Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top Ten Books Under 2000 Ratings

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish
 My only requirements for this week's topic (beyond the 2000 ratings) is that they aren't from last week's list - which has some deserving books that would otherwise be on this one.  Also I gave myself an extra 10 slots for picture books, because why limit yourself, am I right?

A Cat Called Dog by Jem Vanston

A Cat Called Dog

I will forever be a champion of this book and this will probably always be my favourite not-well-known book on the list.  It's so funny and if you've ever had a cat it is just so...exactly cattish.  (I'm running on low sleep and caffeine so forgive my lack of vocabulary at the moment).  If any of you HAVE read the book, he could really use the reviews/publicity, so first of all: read the book it's great, second of all tell everyone you know about it and review!

Death Wish by Megan Tayte

Death Wish (Ceruleans, #1)

If there is one thing I can say for blogging in the years when I was still taking books for review, it's that I never otherwise would have found gems like this book (and A Cat Called Dog).  This has one of my favourite examples of female friendship, and features a character with a physical disability that isn't ignored - but it doesn't define who she is as a character, and since these are two things I so rarely find (and want so badly) this definitely belongs at the top of this list!

The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko (Koi dano ai dano) by Ririko Tsujita

The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko, Volume 1

I love this series SO MUCH.  It reminds me of a lot of the things I love about Skip Beat! (my all time favourite manga) - a heroine who has a strong drive (in Kyoko's case it's her acting career, in Kanoko's case it's her observations of human behavior) and oblivious nature to the main lead's interest in her.  But where Kyoko is naive and open, Kanoko is conniving and likes to plot and I LOVE SLYTHERIN HEROINES.  I may be a Hufflepuff, but I adore heroines who scheme.

The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

The Demon Catchers of Milan

It's been so long since I've read this one, but I vaguely remember really enjoying it because it has a strong focus on family, a heroine who travels to a country where English isn't the main language (and therefore has to learn Italian/other ways to communicate real quick), and while there is romance, there's a distinct lack of focus on said romance.  The heroine has bigger problems to deal with - like being in a strange country where she doesn't know the language.  Oh, and also not being possessed by a demon.

Seeing Red by Katheryn Erskine

Seeing Red

 This was a powerful story about loss and grief, as well as a look at small town South in the 70's.  It was really eye opening - because racism was still pretty rampant (and not that it's gone now, but I feel like it's more subtle now - in this place and time it was definitely accepted to be outspokenly racist).  And when you realize that the 70's...I mean, my parents were almost teenagers by then.  It's just...strange to thing of when put in that perspective.  This book tackles a lot - racism, loss of a parent, sexism, blame - but it manages to do so in a really poignant way.

Voyage of the Bassett by James C. Christensen, Renwick St. James, and Alan Dean Foster

Voyage of the Basset

This has been one of my favourite books since childhood - the artwork is gorgeous for one, and the story takes characters from our 19th century world and transports them (by way of boat) to the world of mythology.  All the characters have so much growth throughout the story and did I mention the artwork?  If you can find a copy, you should definitely take a look.

Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins

Destiny's Embrace (Destiny's, #1)

Historical romance novel featuring PoC's as the main love interest.  (Added bonus I think this one was a hate-to-love story) So basically something I have been actively searching for in the past year or so.  'Nuff said.

Cat Street by Yoko Kamio

Cat Street, Vol. 1 (Cat Street #1)

Ok, this is actually probably my favourite manga.  At the very least it's tied with Skip Beat.  Whenever someone asks for manga recs, 99% of the time this is the first thing I go to.  It's a quiet sort of story and I never really know how to sell it, other than that it's a beautiful story, the art is gorgeous, and I ship the ship with the fiery of a thousand suns.  So if you're looking to try out a manga...this one is definitely a good one to check out! (You'd have to go to a scanlation site like mangapanda/mangareader/etc. since it's never been officially translated into English, unfortunately)

This is All: The Pillowbook of Cordelia Kenn by Aidan Chambers

This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

 This book is a force.  It's brutal and honest and two stories in one.  I'd never read anything in a pillowbook sort of format before so it felt completely innovative to me.  It is a big book, but I feel like it's worth every page.  It is one of those books that has stayed with me throughout the years (literally and metaphorically - as someone who has moved across the country multiple times, keeping a book as giant as this one is no small feat).

Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Good Enough

This was one of my favourite books of last year - if I could have had a book that perfectly summed up my senior year of high school, this would be it.  Auditions for school, music, dealing with life outside of that - this book feels so on point.  I don't often read books about musicians that don't make me feel like rolling my eyes, but the author clearly gets it.

Under 2000 Ratings Picture Book Edition

(because picture books never get enough appreciation!)

Tangoroas's Gift by Mere Whaanga


This book is special for two reasons: one, it would be in my top 10 picture books with great art.  Two, it's written by a Kiwi author, so it's sort of important in a...family sort of way.  (My mom and grandmother are from New Zealand).  If I recall correctly it's a sort of Maori version of Pandora's Box.

The Goblin and the Empty Chair by Mem Fox

The Goblin and the Empty Chair

First of all, if you haven't read a picture book by Mem Fox, you need to change that immediately.  I haven't encountered a single book by her that I haven't loved.  I chose this one because it is the best picture I've ever read in terms of grief because it uses context and visual clues rather than outright talking about it which makes it easy to use in a wide range of ages.

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Charles Santore

The Little Mermaid

Once again, such a sucker for art.  This is another copy I've had since I was a child and I hung on to it because A. It used to be my favourite fairy tale (I super loved Hans Christian Anderson in general) and B. this is hands down my favourite fairy tale art.

What Do You Say Dear? by Sesyle Joslin, illustrated by Maurice Sendak


The kids I nanny introduced me to this little gem - it's hilarious and treats learning about manners in about the sort of manner you would expect from Maurice Sendak (which I expect is why he agreed to illustrate the book).  This sums up the book pretty well: "What do you say when the Queen feeds you so much spaghetti that you don't fit in your chair anymore?"

Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd


I was honestly really surprised that this has under 2000 ratings - I'd thought it was a popular series, but I guess I just loved it enough as a kid I assumed everyone else did too haha!  This one is about a burglar cat who has to reform his ways.  The author also did the Hairy MacLary books which I also loved.

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
Herman and Rosie

I loved this picture book so much that after the kids introduced me to it I went out and bought a copy for myself!  (IT HAS AN OBOE PLAYING ALLIGATOR THIS SPEAKS TO MY SOUL.)

Comet's Nine Lives by Jan Brett

 Comet's Nine Lives

Of all of Jan Brett's books (of which there are many.  I feel like anyone who has read more than a few picture books/has children is required to read her books at some point) this one is my favourite.  I love her signature style - the way she illustrates, as well as the fact you can always find clues to the next page.  Plus this one is about a cat who keeps getting into trouble.  Clearly even kid me knew I was going to turn into a cat lady.

Prickly Jenny by Sibylle Delacroix

Prickly Jenny

 Cute artwork, and it illustrates what all of us sometimes feel (although it's the worst when you're a teenager) where you can feel one way and then suddenly feel another for what seems like no apparent reason whatsoever.  As I still have not grown out of this stage apparently, I felt a sense of kindredness...ship...(UGH COFFEE IS NEEDED) with Jenny.

Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young

Wabi Sabi

Gorgeous artwork, haikus, and an interesting way to introduce a new somewhat difficult concept.

Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon

Harriet the Invincible (Hamster Princess, #1)

Ok, this one is technically not a picture book.  But it is illustrated and it is for kids.  It is also hilarious and turns tropes and gender norms on their heads and I love Ursula Vernon's books so much!


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