13. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags: ,

Magic in the Mix by Annie Barrows, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 09/13/2014

Magic in the Mix is the sequel to The Magic Half. Miri and Molly have settled in the present were everyone believes they are the middle twins in the Gill family. Only Miri and Molly remember that Molly is originally from 1935 and was rescued by Miri. When their dad tears off the back porch of the house he opens another portal to the past, specifically 1918 where the girls again see the evil Flo and meet Molly’s mom Maudie. A broken window opens another door into the past this one to 1864 and the Civil War. The girls rescue a couple of Yankee prisoners from the evil Clark, but find out they are not the only ones who can time travel when their brother Roy and Robbie end up in 1864 as well. Of course they are dressed as Yankee soldiers since they were on their way to a Civil War reenactment. It is up to Miri and Molly to rescue the boys and get back to the present time.

This was another nice book by Annie Barrows. I found it interesting that the littlest changes to the house opened up portals to different times and different openings went different times. I liked that all the kids had to think on their feet and figure out how to get out of a dangerous situation. I wish there had been more parental presence in the book. The mom and dad are barely around and barely make an impression throughout. Not a very realistic or likely story but one I am sure kids will enjoy.

I received this book from Netgalley.com.

23. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: , ,

Bras & Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 08/22/2014

home_hdrbras-and-broomsticks-sound41eB3vGFWRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_   9789892310312 Cute story.  Protagonist Rachel learns her younger sister is transitioning into witch powers.  Rachel pressures her younger sister to use her magic for things like making Rachel more popular, getting their dad to Not marry the Stepmonster… Problems are neatly wrapped up, with authentic relationships the prize.home_nav_spellsimages

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines, 308 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/18/2013

libromancer  I loved this book. It was so much fun. The author weaves classics, fantasy titles, science fiction, mythology and crime dramas into the story as well as some novels he created just for this work.

Isaac Vainio is a librarian in a small town library. He is happy with his daily duties helping his patrons and cataloging though the library director doesn’t know what to think of his pet spider be carries with him everywhere, Scorch. He is also a libriomancer, a member of a secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw out objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that have leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape with his life. Then he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users and Johannes Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of beautiful dryad, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. His search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. He will have to make some difficult choices to save lives and possibly all of humanity.

16. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags: , ,

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis , 304 pages, read by Angie, on 03/12/2013

Kat Stevenson is bound and determined to save her family, mostly from themselves. She is the youngest of the clan. Her eldest sister Elissa and her middle sister Angeline don’t always see the wisdom of Kat; they are too involved in their own lives and their romances. Elissa is set to marry a horrible old man who killed his first wife (or so the gossips claim) and all because their brother Charles has gambled away the family fortune (what little there was to begin with). Angeline has started dabbling in magic and love spells to comic results. Their poor stepmamma is bound and determined to make good matches for the girls and to make sure no magic occurs. Their mama was a known witch which caused quite the stir as a clergyman’s wife. It turns out Angeline is not the only one to inherit their mother’s talent. Kat too has found she has magical powers and not just witchcraft. She learns her mother and now she is a member of a magical group called The Guardians and they frown on regular witchcraft. Things come to a head at a house party when a highwayman appears, plots are uncovered and secrets revealed.

I must say that Kat is a delight. I really enjoyed her mischief and her relationships with her sisters. As someone who has two sisters I definitely recognized the behaviors of the sisters. They can fight and squabble among themselves, but to the outside world they are a united front. I loved the way Elissa looked down on Kat and just sees her as the baby of the family. I also really appreciated the jealousy between Angeline and Kat regarding the use of magic; very typical sisterly behavior. This is definitely a fun series to watch.

17. July 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags:

Bliss (The Bliss Bakery #1) by Kathryn Littlewood, 374 pages, read by Angie, on 07/13/2012

The Bliss Family Bakery offers wonderful baked treats with a bit of magic. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss are called away to help fight a mysterious flu in a neighboring town and they leave the Bliss children in charge of the bakery. Thyme, Rosemary, Sage and Parsley (Leigh) have varying reactions to being left alone with the bakery to run, but you know that disaster is going to loom. They have one rule…no magic. And of course that just makes the magic that much more tempting. Then comes a mysteries Aunt Lily into the picture to seduce them all and tempt them with more magic. What follows is magical mayhem.

