Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8, Sunshine State 17-18

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Review:

owlowlowlowl

 

Yes. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.

– Opening lines

 Magical babies are dangerous babies, Glerk tried to remind himself, day after day. When he wasn’t cradling Luna. Or singing to Luna. Or whispering poetry into her ear as she slept.

-Chapter 5

A story can tell the truth, she knew, but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed.

– Chapter 38

Knowledge is powerful, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.

– Chapter 38

The village has always known about the witch, and about the sacrifice. Once a year, the Council of Elders takes the youngest baby and leaves it in the woods to appease the witch. But… the witch (Xan) has no idea why they leave the baby, so she takes it to the village across the forest and gives it to a loving home. Except for Luna… The witch accidentally feeds Luna moonlight (instead of the starlight she usually feeds the babies). The moonlight makes Luna magical. Luna grows up with Xan, Glerk (the swamp monster), and Fyrian (a Perfectly Tiny Dragon who thinks he is a Simply Enormous Dragon).

With characters like Xan, Glerk, Fyrian, and Luna, how could this story fail? The characters are amazing and the world is magical. People have been recommending this book to me all year, but I kept putting it off. I don’t know why, but the cover just didn’t appeal to me. Once I started reading it, I loved it.

Recommended to: Grades 5 & up. Fans of magical stories or fairy tales.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Fantasy, Favorite, Young Adult

Everfound – Audiobook

Review:

owlowlowlowlowl

 

“We can lie to ourselves, saying we believe one thing, and sometimes we convince others it’s true, with the hope that by convincing others, we can convince ourselves. Wars are often waged not because of what we believe, but because of the things we want others to believe.”

Book 3 in the Skinjacker series. I love the series, the characters, the ups & downs, basically everything about it. I am now a huge fan of Neal Shusterman. This is the second series I’m reading by him and I’m now ready for the next one.

This book is amazing. It takes the characters on surprising and unexpected paths that end up in quite unusual ways. No characters are just plain evil or good. They all take personal journeys and look at the world in different ways. I felt for all of them at different points in the book and I cringed at their actions at other points.

 Recommended: Grades 7 & up. Fans of fantasy or dystopian novels.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

Everwild by Neal Shusterman – Audiobook

Review:

owlowlowlowlowl

If you haven’t read Everlost, then you probably shouldn’t read this review. But more importantly, don’t read the synopsis of this book (Everwild) on Amazon as it gives away an important plot point that the book doesn’t reveal until at least the 65% mark.

Everlost is populated by children who died and didn’t find their way to the light. They are basically ghosts, who can’t be seen or interact with the living world (with one interesting exception). Places (dead spots) and things also cross to Everlost, but only those that are truly loved by someone. The children in Everlost are called Afterlights, because they have a glow about them. Afterlights will sink to the center of the earth if they stand in one place for too long, unless they are on a dead spot. In the first book, we learn that large dead spots are rare, but can be found in places that were considered important to a lot of people, such as the Twin Towers in NYC. In Everwild, Allie, Nick, Mary, and Mikey continue their journeys, although their paths have changed. Some secrets have already been discovered about Everlost, but still more questions remain unanswered.

Shusterman is a magnificent writer and I love losing myself in his worlds. There is no black or white, no flat good and evil. The “good” characters make mistakes or wrong choices, and the “evil” characters have motives that might have started out as good. There is a constant struggle within each character to understand their own feelings and deal with all the craziness Everlost throws at them. Over the course of this novel, all of the characters (even the secondary ones) develop, grow, and change. There is an overarching theme of “how do we stop the evil trying to destroy the world” and yet each character has their own feelings, hopes, and dreams to deal with.

The instant I finished listening to this book, I began the next (and final) book in the series. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering my similar reaction to the first Shusterman series I read (Unwind).

I’m recommending this book to grades 7 and up. Some of the actions of the characters are a bit callous in their disregard for the living world, but there are also beautiful parts that stuck with me. Fans of the Delirium or Divergent series will enjoy this one.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8

Quest to the Uncharted Lands

Review:

owlowlowlowl

When the Iron Glory’s engines rumbled to life for its journey to the uncharted lands, it marked a new future for the world of Solace.

– First Sentence

This book is a fantastic companion to The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson. It isn’t a sequel, it takes place in the same world with different characters.

Stella Glass is the daughter of two scientists who are traveling on the Iron Glory to explore the uncharted lands of Solace. No one has ever explored this far west beyond the mountains. The Dragonfly Territories and Merrow Kingdom have finally reached an uneasy peace. They worked together on this ship and representatives from both countries are onboard.

