This is the story of who Neferet, high priestess of the Oklahoma House of Night, was before becoming a high priestess.
Set in Chicago in 1893 as the city prepares for the World’s Fair, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be enjoying her last few days as a carefree youth of a prosperous family. But her whole life changes when her mother dies leaving her the adult responsibility of being Lady of Wheiler House as her father, a powerful bank president, needs her to entertain and conduct the house as her mother would to help him keep his social standing and influence among the city’s wealthy and powerful and the designers and leaders of The White City: The Chicago World’s Fair.
As Emily tried to adjust to her new role and it’s many responsibilities that she is unprepared for she realizes that her father has a dark violent side she’s never seen before and she reaches out to a handsome young man and his family at one of her father’s parties. But then she is marked by a vampyre and once again her whole world changes.
In Quill everyone is sorted into three categories: Wanteds who go on to rule the country, Necessaries who do all the menial work, and Unwanteds who are sent to their deaths in the Lake of Boiling Oil. Alex has always known he will be an Unwanted and his twin brother Aaron will be a Wanted. But the shock of being sent to his death still hurts until he finds out that Unwanteds are not killed. They live in a magical world called Artime. There they use their creativity to learn magic and prepare for a coming war against the Wanteds.
I had mixed feelings about this book. As with any dystopian novel I want the world to make sense and this world just didn’t at times. For one thing, Quill has fallen into disrepair and segregation within 50 years. The world is crumbling around these people yet they have shut away all emotions and become evil robots basically. They have no problem sending their children off to die. Artime is a land of plenty and filled with magic and magical creatures. How do these two worlds exist side by side? I also didn’t like that being creative was evil to the people of Quill and they only defined creative as being of the arts. All the Wanteds seem cold and evil, but they are still able to think for themselves and solve problems (in creative ways?). I am not sure I buy that the world can devolve and diverge in such a short amount of time. And in the end magic triumphs rather easily over reason. Why let the world go on as it was for 50 years if it was that easy to solve everything?
That being said I really enjoyed the story. I love the characters and I enjoyed the magic of Artime. I like that the magic spells are those created from the arts: deadly rhyming couplets, invisible paintbrushes, etc. I thought that was really creative. I also enjoyed that the kids in Artime were real kids with real emotions and problems. Alex truly loves his brother and wants to be with him. In order to accomplish that he makes mistakes and alienates his friends. The other kids are equally flawed and perfect.
This was a quick, fun read and if you can get past the world-building one I am sure kids will enjoy. We read this book in my 3rd-5th grade bookclub and the kids loved it. It was one of their favorites that we had read. The world building didn’t bother them at all!
Michael and his family move into a run down house with a decrepit garage. In the garage, Michael finds a man; this man is as run down as the garage. He seems to live off of what the owls bring him to eat and he has strange protuberances from his shoulders. Michael starts bringing him Chinese takeout and beer and gradually becomes friends with him. He also befriends his new neighbor Mina, a home-schooled girl with lots of ideas and life and the world. Michael’s family is kind of absent because his newborn baby sister is ill and in the hospital.
This is a strange story and I am not sure what to think about it. Not sure if I liked it or not. I have no idea what Skellig was (a man/an angel/something else) or what kind of powers he had. I don’t know why he was hanging out in the garage petrifying. And I am not sure if he saved Michael’s sister. That is a lot I don’t know. I do know that this was a touching story about compassion and being open to different ideas and things. I do know I was intrigued by what was going on. And I know that the audiobook was interesting to listen to since David Almond narrates it himself and is an excellent reader. This is the type of book that I think you have to read and decide for yourself what you think of it.
Head Librarian, Francesca Barnes, has discovered a treasure cache of sorcery books in a secret room in the sub-basement of the old city library. When a monster starts attacking cats and then children, she uses the knowledge to track down and kill the beast.
This alerts the evil ones to the growing presence of a new gifted “Golden One” coming into her powers. Ryan, and his keeper Paul of the Order (the good side), are trying to track down this cache of books. Since Ryan is half-demon/half man, lacking a soul, he cannot trust himself around women, and especially not around sorceresses.
However, his horn-dog handler/keeper Paul takes off on a false lead, because this other woman is good looking and Ryan ends up investigating Chess (Francesca), keeping tabs on her, rescuing her, and before its too late, he is hooked/imprinted on Francesca.
This book was a quick enjoyable read, nothing taxing or extraordinary.
I was tempted to stay home and use a personal day to finish reading this book (but I did NOT), I did end up staying awake late into the night/morning though.
