Friday, August 21, 2015

The Changeling Sea

By Patricia A. McKillip

Since the day her father’s fishing boat returned without him, Peri and her mother have mourned his loss. Her mother sinks into a deep depression and spends her days gazing out at the sea. Unable to control her anger and sadness any longer, Peri uses the small magic she knows to hex the sea. And suddenly into her drab life come the King’s sons—changelings with strange ties to the underwater kingdom—a young magician, and, finally, love.

The more I think about this book, the more I like it. This book had such a beautiful tone and grace to the telling, it was magic to read. It was simple, but the depths were amazing. I was entranced. I felt like I was swimming through the words; poetic, eerie, and captivating. Peri is such a strange protagonist, ragged and ordinary, estranged from her mother and longing for her lost father. Peri learns some magic and becomes enmeshed with the destiny of the sea itself, and finds her answers and works through her sadness by helping the princes of her kingdom. It’s a tale filled with longing, love, loss, and hope. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, even when I was in the middle of reading it. I sighed when I finished, relieved and a little lighter. It was therapeutic in a way, showing that destiny isn’t always fixed and that even the worst hurts can be healed.

I give it a 4.25 out of 5

Five Kingdoms 3: Crystal Keepers

By Brandon Mull

Cole Randolph still can’t believe the way his life has turned inside out. Stuck in a strange land far from home, he has found his friend Dalton and has survived the first two kingdoms of the Outskirts, but none of that has prepared him for the magnetic highways and robotic bounty hunters of Zeropolis.
Ruled by Abram Trench, the one Grand Shaper who stayed loyal to the evil High King, the government of Zeropolis uses advanced technologies to keep tight control. Luckily, the resistance in Zeropolis is anchored by the Crystal Keepers—a group of young rebels with unique weapons.
On the run from the High King’s secret police, Cole and Dalton hope to find more of their lost friends and help Mira locate her sister Constance. But as their enemies ruthlessly dismantle the resistance, time is running out for Cole to uncover the secrets behind the Zeropolitan government and unravel the mystery of who helped the High King steal his daughters’ powers.

I always enjoy reading Brandon Mull’s books, they are just what I like for adventure, magic, and creativity. This series has been a lot of fun, he’s created a world where he can stretch and pull in a lot of different genres into one. This book, unlike the previous two, is set in a more futuristic kingdom with advanced technology. Cole is still trying to figure out what he has to do to get his powers back, and he and Dalton are looking for the other kids from earth while helping Mira find her sisters. This book has some major plot twists that I am delighted to say I didn’t see coming, not entirely anyway. It changes the dynamic of the book and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out in March, where Cole is going to Necronum, and I expect lots of creepiness to happen. I especially liked the highlight on Joe, who is my favorite adult character in the series so far, and learning his story was one of the highlights for me. Good addition and nice twists to keep interest going.

It gets a 4 out of 5

Legion: Skin Deep

By Brandon Sanderson

It’s not his own genius that Stephen Leeds gets hired for. Clients want to tap into the imaginary experts that populate his mind—and it’s getting a bit crowded in there.
Now Stephen and his internal team of “aspects” have been hired to track down a stolen corpse—but it’s not the corpse that’s important, it’s what the corpse knows. The biotechnology company he worked for believes he encoded top-secret information in his DNA before he died, and if it falls into the wrong hands, that will mean disaster.
Meanwhile, Stephen’s uneasy peace with his own hallucinations is beginning to fray at the edges, as he strives to understand how one of them could possibly have used Stephen’s hand to shoot a real gun during the previous case. And some of those hallucinations think they know better than Stephen just how many aspects his mind should make room for. How long will he be able to hold himself together?

When I came across Legion on my Kindle I was intrigued and I fell in love with the idea and the way the idea was realized in the book. So, when I got the chance to get the second book for free on audible I snatched it up. I’m not a huge fan of audiobooks, because I’m not a great listener, I’m too easily distracted. This was easy to listen to, the narrator was amazing, doing all the voices of Stephen’s aspects perfectly. I was entertained with the mystery and the action, and the underlying story of Stephen trying to find his lost lady friend (whose name escapes me at the moment). The only content warning I have is for violence and language. It would be akin to watching a PG-13 movie. Great fun in a novella, and longer than the first book.

