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Disney Best Friends - Publications International Ltd.
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Adorable book featuring some old favorites that will probably become new favorites with the resurgence of live-action Disney recreations (Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo). 

The thing that is so great about this book is that you can go through it multiple times and over different ages to learn and expose children to various concepts. At its base it is a look and find book, but this one also incorporates other activities such as colors, counting, and even telling time.

At the back of the book are some more suggested activities, but with such engaging, full-color, detailed pictures, it is pretty easy to come up with your own as well. 

Great pictures. Fun book to go through. Plus, its a nice, durable board book so it will last awhile.
Rage Becomes Her - Soraya Chemaly

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I received an ARC of this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

This is truly and remarkable and magnificent book.

While it did take me about a month to finish, I really enjoyed this book. I am normally a fairly quick reader, but this one took me a while. Part of that was because some of the issues are very difficult to deal with. This book makes you angry. It's supposed to make you angry and it is very successful at that. However, I wasn't always ready to be angry in the moment, hence the long read time.

Still, this was a fantastic read. It covers various topics related to how women express angry and are taught to think about anger as well as in-depth explorations of multiple reasons women have every right be feel angry. I really liked the overall message that anger can be a healthy response to situations. The book focuses on the negative outcomes of suppressed anger and anger directed inefficiently through other outlets and emphasizes the importance of healthy expression of anger as well as the beneficial ways anger powers creativity and motivates change. Just amazing.

A mix of research, history, current events, and personal anecdotes, this book really engages the reader and invites them to think about anger in a new way. I personally know I am horrible at expressing anger. I ruminate and suppress and I'm working on it. But this book helped me re-categorize the importance of anger in life. 

Many of the topics discussed in the book are heavy and uncomfortable, but I think Chemaly did a wonderful job analyzing the research and bringing so many issues together in connection to anger. This is a fantastically powerful and educational read. I can't say enough good things about it.

Also, my TBR pile is now exploding with various books and articles mentioned in this book, which is never a bad thing.

your name., Vol. 1 - Makoto Shinkai, Ranmaru Kotone

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I just recently stumbled across the film, Your Name, and oh my goodness it is a complete masterpieces and everyone should watch it immediately it will change your life and it is amazing.

Phew. Now that I got that out of my system. After falling in love with the movie, I was excited to see that there was a manga adaptation as well. I've been trying to read more manga so I thought this would be a good point to start.

Overall, the manga was a good adaptation. It follows the movie pretty closely. I can definitely see this book being confusing for those who haven't seen the movie or don't know the story. Honestly, for most of the movie you have no idea what's going on until it finally hits you and you are left with all the feels. The story is worth the wait and confusion, I promise. 

Anyway, this was a good book. The one downside to adapting Your Name into a black and white manga is that there is so much beautiful color in the film (the sparkle of Tokyo, the lushness of the Hida region, and of course that darn comet). You get a little peek at that gorgeous color in the full color bit at the beginning of the book, but miss out on it in the rest of the book. The artwork was still very well done with great detail. 

I also found the translation notes very interesting. They added more depth to some of the issues brought up in the book (what pronouns to use). Plus, it was fun to see "Yuki-chan sensei"/Yukari Yukino pop up as the Classics teacher. Garden of Words is also a beautiful movie. 

A nice read for Shinkai fans. Can't wait to read the next volume.

George - Alex Gino, Jamie Clayton
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I loved this book. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. 

A wonderful book for young readers to better understand what it means for someone to be trans. One of the things I liked most about the book was the author's use of the pronoun "she" in reference to George, even before she openly told anyone she felt like she was a girl. I think it really made it clear to the reader that there was no question whether George was supposed to be a girl or not. It was a fact that she was a girl. This helped to combat the common counterarguments society often tries to make about trans youth ("you're too young to know", "you're just going through a phase", "you have boy parts so you are a boy", etc.). 

I also thought the other characters' reactions were well done. Kelly's was my favorite, because even before George told her, she was always trying to defend George and build her up, saying not to listen to the bully who called her a girl, without realizing that wasn't the support George needed. It is so easy to have good intentions, but make mistakes such as these, especially for young children. As the novel progresses, Kelly demonstrates one way of being a good ally and friend, which I loved. She doesn't get all caught up ruminating on her mistake or denying it. She just changes her way of thinking and goes on to be very supportive. 

I've seen a lot of criticism of the book in regards to its use of gender stereotypes, which is fair, but I do think because the characters are so young, it does seem realistic. Children often have rigid rules about what constitutes girl stuff and boy stuff. I don't know how many times I've heard elementary and preschool kids tell boys their favorite color can't be pink because it's a girl color or that boys can't like My Little Pony because it's a girl show. So while George does hold fairly stereotypical ideas of gender (make up, skirts), I think this is probably due to these strict rules as well as what most represents being a girl to her at that age (i.e. all the things she isn't allowed to do because of how people see her gender). 

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic read and a great starting place for introducing the idea of transgender to young readers. Great writing, wonderful story, and a good cast of characters. While it was short, it had a great message and lesson, which it presents perfectly for young readers.
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I am going to keep this pretty short and sweet.

