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Month in review

Reviews
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
Allie, First at Last by Angela Cervantes
Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South, Part One by Gene Luen Yang
Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder
Cat vs Human: Another Dose of Catnip by Yasmine Surovec
Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain by Valeri Gorbachev
Click Here to Start by Denis Markell
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
Darned if You Do by Monica Ferris
The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon
Framed! by James Ponti
Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat
How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel by Jennifer Brown
The Journey of the Penguin by Emiliano Ponzi
Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern
Kiki and Jacques by Susan Ross
A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
Lost Cat by Caroline Paul
Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs by Cylin Busby
OCDaniel by Wesley King
The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale
Ratpunzel by Ursula Vernon
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Sticks & Stones by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Valley of Kings by Michael Northrop
You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo

Miscellaneous
Favorite books of 2016 by month
Favorite Own Voices read in 2016
Favorite series read in 2016
Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy read in 2016

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Favorite series read in 2016: 12/15/16

Favorite books

As with my favorite reads from books published in 2016, I'm keeping with the top twelve format. To make the list, I picked one qualifying book from each month: from either book I read or a book I reviewed.

To qualify for this list, there needs to be more than two related books. New series where more volumes are confirmed are legit. If I've reviewed a book from the series, I will include a link to the most recent review, but it's not necessarily the newest book available in the series.

 

Twelve: The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
cover art

The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde
Review

I am a fan of Zorro and Shannon Hale's series is a cute homage to it. Here's a princess trying to keep her kingdom running, while keeping it safe from monsters. She has an alarm, a special costume, and a horse who fights alongside her.

What the series needs, though, is for the princess to open up to a trusted friend. She needs help in the hero business. She's going to wear herself and her horse out if she's not careful.

 

Eleven: Castle Glower by Jessica Day George
cover art

Fridays with the Wizards
Review

Castle Glower is an extra-dimensional structure with a long and bloody history. The first couple books just focus on the way the castle changes and reacts to the needs of the royal family. Interestingly, it also picks the next monarch.

 

Ten: Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
cover art

39 Story Treehouse
Review coming

The current volume is the 65 Storey Treehouse. The series is published in Australia and very, agonizingly, slowly imported to the United States. As my daughter and I are such fans of this goofy graphic novel series, I broke down and imported the last one from the UK. If only the United States distributor would stop wasting time Americaning it. Really, kids can handle the alternate spelling of words.

 

Nine: Readaholics by Laura DiSilverio
cover art

The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle
Review coming

I love mystery series. They are my books to read during lunchtime, or when I want to unwind before bed. They're my travel books.

This series features a group of book lovers who read a book and then watch the movie. The murders they end up solving (unfortunately sometimes someone from their group dies) are always oddly on point with whatever they are reading.

Book two ends on a cliff hanger and I hope that means a third one is the works.

 

Eight: Jem and The Holograms by Kelly Thompson
cover art

Jem and The Holograms #1: Showtime
Review

I watched the cartoon with my brother in the 1980s. He was more of a fan than I was back then, but the Tumblr fandom got me excited for the comic books. I prefer my comics in omnibus format, so I'm now slowly reading through the series. I've read volume 2 and I have volume 3 but haven't gotten to it yet. That one will probably be a January read.

The characters are updated and there's some romance between the two bands. It's still true enough to the original while being able to tell its own story. There are lots of other Easter eggs in there — like homages to the My Little Pony comics.

 

Seven: Needlecraft Mysteries by Monica Ferris
cover art

And Then You Dye
Review

Although I didn't like the first book, finding it too maudlin, I revisited the series last year. I'm not up to date with the series. I'm reading Knit Your Own Murder on my iPhone.

What I like about the series as a whole is time passes at a reasonable rate (except, for Godwin who must be lying about his age by this point) and that the author tries different ways of setting up and solving the mysteries. There are also different locations — but they're all still near to Excelsior. I don't love every book but I appreciate the effort and the experimentation.

 

Six: Bookmobile Mysteries by Laurie Cass:
cover art

Cat with a Clue
Review

The Bookmobile series is about the assistant librarian at a rural library. She also happens to be the sole driver of the library's bookmobile. Her companion is a cat who makes feline observations on the state of things much like Koko and Yum Yum do in the Cat Who series.

 

 

Five: Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
cover art

The Terrible Two Get Worse by Ed Piskor
Review

Imagine a pair of dueling pranksters and the mayhem they can cause at a school. Bringing in some cows and handy cow facts for good measure. The first two books were ridiculous and memorable and fun to re-read. The third one, The Terrible Two Go Wild comes out in January and I have it pre-ordered.

 

 

Four: Avatar: The Last Airbender by Gene Luen Yang
cover art

Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South, Part One
Review

North and South is the current set of comics but I'm counting all of them as one series. They're set in the time after the last episode of the animated series. It's the events that lead up to the founding of Republic City.

 

 

Three: Ghostbusters by Erik Burnham
cover art

Ghostbusters: Get Real
Review

Here's another comic series I'm following. I've been a Ghostbusters fan since the very beginning: films, the cartoon, and now the comics. These are comics I re-read every couple of months. They're so much fun.

 

 

Two: Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg:
cover art

The Great Shelby Holmes
Review coming

I love Sherlock Holmes stories — the original set, the homages, and the pastiches. My kids are becoming fans too. Yay! Recently my daughter shared one of her Sherlock head-canons: that Watson who is sometimes James and sometimes John, is actually identical twins. Both are doctors but one is more competent than the other.

Elizabeth Eulberg is on the same wavelength as my daughter (who happens to be her target audience). She has split Watson into a mother and son. The mother is the doctor and war vet. The son is the pal of Holmes (named Shelby this time) and is the writer of the adventures.

The first adventure involves a missing show dog after a brief nod to the original first story: A Study in Scarlet. The rest though is a completely new story and a fun mystery that kept me guessing for a while.

I have confirmation via Twitter that there are at least two more books in the works. Each book will come out in the fall. So I'm eagerly awaiting fall 2017 to see what the two will solve next.

 

One: Hamster Princess, Harriet Hamsterbone by Ursula Vernon
cover art

Ratpunzel
Review

I bought this series originally because my daughter's name is Harriet and I used to have hamsters as pets. It's a stupid reason to pick up a book but it's the truth. By page three I was completely, utterly, one hundred percent madly in love with the book. The first one was a retelling, feminist deconstruction of Sleeping Beauty that plays off the idea that until the curse plays out, Harriet is invulnerable (a concept used in the "And the Self-fulfilling prophesy" episode of The Librarians).

By Ratpunzel, she's no longer invulnerable but she has a ton of skills now from all her questing. She's also earned a reputation for herself and is hired semi-regularly to go on quests. The books continue to be hilarious feminist deconstructions of well known fairytales.

 

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