Two Nights

Title: Two Nights
Author: Kathy Reichs
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Rating: ★★★

Sunday Night is an ex-cop and ex-military. One day, her friend Beau asks her to go see the wealthy Opaline Drucker. Opaline wants Sunday to investigate the death of her daughter and grandson, and find her missing granddaughter. They were killed in a bombing outside a Jewish school, and her granddaughter’s body was never found. Opaline is certain that her granddaughter is still alive because someone tried to access her bank account recently. Sunday starts her search in Chicago. Along with her brother, she is led on a hunt across the U.S., from California to D.C. 

Sunday Night is a very unlikeable character. She narrates the story, and is very blunt. Though sometimes unlikeable characters can be effective, Sunday was too negative and flat. 

The story moved slowly. There were also confusing chapters about a girl who was locked away in a house. It takes a long time to discover what those parts are about, and the outcome was disappointing. 

Sunday also did a lot of strange things throughout her investigation, that made the story move slowly. She didn’t explain any of her plans. She would repeatedly do things, which got tiring after a while. For example, she always got a second hotel room, and never stayed where she was supposed to. She didn’t explain the purpose of this and it got tedious after the first few times. Fewer repetitive details like this would have made the story move faster and more enjoyable. 

I really enjoy Kathy Reich’s other books about Temperance Brennan. There was even a reference to Bones in this story. I was excited to read this one too, but it was disappointing. It had too many details and not enough explanation. 


Title: Sisters
Author: Raina Telgemeier 
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Rating: ★★★★

Raina and Amara are sisters. They go on a road trip with their mom and younger brother, Will, from California to Colorado for a family reunion. There are flashbacks throughout the story of their relationship. When Raina was little she asked for a sister and then she got one. But she wasn’t the best friend she thought she would get. Amara cried and whined a lot, and she didn’t want to do the same things Raina liked. They also had to share a room. They had different opinions on pets, with Amara wanting a snake and Raina being terrified of them. When Raina gets her own room, Amara is finally given a snake for a pet. But it needs to be fed live mice which their mother doesn’t want to do. They take it back to the pet store but it slithers out of the bag and into the car, disappearing for a long time. In the end, Raina and Amara have to learn that though they don’t get along all the time, they have a special sister relationship. 

This is a really funny graphic novel. It’s the follow up to the book Smile, which is about Raina getting braces. This story also deals with think that kids experience, such as wanting a sibling and going on family road trips. Neither of these things turn out as planned either, since Raina and Amara don’t get along, and they don’t have a good time on the trip. 

Though I don’t have any sisters, I really enjoyed this book. It’s very funny, and has Raina Telgemeier’s familiar style. I hope she makes other follow up stories. 

Finding Audrey

Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

Audrey has severe anxiety after an incident at school. She always wears sunglasses so she doesn’t have to make eye contact with anyone. Her mom can be extreme at times. She doesn’t want Audrey’a brother, Frank, to play video games anymore. When taking them away from him doesn’t work, she threatens to throw his laptop out the window. Meanwhile, Frank is supposed to be competing in an online gaming competition with his friend Linus. But when Linus comes to the house Audrey changes. Linus becomes the one person who Audrey can open up to. 

I really liked this story. The characters are relateable for a variety of readers, since there was both a boy and girl main character. Also, the mother was worried about Frank playing too many video games, like many parents. 

The parents are featured prominently in the story, so it would be good for parents of young adults to read too. 

I also like that the incident that Audrey had at school isn’t explained. Only the aftermath is shown in the story. It keeps the story moving forward and gives it some mystery. 

This story is different for Sophie Kinsella, since she normally writes adult fiction. This book is very successful though, so I hope she writes more YA in the future. 

Archie: Volume 1

Title: Archie Volume 1: The New Riverdale
Author: Mark Waid, Fiona Staples
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Archie Comics
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Archie and the gang are updated in this new graphic novel series. Archie and Betty have been dating since they were kids. But one day there is a “lipstick incident” and they break up. No one knows what the lipstick incident was, and they aren’t telling. Meanwhile, a new girl moves into town: Veronica Lodge. Archie gets a job at the construction site for the new Lodge mansion. But that night, while cleaning up the mess he made during the day, Archie accidentally turns on a machine that destroys the house. Archie decides to make it up to Veronica by doing everything for him. Betty and Jughead don’t like the way Veronica is using Archie, so they make a plan with Reggie to break them up. 