Neil Gaiman was born to write this book. It's a perfect fit and he excelled at the task.

Wonderfully written with humorous wit and entertaining style. This is a fantastic book. After listening to the first track of the audiobook from the library, I had already decided I would be buying a physical copy and forcing my husband to listen to the audiobook on our next road trip (he's gonna love it). Just a wonderful, amazing book.

Bonus to the audiobook: I am absolutely horrible at pronouncing names so listening to Gaiman so eloquently read them is incredibly satisfying.
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns  - Archie  Bongiovanni, Tristan Jimerson

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I loved this handy little guide. Simple, easy, and to the point. It covers various topics such as how to ask someone what pronouns they use, how to use gender neutral language in everyday life, and how to address situations in which someone uses an incorrect pronoun (in reference to you or others). 

One of the things I really liked about this book was the explanation of how someone may feel when they are misgendered. It is very simple, but so meaningful. Gender neutral language is a new way of thinking for many people, but reading from someone first hand about how a person who is misgendered feels should motivate anyone to at least try to use the correct pronouns.

I also really liked the level of understanding represented when people accidentally mess up. The book doesn't come off as demanding or antagonistic (except toward people who purposely misgender someone, which, let's be honest, makes that person a jerk and such antagonism in response is pretty warranted). The overall message is to do your best to use correct pronouns, correct yourself when you catch yourself making a mistake, and don't be offended when someone points out that you used the incorrect pronoun. 

This is all around a great book. A nice way to address the topic from a gender-neutral and a cisgender point of view. Wonderful read and a great way to get people to really think about the language they use.

The Great Ice Engine - Erica David, Walt Disney Company

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Nice book that puts a Frozen twist on the traditional John Henry story. As with the other books in the series, I enjoyed the writing and set up of the book. The pictures were also fun and interesting. They went well with the text.

While the ending tied up all of the loose ends nicely, I thought the final solution was a bit contrived. It didn't necessarily seem like the best solution, but then again, that's just my adult brain overthinking things.

What I really like about these books is that they focus on a princess and a queen, but aren't full of stereotypical princess/queen things. This one involves an obstacle course, a competition, a mysterious disappearance, and some nifty inventing. While I can appreciate stories with feminine values, it's also nice to see some diversity of interests in female-centric books. I also like how Ana and Else team up to solve problems and create solutions.

5 Worlds Book 2: The Cobalt Prince - Mark A. Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Boya Sun, Matt Rockefeller, Xanthe Bouma

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Great followup to the first book. The pacing of this book seemed a bit faster than the first one, probably because there was less set up required and the majority of the characters were already established. 

As with the first one, the illustrations were gorgeous and amazing. I instantly fell in love with Ram Sam Sam the moment I saw him. What an absolute cutie. There are also some great fight scenes in this one that are well composed. 

Also like the first one, the story is a little choppy at times. It's a bit tricky because there are so many layers of deception that it gets a little hard to follow, but it does make for an interesting story.

Can't wait to get my hands on book three. I am loving this series.

Pete the Cat and the New Guy - James Dean, Kimberly Dean

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Sadly, this series just isn't what it used to be. This one was good overall in comparison to some of the other newer books in the series Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes. It has a good flow and rhyme scheme.

The story also has a great message about making new friends and being different. 

As always, the illustrations were nice. I liked this one better than many of the more recent books in the series, but it still wasn't quite as good as the original books.
Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes - James Dean, Kimberly Dean, James Dean
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Okay read. It was a nice play on a subtraction/counting story as well as a cute little mystery, but the wording came off as clunky to me. The rhyming was nice, but it just didn't have a good flow like some of the earlier books. The story itself was a bit choppy.

Cute illustrations with a nice story, but the writing and awkward flow of the book kind of sunk it.
Ink Over Cliffs - Kelly  Lester

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I found this in the lending library near my house and was instantly pulled in by the gorgeous cover. I've been trying to read more poetry so I figured I'd pick it up.

My expectations weren't high for it, as I am a bit picky about poetry, but this collection blew me away. Absolutely beautiful. Lester creates some truly lovely images as well as covering various topics including motherhood, enjoying nature, and experiencing life in general. A very nice collection that is quick and easy, but filled with beauty and inspiration.

Mother knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch  - Serena Valentino

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This book was so close to being really, really good. But that ending...

I'll start off by saying I haven't read the first three books in the series. I didn't realize it was a series meant to be read chronologically (figured they were standalone stories within a larger series) when I requested the only audiobooks my library had (Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy and this one). However, I think having read the previous book helped within the flow of this one (minor references to dragon queen and such). 

This book started off so good. I hated book 4 because there wasn't all that much about Maleficent. This one, however, focused on Gothel the majority of the time. I'm not sure if my expectations were so much lower after the mess that was the fourth book, but I found myself really engaged in Gothel's backstory. Yes, it's a bit drawn out and could have been condensed. Yes, those dreaded Odd Sisters appear to the irritation of the reader. Yes, there are some things that don't quite fit with the movie (scene where soldiers find the flower). But overall, I found it satisfying. 

