Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review of Glory O'Brien's History of the Future-A.S.KIng

Wow!  This was a crazy book but strangely compelling.  Glory & best friend, Ellie, drink a potion made from a dead bat & suddenly see the future in everyone they meet.  Or is it really the future?  Glory has just graduated from high school and since her mother committed suicide when Glory was a small child, she & her father have been lost - not able to see their future.  King's writing style is fresh & original, jumping between the present and ahead to what may be the future.  3 Elves - Recommended for teens

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review of I'll Give You the Sun-Jandy Nelson

Another amazing YA novel!  Noah & Jude are twins who have drifted apart after a tragedy.  The structure of the book has Noah taking the early years and Jude recounting the present.  It's a fascinating, unique way to tell the story.  The world of art eventually brings them to new characters; Noah is falling in love with the boy next door, and Jude is being mentored by an important artist (and also falling in love).  If the twins can find their way back to each other, their world will be mended and whole again.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review of We Were Liars-e.lockhart

Haunting, disturbing, smart and unforgettable, this novel is unlike anything else written by the author.  It's the kind of book that you want to talk about but can't because you don't dare discuss the ending.  So, all I can say about it is to read it.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens and adults

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review of The Sorcerer Heir-Cinda Williams Chima

A welcome addition to the Heir Chronicle series, this novel wraps up the finale nicely but also leaves the story open for a sequel (hint, hint...).  The only issue I had with the book was following all of the characters and complicated storyline, especially since it had been awhile since I had read the previous books in the series.  I would recommend reading The Enchanter Heir at least before reading the final book.  4 Elves - Highly recommended

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review of Dirty Wings-Sarah McCarry

The second book in her trilogy, this novel is a punk-rock goth retelling of the myth of Persephone.  Maybe because the style was similar to the first book and not as fresh, I didn't love this book as much as the first.  But the characters draw you in, telling their story as a prequel to the tale of the two friends from All Our Pretty Songs.  I will be curious to read the series finale, About a Girl. 3 Elves - Recommended for teens

Monday, November 10, 2014

Review of All Our Pretty Songs-Sarah McCarry

A punk-rock retelling of the Orpheus legend, this YA novel is haunting with creepy images, lyrical prose  and romantic love mixed with magic.  It reminded me a bit of Wicked Lovely, especially the evil characters, but there is also much love between best friends and the love for a mysterious musician who threatens to tear the friendship apart.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review of The Rosie Project-Graeme Simsion

Professor Tillman lives his life as a slave to his schedule - down to the minute.  He is socially inept and afraid that he'll never meet a woman, so he comes up with the idea of the Wife Project.  His survey is supposed to filter out smokers, vegetarians and other undesirable habits but when Rosie is introduced by a friend who's helping him with the project, he's shocked to learn that she smokes, is often late and doesn't eat red meat, among other faults.  The real surprise is that Rosie has brought fun into his life and though unlikely wife material, he may be falling in love - an emotion he's not sure he can feel.  I loved this book! The professor is unforgettable and so is Rosie; the novel is quirky & unpredictable.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for YA & adult readers

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review of the Queenof the Tearling-Erika Johansen

I loved this book!  Although it is intended for adults, this epic fantasy would be equally enjoyed by older juvenile and YA readers.  A young princess, Kelsea, grows up away from her family and the court.  When it is time for her to be crowned as queen, she must first battle her uncle for the throne and then try to repair the damage her late mother created throughout the kingdom.  As Kelsea becomes stronger and more focused, she find allies in unexpected places - allies she will need to battle an evil sorceress.  This is the first book in a trilogy, and I am eagerly anticipating the sequel.  4 Elves - Highly Recommended

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review of Glass Sentence-S.E. Grove