It gets a 3.75 out of 5 

Prince Tennyson

By Jenni James

This captivating story is about a ten-year-old girl who is trying to prove if God is real or not. Her dad died in Iraq the year before and now she wants to know if she’ll ever see him again. Prince Tennyson was his nickname because of how dashing he looked in his uniform—he was her handsome prince. This is an endearing father-daughter story told through the eyes of a ten-year-old. It is a story of overcoming trials, moving on, and finding not only faith in yourself, but in a loving God as well.

I’ve read Jenni James’s Timeless Fairy Tale series and enjoyed most of them, so when I saw she wrote a book about a little girl searching for the answer to “is God real?” because she wants to see her father who died in Iraq, I knew I wanted to read it. Especially when I saw the high ratings it’s gotten, if only just under a hundred ratings on Goodreads. This was a cute and simultaneously sensitive story about loss and the need to know what’s next. Chelsea loved her Dad more than anything, and she has to figure out how to help her mom smile again, make sure her two little siblings don’t forget their Prince, and she desperately wants to know if she’ll get a hug from her Dad again. It’s a faith-affirming and sweet book about family and love that never ends. I liked it, but it was a little predictable (me having read a lot of similar short stories).

I give it a 3.25 out of 5 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Skulduggery Pleasant 3: The Faceless Ones

By Derek Landy

If you’ve read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are—and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for out skeletal hero and his young sidekick.
If you haven’t read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about.
Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you’re going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.

I’ve loved Skulduggery Pleasant since I discovered them a few years ago, and it’s been hard to find copies of the series where I live, so I waited to read this book until I knew I could get the next books. This book had a definite tone dip toward the dark. I was a little discomfited at the major swing toward depressingness that this one made, but thankfully Landy does even it out successfully with his trademark humor. This book isn’t a stand-alone like the other two have been and begins a story arc that you can see going to the dark side of things. It had the same sort of vibe that the show “Supernatural”. In this book Valkyrie and Skulduggery are in the middle of a huge mess. The Faceless ones, gods from another world, are returning to our world. Skulduggery, being Skulduggery, is the only one that sees both sides and tries to stop what is about to happen: the end of the world. It was a great read, and we meet some new people and reunite with some old ones. This book, however, has enough of a cliffhanger that I wouldn’t suggest reading it without having the next book handy. I was dying to know what happened, and I’ll leave it at that. A-maz-ing.

I give it a solid 4 out of 5

Skulduggery Pleasant 4: Dark Days

By Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant is lost on the other side of the portal, with only some evil gods for company. Can he possibly survive? (Yes, all right, he’s already dead. But still.).

I listened to the audiobook of this and I wish I would’ve started out listening to the audiobooks. That narrator, Rupert Degas, is the man. He does all the voices so perfectly, especially Skulduggery. And this one was just…goodness…it was amazing. I loved it so much and Skulduggery is just one of my favorite characters ever. I can’t say much without spoiling the wonderful surprises in this book. Which is probably why I couldn’t find a decent synopsis either (though the one above made me smile as per usual with Landy). Again, this series is taking a definite turn for the darker side of things, but I can’t stop reading it. I love Skulduggery too much to give up, though the next few books will tell whether I finish or not. But this was amazing! Read it!

I give it a 4.25 out of 5

Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Anne of Green Gables is one of the world’s most beloved young heroines. This coming of age novel is a must read for romantics of all ages. This book tells the adventures of Anne Shirley, a young orphan girl, age 11 who is mistakenly sent to Mathew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm on Prince Edward Island.

I tried to read this a few years ago and was so bored I vowed I wouldn’t read it. This just goes to show that sometimes you really need to be in the right mindset to read certain genres of books. This was so cute and fun and warm-fuzzies abound. I liked it enough that I’ll keep reading the series as the mood strikes me. I learned a valuable lesson: don’t force yourself to read something when you don’t really want to read it. I waited until I was ready to try it because I wanted to and not just because other people pressured me to. Anne is such a likable character and it was fun to see how she differed from the movies I grew up watching with Megan Follows. It was sweet and lovely. It reminded me a lot of Little House on the Prairie in tone. Really enjoyed it, and had fun reading about the mishaps of one of the most beloved red-heads in literature. Diana getting drunk is one of my favorites.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

By Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

This is one of those satirical books that was pretty fun to read, though you need to be in a certain mood to really enjoy it. I admit, it took me a while to get into this book, but I was determined to finish it because my friend said that she and her husband read it out loud and couldn’t stop laughing. This would’ve been a great read-out-loud book. It’s about four princes, who are each known as their kingdom’s “Prince Charming”. Liam is a hero who is the darling of his kingdom, until he meets sleeping beauty, Frederic has never been outside of his own castle and fell for adventurous and sheltered Cinderella, Duncan luckily stumbled across Snow White, a hermit, in the woods, and Gustav is known for being rescued by Rapunzel, who healed his blindness with her tears. The princes band together to save their reputations and find out if they really are hero material. What ensues is a hilarious satire of fairy-tale stories and all the stereotypes that happen. It’s clever and well done, kids love reading about these unlikely Prince Charmings, and adults laugh at the way the story pokes fun at the genre. Again I had a hard time getting into the story, it was a little too dumbed down for me, geared for children and not adults. Some books can easily bridge the gap, but this one fell a little flat for me.

