I re-read the The Unwanteds Series in September (I originally read it back in 2018) so I could read these books which are sequels that take place 10ish years later. Glad I did a re-read because I forgot a ton of stuff.
2) Get to 30% on Dragon Age Inquisition
I’ve been playing the game daily and I’m at 21% which I’m pretty happy with since it’s such a big RPG. But over the next month I’d like to get closer to 30% and try to get towards to middle of the game.
3) Hit my reading goal for the year.
I’m three books away so this shouldn’t take too long.
4) Get back into doing weekly reviews
I miss them, and I’m back into a regular routine after my care giving job over the end of the summer. So I’m excited to get back to that.
So I did a lot of things in September, a lot of that wasn’t related to books, so my blog number were, down a little bit. I think they’ll pick back up now that my care giving job is sort of over, and my friend is due to be out of the hospital soon. Not related to the blog but it will make me a happier person and happier people blog more. Or at least this one does.
I gamed a lot this month, tons of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Paid for the blog and the domain for another year, and got a nifty little Jetpack add on so you can keyword search the blog now. The day this is posted will also be my 30th birthday. So lets see how I did on what I set out to do.
1) Read my normal 4 books a books, but try a push it to a few more.
I read 7 book so I think this one is good.
2) More social engagement but how?
I’m still failing here but I was super busy with care-giving this moth, so I’m going to give myself a pass. I’m going to try to get back into interactions via Instagram next month and work from there.
3) Prepare for some spooky stuff in October, maybe Blogtober again?
Doesn’t look like there is any fresh content for Blogtober but I’m going to use some of the older stuff to make sure the blog feels fallish.
4) Try to take more photos for the blog.
This didn’t happen mostly because I wasn’t around the materials for it. But since I’m home now I think I’ll at least be able to start doing IG post which will show up hopefully on the reviews and the blog.
These graphic novels are targeted at a somewhat younger audience than the main reboot of graphic novels for the Babysitter’s Club. These are more lower elementary school issues while the Baby Sitters Club main graphic novels deal with middle school problems, still both sets of books have engaging plots that even adults can appreciate.
Karen’s Roller Skates (Baby-sitters Little Sister)
Karen is Kristy from the Babysitter’s Club’s stepsister. Sometimes she lives with her mother and sometimes she lives with her father where Kristy and her family also live, she and her brother go back and forth. On the weekend the story occurs the two siblings are at their father (Watson’s) house.
Karen is excited for the weekend, she has new roller skates and she’s a great skater. She’s also looking forward to trying some new tricks. But, oh no! Karen falls down and breaks her wrist, she has to go the hospital. Its scary, and she doesn’t like all the new things she has to deal with like getting a cast.
However once she gets home she does like being taken care of, however this doesn’t last long and the annoyances of broken wrist out way the perks. She has to go back to the hospital every two weeks to get a cast and she can’t roller skate while her wrist is broken.
What’s more she meets one of her classmates at a visit to the hospital who has the same doctor. He claims he’s going to get a famous sports stars signature on his cast. Now Karen has a mission, she’s going to get every one she knows plus someone famous and beat out classmate and she wont stop until the job is done.
This a cute graphic novel great for kids and middle grade readers. Karen is a smart and funny protagonist and the adventure she goes on is relatable to something kids might go through. I also love how Karen’s story of how she broke her arm gets more elaborate throughout the book.
Note before I start the review, the the characters in this book are a variety of races and ethnicities most Bangladeshi/Irish to Brazilian/Irish. Since as a white American I have no business speaking on the accuracy of those I just won’t. I will however talk about how cute a book it was.
TW: Being outed.
The Henna Wars
Nishat was ready to come out to her family, or so she though, she wasn’t ready however for being iced out, being barely spoken to or being spoken about. She want to keep her family but she doesn’t want to hide who she is, and if the thought things were a problem when she was a lesbian theoretically. When childhood best friend Flávia walks back into her life and her school she falls for her instantly.
But things seem to get all tangled up, especially when Flávia and Nishat both decide to compete to showcase their talents as henna artists in a school competition to make your own business. Nishat calls cultural appropriation, Flávia doesn’t buy it. It doesn’t help that Flávia cousin is Nishat’s arch rival who has made fun of her for years.
But even as they claim to hate each other they can’t seem to break their connection. And when someone outs Nishat and Flávia each must make their own choices about whether their potential relationship will work out or whether they will let things fade to rumors.
Will Nishat go back in the closet to please her family, will Flávia fight for the girl she likes?
