i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse
by Chris Riddell

Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. The two live together in the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Lord Goth believes that children should be heard and not seen, so Ada has to wear large clumpy boots so that he can always hear her coming. This makes it hard for her to make friends and, if she’s honest, she’s rather lonely.

Then one day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the house, and together with a ghostly mouse called Ishmael they and Ada begin to unravel a dastardly plot that Maltravers, the mysterious indoor gamekeeper, is hatching.

Ada and her friends must work together to foil Maltravers – before it’s too late! (goodreads.com)

I feel like I should take out a giant ad in all of the papers and magazines of the world because I finished a book. In one sitting. Mind you, I was sitting on a train for 2.5 hours, but still!

This book showed up at my house as a surprise and a mystery. I knew I hadn’t bought or ordered any books, especially this one. Thanks to the internet I found out that it was from the amazing Jenny at Wondrous Reads and she thought it was a book that would be my cup of tea. Boy was she right! This random act of kindness was very needed in my life right now and words cannot express how much I appreciate it. 🙂

Since I haven’t been able to read things and nothing has been even remotely interesting to me, I wasn’t sure how this would go, but I needed to occupy my mind on that train ride and I really wanted to disconnect from the internet as much as possible this past weekend. It was nice. I brought two books with me this one, and the ARC of Cress I had. I had hoped – and I was right! – that Goth Girl would be the kind of book to help me forget my troubles and just enjoy a book. Just the physical book was enough to start that escape. Photos cannot do this book justice. It is GORGEOUS. The page edges are sparkly, purple. The cover is embossed and shiny. There are illustrations on every single page (in black and white, but they are adorable!) and at the end of the book… there is a SURPRISE MINI BOOK! Which just made me so crazy excited my husband laughed at me. heh

There is even a ribbon bookmark attached to the book! This is one fantastically packaged novel and it was the most entertaining and whimsical story I have read in a long time.

Goth Girl is a wonderful mix of silly-but-not-TOO-silly, mystery, and whimsy. Ada Goth is a sweet girl who makes interesting friends and helps both magical creatures and her father out in this story. Ada has a bitter-sweet story, her father doesn’t like to look at her because she reminds him too much of her mother, who died when Ada was very young. I sort of found that part of the story to be heart breaking. Poor little Ada can only see her father once a week and he won’t even look at her. She has to wear super clompy boots around the house at all times so her father, Lord Goth, can hear her coming and avoid her. So sad!

But Ada is charming and sweet and curious and she doesn’t let this get her down too much. She explores the house and surrounding land (and YAY! There is a MAP in this book! With all the silly-named locations noted! I almost squealed out loud on the train when I saw it!)

This book held my attention for pretty much the entire train ride and I finished it at the stop before mine. I decided half-way through that this is a book I will lend my sister to read to my 7-year old niece. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did!

Thanks so much, Jenny for the gift of this book! It was everything I needed and more right now!

 

The Runaway King

The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)
by Jennifer A Nielsen

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom? (goodreads.com)

Since I was in such a Fantasy mindset on the train home from Toronto last week, I decided to start The Runaway King after I finished with Poison. (Yes, I read 2 books on the 7 hour train ride with a couple-hour break to surf the web…I couldn’t sleep.) The lovely Melissa from YA Bookshelf picked up a copy of this book for me at a book launch and got it signed by the author. So I met up with Melissa when in Toronto to pick up the book. I was so excited to start it since I had loved The False Prince a year before.

For those who loved Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series, I would highly recommend that you pick up the Ascendance Trilogy right away – at least the first two books, anyhow. Book three is out next year some time. Woe!

Jaron is a different boy than he was in the first book under his assumed disguise as Sage. Even though he’s still pretty street smart and able to charm most anyone into accepting him and doing what he wants, I found him to be a lot less cheeky and smug and more of a mature personality. I don’t know if it’s just because his character of Sage  was just that – a character, or if it’s because he grew up and matured a little between being disguised as a thief and revealed as the rightful heir to the thrown.

