Jan 21, 2022

Early Reader Review: The Supervillain's Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace

Source: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

The Supervillain's Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date:  January 25, 2022



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Paperback ARC


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Matt Wallace, author of Bump, presents a personal, humorous, and body-positive middle grade standalone about a fat kid who wants to stop his bullies . . . and enlists the help of the world's most infamous supervillain. Perfect for fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan, Julie Murphy, and John David Anderson!

Max's first year of middle school hasn't been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn't want to hurt Johnny . . . just make him feel the way Max feels.

In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a "gentleman of size." To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both.

And it works! When Master Plan's help pays off for Max in ways he couldn't have imagined, he starts gaining confidence--enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible . . . but is there a price to pay for the supervillain's help?

* A Junior Library Guild selection *
Review: 
Max is in middle school now and on day 1 he is attacked by a bully. He is obviously upset and wants to take back power but doesn't really know how. He decides, after a suggestion from his mother, that he can't write a hero but he coud try a villain instead and so starts Max's supervillain penpal communication. 

The premise of this book was so cute and interesting, I wanted to understand the world a little more though. There are heros and villains, which is fine but I wanted to learn more about them and understand how it became the norm. 


I really enjoyed the slight commentary on how superheroes can also be seen as bad - they destroy things, are still fighting, and often make a bigger mess with casualties that planned for. (not Middle grade appropraite at all but this reminded me of the show The Boys). Max also talks about how some villians are going things for good - pointing out the bad in the world.  The also can identify as outcasts because of their differences and this is one reason that Max descides to go this route.

I think that Max might have gone too far at times, but I liked that it talked about gaining confidence and not necessarily losing weight - Max embraced his body as-is and was himself in a lot of ways to help with his bully problem. 
There were some big and weird coincidence parts, that his villain writes back at all, the girl at school, the connections characters have, the same hobbies etc, but it is a middle grade book so I guess it can be accepted.

Overall, I think that this will be a great book for anyone struggleing with bullies, weight, social isolation, shaming etc. It is a boy main character, but believe that all readers can relate to some aspect of how he feels as a middle schooler. 

Jan 19, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday: The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont





The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2022



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17608898-the-killing-jar?from_search=true&search_version=service
Synopsis:  

Why I Am Waiting:
Some of the first mysteries that I read were Agatha Christie and for years on every beach vacation I would pick up a bunch of them at used bookstores and read them while on the beach. I saw this in a most anticipated Goodreads list and was like YESSSS! I would love to read this! I love Christie's books and think this will be fun. 

Jan 18, 2022

Recent Reads: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff


Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff 
Series: Empire of the Vampire #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  September 7, 2021



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Audiobook
Source: Bought on Audible. 


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hand sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.

It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order could not stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

From author Jay Kristoff comes Empire of the Vampire, the first illustrated volume of an astonishing new dark fantasy saga.
Review: 

Um what just happened!? I listened to the audiobook, and it was wonderful! I am in shock, awe, mad, sad, confused... so many things! Disclaimer - this is an adult book, not recommended for a YA audience. Includes a good amount of violence and cursing. 

Empire of the Vampire is a recounting of a man named Gabriel, a Silversaint. He is recounting his life to a vampire historian while locked away. I am going to try to be as vague as possible throughout this review because everyone should go read/listen to this one. Especially if you like a good dark fantasy and a TON of worldbuilding. 

In this story, it is forever dark/eternal night and so vampires have come out of hiding and now exist with humans, only they are constantly at war with one another since humans are a food source. We are not really sure how or why it is forever night, but the vampires are there to stay. Gabriel has been enlisted, in a way, to be a vampire hunter and help humans as a Silversaint. 

The overall story is bold, violent, blunt, and coming from a jaded, burnt-out man it makes it all the more ominous and wonderful. You just feel everything about this world, the characters, and it plays like a TV show in your head. (Maybe because I am watching The Witcher right now also).

Gabriel is a bit broken as a character, but his tale is epic with fights, love, revenge, twists, and a weird religious undertone. There was a lot of religion in this book, and it was an interesting take on faith/ hope, blind faith, and understanding to world around you based in faith. I really liked Gabriel's story, sarcasm, and persona throughout this tale. 

Overall, I have lot of questions... which will be hopefully answered in the coming books. But this one was almost 900 pages and what felt like a billion hours on audiobook... we got some much in this book, which was spectacular but still it left so much to come. I am so excited to continue this series!

(Sorry if this review was all over the place... sometimes word-vomit is the way to go when I have all the feels about a book)

Jan 17, 2022

Early Reader Review: Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl and Patricia Metola

Source: From Librarything Early Reviewers and Flyaway Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl and Patricia Metola 

Publisher: Flyaway Books
Publication Date:  February 8, 2022



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Paperback ARC


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The bond between two trees, Apple and Magnolia, takes center stage in this picture book that explores the power of unlikely friendships. Includes an author's note that further explores how trees communicate.

Britta visits her two favorite trees, Apple and Magnolia, every day. Though she can't explain it, she's sure they are best friends! Then one day, Magnolia's branches start to droop. Is there anything Britta-or Apple-can do to help? After all, unusual friendships can be the most powerful of all.

