Middle Grade Review: Watchdog

Watchdog by Will McIntosh

Genres: Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Maturity Level: 2
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Thirteen-year-old twins Vick and Tara have built an incredible machine–a loyal robotic watchdog named Daisy. But, when local crime boss Ms. Alba schemes to add Daisy to her robot army, Vick and Tara must go to great lengths to protect their prized pet. Because Daisy is more than just any robot–she’s their constant protector, and together the three make a great team.

Vick and Tara are determined to stop the mob from tearing their little family apart. And they might just succeed! Sure, the evil Ms. Alba has more robot watchdogs, but none are as smart–or as faithful–as their Daisy. Plus, if things get too dangerous, Tara could always upgrade their pet. With her mechanical skills, she could make Daisy bigger, stronger, and a lot more intimidating!

This was a fun book, and a good first dystopian for kids. But it didn’t blow me away.

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Review: Same Kind of Different as Me

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent

Genres: Memoir, Christianity
Maturity Level: 3 (content warning: n-word, cancer)
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It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, inside the heart of God. It unfolds at a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with betrayal, pain, and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Ron Hall was (is?) a millionaire art dealer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. When he began volunteering at a local homeless shelter he met and eventually became friends with Denver Moore, who had been homeless some thirty years after spending time in prison. They changed each other’s lives, and remain best friends.

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Harry Potter Superlatives: Vote

Hey y’all! It’s yearbook time of year! It’s easy for me to feel nostalgic rather than devastated about yearbooks right now, but I know that isn’t the case for high schoolers, especially seniors. But I thought it might be fun to take one of my favorite end-of-year activities from high school and apply it to Harry Potter.

Anyone else love superlatives? I lived for them. They were, hands down, my favorite part of band banquet. I still have my little purple recorder from the third time I was voted the biggest band nerd. I use it as a talking piece at school. Man, I miss those days. *pauses to reflect* If there’s one thing Hogwarts didn’t have but it needed, it’s superlatives.

FRIENDS! I need you to vote!! Pretty please with sugar on top!!!!

I am fighting with twitter, I don’t know why it’s got to show you two dang tweets at a time. Do you best to not vote for things twice while I try fix it. Grr.

Best Smile

Fred Weasley, Albus Dumbledore, Lee Jordan, Luna Lovegood

Oh, all great choices! I don’t know how you’re going to pick, I just it’s a matter of opinion. Good luck to everyone!

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3 Year Blogoversary!

Happy (late) Blogoversary to me!

I missed by Blog Birthday completely because someone May is already halfway effing over. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but the first six weeks of stay-at-home issues dragged by, so I’m not sure where the last two weeks went. How did they blow by so fast? Anyway, thankfully The Orangutan Librarian (who I adore, btw) mentioned in her blogoversary post that we are blog birthday buddies and reminded me that it is, in fact, halfway through the month. Thanks friend!

Things are a little different here on Never Not Reading than when I started. Boy, how my life has changed. I’m at my fourth job since I started the blog, and starting a new career as a librarian. I am NOT reading anyone else’s blogs, which I hate but will hopefully change in the next week or so. I’m reading a lot more variety.

And, let’s be honest, I’m running out of blogging steam.

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Why are books never in first person anymore?

This is going to be less like a discussion post and more like me complaining, but seriously, what is up with that?! I love first person! But you never see it anymore. Everything is always in personal third.

First person is just so intimate. You really get to know the character really well, and I love that it feels like they are talking directly to you. In first person you really get characters that feel like they could be your best friend forever.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t like third person POV. That personal third person is the most popular choice for a reason. It works, WELL. But there’s just nothing like some good ol’ “I” and “me”. Am I right?

Authors, pretty please, write me some awesome first person fantasy? ❤

Review: Gideon the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Series: The Locked Tomb
Genre: Fantasy
Maturity Level: 5-
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The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Holy cow, what a ride! I’ve heard people go on and on about this book, so I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be so fun. It’s got character, its got originality, its got surprises, its got a can’t-stop pace, and it’s got GIDEON.

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Middle Grade Review: Finding Orion

Finding Orion by John David Anderson

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Maturity Level: 2
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Rating: ⋆⋆

Rion Kwirk comes from a rather odd family. His mother named him and his sisters after her favorite constellations, and his father makes funky-flavored jelly beans for a living. One sister acts as if she’s always onstage and the other is a walking dictionary. But no one in the family is more odd than Rion’s grandfather, Papa Kwirk. He’s the kind of guy who shows up on his motorcycle only on holidays, handing out crossbows and stuffed squirrels as presents. Rion has always been fascinated by Papa Kwirk, especially since his son—Rion’s father—is the complete opposite. Where Dad is predictable, nerdy, and reassuringly boring, Papa Kwirk is mysterious, dangerous, and cool.

Which is why, when Rion and his family learn of Papa Kwirk’s death and pile into the car to attend his funeral and pay their respects, Rion can’t help but feel that that’s not the end of his story. That there’s so much more to Papa Kwirk to discover.

He doesn’t know how right he is.

There’s not really a tactful way to say this, so I’ll be blunt. I didn’t like this book and I wouldn’t give it to a kid.

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