Enter a Glossy Web – McKenna Ruebush

enter-a-glossy-webGeorge, short for Georgina, is left hurriedly with relatives when her parents must resume the search for her missing brother.  Her uncle, Constantine, tells her a curious bedtime story about a catastrophic meteor shower and The Council of Seven that was created to prevent the destruction of the world.  George barely gets to know these kind but eccentric relations when Constantine departs on an urgent business and her aunt is abducted.  This is after a skeleton delivers George a cryptic message from Constantine that sends her on a mission.  Following hasty instructions from her aunt to always turn left at decision points, she meets two boys busy digging a grave in a cemetery.  They decide to join her on her adventure that turns into a quest to save the world.  The trio travel to quirky worlds and meet a talking map, a distraught monster, a flameless dragon, and much more.  Students new to this genre and looking for a book that takes them on an imaginative journey should enjoy this adventure that is filled with heart.

eGalley review                                                  Publication date 9.27.16

Posted in fantasy, Uncategorized

Three Dark Crowns -Kendare Blake

three-dark-crownsA strange, mystical island is torn by three rival factions: Elementalists, Naturalists, Poisoners.  For generations, the queen gives birth to triplets.  Each child has the abilities of one of the three factions.  The queen mother leaves the island and her daughters to fight for the throne.  Around age 6, the triplets are taken from each other and sent to the faction of their ability and raised until they come of age and are expected to fight to the death for the crown.  Only one will rule.  The triplets, once close in childhood, are now expected to kill each other. The Poisoners have been the ruling faction for many years, but triplet, Katherine does not appear to be very strong and capable of withstanding poisons.  Naturalists have a familiar, an animal to share their bond.  But triplet, Arsinoe, has not been successful in calling a familiar.  This generation, it appears the strongest triplet is  Mirabella.  Mirabella is an Elementalist controlling fire, wind and water.  However, Mirabella is kind-hearted and remembers her sisters with such love that she could never kill them.  This tenderness does not sit well with the powers that be, so they come up with another plan to kill the weaker queens.

The story jumps from one triplet to another so that many characters are introduced.  Perhaps advisable to read in big chunks of time to better keep the characters straight.  The romantic entanglements are excellent.  The winning triplet will need to be married and the suitors arrive to meet the girls.  This story has action, adventure, and an interesting plot, however the characters are the shining star.  Each triplet is so different and has traits to admire.  The ending confirmed what I was suspecting and sets it all up for the next installment .  I think I am rooting for Arsinoe.  I eagerly await the next book in the series, before I forget the characters.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review                                            Publication date 9.20.16

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized

A Shadow Bright and Burning – Jessica Cluess

a-shadow-bright-and-burningSet in an alternate Victorian England ravaged by Ancients, Henrietta is now a teacher at a charity boarding school where she was abandoned years before.  Around the time she was born, witches opened the portals to allow the Ancients to terrorize citizens with all manner of horror and death.  Sorcerers killed all known witches as punishment.  A sorcerer comes to the school seeking a rumored fire witch.  It’s Henrietta, who can create fires and fireballs at will, especially when upset, that they seek.  She is discovered and certain she will be killed but the sorcerer takes her into his home in London to train with his other protégés in the fight against the Ancients.

The familiar theme of the promised one saving humanity from evil unleashed upon the world is told once again.  I got the sense that bits and pieces of the story were taken from other stories I have read so that the book as a whole felt overly familiar.  Sorcerers = men = good.  Witches = mostly women = bad.  Henrietta is grudgingly accepted by some because of her powers to battle the Ancients but she is shunned by others.  All the while, she secretly knows she is not the promised one.  Tinged with romance and the mystery of Rook, teens new to the genre should enjoy the action, characters and story.

eGalley review                                         Publication date 9.20.16

Posted in fantasy, horror, paranormal, Uncategorized

The Reader – Traci Chee

the-readerBooks are no longer used or even known about by most folks.  At a very early age, Sefia’s mother secretly  plays alphabet blocks with Sefia, attempting to teach her the dangerous skill of reading.  Her mother is killed and she is lovingly raised by her father and Aunt Nin.  She is taught to hide in a safe room if trouble ever comes.  It came.  Her father is murdered and her Aunt Nin is captured.  Sefia discovered a thick object, a book, in the safe room.  She tucks it into her pack and heads out to rescue Aunt Nin.  She lives in the forest for a long time, tracking Nin’s captors and honing her survival skills.  She rescues Archer, who is mute and held captive and routinely forced to fight to the death to ensure his own survival.  All this time, Sefia is teaching herself to read the mysterious book that people have died protecting.  It is a book full of stories.  Stories of the famous pirate who sails to the end of the world and much much more.  Meanwhile the story shifts to an elite school, training those in special skills.  Training assassins.  Assassins determined to kill Sefia.  The characters from the different story threads meet, help, and hinder each other.