A century after the Great Disruption, mapmaking becomes very important in this world of continents with different time zones.  Sophia comes from a family of explorers & cartologers and lives with her cartologer uncle Shadrack after her explorer parents go missing.  When Shadrack is kidnapped, Sophia must set out into unknown territory to find & rescue him.  Helping her is her new friend, Theo, and danger follows them as they travel across a fractured land to an uncertain future.  I enjoyed the complicated world created by this author but craved a bit more character development.  Also, I was disappointed in the maps; for a book all about maps, some areas traveled by Sophia & Theo aren't shown. The epilogue points to a sequel (maybe the maps will make more sense in the second book).  3 Elves - Recommended for juvenile, teen & adult readers

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Review of Isla & the Happily Ever After-Stephanie Perkins

The last book in a loose trilogy that started with Anna & The French Kiss, this is a sweet, romantic book that wraps it all up.  You don't need to read the first two books to appreciate this latest novel, but the characters all connect in the end.  Away at school in France, Isla has found the perfect boyfriend, Josh, but her insecurities push him away.  An unlikely ally helps to bring them fact to face again but will Isla find the confidence to do the right thing?  Isla's childhood friend is a nice addition to this cast of characters.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review of The Shadow Throne-Jennifer A. Neilson

The final book in a trilogy that started with the False Prince, this is a thrilling conclusion to a series full of thrills.  King Jaron is facing war, with new enemies cropping up from kingdoms all around him.  He is supposed to marry a princess from another kingdom to secure an alliance, but he's still in love with Imogen, a servant girl, and the princess isn't terribly enthusiastic about the marriage either.  War breaks out, and Jaron must think fast to outwit too many enemies to keep track of.  The series ends with a very satisfying conclusion to espionage & counter-espionage.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for middle grade reader

Review of Attachments-Rainbow Rowell

This debut novel by Rowell is charming & quirky.  Lincoln is an IT specialist working for a newspaper.  His job is to read flagged emails from employees to see if they are sending personal emails or anything contradictory to the newspaper's policies.  Bored out of his mind and forced to work the night shift, he is attracted to personal emails between Beth, a movie reviewer and her friend Jennifer, a copy editor.  Rather than warning the two friends about their emails, he looks forward to reading them and begins to fall in love with Beth, who lives with her boyfriend, a guitarist in a rock band.  Not realizing at first that Beth is attracted to him also, he starts to shadow her boyfriend while Beth shadows him.  He knows he needs to come clean & tell her about his email snooping, but will he lose her forever if he does?  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens & adults

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review of Landline-Rainbow Rowell

I love this author (Eleanor & Park), so I was excited to read her new adult fiction novel.  But although the book had some interesting elements, like a magic telephone, the story of a marriage in trouble didn't capture my imagination.  The history of the couple, Georgie & Neal, was a bit pedestrian and side characters barely explored.  Rowell has proved to be a great writer, so I wish this book was as good as her YA fiction.  3 Elves - Recommended for older readers

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review of The Boyfriend List-E. Lockhart

A unique style with an unforgettable voice, this book was full of pathos, humor and might make you feel like a teen again.  Ruby's problems begin when she makes a list for her shrink of all the boys she has had a crush on or were really boyfriends.  No, actually her problems started before that when she dated her best friend's boyfriend who was just recently her boyfriend.  In no time, Ruby is having panic attacks, is shunned at school and has lost all of her friends.  Sounds sad?  Actually, it's hilarious!  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Review of Kiss of Deception-Mary E. Pearce

An excellent beginning to a new fantasy series by the author.  I enjoyed her tale of a princess who escaped her arranged marriage only to end up kidnapped; the premise may sound familiar, but the world she creates is unique.  Her heroine, Lia, is brave & spunky - very likeable.  The two male major characters are complex & interesting (more than just handsome).  Looking forward to the sequel.  4 Elves - Highly recommended

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review of Ruin & Rising-Leigh Bardugo

