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Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White & the Seven Dwarves

Review:

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - Liesl Shurtliff

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy

 

 

I was born just feet from the surface of the earth, completely unheard of for a dwarf, but it couldn’t be helped.

– first sentence

 

 

The dwarf’s name is Borlen and his nickname is Grump. This story is set in the same world as Rump, Jack, and Red and written by the same author, Liesl Shurtliff. I really enjoy this series and I am always happy to see a new book come out. The series takes fairy tale retellings to a new level. The characters are all part of the same larger world and I love the way Shurtliff weaves them all together.

 

Borlen is obsessed with the surface even though most dwarves are terrified of it. He always feels like a bit of an outsider. When he finally finds himself above ground, his first friend is Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.). Readers know she is the Evil Queen, but Borlen is fairly naive and thinks she is his friend (his only friend). And so, Borlen gets caught up in the Queen’s plot against Snow White.

 

I loved the characters in this story and the story itself. Grump is so complicated and conflicted but also very clever. At first Snow White seems like a self-centered, spoiled brat, but later we find out she is more complex than that. The crew that Borlen is a part of consists of seven dwarves – of course, one of whom sneezes a lot – go figure.

 

I highly recommend this book to readers in grades 4 and up, especially fans of fairy tale retellings. I read this as part of the Goodreads HA A-to-Z Challenge and for space #1 in the Snakes and Ladders game (book with a female author).

 

 

 

 

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Part of Your World: A Twisted Tale

Review:

Part of Your World  - Liz Braswell

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover/Owned

 

 

What if Ariel hadn’t defeated Ursula? Hmmm…. Well, Ursula would be married to Prince Eric and in control of the kingdom. Triton would be gone and Ariel would be the queen of Atlantica. Ariel also wouldn’t have a voice. The book opens 5 years after Ursula wins and she has Eric and the kingdom under a sort of hypnosis.

 

I have a confession: I love fractured fairy tales. I love the way authors take these stories that everyone knows and turn them into something different and in some cases, wildly entertaining. And this was definitely one of those cases. It was fascinating to see how the responsibilities of being queen changed Ariel; she is no longer the flighty young girl who fell in insta-love with a human.

 

I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the rest of the Twisted series (A Whole New WorldOnce Upon a Dream, and As Old as Time all by Braswell; and Reflection by Elizabeth Lim).

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The Boy on the Bridge – audiobook

Review:

The Boy on the Bridge - M.R. Carey

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned

 

The bucks have all been passed and the arguments thrashed out until they don’t even bleed anymore.

– first sentence

 

This book is a prequel set in the same world as The Girl With all the Gifts. A group of soldiers and scientists are traveling in the Rosalind Franklin (an armored motor home set up as a mobile research station); their mission is to find data that might lead to a cure for the Hungry plague. In addition to the soldiers and scientists, there’s a teenage boy genius, Stephen who seems to be on the autistic spectrum. He developed the e-blocker that keeps the hungries from smelling humans in both this book and GWATG.

 

If you haven’t read Girl With all the Gifts, you should definitely read it first. This book isn’t quite as good but I still enjoyed it. The scope of this book is much smaller than GWATG, and we already know some of the information that this team is gradually discovering. But it was interesting to see what happened to leave the Rosalind FrankIin where the team in GWATG will eventually find it. I loved listening to the audio because of the narrator’s British (?) accent which fits in perfectly with the story.

 

The epilogue was a bit jarring. I don’t want to give anything away, I just didn’t get why Carey would go there with the ending.

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Alien: Cold Forge – audiobook

Review:

Alien: The Cold Forge - Alex White, Michael Braun

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned

 

 

Dorian Sudler knows he shouldn’t smoke.

– first sentence

 

 

This is a dark story, but that isn’t different from the other alien stories. It focuses on corporate and human greed and the evil greed creates. Weyland-Yutani had a backup plan if Hadley’s Hope (Aliens) didn’t give them the specimen they craved. They created an isolated scientific research station called The Cold Forge and transported eggs there to be stored for future research. Blue is a scientist who suffers from a debilitating genetic disease but she is also a genetic researcher. Her condition has declined to the point where she is bedridden, but she is able to function by transferring her consciousness into an android body (Marcus). Blue and the other researchers are using chimps to gestate the aliens from the eggs and produce xenomorphs. Dorian is a Weyland-Yutani hatchet man whose job is to find ways to save the company money. He is at the Cold Forge to figure out why the scientists haven’t produced results yet.

 

Dorian is a despicable character that you will enjoy hating. I spent most of the book hoping he would die, and die painfully. Marcus is an interesting character who manages to generate sympathy despite being an android. I understand Blue’s need to find a cure, but she doesn’t care who or what she hurts to do it. She isn’t exactly likable, and I often questioned her decisions.