Wow!  The plot reminds me a bit of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende but takes a darker path entwined with mystery, pain, and death.  The writing pulls the reader in and vividly describes the action, emotion and ever-changing scene.  The only minor plot line that bothers me . . . I understand that Sefia did not have a social upbringing so perhaps is naïve when dealing with people. Sure, she can read people and that is an amazing skill.  But towards the end of the book when she gets herself and Archer into a situation.  To go into the unknown without backup – when Captain Reed’s crew was still ashore and could act as backup, that wasn’t wise. This is a must-read of the year and I am eager for the next installment.  Adventure, action, mystery all wrapped into an exquisite plot!  Highly recommend

eGalley review                                            Publication date 9.13.16

Posted in adventure, dystopian, fantasy, highly recommend, suspense, Uncategorized

Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto -Tilar J. Mazzeo

irenas-childrenThere were false identity papers for all of the children, but some of them needed more. They needed to be more Polish, less Jewish, needed golden curls, needed to stop speaking Yiddish, needed to forget their real families. Only Irena knew their real names and she guarded that secret with her life.  Irena Sendler, a public health specialist, was allowed into the Warsaw ghetto in 1942, mainly to keep diseases from spreading into the rest of the population. But when she saw the dreadful conditions, she had to do something. She began smuggling food and medicines in, and soon began smuggling children out. They came out in the sewers, in suitcases and bags, even in coffins, and 2,500 children were saved from certain death.

This amazing story of a brave and selfless woman only came to light after Poland was no longer Communist. It is a disturbing book, full of the horrors and brutality that man can inflict upon man. And it is also an uplifting book, full of the love that is not bound by race or religion.  It is a book that should be read by everyone.

eGalley review                             Publication date 9.27.16

Posted in adult, biography, highly recommend, nonfiction, Uncategorized

The Forgetting – Sharon Cameron

The ForgettingEvery twelve years, the citizens of the walled-in city of Canaan lose their memories.  Parents have no memory of their children.  Relatives and friends forget they ever knew each other.  After the first Forgetting, the citizens were required to keep a journal, tied to their waist and write the events of the day in preparation for the next Forgetting.  After the Forgetting, they read their volumes of journals to pick up their lives as best they can. But what if a person uses the Forgetting to construct a new life on a fake past?  What if someone is immune to the Forgetting?  Nadia is perhaps the only one who does not forget.  She was around five at the time of the last Forgetting and she knows so many secrets.  During the day, she goes exploring outside the wall seeking answers.  She stumbles upon more than she ever imagined.  The Forgetting is as brilliantly captivating as all Sharon Cameron’s books are.  Thought provoking.  We are made of our memories.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review                     Publication date 9.13.16

Posted in highly recommend, science fiction, Uncategorized

Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure – Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell

 

missy-piggle-wiggleBetty MacDonald wrote a series of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books in the 1940s.  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle helped children overcome bad habits and correct misbehaviors employing ingenious cures.  She lived in a crazy upside-down house full of animals and charm.  The series is now reimagined when Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is off to search for her pirate husband and enlists her great-niece, Missy to take care of her house and animals while she is away.

Children and parents are drawn to the friendly and capable Missy.  She quickly jumps into action and tackles common misbehaviors.  The premise of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books is there, helping children overcome a weakness or bad habit.  The cures are cute and exceedingly quick.   However, the charm is missing when compared with the original. Thinking it was perhaps the childhood nostalgia of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, I re-read several of the stories from the original and yes, they are superior.  This new series should gain a new generation while hopefully pointing readers to the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories that are timeless.

eGalley review                                          Publication date 9.6.16

Posted in Uncategorized