Monthly Archives: September 2017

Yak and Dove

Yak and Dove Book Cover Yak and Dove
Kyo Maclear, Esme Shapiro
Juvenile Fiction
Tundra Books (NY)
September 19, 2017

Sometimes the unlikeliest friends form the greatest friendships. A funny, charming picture book from a dynamic duo.

Friends Yak and Dove are complete opposites. Yak is large and Dove is small. Yak has fur and Dove has feathers. Yak is polite. Dove is ill-mannered. Yak likes quiet. Dove likes noise. One day as Yak and Dove list their differences they come to the conclusion that maybe they aren't meant to be friends. In the hope of finding a new best friend, Yak holds auditions. But when a small feathered contestant sings Yak's favorite song, the two begin to think that maybe they are alike after all . . .

Yak and Dove whimsically captures the highs and lows of friendship through the three interconnected tales of two very different friends.



“Yak and Dove” may be my new favorite children’s book ever.  The story of friendship, both the ups and downs, is beautiful.  The artwork is stunning.  It’s the type of work that I want to hang all over the house.  This is sure to be a classic and I encourage anyone with children in their lives (or without) to pick up a copy.  I’ll be picking up several.

Five (hundred) enthusiastic stars!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

All the Dirty Parts

All the Dirty Parts Book Cover All the Dirty Parts
Daniel Handler
Bloomsbury USA
August 23, 2017

From bestselling, award-winning author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), an eagerly anticipated, gutsy, exciting novel that looks honestly at the erotic lives and impulses of an all-too-typical young man. Cole is a boy in high school. He runs cross country, he sketches in a sketchbook, he jokes around with friends. But none of this quite matters, next to the allure of sex. "Let me put it this way," he says, "Draw a number line, with zero is, you never think about sex, and ten is, it's all you think about, and while you are drawing the line, I am thinking about sex." Cole fantasizes about whomever he's looking at. He consumes and shares pornography. And he sleeps with a lot of girls--girls who seem to enjoy it at the time and seem to feel bad about it afterwards. Cole is getting a reputation around school--a not quite savory one--which leaves him adrift and hanging out with his best friend. Which is when something startling begins to happen between them--another kind of adventure, unexpected and hot, that might be what he's been after all this time. And then he meets Grisaille. A companion piece to Handler's Why We Broke Up, the bestselling Michael J. Printz Honor novel, All The Dirty Parts is an unblinking take on the varied and ribald world of teenage desire in a culture of unrelenting explicitness and shunted communication, where queer can be as fluid as consent, where sex feels like love, but no one knows what love feels like. Structured in short chapters recalling Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation or Mary Robison's Why Did I Ever, the novel gives us a tender, brutal, funny, and always intoxicating portrait of an age in which the whole world is tilted through the lens of sex. "There are love stories galore," Cole tells us, "and we all know them. This isn't that. The story I'm typing is all the dirty parts."



“All the Dirty Parts” is one of those books that you will either love or hate.  I’m in the LOVE camp.  Warning: Don’t buy this for a kid thinking “Lemony Snicket.” This is not a good present from Grandma, though I can promise you it would get read.

Most of us know what it’s like to wait for the dirty part in a movie, book, story your friend is telling, or even our own lives if we’re honest about it.  It seems like that’s the good part.  The genius of “All the Dirty Parts” is that is exactly what the name implies:  all of the dirty parts of Cole’s life.  The problem is, when you only look at that, your perception of him as a person is not very good.  He seems like a jerk, and probably is, but you can only he has some redeeming qualities about him since he has friends and good grades.  We just don’t know what they are.  He doesn’t even know what they are.  There are a lot of things he doesn’t know about himself, but I’ll leave it to you to learn them.

This book is listed as an adult novel, and that is definitely the correct classification.  That being said, there are a lot of lessons in literature that can be taught using it for the older young adult and new adult crowd.  It’s also certain to make some banned book lists and become a coveted book for teenagers to acquire.  I’m ok with that.  Maybe they’ll accidentally learn something.

Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

I don’t normally do content warnings on adult books, but be aware that this one is filthy.  The words aren’t minced and the sex is graphic.  Proceed at your own risk.



Mom and Mum Are Getting Married

Mom and Mum are Getting Married! Book Cover Mom and Mum are Getting Married!
Ken Setterington, Alice Priestley
Juvenile Fiction
January 1, 2004

Rosie is surprised to find her Mom dancing alone in the living room, but when Mom announces, “Your Mum and I are getting married!” they can’t wait to start planning the big day. Friends and family come together for a celebration of love.



It’s so wonderful to see a book about same-sex marriage that presents it to children as absolutely nothing other than a regular wedding… which it is.  There are no judgmental family members and it’s a regular party after the simple wedding.  Be aware that it is a bit wordy for a picture book so take that in consideration for your child’s attention span.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Poe: Stories and Poems

Poe: Stories and Poems Book Cover Poe: Stories and Poems
Gareth Hinds
Candlewick Press
August 1, 2017

In a thrilling adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known works, acclaimed artist-adapter Gareth Hinds translates Poe's dark genius into graphic-novel format.

