Review: Skycircus

When a travelling skycircus arrives in Brackenbridge, Lily and Robert can’t wait to step aboard… But there’s something sinister about the hybrid children who appear as part of the act. And before Lily and Robert can do anything, they’re captured by shadowy figures and whisked off in the mysterious flying circus to somewhere far, far away…

Treachery, tight-ropes and trickery combine in this incredible third Cogheart adventure…

I have thoroughly enjoyed both Cogheart and Moonlocket, so I had high hopes for Skycircus and it did not disappoint. Bunzl takes us on another thrilling adventure that didn’t have so much to do with a mystery as it did with people that had certain motives.

As always I so enjoyed the recurring characters and their personalities. Each book tends to see growth in both Robert and Lily as they face every challenge that comes their way. Their reactions and responses to certain situations are valid, but they also still have a lot of that impulsiveness that goes along with youth. Also, I always adore Malkin’s attitude juxtaposed against theirs.

The circus was written masterfully and was rife with danger and creepiness. It was a great setting that was perfect for the adventure. I can’t wait to get my hands on book 4!

Skycircus is out now, so make sure to pick it up with Cogheart and Moonlocket – happy reading!

Review: The Witch Boy

In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

I’ve heard great things about this graphic novel and am so glad I finally picked it up. It’s so wonderfully diverse in so many ways, without being in your face about it. When looking at diverse reads I really look for it to just be natural instead of purposely pointing out every little bit of diversity and this one perfectly showed how that can be done. I fell in love with so many of the characters and really enjoyed the progression of the story and how things were resolved. Also, while this could have easily been a stand alone I’m eager to check out the next volume.

I really enjoyed the artwork style and the vibrant colors were perfect for the age group this is aimed at, but I think it’s a great read for all ages. I really want to check out all of Ostertag’s work now and look forward to what comes out in the future.

Happy reading!

Review: The Crowns of Croswald

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

This book was such a fun adventure! I hesitate to compare any books to Harry Potter, because I know that such a suggestion can bring certain preconceived notions to mind, but if you’re looking for something about a magical world including a school setting then this will definitely fit the bill.

I love that a good chunk of this book is world building and that special attention was paid to fleshing out different aspects of the magic system. I’m super excited about the future books and getting to learn even more about the history of this world and its magic and creatures.

Ivy as a character is very impulsive, but driven by an inner purpose. Her moments of vulnerability are understandable and fitting for her situation. While she didn’t always full think through her decisions, she knew that there was a reason for the things she had to do and let herself be led by her instincts, which was both bad and good. While only a couple other characters were truly fleshed out, most of those who had a voice were distinct and individual.

All in all this was a great adventure full of twists and turns and I can’t wait to read more from this series!

Thank you again to Stories Untold and D.E. Night for sending me a copy of this book. D.E. Night’s books can be found on Amazon, or purchased through her website at DENight.com.

Happy Reading!

Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

Anyone who knows me knows that anything based on mythology will pique my interest, so when Rick Riordan started the Rick Riordan Presents line I was super excited. I finally got around to picking this one up and was not disappointed.

Chokshi’s writing is beautiful and the personalities she creates for her characters are very individual. Aru grows a lot in this book, but she still has flaws and still has things she needs to work on. This is something I really appreciate as it keeps her more human and easier to identify with.

I can’t wait to get to the second book and see how the characters grow even more. I have a feeling even more backstory will be revealed and we will learn more as the series goes on.

Happy reading!

Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this story and it’s mixed cast of characters. We are following multiple perspectives in this story and the way Barnhill weaves each of those perspectives together is beautifully done. Each character has a purpose and a different journey that they must take which is leading them to the climax of the plot. All of the characters are wonderfully sketched out and easily recognized, at least when talking about the main characters.

The world building and backstory was revealed in bits and pieces, which at times could be frustrating, but in the end all came together. There were definitely points where I wanted a little more, but it’s a wonderful coming of age story that addresses many aspects of mob mentality, fear and other difficult topics. The fantastical setting helps to soften these subjects and make them more digestible to a younger audience.

Happy reading!

Review: The Missing Barbegazi

Synopsis: Tessa has heard her grandfather’s stories about the fabled barbegazi since she was little. Now, after his death, she’s determined to see the gnome-like creatures for herself and prove her grandfather wasn’t just a confused old man.

When Tessa discovers Gawion, a young male barbegazi, she’s overjoyed. She can finally show everyone that her grandfather was telling the truth. But Gawion needs her help. His sister is missing and may have been captured by humans. As the two form a friendship, Tessa realizes that uncovering the truth about the barbegazi carries great responsibilities—and sometimes things have to remain a secret.

This was such a cute story! In it we follow Tessa who is dealing with the recent loss of her grandfather and is desperately trying to find evidence of the barbegazi, who he swore saved him years ago from an avalanche. We also follow a family of barbegazis who are dealing with the disappearance of one of their family members.

The book is peppered with lore about the barbegazis and their habits/mythology which I thought was a really nice touch. Throughout the book there are some times and Tessa makes impulsive decisions that aren’t the smartest, or has thoughts that are a tad selfish but it’s good to see her reason through those thoughts or think retroactively about her decisions and their consequences. For the age that she is her behavior and thoughts are appropriate.

The family dynamics and friendships in this book were really charming and authentic. It touched on a lot of harder subjects such as grief (and the effects thereof), slight bullying and others. It’s a fun winter adventure with a lot of twists and turns and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If it sounds like something you would like to pick up be sure to check it out. It’s coming out from Jolly Fish Press on November 12th.

Happy reading!

Review: The Circle

When I was offered this book I was immediately interested, anything with fairies immediately draws my interest, especially when they weave in some of the different aspects of fairies. The Circle introduces us to Calum who is living with guilt over the disappearance of his cousin and who is trying to figure out his place in not only the world of the Sidhe but also in the human world. The story really gets going when he meets Lauren, a human girl.

A lot of the first half is world building and setting the story and characters, but in a first book in a series that is understandable. The second half of the book moves pretty quickly as we discover that the different events in their lives are likely tied together.

I’m eager to see where the rest of the series takes these characters and could definitely see how seemingly minor characters could play a larger part in future books.

The Circle is out now from Vulpine Press. Thanks again to them for offering me a copy of this book. Happy reading!