Shadow Study is another novel set in Snyder’s beautiful and enchanting world. Revisiting the characters of Yelena and Valek, I was excited to dive inShadow Study is another novel set in Snyder’s beautiful and enchanting world. Revisiting the characters of Yelena and Valek, I was excited to dive in and start the adventure. For all of the charms of the world, I felt a bit disconnected at first and I think that stems from the varying perspectives. Instead of just having the plot from one viewpoint, it shows both of our characters. I understand why, the characters are separated for most of the book, but for some reason I felt a disconnect for a while due to where the view point stopped and the next one started.
Although the danger starts off rather quickly, I felt there was a slower start to this book. It took me about halfway through the book to really feel like I didn’t want to put it down. I know that this is due to catching up to where they were before with a bit of backtracking and adding depth to the story. I kind of wish that instead this was just a book about Valek and his past, as I felt I was more interested in how he grew up. I think it would have been better to have maybe a separate book for him and his backstory, which I really enjoyed. Instead I found myself bogged down by the present plot, waiting to get more information about Valek and his storied past.
I love Janco and was glad that we also were able to get into his head a bit, although he wasn’t as much as a main character, although I’m hoping more to come in the next books. Overall, I was pleased with this book, it wasn’t perfect but it had everything I loved in it. And that cliffhanger though…. ah. I can’t say but now I’m all aflutter again thinking about it. The next book cannot come soon enough.
Verdict: For those who love Snyder’s world, you must read this book. Everything a fantasy lover could want....more
Rose and the Magician’s Mask is the third book in the Rose series, one that easily becoming one of my favorite middle grade series. The beginning of tRose and the Magician’s Mask is the third book in the Rose series, one that easily becoming one of my favorite middle grade series. The beginning of the book spent some time rehashing earlier adventures, reminding me of the evil magician who was thwarted in the previous book, but still on the loose. When a mask of magical importance goes missing, Mr. Fountain, the court magician and Rose’s teacher, must go to Venice to retrieve it. He takes Rose and his other apprentice Freddie with him and his daughter Bella convinces her father to let her come along as well.
Bella is a character that you want to hate, but she is starting to grow up as well as gain more magical abilities. She’s a bit of a spoiled brat, but you can see in this book her intentions are at times more for good than evil. Rose herself starts to grow as well, becoming more confident and wanting to figure out more of her past and who her parents really were. Freddie is also becoming a little less annoying as he grows more used to mixing with other types of people than those with a prestigious background. My favorite character has to be Gus though, the magical talking cat that follows them on their trip and seems to be the one with sage advice whenever it is needed.
I really loved this book and ate it up once they started to travel. The beginning of the book was a bit slow as the reader caught up on what happened previously and getting the character on their way to Venice. There are some new characters introduced and I loved seeing the world of Venice, where many people wear masks until they actually become permanently affixed to their faces. Rose has a moment where she feels as if she wants to give into her own mask, having to wear one for a ball. I thought that was quite a frightening but interesting part of the plot. Overall, I loved this addition to Rose’s story and I’m hoping in the next book there will be even more hints of her heritage.
A magical series that becomes even more so with the setting in Venice, a mysterious and dangerous city. Full of adventure, great characters and a plot to keep you reading this is becoming one of my favorite middle grade series....more
The League of Seven is the story of Archie Dent, son of two Septemberists, a secret society dedicated to keeping the Mangleborn at bay. Archie is on hThe League of Seven is the story of Archie Dent, son of two Septemberists, a secret society dedicated to keeping the Mangleborn at bay. Archie is on his way with his parents to the secret site of the Septemberist Society, but they find that the group has been taken over by strange bugs attached to their necks. Archie escapes with his robot, Mr. Rivets and he sets out to set his parents free of the bugs that have taken them over, while trying to stop the Mangleborn from getting free.
On the way he meets Hachi and Fergus, and he realizes the three are part of the new League of Seven, a group that forms every time the Mangleborn start to rise up again. Hachi’s warrior skills are useful in dangerous situations and Fergus is the tinkerer of the group, being able to fix a lot of things. Archie thinks himself the leader of the group, but later in the book there’s a twist that reveals who he really is.