All Things Urban Fantasy said “Written in Red isn’t just the best urban fantasy of the year, it may be one of the best ever.”
It is a captivating tale of a young woman escaping enslavement and finding a new community composed of Others (werewolves, werebears, vampires, medusa, werecrows) aka terra indigenous who live bordering humans, and tolerating them. The humans come with an attitude of superiority akin to the Europeans confronting the Native Americans, however, in this world the Humans do Not hold the upper hand, just the arrogance.
cs759, names herself, Meg Corbyn – she is a blood prophet or Cassandra Sangue – and is kept locked up to be cut for her prophecies which pay her Controllers big bucks, thus when she escapes they will want her back. Great characters, world-building, and fast paced.
Alexia is different from the rest of her family. She’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Her mother has remarried and her step-sisters and step-father all tolerate her but think she’s odd. But they have no idea that she has no soul and can render supernatural beings powerless with a touch.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently. At one of the biggest social events of the year, she is attacked by a vampire which breaks all standards of social etiquette but Alexia accidentally kills the vampire defending herself. Then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, Scottish, and leader of a werewolf clan) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing?
Before Briony’s stepmother died, she made sure Briony knew that she was a witch and that she was responsible for all the family’s hardships. Briony has accepted her guilt. Of course, she’s dangerous. Of course, she’s unlovable. She used to escape to the swamp, where she told stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the punishment that would come with it.
Then Eldric comes along. He’s as natural and comfortable as the sun. He’s her friend and enjoys spending time with her. Can Briony trust him with her secrets? Are her secrets the truth?
A castle that is constantly rearranging itself, and a young royal family sworn to protect it… Celie, Rolf, and their beloved Castle Glower are back in this exciting sequel. When her brother Rolf dares her to catch magical Castle Glower creating a new room, Princess Celie takes the challenge! No one knows the Castle better than she does. But as usual, the Castle has ideas of its own. Celie finds the new room first, and inside it is hidden a giant egg. It looks like The Castle wants Celie to care for the egg and whatever creature it hatches! Celie hadn’t bargained for a pet, and caring for this one will prove to be especially tricky, once Celie and her siblings realize what else the Castle is hiding….
In late nineteenth-century Maine, isolated, eleven-year-old Clara Dooley gains a friend and uncovers a magical secret that changes her life when she learns to care for the once-feared birds in the aviary attached to the Glendoveer mansion where she lives.
“Here in the Cellar,” Corinna says, “I control the Folk. Here, I’m queen of the world.” As Folk Keeper at the Rhysbridge Home, she feeds the fierce, dark-dwelling cave Folk; keeps them from souring the milk, killing the chickens, and venting their anger on the neighborhood; and writes it all down in her Folk Record. Since only boys are Folk Keepers, she has disguised herself as a boy, Corin, and it is a boy and a Folk Keeper she intends to stay.Yet there comes a moment when someone else knows the truth. Old, dying Lord Merton not only knows she is a girl, but knows some of her other secrets as well. It is at his bidding that she, as Corin, leaves Rhysbridge to become Folk Keeper and a member of the family on Cliffsend, an isle where the Folk are fiercer than ever they were at Rhysbridge.It is on Cliffsend that Corinna comes face to face with herself, with the powers she does have (some quite unexpected) and those she does not have (even if she lies and says she does). Who really is she? Why does her hair grow two inches a night? Why does the sea draw her? What does she really want? And what future can and will she choose?
It’s 1952 and Janie’s family has found it necessary to leave their sunny LA home for the dramatically different city of London. Janie hates the fact that they had to move, but in this particular era, certain political views can make anyone a target; in this case, Janie’s parents. Shortly after her move to London, Janie meets the local apothecary and his son, Benjamin. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Benjamin and Janie are left in charge of an ancient text, the Pharmacoepia, and are instructed to guard it with their lives. After a bit of experimentation proves that the recipes and spells in the Pharmacoepia are real, Janie and Benjamin realize that the stakes are higher than they had originally thought possible and that they must keep the Pharmacoepia safe from those who would wish their countries harm, namely Russia.
I’ve previously enjoyed Maile Meloy’s work and was excited to find that she was writing for younger audiences. This book was a delightful mix of historical fiction, espionage and magic. The characters are charming and clever and the situations they find themselves in are both humorous and exciting. This wound up being a great choice for my middle school book group. All of my readers thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns, as well as the historical angle.