It is true that I am nervous. But why will you say that I am mad?

In "The Cask of Amontillado," a man exacts revenge on a disloyal friend at carnival, luring him into catacombs below the city. In "The Masque of the Red Death," a prince shielding himself from plague hosts a doomed party inside his abbey stronghold. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, faced with a swinging blade and swarming rats, can’t see his tormentors in "The Pit and the Pendulum," and in "The Tell-Tale Heart," a milky eye and a deafening heartbeat reveal the effects of conscience and creeping madness. Alongside these tales are visual interpretations of three poems — "The Raven," "The Bells," and Poe’s poignant elegy to lost love, "Annabel Lee." The seven concise graphic narratives, keyed to thematic icons, amplify and honor the timeless legacy of a master of gothic horror.



I can’t rave enough about this graphic novel.  The artwork is beautiful and the style changes for each work to perfectly fit the mood.  It’s an excellent introduction to Poe’s works for the younger set and even includes a theme guide at the beginning of each work.  In the back is a piece on each story or poem that gives vital information into both its creation and Poe’s life in general.  I can’t recommend this enough!

Five enthusiastic stars.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Maladies and Medicine

Maladies and Medicine Book Cover Maladies and Medicine
Sara Read, Jennifer Evans,
Pen & Sword Books
October 19, 2017

Maladies and Medicine offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background in which the body was understood, covering the theory of the four humors and the ways that male and female bodies were conceptualized. It also explains the hierarchy of healers from university trained physicians, to the itinerant women healers who traveled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides, which began to appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap almanacs. The book has twenty chapters covering attitudes towards, and explanations of some of, the most common diseases and medical conditions in the period and the ways people understood them, along with the steps people took to get better. It explores the body from head to toe, from migraines to gout. It was an era when tooth cavities were thought to be caused by tiny worms and smallpox by an inflammation of the blood, and cures ranged from herbal potions, cooling cordials, blistering the skin, and of course letting blood. Case studies and personal anecdotes taken from doctors notes, personal journals, diaries, letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our ancestors lived.



I wanted to enjoy “Maladies and Medicine,” but it was a struggle to maintain focus and keep my mind from drifting.  It’s way more technical than I was expecting and seemed aimed more at professionals than the average lay person.  There were some interesting facts in the book, but I can’t recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium, Book 2)

Enigma Book Cover Enigma
Schrodinger's Consortium, Book 2
Tonya Kuper
Juvenile Fiction
Entangled: Teen
July 4, 2017

What's worse than having half of your secret race wanting to kill you? Having both sides want to control you. Feeling something for Reid Wentworth is not part of the plan. Josie Harper doesn't have time to think about hot boys when she has to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium. To say her life has changed since discovering she's an Oculus would be the understatement of the century. The Consortium is out to enslave humanity—yeah, they aren't fooling around—and as an Oculus, she's one of the few people capable of altering reality and thwarting them. In the largest Resistance hub in North America, Josie learns she doesn't only have the strongest abilities to Push and Retract reality, she has gifts no other Oculus has. When they get word that the Consortium is flying in a world-renowned tech researcher to their headquarters who may have the knowledge to enslave humans, Josie and Reid assemble a team to intercept the researcher and to bust out Reid's best friend, Santos, who was taken hostage until they get Josie. But the Board won't let them leave. The lines have blurred. The only person Josie can trust is Reid.



After a long wait, it was nice to see what happened to Josie and Reid from “Anomaly.”

Unfortunately, I feel a little let down by the resolution.  We got to meet secondary characters that were important but not very developed, and the ending seemed very rushed.  To be honest, it was confusing to me.  In spite of this, I did enjoy it, but not as much as I hoped.  There seems to be an opening in the ending for possible further adventures, and I think that opening holds promise for more character development and an easier to follow plot.

If you read and liked “Anomaly,” be sure to pick up “Enigma!”

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Trusting You & Other Lies

Trusting You and Other Lies Book Cover Trusting You and Other Lies
Nicole Williams
Young Adult Fiction
Crown Books For Young Readers
June 20, 2017

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Nicole Williams delivers a seductive summer romance worth swooning over. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins. Phoenix can't imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years--do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better? On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum--the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he's impossible to figure out--and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he's promising Phoenix a summer she'll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie? "What elevates this the witty and realistic dialogue and excellent character development." -SLJ



“Trusting You & Other Lies” is a nice summer romance that has some teeth.

It’s refreshing to see a sibling relationship that is loving and a family that is struggling in a realistic way.  The teenage emotions rang true and brought back quite a bit of nostalgia, along with a lot of “glad I’m past that phase of my life” thoughts.  Last but not least, there was no instalove.  That is always a bonus in YA romances.

I recommend “Trusting You & Other Lies” for anyone looking for an emotional read about young relationships, both with family and romantic interests.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations