Monday, February 25, 2013

The Night the Moon Ate My Room

The Night the Moon Ate My RoomFrom Goodreads: "The moon was bright and full that night, bigger than I could ever even remember it.
Maybe because it was moving towards me...

After giving the worst violin recital of his life, and being laughed at by the entire school, the boy vows to never play music again. Later that night, when the moon swallows up his bedroom, it shares the secrets of being a true artist, helping the boy re-claim his self-confidence, overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism, and believe in his own dream.

Each of the five stories in The Night the Moon Ate My Room! is designed for young readers to experience the joy of self-discovery, valuable life lessons, and the adventure of turning their greatest dreams into reality."

My ebook copy was provided as a part of a blog tour and giveaway at 

I really liked this book of stories.  The messages were heart warming and reminded me a lot of The Little Prince by  Antoine de Saint-Exupery but presented in a way that is easier for children to relate to.  The story about never giving up on your dreams was my favorite and I can see this book as a fun read aloud in a classroom.  Overall four out of five stars. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Books of Elsewhere: The Strangers


The Books of Elsewhere: The Strangers, which is Book 4 in the series, was written by Jacqueline West and illustrated by Poly Bernatene .  My beautiful uncorrected proof was courteous of the author, and is set for release July 16th 2013.   This book is by far my favorite of the series  (I should say thus far, because there is one more book slated for 2014).  

From Goodreads :

" Olive thought she'd uncovered all the house's secrets. She was wrong.

It's Halloween night when strangers come to Linden Street...and something dear to Olive goes missing. To what lengths will she go to get it back? Can she trust the strangers? Will she turn to a new and dangerous magic within the paintings of Elsewhere? Or will she put her faith in her own worst enemies to save the people and home she loves?

The stakes grow higher, the secrets more dangerous, and mystery and magic abound as Olive, the boys, and the cats uncover the true nature of the house on Linden Street. A must-read fantasy series for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch, Coraline, and Septimus Heap."

 In the fourth installment, Mrs. West does a remarkable job of building on the suspense of the previous books, increasing it in such a way that is not to scary.  Instead, capturing the  suspense, mystery and intrigue by the beautiful poetic way in which she writes.  "Above them, the purple sky was deepening to black.  The moon, like a sliver of sharpened bone slit the trails of passing clouds..." and my favorite line "Twists of black crepe paper threaded the warm air, where the smells of popcorn and caramel mingled in a sugary fog..."  Can't you just smell the popcorn in the air?  If that wasn't enough, the illustrations are gorgeous and too capture the mood of the season with one of my favorites being Olive and her friends dressed up in costumes for a Halloween carnival.   What is also so beautiful is the way in which she captures the friendship between Olive and Morton.  Olive is such a wonderful character, she is the first to blame herself in a situation and time and time again she puts trust in the wrong people.  It's what makes her so believable and you can relate to her seeing her struggle as she tries to unravel what is going on inside her house.    I also love how Olive is so loyal to her friends and despite all her current difficulties she is still trying to help Morton find his parents.  I also love to see Olive beginning to make a connection to this creepy old house and feeling like it is her home and not that of the McManus family.  This is one of those  series were the author does a very nice job of catching the reader up on what is happening in the plot.   I can see children who like a scary story with beautiful illustrations would also find this book very appealing.  And if that isn't enough there are also three wonderful cats that help protect the house and Olive each with their very own distinctive personality too.  Overall, a five out of five book for me. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

On The Day I Died: Stories From The Grave

 On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave

 So I picked this one up from the library purely based on the title, then the cover and lastly skimming the insert.  Then I started to read the authors notes and well by then I figured I should just check it out already, I mean I haven't read to many historical fiction so this seemed up my alley.   I wasn't disappointed, but I do like scary stories with ghosts and graveyards.  The story begins with Mike driving in his car at an extremely rapid rate trying to get home before his mom gets mad at him for missing curfew for the umpteenth time.  When a girl appears out of nowhere and Mike thinks he should offer her a ride home.  After he drops her off, Mike notices she left behind a pair of shoes and decides to take them back to her house.  When he gets there, the girl is gone and instead there is a  women who answers the door and tells him that the girls name is Carol Anne and that she died in a boating accident.  She also tells him that Carol Anne is buried at a graveyard not far away and suggests that he return her shoes to her there.  Mike is of course hesitant, I mean who wants to visit a cemetery at night and when your late for curfew?  Against his better judgement, he decides to do just that.  Once there, Mike meets ghosts of teenagers who want to tell them their stories, that is their death stories.  Each of the next nine stories covers a different time period set in Chicago.  From the authors note, we see that these stories are inspired by myths or legends or even events that occurred in Chicago during these historical time periods.  I liked how the author included both male and female characters and found that the stories were in keeping with the historical time that they were set in.  I also found the plot concerning the children's demise interesting and creative, although some stories were more engaging then others.  I'm thinking if you like spooky stories that touch on the subject of death but aren't to creepy, then this is the book for you.  In the end the message for Mike is to take it easy, smell the roses cause you almost died on that road last night.  Overall a four out of four stars for me. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The False Prince

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1) 

The story is set in the kingdom of Carthya where the royal family has been murdered, the crown Prince's ship was attacked by pirates and since then has been missing. A new king is to be crowned who hopefully can help prevent a war from occurring with a neighboring kingdom. The story begins with Sage fleeing from a man who's meat he has stolen.  Sage tries to find shelter within  the orphanage he lives and unknowingly, he trips and falls into a trap where he is purchased by a wealthy nobleman named Conner.  Sage awakens to find himself riding in a carriage traveling toward Conner's mansion.  Apparently, Conner has enlisted a few other boys from an orphanage each with differing skills. Roden appears to have brute strength, Tobias is knowledgeable, and Sage is the mysterious one of the bunch.   The focus of the story becomes one in which all three boys are groomed and trained in reading, etiquette, horseback riding, sword fighting, etc. in order for one of them to be selected to impersonate the prince.   Yet, there can only be one that will be selected and time is running out.  I like how the story is told in Sage's point of view but we get to see the development of the other boys skills as well. This sets up some nice battles and intrigue as each boy tries to win Conner's favor. I would love to say so much more about this book but If I did it would spoil so much of the story.  Suffice to say,  I thoroughly loved this story, not only is it beautifully written but there are so many lovely twists and turns.  It's filled with characters that engage you and a plot that just grabs a hold of ya.  I also really loved Sage for his willful, playful personality and how he is so cunning.  Next to him, Mott would be my next favorite.  Mott seems to be most loyal and trustworthy as well as showing such kindness toward Sage.  I hope he will play a role in book 2.  Overall, a five out of five story for me.  My copy was borrowed from the library, but I'm putting this one on  my to purchase list.  Until then, I'm going to check it out and re-read it again, it really is that good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Where authors find their inspiration for their stories fascinates me.  For example take Maurice Sendak who in 1981 published the book Outside Over There.  A story about a child that is stolen by goblins and replaced by an ice baby.  So this inspired me to do a little Internet research and I found that he got the inspiration for his story from the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and also because he was fond of his older sister taking care of him.  

Outside Over There

 So now we come to the story I'm reviewing today.  The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver.   A little more Internet research in the way of a Time for Kids interview, and come to find Lauren Oliver was inspired to write her story by Maurice Sendak's book.  Pretty cool huh?  Kinda playing it forward.

The Spindlers

The Spindlers tells the story of Liza, who wakes up one morning to find her brother Patrick has changed. In fact the opening line goes like this from Goodreads: "One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different."   Liza tries to test this new Patrick by asking him questions but when he ultimately fails her tickle test, she knows that she must find her real brother.  Liza's parents are no help they just want her to grow up and stop all this childhood fantay.  Liza however was told about creatures called Spindlers that can steal your soul by none other then her old babysitter/friend Anna, so she feels that they must be real.  Liza determines that she must travel "Below," so armed with just a broom, Liza goes down into the basement searching all around in the dark space behind the bookcase.  Ultimately, she falls through a leaf floor and lands on a talking rat named Mirabella.  Mirabella  promises to lead Liza to the Spindlers nest, but their path will not be a easy one.

Sendak's book, Alice in Wonderland, Lion Witch and the Wardrobe and even the movie Labyrinth seem to have influenced Liza's adventure below but that just gives it the feel of these other classic books and movie to me.  There is so much to love about this story.  Liza's faith that she will find her brother, despite him being annoying and her strength to come face to face with the Spindlers themselves.  A wonderful adventure story that isn't very scary either.  It's a very fantastical world filled with unique creatures and some lovely imagery that guides the story.  Plus just look at that cover and the illustrations at the beginning of each of the chapter which are gorgeous.  My copy was purchased, after reading Liesel and Po, I knew I wanted to own this one as well.  4 out of 5 story for me.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Mail and Cover Love