 

The book is well-written and the characters are fully developed though not all are likable. The threat of the aliens is constantly there, but the characters (as usual) don’t see it. The reader, on the other hand, is waiting for them to escape and kill everyone. The book brings up the question of animal suffering for the sake of research, and even questions whether it’s ok to cage the aliens and cause their suffering.

 

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of the Alien universe.

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Hey, Booklikes

Reblogged from: Moonlight Reader

Reposting with some updated information.

 

Obsidian Blue and I have been talking about a new game of Booklikes-opoly for this summer, but in the interim, does anyone feel like a quick game of Snakes and Ladders?

 

 

RULES OF THE GAME:

 

Everyone starts on 1. There are two alternative ways to move forward.

 

1. Read a book that fits the description on the space number as listed below and you can roll two dice to move forward more quickly.

 

2. However, if you can’t find a book to fit the square, don’t worry about it. You can read any book, and roll one dice on random.org.  This is to ensure that if a reader cannot find a book to fill the square, no one gets bogged down and can’t move on.

 

All books must be at least 200 pages long. Short stories count, so long as you read enough of them from a collection to equal 200 pages. 

 

You do not need to hit space 100 with an exact roll. In order to win, you must complete space 100 as written.

 

Spaces:

 

1. Author is a woman

2. Genre: mystery

3. Set in the twentieth century

4. Published in 2019

5. Published in 2018

6. Title has a color word in it

7. Author’s last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

8. Author’s last name begins with the letters E, F, G, or H.

9. Author’s last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

10. Author’s last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

11. Author’s last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S

12. Author’s last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

13. Author is a man

14. Author is dead

15. Genre: romance

16. Genre: fantasy

17. Genre: horror

18. Set in a school

19. Set in the UK

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

21. Set in Europe

22. Set in Asia

23. Set in Australia/Oceania

24. Set in Africa

25. Snake – go back to 5

26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long

27. Set during WWI or WWII

28. Written between 1900 and 1999

29. Someone travels by plane

30. Someone travels by train

31. Road trip

32. Genre: thriller

33. Set in North America

34. Snake – go back to 1

35. Has been adapted as a movie

36. Set in Central or South America

37. Has won an award

38. Newest release by a favorite author

39. A reread

40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry

41. Characters involved in politics

42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry

43. Characters involved in the law

44. Characters involved in cooking/baking

43. Characters involved in medicine

44. Characters involved in science/technology

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year

46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years

47. Snake – go back to 19

48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.

49. Recommended by a friend

50. Has a domestic animal on the cover

51. Has a wild animal on the cover

52. Has a tree or flower on the cover

53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover

54. Is more than 400 pages long

55. Is more than 500 pages long

56. Was published more than 100 years ago

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

58. Was published more than 25 years ago

59. Was published more than 10 years ago

60. Was published last year

61. Cover is more than 50% red

62. Cover is more than 50% green

63. Cover is more than 50% blue

64. Cover is more than 50% yellow

65. Snake – go back to 52

66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long

67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)

68. Something related to weddings on the cover

69. Something related to travel on the cover

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

72. Involves the mountains/forests 

73. Categorized as YA

74. Categorized as Middle Grade

75. Set in a fantasy world

76. Set in a world with magic

77. Has a “food” word in the title

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

79. Main character is a woman

80. Main character is a man

81. Ghost story

82. Genre: urban fantasy

83. Genre: cozy mystery

84. Genre: police procedural

85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

86. Author’s debut book

87. Snake – go back to 57

88. Comic/graphic novel

89. Published between 2000 and 2017

90. A new-to-you author

91. Snake – go back to 61

92. Reread of a childhood favorite

93. Author’s first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)

94. Non-fiction

95. Memoir

96. From your favorite genre

97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE

98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS

99. Snake – go back to 69

100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes!

 

ADDITIONS TO THE RULES

See comments to the post for further explanations or to ask questions

 

When you start on square 1, you need to read a book before you can roll. If your book fills the square, you get to roll two dice. If your book doesn’t not fit the square, roll one dice only.

 

With respect to the ladder squares: You must read a book in order to climb the ladder. Once you finish the book for the ladder square, climb the ladder to the ending square. If you read a book that fits the ending square, roll two dice to move on, otherwise, roll one dice.

 

For audiobook substitutions, either check the print book to determine if it is more than 200 pages long, or any audiobook that is a minimum of 5 hours & 30 minutes qualifies.

 

 

 

 

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Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Review:

Pashmina - Nidhi Chanani

Audience: Grades 4-8

Format: Graphic Novel – Library Copy

 

 

Priyanka! Watch out for that tree!