For a middle grade book, this one took me a while to get into. I took three weeks to read this one nearly, but school started so I blamed it on that at first, but really it’s just kind of a slow read. There’s peppered moments of action, but for the most part, it’s about the journey and friendship building. I’m hoping the next book will move a little bit faster and retain my attention. I did love the characters, their stories and the overall plot. Archie is going to be an interesting character to follow, I like the internal battle he is fighting towards the middle/end of the first book and I’m hoping to see more of that in the next volume.
The setting was interesting as it’s a historical steampunk setting, with submarines and devices that run on steam to fly in the sky. I especially loved Mr. Rivets, the family robot who helped save the group at times and added some great humorous commentary into the story. Hachi has a set of circus animals that are small clockwork creatures and help save the day countless times. These aspects really added to the story and made it unique.
A somewhat slow start to a middle grade adventure series, but full of interesting characters and a steampunk setting that I loved. I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of the series....more
Killer Instict is the second book in The Naturals series, following Cassie, a girl who can profile people with ease. Part of a group of teenagers thatKiller Instict is the second book in The Naturals series, following Cassie, a girl who can profile people with ease. Part of a group of teenagers that the FBI has found and gathered together, she helps solve different crimes, especially those involving serial killers. Her own past with her mother disappearing via a serial killer brings the topic close at hand. Killer Instinct involves a copycat serial killer, one that is copying Dean’s father. Dean is one of Cassie’s love interests, who pushes back on her interest in him because he struggles with who he is. Worried he could turn out to be like his father, he distances himself from most of the other teens in the group.
Michael is Cassie’s other love interest. He’s a bit cockier and has his own history. Cassie is constantly trying to ignore having to choose between the two boys, feeling like she shouldn’t have the time to have such a dilemma when trying to find serial killers. I love when Cassie outright feels upset and pissed off that she has to deal with personal problems when all she wants to do is her job. Lia and Sloane also play a big part in this book and I love them as well, both of the girls having their own loud personalities that are unique.
I love how layered Killer Instinct is, the twists it takes and the really frightening plot points. When serial killers are involved, there really is no way around being able to stop every death. It’s like a train wreck you can’t look away from. I’m hoping the series will continue on because I cannot seem to get enough of Barnes’ writing.
An exciting addition to the Naturals series, full of intrigue, plot twists and solving the mystery in a thrilling way. ...more
Frostborn captured my attention, what’s not to like – frost giants, dragons, and a character who is obsessed with a specific board game. There’s sometFrostborn captured my attention, what’s not to like – frost giants, dragons, and a character who is obsessed with a specific board game. There’s something about middle grade fiction that is so satisfying. It’s not just about the adventure and action, but there’s always deeper meanings. Thianna is a female frost giant, but she is also half human, therefore she always feels inadequate and trying to prove that she is a frost giant. She’s bullied and often gets in and out of fights, but her father knows her destiny will take her beyond her own village. It’s on a trip to trade with the humans that she meets Karn, a boy who should be learning to haggle and take over his father’s prestigious farm, but all he wants to do is play Thrones & Bones, a board game with strategy and intelligence required to win.
When his uncle sets a trap that has Karn about to fight for his life, his father steps in, and loses, throwing Karn on the run. Thianna’s mother’s past has caught up to her, 3 women on wyverns are after a special horn her mother carried with her when she crashed years ago in the frost giant’s valley. Long since passed, Thianna carries the horn and finds herself fleeing from the women for a reason she is unsure of. The pair meet up again and aide each other to hide from their pursuers and gain a close friendship. Together, they must trick a dragon, flee their pursuers all while trying to figure out how to set things right.
I love their friendship as it grows, they often tease each other and have a few fights over words said that were taken too seriously. I love that Thianna is constantly saving Karn, who is not as well trained in any weapons or strength, but is the brighter of the two. Karn uses his intelligence to save them as often as Thianna saves them physically. The plot moved along quickly as they were often in peril and on the run. It was a little easy to predict at times and I didn’t particularly like the way it ended, with a bit of foreshadowing into the next book.