A very satisfying finale to the trilogy that began with Shadow & Bone.  Her books are steeped in Russian folklore, with thrilling action & adventure.  Although many wonderful characters are killed off, enough survive to keep the violence from becoming overwhelming.  4 Elves - Highly Recommended for teens

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review of Sisters Red- Jackson Pearce

I loved this retelling of the fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood.  Scarlett has been damaged physically & mentally by the wolf attack that killed her grandmother.  She saved her sister, Rosie, in that attack and now Rosie feels obligated to help her sister track down & kill werewolves.  When Silas, son of the huntsman, comes back into town, he & Rosie are attracted to each other.  Can the two lovers ever have a normal life or will Rosie give everything up to help her sister hunt the evil creatures?  4 Elves- Highly Recommended

Review of Sinner-Maggie Stiefvater

These two characters, Cole & Isabel, were in the Shiver trilogy  and the author continued their story in Los Angeles.  I loved the idea of reading more about these two, but maybe the change in location kept me from enjoying this book.  The emphasis was less about wolves and more about Cole's journey back to NARKOTIKA (his old band).  The romance between Cole & Isabel creates some tension, but I guess I was looking for more.  3 Elves - Recommended for teens

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review of Fated-Alyson Noel

When sixteen-year-old Daire starts freaking out and having hallucinations in Morocco, her mother calls in medical help and keeps her drugged.  Finally, she sends her to live with Daire's late father's mother in New Mexico.  Unhappy at first, Daire realizes that her grandmother is helping her to control these events and discovers this is part of her destiny.  When she meets a boy she's dreamed of often, this is yet another piece of her journey.  In a town filled with magic and Native American spirits, Daire and this boy become more powerful together and great things await them in future books.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review of Tandem-Anna Jarzab

I randomly picked this book to read and initially, I didn't love it.  But I'm glad I stayed with it because it quickly became very interesting.  The concept of parallel universes is not new, but this book has a fresh take on it.  Sixteen-year-old Sasha suddenly finds herself in another world, posing as a princess with an arranged marriage looming.  Wanting to go home to her new life, she finds herself torn between two worlds and two young men, competing for her affection.  I'll be looking for the sequel, Tether, when it comes out this year.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review of Gilt-Katherine Longshore

Set in the court of Henry VIII, this novel is centered around the best friend of Catherine Howard, Henry's ill-fated wife. Her friend, Kitty, is brought to court after a humble upbringing and is shocked at the luxury and decadence of court life.  She also sees her friend making catastrophic decisions, including taking lovers and trusting the wrong people.  The descriptions of living conditions in 15th century London are very thorough and also fascinating.  From the squalor of conditions outside court to the glitter (and gilt) of Henry's court, Longshore takes you there and keeps you interested.  I'll be looking for her sequels, Tarnish and Brazen.  4 Elves-Highly recommended for teens

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review of Speak-Laurie Halse Anderson

An award-winning and controversial book when it was published 15 years ago, this novel is still relevant for teens today.  In the summer before the start of freshman year, Melinda attends a party.  During the party, something happens and she calls the police for help, but her friends and classmates think she busted the party.  As she starts her first year of high school, her friends (and even students who don't know her) ostracize her but she can't speak a word in her defense.  Finally when the  horrible school year is ending, she is forced to speak out to save an old friend from a boy who isn't what he seems.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review of Night School-C.J. Daugherty

A debut novel by an award-winning journalist, this novel starts out predictably, but gets more interesting as it progresses.  Allie is a troubled teen who is sent to a boarding school after yet another school asks her to leave.  Hating the school at first, the academy grows on her as she begins to make friends.  But there are secrets and dangers hiding behind the strict rules of the school.  When a murder is discovered after a dance, Allie is afraid that she's next.  The ending leaves the reader awaiting a sequel.  3 Elves - Recommended for teens

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review of Deep blue-Jennifer Donnelly

