Size Doesn’t Matter (97): Odd and the Frost Giants; The Lost Lullaby; Even if the Sky Falls; Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross

Size Doesn’t Matter (97): Odd and the Frost Giants; The Lost Lullaby; Even if the Sky Falls; Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to CrossOdd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Published by HarperCollins on September 22, 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: 117
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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two-half-stars

In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.

In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he's had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy.

Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle—three creatures with a strange story to tell.

Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined—a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.

It's going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.

Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever . . .

Someone just like Odd.

I know I’ve said this a lot and I generally go on to prattle a bunch, but really truly seriously I have almost nothing to say about this book. Odd and the Frost Giants is so slim and easy that it’s pre-middle grade level. It’s like an introduction to some basic Norse mythology for kids. As can be a problem with Gaiman books, there’s no emotion in it whatsoever. I do like that Odd’s disabled and that he saves the day with wits and kindness, but otherwise this book was a total nonentity.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (97): Odd and the Frost Giants; The Lost Lullaby; Even if the Sky Falls; Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to CrossThe Lost Lullaby by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller
Narrator: Jason Segel
Length: 6 hrs, 31 mins
Series: Nightmares! #3
Published by Listening Library on September 20, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

The third book in the hilariously scary Nightmares! series by New York Times bestselling authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller is here! You thought the nightmares were over? You better keep the lights on!

Charlie Laird has a very bad feeling.

1. There’s a NEW GIRL at school, and Charlie and his friends have DEFINITELY seen her before.
2. He’s been hearing strange noises after dark, which is NEVER a good sign.
3. The nightmares are back, and they’re WEIRDER THAN EVER.

Not since he faced his fears has Charlie had so many bad dreams. Whenever he falls asleep, he finds himself in a Netherworld field, surrounded by a flock of CREEPY BLACK SHEEP. Even eerier, though, is that it’s not Charlie’s nightmare. Somehow he’s trapped in someone else’s bad dream. And he’s pretty sure the twins ICK and INK are responsible.

Charlie and his friends thought they’d put the twins out of business, but it seems they didn’t quite finish the job. Now the WOOLLY NIGHTMARES are closing in, and INK has shown up at Cypress Creek Elementary! Charlie’s convinced that INK is up to NO GOOD. And if he’s right, it could be a very long time before anyone’s dreams are sweet again.

The conclusion (?!) of the Nightmares! series is the best of the bunch. Charlie Laird’s growing up, something I always find a positive in middle grades, since to keep a series going, young characters sometimes stagnate. One of my favorite fictional things is when the lines between good and evil blur, which has been an underlying tenet to this series in some sense, but really is actually happening here with ICK and INK.

The plot’s got a lot more shades of gray than ever before, and it feels like a good place to end things. I really love the way that Charlie learns about himself and the way that everything resolves. The prophecy element’s pretty stupid, but otherwise this book is really solid.

As per usual, Segel’s narration makes the whole thing a delight. This series is definitely worth listening to.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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Size Doesn’t Matter (97): Odd and the Frost Giants; The Lost Lullaby; Even if the Sky Falls; Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to CrossEven If the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
Published by Katherine Tegen on May 10, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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three-half-stars

All she needs is one night to be anyone she wants.

Julie is desperate for a change. So she heads to New Orleans with her youth group to rebuild houses and pretend her life isn’t a total mess. But between her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions, Julie feels more trapped than ever.

In a moment of daring, she ditches her work clothes for DIY fairy wings and heads straight into the heart of Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, where she locks eyes with Miles, an utterly irresistible guy with a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. She jumps at the chance to see the real New Orleans, and in one surreal night, they dance under the stars, share their most shameful secrets, and fall in love.

But their adventure takes an unexpected turn when an oncoming hurricane changes course. As the storm gains power and Julie is pulled back into chaos she finds pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.

Mia Garcia’s Even If the Sky Falls didn’t have much hype that I heard, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. What I got was a shippy romance filled with fabulous, diverse characters.

Set against the colorful, vibrant background of New Orleans mid-celebration, Julie runs away from her church’s volunteer group because she can’t stand it anymore. She was helping build houses in New Orleans to escape her family, not the same since her brother returned from the war, but that wasn’t enough because she cannot turn her brain off.

Julie immediately gets caught up in the fun of New Orleans and meets a cute musician, who she nicknames Miles. He calls her Lila, because they agree to spend that day and night together with no baggage, both having things to run from. They banter and joke and learn things small and large about each other throughout their day together. Romances in a single day aren’t usually my favorite trope, but Garcia does a great job with it, especially since it doesn’t end with love declarations. The ship’s A+, complete with sizzling chemistry and hot kisses.

However, Even If the Sky Falls didn’t end up being a new favorite for a couple of reasons. New Orleans gets hit by a hurricane that night and there’s a massively melodramatic couple of chapters that really didn’t feel necessary at all or fit the larger tone. What would have been better in place of that is to see Julie starting to work through her family issues. Instead, there’s absolutely no resolution of that very important plot thread. View Spoiler »

As a debut, Even If the Sky Falls is impressive and has guaranteed my interest in Garcia’s future fiction. She can write strong characters and ships, so I’m on board, even if there are things that didn’t work for me plot-wise.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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Size Doesn’t Matter (97): Odd and the Frost Giants; The Lost Lullaby; Even if the Sky Falls; Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to CrossHearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn
Series: Broken Hearts & Revenge #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 10, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Humor
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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three-stars

Weather alert: Severe storm warning

Gemma and Hallie’s world has come to a screeching halt. After their revenge agendas culminated in a fight at Hallie’s birthday party, they’re reeling with the news that their parents are engaged—which’ll eventually make them stepsisters. Nothing in the world could possibly be worse for Gemma and Hallie, and they won’t let it happen. Even if it means putting their own feud aside to separate their parents.

Events quickly escalate as a hurricane rips through the Hamptons, leaving everyone (including Gemma’s two ex-boyfriends, her current crush, and her nemesis) bottled up in one house. One big, miserable group of exes and enemies together, allowing secrets to unfold and new plots to form. The calm before this storm definitely doesn’t exist.

If you’ve enjoyed the rest of the series, you’ll like Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross. It’s just as much completely silly fun as the prior two books.

There’s a reason Morgan Matson writes these under her Katie Finn pseudonym. I’m not going to lie to you and say this series is brilliant, because it’s not. It IS fun, though. This book is basically The Parent Trap as done by the CW. The whole series is high drama, full of cat fights, and people making incredibly stupid decisions. The reason that works for me is because it’s all so very obviously not taking itself seriously, so it ends up being funny rather than eye-roll inducing.

Gemma remains TSTL in Hearts, Fingers, forgetting to do things she’s been asked to do, making more terrible plans, and developing at slug speed. This makes me struggle with why Ford would be into her, but whatever; he must be the most tolerant and forgiving guy ever, so maybe they’ll work out. I also had trouble with the fact that one of her “I’ve grown as a result of all of this” good deeds was hooking Hallie and Teddy back up, like they’re a great couple. Yeah, okay. That said, this is all par for the course and pretty much what I expected to get.

The one thing that actually really annoyed me was the epilogue. For some reason, it’s from Hallie’s POV. The voice is indistinct from Gemma’s and there’s no point to the switch, other than to confuse the reader as to why Gemma can now see herself. Hallie doesn’t make any crucial observations or see anything Gemma could not have. There was no call for a new POV.

I realize this review came out pretty negative, but seriously I read this cover to cover in a couple hours and I enjoyed myself a lot.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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