Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Witch Song by Amber Argyle

Witch Song by Amber Argyle

Far from the other villagers, Brusenna and her mother live alone in a little cottage guarded by trees enchanted by their witch song. Each time Brusenna visits town she is treated with hatred and disgust, until one day a woman named Coyle stands up for her. Leading the woman back to the cottage Bruenna discovers that she has much to learn about being a witch.

Her mother attempted to shield and protect her from the war waging between two factions of witches, and in the process left her unable to protect herself. As Coyle and her mother leave in order to stop the evil machinations of a witch named Espen, Senna must find a way to protect herself from the witch hunters that come after her soon after their departure. With a bag of gold, her dog, and a notebook full of witch songs she sets out to defeat Espen and free the other witches from her prison. She teams up with Joshen, a witch guardian, and together they travel to Tarten to save her mother and the other witches.

So, there were good things about his book and bad things. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the characters. The setting and world background felt real and detailed, and I found myself interested in politics and social dynamics that affected the characters. I also liked how the witches used their magic, singing seeds to life to heal and attack people. Occasionally, I really wished for a little more detail on how the magic worked, but for the most part the system was understandable. I felt like the plot was full of action and kept me engaged as a reader. Though sometimes I felt that the author fell back on melodrama to keep the tension in the book going, which did keep me reading, but made me roll my eyes a few times. The romance between Senna and Joshen suffered from this melodrama issue and their love story came off as a bit clichĂ©. I can’t quite put my finger on it but the love story between these two fell a bit flat for me. They were interesting to read about, but I wasn’t really moved by the love story line.

There were one or two times I stopped reading because something within the text itself was contradictory or confusing.

So, bottom line: The world and magic system were interesting and engaging, the plot fulfills everything it promises, the characters are strong and real, but there were a few storytelling and technical issues that took me out of the story.

Visit Amber's Website

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting for Mama by Lee Tae-Jun

Waiting for Mama by Lee Tae Jun

This unique picture book tells the endearing story of a little boy waiting for his mother at the street car station. Bundled up in his yellow coat he waits patiently for her to arrive home.

This story was originally published in 1938 in a Korean newspaper, as such both the English and Korean text appear on each page. This background explains why the illustrations convey the setting of the book in whimsical Asian style art. The illustrator tried to capture the culture and time period of the story, which makes the book really stand apart from anything I’ve recently read. The beautiful art and simple text will transport you to another time and place. A simply wonderful read.

My only critique is that the story left me hanging at first. I wondered if the boy had found his mother, but then the last page of the book has a painting of the boy and mother walking home together, however they appear so small that it is hard to spot them at first glance.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Picture Books: Candace Fleming part II

Clever Jack Takes the Cake

One day jack receives an invitation to visit the princess’s birthday party up at the castle. His mother tells him that he will not be able to go because they cannot afford a gift. Jack is disappointed but he comes up with a plan. With a little bit of creativity and work he manages to make the perfect cake for the princess. Cake in hand he sets out for the castle only to discover that the way there is more difficult that he imagined. First, crows eat the nuts on the cake, then a troll demands a toll to cross a bridge, and the candles are used in order to get through the dark, dark forest. Jack travels until finally he reaches the princess’s feet with nothing to offer but a brave adventure story of how he travel to see her. Delighted with the gift of a clever story the princess becomes Jack’s fast friend.

Once again the clever and polished story telling of Fleming delivers a delightful and entertaining tale about a boy poor boy who tries very hard to give his princess and nice birthday present.

Seven Hungry Babies

Momma Bird’s eggs hatch one morning and now she has seven hungry baby birds on her hands. She travels all over the neighborhood snatching things for them to eat. When she if finally done feeding all seven and settles into rest they are hungry again. All moms can sympathize with this harried momma bird. This is a cute little tale full of fun repetition and sounds.

Imogene’s Last Stand

Imogene Tripp is a unique character, who has had a passion for history from a very early age. In fact, her first words were “four score and seven years ago.” She takes over the historical society of her small town Liddleville in New Hampshire. After organizing, cleaning, and repairing the old building news comes down from the mayor that he is going to tear down the historical society in order to build a shoe factory.

Imogene will not stand for the destruction of her town’s history, but no one will listen to her protests. Not even when drops flyers from a bi-plane. Then she makes a marvelous discovery about the history of Liddlevill—George Washington stayed the night there once. Imogene notifies the town historian and asks for help, but it might be too late. Imogene is the only thing standing between the bulldozers outside and their town’s precious historical heritage.

