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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Bone Witch is a YA fantasy novel written by Rin Chupeco. It is the first entry in a planned series.

Tea (whose name is not pronounced like the beverage) is a young girl living in a world surrounded by magic. Witches are valued for their power, but when Tea accidentally brings her brother back from the dead, she learns that there is a limit to society’s tolerance for witchcraft.

Bone witches are scorned, but they are also an integral component in keeping the world a safe place. Bone witches are a scarce commodity, so Tea is fortunate to find a mentor who can help her. Most of the book is devoted to Tea undergoing training to understand how to utilize her power. Continue reading

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The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

51qrvdfllvl-_sx322_bo1204203200_I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Neverland Wars is a YA fantasy written by Audrey Greathouse. The title gives away a rather big clue about what the story is really about, but the plot starts out like so many other YA novels. Gwen is an average girl in an average town. She goes to high school, interacts with her friends, and she even has a crush on a boy.

But all that changes when Gwen’s little sister Rosemary is kidnapped. Her parents are forced to admit that magic is a very real and very dangerous force. As they worry about when Rose will come home, Gwen comes face-to-face with the kidnapper- the infamous Peter Pan. Continue reading

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Unicorn vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson

51mumeuihqlI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I might not have been familiar with the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series before receiving the opportunity to read this book, but my oldest daughter has read both of the other books in the series.   In fact, she was the one who sat down to read Unicorn vs. Goblins before I got the chance.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn is a graphic novel series by Dana Simpson featuring a young girl named Phoebe and her best friend, a magical unicorn named Marigold. Unicorn vs. Goblins contains several connected storylines, including a trip to music camp, the start of a new school year, and a showdown with those titular goblins. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn by Sam Gayton

51-cr4ri2tlI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have a daughter who is eight years old. She is a voracious reader, so when I receive the opportunity to read a middle grade book, I often read it with her. We have discovered some lovely stories together, and it’s nice to be able to spend time with her one-on-one.

As soon as I saw The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn, I had a feeling that my daughter would like it. This book was originally published in England under the title The Snow Merchant, and it was written by Sam Gayton.

Lettie Peppercorn is only twelve years old, but she is a formidable landlady in the town of Albion. Her Da is often at the local tavern, and her mother left over ten years ago. When a mysterious alchemist arrives with an incredible invention called “snow”, Lettie’s life changes forever. Continue reading

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Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

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I bought the Kindle edition of Library of Souls on release day back in September, but I had a backlog of books to review. I had the opportunity to purchase the Audible edition at a discount because I already owned the Kindle edition. I didn’t have anything to listen to in the car/house, so Library of Souls moved to the top of the queue.

Library of Souls is the third novel in Ransom Riggs’ Mrs. Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. The books do need to be read in order, so if you have not read the first two books, please be aware that this review might contain spoilers for the first two books. Continue reading

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Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum

51oscmk57clI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed reading Gregory Funaro’s Alistair Grim’s Odditorium, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read the sequel- Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum. Before I begin, I’d like to mention that you should really read the first book in the series before reading Aquaticum. Funaro does an excellent job with exposition at the beginning of the book, so the savvy reader can glean the basics of what happened in Odditorium. But the plot twists and big revelations in Aquaticum are so much more meaningful if you have read Odditorium. Continue reading

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The Secrets of the Pied Piper: The Peddler’s Road by Matthew Cody

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher.

The story of the Pied Piper is a famous folktale. We know that the Piped Piper lured the children of Hamelin from their beds, and led them away. We know that they were never seen again, but we don’t know what happened to the children. In a new middle grade novel, author Matthew Cody explores this premise in The Secrets of the Pied Piper: The Peddler’s Road.

Max (short for Maxine) and Carter are two children living in the modern era. They are staying in Hamelin with their father, a folklorist. By the time they realize they are caught up in the Pied Piper story, they are whisked away and taken to the Summer Isle.

The original children of Hamelin have made their home on the Summer Isle. They are aware that they have been there for a long time, but they have no idea that they have been living there for 800 years. Their bodies have not aged, but they have lost their memories of their homes and their families.

They tell Carter and Max that life on the Summer Isle is not always idyllic, and that terrifying creatures come out at night, like the giant rats. They also tell Max and Carter that they believe that their arrival signals fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. The two modern children must set aside everything they have been told about magic not existing, and join their new friends on a quest to the other side of the Summer Isle. The journey is long and dangerous, but if Max and Carter ever want to get home, they need to search for the secrets of the island and its most famous resident.

Over the course of the story, Max and Carter must both search evaluate what they want from life. Max is brash and abrasive, and needs to learn to work with the other children. Carter wears a brace on his leg, and has always been more of an observer. But on the Summer Isle, the other children value his opinion. He has an opportunity to take on more of a leadership role, but he needs to believe in himself.

In addition to a village of ageless children, Cody has filled the island with all sorts of magical creatures. From the mischief of rats (the proper name for a group of rats) enmeshed in a power struggle, to the house on chicken legs owned by a witch, the island is teeming with magic. The children of New Hamelin (as they have named their village) have held their own for hundreds of years, but can they withstand this latest onslaught?

I would recommend The Peddler’s Road. This is the first installment of a planned trilogy called The Secrets of the Pied Piper. I knew this, but I was still a little surprised when the story ended so suddenly. Talk about a cliffhanger! This is a fun and original adventure story. There is plenty of excitement and some scariness, which makes this ideal middle grade fare. I am certainly excited for the next book in the series, and I suppose I will have to content myself with reading Matthew Cody’s other books in the meantime.