With a lyrical story and vibrant art, Apple and Magnolia unveils the extraordinary connections between trees and the wondrous bonds between all living things. The book includes an author's note offering facts about how trees communicate with one another. A downloadable discussion guide with more information will be available February 2022 at flyawaybooks.com/resources.
Review: 
Apple and Magnolia are trees and Britta believes that they are also best friends. This book is so warm, caring, and loving. When Magnolia starts to look a little rough Britta does everything she can to help connect the two friends . She is optimistic and full of love and friendship even when her family doesn't agree with her. 

The story is vibrant and hopeful and it is what everyone needs right now. The images and illustrations throughout are beautiful and powerful in showing the connection, love, and care of these characters - people and trees alike.\

Overall, this was a beautiful story about love, friendship, care, and hope and I think every youth library would benefit from it.

Jan 16, 2022

Building the Book Pile #367


Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Morning! Another whirlwind week done and a weekend that is almost over. We need longer weekends... less work days. I have spent a good amount of downtime reading either way though and that feels nice. I will have a few more reviews up this week and even some Waiting on Wednesday posts soon. There are lots of great books coming out this year!

If you are interested in supporting my ability to stay awake and read please consider dontating - Coffee  is appreciated ... Ko-fi
 


Coming up on the Blog

Early Reader Review: Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl and Patricia Metola (Youth)
Recent Reads: Empire of the Vampire #1 by Kay Kristoff (Adult)
Waiting on Wednesday
Early Reader Review: The Supervillain's Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace (MG)


Books Received Recently...

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Jan 14, 2022

Recent Reads: Hangman's Crossing by Will Mabbitt

Source: From Librarything Early Reviewers program and Walker Books in exhange for an honest review. 

Hangman's Crossing by Will Mabbitt 
Series: Embassy of the Dead #2
Publisher: Walker Books US
Publication Date:  October 26, 2021


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Hardback


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Jake is in a race against time to foil a demon-riddled plot to destroy earth--what a way to start his new job at the Embassy of the Dead! The second book of this spookily funny trilogy.

In return for helping Stiffkey the ghost pass into the Afterworld, Jake Green has been awarded an official position at the Embassy of the Dead, a job he didn't ask for and, to be honest, doesn't necessarily want. But saying no to the Embassy isn't really an option, so now Jake must journey even deeper into the mysterious world of ghosts. What should be a routine Undoing takes a turn when Jake overhears a plot to destroy the very fabric between the worlds of the living and the dead. Can he do the impossible and stop the terror that creeps in the Eternal Void? With the help of his ghostly gang--hockey stick-wielding Cora and Zorro the fox--he's going to try. Hijinks from beyond the grave will tingle readers' spines and tickle their funny bones as the Embassy of the Dead trilogy continues.
Review: 
Hangman's Crossing is book #2 in the Embassy of the Dead middle grade series. I was glad to have read book #1 in the series, because while there is a re-cap, having the fill story made it easier to understand going in. The re-cap was a bit short but set up this book well, so it could be read without book one if necessary.

In this book, Jake is now an Undoer, helping the Embassy to send ghosts on to the afterlife, but he hasn't been called on until now and he is reluctant to go. He learns that there are ghosts to undo while the normal undoer team is on the hunt for a missing assistant and trying to piece together some suspicious artifact movements. Jake becomes more interested and involved when the ghost he is sent to help pass on was pretty easy but the normal undoer had months with the case. 

The characters were all just ok. Jake is similar to the last book, stubborn but brave in the face of death and ghosts. Cory, his ghostly companion, is persistant and a bit annoying but it makes for osme really good humor throughout the story. Best of all, and my favorite is the ghost fox - cute and hanging about. All that said, the villain in this book, doesn't seem as threatening or ominous as the one in the first book, which made the whole story seem not as dramatic as I would have liked. 

It is all a fun story to follow, but it seemed rushed. I would have liked to learn more about the plots to overthrow the Embassy and more about the ghosts involved in this book, kind of like the last one did. Overall, it was a good book 2 in a series. I think Middle Grade readers will enjoy it, it is creepy and an adventure of sorts. 

Jan 13, 2022

Recent Reads: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner


The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date:  March 2, 2021



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Hardback
Source: Book of the Month, add-on


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them - setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose - selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate - and not everyone will survive. 
Review:
Such an interesting premise, an apothecary of the past and a modern woman who wants to learn more about her. The book is told in alternating timelines from multiple point of view. You have Nella and Eliza in the past and Caroline in the present, telling the tale about Nella's business and how it came to an end. 

Nella has taken to dispensing poison (as well as meds) to the women of London in the 18th century. Helping these women with revenge and ease their suffering. Caroline, in the modern timeline, is trying to ease her own suffering. She is visiting London on what should have been her 10 year anniversary, but before leaving she learned that her husband was cheating on her. In London, while Mudlarking, she comes across a vial and it sends her on the hunt for answers about who it belonged to. 