The first book in a new adventure series with unique characters and strong fantasy elements. ...more
Kristen: Let’s talk about setting to start off with because I found that Gates of Thread and Stone had an interesting one. I feel that it is a settingKristen: Let’s talk about setting to start off with because I found that Gates of Thread and Stone had an interesting one. I feel that it is a setting we will see more of, the medieval feel with magic and technology intertwined.
Kate: I agree, the setting was an interesting one. But to me, the setting felt more like it was post- apocalyptic. Only, it was so far in the future that the people in Gates of Thread and Stone have no true understanding of what it was like before. This is the new type setting I feel like I am seeing a lot more of. But all the hints are there. In Gates of Thread and Stone, the hint for me was so subtle. You blink and you would have missed. Kai is having a conversation, but in the background is this object. It is only mentioned in passing, but for me, I was like “I know what that is!”
Kristen: Yea, I saw that too.
Kristen: What I liked about the book was that I didn’t feel like it was an information dump. I felt like the book wanted us to focus more on the story than get too involved in the setting beyond basics.
Kate: Right, but it was just a little weird for me. I never felt like I got a real handle on all of it. I found myself having a hard time sometimes trying to move past the lack of setting definition once the Gods stuff came fully into play. It was like we started off with the setting being one way, but then it all started to shift. Making me question everything I had understood to that point. Which is the real setting, before the shift or after?
Kristen: I’m not sure how I felt about the God stuff; I felt it turned the novel into something different than the original set up.
Kate: Exactly. However, I found myself liking that little twist. It was a little unexpected, which was nice. But then again I found that I was also asking myself, just what did I get into?
Kristen: The twist made for some interesting new characters though. I like the inhumanity of the different characters that were these gods. How did you feel about our main characters though?
Kate: I still think Kai would have been better as a boy. Starting Gates of Thread and Stone was a little weird for me cause for most of the first chapter or so, I had totally forgotten that Kai was suppose to be a girl. And her character, early on, came across boy to me.
Kristen: That definitely would have made things interesting and she still could have fallen for Avan even as a boy. I did like that Avan was bisexual, which made things interesting. Also, even though you might like Kai better if she had been a boy, it is nice to see a girl character that keeps her eye on the prize and wasn’t completely distracted by her love interest.
Kate: I liked that. But I didn’t like Avan as a love interest or really in general. He had his moments, but overall, I found him kinda blah.
Kristen: I felt like Avan was willing to do a lot for Kai, which didn’t make sense until a lot later, when we got a fuller grasp of their background. Did you think there was a start of a love triangle with G-10?
Kate: It’s possible and I liked him more. Overall, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in Gates of Thread and Stone. It worked, don’t get me wrong. However, it also felt like it was just there to be there. I think Gates of Thread and Stone would have worked perfectly without a romance.
Kristen: The romance felt lusty rather than serious. Anything else you want to discuss?
Kate: The ending….I didn’t like it.
Kristen: I didn’t either. But let’s leave it at that, no spoilers for future readers.
Kate: Will you read the next one?
Kristen: I think I will, I liked the characters and world enough and felt it moved along at a nice pace.
Kate: I had a few issues with it but I liked it enough to at least try the sequel....more
If you don’t know the name Serena Valentino, well, that’s okay. She writes a series of graphic novels that I fell in love with in high school and haveIf you don’t know the name Serena Valentino, well, that’s okay. She writes a series of graphic novels that I fell in love with in high school and have reread so many times, I can’t even remember. They are called GloomCookie and if you like fairy tales and graphic novels, you should check it out. The Beast Within is the second story she’s written based off of Disney’s version of a fairy tale – only from a different point of view. I own Fairest of All, which took Snow White from the wicked Queen’s point of view, good to pair with the recent blockbuster Maleficent.
