Skip to main content

Shorter Musings

Some shorter musings on recent reads.

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbit
Cloud and Wallfish is a story of friendship and adventure set in East Berlin in 1989. It is an interesting look into a time and place that we typically don't see much of in MG. Each chapter has a "case file" addition that give some explanations and historical background. I'm not entirely sold on this format, but these sections are not necessary to the story and kid readers will make up their own minds what they will do with that. I adored both Noah/Jonah and Claudia and the growth of their friendship. I was really annoyed by Noah's parents through the entire book. It lessened my enjoyment of the overall story quite a bit. I kind of hated them. It is a fun story though and definitely one I'll be adding to recommendation lists.

I received an ARC from the author.

The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli
Kids who get part time jobs working at a farm for extinct animals have many adventures. How cute is that? This is one of those zany madcap short fantasy adventures perfect for kids transitioning from early chapter books to MG novels. It isn't my particular cup of tea, but it is perfect for its target audience and a definite must have for elementary libraries. Every kid who loves books about animals will gobble this up.

The Magic Mirror: Concerning a Lonely Princess, a Foundling Girl, a Scheming King, and a Pickpocket Squirrel by Susan Hill Long
This is a fairy tale story. It's not a retelling or reworking, it is a story with a fairy tale set-up that is wholly its own plot. With shades of the Canterbury Tales via a band of mismatched traveling companions with their own agendas and stories. It isn't anything special all told. There are far better fairy tale stories out there. What is nice about this one is it is a mostly humorous and heart warming story geared more for the upper middle grade range where we see less of those. Yet there are still kids who want them. It's also a good pick for strong younger readers. There is a lot of exposition especially at the end and at times it is easy to confuse some of the characters. Overall it's a good book to have on hand for recommending to kids who can't get enough of fairy tales.

Moo by Sharon Screech
The story here is fine. I guess. Incredibly predictable and cliché, but there's nothing terrible about it. The characters are fairly stock with little development. There is definitely emotional manipulation at the end to tug on your heartstrings and make the book feel important. Yawn. The worst thing about this book is its atrocious formatting. It is a "blank verse" poetry novel, which is often used as a blanket way of covering all sorts of linguistic sins. This could be the textbook example of a book that didn't need to be blank verse, had no reason to be blank verse, but being blank verse made it easier to fill the required number of pages. The strange (and truly frustrating ) part of this is that I use the term "blank verse" VERY loosely. There are paragraphs of narrative prose inserted into the book will-nilly for no other seeming reason than "why not?". There will be a whole chapter that's all narrative followed by a chapter of verse. Or verse, random paragraph, more verse. There is no rhyme or logic to it and it serves no purpose.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Yes, it is yet another much hyped and lauded MG book of 2016 I don't like. It will be easy for many to dismiss me as simply having a contrary year, but really why the love for this book in the kidlit world? It is extremely well written. It is not a book for children though. I'm not saying this in a way that means "teacher book" like I would call Pax or that it's like a Pixar movie in book form like I would call Hokey Pokey. It is an adult literary fiction novel never mind the age of the protagonist. You know how the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley could technically be sold as MG because of Flavia's age? Yeah. I think any one who has read those books is in agreement their placement in adult mystery fiction is right. Just because this book is about bullying and a young protagonist doesn't make it MG. It's non-linear in many places, it meanders in stream of consciousness thought, it wallows in the misery of human existence, and is hopeless hopeless hopeless. It is everything I hate about adult lit fic. It exemplifies all the reasons why I spend my time reading (actual) children's fiction and only read genre fiction when I read adult. I won't be recommending this to anyone, but if depressing adult fiction is your jam, you may want to try it.


Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein