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Showing posts from October, 2016

Rebel Genius

Rebel Genius is the first book in a new series by Michael Dante DiMartino. I wanted to read this book as soon as I found about it as DiMartino was one of the co-creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I know enough kids still obsessed with that series that I knew being able to book talk this would be important. Even without this I would have been interested though because it sounded like a great story. I was surprised by how much I ended up loving it. (Though I don't know why I was surprised.)

Giacomo lives in the sewers only coming out at night to study a famous fresco and try to learn as much as he can from it to help his own art. One fateful night Giacomo is attacked and in a moment of panic sets off a strange occurrence he cannot explain. He is healed and suddenly in possession of his very own Genius. A genius is a bird type creature that is the living embodiment of an artist's creativity. At twelve Giacomo is supposed to be too old to suddenly have a Genius. They are suppo…

Shorter Musings: MG

Some shorter musings on some recent reads.

Baker's Magicby Diane Zahller
I typically enjoy Zahler's books, but this one was particularly fun to read. It has many fairy tale type elements: missing parents, helpful guardians, evil guardians, simple magic, and a precocious pet. There are also pirates. All of these come together to make an exciting, adventurous tale. There is a quest and magical baked goods that made me hungry for raspberry tarts. I recommend this to any person who enjoys fairy tale type stories of magic and epic quests. I feel the story is not being served well by this rather boring and innocuous cover.

The Goblin's Puzzle: The Adventures of a Boy With No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew Chilton
There are a lot of characters and several storylines. A quarter of the way through the book I found myself very annoyed at the jumping around and lack of cohesion. The storylines still hadn't come together in any way and because it was bouncing so much I fe…

The Evil Wizard Smallbone

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman is a book I could not wait to read. The cover, synopsis, and praise it received seemed to make it a perfect fit for me. And it was. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon I spent reading this book. It has a magical bookshop. A MAGICAL BOOKSHOP.

Nick runs away from his abusive uncle and cousin after years living with them following his mother's death. He is not exactly prepared for his escape and finds himself cold, hungry, and in search of shelter during a snow storm. He happens upon the home and bookshop of the Evil Wizard Smallbone. When Nick lies to Smallbone about his ability to read, Smallbone agrees to feed him and take him on as an apprentice. Nick's first job is to clean the dirty bookshop. In doing so Nick begins to learn magic as the bookshop gives him the books he needs to help him on his way. And Nick will need all the magic he can find. The sentries that have guarded the village of Smallbone and protected them from the wizard&…

The Girl Who Could Not Dream

When my hold on The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst came in at the library, I picked it up and was immediately put off by the cover. I didn't want to read it. It was nominated for Cybils though so I was going to have to. I'm so glad I did. This book's cover does not do it justice.

Sophie lives with her parents in a bookshop. She is a lonely girl with no friends because she is different from others around her. Not only can she never dream, her parents are dream distillers. They take other people's dreams and bottle them to sell to other people. They have a secret room where dreams are distilled and labels on shelves. The one time Sophie dares to take a sip just to see what dreaming is like, she brings a monster in her dream back into the real world with her. That's when Sophie learns it is dangerous for her to dream. She goes about her life helping her parents with Monster by her side to protect her. Sophie has a talent for seeing which kids in her schoo…

The Wooden Prince

Pinocchio has never been a favorite of mine. Not the original novel. Not the Disney movie. In The Wooden Prince, John Claude Bemis retells this old story in a way that works for me as it never had before.

Pinocchio is an automa who serves in the doge's palace until he is stuffed in a box and sent to the alchemist Geppetto. As soon as he is placed in the box, Pinocchio begins to change. He feels. Automa are not supposed to feel. He is soon united with his new master who has been declared a traitor to Venice and is in hiding. Together Pinocchio and Geppetto must try to escape the soldiers chasing them and figure out why Pinocchio is changing from a wooden automa into a real boy. Before they can get far, they are separated and have to endure many trials to reunite, solve the mystery, and save a magical kingdom.

The Wooden Prince is a steampunk fantasy that takes place in Venice and references many real world places. The structure of the plot follows the original story in many ways. Th…

WoW: Thick as Thieves

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. 
I have just enjoying hugging this news to my heart since it was released a couple weeks ago. I waited for six and a half years for news of this book and in one week we got a title, cover, release date, and synopsis. I needed time to recover and ruminate.

I can not tell you how excited I am for this book or how much this series as a whole means to me. (Though if you scroll through old posts, you will see how often it gets mentioned.) When the synopsis came out, it …

Shorter Musings MG

These are some shorter musings on recent reads: one contemporary realistic, four fantasies.