The Beast Within is from the Beast’s point of view in Beauty and the Beast. Let me tell you, the Beast previous to becoming such makes even Gaston look like a good guy. I love that Valentino mixes in a bit more detail about his storied past, where he literally swears off a beautiful woman after seeing her work at a farm. Obviously it isn’t true love if she isn’t a princess or a noble, not to mention how ugly she was when not all dolled up to go out with him. Unfortunate for him, she happens to be a witch and her sisters want to exact revenge on the Beast. Thus comes in the curse, which takes a while to take hold. So, in the meantime Gaston tries to cheer Beast up with a huge ball to set him up with another woman.
So, he goes for the beautiful woman who seems to have no brains. But she sincerely is in love with him, but that’s not enough, he must actually be in love with her for the curse to lift. He blames her for not loving him after time passes and he starts to become even more beastly. Two women scorned and the curse fully sets in. I enjoyed the story and it moved along quickly, but I felt as though Beast never fully transformed. That may be because the narrative shifts from the point of view of the sisters who cursed him. They hate that he may break the curse and set out to sabotage his happiness. I’m sort of on their side and kind of wished he got his just desserts.
An intriguing take on Beauty and the Beast that follows the Disney version fairly close while giving it more background. Not perfect, but a fun read....more
Coming directly from having read Dualed in audiobook format, I had to realign my brain to read Divided in book format. Thinking about the first book,Coming directly from having read Dualed in audiobook format, I had to realign my brain to read Divided in book format. Thinking about the first book, I felt there was no a lot of background information and was hoping that Divided would fill in the gaps of the first book. I felt like there was some questions answered, but I’m not fully satisfied with the brief glimpse into the history of how the Board was formed, what the different levels mean and some of the history as well as more information on why the program of killing your clone was first brought on.
If you really loved Dualed, you will like Divided. It has the same type of premise. West goes off on her own to fulfill an assignment given to her by the Board, only she finds out the hard way that she no longer can kill, but she’s determined a back up plan after her boyfriend Chord shares with her something he found while on patrol. The promise of not having to put any of her future children through this game of killing your other self has her committed to the task, but she finds a surprise when she meets her last target.
I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t read either books, so I’ll stop there. What I like about the story is that West’s relationship with Chord feels good to me as a reader. She still is dealing with some post trauma from the first book and I like that they address that by her visiting a counselor to talk about her nightmare and problems. Chord has accepted West for who she is and she knows that he will be there for her. I like the action, the hunt and the complications that this sequel has to offer.
On the flip side, I still wish there was more. I feel so confined in the story to West’s personal problems and I want to know so much more about the background of the world she lives in that I don’t feel satisfied. I cannot think of this story as dystopian because it’s not her against the government. When it’s the Board that asks her to kill, it is really to satisfy one man’s desires and wants. West is not completely going against the system and I sort of wanted her to be more of a rebel, or at least want to escape the world she lives in.
Lots of great action but lacking some dystopian elements that would have taken the book further....more
Winterfrost made me want winter, especially full of nisse’s and Danish countrysides. I am actually partial Danish, a country I would love to visit somWinterfrost made me want winter, especially full of nisse’s and Danish countrysides. I am actually partial Danish, a country I would love to visit someday. I even went to a language camp in high school to learn some Danish, it never stuck, but it was a lot of fun. So, my connection with the setting hit right away and I fell in love with this book. I wish it was later in fall, there was many mentions of cider and I am now dying to get my hands on some.
So, the story focuses on Bettina, a 12 year old girl who has been left in charge of her baby sister while her parents go off in an emergency on Christmas. Unfortunately, this means that her father forgot to leave their barn nisse his rice pudding, which puts him a bit of a mischievous mood. Bettina doesn’t quite believe about nisses anymore, but when her baby sister disappears and the barn is all jumbled up, she knows something is wrong.
She finds herself in the midst of a nisse disagreement, her sister begin stole from her barn nisse by a previous nisse who lost his post due to negligence of her family. Each nisse is assigned a family and they can be fickle creatures who are offended when not taken care of. Her nisse is young in nisse standards and is the cause for a lot of the dramatic happens while Bettina is left in charge.
