Saturday, March 31, 2012

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard - Do You?

Pros: A quick and fun story that includes dirt bikes and pink ponies.
Cons: Nope.

The Bottom Line: Birthday wishes gone out of control...

The last book I read by Mandy Hubbard was Ripple, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I skimmed the back of this book, I couldn’t help but giggle and think that it might be fun to read.

Oh it was indeed. I mean, when something like a pink My Little Pony appears, complete with ice cream imprint on its butt, you know it’s going to be an amusing time. It all starts when Kayla’s sixteenth birthday rolls around. Her mom throws her an extravagant party that she doesn’t want filled just to show off for clients. Her best friend is too busy having fun with her boyfriend to show up on time. Things in general are kind of sucking. So when Kayla has to make a wish in front of dozens of people she doesn’t even know, her wish is that her birthday wishes would come true – because they never freakin’ do.

The next morning she discovers that pink pony. And the next day there are thousands of gumballs all over her room. And after that…well, I’ll let you find out. Kayla’s got big problems now because she has no idea how to make the wishes stop and she can’t remember what they all are. All she knows is that they need to go away because one of her wishes was to kiss Ben, her longtime crush—and her best friend’s boyfriend.

It’s a fast and silly story that’s hard to put down because every chapter you’ll wonder what Kayla’s going to have to deal with next. Her new problem with the wishes is coupled with some of her life issues, such as her best friend seeming to drift away, her mother never being around, and the absence of her father. She handles things surprisingly well considering she’s got live toys running around and gumballs randomly appearing everywhere. Kayla’s the kind of character that, if she were real and in my high school, I’d be friends with just because she sounds like a lot of fun.

Hubbard did a great job really bringing Kayla’s voice forward and I did laugh aloud on multiple occasions with this book. There are a few serious parts where Kayla deals with her issues, and everything is neatly resolved in the end. So if you want a light read that will make you laugh, do give this one some serious consideration.


Notes from the playlist: "Way Too Far" by Korn

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley - Best Fairytale Ever.

Pros: A fun take on traditional fairy tales - perfect for boys and girls
Cons: None

The Bottom Line: When a typical fairytale is too boring, make it better by adding in a cool motorcycle dude.

I spotted this while, yes, in the backroom once again. The second I saw the cover I laughed and knew I had to read it. After all, how often do you see princesses and motorcycle dudes in the same story – for kids no less?

Two kids within this tale have to tell a story for an assignment – but they each have very different ideas as to how this story should go. The girl begins with the tale of Princess Tenderheart and her eight ponies. However, a giant starts stealing the ponies until only one is left. But it isn’t long before the boy can’t stand all this sugary sweet stuff about beautiful princesses and their ponies, so he takes over.

And in rides the cool motorcycle dude who tells the king that he’ll guard the last pony. Now it’s gone totally boy-style, with the giant totally ugly and gross, and the motorcycle dude super awesome.

Except now the girl isn’t satisfied with the story and it’s time for Princess Tenderheart to become a warrior woman and from there….well, I’ll let you read the story to your little ones and find out how this story ends.

It’s really funny the way the boy and girl are both thinking, “Ugh” at one another’s stories and how things change when each takes over. The girl’s story is illustrated with happy, soft colors and pretty designs (because ponies and kingdoms are lovely). But when the boy takes over, it’s bold and dark and with awesome effects like lightening (because cool motorcycle dudes need cool effects).

This book was written by Kevin O’Malley, but illustrated by Kevin O’Malley, Carol Heyer, and Scott Goto, and it makes for a great collaboration. You get to see the friction between the two kids at the start and how they’re able to work out their stories into something that makes them both happy in the end. It also takes aspects of the stereotypical boy-girl likes and dislikes and transforms them into what some of us are seeing today (where the girl is the one on the motorcycle, savvy?).

Whatever your boys and girls like or dislike, it’s a great story for everyone and will have you laughing and kids will read the pages with gusto. Definitely a book that needs and deserves more fans.


Originally posted on

Notes from the playlist: "Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)" by Shinedown

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Currently Reading

Archon by Sabrina Benulis

I know the author of this book and went to her reading of a passage as a part of her graduate program (as I was in the same one), so when I saw it on the shelves I got all excited. I knew she'd made the sale and was just waiting to read it. This is a world where the Ruin is upon us. One girl will bring it about...or will she? It's a world where Heaven and Hell collide on Earth with angels, demons, jinn, and more mixing together in an attempt to find the Archon - the one who could bring about the Ruin. What's more, angels aren't necessarily the good guys and the Archon doesn't even know who she is. If a bit of twisted theology is your style, then you may want to give Archon a good look.

Notes from the playlist: "Bully" by Shinedown

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Recommended for Little Hands

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

I recently got the go-ahead from my store manager to create a recommendation endcap (Nicole & Candy's Corner!) seeing as I am now one of the two Children's Leads. This is one of the books I put up there. It's a simple board book with just a few words involved - the cover pretty much says it all. But they get mixed up from time to time to create some fun things to say - "Apple, pear. Orange bear." - as well as some really cute illustrations. The illustrations are actually my favorite part. From balacing the fruit on his nose to looking surprised when he's labeled as "orange," the bear is clearly the star of this orange, appley, peary show. They're soft done in watercolors, a medium I always hold in high regard because in my opinion, they're darn hard to work with. See how your little one likes oranges, apples, pears, and of course, bears!

Notes from the playlist: "Stars" by Helen Jane Long

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...