Then I got to the last disc. Are you freaking kidding me, Valentino? Who put you up to this? Your book was headed right for 4 stars then I popped in that last disc and had to listen to a narration of the majority of the Tangled film complete with verbatim dialogue. I have seen the Tangled movie. I have seen it multiple times and have watched the same clips over and over again because there is nothing quite like the hell of a child requesting YouTube videos. I didn't need to sit through all of that again when I was trying to enjoy a perfectly good book. I understand that the story met up with the "present", which coincided with the movie, but personally I think it should have ended there. Don't just spoon feed your readers. Let them really take in the horror and tragedy of Gothel's end without shoving it in their faces. This book would have been so much better if it had just been a prequel to the movie. The ending left me infuriated because it was so irritating and unsatisfying to just hear a less-than-exciting rendition of the film without the singing. It was definitely a 2 star, possibly a 1 star, ending.

I finished this yesterday and decided to give myself some time to cool off before writing my review, but honestly, I'm still kind of mad that such a promising book had such a boring, lackluster ending. I don't think it would be fair to rate it solely on the ending, so I met in the middle and gave it 3 stars, but I wish this book had ended before the last disc. It was already too drawn out, but the recreation of the film that most readers have probably already seen at least once really put it over the top. 

I'd like to go back and read the first three books in the series, because I really want to like it, but so far, the two books I've read have been a bit of a disappointment. This one is so much better than the fourth book though and, minus the ending, I enjoyed learning about Gothel's life before the whole Rapunzel thing.

Fairy Tales for Angry Little Girls - Lela Lee

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I recently read about Lela Lee in Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger and was intrigued by the Angry Little Girls series. Sadly, this was the only book my library had by her. But I did really enjoy this one. 

Hilarious, adorable, and creative, this book retells a few well-known fairy tales staring sarcastic, funny, and above all angry little girls. While the characters are based off racial stereotypes, I felt it was more a calling out of these stereotypes as justification for the girls' anger. They are all undoubtedly themselves and rage against the unrealistic and overgeneralized ideas of their sex, gender, and racial identity. The book itself and its characters felt like an exploration of these stereotypes rather than an adherence to them. 

I really enjoyed this book and the girls' anger at some of the ridiculous scenes in these fairy tales was hilarious and enlightened. Great quick read. Not really a good match for actual little girls (some cursing, rudeness, and more adult themes), but a fun introduction to gender and emotions for teens and young adults.

The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle


Such a gorgeous book. This book is best read slowly. It's not something to rush through. I found it best to read a few pages at a time. Despite how short it is, it took me almost a month to finish because of this. I think I got way more out of it than if I had sped through it in a weekend. 

The writing is absolutely beautiful with wonderful imagery and metaphors. I really enjoyed the style. Plus, there are countless lessons to take away from it on how to live life and how to view the world around you.

Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book - Grumpy Cat
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

One of the things I love most about my local library is that they are always up-to-date on important occurrences. The passing of the beloved Grumpy Cat was no exception. I, myself, was pretty bummed to hear the news. There's a special place in my heart for the grumpy little snuggle ball, Tartar Sauce. But when I saw a display at the library featuring popular Grumpy Cat books, my frown was a little less sad and I couldn't help but pick this one up. 

This is a funny book filled with humorous Grumpy Cat sayings. I was a little disappointed that the same pictures are used over and over again. It would have been nice to get some variety. But it was still a fun, quick read to help me cope and it was good for a few chuckles. 

The book includes a hilarious crossword puzzle, an entertaining word search, and other fun games as well as a series of Grumpy Moments montages. A few too many hamster murder jokes for my taste, but on the whole a very good book for fans of Grumpy Cat.
Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy - Serena Valentino
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I messed up and read these out of order. To be fair, the library only had books 4 and 5 on audiobook and I thought they were each their own individual stories. So yes, I missed out on some of the background stuff which made reading this one a little confusing. But I managed. 

However, that wasn't my only problem with this book. Based on the cover and the title (which is repeated so many times in the actual text that I never want to see the phrase again), I assumed this was a book about Maleficent. Honestly, she is hardly featured in it. Yes, I enjoyed the flashbacks to her childhood and the events that occurred in fairy school that got her to that point we are all familiar with. Then there was just so much other stuff that was dull, confusing, and overly complicated. I don't think anyone would go into a book with this cover and want to read about a bunch of people who aren't Maleficent. This whole book was so convoluted. The twists are ridiculous and don't seem to fit with the original Disney story.

Also, I just didn't really like the writing. The dialogue was awkward and clunky. The narration over-explained everything to the point of making interesting tidbits horribly boring. I was excited for a predominately female cast of characters, but the amount of "she thought/hoped/recalled/wished/knew" was irritating. It seemed the characters didn't do much outside of their own heads. The narration often gets caught up describing the character's every thought then going on to describe how that character verbalized the thoughts we just read about. So boring.

Having read other reviews, it seems many people liked this one the least (or strangely the best) of the series so I think I will still go back and at least read the first book in the series. Based on the amount of recap at the start of this book, it sounds like way more stuff happens in the previous books.