I loved this story and it’s perfect Christmas story that introduces a type of mythical creature I have not seen much of in literature, but maybe would liken a nisse to a brownie. I loved the characters, the adventure and the setting. The only thing that may put off readers is some of the terminology for parents and grandparents that is used. I picked up on it right away, but I’m Danish and used to these terms.
A fantasy adventure in a unique setting of Denmark, full of great messages and also a quick read....more
Of Monsters and Madness is a twist on some of Edgar Allan’s Poe’s stories, our main character Annabel Lee being from a poem he wrote. She is coming toOf Monsters and Madness is a twist on some of Edgar Allan’s Poe’s stories, our main character Annabel Lee being from a poem he wrote. She is coming to live with her father since her mother passed away. She finds herself in Pennsylvania and is naive of the ways that society works in the 1800s. Her father is cold and all she wants to do is please him. Annabel finds comfort in her grandfather, but a rash of murders and her father’s strange hobbies soon make her life a bit more complicated.
One of my favorite parts of the story is the Jekyl and Hyde aspect of one of the characters. I picked up on it right away, but it takes Annabel a while to figure out what is happening. I also liked her character, she was different but not over the top. She wished to practice medicine but her father disproved so she didn’t seek out opportunities – rather she did not turn down anyone who needed her help.
The setting was grim and fit well with the story and the different plots pull from Poe’s different works. I haven’t read a lot of his stories recently but the ones I’ve read even a decade ago stuck with me, as they have some horrific tendencies. While Of Monsters and Madness didn’t blow me away, I really enjoyed the story and found myself reading it quickly.
A mix of horror, romance and classic literature that engages the reader in a dark setting and plot....more
Kristen: What do you want to talk about first? Plot, characters…
Kristen: First off, I know Stitching Snow will get compared to Cinder a lot,Kristen: What do you want to talk about first? Plot, characters…
Kristen: First off, I know Stitching Snow will get compared to Cinder a lot, but I felt like it was way different.
Kate: Oh, I know it will. But at least they were different fairy tales bases. Snow White vs. Cinderella (plus all the Selene mythology – aka Sailor Moon mythology). I loved that Cinder was a cyborg, and her skills. However, meeting Essie and the robots of Stitching Snow made me realize how inferior Cinder and robot connection was. Plus, how much more bad ass Essie is.
Kristen: Plus, I liked that it had a lot of the imagery from the old tales such as the apple, being the only girl in the town, being good with one type of thing (robots as opposed to animals). Then, there’s the poison and the huntsmen character.
Kate: Yes, yes! It was all so perfect.
Kristen: I agree, I loved how quickly you see the fierceness of Essie, our main character.
Kate: I loved Cinder… like to pieces… BUT I feel like it was almost too much Sailor Moon mythology, and not enough Cinderella. But then again, with Stitching Snow we are getting just one main story. I like the other characters in the Lunar Chronicles, but sometimes it just feels sooo drawn out. Cinder’s story (the first story) still has not had a resolution, and we are now three books in with more on the way. Without a solid resolution in sight.
Kristen: I agree, I think that Stitching Snow is a solid standalone, which is a nice break. I feel like every book I read is part of some new series.
Kate: Do you think Stitching Snow is going to stay a standalone?
Kristen: I hope so, it had a happily ever after ending, but there is more you could do with it.
Kate: I have a feeling it may end up a series.
Kristen: The story could be stretched further, but there would have to be a new enemy introduced.
Kate: Do you have any major gripes about the book?
Kristen: No, quite the opposite, I was so overly pleased with the Stitching Snow, I can’t find anything wrong. I loved everything from the realness of the relationship to the awesome characters – especially Cusser and Dimwit the robots. I also enjoyed the setup of Essie being a tough girl – her background and attitude suit her.
Kate: I loved the robots as well – they added so much extra humor and personality to the story.
Kristen: I especially love how Essie seemed to mistreat Dimwit at the beginning and then came to understand him better towards the end. I found it gratifying to have a protagonist who has skills beyond being just a pretty girl or princess. Or even just being badass – she has her stitching skills that get her out a lot of binds.
Kate: What I liked about Essie is that with her skills and attitude, she made sense as a character.