I sort of sensed who the bad guy would be right from the start and when all was revealed in the end, I wasn’t surprised. But I did enjoy getting from point A to point B even if I had predicted who the baddie was. I liked the new characters, both the Lord and his niece and the thieves Jaron had to “befriend” to get into the Pirates’ camp. The Pirates themselves were sort of bland and I wasn’t entirely certain why they would be the one way for Jaron to foil a war and the plot against him. Well, it all worked out in the end, so I guess there’s that. 😉

Once more I am torn between considering this Middle Grade and Young Adult. It’s more on the advanced level for MG and it’s a little violent as well, but if you can handle Harry Potter as he grows up, I guess this is similar. Maybe they just consider it MG because there’s no mushy, gushy kissing and romance. Which, to be honest, I am more than happy about. If this was intended for YA there would probably be some sort of love triangle and insta-love. Whereas there is a hint of romance between Jaron and Imogen that’s totally not where the focus of the story lies at all.

And now comes the year-long wait for the conclusion to this trilogy and war has come to Jaron’s doorstep, er, castle gate? I am eager to see how King Mischiefpants gets his country out of this one. 😉

The Ascendance Trilogy

  1. The False Prince
  2. The Runaway King
  3. Untitled – 2014

House of Secrets

House of Secrets (Book 1)
by Ned Vizzini & Chris Columbus

The Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult.

Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world. (goodreads.com)

Ever since I heard Ned Vizzini speak at the 2010 Teen Author Carnival in NYC I have been a huge fan of his. I loved It’s Kind of a Funny Story and The Other Normals very much so when I heard he was co-authoring a middle grade novel I was beyond delighted!

I broke my book buying ban to get this book because I needed something fun in my life and the book was just so GORGEOUS. See below!

I packed this monstrosity of a book in my suitcase as soon as I picked it up from the post office. It was coming with me on my weekend trip to Toronto whether or not we could fit it in the baggage. (I was going to make sure it fit!) The book was SO GOOD that I almost didn’t want to go and do the things we’d gone away to do because I wanted to stay in the hotel bed and read! However, we didn’t spend all that money and promise to visit people only to have me locked away in a hotel room, so I sucked it up and did what I needed to do. heh

This book was just so much fun. So. Much. Fun! I like stories where siblings get along and discover magical, fantastical places and have to work together – each with their own strengths! – to save their lives or the world, or whatever. I just love those kinds of stories. And this story and the house in San Francisco, is magical and adventurous and there are giant bugs and warriors and pirates and, unfortunately, sharks (my only negative about the entire book. THAT FIN ON THE COVER GAVE ME NIGHTMARES!)

This story has something for everyone, girls, boys, kids, adults… you name it! I think that’s part of what I loved so much about the story, there’s mystery, magic, adventure, action and you can laugh and be scared at the same time. It was certainly a quick and enjoyable read and just hit all the right spots when it comes to middle grade adventure!

I liked all three of the kids in this book, too, which surprised me. Normally there’s at least one that I won’t like (and sadly, it tends to be the brother almost all of the time!) but in The House of Secrets I liked all three siblings, but I didn’t care much for the additional “friends” that were made along the way. I didn’t hate them, but I thought the Royal Airforce dude was a little snooty for my liking.

I even liked the pirates and I’m not normally a pirate fan. As scary as they were, I found them very enjoyable.

So, yeah, imaginations have full permission to run wild with this story and I can’t wait to read more from these two authors. I gather what with this one being all “Book One!” and everything that there will be more adventures lurking around the corners in Kristoff House and I cannot wait to find out what those adventures will be!

The Little Secret

The Little Secret
by Kate Saunders

Jane is spending the summer with her odd new friend, Staffa, going to parties and wearing fancy dresses. Staffa’s slightly scary mother, Lady Matilda, tells crazy stories, drinks a vile-smelling tea, and never strays far from a glowing painted box that the girls are under strict orders never, ever to open. But Jane can’t resist; upon opening it, she is sucked into an amazing and terrifying new world so small that insects are the size of horses. Jane knows she must escape immediately or be trapped forever. But first, she has to wrangle a flying bumblebee, rescue the king, and free the people of Eck. (goodreads.com)

What a delightful, delightful little story! This book was a gift for my birthday and I was immediately curious about it. It’s a short, quick read but oh boy is it packed with so much fun!