I loved the new artwork in this graphic novel. It’s updated and modern. 

In each comic, Archie speaks directly to the reader, often to introduce the story. I love how this brings the reader right into the story and creates a connection between the reader and the characters. 

There was a lot of background given for the characters that I haven’t read before. The origin of Jughead’s name is revealed, as well as Veronica’s entrance to Riverdale. 

There are many diverse characters in the new Riverdale, including Sayed, a Muslim student and Shiela, an Asian girl. This is an important feature in this contemporary story. 

I’m really excited about the new Archie. This graphic novel is a great introduction to the new series.

The Jungle Book (Manga Classics)

Title: The Jungle Book
Author: Crystal S. Chan
Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Rating: ★★

The Jungle Book has 7 different stories in it. The first is “Mowgli’s Brothers,” which is about Mowgli, who grew up with wolves. The next is “Kaa’s Hunting,” and it is about how Mowgli used what he learned from Baloo and Bagheera to defeat the snake, Kaa. In “Tiger! Tiger!” Mowgli moves to a human village and he has to kill Shere Khan, the tiger, to prove his worth. The next 4 stories aren’t about Mowgli. “The White Seal” is about a unique white seal who looks for a safe island for the seals, away from human hunters. “Rikki-Tikki-Ravi” is about a mongoose who saves his human family repeatedly from cobras. “Toomai of the Elephants” is a boy who has a deep connection with elephants. “Her Majesty’s Servants” is about animals in a military camp who question why they fight with each other. 

I have never read the original Jungle Book, so I didn’t know what to expect from this graphic novel. I watched the Disney version when I was little, but I don’t remember all the details. 

I was confused when the story drifted away from Mowgli. I thought he would be more prominent in the story. The final four stories which were about different animals were a little disjointed. They didn’t relate to each other or the previous stories about Mowgli. 

The one common theme that I found throughout the stories was animals versus humans. In some of the stories the animals worked with humans and sometimes they were against them. It was an interesting relationship that changed over time. 

I was disappointed in this story. The pictures were good, but the stories just weren’t for me. 

The Truth About Stacey (Baby Sitters Club Graphic Novel #2)

Title: The Truth About Stacey (Baby Sitters Club Graphic Novel #2)
Author: Raina Telgemeier, Ann M. Martin
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

Stacey McGill has diabetes. she has to go to New York City for a lot of appointments. Her parents want her to go to a special doctor who they’ve seen on TV. But Stacey wants a second opinion. Meanwhile, the BSC has new competition, The Baby Sitters Agency. The Agency has older sitters who can stay out later, driving away some of the BSC’s clients. The girls have to come up with a clever way to save the BSC.

This story deals with the serious issue of Stacey’s diabetes. Though she was ashamed of it at first, the baby sitters accept her when they find out. They don’t think it’s a big deal, though Stacey was afraid they wouldn’t like her when they found out. Stacey also demonstrates her maturity and independence by taking her health into her own hands when she tells her parents she wants to see a different doctor from the one she picked out.

The babysitters have to be very creative when trying to save their club. They learn that the truth is the best policy, when they have to expose the secrets of the Baby Sitters Agency when a child is in danger.

This graphic novel is another great adaptation of the original Baby Sitters Club.

Beauty And The Beast: Belle’s Tale 

Title: Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Tale
Author: Mallory Reaves
Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Belle lives in the French town of Villeneuve with her father. Belle is considered an outsider to the other villagers because she is always reading and inventing things to make her life easier. When her father goes on a trip to the market, she asks him to bring back a rose. But when his horse returns without him, Belle knows he’s in trouble. The horse leads Belle to a castle where her father is being held prisoner by the Beast. Belle tricks her father into trading places with her so she will stay at the castle and her father can return to his home. The Beast lets Belle out of the cell, and gives her a bedroom, where she meets the personified household furniture. Belle soon learns that the Beast is just a misunderstood man who has been cursed to live as a beast.
Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney movie. I was so excited about the new movie and these manga adaptations

The pictures of the characters are very true to the new movie. Though the drawings of furniture are exactly like the movie, Belle still has a manga look to her. She has big eyes, but she looks like Emma Watson in the movie.

One thing that bothered me was the position of the dialogue in some frames. Since it’s a manga, it has to be read from right to left, but some frames had the order of the text going from left to right. This was a little confusing and it slowed down my reading.

There is also a sequel to this manga that tells the Beast’s side of the story!