The Lost Plot

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman is the fourth book in The Invisible Library series.

Our favorite librarian, Irene, is back with her dragon apprentice for another book loving detective adventure. The Library is once again in trouble but this time from the inside. The Library is a neutral entity; it survives and it’s librarian’s are able to do their work because they do not interfere between the politics of the Fae and the Dragons. Now a junior librarian has gone missing and his actions are suspect, risking the neutrality the Library lives by.

Irene has been thrown into this altercation and must now find the missing librarian and clear the Library’s name all while dodging dragons, mob bosses and the fuzz. Irene and Kai must do all this without rumor of the Library’s tainted neutrality becoming gossip or worse fact. But doing so may come with a steep cost.

Can Irene maintain the Library’s neutrality without losing everything she holds dear?

This is such a guilty pleasure series for me. Librarian’s, books, dragons, fae, chaos and order—alternate worlds all held together by this secret librarian and the librarian’s who run it–what more can a fantasy lovin’ bookworm ask for!

This fourth book in the series, gives our main villain a break. Instead of Irene and Kai fighting the Library’s archenemy, our duo is sent on what one might consider and average mission… to save the library. Very much like a television series has a giant overarching plot but some of the episodes only brush against it. That is The Lost Plot. But this isn’t a bad thing because (and I won’t spoil anything) the reader finally gets something they’ve been waiting for out of the series.

Even so, this one is full of the same savvy action, excellent world building and a character driven plot. I just love the way Irene thinks. How we go from no hope to winning the day through logic, guts, and a little luck, is just excellent.

I’d have to say, this is probably my least favorite of the four and only because I missed Vale and I though Kai got a little lost here and there. But I am in it until the end. This is one of those series that could have 10, 11, 12 books and I’d still want to read them. Love it!

This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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La Belle Sauvage

La Belle Sauvage is the first book in The Book of Dust series by Phillip Pullman. This series is a companion trilogy to Pullman’s His Dark Materials series and the first book is set 10 years before “The Golden Compass.”

Malcolm Polstead is a very observant boy who doesn’t bring too much attention to himself; this makes him the perfect ally for a spy. Malcom and his daemon often overhear the latest gossip and his curious nature and friendly face tend to lead Malcom to information that many would prefer to be kept secret.

It is one such secret that sets Malcolm on a course that will change him forever. Malcom must save baby Lyra from a religious order, a madman, natural elements and unnatural ones too. Along with a kitchen girl, Malcolm must embark on a dangerous quest to save this child of prophecy and return her to her father.

Can Malcolm brave the dangers and get Lyra through this storm?

Other than watching the movie version of “The Golden Compass,” I am going into this series blind. I’ve never actually gotten around to reading Pullman’s His Dark Materials, but I know a lot of fans of the series, so I figured I’d give this one a go. I also wanted to be able to tell the kids in my library what it is about and where it takes place in regards to the original series, as I see this being a question.

I actually went with the audio book for this one. I recently had a baby and I’ve been listening to a lot of audio books while taking care of her. I really enjoyed the audio but the second half of the book does get just a tad complicated/involved and I found myself a little lost on the details, since I wasn’t always giving it my whole attention. So I think I would recommend reading vs listening to this one.

For this complicated world of daemons, dust and secret societies, the story itself wasn’t overly complicated. The world building was done in such a way that the reader knows there is more to come but we are not overwhelmed with information right off the bat. And for those of you who have read Pullman’s other books, you won’t feel bogged down with information you already know.

Even though I got a little lost–my fault–this one still gets 4 stars from me. I like Pullman’s writing a lot and the story is interesting.

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire is the third book in the Wayward Children series.

We’re back at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children with some new and some familiar faces. As always, Eleanor takes in children who have found their doorways and somehow have lost them again. In this book a nonsense girl named, Rini, from a candy world, falls from the sky looking for her mother.

When Sumi found her doorway, it was predicted that she would do great things and that she would have a daughter. But Sumi died years before finding her way back to her candy coated world… but a nonsense world doesn’t always follow linear rules and now her daughter Rini is here to bring Sumi home.

Can Rini and a band of misfit wayward children do the impossible and bring Sumi back to life? And what troubles… what worlds will they find along the way?

I can’t tell you enough how much I adore this series of little books. Beneath the Sugar Sky gives the reader another look at the “worlds” children fall into–the doorways they stumble through. McGuire creates these sometimes zany, sometimes creepy, sometimes fantastically nutty worlds that I just love peaking into.

One of my favorite things about this series is that each book can easily stand up by its own. Yes, you get a bit of background about the school for wayward children in the first book and some of the characters from the first book appear in the subsequent ones, but I still think anyone could read any of these and be transported.

In each book, McGuire gives you a little more insight into these doorways and other worlds–you learn a little more about how they work. You get a whole new level of information in this book that makes these worlds a little more complex and interesting. But, for readers who aren’t interested in the how and why, you aren’t overwhelmed by details. This series can literally be for everyone.

Have I convinced you yet? Do yourself a favor and pick up this series. Another Wayward book that gets five stars from me!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Renegades

Renegades by Marissa Meyer is the first book in a new YA series all about superheroes.

In a world thrown into chaos, rises the Renegades–prodigies, superhumans with amazing abilities. The Renegades work to establish peace and regain order; they are a symbol to the people of a better time–as heroes who fight against the villains who once reigned during the age of anarchy.

Now these villains, the Anarchists, are relegated to the sewers, but a shadow of the power they once were. But one Anarchist has a plan. Nova, aka Nightmare, has a plan to infiltrate the Renegades and destroy them from the inside. As she gets closer to her goal, Nova meets Adrian, a Renegade boy with a secret and suddenly Nova finds herself questioning her motives and aims.

