Probably one of my favorite series, this 5th installment does not disappoint. I love Kellgren's narration of the audiobooks and will continue to readProbably one of my favorite series, this 5th installment does not disappoint. I love Kellgren's narration of the audiobooks and will continue to read these by listening. The Ashton's are traveling and taking the household with them. With a baby on the way, the fresh cold air will do Constance some good. The children and Penelope find some new friends in the strange Russian children. I love these kids and it's so interesting to see how she's molded them into lovely English children, even if they do still howl at times.
With the help of her love interest, Simon, she searches for a way to break the curse of the Ashton's and we discover more about what is really going on and who Penelope really is. So good, I hated to have it ending, on yet another set of questions and wonderings. Ahhh, where is the next book? If you haven't picked up this series, I HIGHLY suggest it, especially on audio. ...more
Cast Off interested me right off the bat. I love books that take place on the sea and involve girls pretending to be boys. I like when there are two pCast Off interested me right off the bat. I love books that take place on the sea and involve girls pretending to be boys. I like when there are two point of views as well and was very much interested in both Petra and Bram from the very first pages. Both have had troubled backgrounds but end up banding together despite their differences in gender, class and ethnicity.
Petra is being abused at home and runs away, ending up on a ship while hiding from her father. Bram is the one who discovers her, a boy who is the son of the carpenter for the ship and a mixed ethnicity. He works extra hard to earn the respect of the captain in hopes of gaining a letter that may allow him to finally be a legal Dutch citizen. Until then, he cannot step foot on Dutch soil.
Add in pirates, mutiny and gold and there’s more than enough to keep reading until the end. I really enjoyed the character development and the twists and turns throughout the book. There’s enough blood and guts to keep you reeling a bit from it all, but not overly so. Cast Off seems to balance it’s harsh background with some moments of hope and I really enjoyed the adventure that Bram and Petra embark on.
For lovers of the high seas and strong female characters, this book is a must-read!...more
The Sixth Gun is a western horror graphic novel series. A young woman named Rebecca is pulled into quite a dangerous situation when her father is killThe Sixth Gun is a western horror graphic novel series. A young woman named Rebecca is pulled into quite a dangerous situation when her father is killed and she becomes the wielder of one of six guns, all that have supernatural powers. These guns can only be used by the owners, so to possess one, you must kill the current owner. Our heroine in danger finds the help of Drake Sinclair, a gunfighter with a past. Together, they must make sure an immortal evil man does not rise again and possess all six guns for himself.
The graphics are incredible and the story so full of life and entertaining. I love the mix of western with horror and paranormal elements. The characters are memorable and I love the dialogue, especially as Rebecca becomes more mature and used to being in danger. I love Drake the most, with his shady past and his very standoffish personality. It’s nice to see that they aren’t thrown into romance in the book, although who knows what further volumes may bring.
This edition contains the first 11 issues plus bonus material and is HUGE. I love how pretty it is and remember it coming in the mail. I will probably reread this book several times, as I loved the story, characters, and graphic design so much.
Verdict: A graphic novel worth taking the time to read, one filled with a mash up of western and horror....more
Gaijin was one of my favorite graphic novels I read for the CYBILs award panel. Taking place during World War II, it’s from the perspective of a half-Gaijin was one of my favorite graphic novels I read for the CYBILs award panel. Taking place during World War II, it’s from the perspective of a half-Japanese teenager who is forced from his home with his mother to live in an internment camp. Suffering from bullying by the other teens in the camp, Koji finds himself trying to fit into the gang and getting into even more trouble. His mother is doing her hardest to stay strong for their family, but Koji seems to think that the men in the camp are taking advantage of her and says some cruel words.
I feel like this part of history is somewhat our dirty little secret here in the United States. While it’s not necessarily left out of the history books, it feels like we did something so similar to the Germans during this war that it is a topic that leaves many uncomfortable. Racism still exists today and it’s sad to look back on this time in history and know what we did was wrong. Suspecting people just because of their race does not justify the cruelty we put our Japanese Americans through during this time period.
The story is well written and the graphic design is amazing. I find Gaijin to be an overall appealing graphic novel that will introduce the topic to middle grade and teen readers who may not realize what it was like to be placed in one of these internment camps.