Gaiman wins again with this gorgeous little gem of a book. The story opens with a man on his way to a funeral in Sussex, the town of his youth. Upon his return, he is inexorably drawn to a house at the end of his lane. A house that he didn’t really remember until he was already walking up to it. As he gets closer, the memories resurface and he recalls a past so strange and mysterious that he can’t really fathom how he forgot it all in the first place.
You see, an evil was released in this sleepy little English town and the only person who could help our young narrator was a girl who lived at the end of the lane. Her name is Lettie Hempstock. She lives with her mother and grandmother. Lettie insists that the pond behind her house is, in reality, an ocean. Our narrator slowly recalls the details of this strange episode in his past as he sits by Lettie’s “ocean” as a grown man.
I don’t even really want to give away any of it, since this book is such a delightful journey to make on one’s own. Fans of Gaiman will naturally love this one. I sensed echoes of Sandman, Neverwhere and Coraline throughout and since these are works that I love through and through, these likenesses only served to make me even more enamored. Gaiman is such a wonderfully skilled writer, he doesn’t need hundreds of pages to create a fully realized tale. Indeed, this can easily be read in one or two sittings, though the atmosphere of the novel will linger long after the last page is turned.
Eighteen-year-old Bitterblue, queen of Monsea, realizes her heavy responsibility and the futility of relying on advisors who surround her with lies as she tries to help her people to heal from the thirty-five-year spell cast by her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities.
The 3rd in The Graceling Realm series, I liked the medieval sense of the book without it being our medieval past. The touch of fantasy makes it more appealing to me. Bitterblue comes to understand the horror of her father’s reign, while trying to make sense of why some of the horror is still occurring. The two worlds of this book, Dell and the Seven Kingdoms, finally meet. I can’t wait to see what follows.
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
Odd and the Frost Giants is the tale of young Odd who meets a bear, a fox and an eagle while out in the woods. Turns out they are Thor, Odin and Loki transformed into animals by a Frost Giant. A Frost Giant tricked Loki into stealing Thor’s hammer and giving it to the giant. They were then transformed and kicked out of Asgard. So it is up to Odd to defeat the Frost Giant and return the gods to their rightful place.
This is a fun little Norse Mythology tale. It does incorporate several traditional aspects of the Norse Mythology. I listened to the audiobook and Neil Gaiman narrates it beautifully; he is a natural storyteller. Even though this is a children’s book, it does hint at some more adult themes, which I am sure will go over the kids’ heads. It was a fun read and one I am sure fans of Gaiman will enjoy.
The Last Present is the final book in the Willow Falls series. In this one we finally learn what Amanda and Leo are supposed to do and we get Angelina’s history. Connor’s sister Grace falls into a coma and no one can figure out why. No one except Angelina of course. She never got the chance to finish her benediction/blessing on Grace when she was born and every year she has been thwarted from doing it. Now time is up and it is up to Amanda and Leo to fix things. They must travel back in time to each of Grace’s birthdays and try to fix things.
This has been a fun series. I really enjoyed all the characters and how their lives where affected by Angelina’s meddling. I especially enjoyed learning more about Angelina’s history and how she came to be able to do what she does. I think kids will really appreciate how Mass wrapped up her storylines in this finale.
I received an ARC of this book from Scholastic at the 2013 ALA Conference. Thank you!
Lizzie is your normal girl; surviving high school, crushing on a cute boy, putting up with her crazy parents and grandma. Then one day the paper she is reading morphs into something else. It predicts the death of her best friend. Suddenly, Lizzie’s world is turned upside down. She learns she is a descendant of the Ladies of the Lake, the sisters charged with protecting Avalon and King Arthur. Her grandma Bizzy is also a Death Catcher. Because of their heritage they are shown the possible deaths of those they care about and it is up to them to stop it from happening. So Lizzie saves her friend fairly easily, but the next death is her crush and it turns out more is going on.
I thought this was a fun read. I like how the history of Arthur and Morgan le Faye was tied into Lizzie and Bizzie’s gift/curse. I wish their was more info on Drake’s legacy, but that may come up in another book. I enjoyed the fast pace and the mystery of this story. Bizzie especially is super entertaining…I loved her pearls throughout.
2013-14 Truman Award Nominee.
I finished this book around the midnight hour and after I read the last page, I yelled, “More! More! More!”. Gaiman has the most vivid imagination of any writer today. His books always makes the reader yearning for his next novel. This book takes place Sussex, England, where the narrator, a middle aged man, tells the magical story of his youth. We are told about a nasty nanny, dangerous bird like creatures and an unusual family who has an ocean on their farm.