I give it a 3 out of 5  

Sunday, August 16, 2015


By Brandon Sanderson

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must first crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

First off I need to say that I began reading this when it first came out and my interest flagged pretty quickly (partly because I started it when I wasn’t in the mood for it) so I put it aside so I could give it the attention I thought it most likely deserved, knowing Sanderson’s ability to write phenomenal worlds and characters. I decided to wait until the last book was fairly close to coming out so I wouldn’t be in yet another waiting line for a series. So I decided to listen to this on Audible. I am SO glad I made that decision. MacLeod Andrews, who narrates the audiobook is fantastic. I was immediately grabbed by his voice and his subtle way of reading the story. I felt like it was a whole new book and I loved how he narrated as David. He has this amazing ability to deliver the dialogue in the perfect way that animates and brings to life the situation and the characters. I devoured this audiobook and couldn’t wait to listen to it. I’ve tried audiobooks before and this is the first time I listened to an audiobook when I wasn’t driving and had other things to do. Combining Mr. Andrews’ presentation with Sanderson’s brilliant writing was genius. I loved this book. The plot was amazing, I was left flabbergasted at some of the turns and surprises at the end. This is an awesome twist on ‘superhero’ books, where the question is put: what happens if everyone who acquires superhuman powers actually becomes evil? By the end of the book you’re realizing the straightforward plot that you were handed at the beginning is the tip of the iceberg. I finished this audiobook knowing that I didn’t want to read the next book, I wanted to listen to it. In fact, I immediately went and grabbed it on audible and am now listening to Firefight. I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll survive the wait until February for Calamity.
Anyway, plot is solid, action-packed and rendered in crystal-clear quality. Characters are fully realized, unique, and diverse. You have Cody, the Scotsman from the Southern States, Abraham, The Canadian with a French accent and heavy artillery, Tia, the Redhead with a plan, Megan, the young serious fighter, and Prof, the man, the myth, the legend. And David, a kid with a vendetta, a serious lack of social life, and whose metaphors need a lot of help.
Tons of fun from Sanderson. I’m liking this one in a major way.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5 (A 4 if it’s without MacLeod Andrew’s performance, it really does bring it up another level!)

Hope for the Flowers

By Trina Paulus

Hope’s theme of life, moving through seeming death to a new and more beautiful life, has touched the hearts of millions of people. Hope for the Flowers is for young and old, lovers, husbands and wives. It’s a book to learn to read with, or to comfort those who are dying or grieving. In the tale, the caterpillar heroes, Stripe and yellow, want something more from life than eating and growing bigger. They get caught up in a “caterpiallar pillar,” a squirming mass of bodies, each determined to reach a top so far away it can’t be seen. Finally disillusioned, they discover that the way for the caterpillars to find their particular “more,” who they really are, is to enter the cocoon and “.risk for the butterfly.” Hope for the Flowers has helped people gain the courage to leave jobs, change their lives and explore their love for another human being.

You can read this book in about 15-20 minutes. It’s heavy on the illustration, an allegory for anybody who is looking for a purpose, or ‘more’ to their life. It was a sweet little story that has a lot of life applications, some of which left me a little confused in the ambiguousness that ensued. Was it saying that “love is all you need” or was it saying that you should wait for the answers to fall from the sky? I liked some of the morals that were in this, but some just seemed…off. I could tell that this book was written in a certain era, and the morals come from that time and culture. That was the stuff that was throwing me off. It was a cute read. If you find it take a second and read it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it, and I think there are better gifts to give for a motivational or inspirational story for someone.

