Book Review – Who Could That Be at This Hour?

Snicket, Lemony - Q1Apprenticed under the unpredictable and unimpressive S. Theodora Markson, Lemony Snicket is swept off to a small town as strange as it is shabby. The duo is hired to find and return a valuable item to its owner, but while Theodora gets busy with the case, Lemony tries to solve a problem all his own.

You’ve probably never been to the Far East Suite at the Lost Arms in Stain’d-by-the-Sea, but I’m sure you’ve been in a room you couldn’t wait to leave, which is about the same thing.

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Book Review – Curse of the Werewolf Boy

Priestley, Chris - Maudlin Towers 1, Curse of the Werewolf Boy Mildew and Sponge attend the prestigious boarding school within Maudlin Towers, which is as boring as it is grotesque. But when the prized School Spoon goes missing, Mildew decides to put his detecting skills to the test, with Sponge close behind. Vikings, suspicious school masters, a ghost in the tower, and a series of secrets await them as they brave the mysterious and the unknown.

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Book Review – The League of Beastly Dreadfuls

Grant, Holly - League of Beastly Dreadfuls Anastasia McCrumpet is as average as they come. Not at all like the flashy heroine in her favorite mystery series. But when she’s taken away by unknown relatives to an retired insane asylum, Anastasia will need to rely on all her detecting wisdom to find out why she’s there in the first place, or go mad trying to get to the bottom of it.

Anastasia’s day began with a funeral, and it went downhill from there.

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Show & Tell – Book A Day in May

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A trip to the library this week means my stack of finished books is a little less impressive, but the new titles I picked up are providing plenty of incentive to keep up with my goal of reading a book a day.

Freshly added to the stack this week:

14. The Power of Poppy Pendle by Natasha Lowe
15. The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant
16. Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka
17. Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
18. Clementine, Friend of the Week by Sara Pennypacker
19. Dear America: So Far from Home by Barry Danenburg

 

Question of the Day: What genres do you read when you need a break from the usual?

Favorite Fiction – My L-O-V-E List

Valentines Day is all about the love, so in celebration I am sharing a list of stuff I L-O-V-E. Because it’s impossible for me to just pick favorites without narrowing down the criteria, there are some qualifying categories.

 

I’ll Always L-O-V-E You

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

In the Land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.

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I have read this beat-up old paperback of Howl’s Moving Castle dozens upon dozens of times. The magic still captivates me. The characters make me laugh. I fall in love with selfish, heartless Howl, root for headstrong Sophie to discover where she belongs in the world while making and cleaning up messes, and search for the clues and hints that lead up to my favorite discoveries nearer The End. For me, Diana Wynne Jones’s storytelling became an example of what a real story should be like. Vivid, wild (to the point of almost seeming out-of-control), dry but humorous, and intelligent to the last line. Yes, there is a movie. A very beautiful movie. I love the movie. But I love the book even better.


 

I L-O-V-E to Laugh

Kung Fu Panda from Dreamworks

Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.

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As many times as I have read Howl’s Moving Castle, I have watched Kung Fu Panda. Sit me down in front of the screen and I can probably quote my way through the entire thing. The writing is smart, the jokes are hilarious, Po is the most relatable, lovable, adorable character in the universe. The positive messages don’t overpower the storytelling, but leave you with some very empowering nuggets of truth, like, 1. don’t quit on yourself, 2. there are no accidents, and 3. we do not wash our pits in the Pool of Sacred Tears.


 

 

 

 

New L-O-V-E

Natalie Lloyd

I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the way they say their name. I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person’s mouth. When you know they’ll never shout it out like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time.

Natalie Lloyd has quickly climbed to Favorite Author status for me since two summers ago, when I picked up a copy of A Snicker of Magic. The following books have only reinforced how much I love the detailed, awe-struck writing style of this lovely lady. If you’re looking for storytelling that has heart and humor, delicious treats, Tennessee mountain charm, strong and loving characters, music and dancing, and maybe a little magic, I’d highly recommend any of her books in a heartbeat.N-Lloyd


 

L-O-V-E to Luv

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir from Zagtoon & Method Animation

Sometimes, your heart tells you one thing, but a great superhero always listens to her head.

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Miraculous Ladybug reminds me of everything I loved about watching TV as a kid, except better. With a diverse and lovable cast, dynamic action scenes, inventive villains who wear the most amazing costumes I’ve ever seen, and a climbing sense of mystery, I’m completely hooked on this show. Plus, I am shipping Marionette and Adrian SO hard. Where is Season 2, Netflix?


 

L-O-V-E to Hate

Star Vs. The Forces of Evil from Disney XD

Do you think I’m like Ludo? I don’t want your wand. I want to destroy it.

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Star Vs. drives me a little crazy sometimes… but when it comes to the Forces of Evil part of the show, I’m completely sold. It’s been a long time since I was truly afraid of a baddie, but Toffee legitimately scares me. Yep, behind that dapper and polished exterior there is a calculating, coldblooded creature. Who would have guessed? Now, if we could just find out what the guy’s after…

*I’m speeding to catch up to the most recent episodes, so no spoilers please!


 

L-O-V-E That Guy

Galleries of Stone Trilogy by C. J. Milbrandt

This person was the embodiment of all the stories he’d ever heard about this race of foreign conquerors—skin like bronze, draped in jewels, and armed to the teeth.

aurelius-by-dana-guerrieri1 I have a fondness for the side characters and supporting cast members of many stories, but Aurelius Harrow truly does steal the show right from his first entrance. On the outside, he seems snobbish and elitist, but don’t let looks fool you. The Pred are known for being violent and vicious for a reason, and Aurelius is no exception. This tantalizing blend of beauty, sass, and danger earned him a special place in my heart and is very possibly the biggest reason I keep coming back to re-read the series.


 

 

 

 

I L-O-V-E to Collect

Sarah’s Scribbles by Sarah Andersen

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Sarah Andersen shines lighthearted humor on everyday experiences, creating a comic that seems to celebrate all the little things that can make us happy, or drive us crazy. It encourages me so much to see her succeed by being honest and original. I’m an avid follower of her work and the proud owner of two books plus a shiny new 2018 wall calendar.


 

 

 

Genre L-O-V-E

orphans, runaways, detectives, conspiracies, dark magic
Victorian and/or Steampunk, Mystery, Treasure Hunt
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The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann, Professor Layton and the Curious Village from Nintendo, Stardust from Paramount Pictures, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (television series from Netflix), The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box from Entertainment Motion Pictures.


 

 

Can you feel the L-O-V-E? Are any of my favorites yours, too? Got any recommendations based on my list? Let me know!

 

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Favorite Fiction – Best of 2017

I may not have completed my Goodreads goal of 50 titles this year, but I did a decent job with just under 35 books, mostly from the Middle Grade shelf. I won’t bore you with copy/pasted summaries of every book I read (you can hit up my Reading Challenge page for that if you like, though) but I will share some of my highlights.

 

Favorite Series

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

“For a Hero cannot triumph all the time. Sometimes he will be defeated, and how he faces that defeat is a test of his character.”

IMG_7146I finally completed the How to Train Your Dragon series this year. What starts out as a short and silly lower Middle Grade series quickly becomes a fast-paced adventure with a hero who can’t seem to do anything right, a naughty little dragon, and a tribe of Hooligans that will keep even the most reluctant reader turning pages eagerly. My favorite detail is the abundance of illustrations that decorate nearly every page. They’re informal, sketchy, and perfect for setting off a child’s imagination. Just be prepared for a little dragon dung humor in the first couple of books.IMG_6727

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