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Search tags: Middle-Grade
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review 2017-10-07 16:07
Stargate meets The Neverending Story
A Veil of Shadows: The Shadow Gate Chronicles Book II (Volume 2) - Michael W. Garza

The following book was kindly sent to me by the author, Michael W. Garza, who requested a review. This book is out now and you can get a paperback or ebook copy by visiting Amazon. :-)

 

You might recognize the author's name because I reviewed The Last Shadow Gate just a few months ago. Today I'll be continuing the series with A Veil of Shadows. The reader is reunited with Gavin and his sister Naomi right after they landed in the mystery world on the other side of the Shadow Gate. Our main characters are once again thrust into a divisive society on the brink of war but luckily they manage to find a few allies (one of which might come as no surprise to the reader). The world building continues with diverse characters such as the Treekin who reminded me somewhat of characters in The Neverending Story. If you're looking for a series that is full to the brim with characters, subplots, and moving parts of all kinds then I do believe you've stumbled across just the book for you. For me, it felt like there was just too much happening and the narrative could have been tightened up. While I appreciate the imaginative concepts that went into the creation of these characters and this world I don't think that I'll be continuing the series. Burgeoning fans of epic fantasy will however enjoy this immensely. :-)

 

What's Up Next: Hunger by Roxane Gay

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-09-20 16:35
Journey From Skioria
Journey from Skioria - Kandi J Wyatt
Nine-year-old Tania has become shipwrecked in a boating accident. She washes up on a distant shore. Unknown to her, Tania has found the land of Skioria. She is taken in by Trillicus and his mate Holley. They are Skiorians and are the same height as Tania, despite being adults. Skiorians live high in the trees and are experts in the forest. Tania wants to get back home and to her parents, but that is difficult. The Skiorians will have to travel with Tania back to the human world. It is a treacherous hike and the Skiorians are not known to the human populations. With help from a Terran, an Avarian and another friend, Tania will find her way back, but will she want to leave her new friends?

This was an easy to read, exciting middle grad adventure set in a magical world. Tania is desperate to get back to her parents after washing up in Skioria, however she is also captivated by their magical world and the Skiorians themselves! I found myself wanting to explore their world more and how they lived. I was a little dissapointed in the patriarchal society that was reinforced in Skioria, further showing middle grade readers that this is the norm. Tania's adventure home was the best part for me. During her adventure Tania formed deep bonds of friendship and pushed herself to do things that she never thought she could do. As an adult reader there were several times I had to take large suspensions of disbelief, especially at the end when her parents don't seem overly concerned that their daughter who has been missing for more than a month is reunited with them; however, as a middle grade reader I would have found this book to be a fun adventure into and out of a mysterious world hiding under our noses.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 
 

 

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review 2017-09-12 04:32
Guardians of the Whills
Star Wars Guardians of the Whills (Star ... Star Wars Guardians of the Whills (Star Wars: Rogue One) - Greg Rucka

I was excited to get my hands on this book for two reasons. Firstly, it features my second-favorite Star Wars bromance. Secondly, I was hoping for more info on the Temple of the Whills and its Guardians and more insight into post-Jedi-purge Force beliefs. In retrospect, it was silly of me to hope for that kind of depth in a 234 page Middle Grade novel. The book delivers on the bromance, but not so much on the other stuff. I enjoyed it, but now I need to watch Rogue One again because I can’t remember if Baze or Chirrut ever mention a past association with Saw Gerrera and his extra-rebellious rebels.

 

Diogo Saito’s illustrations are a nice addition, though I wonder if they were commissioned before or after Rogue One was fully cast. Chirrut looks passably Donnie Yen-like, but Baze looks nothing like Wen Jiang. He looks like some random beardy white dude.

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review 2017-09-09 01:24
Looking for a scary book this Halloween?
The Cabinet of Curiosities: 40 Tales Brief & Sinister - Emma Trevayne,Katherine Catmull,Stefan Bachmann,Claire Legrand

If you enjoy creepy short story collections then I think I might have found the perfect book for you. (Maybe this could be your Halloween read!) What makes this collection even more interesting is that it was compiled by 4 different children's authors. Claire Legrand, Emma Trevayne, Katherine Catmull, and Stefan Bachmann banded together to write The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister (the Internet has 36 and 40 which is thoroughly confusing even though I've read the book). This book has a little bit of everything and with the added benefit of different author's voices it is certainly never boring. There's magic, mystery, and straight up horror (just to name a few). The black and white illustrations that accompany each story are absolutely perfect (Great job, Alexander Jansson!) and were honestly one of the reasons why I picked up this book in the first place. They've laid out the narrative in a very unique way as they've styled the chapters like the different drawers and cubbies of a traditional cabinet of curiosities. The authors are the 'curators' of this unique cabinet and the stories are the background for each of the 'items' they've collected for the separate compartments. This helps to connect all of the disparate stories into one cohesive collection and keeps the pace moving. All in all, a solid collection that I might find myself drifting back to for the spooky season. 10/10 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-09-05 22:29
Book 55/100: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

I rarely give books five stars, but this one just gave me so many feels.

I already knew that Patrick Ness is an excellent writer, at least when it comes to his YA work. But this book was staggeringly beautiful, dealing with tragedy in a way that is real and raw and not full of the melodrama or romanticization that so often goes along with YA or middle-grade depictions of grief. Not only that, but Ness takes a look at the darker, messier sides of grieving that are universal and yet rarely acknowledged, something that is particularly important for kids to encounter: the scary things we think or feel when we are on the edge of losing someone we love are OK, normal, and understandable.

This book also strikes the perfect balance between fantasy and realism, allowing the reader to decide how much of it is "real" and how much Conor's own invention/coping mechanism. Aside from Conor's grandmother, the characters are not particularly fleshed out -- however, this type of characterization works in a story that can be read mostly as an allegory. And really, any book that makes me cry this much is definitely doing something right.

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