I give it a 3 out of 5

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Mary Ann Shafer

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My sister told me to read this about 3 years ago, and I just now got around to it. Better late than never eh? I was reluctant to read yet another World War II book, and didn’t want the depressingness of it in my life. There’s only so much a soul can take of that level of depravity. But oh, how I loved this book! Written in a series of letters between Juliet (our heroine) and the citizens of the island of Guernsey in England, it was charming. Completely and deliciously charming. Heartwarming. Laugh-out-loud funny at times, and filled with hope and sunlight. It’s not all roses, but the hope that is displayed through these courageous islanders during the occupation of German soldiers on their island through all the horrors that wartime brings was inspiring. I fell in love along with Juliet for the island of Guernsey and it’s book-loving people. I was smiling through most of the book, and the heaviness of war is lightened by the strength of the human spirit. I understand now why this book is so heavily read by book clubs and loved so much. I almost immediately started recommending it to people. I do have a brief warning though: it does contain language (no “f” words) and it also mentions a character being Gay. Those are my main content warnings.

I give it a 4.25 out of 5


By Taylor Longford

Seventeen-year-old Force has never been interested in girls. All of his dreams have revolved around serving with honor in battle. But the gargoyle left all the great world-shaping battles behind him in another era. Now he’s just a medieval guy trying to get by in a modern world.
At this point in Camie’s life she’s convinced that you can’t count on guys for nothing. Her short-term plan is to get through high school without a boyfriend to distract her. Her long-term plan is to complete college. After that, maybe she’ll look around for a knight in shining armor…if there is such a thing…and if they aren’t all taken by the time she starts looking.
Only fate and unusual circumstance can move these two independent young people together. But when you’re talking about gargoyles, the circumstances are always unusual.

So this series has been kinda hit and miss for me, and it seems like the further on it gets the less I like it, though I keep hoping it will get better, and thus here I am reviewing the seventh book in the series. Force was interesting in that he isn’t interested in girls, and more slowly falls for our main girl. There’s a bit more at play in the character development than them being head-over-heels for each other, which was nice. Although, I got distinctly uncomfortable at the mentions of sex and how nonchalant it was, and a borderline rape (though I knew it wouldn’t happen) it was still toxic for my happiness. That being said, it was decently written, the story was average, the romance was okay. I was not happy with the ever increasing sensuality of this series that happened in the last book Victor. I’ll probably finish out the series however, because I want to get to Havoc dangit.

I give this a 2.75 out of 3 (for the sensuality nothing else)

Longing for Home: Hope Springs

By Sarah M. Eden

Katie Macauley gave up her lifelong dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, Wyoming, but her future has never been so uncertain. Katie’s heart still remains sharply divided between playful Tavish and steady Joseph, though she feels ill-prepared to make a decision. Furthermore, the town is more divided than ever with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives. In the midst of the growing unrest, temperatures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter.
Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will her efforts be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?

So I read it, after moaning and complaining about the first book (which I didn’t know was a two-parter series). My favorite part of this series was the feud and the social problems and prejudices this town faces. It was handled well and I was all a fever to figure out how Katie was going to fix things and help those town folk not be so idiotic toward each other. I was about halfway through this book when I hit a night where I couldn’t stop reading. I’d think, I’ll stop when this scene is over and I know what happens. That happened until I was finished at 3 am, and cursing myself for not stopping earlier. When all is said and done, I did enjoy this series, and I was glad that Katie ended up with the guy I liked. Another solid book from Sarah Eden (though I still like Corbin from As You Are the best.)

I give it a 3.5 out of 5

Lois Lane: Fallout

By Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a-friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy…

