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. Read more

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. Read more

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

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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.

Eden’s Wish by M. Tara Crowl

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

Eden’s Wish is a middle grade novel written by M. Tara Crowl. As the story begins, we are introduced to Eden, a young genie. Eden has just been summoned to grant three wishes to the hapless man who found her lamp. Eden’s mischievous streak comes out immediately when she takes the wisher’s request a little too literally.

Eden feels a little antagonistic about being a genie because she knows her tenure will last until she has granted wishes to a thousand people. Eden wants nothing more than to live on Earth amongst people, and when she sees an opportunity to do so, she seizes it- against the wishes of her handlers. Read more

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

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

It cannot be denied that Cinderella has been very popular lately. There was a live action film released this past spring, and I have also recently read A Curse of Ash and Iron, which is also a steampunk retelling of Cinderella. That said, I was very excited to see Mechanica’s interpretation of the classic fairy tale.

Mechanica is a young adult novel written by Betsy Cornwell. This is the story of a young woman named Nicolette who lives with her stepmother and stepsisters. She is not treated as an equal, and is forced to work as a servant in her childhood home. When she discovers the inventor’s workshop that belonged to her mother, Nicolette sees a new world full of possibilities. Read more

Heart of Ice by Sibelle Stone

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

I was not familiar with Sibelle Stone, but when I had the opportunity to read her novel Heart of Ice, I was intrigued by the premise and the combination of several genres. The story is set in 1910- in Iceland, which is rather unique. Lucinda Stafford is a young woman who is not ready to return to her home in New York. She applies for the position of governess. She has never worked as a governess before, but she had one growing up, and that’s pretty much the same thing, isn’t it? Read more

A Curse of Ash and Iron by Christine Norris

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

I had not heard of A Curse of Ash and Iron before I received the opportunity to review it, but I was extremely intrigued by the premise. This is a young adult novel written by Christine Norris.

As the story begins, we are introduced to Ben and Ellie. Despite the fact that Ben was the son of the cook in a grand home that Ellie lived in, the two were best friends of children. They were separated rather abruptly when Ellie’s stepmother fired Ben’s mother seven years earlier, but a chance meeting brings them together again. Ellie tells Ben a wild story about being enchanted by her stepmother and forced to work as a servant in her own home. Ben is a young man enamored with science and technology, and he finds the idea of magical enchantments to be absurd, but he agrees to help his old friend. As they explore the nature of the enchantment, they learn that if the curse is not broken by midnight on New Year’s Eve, the effects will become permanent, and Ellie will be bound to her stepmother forever. Read more

Mildred’s Resistance by Katie Cross

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I read Miss Mabel’s School for Girls almost a month ago, and immediately fell in love with the world of The Network. Since then, I have gone on to read the second book in the series, Antebellum Awakening. I have also read The Isadora Interviews, a novella featuring school admission interviews from some of the secondary characters.

Mildred’s Resistance is the third book in the series, and it takes place before the events of MMSFG. Mildred serves as the High Priestess in the series; essentially, she serves as the head of the government. There are several allusions to an uprising in the past, during which Mildred seized power from a witch name Evelyn. Read more

Antebellum Awakening by Katie Cross

I was provided with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Antebellum Awakening is the second novel in Katie Cross’ The Network series. The story begins two months after the events of Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, and culminates with protagonist Bianca’s seventeenth birthday. Please proceed with caution if you have not read MMSFG– it’s difficult to discuss the plot of Antebellum Awakening without discussing the events of MMSFG. Read more

The Isadora Interviews by Katie Cross

I was provided with a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

I recently read Miss Mabel’s School For Girls by Katie Cross. This is a young adult fantasy novel about a girl named Bianca who is desperate to remove a curse from her family. If she cannot remove the curse, she will die on her 17th birthday. Bianca enrolls in Miss Mabel’s School with the hopes of being able to undo the curse. I absolutely fell in love with Miss Mabel’s School and the world of The Network. So when I received an opportunity to review the other books in the series, I was very excited.

The Isadora Interviews is a short novella that takes place before the events of Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. I would say that readers need to have read MMSFG before reading The Isadora Interviews in order to have a better familiarity with the characters. Read more