I Love The Book's of Elsewhere and so excited that I will be reading this!  Review to come.  Big thank you to the author Jacqueline West. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grimoire The Curse of the Midions

Grimoire: Curse of the MidionsJarvey Midion had always had strange dreams about having special powers.  These dreams involved making baseball bats explode and lights flicker on and off.  Problem is that his dreams usually happened.  Jarvey and his family have just learned that their great-great grandfather has passed away, so they travel to London for the reading of the will.  Jarvey would much rather be at home going to baseball tryouts but it isn't really up to him.  Falling victim to jet lag, Jarvey takes a nap.  When he awakens, there is a note from his parents saying they are visiting another Midion relative in the area.  As Jarvey explores the hotel,  he meets locals who give him some history about  Hag's Court and hint about people who can do magic.  Upon returning to his room, he is visited by a mysterious man warning him to "Beware the book."  He also receives a telephone call from his father who says that his great-uncle will be picking him up shortly to come to Midion Mansion.  Once at the Mansion, Jarvey is questioned by Siyamon about whether he has "the art" and is tested by having him open the Grimoire of the Midions.  As the pages of the book fly by, Jarvey is thrust through the book into another time and place.  Jarvey must now find out what happened to his parents and how he is going to get back to his own time.  

Time travel books are intriguing to me.  This particular book involves a Grimoire that has magical powers to transport people to Lunnon, the place in this story.  To use the book, one must have certain magical abilities, for which Jarvey has no knowledge that he posses but may learn how to use more in the books yet to come.  The story is pretty short but there is lots of action as he meets a gang of children in Lunnon.  At the same time, he is trying to hide from a relative who is in Lunnon.  The story reminded me of Oliver Twist with the street children hiding in buildings, stealing food to survive, while trying to avoid the Tippers (police).  Overall an enjoyable story, three out of five stars.  My copy was from the Library.   

Monday, February 4, 2013

Deadweather and Sunrise

Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, #1)Egbert lives with his father, older brother (Adonis) and sister (Venus) on Deadweather Island, home to their families ugly fruit plantation.  Egbert's mother died during childbirth causing resentment, a beating or two from his brother and bitterness and sadness from his father.   Egbert's dad even breaks with the family tradition of naming his children after Greek God's by naming him Egbert.  One day, Egbert's father decides to take the family on a trip to neighboring Sunrise Island.  While there, he mysteriously meets with a lawyer and shows him a parchment with Native writing.  Soon after the family is introduced to a influential man from town, Mr. Pembroke.  The family is invited to come stay at his home and he even insists they go on one of his famous balloon rides.   However, at the last moment Egbert jumps out leaving the family to float away and eventually they disappear all together.  The Pembroke's invite him to stay with them at Cloud Manor and it is here that he receives the nick name Egg from their daughter, Millicent Pembroke.  Things begin to become suspicious when Mr. Pembroke asks Egg questions about what he knows about the Fire King and the parchment that his dad had.   After Egg's family fails to return, Mr. Pembroke tells Egg the right thing to do is for him to adopt him, but Egg refuses believing that he and Millicent are destined to marry.  Becoming angered Mr. Pembroke suggests that Egg become his apprentice, but plots to have him pushed off a cliff instead.  When the would be assassin falls to his death instead, Egg chooses to flee aboard a tourist boat, placing himself in the path to come face to face with pirates.  Just look at the cover.  It has all the elements of the story, the balloon, pirate ships, Cloud Manor and even Millicent at his side.  My favorite character was Guts, the one armed cabin boy who curses and says what's on his mind.  Guts, fits him to a tee doesn't it?  He stays loyal and true to his friend Egg, even warning him that there is something fishy about Millicent.  On the flip side, I had a harder time with Egg.  Which is kinda strange since he is the main character but how he seemed to only be thirteen but was planning to marry Millicent and oozing with affection for her.  Maybe it was all the books he read that made him a true romantic.  Although Egg's family was cruel to him and I can understand that he wouldn't miss them terribly, I also would have thought he would have asked more questions about them or pushed harder to have Mr. Pembroke look for them.  It left me with the feeling that they just got swept under the rug or will be revisited in Book 2.  Overall, the story is filled with mystery, yep pirates, some suspenseful escapes and a quest to unravel the hiding spot for the Fire Kings treasure.  A 3 out of 5 book for me. 

Just for the record, copy of the book provided by Penguin publishing and won at Charlotteslibrary.blogspot. A big thank you to both