Book Review: Emilie and The Sky World by Martha Wells

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Age Recommended: 10 and up

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I am not a huge fan of Science Fiction, which is what Emilie & The Sky World is. However, this was an Advance Reader Copy (thank you NetGalley!) and I felt compelled to read it.

This book is interesting because the story takes one to different settings, but it can be a little difficult to follow because there are a lot of characters.

Emilie has just returned form her adventure and is ready to take some time off. However, when she goes to her boss’s house to pay a visit, her boss shows her that a type of vortex called an aether has opened in space. An aether opens the world to a parallel universe but can close at any time and trap the people out of their own universe.

Emilie and her friend Daniel attempt to go through the aether and make it through. The first few times someone has tried this, the airship has never returned, so for mankind, this is amazing progress.

Emilie’s crew sees an airship like theirs some distance away. This airship had been monitored for some days but had not moved and Emilie wondered if the creatures inside it, if any, are dead. Emilie and her friends venture inside the other airship only to find some of their own crew missing. They see a creature made only of flowers ahead of them, and suddenly, everything goes black…

Emilie finds herself in the middle of a place unknown to mankind with nobody around her except for the flower creature who is injured. The aether is going to close soon, and Emilie needs to find her way back, and soon.

Emilie names the flower creature, who is unable to speak English, Hyacinth, and the two of them go on an amazing journey to get back home.Will Emilie be able to make it back to the airship, help Hyacinth, and find her friends in time before the aether closes?

Book Review: Small As An Elephant by Jennifer Jacobs Richardson

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Age Recommended: 9 and up

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I found Small As An Elephant to be a very witty and comical book. Jennifer Richardson has written a great story about a boy and his adventures when separated from his mother. The author describes well the momentary feeling of panic that Jack feels when he finds that his mother is gone, and the reader can relate to that.

Jack is a boy who is very fond of elephants. One time, he and his mother are driving to a campsite and Jack sees a sign for a circus elephant named Lydia. He asks his mother if they can go see the elephant. When the answer is a resolute “no,” and Jack’s mother keeps driving, he is very disappointed.

By the time they reach the campsite, Jack’s mom is very annoyed with him. Jack goes to sleep, and when he wakes up the next morning he finds his mother gone (again). Jack sets out to look for his mother and on the way, tells lies, makes friends, and runs from just about everyone on the planet.

Jack hides in places and tries to keep moving but he know that his grandmother is offering a big reward for anyone who finds him. Jack knows that eventually someone is going to find him.

This book is about Jack’s journey to find his mother, see Lydia, and somehow not be found by the police.

Half A Chance by Cynthia Lord

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Age Recommended: 9 and up

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Note: This book is an Advance Reader Copy courtesy of NetGalley.

Half A Chance is an amazing book that highlights the difficulties one faces when moving to a new place – new schools, new friends, new challenges.

Cynthia Lord has written a very captivating story where I can imagine myself being part of the story. This book is now one of my favorites.

This story is about Lucy, a middle-schooler, who keeps having to move to new places once her photographer dad gets tired of taking pictures of where they live. Lucy has just moved to a lakeside house in New Hampshire. 

Lucy has always wanted to take photos that will make her dad proud, but since her dad is a professional photographer, she is not very confident of her own picture taking abilities.

Lucy’s dad is now judging a kids photography contest and Lucy wants to enter. Lucy becomes friends with the neighbor’s kid, Nate, and he helps her take pictures for her entry into the contest. However, since her dad is a judge, people might call her dad biased if she ends up winning the competition, so Lucy decides to enter her photos using Nate’s name.

Lucy takes a photo capturing the true emotions of Nate’s grandmother and she chooses to use that picture in the contest without Nate’s permission. This is where things start to get rocky between them.

Will Lucy be able to prove to her dad that she is a good photographer, while still keeping her friendship with Nate?

Hidden Magic by K.D. Faerydae

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Age Recommended: 10 and up

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Hidden Magic is a rather gory and violent book. There are also some parts of the book that are weird. I don’t get the entire idea of human-like creatures turning into animals. The book is well written but the author could have provided more detail on Liberty, which is the setting of this story.

This book is an Advance Reader Copy, courtesy of NetGalley.