I won’t reveal the ending however I will say I appreciate this book because it’s realistic. Nishat and Flávia had to go up down and around to get to where they need to be in the end. I also love Nishat’s sister Priti who wants has a close connection with Nishat and who helps her a lot throughout the book. There are also some interesting discussions on race and expectations throughout the book.
Finally there are several cute things I can’t mention because spoilers but let me just say it’s a great and cute middle grade book.
Now I’m a huge She-Ra fan I love the creators work as well as her work with the Lumberjane comics, I’m not as familiar with the person who wrote this comic, but they did a great job keeping true to the universe and the different characters personalities.
The Legend of the Fire Princess
I’d say this book is set in late season 1 or early season 2. Even after being with the Rebellion for awhile life outside the Horde is still strange to Adora. She’s having to learn about the Rebellion’s customs and her powers as She-Ra, including abilities that just keep growing.
She learns she has the ability to heal corrupted runestones. Gems which help power the planet and the princesses of Etheria. Mermista, Frosta, and Perfuma each draw power from their runestones but Glimmer knows of another one with a dark past.
Long ago a princess with fire powers ruled the land to the west until a thirst for power corrupted her and lead to the ruin of her kingdom. Glimmer thinks the lost fire runestone could give them an advantage against the Horde, but Adora is unsure. And claiming the ancient power won’t be as easy as they thought especially when the Horde has their eyes on the exact same prize.
Don’t miss this original graphic novel based on stories by She-Ra showrunner and New York Times bestselling author Noelle Stevenson, with script by Gigi D.G. and art by Paulina Ganucheau!
This was a very cute story nice self contained adventure, nice touch of mythology about Etheria, and especially a nice touch of foreshadowing for events in future seasons. It’s not so obvious if you haven’t seen future seasons however it’s a great Easter egg if you have. Overall I can’t wait to read more of the She-Ra graphic novels.
A modern middle grade retelling of Great Expectations, which probably would have meant a lot more to me if I’d read the original source material. Still I thought it was very cute.
Pippa Park Raises Her Game
Korean American Pippa Park feels like everyone from her sister to the other kids at her school have a plan to what her life should look like. So when she gets a chance to go to the mysterious Lakeview Private School, via a basketball scholarship where practically no one knows who she is, she can’t help but reinvent herself following a teen magazine’s “Rules of Cool”.
But reinventing herself isn’t as easy as she thought, juggling old and new friends, as well as an unrequited crush turns out to be a ton of pressure. Then there is keeping her real life of working at a laundromat and her family a secret from her new rich elite classmates.
Just when she thinks she can’t handle it all, she begins to recive messages threatening to reveal her carefully crafted persona to her new school. .
And as the threat of being revealed comes even closer, she learns the real reason she was admitted to the elite prep school, and wonders if she should even try to keep her two lives separate and what will happen if she doesn’t.
While it explores cyberbulling well I think it also explores the issue of trying to find out who you want to be, in spite or perhaps because of your family or friend group. This is an issue the middle grade set deals with a lot and I’m pretty sure it’s an issue in the source material so that makes sense. I especially like the way the Korean culture was integrated, the way Pippa felt pushed, her celebrations, and just the little things that were mentioned along the way.
I also liked Pippa’s friend group and basketball team I won’t spoil the ending but I liked the mix of personalities that were shown.
This book reminds me a lot of Summer of 1000 Pies format wise. A female couple taking care of a semi-orphaned girl on a farm. You can find my review of Summer of 1000 Pies here.
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
Following the death of her mother in the New Year thirteen-year-old Lydialife is uprooted as she moves from the home she and her mother shared to a farm that her Aunt Brat along with her wife Eileen share along with their dog Sookie, and their ancient live in landlord Elloroy.
All are welcoming to her just a little quirky, Lydia has trouble feeling like she belongs and this is highlighted when her aunts rescue a big yellow dog just days after Lydia’s arrival.
Wasn’t one rescue enough?
But her aunts seems set on the idea and they are soon home with this dog. Even though Lydia defines herself as very much not a dog person, plus this one is trouble.
Just like Lydia he’s not the only one with issues coming into this new situation. This new dog which they have trouble naming is mistrustful, escapes from on his leash and barks at things unseen. Leaving his new owners only to guess about his past.
But the new dog isn’t the only one with secrets, Lydia isn’t trying to be difficult to the new people who let her into their home but there are things she just can’t tell. Like why the box of paper stuff under her bed is so important and why the hole in the wall behind a poster in her room keeps getting bigger.