Foxheartby Claire Legrand
I like that there have been so many prickly heroines in MG this year that are chock full of flaws. Quicksilver is an excellent addition to these. Sassy, opinionated, and mostly out for her own benefit, she does a lot of growing over the course of the story and learns to be a little less self involved but also retains all of her bounce and verve. I like that. The rest of the characters didn't work for me quite as well. It's a good story that doesn't break a lot of new ground but is satisfying in what it does. It has quite a different feel from Legrand's other books and isn't my favorite, but its an excellent addition to MG fantasy shelves particularly in places where there are many fans of magic and animals together.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
I say this every time I review one of Jason Reynolds' books, but that man writes his characters' voices bet…

The Firefly Code

The Firefly Code is my favorite book Megan Frazer Blakemore has written yet.

Mori, Julia, Theo, and Benji live in Old Harmonie-a small village started by Mori's great grandmother and her friend. It was meant to be a community fostering imagination, creativity, and cooperative living. Decades later it is one of many Utopian towns across the globe run by a corporation. These towns are cut off from the larger chaos of the diseases, storms, and crime of the outside world. The children in the communities are given "enhancements" to help them become their best selves with the understanding they will take their place working for the company as their parents did. The four friends live on Firefly Lane. When Ilana moves onto their street, she and Mori become close quickly. But it soon becomes clear that not all is as it seems with Ilana or the perfect world the Firefly Five are growing up in.

The Firefly Five. I love these five kids. The story is told from Mori's first person p…

TTT: Recommended Books I've Loved

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic: Books I Read on Recommendation from Others






 What are some favorite books you got on recommendation from someone else?

Cybils Nominations Ongoing

Cybils nominations have been underway a week. We still have a week to go! Here are some eligible books in the MG Speculative Fiction category that are eligible that haven't been nominated yet. If you haven't nominated yet, get moving! (Go here.)










Rose & Thorn

Last year's Ash & Bramble was one of my favorite books of the year. I was very much anticipating its follow-up Rose & Thorn so when author Sarah Prineas offered to send me an ARC, I said YES very quickly. I'm happy to say it is excellent and my favorite Sleeping Beauty reworking yet.

Rose has lived her entire life with her guardian Shoe in a valley protected by the Penwitch's power. When the protection is broken, Rose's circumstances change overnight and she must venture into the world on her own. The Forest brings her to the City where the Watchers carefully guard against the power of story. Instantly recognized as Cursed by Story, Rose is taken to the Citadel to have her curse removed.

Griff is the son of the Protector of the city and lives an austere life. The Watchers fight Story by living rational lives that leave no room for anything other than duty. As a Watcher and a Curse Eater, it is Griff's task to remove Rose's curse. When he can't do tha…

TTT: Most Compelling Villains

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic: All About the Villains

I'm going with Most Compelling Villains. The ones I love to hate.


 Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenixby J.K. Rowling  (I would not be surprised to find she's the most featured character on these posts today.)

Lo Melkhiin from A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston (Or rather the demon who possessed him, killed 300 girls, and terrorized a country.)

IT from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L' Engle (This book was so formative in my life. And IT is still one of my biggest fears for the world.)

Them from The Homeward Bounders (Sadistic, controlling terrors who have no compassion.)

The Medes from The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner (Seriously. You have enough land and wealth. Let our heroes live happily ever after. Go home.)

A complacent, apathetic society controlled by the government from The Giver by Lois Lowry (I....think this…

A Little Taste of Poison

R.J. Anderson is an auto-buy author for me (and also a friend), but her Uncommon Magic books may be absolute favorite. A Little Taste of Poisonis the follow-up to last year's A Pocket Full of Murder. It is the perfect follow-up and surpassed all the expectations I had.

Isaveth has an amazing opportunity to attend Tarreton College on a scholarship and be trained in Sage  Magic. This is not something any commoner, never mind a Moshite, has ever done. Isaveth grasps the opportunity though she know it will be difficult. Yet it would also give Isaveth a chance to see Esmond again. They have not seen each other since freeing her father from the false murder charges against him. Both Isaveth and Esmond are eager to have the true mastermind of the crime brought to justice, but he is always two steps ahead of them.

It's always hard to write reviews to sequels without any spoilers of the first book. I attempt it as much as possible but can never avoid it altogether. If you haven't re…

Cybils Nominations Have Started

The Cybils nominations began this morning. If you have a favorite read published in the last year. Books published October 16, 2015 through October 15, 2016 are eligible. Anyone can nominate.

You can find nomination information here.

I'm a first round panelist in Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction which means I have to read as many of the nominated books as possible. I actually very much look forward to this. If you are wondering what to nominate and need some inspiration, here are some eligible books in my category. Some of I read and loved. Others I haven't read yet, but would really like to.