** Hi! So, I started this post on February 9 and as you can see, it’s now MARCH! Guess who has no time and energy this year? Yep, this girl. *points to self* I’m going to try and catch up, but I haven’t actually read a book since, um, *checks Goodreads* February 18th! Yikes. **

It’s been forever since I finished this book, but what I can remember is that it is Middle Grade fiction at its best. Seriously. There is action, magic, mystery and great characters all tied up with a pretty well-written bow.

I loved the oddness of Staffa and how she seemed to have stepped out of a historical novel with her odd fashion and manner of speaking. Of course Staffa’s oddness is explained as the story progresses but it didn’t make me love her any less.

I actually felt a little anxious as the story unfolded. There was a sense of urgency and anxiety as the plot thickened and, yes, I know I am sensitive, but still. I’d have been a little more anxious if I were Child Me reading the book. I was even MORE sensitive then. 😉 I sort of like that I had this feeling while reading the book though! I mean, even though I was fairly certain everything would turn out ok in the end, I was still affected by the conflict in the book. This tiny, quick read of a book was able to ignite emotions within me and THAT makes a book to me.

You know what I love about MG books? I love that they can have elements of contemporary fiction and fantasy and mystery all rolled up into one package and it doesn’t make the book seem strange. It’s a blend of themes that makes the story so much fuller and more entertaining to me. The book touches upon friendship and bullying and magical castles and Alice in Wonderlandish nonsense and it just makes me SO HAPPY to have all of this in one book.

You can’t really have all of this in a YA or adult novel without having it set in one category in a store. Or the focus in those genres is more obvious and pronounced. Middle Grade books seem to embrace their mishmash of genres and I think that makes them extra special.

I especially love to escape life for a while with a good MG book. Sometimes it’s the best kind of mental vacation I can give myself.

 

The Aviary

The Aviary
by Kathleen O’Dell

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the crumbling Glendoveer mansion, home to a magician’s widow, a cage full of exotic birds, and a decades-old mystery. Clara loves old Mrs. Glendoveer, but the birds in the aviary frighten her—they always seem to screech and squall whenever she’s near. And then one day, the mynah bird speaks, and a mystery starts to unravel.

Clara discovers dark secrets about the family, and about her own past. Somehow the birds in the aviary seem to be at the center of it all, and Clara can’t shake the feeling that they are trying to tell her something. . . (goodreads.com)

Read: November 2012

The OCD part of me is freaking out over writing these blog posts way out of order, but I am trying to fight that part of my brain and just get these stupid reviews out there. Not that this review is stupid! I wanted The Aviary  to have its own post because I enjoyed it ever so much and I feel like it needs its moment to shine. I also enjoyed it so much I left it at Monkey’s house when I went to visit the first weekend in November. I had just read this book cover to cover on the train ride there and I told her she had to read it.

I had first seen this book mentioned on April’s blog (Good Books and Good Wine). Something about the review caught my eye and I knew from then on, I needed to obtain this middle grade book. It sat on my wishlist forever until I finally bought it.

This is seriously one of the best MG books I have ever read. Clara is charming and the mystery of the talking birds is riveting. The entire story sucked me in on that train ride and I felt like I was actually there, in the big, empty house, right along Clara and her new and only friend Daphne. I wanted to know more about the birds, more about the locked rooms, more about Clara’s mysterious heart-condition. And although I had guessed some of the ending of the story, other parts were a pleasant surprise to me.

My only trouble with this novel were the letters that were read throughout the book. I found the cursive script used to depict these letters very difficult to read and I had to hold the book up reeeeeally close to my face to try and decipher the text. I felt old. Only, I don’t think I’d have been able to read it as a child, either. In fact, that part of the text might have turned me off of the book when I was a kid. If it’s hard to read, it’s not worth reading.

If you’re looking for a charming, historical, magcal mystery then look no further than The Aviary because it has everything you could want and more – including some surprises even when you think you’ve figured everything out. This book is a delight and I wish it had been written when I was 10 years old. 😉