I had a lot of feelings while reading this book, I was so excited to hear Nella's or Eliza's story of the past, hear how they were helping the women of the city. I was not as connected to Caroline's story except for the fact that I thought her husband was an ass. He was so disrespectful of her wants, wishes, and overall, and narcissistic that I was so angry at him. 

Anywho - I liked the past POVs and story a lot. I liked the drama it caused and the history and the details throughout it. I thought that Caroline's story was interesting enough but not necessary, I would have been happy with just Nella being a serial killer using poisons. 

Overall, this was a good mystery, pieced together well enough. It was through provoking at times, clever, and dramatic. The cover of the books is GORGEOUS! and it includes some medicinal recipes/ teas in the back as well. If you don't mind a past/ present POV split, history with some mystery, this one might be for you.

Jan 11, 2022

Early Reader Review: You Are Not Alone by the Alphabet Rockers

Source: From Sourcebooks Early Reads program in exchange for an honest review. 

You Are Not Alone by the Alphabet Rockers
Publisher: Sourcebooks Explore
Publication Date:  January 11, 2021



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
From the Grammy award-nominated hip-hop group Alphabet Rockers comes an empowering picture book that invites kids to to love themselves, stand up to hate, and foster inclusivity among their peers!

When I say something is unfair to me, but it's fair for you, what does that make it?
When I meditate, it all gets clear.
And if you listen, you will really hear.
I am not alone. I am enough.

It can be scary to feel like you're all on your own, especially in the face of prejudice. But always remember: you are not alone. Inspired by the Alphabet Rockers' empowering song "Not Alone," this uplifting picture book reassures kids that they belong and encourages them to love their beautiful selves and their identities, use their voices against hate, and step up for one another and have one another's backs no matter what
Review: 
Recieved a copy for review from Sourcebooks in exchange for a review, and it was an ebook copy. This will be important in a moment. 

You Are Not Alone is a childrens book focusing on divesity and inclusivity, it is vibrant and well written and is overall a very nice book. I really enjoyed the cast of characters, talking about how they don't fit in, but how they should fit in and how it feels. I liked that emotion and feelings really too the forefront of the story along with feelings of togetherness. The images were bright and bold and really tell the story well and I like it. I think that all ages should be picking this book up and reading it.

That being said, I didn't have the best reading experience with the ebook, and this is more than likely because it was an advance copy - the two-page spreads were not the two pages that I was seeing together, so it seemed off and choppy and I was confused about who the speaker was as it progressed and I had to go back and read the pages together over again in many cases. 

I am also a little confused about the age group that the book is intended for. It looks and feels like it is a childrens book, but reads slightly older and I think that some concepts might be hard for some to grasp if they are too young.

Overall though, this was a lovely read about inclusivity and diversity and togetherness through talking about feeling alone and realizing that you are not alone, you have friends and family, and support and you are never truely alone. I think this would be a good book to add to any collection. 

Jan 9, 2022

Building the Book Pile #365


Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Morning book-fam. I have missed you. I hope you are safe and well in this weird weird world we live in. I hope you are enjoying a good book and a nice warm drink.

This week was work heavy - it is that time of year still, but I also read a lot. I am trying to get back into a normal reading schedule for myslef and really pushing it. New Year... New Starts  - right?!

Do you have any resolutions this year? Reading goals?
I would like to read 100 books - this includes childrens books and audiobooks... because I think everything should count if you are reading. I also hope to get in better shape, I sit way too much and need to start moving more.

If you are interested in supporting my ability to stay awake and read please consider dontating - Coffee  is appreciated ... Ko-fi
 


Coming up on the Blog

Early Reader Review: You Are Not Alone by Alphabet Rockers and Illustrated by Ashley Evans (Youth)

Recent Reads: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (Adult)

Early Reader Review: Embassy of the Dead: Hangman's Crossing (#2) by Will Mabbitt (MG)

Books Received Recently...
 
   

 
Blood Scion (Blood Scion #1) by Deborah Falaye - From Netgalley and  HarperTeen for review.
 


Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Jan 7, 2022

Recent Reads: The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova


The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova 
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date:  September 7, 2021



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Hardback
Source: Book of the Month - August 2021


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back. 
Review: 
The internet has been blowing up over this book for a few months now, and so I chose it as my BOTM pick in August and finally picked it up in December. The premise was a very interesting one - grandmother summons her kin to collect inheritance upon her...pending death. 

The book is told in alternative point of view as well as chapters that jump back and forth in time. We hear Orquidea's story as it is happening and as her family is piecing together the mystery of her life with their new magical inheritances. I enjoyed this read, but it was a little slow going. 

I found myself flying through the past-focus chapters and not really in tune with the modern day ones. I wanted more of Orquidea's story, I wanted more details about her life, the magic, her struggles and successes and so this book gets 4-stars for her. Her character was so interesting and her story was so fantastical. Her family was interesting and the magic that she passed on to them was cool but I felt like I didn't need that part of the story to understand it -- and I really didn't need multiple POVs in the modern timeline.

I understand why this book had so much hype - it was imaginative and the story was captivating. I would love to read more in this world and about the magic.