Stella is not permitted to go, but she has planned for months to stow away because she is terrified her parents won’t come back. On the first night, Stella finds out she isn’t the only stowaway. No children are allowed on the ship, but she sees a boy outside the engine room with his hands on the wall. His hands begin to glow, and then his eyes. Stella isn’t sure who he is or what he is up to, but when he passes out, she drags him to her hiding place in the cargo hold. Someone doesn’t want this voyage to succeed, but who and how can they be stopped?

So, in The Mark of the Dragonfly, we met Piper (a girl who connects to machines in an almost magical way), and Gee (a boy who can transform into a dragon). This book continues in the same fantasy steampunk world and the story is in the same heroic adventure vein. Again, I highly recommend it to students in grades 4 – 8. It is just as good as the first.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Fantasy, Young Adult

Everlost by Neal Shusterman – review

Review:

owlowlowlowl

Nick & Allie were in a fatal car accident and ended up caught in Everlost, a sort of limbo for kids who don’t make it where they are going when they die. Everlost is a magical place for things and places that no longer survive in the living world (ex. the Twin Towers). But Everlost is also full of dangers (if the kids stay in one place for too long, they sink to the center of the earth), and monsters (the Magill, the Haunter). When Nick and Allie make it to the Twin Towers, they find Mary, who calls herself the queen of lost children. But while Nick feels at home with Mary, Allie suspects Mary is hiding something.

This is a fun young adult story with plenty of excitement and danger. The narrator did an excellent job and didn’t distract from the story at all. This is an interesting look at what could happen to souls whose journey is interrupted. Many of the kids have been around for hundreds of years, including Mary, who has written books on how to survive in Everlost. The kids all cross over in whatever they were wearing, which makes for some interesting wardrobes and nicknames for those who may have died on Halloween or during a day at the beach (think Speedo). Nick even dies with chocolate on his face. However, if the kids don’t think about things, they tend to forget them, such as their name and their physical appearance.

Bottom line: This is an engrossing start to the trilogy, that I will be happily continuing. The world building is remarkable and the ending suggests more peril and exploits for the characters that survive. Recommended to grades 6 & up. No serious violence and no sex, only cute crushes. Most of the kids we meet are under 16.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Eighth Day Series

Book 1: The Eighth Day, by Diane K. Salerni

Book 2: The Inquisitor’s Mark, by Diane K. Salerni

Book 3: The Morrigan’s Curse, by Diane K. Salerni

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I loved this series. Unknown to “normals,” there is an eighth day between Wednesday and Thursday called Grunsday. The people that know about this day are descended from King Arthur, Merlin and others from that time. Some of them are “transitioners” who are able to live in normal days as well as Grunsday. Some are “kin” and are stuck only living on Grunsday. Merlin created the eighth day to trap the kin and Merlin’s descendants are the ones keeping the magic of Grunsday alive. There are only two descendants of Merlin left and everyone wants to protect or control them.

That’s the idea, without giving too much away. Basically, if you like fantasy or adventure, read this series. I loved it!!

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Where do stories come from?

Storybound by Marissa Burt

When Una Fairchild stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, she thinks nothing of opening the cover and diving in. But instead of paging through a regular novel, Una suddenly finds herself Written In to the land of Story — a world filled with Heroes and Villains and fairy tale characters.

But not everything in Story is as magical as it seems. Una must figure out why she has been Written In – and fast – before anyone else discovers her secret. Together with her new friend Peter and a talking cat named Sam, Una digs deep into Story’s shadowy past. She quickly realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never could have imagined — and it might be up to her to save it.

Fabulous story, great characters – loved this!! Una is a terrific example of a strong female heroine.

Una finds an old book with the title: The Tale of Una Fairchild. She starts to read and next thing she knows, she is in the middle of the story. She is actually in the middle of an exam for students studying to be characters in a fairy tale. She meets Peter who is the hero-in-training and Snow, the Lady he is rescuing. Peter figures out Una has been Written In, which hasn’t happened since the Muses were defeated. But, why is Una here now and who wrote her in?? And what really happened to the Muses?

This story is full of adventure and excitement and twists and turns. If you like fairy tales or twists on fairy tales, this book is for you. It reminded me a bit of The Accidental Hero, which I loved too.

Recommended to:

Grades 6 and up; anyone who likes fairy tales or fractured fairy tales!