a great examination of the history of the science and culture surrounding women and their sexuality and then a discussion of how that effects how women think about sexuality and how that can harm or improve their sex lives.

Nagoski reads the audiobook and you can see why students would sign up for her courses or people would go to hear her lecture. She has a fun and relatable style of writing.

There were things I knew already, things that I understood in my mind but never had the words to articulate before, and things that I did not know in this book. A great book to listen to with your partner. It is very pro-women but not anti-men, it is all about building a stronger relationship and also about understanding that you are 100% normal.

What Do You Do With a Chance?What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this book series. I’m always giving it to parents for school visits. The idea of a chance as this flying, golden paper butterfly (though my Harry Potter brain thought it looked like a snitch) and trying to grab it and falling down. There’s a lot to talk about here with kids as you read through the simple story.

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars – I feel like maybe there was a little too much going on in this book. Not that every kid’s life only has one thing happening at a time, but I didn’t feel that each issue that was touched upon got as much time as I would have liked with it?

And what was with the 3 epilogues? That part kind of grated on me as I felt it could have all been done a little more seamlessly or perhaps just one big epilogue a few years later (Hey, if George R.R. Martin can drag out a series, I’m sure the Vidalia author could have too).

There wasn’t anything wrong with the book, but I really felt like it could have been more.

Miracle Man: The Story of JesusMiracle Man: The Story of Jesus by John Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is gorgeous. You can tell how much Hendrix put his heart into creating this story, retelling the gospels. I like how he doesn’t refer to him as Jesus until the very end, up until that he is just the Miracle Man, which I’m sure is what those who heard of him might have called him. Lovely.

Shooting at the StarsShooting at the Stars by John Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had heard this story before, but Hendrix’s illustrations brought it to life. I love the way the text of ‘Silent Night’ gently slides over no-man’s land, you can almost hear the men singing. Another great book to hand to a Nathan Hale fan.

Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War HeroNurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic middle grade picture book that focuses on the life of Sarah Edmonds AKA Frank Thompson, a young woman who pretended to be a man, joined the Union army during the United States Civil War. Well researched by both the author and artist, this would make a great read-aloud for an older classroom visit.

I Am Still AliveI Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dangit GoodReads, it’s 2019 – give me half stars! This would be a 3.5 star book for me. The story was really great, the classic “could you survive” tale but kicked up a notch with a few more complications thrown in to make it more engaging.

BUT I feel like the whole before/after notebook framing was a mistake. First, it didn’t last the whole story. Second, it had the same problem that many “I’m writing this for you to find” stories have which is that is NOT how someone would write a journal. It would have been better to just tell the story in a linear way, maybe with a few flashbacks OR flip back and forth but take out the whole “notebook” framework.

If you can get beyond that (and I did, even though it bothered me) it is a good book.

The Hidden Witch (The Witch Boy #2)The Hidden Witch by Molly Ostertag
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just as good as the first one! I didn’t even remember I had requested this so when it appeared on my desk, I was cautiously optimistic about a sequel to ‘The Witch Boy’. But this was a fantastic read and I’m hoping there will be a book 3 so continue the adventures of these four kids.

Buffy the Vampire SlayerBuffy the Vampire Slayer by Jason Rekulak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is really made for the fans. Smith puts a lot of love into these illustrations and if you know the show it is a lot of fun. If you’ve never seen the show and you’re a little kid, you might also by amused by the girl who fights the monsters in her closet.

John Brown: His Fight for FreedomJohn Brown: His Fight for Freedom by John Hendrix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A figure from American history that most have heard of but we’ve probably forgotten the specifics, even those of us that just live a short drive away from Harper’s Ferry. Hendrix does a great job distilling the core of this story down for young readers. The author’s note in the back let’s you know how much research and thought he put into recreating this story of a very complicated man.

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