Seriously! I found another picture book I just adore by Candace Fleming. This little tale could also be ranked under my most favorite picture books ever. Imogene is a hilarious, passionate, and precocious little character that you can’t help but root for. It is fun to watch her take on the whole town and fight for what she believes in.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Award!

So, I am excited to annouce that two people awarded me The Liebster Blog Award! Free e-books daily and Fans of Fiction. Thanks so much guys! It has taken me awhile to post about this as real life has prevented me from sitting down and working on the blog. I took that blog vacation and we moved from a one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom! Huzzah! I get a lot more sleep now that the little one is in her own room and doesn't have her crib in the corner of our bedroom.
So the rules are that this award gets passed on to five lucky blogs that have under 200 followers. So some blogs that I follow regularly that meet that critieria are:

Bookworm Nation

Madigan Reads

A Thousand and One Parsecs

And some newbies I just discovered:

Low Country Book Blog

Book Rants

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Follow Friday and book blogger hop

The question this week is: Have you ever wanted the villain to win at the end of the story?

I cannot think of any example no. Though I guess I have wanted a villain to turn good. I have wanted the villain to make the choice to do the right thing so that everyone could be happy in the end. Alas, short answer and quite boring, but I really can't think of anything else to say. I suppose my answer would have been more interesting if I could have thought of an example of a villain I had wanted to win at the end of the story, but I don't so you all will have to just recommend some twisty villain story to me in the comments.
Book Blogger Hop

Crazy for Books asks:

What genre would you switch to if your favorite genre ceased to exist?

Usually I read a lot of fantasy, and I like it a lot because it takes you to another place and helps you discover new things. So I think if fantasy ceased to exist I would start to read more historical novels because they are similar in the way that they take you to another time and place and give you a new experience.

If you are stopping by please follow! Have an awesome weekend.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Picture Books: Emily Gravitt

Orange Pear Apple Bear

This small and simple book has only five words. Yet the author manages to pair and re-pair them in interesting ways. The pictures illustrate the subtle and different pairings of these words. An orange bear is different from orange, bear. It is interesting to see how the author’s clever word play can affect the meaning of two simple words.


The story about a frog who finds a book and wishes to go on many adventures, but he can’t really go on adventures with a book. Until he realizes that the book is a spellbook. With a book a spells he can become many different things.

I thought this was a really interesting and innovative picture book. In the middle of the book the frog starts reading out spells and he turns into different animals. The book has been arranged so the top and bottom pages split in the middle so the top and bottom half of the frog can be changed into half-creatures. It is a book that is very fun to play and experiment around with.


A bunny rabbit checks out a book out from the library about wolves. As he reads more and more about these dangerous creatures he grows more and more cautious, but if he continues to keep his nose in the book he may just end up being caught unawares.

This short little book is fun because it gives you the experience of checking out a library book about wolves. The illustrations are drawn in such away that the reader experiences the book about wolves just as the rabbit experiences it. Down to the little spreadsheet on front recording what dates the book has been checked out.

Emily Gavett has a fasinating website.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

“On the eve of her debut in 1815 London, Agnes Wilkins attends a decidedly singular social event on the London scene—a mummy unwrapping party. But if the evening’s entertainment and Agnes’ ambivalence at the attentions of Lord Showalter weren’t enough to deal with, she quickly finds herself embroiled in a mystery whose answers could ultimately decide the outcome of England’s war with Napoleon.” (summary from author’s website)

So, I picked this one up because there was a mummy on the cover with a pretty girl in the background. I assumed that the book was steampunk, but nay I was wrong. This book falls solidly into the historical novel genre. Despite this little bump I was not disappointed in my reading. I loved the way that the author had so many rich details about the setting, and had such a unique hook.

Once I realized that the party goers were unwrapping a mummy for entertainment I have to admit I was hooked. Then our heroine discovers an artifact that starts her off on mystery that involves espionage, a lost artifact of mystical power, and romance. Who could ask for more? I do get annoyed at historicals that make the main characters (mostly females) whiny about their position in life, but in this case I thought the author show a fair hand at showing that men also had some of their choices limited by the expectations of society.

I loved the Egyptologist bent! The book is like Indiana Joes mixed in with Jane Austen. I dare say that even a few guys might get sucked in by this one.

The ending of this book had me craving for more. Seriously, the book was begging for a sequel and I can’t wait to read the next adventure in this series as the author says that there is one planned. This is probably one of my favorite novels I’ve read all year.

Visit Author Jennifer Bradbury’s website