An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

My reread of CoS this time included the audiobook (read by Jim Dale) and the illustrated version. 


The audiobook is great. I'm not sure how I feel about the illustrated version. The illustrations are beautiful, but sometimes they don't match up with my own vision of Diagon Alley or Hogwarts or even the characters. I think they're nice as a supplement to the original series, but I don't feel any need to own these copies (the books are so large that I found reading this copy awkward). 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Jim Dale

If you are a fan of Harry Potter and have never listened to one of the audiobooks read by Jim Dale, check one out if you can. Rowling's writing makes for easy listening. And Jim Dale is a brilliant reader. 


Books one through four were bedtime listening when I was a kid. This proved to be dangerous when I tried to listen to them while driving as an adult (I got veeerrry sleeeepy). 


Slog's Dad

Slog's Dad - David Almond, Dave McKean

I first read this story in Almond's Half a Creature from the Sea. I enjoyed it then. I enjoyed the story this time too (it's the same story), but I didn't connect with the illustrator's style. The pictures didn't add to my reading/understanding of the story.

Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up - Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm

The nine-year-old (NOW 10-YEAR-OLD!) recommended this to me. I read it during the eclipse. I'd read a little, run outside, look at the sun, run back inside and repeat.


I can see why she likes it. It's very easy to read, but there's some intrigue and some family drama. I found Sunny's relationship with her grandfather the most interesting part of the book. If the sequel focuses on the two of them, I might check it out.

Ollie's Valentine

Ollie's Valentine (Gossie & Friends) - Olivier Dunrea

This is my least favorite of the Gossie and Friends books. It's very short and there's no real story to it. The illustrations are cute, but it's a bit trite.

Boo Boo

BooBoo (Board Book) - Olivier Dunrea

I love this book. I used to read it with my second niece. She reminded me so much of Boo Boo as a kid that Boo Boo became her nickname. She'd eat anything and everything. She still has a huge appetite, but has become much pickier in her old age.


We haven't read this book in awhile (Don't Push the Button! is our current go-to read), but it still makes me really happy to read.


Gideon - Olivier Dunrea

Reading Gossie and Gertie always seemed to be followed by a lot more, "follow me"s from the kids who heard the story, so maybe Gideon isn't the best choice with its refrain of "No nap, I'm playing."


Gideon is very cute though.

Gemma and Gus

Gemma & Gus (board book) (Gossie & Friends) - Olivier Dunrea

A similar story to Gossie and Gertie, but I haven't read this one 1,000 times with my nieces so I don't have the same feelings towards it as I do towards Gossie and Gertie.


Gus (Gossie & Friends) - Olivier Dunrea

"Gus is a small yellow gosling who likes to be himself."




Jasper and Joop

Jasper & Joop (Board Book) - Olivier Dunrea

All of the Gossie and Friends books are very simple, but for some reason Jasper and Joop felt like it was lacking something. I'm not sure what. The illustrations are on par for cuteness though.


Gossie: A Gosling on the Go! (Gossie & Friends) - Olivier Dunrea

These are some of my favorite board books. My nieces loved them when they were younger. The stories are simple but fun, and the characters are so cute.

The No. 1 Car Spotter

The No. 1 Car Spotter - Atinuke, Warwick Johnson Cadwell

A good companion series to Anna Hibiscus and good to read on its own. 

You're Amazing, Anna Hibiscus!

You're Amazing, Anna Hibiscus! - Atinuke, Lauren Tobia

This is the last Anna Hibiscus book which makes me very sad. I wish this series would go on forever.


I was nervous when the first story was a light one about Double and Trouble. It felt a little out of place with the series, like maybe it was meant for an earlier book or should have been a picture book instead of a chapter in Anna Hibiscus. But the rest of the book is so good it made up for the first chapter. Seriously, so so good. And I cried so so much. In a good way.

The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus - Rick Riordan

I thought the climax of the book would be... more climactic. I'm really struggling to remember anything about this book. Events from the last three keep getting mixed up in my head. That's not a great thing.


Overall, the new characters were my favorite part of the series. I really admire Riordan's commitment to writing diverse characters and response to fan criticisms of his work.


The House of Hades

The House of Hades - Rick Riordan

Again, I lost my notes on The House of Hades. I vaguely remember comparing it to the Harry Potter series as I was reading this one.* While the book feels dangerous, I don't know that I ever believed any of the characters would die.


I like that we hear the story from several characters, but sometimes that does make for confusing reading. Especially since the characters aren't all together anymore.


*The comparison was unfavorable towards The Heroes of Olympus, but then the comparison was unfair to begin with. Very few series should be compared to Harry Potter.

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan

If I took any notes on the last three books of the Heroes of Olympus, I lost them along the way. This is probably an inflated review. I kept thinking, I'll know how I really feel about The Mark of Athena after I finish the series which probably means it was a typical middle book. It set up some stuff, but in the long run left me with loose ends more than anything.