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Category Archives: Children's

Root Bound (Emma & the Elementals #1) by Tanya Karen Gough

Root Bound by Tanya Karen GoughNote: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Root Bound is the first of a planned quartet called Emma and the Elements. This middle grade fantasy series follows Emma as she comes of age and discovers how her unique magic can restore order to the mysterious land of Under. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Bone: Full Color One Volume Edition by Jeff Smith

I lost myself in the Bone 20th Anniversary color edition over Christmas. I’d discovered the series a few years back, after the original one volume black and white edition was published.

The last time I encountered Fone Bone and his friends was in 2006, when the original One Volume edition debuted. Previously, each of the series’ issues had been collected into (now somewhat hard-to-find) graphic novels. The One Volume, like many current editions of The Lord of the Rings, emphasized that Bone was one long story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end as the author intended. Even though Jeff Smith was publishing Bone for a good portion of my childhood, I hadn’t discovered it until I was well into adulthood. Still, I feel lucky that I was able to read the entire epic in one handy volume, without having to wait until the next issue to see what happened.

The story tells the epic adventure of three cousins who stumble upon a plot to unleash an ancient evil that will trap the world in a nightmare. There are many reviews of the series on the Internet, so this review will focus on the color one volume itself. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Too Many Books

I’m reading so many things right now, they are all starting to blur together in a mishmosh of print and pixels. Thanks to Kindle library lending, I now have too many books in my queue. To date, I’m perusing:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – my third read. I’m on the second book of The Two Towers and feeling a little anxious. This book always depresses me, mostly because of Gollum. He comes so close to redeeming himself, and ultimately fails.
  2. Scat by Carl Hiassen. I read Flush, which was a fun, caperesque romp in the Florida Keys, but I’m finding Scat hard to immerse myself into. I may have to shelve this one for a while.
  3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Another one I’m having a hard time immersing myself in. Perhaps my attention span is slipping.
  4. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. For my book club. We’re reading a few stories at a time. I don’t remember these being so depressing, but I’m soldiering on (as my book club vows never to allow me to choose the books again).
  5. A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman. I’ve always been fascinated by the American Civil War, and this book from a Brit’s perspective is compelling. It’s long and will probably take me a good while to get through.
  6. Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons. I really have to pick this one up again, but it’s not as snappy a read as Cold Comfort Farm.
  7. The Once and Future King by TH White. I really wish they would release the Kindle edition in the US, because the tiny print in my crumbling mass market paperback edition is a real annoyance.

I am also eyeballing Howl’s Moving Castle, but since I’ve read that umpteen times before, I really need to finish some of the other books on my list before I read it again.

Originally posted at my Tumblr on Oct. 16, 2011.

 

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Remembering Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones died on March 26, 2011. She was only 76. Since then I’ve been mentally composing and uncomposing various tributes to her, one of my favorite novelists. What could I write that would be equal to the person who inspired me to pursue writing?

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The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey — Trenton Lee Stewart

Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance return in this sequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society. Set one year after the first book’s events, the quartet become embroiled in international intrigue that only they can unravel. Mr. Benedict had planned a globe-trotting scavenger hunt for the kids, but was kidnapped by Mr. Curtain before he could surprise the children, who are the only ones who can decipher his clues and determine his whereabouts. With only their extraordinary wits and sheer determination to guide them, the children leap from one precarious situation to the next before rescuing their mentor.

This was a well-written sequel to the excellent original novel. As all children and good characters are wont to do, these children evolve, but without losing the quirkiness that makes them so memorable. Sticky struggles with his new-found pride and strives to be as brave as his friends. Constance, while as contrary as ever, seems to have softened with age. Reynie, from whose point of view the story is mainly told, struggles with his perceptions of others–people are much more complex than they would seem. Kate, from what I noticed, remained essentially the same–brave, resourceful, and full of exuberant energy.

 

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The Mysterious Benedict Society — Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society is one of those breezy, yet exciting reads that keeps me reading children’s fiction, even though I’m no longer the target audience. Meaty enough for adults at 471 pages (trade paperback) but written in a linear, simple style for younger readers, Benedict combines precocious orphans with perilous adventures to great effect.

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