– first sentence

 

Priyanka (Pri) has a lot of questions. Why did her mother leave India for the U.S.? What was it like there? Who is her father and what happened to him? But her mother doesn’t want to answer any of these questions. Pri is dealing with typical teen issues, learning to drive, dealing with bullies, and trying to figure out who she is. She finds a pashmina in a suitcase in the closet and it transports her to India in her imagination. This only fuels her desire to travel to India, but will her mom let her go?

 

I enjoyed this book. Pri is a multi-dimensional character – she has flaws but is still relatable. She is trying to figure out her identity while trying to fit into two different worlds. Her journey of self-discovery is heartwarming and her determination is inspiring.

 

The magical element to the story adds another dimension. The panels are black and white until Pri puts on the pashmina when they become full of color. Indian culture is woven through the story beautifully. 

 

I highly recommend this book and it would be a great addition to any library serving elementary or middle school children. 

 

 

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Zoey & Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows

Review:

Dragons and Marshmallows - Asia Citro, Marion Lindsay

Audience: Grades 1-5

Format: Hardcover – Library Copy

 

 

“What is it, Sassafras?” I crouched down and ruffled my cat’s fluffy fur.

– first sentence

 

 

This book is a fabulous early chapter book. Zoey and her cat Sassafras both love bugs and science and when Zoey discovers that her mom secretly takes care of magical creatures, she is eager to help. Zoey, a budding scientist, wears her thinking goggles on her head when she needs to concentrate. And when she finds a baby dragon, she uses the scientific method to determine how to help him.

 

So, not only is this book fun, but it also explains the scientific method (including a glossary at the end). It is much more meaningful than I thought it would be. With a strong female lead who happens to be African American, and all the science thrown in, it goes above and beyond what you expect from an early chapter book. The entire series is a must-have for any elementary library collection.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Alien series from Audible Originals

Alien: Out of the Shadows - Tim Lebbon Alien: River of Pain - Christopher Golden Alien - Sea of Sorrows - James A. Moore

 

River of Pain – 

I really enjoyed this performance; the story, characters, sound effects, and music all came together perfectly. I felt like I was listening to a movie. The atmosphere is amazingly scary and claustrophobic. And as others have said, the woman who voiced Ripley was perfect. I liked how they created a brand new story that took place between Alien and Aliens (the movies) and I liked the explanation for it. Overall a very entertaining listen that will be fun for any fans of the Alien universe.

 

Out of the Shadows – 

The overall production of this one was great with the same claustrophobic, scary atmosphere as the first. But I didn’t love the story or the characters as much.  Still entertaining, but just not as original or interesting. 

 

Sea of Sorrows – 

This was my least favorite of the three. I just didn’t buy the distant descendant of Ripley having a psychic connection to the xenomorphs. I also didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t connect with any of them and found myself waiting for them to die.

 

All that being said, I flew through these books. I found myself always wanting to listen to them, even though they are all basically the same formula:

 

– Humans go where they shouldn’t or mess with things beyond their understanding

– The humans are somehow connected to Weyland-Yutani (which is greedy for money, power, or both, without regard for human life)

– An android works against the humans in service of Weyland-Yutani or in rare cases helps them

– The xenomorphs come and the humans underestimate them

– There is a lone survivor (or maybe a select few)

 

Anyway, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, these stories are a fun revisit to the universe – and might make you want to watch all the movies again (like I did last weekend).

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The End of Oz

Review:

The End of Oz - Danielle  Paige

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover (Owned)

 

 

The first time I flew, it was under very different circumstances.

– first sentence

 

It was just my luck to find the person of my dreams in a war-torn world where I was in danger of losing him any minute, I thought.

– Chapter 17

This is the final book in the Dorothy Must Die series (not including the prequel and other world enhancing novellas – I think there are nine now). But, you can read the four main books and totally enjoy the series without them.

 

This final book is full of action and twists, and I loved the ending. There is a bit of a cliffhanger, but just enough to let you know that there will always be strife in this magical world. (Some reviews mentioned an epilogue in the hardcover version, but there wasn’t one in the kindle version, so *shrugs*.)

 

Some chapters are from Amy’s point of view and others from Dorothy’s. Seeing Dorothy’s pov didn’t make me despise her any less, but it was interesting to see her reasoning. It seems like she started out with good intentions, but the magic corrupted her to the point that she isn’t even slightly recognizable as the girl from Kansas we all remember. Even so, she seems to have no redeeming qualities left. So, I felt fine about hating her character throughout the book.

 

Most of the characters are not all good or all evil. They do what they have to in order to survive and protect their friends and family. Sometimes their actions are shocking and sometimes completely understandable. 

 

I think the end may bother some people, but it made perfect sense to me and I loved it. If you like retellings or fantasy, give this series a shot.

 

 

 

 

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