Review: Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack

18527488Title: Cleopatra In Space #1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack
Genre:  Graphic Novel – Children’s
Publisher: Scholastic
Page count: 167 pages
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: May 2014
Rating – 3/5 – liked it

When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo’s style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she’s going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

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Hello everyone! I fell into sort of a reading slump this last two weeks and had been unable to get into a book that I am going to be reviewing after this one! I went to visit my niece over the weekend and she ever so kindly lent me this cute little graphic novel, Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice. My niece has previously had a hard time with reading so it’s awesome to see her finding a medium that she feels comfortable reading and is able to get into. I’m all for that so I think I’ll be looking into more graphic novel titles along the same vein as this to purchase for her so if you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments!

This graphic novel is about a young Cleopatra who is just days shy of celebrating her fifteenth birthday where she will take on more responsibility as the future ruler of Egypt. She is rambunctious and ballsy and into having fun and not taking life so seriously. During an afternoon at play with her best friend, she happens upon a tablet and relic that transport her into an Egypt of the future where it has been foretold that she will save her people from the Xerx, a brutal and tyrannical people who seek to take over and destroy a nation’s culture, history, etc. This first book is about her adapting to her new surroundings and struggling with taking on more responsibility, basically growing up.

I  liked this graphic novel, I thought it was really cute. I thought the story behind it was interesting and the characters were all really cute. I loved the illustrations and what little dialogue there was in this book was fun and cute. I recommend this for maybe ages 9-14. My niece falls within that range so I can definitely see how this story was super enjoyable for her.  I enjoyed reading this as an adult but I tried to read it as my eleven year old self would and I definitely think this is something I would have enjoyed reading. While I didn’t absolutely love this graphic novel, I would definitely continue reading it to see where the story goes. I have heard that the second one is progressively better which I think is understandable as this laid just a short, simple foundation for the story and what is going on the world. I want to see more detail though about the Xerx and the world.  I would like to see the ways in which Cleopatra grows, I think there is ALOT of room for her to grow within this series as she is very “I want to do my own thing and not listen to anyone else” in this book. That lands her in a bit of trouble sometimes so I think it’s good for kids to see that as well. I think she’s also a good character for young girls to read about because she is definitely strong, opinionated and independent which was really great to see in a young female character. I think she has so much potential, as does this series.

Book Review: Ender’s Game written by Orson Scott Card

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Title: Ender’s Game written by Orson Scott Card
Genre: Science Fiction, Children, YA
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
Page Count: 324
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5, it was amazing! Couldn’t put it down! I want to shout it from the top of a mountain!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #3

I received Ender’s Game as a gift this past Christmas from a close friend of mine who highly recommended this book. I had heard of Ender’s Game before, namely in my textbooks from both my Media for Children and Media for YA classes I took this past Fall 2012 semester. I must say that after reading mostly ebooks for the past few months it was exhilarating to be holding a paperback in my hands again and I’m always up for a good Sci-Fi book.

                This is the story of a boy named Ender Wiggins whom is the third child in his family during a time when families are typically allowed to have only two children due to population control. I was kind of confused on this at first (correct me if I’m wrong!) but families are pretty heavily monitored to track how many children they have and also to identify specific traits that would later translate to military prowess. Each Wiggins child has garnered interest from the government, but after the first two showed promise but failed to meet the expectations of the government the family was tasked to provide another child who turned out to be Ender who shows incredible promise from the start. This is so important for the government to do as we learn early on in the book that humans have already faced two invasions from an alien race known as, the Buggers. This program ensures that we have the best possible army lead by the best possible leaders. They are on the lookout for the one leader that will lead them to ultimate victory.

                Ender gets plucked away from his family at the age of six and is sent to attend battle school where he will learn what it takes to be a soldier…in his case though his superiors are hopeful that he has what it takes to be their commander. With seemingly impossible challenges always facing him in the battle games held at the school between the different armies, Ender, although one of the smallest soldiers in the school never fails to rise to the occasion. This garners him much respect among his superiors and peers, as well as much derision.