*Kristen then went on a rant about Throne of Glass and how horrible the main character was setup and the atrocity that is that book.*
Kate: You are never going to forgive that book are you?
Kristen: Nope, now back to talking about a much BETTER book – Stitching Snow. Let’s talk about the romance now. If anything, I felt like the love interest Dane was more of the pretty face this time. I like that Essie seemed like a more solid character and it made sense for her to act as she did.
Kate: I have to agree with your pretty boy assessment. I think Dane was strong in his own way… but he was also like pretty wallpaper.
Kristen: Wasn’t it also nice to have a character that did not go for the guy right off? She’s bothered by Dane’s sudden presence and he’s messing up her idea of life. He did also kidnap her, which made her even more determined to dislike him, until she found out more about him.
Kate: Well, we had to get her off that planet somehow.
Kristen: I like the way that she retaliated against him after being kidnapped and was weary of him.
Kate: I liked the romance and I liked Dane, but I don’t think it would have made much of difference if he didn’t exist. He had a good, supporting role that was consistent, but he wasn’t the focus of the story. It was Essie’s story and her story alone.
Kristen: Yes! Exactly, the focus was her not the romance. I do admire Dane for telling Essie that he would take everything at her pace, not forcing anything on her.
Kate: Dane was a no pressure, genuine guy but also integral to her survival at the palace but giving her enough space to do what she planned to do there.
Kristen: It’s nice to see a strong female lead that is strong enough that her counterpart trusts her. I think his background was fitting and he really was a support and didn’t encroach on the story as a whole.
Kate: I agree. Everything with him, added to her story.. her goal.. it was about him, but also about her and making everything move forward. Stitching Snow has to be the most fluid story I have come across in a long time. All the elements worked together, each piece added to the next in way that made sense and added to the overall picture.
Kristen: Stitching Snow also had enough excitement and build up to keep you turning the page. Even the downtime was about building relationships or learning backstory and didn’t feel like it was so long.
The Book Monster Verdict:
We both absolutely adored this one. Fantastic retelling with a kick ass heroine who doesn’t need a guy to make her “better.” Highly recommend....more
Princess of Thorns is a mash-up of different fairy tales, mixed and thrown into a plot and world I fell in love with. Princess Aurora is trying to savPrincess of Thorns is a mash-up of different fairy tales, mixed and thrown into a plot and world I fell in love with. Princess Aurora is trying to save her brother from a horrible fate and is dressed like a boy when she meets Niklaas, a prince who is devoted to finding the lovely princess and marrying her before he turns 18. On his birthday, if he does not marry, he will become a swan like his brothers.
This unlikely meet-up leads to some humorous moments, as Niklaas thinking Aurora is her younger brother and sets off to help Aurora on her mission. What Niklaas asks in return is to meet the princess, little does he know that she is right next to him the whole trip. Mixed into the story is an Ogre queen who devours the blood of humans and wants Princess Aurora to finally open a gate that her Ogre brother guarantees will open The Age of the Reaping.
Princess of Thorns was unique, showing Aurora right off to be the type of heroine you want to cheer for. Niklaas is kind of a jerk at the beginning, not realizing the true worth of women, having never met one as headstrong and stubborn as Aurora. Their journey together really bonds them in a way that never would have happened if Niklaas had met her all dressed up as a princess.
I loved the pace of the story, enough journey mixed in with different situations and moments of action. I liked the way Jay revealed the back stories and mixed in different fairy tales while giving the story its own unique perspective. The characters grew on me, even the evil Ogres and I truly fell into the book and could not stop reading it when I had chances to.
Verdict: A unique look at combined fairy tales with strong characters that will keep you up night reading....more
I started The Girl from the Well late at night, home alone and I thoroughly could not put it down. I loved the creepy, horrific vibe it gave off fromI started The Girl from the Well late at night, home alone and I thoroughly could not put it down. I loved the creepy, horrific vibe it gave off from page one. Some readers may be put off by Okiku’s need to count everything, but I thought it flowed into the story seamlessly and it wasn’t an unnecessary quirk, as you later find out when her legend is revealed. Another thing that you might nitpick is sometimes the story bounces a bit to other characters, which may translate a little better in the finished copy. I would sometimes have to retrace a bit, but overall I was so engaged, this factor did not really bug me at all.