Superhero nerd that I am, I’m always willing to try out a decent sounding incarnation of a comic. I’ve never been a fan of Lois Lane. I was always a little dumbfounded why Superman/Clark Kent fell for such an abrasive and annoying woman. I mean, Superman is a symbol of pure goodness (or is supposed to be). The least annoying (and most accurate) version of Lois Lane to me was Teri Hatcher’s Lois from “Lois and Clark” and even then she felt off. I like to keep an open mind, so when this young adult version of Lois Lane’s origins popped up on my Goodreads account I was more than willing to bite.
Lois as a sixteen-year-old character was done surprisingly well. She’s a girl who has moved twice as many times as she is old, and has had to build up a thick wall of protection, and not just because her Dad is a general and makes sure his daughters know how to look out for themselves. She desperately wants friends, but not just any friends, people who ‘get’ her. She’s driven, ambitious, and she wants the truth. She wants everybody to have a fair shot.
Que a new school and a chance to help a girl who is being bullied, and Lois jumps all over it, even if it goes against her new motto of flying under the radar. The plot gets trippy as we’re introduced to futuristic tech with holograms and games that can literally change neurons in your brain to help it feel more realistic. (which I kinda wanted to play, and kinda hope never happens) Let the mind games begin. Lois, being Lois, is offered a job by none other than Perry White himself at a high school online newspaper called the Scoop, a subsidiary of the Daily Planet. Lois feels like she’s finally found her calling, and is desperately trying to help her new friends, the first friends she’s had since grade school, without them thinking she’s a complete psychopath for believing that there is ‘more out there’. Que her best friend, whom she hasn’t met IRL, and doesn’t actually know his real name: SmallvilleGuy. She meets him on a conspiracy website after witnessing the impossible one night in Kansas with her father. SmallvilleGuy believes in the impossible, and wants to help this girl who is always getting into trouble. Lois is dying to know, who is this guy really?
This was fun to read, I devoured it in about two days. It was action oriented, had a good amount of tension, a little sci-fi, and the beginnings of something *ahem* great. If you like comic books and Superman, you’ll like this modern retelling of a heroine worthy of the most iconic superhero in the world. This is the Lois Lane I can see being with the Man of Steel.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5 (though close to a 4 for the genre) 

Lockwood and Co The Screaming Staircase

By Jonathan Stroud

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see—and eradicate—these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood and Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood and Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

In a future time when the world shifts and everything changes, ghosts, ghouls, revnants, and foul creatures of death haunt (literally) everyone. It’s called ‘The Problem’ and nobody knows why it happened. All anybody has been able to discover is that only kids under the age of 18 have the psychic know-how to see and deal with these unwelcome visitors from beyond the grave. Lucy Carlyle is new to London, and finds a job with the only agency in town that is exclusively run by adolescents. Anthony Lockwood is the owner of Lockwood and Co, and as enigmatic as they come. Lucy is a talented psychic and Lockwood doesn’t ask too many questions. So now they are three. George is their researcher, Lockwood their point-man, and Lucy is the Listener and backup for Lockwood. When on what seems to be a routine assignment at a haunting, Lockwood and Co discover a sinister ghost with serious power, and a grisly secret. Barely surviving the encounter, the team is lead to the most haunted house in England, Combe Carey Hall, and the rumors of the Screaming Staircase.
I’m a huge fan of ghost stories. I don’t like horror in general, but I like a good spooky old-fashioned ghost story. This was perfect for me. It wasn’t nightmare-inducing but it was creepy in all the right kinds of ways. There was murder, ghosts, revenge, creepy whispers, lights, and sounds. It was a mystery and an adventure. I don’t much care for Lucy, but Lockwood is a strange kid that I’m dying to know what happened to him and his family. I can’t wait to uncover his story. The Screaming Staircase was a fun eerie read with a good humor and late-night story with a flashlight kind of tale.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mustache Baby

By Bridget Heos

This is such a cute little picture book about the different stages that kids can go through, depicted through the different mustaches that this baby has. It’s cute and hilarious and I’d recommend it to adult and kid alike. The kids will get a kick out a baby with mustaches and the adults will laugh at the depictions of stereotypical mustaches to show whether the baby is good or bad. Because everyone knows that a big handle-bar mustache is not a good sign if you want a good guy in the family…

I give it a 3.5 out of 5

Peter Pan

By Jenni James

Peter Pan needs help, and he’s convinced the effervescent Wendy Darling is just the girl to champion his cause. Ever since the mischievous fairy Tinker Bell began recruiting—more like, snatching—boys from London’s orphanages to take them to a magical place called Neverland, things have gotten out of hand. Captain Hook has only become more violent and the boys more lost as their memories of life before Neverland begin to fade. Peter’s only hope is to get the boys back to England and hep bring balance to Neverland before Hook’s dangerous escapades kill them all.
Wendy is not quite certain why such a handsome young man would need her—especially a lad who clearly has a touch of madness in him. What boy learns to fly? But whatever the reason, home life has become too much for her now that her parents are hoping she marries an acquaintance she can barely abide. There is something about Peter Pan that intrigues her greatly, and then there is this magical world he talks about, this Neverland…

First of all, I was perturbed when I discovered that this was a two-parter (or more, not sure as of yet). This deals with the first time Peter meets Wendy and takes her to Neverland. Interestingly, Peter is older, about 18, and he is trying to save the lost boys by bringing them home to London, which they are starting to forget. The fairies are not benevolent, the pirates are evil and definitely try to kill the boys, Peter especially. Peter immediately falls for Wendy, and Wendy, a properly raised high-born girl, cannot help but be intrigued by this disheveled young man who flies and steals kisses from her with grins. I’ve read a fair few retellings of Peter Pan and haven’t really found one that I’d recommend, though I tend to lean toward the ones that portray Hook as the ‘good guy’ and Peter as the antagonist. This was fun to read and I’ll probably end up reading the sequel when I’m bored one day. It’s not going to be a feverish attempt to get it as soon as it comes out though.