                After being promoted to commander of his own army for the games, Ender succeeds in beating all the other battle teams and overcomes any and all challenges thrown his way in the games, no matter how difficult or challenging with innovative strategy and technique. After getting promoted at a very young age to commander school (an honor typically bestowed upon the most promising sixteen year olds at battle school), Ender starts training to command the entire human fleet in the war against the buggers. Just like at battle school, Ender trains through games where he holds controls in his hands, sees the screen before him and can communicate with his team through voice over a headset. Little does Ender know that these aren’t games at all. After winning victory for the human race and wiping the buggers out of their home planet, humanity branches off into space and colonizes the buggers home world. Ender, having become one of the people to settle down on the bugger home world is conflicted with having been the one responsible for this.

                This seems like a lot but there is actually more to the book that I can’t even begin to describe. As it is, I feel like I haven’t given the story enough justice. I loved this book and it was one of my highly anticipated reads for my 2013 Goodreads Challenge.  I was not disappointed. I am also reading this just in time as well, as the movie is due to be released this year. I looked around for a trailer to accompany this post but alas, there was none to be found (at lease where I was looking) so let me know if you come across it. Sidenote: For those of you that have read the book, I am SO excited that Ben Kinglsley is playing Mazer Rackham (Ender’s mentor at Commander school) I think it’s a perfect perfect fit. The great thing is the story doesn’t end with this book, there are plenty more books in the Ender’s Game series as well as two comic books based on it. I was also reading that there had been a video game in the works called Enders Game: Battle Room but that it got put on hold indefinitely. Boo! I’m convinced that would have been nothing short of awesome. This is definitely a must read, especially for sci-fi fans. This is appropriate for older children and teens too, which is always a plus.

Happy New Year

Going back to my post a few days ago about my not liking Audio Books…well I finally found one that I like. Score! Since I took my Media for Children class this past semester I’ve been exploring the UBER fun world of Children’s literature. I am more than grateful to this class for giving me the opportunity to test these waters, I’ve not really taken the time to explore these waters prior to this class. One of the books I have on my to-read children’s book list is The Land of Stories (Volume 1) written by Chris Colfer. Chris Colfer plays Kurt in Glee, whom I absolutely adore. It’s also one of my favorite Television shows (of which I have many!). I saw this book being offered as an audiobook so I decided to go ahead and purchase it ( I plan on purchasing the physical book at a later date). I love it. There is something so different about the way Chris Colfer reads this book than the previous audiobook experiences I have had. Maybe it’s because its wasn’t being read by a third party but the actual author who gave birth to the story and has a deep connection with it, or maybe it’s because Colfer is an experienced actor with a wonderful voice. Or maybe it’s just the synthesis of both.

I have (more than) a few goals for 2013. I know every year we make these wonderful resolutions and swear, albeit intoxicated with expensive champagne, to keep them. I want to ensure that 2013 is different this time. I think my goals for this year are difficult but attainable and can come to fruition through hard work. That’s just it…I’m going to need to put in work. I want to become a healthier me this year. I have 20+ pounds to lose in order to do that and this year I will do it. I need to do it for myself, for my health and to live a fuller life devoid of the sicknesses that run rampant in my family like diabetes and high blood pressure. I also want to cut a chunk of my debt. Although school loan debt cannot be erased for me in a single year, I want to wipe out most if not all of my credit card debt. Those are my two big goals. The smaller goal I have is going to be the 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I plan on committing to 125 books. We’ll see if I can do it. I think 2013 is going to be great. I can’t wait for the first semester of Grad school to start. Even though I feel like I am so late in coming to the realization of what I really want to do for the rest of my life, I just feel fortunate to finally be in the right place, to finally feel like I’m on the road to doing what I am supposed to be doing. Cheesy, I know. I am not a Librarian yet and I don’t claim to be but I do like following Librarian blogs and news, etc. I have a lot to learn and this helps me immensely. How better to learn Library Science than from those that practice it everyday?

My New Years was pretty quiet. I worked a few hours of overtime today and then saw my folks for about an hour and then came home to try to comfort my pretty little puppy since she’s super scared of fireworks. She was all shaking and hiding under my desk when I was working. L Anyway, how many of you are gearing up for your 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge? I am so excited. I hope to have my first book of 2013 read by tomorrow afternoon. I’m not sure yet what my second book of 2013 is going to be. I’m working on a tentative list of the books I am going to read. I’m toying with the idea of putting them in some desired order or whether I’m going to make a list and pick them at random. I am super happy I have the day off tomorrow. It’s only the beginning of the week and already I feel drained, ahhh.

I hope all of you have a Happy New Year!! 2012 was definitely one for the books. At the very beginning of 2012 we were blessed to move into our new home. I’m expecting great things from 2013!