Published by Disney, this book begins like a cartoon by the company, with a mermaid princess obsessed with clothes and a possible love.  But during the ceremony to declare her the true heir to the kingdom, the proceedings erupt into chaos when her mother, the queen, is struck by an assassin's arrow. The princess, Sera, must escape to save her life.  While on the run, Sera turns into more of a warrior who must find five other warrior princesses to defeat a villain who is trying to release a terrible evil that can destroy the realm of the Mer.  As the princesses work together to discover secrets that will help them, friendships form and they each discover their strengths and weaknesses.  This world, all that is left after the destruction of Atlantis, is creative and magical as the author describes a life under water.  Sequels will follow, as the journey is only beginning.  3 Elves - Recommended for readers 7-12

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review of Cress-Marissa Meyer

The third book in the Lunar Chronicles is just as imaginative as its successors, Cinder & Scarlet.  Once again, the author blends sci-fi with fairy tales and as Cinder was a cyborg Cinderella and Scarlet was Little Red Riding Hood, Cress is a Rapunzel trapped by the evil Lunar queen in a satellite.  When Cress is rescued, she joins forces with Cinder and her allies to kidnap Emperor Kai before he is forced to marry the Lunar queen.  The novel is fast-paced and thrilling, with a touch of romance to lighten the action.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for middle grade and teen readers

Monday, June 2, 2014

Review of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian-Alexi

I have heard about this book for years but finally decided not to wait a minute longer to read this award-winner.  Junior Spirit is both hilarious and heart-breaking, damaged in body but definitely not in spirit. Reminding me of A Catcher in the Rye, this coming-of -age tale of a young man growing up on the reservation is accompanied by humorous and sometimes poignant cartoons.  Sherman Alexie is a master at capturing the believable dialogue of a fourteen-year-old wanting a better life and bravely going after it. 4 Elves - very highly recommended for teens

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review of Salvage-Alexandra Duncan

Part sci-fi & part fantasy, this debut novel is a winner.  The heroine, Ava, is raised on a ship with a view of Earth as it rotates in the void.  She doesn't know her parents, cannot read or write and being a girl, isn't allowed to do the type of tasks she'd excel at - like fixing mechanical things.  When she is banned from the ship for an indiscretion, she lands on a shattered Earth and meets women who pilot ships and are good at it.  After a journey to find a relative in Mumbai, she meets more people who accept her skills and respect her.  When she finally finds her former love, will she give it all up and go back to her old life or stay with her new friends?  4 Elves- Highly recommended for teens

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review of Conjured-Sarah Beth Durst

This is an extremely odd book, but I kind of enjoyed it.  The main character, Eve, is in a witness protection program because a serial killer is after her.  Things get more complicated when we find out that Eve knows magic, has lost her memory and comes from another world (along with the killer).  The ending is the strangest part of the book, although it's generally an entertaining read.  3 Elves- recommended for teens

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review of The Testing-Joelle Charbonneau

This book has been kicking around my library for awhile; I have become tired of dystopian YA fiction and needed a break.  But, I finally read the novel and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Set in a bleak future (natch), the heroine Cia is resourceful under extreme odds.  Undergoing a brutal testing, she learns more than she wanted about fellow teens put under pressure to survive the testing while they feel they have to eliminate the other candidates.  This book is similar to The Hunger Games in its violence against young people but still worth reading.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for older teens

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review of Into the Still Blue-Veronica Rossi

A very satisfying end to the trilogy!  Rossi wraps up the story neatly, with just the right amount of tragedy and victory.  Her characters, Aria & Peri, continue to fascinate and their friends also have hidden depths.  The conclusion is thrilling and you don't want to the book to end.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Review of A Cuckoo's Calling-Robert Galbraith

I usually only review fantasy, especially children's or YA fantasy, but I couldn't resist an adult novel by J.K. Rowling.  This book is fascinating, complex and thoroughly entertaining.  Two dysfunctional families, a private detective who is rough around the edges and celebrities in London make for a great murder mystery.  I guessed "who done it" but that was probably just dumb luck; most readers will be surprised at the ending.  I can't wait for the next Cormoran Strike mystery which comes out sometime this year!  4 Elves - Highly recommended for adults only