I give it a 3 out of 5

Lady Emma's Campaign

By Jennifer Moore

She would follow him through peace and war.

London, 1811

The London Season is ushered in with a thrilling flurry of invitations, gowns, and parties. But despite her status as belle of the ball, lovely socialite Emma Drake simply cannot fathom becoming entangled with any gentleman of her acquaintance. For in truth, since childhood her heart has belonged to Captain Sidney Fletcher, a man of the sea—and her brother’s best friends. Emma knows that Sidney’s directive to free the Spanish city of Cadiz from French occupation will be dangerous, but when word arrives of his capture, she is frantic. Determined to aid her brother in Sidney’s rescue, she hides aboard his ship and sets a course to Spain. But the realities of war are a far cry from the drawing rooms of London, and Emma finds the man she loves a mere shadow of his former self. When a series of events leaves them trapped together behind enemy lines, Emma and Sidney must embark on a journey fraught with danger—from a bloody hunt for Spanish treasure to the battlefields of war-torn Spain, new threats lurk around every turn. As their flight becomes increasingly perilous, Sidney and Emma must trust each other with their lives—but can they trust the other with their heart?

It’s hard to find a good clean romance that is written well with believable characters and an entertaining plot. I enjoyed Jennifer Moore’s first book Becoming Lady Lockwood enough that I picked this up at the library as soon as it came out. While it was fun to see old faces, I had a hard time liking Emma. She’s sheltered and she screams far too much. Perhaps it’s because when I’m truly terrified I can’t speak. I was reminded of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I swear all that blonde woman did was scream in a high-pitched and very annoying way. I inadvertently pictured her as I read about Emma’s experiences in the midst of a war. Sure, she gets better, but there is that first picture to contend with. It made me not like her and I only minimally was able to overcome that. It’s always hard to root for a relationship when you don’t like one of the characters. Sidney was much more agreeable, though he became a fairly stereotypical protective male. Though I did appreciate the gesture that was made toward explaining PTSD. It was a fine read, just not one of my favorites. Will I read Ms. Moore’s next book? Probably. This was just a case of not liking the character versus the writing or overarching plot.

I give it a 3 out of 5

A Light in the Attic

By Shel Silverstein

Shadow Race

"Every time I’ve raced my shadow
When the sun was at my bak,
It always ran ahead of me,
Always got the best of me.
But every time I’ve raced my shadow
When my face was toward the sun,
I won."

Shel Silverstein is always fun to read. He has his silly poems, his ironic poems, and his thought-provoking poems (my favorite). Most people end up liking his poems because they’re relatable and it doesn’t take much to understand them. His books are beloved by young and old alike for a good reason. If you’ve not read Shel Silverstein you need to at least try it. Doesn’t matter if you don’t like poetry, it’s poetry that even the most critical will enjoy.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5

Alanna Song of the Lioness

By Tamora Pierce

“From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight.”
And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the gourney to knighthood. Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Disguised as a girl, Thom heads for the convent; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page. But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies. Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna’s first adventure begins—one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and make her a legend in the land.

Another book that has been on my to-read for a long while. It’s got a sort of Twelfth Knight/Parent Trap vibe going on. Alanna and her brother trade places because he wants to be a sorcerer and she wants to be a knight. We follow Alanna (now Alan) in her training as a page, squire, and one day hopefully to become a knight. Because she is in fact a girl, a girl who desperately wishes she was a boy, there are all kinds of problems she has to deal with besides the daily rigors of training and school. I enjoyed this book until a few little things came into play that made me edgy and frowny. Of course one thing Alanna has to deal with is puberty and dealing with a first menstrual cycle, which I really dislike in books. I know it’s natural, but sheesh. Of course the woman that explains to Alanna also has the birds and the bees talk with her (which I also disliked). There is also nudity and foreshadowing of a relationship of Alanna with one of her fellow pages. All in all, I liked the writing and the plot, but I can’t take the above mentioned stuff. Too much for me. Uncomfortable-making.

I give it a 3 out of 5