Okiku is rather frightening, but is only interested in harming those who would harm children. One day she notices Tark, a boy who hides his tattoos, ones that others have thought they saw move. His mother has tried to kill him several times and is locked away in a mental institution, so Tark has just moved to a new town, closer to his cousin Callie. Callie is a teacher’s aide and looking at taking a month off to study in another country. One of her students, Sandra, comments on the woman that is attached to Tark, a dark lady with a white mask, as well as Okiku who spends time in between seeking vengeance as child-killers to follow Tark around.
Sandra easily becomes a character that I love to see more as the book goes on. At one point, she is talking to a man while she sits on a bench and asks him why there are two boys on his back. He’s just about to chloroform and make off with her when her mother comes looking for her. There are so many disturbing scenes in this book it’s hard to get into all of them. I love watching Okiku seek revenge on those who have killed, it was frightening and often times left quite the mess of a person.
A horrible situation leads all of them to Japan, to spread the ashes of Tark’s mother at a shrine that no one has heard of. Tark is sickening and his father is still trying to manage his job while trying to seek him help, the thing attached to him literally sucking his life away. Callie’s time with her learning group ends and the trio make it to the shrine, where it gets even creepier at times and we get to the root of Tark’s problem.
Overall, I could not put this book down. I read half of it before bed and when I woke up the next morning I had to finish it. The characters had depth and I loved the creepy vibe of the book. The scenes were written beautifully, describing the insane hauntings and murders that Okiku commits and should have given me bad dreams. I seem adverse to bad dreams, but it was rather hard getting up in a dark house to use the bathroom after reading this book.
A creepy story that includes quite an intriguing plot with interesting characters and legends....more
The Night Gardener may be pegged as middle grade, but it certainly scared me as a reader at times. The story is of two Irish siblings, Molly and Kip,The Night Gardener may be pegged as middle grade, but it certainly scared me as a reader at times. The story is of two Irish siblings, Molly and Kip, whose parents were lost at sea and they are on their way to find work in England. At least they would be, if anyone would tell them where to find the house in the woods, one that no one dares to near. On the way they meet an old woman, who tells them the way in exchange for a story, she is curious as to what happens at the house they are on their way to.
Molly is a story teller herself and you can tell from the beginning that there is a secret that she is keeping from her younger brother, who limps and has to use a crutch to get around. She pretends as though her parents are on the way to them, but it seems there is more that she knows about what happened before the orphanage and leaving for this job that she wants to reveal. Upon reaching the home, there is an eerie air to it, but a darling little girl named Penny opens the door and starts to rifle through Molly’s things, breaking the mood in only a way a silly little girl could.
The mistress of the house is one not to be trifled with and she reluctantly takes on Molly and her brother, but says that Kip must sleep outside, so not to infect the rest of the family with his crippled state. She seems cruel, but is keeping her own secret. Penny has a cruel older brother Alistair, who loves sweets and bullying anything smaller than himself. Kip interferes on a couple of occasions, when he takes to bullying his younger sister. The rest of the mystery comes from the strange tree that is a part of the house itself and a room that is not supposed to be entered.
Curiosity brings Molly to find out what is behind the door, seeing the different family members go through and come out with something of value to themselves, bags of money, sweets, books about Penny’s adventures, and a ring for the mistress. Mixed in with this is the terrifying nightmares that come while sleeping in the house, and one night Molly awakes to a wild wind throwing leaves throughout and revealing a frightening man who seems to be taking care of the large tree with a watering can. What all this has to do with the family becoming paler and sicker, Molly is not sure.
I absolutely loved The Night Gardener, the suspense, the horror and the unique characters that Auxier wraps into the book. Molly is a great character, with her own strength and courage who feels the need to figure out the mystery, while keeping her brother safe. All the elements fell into place and made for a fantastic read that will keep you up all night....more