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review of A Curse Dark as Gold-Elizabeth C. Bunce

A fascinating re-telling of the fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin.  The miller's daughter is a strong but fragile heroine who must break the curse put on the mill and her family by Jack Spinner.  Delving deep into the mystery of the curse, she has little time to break the curse before Spinner takes away her baby son.  There are surprising twists and turns and in the end, we feel some surprising sympathy for Spinner and her uncle, who has put the mill's future in jeopardy.  3 Elves - Recommended for ages 10 & up

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review of Siege & Storm-Leigh Bardugo

This is a worthy sequel to Shadow & Bone and leaves me waiting for the final book in the series.  This book is pretty grim, with a sense of foreboding throughout, but she introduces some wonderful new characters.  The Darkling's powers have increased as quickly as Alina's, but she'll need more magic to defeat him.  This book ends with many unanswered questions, so anticipation for the sequel is very high.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for older teens because of graphic violence

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review of Unspoken-Sarah Rees Brennan

Very interesting and disturbing Gothic.  I loved the heroine, Kami, who tries to solve the mystery of her tiny English village.  Kami is viewed with suspicion because she has been hearing a voice in her head all her life.  When the sinister Lynburn family returns to the village, one of their sons, Jared, turns out to be the voice...  then the story gets very complicated and a bit scary.  A nice blend of fantasy and thriller, I will seek out the sequels. 3 Elves-Recommended for teens

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review of Above Earth Mirage-Jenn Reese

This exciting sequel to Above Earth is set in the desert and features the Equians.  The villain, Karl Strand, has infiltrated one of the main tribes so Aluna, Hoke, the exiled Dash, Calli and some unexpected allies must compete in the Thunder Trials to win back the loyalty of the Equians.  To add to the challenge, Aluna is growing her tail and must learn to used her fused legs in a new form of fighting.  With a lot of action and new interesting characters, this books rushes headlong to an unexpected conclusion.  4 Elves- Highly recommended for middle grade readers 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review of Shadow & Bone-Leigh Bardugo

Two orphans, Alina & Mar, are separated when it is discovered that Alina has magical powers that can save the world from the Fold, bringer of darkness.  Alina is taken under the wing of the Darkling, but he is not what he seems.  Amid court intrigue and luxuries she's never known, she misses Mal and when the Darkling's plan is revealed, Alina escapes to be reunited with Mal.  This novel immediately takes you to a highly imaginative world full of monsters who feed on human flesh and monsters who pretend to be saviors.  I loved the Russian folktale elements of the book and will read the sequel as soon as I can.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review of Bewitching Season-Marissa Doyle

This novel is about twin girls coming of age in London during a time just before Victoria becomes queen.  With all of the balls, frocks, court intrigue and romance, this book wouldn't be very interesting except for one element:  magic.  Persy and Pen have a beloved governess who tutors them in all of the essentials but also instructs them in magic.  When the governess mysteriously disappears, the girls get clues that she is hidden in Kensington Palace and they must use all of their wits to try to rescue her.  Helped by their little brother, who has some magic of his own, and a dashing lord, with a crush on Persy, they race against the clock to save their governess before Victoria is crowned queen. 3 Elves - Recommended for both middle grade readers and teens

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review of Above Earth-Jenn Reese

What a fun, imaginative book!  This novel takes place on a future earth and the heroine is Aluna, a thirteen-year-old who has lived her whole life under the sea.  When her race is threatened by dying technology, she and her best friend, Hoku, go above the ocean and meet centaurs, avians and other bio-tech people.  Although her race has always mistrusted and feared other who weren't like them, Aluna found allies and friends. The book is full of action and adventure and ends with the sequel in sight; I can't wait to read it!  4 Elves - Highly recommended for readers 7-12.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review of The Selection-Kiera Cass