Verdict: With stunning visual design, this graphic novel transports you back in history, living as a teenager during a turbulent time in America....more
Saving Zasha was another whimsical audiobook read. I must have been out of credits on audible and saw this one at the library. I had been meaning to rSaving Zasha was another whimsical audiobook read. I must have been out of credits on audible and saw this one at the library. I had been meaning to read it because I cannot resist dog books this year. Adding in a historical setting had me hooked and I found I was not disappointed. Mikhail found a wounded man and his dog, but a German dog, which they decided to keep but hidden so it would not be killed. Living in Russia after WWII, the dogs that were German were shot on sight. His father has been MIA for over a year and he is excited for something to bring more joy to his family.
A nosy girl named Katia is often poking her head around their place and questioning them about a dog. Mikhail soon finds out Katia’s own secret and then with the help of a Russian ex-soldier who is training dogs, keeps Zasha safe from those that mean her harm. I really loved this book and the audio was well done. I loved Mikhail’s struggle to be the one who keeps Zasha safe, teaching him responsibility and courage. I love the ending of the book, which I won’t really talk about beyond the fact that I thought it was perfect and realistic.
I think readers who love historical war stories and dog stories combined into one. The aftermath of WWII in other countries is not often a subject I spot in children’s literature and I think this was a wonderful way to show what was happening in Russia at the time. The characters are interesting and the plot keeps you reading.
A mix of historical and dogs, this book is for lovers of both. ...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
Seesaw Girl is the story of Jade, who is not allowed to leave the inner court of her family’s home. She should be focusing on learning skills that wilSeesaw Girl is the story of Jade, who is not allowed to leave the inner court of her family’s home. She should be focusing on learning skills that will benefit her future husband, but instead she daydreams about what is beyond her walls all the way to the mountains. Also, Jade would rather pull pranks than sit sewing all day and wishes she were one of the boys. So when her best friend is married and sent off, Jade cannot resist the risk to see her. Her adventure takes her outside the wall into a world where woman are allowed in the market, but she is disappointed when her friend turns her away. I truly loved Jade’s character and the insight into a Korean home in another time period. I felt her desires were realistically portrayed and carried out as well as the problems that occurred after.
A beautiful insight into Korean culture and a young protagonist that will have you aching for adventure....more
The Stepsister’s Tale is the type of twisted tale that I enjoy. Taken from the point of view of Jane Montjoy, a girl who has been told she is a lady,The Stepsister’s Tale is the type of twisted tale that I enjoy. Taken from the point of view of Jane Montjoy, a girl who has been told she is a lady, but has been milking cows and tending to their household for years. The story of Cinderella is re-imagined. Isabella is a surprise that arrives home with their mother one day, along with a man, who Jane and her sister Maude had never met. Her mother had remarried while she was away to a widower. The transition is hard, as the two sisters are used to hard work and Isabella is a delicate little lady who scoffs at the girls even when she tries to be friendly. There’s a lot of ‘getting off on the wrong foot’ going around, but then Isabella’s father dies and things take a tumble for the worse for everyone.
I’m fond of different view points in fairy tales and I love how Ella is not the poor picked on little girl like she is in the stories. The harsh reality of losing money while still trying to hold onto your pride is one that rings throughout the novel. Jane’s mother grasps onto stories of when she was young and wealthy, of the balls and the love of her life. The cruel reality is that not all men are perfect and her fortune was gambled away.
When the prince comes to visit while he is hunting through the woods, he spies Isabella and they share a dance. This one moment leads up to a tirade of incidents that include a ball. One in which it is obvious to Jane that the person the prince is looking for is her stepsister. But there’s so much more to this book than the usual story line. Jane herself has a love interest, a proud boy who lives in the forest and they tend to mess up when they are together. He assumes she lives in a big house and must have lovely comforts. She thinks he doesn’t like her and would rather not spend time with her.
I really loved Jane, she was awkward but starting to fit into what her daily life required of her. She wasn’t beautiful but was pretty enough to grab your attention. I liked her narration and her down to earth attitude. Overall, I just really enjoyed this book. I love twisted tales and this one really struck a chord for some reason.
A great retelling of Cinderella, a bit dark and sad but really well written....more