Review: Small Things


Title: Small Things
Author: Mel Tregonning
Genre: Picture book
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Release Date: March 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

On the cusp of having everything slip from his grasp, a young boy has to find a way to rebuild his sense of self. An ordinary boy in an ordinary world. With no words, only illustrations, Small Things tells the story of a boy who feels alone with worries but who learns that help is always close by. An extraordinary story, told simply and with breath taking beauty.

Review:

When I was a kid, I didn’t like picture books without words. However, now I know that the pictures can tell a more powerful story without words. This is the case with this book.

This book tells the important story of childhood anxiety. Children are not always diagnosed with anxiety, though it is very common. The main character in this story has little creatures or demons that are slowly eating away at him, until he is surrounded by them. His sister speaks to him one day and shows him that she has the same problems. Then, he notices that other kids at school also have the same problems, but he didn’t notice them when he was only thinking of his own problems.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful. The pictures look like detailed pencil sketches. The depiction of his demons were much more prominent though the images than they would have been with words. The number or demons increased so much that they eventually filled the entire page. This is a great, honest way to show how the demons of anxiety can consume a child or adult.

I loved this picture book! It is a powerful story for adults or children.

TBR Thursday – May 31

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TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Harper was once a rising star on the tennis court–until her coach dropped her for being “mentally weak.” Without tennis, who is she? Her confidence at an all-time low, she secretly turns to her childhood friend, next-door neighbor Jacob–who also happens to be her sister’s very recent ex-boyfriend. If her sister finds out, it will mean a family war.

But when Harper is taken on by a new coach who wants her to train with Colt, a cold, defensive, brooding young tennis phenom, she hits the court all the harder, if only to prove Colt wrong. But as the two learn to become a team, Harper gets glimpses of the vulnerable boy beneath the surface, the boy who was deeply scarred by his family’s dark and scandalous past. The boy she could easily find herself falling for.

As she walks a fine line between Colt’s secrets, her forbidden love, and a game that demands nothing but the best, Harper must decide between her past and her future and between two boys who send her head spinning. Is the cost of winning the game worth losing everything?

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Doctor Who: Summer Falls

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Title: Summer Falls
Author: Amelia Williams (AKA James Goss)
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: BBC Books
Source: Purchased
Release Date: April 4, 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“When summer falls, the Lord of Winter will arise…”

In the seaside village of Watchcombe, young Kate is determined to make the most of her last week of summer holiday. But when she discovers a mysterious painting entitled ‘The Lord of Winter’ in a charity shop, it leads her on an adventure she never could have planned. Kate soon realises the old seacape, painted long ago by an eccentric local artist, is actually a puzzle. And with the help of some bizarre new acquaintances – including a museum curator’s magical cat, a miserable neighbour, and a lonely boy – she plans on solving it.

And then, one morning Kate wakes up to a world changed forever. For the Lord of Winter is coming – and Kate has a very important decision to make.

Review:

I loved this book. This book was in an episode of Doctor Who, and was written by one of the characters. As soon as I saw that it was a real book, I had to read it! This makes it a different kind of Doctor Who story because it isn’t about an adventure he had with characters from the show. It is a story about a girl who had contact with some strange things when an unusual man (aka the Doctor) came to town.

This book captures the essence of Doctor Who. It is creepy but funny. It would be a good story for middle grade readers, and adults too because even I found some parts creepy and entertaining. Doctor Who is a great show for kids and adults, just like this book. Yet, you don’t have to be familiar with Doctor Who to enjoy the story. He is there, but he isn’t the focus, and he isn’t even explicitly named.

There were a bunch of funny lines in this story. I loved when the talking cat told Kate to stop interrupting her bath, because every time she stops, she must start the bath from the beginning. That would explain why cats have such long baths!

This story was suspenseful and unpredictable. I had no idea what was going to happen, and I loved it!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

‘Waiting On’ Wednesday – May 30

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Blood Will Out by Jo Treggiari.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Ari Sullivan is alive—for now.

She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. The killer is planning a gruesome masterpiece, a fairytale tableau of innocence and blood, meticulously designed.

Until now, Ari was happy to spend her days pining for handsome, recent-arrival Stroud Bellows, fantasizing about their two-point-four-kids-future together. Safe in her small hometown of Dempsey Hollow. But now her community has turned very dangerous—and Ari may not be the only intended victim.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal

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Title: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal
Author: G. Willow Wilson
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 30, 2014
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Marvel Comics presents the new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation!

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

It’s history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (RUNAWAYS)! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5 and material from ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1.

Review:

I love the new Ms. Marvel. She’s a great, diverse addition to the Marvel universe.

Kamala has to balance her strict family rules with the modern world. She wasn’t allowed to go out to a party, so she snuck out and ended up with superpowers, which may or may not be a good thing. Her brother contrasts her, because he is extremely religious, even more than their parents.

I loved the introduction to the superhero, Ms. Marvel. At first, Kamala turned into the original Ms. Marvel, who was a white, blonde woman in a skimpy outfit. Kamala’s version is very different. She is a young, brown girl, who is more modest.

I love Kamala. I’m excited to see where this story goes!

Have you read Ms. Marvel? What did you think?

Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Worlds I’d Love To Live In

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Bookish Worlds I’d Love To Live In. Here’s my list:

1. Harry Potter

2. Red Queen

3. Grisha Verse

4. The Lunar Chronicles

5. Game of Thrones

6. The Queen’s Rising

7. A Darker Shade of Magic

8. Princess Diaries

9. Scythe

10. Isle of Blood and Stone

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

Review: That Inevitable Victorian Thing

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Title: That Inevitable Victorian Thing
Author: E.K. Johnston
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved, not by the cost of blood and theft but by effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendant of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.

Review:

When I read the description of this book, I knew I would love it. I love the Victorian period and the English monarchy, and I’m from Toronto, so it was the best of both worlds!

I loved the Toronto references. They mention that the Don Valley Parkway will be closed for construction, which often happens. There were also popular landmarks mentioned, like Union station and the Royal York hotel, where royals stay in when they visit Toronto, so it was very realistic. 

Since this world is like ours but a little different, there were some changes to history. Queen Victoria’s children married people from different British empires, rather than European royalty. This created a diverse monarchy. One subtle change to history was that Alan Turing was knighted and living in the 60s. Alan Turing invented a computer that ended WWII, but he later had hormone replacement therapy because he was gay and ended up killing himself in 1954. In this different, diverse world, Alan Turing lived. 

There was an omniscient third person narrator, which is not common in modern writing. The narrator knew what everyone was thinking and would switch between different characters’ minds. However, this was a common kind of narrator in Victorian literature, so it read like an authentic Victorian novel. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?