Will Nova accomplish her goals and destroy the Renegades or will the secrets she uncovers change everything?

This is definitely more of a tween novel in my opinion. Totally suitable for our older middle-schoolers. As of yet, there is no real romance, only flirtation. There are a few implied violent scenes but you can that in any superhero movie or comic these days. But this is also a read that would keep your teens and adults interested–Meyer is good at that. This is also an excellent audiobook with a narrator I really like.

Renegades is an interesting take on a superhero origin story. A society that falls apart because of superhuman prodigies and it is those prodigies that rebuild society. I also really like the villains in this series. They, well some of them, truly believe that the world would be a better place without the Renegades and honestly, Nova’s reasoning is really convincing.

Overall, I like where this one is going. There are secrets on both sides that are going to make for a really interesting storyline. I’m looking forward to the next one.

This one gets four stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir about a family that is less than perfect and determined to seek out a life they define.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents who took nonconformity to another level.  Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children, one boy and three girls–Jeannette being the second oldest. When Jeannette was young, her family lived a nomadic life–moving from place to place, sleeping in cars and camping in the desert.

Sometimes they scavenged for food and sometimes they ate like kings. All four kids grew up bookworms–studying geometry, art, history and basically any interesting fact their parents could get their hands on. Discipline took a back-burner to life; Rose Mary and Rex believed strongly in the sink or swim method of life lessons.

Although, they often went hungry and life could beat you down, there was something magical and adventurous about those early years on the road. But all that changed when the family moved to rural West Virginia and life deteriorated until the kids were all but surviving.

This is the story of a dysfunctional family that stuck together until they didn’t.

Anyone who follows my blog or reviews knows that I am not a big nonfiction person. I will occasionally listen to a biography or a narrative driven historical non-fiction but I’d rather jump out of my skin than get under someone else’s>>does that make sense? So for me, this book was beautifully written… just not for me.

When I first picked up this book I didn’t realize it was a memoir. And then reading what these kids went through, I really didn’t think it was a memoir until I looked it up on Amazon. Jeez, what a life Jeannette had and I am sure this book doesn’t even cover half of it. You’ve got to be extremely lucky to survive a life like that and come out the other side still intact.

The characters I think most people will focus on are erratic Rose Mary and charismatic Rex. But you know who I would have loved to get a closer look at… Jeannette’s brother. Although he and Jeannette were more like twins then brother and sister, Brian was the only boy and just a really interesting person in my opinion. I’d love to see this journey from his perspective.

Overall, this was a read about overcoming adversity and living life the best you can no matter what type of life you lead. This book gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Girl In The Tower

The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy.

After surviving a night of nightmares and putting her town back to rights the best she could, Vasya finds herself once again at the Frost Demon’s door. Vasya has been labeled a witch by her village, she doesn’t know what to do or where to go–she knows only that she wants to see the world and be more than the wife and mother she was expected to become.

When chance finds her in Moscow, masquerading as a boy, Vasya must learn to blend in or risk revealing herself. Now Vasya must guard her identity and navigate a society of rules, politics and drink or risk losing the freedom she has gained as a man. All the while, dark forces are at work and Vasya is at risk of losing a game she didn’t even know she was playing.

Will Vasya ever be able to face the reality of who or what she is? Will she ever understand this powerful connection she has with the Frost Demon and the world of the demovi? And what will she be willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?

The first book in this series was so complete that I was actually very surprised to find that there was going to be a second book, let alone third. I absolutely adored the first book. The mixture of myth and folklore, Russian culture and scenery were just extremely well done. Now in The Girl In The Tower we get a little less magic and myth and a little more society and the political culture of the time. And I think it was because of this that I wasn’t as enamored with the book.

This book does, however, achieve second book status in my opinion. In a trilogy, you usual get introductions and backstory in the first book, build up and intrigue in the second, and action and resolution in the third. Vasya and the demovi world were laid out for us and we met our core characters in the first book; in this one we learn more about why this secret world is fading and we learn that there is much more at work behind the scenes.

The Girl In The Tower addresses a lot of themes as well. We get gender roles and inequality, political turmoil, family roles and reversals and more. There is also just a feeling a magic and fairy tale-esq qualities in this book that gives it a very authentic feel.

Overall, this was a book that I enjoyed and I can’t wait to get more Vasya and Morozko in the final book. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race

Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein is the third book in the Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series.

Mr. Lemoncello and his fantabulous library is back for another adventure filled with riddles, fun, facts and of course books. After escaping the library and competing in the Library Olympics what else is there for Kyle Keeley and his friends to do? Race of course!

Mr. Lemoncello is on the verge of revealing his new fabulous fact-finding frenzy game and in Lemoncello fashion, he is asking his friends of the library to compete in a race to see who will tour the libraries of the world and debut his new game. Of course Kyle and his friends can’t wait to compete!

But the race ends up being about more than just a game. Kyle Keeley and his friends find themselves in a race of another kind… a race to the truth.

It is just so much fun uncovering clues and reading/hearing quotes from books you’ve read. It’s like “Hey! I’ve read that book too!” People love that and Grabenstein is constantly referencing popular books and authors. This is definitely a series for book lovers.

The Lemoncello world is a world I want to visit. I’d love to ride around in book mobiles and race across the states to find clues and solve riddles. And the library just gets cooler and cooler with each book. Please take me to this library!!!

My only criticism of this one is that all of the Lemoncello books feel very familiar. Yes, the plots are different but the contests and fact finding games are all very similar. It is still a lot of fun though and I did enjoy that this one focused on doing research and not taking shortcuts.

Overall, this was another entertaining read by Chris Grabenstein. Grabenstein really does write some great children’s books. This one gets a high 3.5-4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-