She also may have the clues to the dog’s past but at what cost?
The heart of the story is Lydia and the dog, eventually named Guffer learning to feel at home, their stories mirror each other and them finding ways to fit into their quirky family and Lydia realizing how much she needs her dog is the sweetest part of the story.
I also like the goddesses that come up in the book as a paper project that Lydia and her mother do, some of them are very creative and I would have loved to seen them visually represented throughout the book.
My only complaint is there is a character with an intellectual disability who is kinda treated like a special prophet like figure. I’d really like to see an own voices review’s take on the character because honestly I don’t like the portrayal, but that might just be me getting defensive about how people with disabilities are portrayed.
Written by the wonderful Lupita Nyong’o and illustrated by well regarded illustrator Vashti Harrison. Sulwe is a beautiful reflection on the issue of colorism.
Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family and school and wishes for skin like the color of dawn like her mother and sister have, she even tries various ways to lighten her skin. Her mother reminds her that beauty comes from the inside and she goes on a magical journey to learn the importance of darkness.
This book tackled a big issue but in a beautiful and relatable way for children, I especially like the sun and moon goddesses as pictured below. The journey Sulwe goes on is a sweet story that most children who the book is targeted to can understand. Love the art love the story love the message.
It’s no secret I’m a fan of Boom Studios, Lumberjanes is arguably my favorite comic, neigh one of my favorite pieces of fiction in existence. So I’m not surprised to say I think I’ve found another good one with the Avant-Guards.
The Avant-Guards #1
Transferring into the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, a historically all-female school Charlie Bravo is done with being there before she even arrives but after going to a activities fair out of boredom she catches the interest of Liv.
Liv is an aspiring actor and basketball enthusiast, and she thinks Charlie would be perfect for the school’s basketball team. Charlie is star basket ball player, but she’s done with teams.
If only Liv can get Charlie to give their fledgling basketball team one last shot and finally give the school the sports team it deserves, The Avant-Guards.
Boom makes another place I’d like to visit. I love the contrast of Liv and Charlie’s attitudes, the quips and the friendship starting to form. I’m really looking forward to where things go in the next issue and maybe learning about some more of the other team members.
Also Liv is smart, she talks about getting sports money for an art school and gathering donors and networking, she’s clearly ahead of the game and I’m sure this will serve her well in further issues.
Though this book has it’s moments that I like I wouldn’t call it one of my favorites in the series, maybe because it spends a lot of time focusing on characters I’m not super duper fond of. I like some of Sophie’s growth in it and some of the side characters.
Sophie and her friends are out of their depth, the Neverseen have injured her and Fitz and they got them good. They used something called shadowflux which even their trusty psychician Elwin had no idea about. Thankfully their Shade friend Tam was able to rescue them by pulling this poison like substance from their bodies.
What clear is they’ve got a long recovery ahead of them as the shadowflux did some damage to their bone, muscles and bodies, even to their minds. Fitz is sedated for until they can figure out how this shadowflux is messing with his heart. Sophie meanwhile has a monster haunting her dreams that may have something to do with the Neverseen’s attack.
So they can be taken care of they are staying at Foxfire Elwin, but Sophie can’t help thinking they were taken out for a reason, Keefe tries to keep her cheerful, and Sophie has to make an unusual new agreement with Sandor in order to get her bodyguard to stay.
But even after the Foxfire slumber party is over things don’t exactly feel right either both Fitz and Sophie still have echos ( shadows of the attack) which bother their mind (in Sophie’s case) and their emotions (in Fitz’s case.)
Not only that Fitz is having to play nice with his formerly murderous older brother, Alvar. Fitz and Sophie try everything they can to get Alvar to regain his memories but it seems like he truly is a blank slate is that even possible?
Then there are the feelings Sophie had a crush on Fitz since forever and it’s always been the wrong time to tell him but…
Finally Silveny, Sophie’s pregnant alicorn friend may be in danger and Sophie may have to enter a risky alliance to stop her from losing the baby for good?
Most risky of all to stop her friends from falling into the Neverseen’s big plans she may have to trust an old enemy to down a new one.
I love the pacing of the book. I love the emotional beats of the time the characters spend in the healing center. I also really enjoy Sophie’s new army of body guards and how this book leads up to the next book, however compared to the next book it isn’t my favorite. I think perhaps it’s because of one of the characters that the book is so focused on. I love the reappearance of an old enemy just because he’s cool.