Grace is an ordinary girl about to experience the extraordinary. She sees orange eyes, hears talking animals and still manages to trick her brain into thinking that they are a dream.

Zavier, Aaron, and a few others are magical creatures that live in a beautiful land called Liberty. Liberty is a place full of wonders, talking animals, and magical leaders. All except for… the Nomeds.

The Nomeds are a clan of vicious magical creatures that are intent on destroying the human world. They will do anything to rule Liberty.

Zavier, Aaron, and Francis, a leader of the wild are trying to save all of the magical creatures from the attacks of the Nomeds, but they can only do so much. They go on a quest to recruit all of the Leaders of the Wild. When all of the creatures come together, the Nomeds attack, and this time, Zavier is injured.

What the magical creatures need to help them is a human child. Aaron and a couple of others venture into the human world to get Grace to help them. Her friend, Christian comes too, but when they reach Liberty, they are in for a surprise.

Book Review: Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull by James Matlack Raney

Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars

Age Recommended: 8 and up

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Let me start out by saying that I don’t particularly enjoy books about pirates. Needless to say, Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull wasn’t my type of book, but it is an Advanced Reader Copy and I felt compelled to read it.

If you enjoy pirate tales, Jim Morgan is a book that will keep you on your toes. Action packed and fun-filled, this book is sure to make you want more.

Jim Morgan has just recovered from his escape from London. He is now heading home to Morgan Manor, but just as he reaches, a terrible fire burns his house down.

Jim starts having terrible dreams about a crimson storm, and when the Count, his old enemy shows up, it’s up to Jim to save the day.

Jim and his friends board a ship to find the lost treasure before the Count and his son do, but later get into a fight. Jim unleashes dark magic to help them win the battle, but even magic comes at a price.

Jim and his friends are stuck on an island, and Jim needs to get them off before the second sun. Or else…

Book Review: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars

Age recommended: 10 and up

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The Book Thief is an out of the ordinary book. The plot was very captivating and unusual. I don’t think that I have ever seen a book written from Death’s point of view. In the initial part of the book, Death is one of the key characters and is shown collecting souls, witnessing bomb blasts, and knowing when people are going to die.

I found this part of the book a little unnerving because it described people dying and how they looked once they were dead. However, it is not something that lingers on in the rest of the story.

The book is set in Nazi Germany during the World War II era.

Leisel witnesses her brother die on a train and she is scarred for life. She steals her first book from the man who buries her brother.

Leisel is sent to a children’s home because her mother can no longer take care of her. There, Leisel is adopted by an abusive mother and a lazy father.

Leisel spends quite some time trying to learn how to read from the book that she has stolen but finally gives up and asks her foster dad to teach her.

Leisel slowly learns how to read, but when she is finally settling in to her new home, a Jew by the name of Max Vandenburg shows up on their doorstep and claims to know Leisel’s father.

Harboring a Jew is a punishable offense in Nazi Germany. Max needs to be hidden so Leisel and her father hide him in their basement. When German soldiers come to their house asking if they can look around, Max knows it is time to run.

While all of this is happening, Leisel’s book thefts are getting more dangerous with each book. Will Leisel be able to continue to steal books, hide Max and get away with it all?


If you’d like to read this book, here’s a quick link to where you can purchase it from Amazon : The Book Thief

Book Review: Whisper by Stacey R. Campbell (ARC)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Age Recommended: 15 and up

Whisper

Note: This was an Advance Reader Copy, courtesy of NetGalley.

There are parts of Whisper that aren’t entirely appropriate for someone my age (12) and I felt that the author uses unnecessary cuss words just to make the book seem “cool.”

That said, the story-line is great and the theme of the book really kept me interested. The way that Stacey R. Campbell describes Elsie’s ghost is amazing.

Halle has discovered a journal in the attic. It turns out to belong to Elsie, the dead daughter of the founder of the school. Elsie drowned in a lake, only to have hidden the school’s golden crest on grounds shortly before.

When Halle finds the journal, she is certain that Elsie’s ghost has come to haunt her. She is awakened by a rustling in her room, only to find blue eyes hovering in midair and staring at her.

Halle sets out on a hunt to find the crest along with her friends Calum and Leigh only to discover that Elsie’s soul is getting restless. Will Halle be able to find the crest before it’s too late?