This was a fun, magical story. The Bliss kids all have their own unique personalities that shine throughout the book; although Rose is really our heroine. She is the one that struggles with Lily’s seduction, but is very tempted by the magic. I thought the magical mayhem was really fun and a bit crazy. That backwards spell was pretty unusual. However, Lily always seem to play a little one-dimensional to me. Even when she was being nice you always knew she had other motives. The ending wasn’t really a surprise after all the set up of Lily being the villain. I think book two should be pretty interesting after the end of this one. Definitely a fun series to watch.

07. July 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Paranormal · Tags:

The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas, 281 pages, read by Angie, on 07/06/2012

Griffin is given a box of old pennies by a strange woman. The pennies turn out to be wish pennies that were stolen long ago and because Griffin has them she is a Wish Stealer just like the woman who gave them to her. Wish Stealers take the wishes of others and make bad wishes on others. Griffin must learn how to control her power of bad wishing, find a way to return the stolen wishes all while trying to survive middle school.

This was an enchanting story. I like the idea of stolen wishes and the fact that Griffin has to return them to their original wisher or to someone who wishes the same thing. Griffin acts like a real girl; she struggles with doing the right thing. When confronted with mean girl Samantha she she makes a bad wish, which she regrets when she sees it come true. After that she has to curb her urge to wish bad things on people and try to become the bigger person. I also really enjoyed Griffin’s relationship with her mom and Grandma. These were both great relationships and showed strong women role models for Griffin and the readers. In the end, Griffin learns about doing good, helping others, and becoming a better person.

26. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, 387 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/25/2012

Night CircusThis beautifully written novel, flows and pulls you into the story despite the chapters switching place, time and narrator. I instantly cared about the two main characters and wanted to find out what happened to them next and to the other cast of characters as well. It is difficult to explain so I will leave that to the professional summary below but it’s one of the my favorite books I’ve read in a very long time.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.


19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman, 531 pages, read by Angie, on 01/11/2012

Oh Eon, how you sucked me into your world of intrigue and danger. I have to admit that when I finished this book at 1:30 a.m. I was hugely disappointed that I couldn’t immediately start reading Eona. I had just spent the past 6 hours reading this book with very little interruption and I wanted more! I was sucked into this world and didn’t want to leave the characters I had come to love in such dire straights. Now I have to wait on the next book…ugh!

The world of Eon is intriguing. A lot of fantasy books are based on western culture, but this one takes a lot of its mythology from eastern cultures like Japan and China. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book; it added something different and somehow made the story more vibrant. I also enjoyed the fact that the dragons were not really physical dragons but more an energy that could connect with certain people. I think that was a nice change to dragon literature.

As for the characters…they were well-written and very fleshed out. I really felt like I got to know them throughout the book. When someone died it was sad, when they were in danger my heart started to race. It was very gripping. I liked the fact that gender was a big part of the plot…hiding who you are and being who you are meant to be. I find those kinds of plots interesting and think YA lit is the perfect place for them (teens just really don’t seem to care as much or get as hung up on it as a lot of adults do). I liked that there was a girl pretending to be a boy, eunuchs, and transgender characters. I think this made the book that much more relatable and interesting.

Eon is not really that easy of a character to like in the beginning but she really does grow on you. She finds herself more of a pawn during most of the book and it isn’t until the end that she really grows into her own story. She does things during the course of the book that you really want to slap her for because you know she is going about it the wrong way. She is a very real type of character; she is thrust into a difficult situation and it takes her a while to find her footing. I do like who she has become at the end of the book and I can’t wait to read more of her story.

As for the end of the book, I’m not going to spoil it, but I did think there was a bit of a copout there with another character. That was my big beef with it; other than that one instance at the end I really loved this book and can’t wait for Eona.