Book Review: Magic or Not? by Edward Eager


In yet another story that brings the magic of E. Nesbit into mid-twentieth-century America, Eager adds an additional twist: you’re never sure whether the wishing well made it happen, or whether there was a more natural explanation for the things that happened. The things that happened, happened to James and Laura– twins who have just moved to a very old red house in the Connecticut countryside with a supposedly magical wishing well in its front yard. They ... Read More »

Book Review: No Flying in the House by Betty Brock


When I was a young boy, I had two grandmothers who both strongly encouraged me to become the avid reader that I am today. They did so in different ways. The one that I mentioned in my review of Piers Anthony’s Xanth series simply gave me unlimited access to her enormous library, none of which was really written for children. She was also willing to talk with me, as one adult to another, about books we had both ... Read More »

Book Review: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink


  In the wee years of the twentieth century, an eight-year-old orphan girl named Caroline Ryrie went to live with her grandmother, whose name was also Caroline. The younger Caroline grew up listening to the older Caroline’s stories about her frontier childhood in Wisconsin, around the time of the U.S. Civil War. So deeply did these stories enter the child’s imagination that, in 1935, when she was grown up and married, she based her second ... Read More »

Book Review: Faerie Lord by Herbie Brennan


  Book Four of the Faerie Wars Chronicles begins when a fairy princess named Blue asks a mortal boy named Henry to marry her. And it totally freaks him out. Life is complicated enough for Henry Atherton. His childhood best friend has a crush on him. His weak but nice father has a new girlfriend and doesn’t have much time for him. His will and ambition are continually squashed by his snotty sister, his bossy mother, and ... Read More »

Book Review: Ruler of the Realm by Herbie Brennan


Ruler of the Realm by Herbie Brennan The third book in the Faerie Wars Chronicles finds Henry Atherton of the “analogue world” (that’s our world) beginning to doubt the reality of the faerie Realm in which he has had so many adventures. As his father starts seeing a much younger woman, and as his mother’s lesbian lover moves in with the family, Henry decides that all his experiences in the Realm were a hallucination, a kind of ... Read More »

Book Review: Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager


Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager The four children from Half-Magic have a new stepfather now, and together with him and their mother and their cat named Carrie, they go to spend their summer vacation on a lake in Northeastern Indiana. There Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha meet a magic, talking turtle who guides them on a lakeful of magical adventures. Of course, when you ask for “magic by the lake,” you might not get what ... Read More »

Book Review: The Purple Emperor by Herbie Brennan


The Purple Emperor by Herbie Brennan This second installment of The Faerie Wars Chronicles picks up only weeks after the story told in Faerie Wars. Pyrgus Malvae, young heir to the throne of the Faerie Realm, is preparing for his coronation…but he doesn’t feel ready to be Purple Emperor. He’s not the only one who objects. Lord Hairstreak, leader of the Faeries of the Night, has his own plans. And poor Henry Atherton of the Analogue Realm ... Read More »

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


I surprise myself when I look back on the thousands of books I have reviewed and see so few, if any, that really belong to the Steampunk genre. The whole “alternate history of Queen Victoria’s era with armed airships and high-tech high jinks” concept holds an immense appeal for a fantasy and historical fiction buff like me, but somehow I have only grazed the edges of this flourishing field. Books I have read by Stephen ... Read More »

Book Review: Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan


Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan Henry Atherton lives in present-day England and he has very present-day problems. He does odd jobs for a crazy old man who believes in fairies and UFOs, in order to save money for an MP3 player. His sister is horse-crazy. His parents are splitting up. Henry hardly knows how to help himself, or his family. So he certainly isn’t prepared to find out that old Mr. Fogarty is right about ... Read More »

Book Review: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray


The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray   My usual process, when reading a trilogy, is to read the first book first, the second book second, and the last book last. Nevertheless, when I found an audiobook edition of this third novel in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, I decided not to wait until I had read A Great and Terrible Beauty and The Rebel Angels. Luckily, the third book summarizes enough of what happened in the previous two ... Read More »