I had seen this book several times but was never compelled to read it because of the cover; from the artwork, it looked like a romance.  After reading a review of the whole series, it sounded like so much more, so I picked up the first book in The Selection series.  Set in the future, a sixteen-year-old America Singer is picked, along with 34 other young girls, to enter a competition to win the hand of the prince of the land.  Divided into caste systems, citizens can not easily escape the caste of their birth, but marrying the prince puts her into the top caste, along with her family.  America's love for a lower-caste boy complicates her desire to marry the prince but when she is charmed by the prince, her affections are split. This book is made even more interesting by the rebellious and high-spirited America. 4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens

Friday, March 7, 2014

Review of Fangirl-Rainbow Rowell

I adored her book Eleanor & Park, but her latest book is much lighter.  Cath & Wren are twins, but Wren is pulling away as they start college.  Cath spends most of her time writing fanfiction; the book she works from is the Simon Snow series and it's similar to the Harry Potter series.  Her sister used to share her enthusiasm but now it only comes from her thousands of fans.  Slowly both girls find their way after moving away from home and entering college life.  I had never read any fanfiction but now I can see why it's addicting.  Unhappy with the way Harry Potter ends?  Write your own ending!  3 Elves - Recommended for older teens

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review of Hold Still - Nina LaCour

I really loved this book!  This novel is about a teen who has lost her very best friend to suicide.  Caitlin can't move on from this and is struggling at home and especially at school.  Then she finds Ingrid's journal - a journal that she stuffed under Caitlin's bed.  As she slowly reads the journal, she learns more about her friend and the sadness she carefully hid from everyone.  As Caitlin starts to move on from the tragedy, she begins to make new friends at school and her grades stop slipping.  Very believable characters and although the subject mater is grim, the book is anything but.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for older teens

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review of The Twistrose Key-Tone Almhjell

There were many things to love about this book: interesting & enjoyable lead characters, imaginative scenery & wonderful magic.  But towards the end, so many new characters came into play that it got a bit confusing.  The author is Norwegian and sometimes it felt like some things were lost in translation but aside from that, I was engrossed in the story and its thrilling action.  3 Elves - Recommended for middle-grade readers

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review of Shadowspell-Jenna Black

I read Glimmerglass, Book 1 of the Faeriewalker series, a few years ago and liked it but didn't look for the sequel.  When I saw this book, I remembered the series and enjoyed the second book just as much as the first.  The author really has a flair for getting inside a teen's head and giving her a believable voice.  The next book in the series is already out (and maybe another after that); I look forward to reading more about the faeriewalker and Avalon.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review of Alanna: The First Adventure-Tamora Pierce

Although the Song of the Lioness series started with this book back in the 80s, somehow I missed this whole series.  Now that I have read the first book, I'm anxious to read the other three in the series (and maybe some of her other series).  I love her character, Alanna - a young girl who wants to be a knight.  All of the other characters are interesting and diverse and along with some great magic, the action is thrilling.  4 Elves - Very highly recommended for middle grade readers and lovers of fantasy

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review of Dragonflight-Anne McCaffrey

I read this novel for the first time in high school and have read it several times since.  But since I will be writing a new series about dragons, I thought it was time to revisit this wonderful story.  Lessa is from a noble house but after her parents are murdered by an evil nobleman wanting their lands, she has remained hidden as a kitchen drudge.  When dragonriders come to her land on a Search for new riders, she is recognized as a potential rider with unique talents.  When she bonds with a queen dragon, her life changes forever.  I can only hope that new readers will continue to be attracted to McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series because there is magic in these books.  4 Elves for readers of all ages - Very Highly Recommended

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review of Far Far Away-Tom McNeal

A young boy, Jeremy, is haunted by a friendly ghost, Jacob Grimm (one half of the famous fairy tale authors).  Having a ghost speak in his ear all day makes him a target for other kids and even townsfolk.  But, a young, vibrant girl thinks there is more to Jeremy and befriends him, causing some strange events to occur.  Soon, Jeremy and his friend Ginger are shunned by nearly everyone in the town except the kindly baker.  Kids keep disappearing from the town and the sheriff and his deputy are helpless to solve the mystery;  instead, they follow the two friends everywhere, hoping to catch them in some mischief.  This is a great, thrilling read for middle-graders.  4 Elves - Highly recommended

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review of The Wolf Princess-Cathryn Constable

In a gray, dreary boarding school in London, a young orphan girl dreams of a snowy landscape.  When Sophie and her two best friends are suddenly allowed to go on a field trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, she jumps at the chance.  Abandoned in a snowy blizzard, the three friends are whisked away to a decrepit castle deep in the woods.  There they meet a princess who invites them to stay with her, but things aren't what they seem and the longer they stay, the more the mystery deepens.  This was a great fairy tale/ Russian folk tale of a novel - thoroughly enjoyable.  4 Elves - highly recommended for middle grade readers

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review of Dragonhaven-Robin McKinley

After reading several earlier books by this author, I finally got around to Dragonhaven, and I'm glad I did.  An unusual book written in the voice of a teen boy, this is one of the most interesting books about dragons I have read.  Since my next book series will be about dragons, I like to read what's out there in dragon lore and like Pegasus, she delves into the minds of the creatures.  I liked the main character, Jake and his adopted baby dragon, Lois; when adult dragons enter the story, they are just as interesting and compelling. 4 Elves- Highly Recommended for teens or middle grade readers.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review of When You Were Here-Daisy Whitney

I warmed up slowly to this novel for older teens, but soon I was interested and involved.  Danny's mother lost her battle with cancer just before his high school graduation.  Having lost his father suddenly a few years back and his girlfriend in the last year, his life is meaningless and he's so angry.  He journeys to Japan - a place his mother loved and spent a lot of her final years.  He meets a teen who despite appearances seems wise.  In Japan, many questions are answered and secrets are uncovered.  I was cheering for him by the end of the book.  3 Elves - Recommended

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review of How I Live Now -Meg Rossof

A very grim dystopian novel, definitely for older teens. I can't say I liked it, but it had some moments.  Daisy lives in New York with her father and a stepmother she hates.  She acts out so much that they finally send her off to stay with relatives in England.  Daisy barely eats as a protest against her stepmother's pregnancy, but when the war starts, food is so scarce that she finally finds an interest in food again.  She has a relationship with a cousin until they are separated by soldiers.  Much of the book is Daisy traveling across country with a younger cousin, living off the land, until she can be reunited with Edmond, her cousin and love.  The only slightly hopeful thing in this book is how Daisy learns to be self-sufficient and less selfish.  The writing is excellent, but the subject matter is depressing.  I think I won't rate this novel.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review of The Hero & The Crown-Robin McKinley

After reading more recent works by this author, I finally got around to this Newberry Award winner.  It's such a great book for middle grade readers; I'm going to search out other earlier books.  Aerin is the King of Damar's daughter, but feels insecure because her mother was considered a witch so the Damarians don't trust her.  She decides to become a dragon killer and that sets her on a road to self-discovery & confidence.  This novel has some great characters and nail-biting action.  4 Elves - Highly Recommended

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review of Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles -Marissa Meyer

In this sequel to Cinder, the first in the series about a cyborg Cinderella, the sci-fi fairy tale continues.  Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood who is both attracted and repelled by Wolf.  When Wolf helps her escape after trying to rescue Granny, she realizes she has to trust him.  When they encounter Cinder, who has broken out of prison, their real journey begins. Like Cinder, this is a highly creative dystopian novel, and I'm  looking forward to the next book, Cress.  4 Elves - Highly Recommended for Teens