Robbie

Robbie Reviews “The Enchantress Returns” by Chris Colfer

EnchantressReturns

Collection spells are not just for debt collectors who want to put the hoodoo on a delinquent customer. In Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories series, they are the framework for a quest-like adventure through a magic world teeming with fairy-tale heroes and villains. The first book, The Wishing Spell, was all about a shopping list of magical items that twins Alex and Conner Bailey needed to assemble in order to get home to the “Other ... Read More »

Book Review: The Dragon’s Lair by Elizabeth Haydon

DragonsLair

The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, allegedly discovered in an archeological dig and reconstructed by an expert scholar, relate the experiences of a young explorer in a long-ago world full of magical races, objects, and stories. In this third book, following The Floating Island and The Thief Queen’s Daughter, Ven and his friends flee from the frying pan to the fire. By “frying pan” I mean the Inner Market, walled up inside the Gated City, ... Read More »

Book Review: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

SkyRaiders

When Cole and his sixth-grader friends troop down the basement steps to view a spooky, Halloween house of horrors, they’re more worried about whether they’re too old to go trick-or-treating than about being kidnapped. But the basement is already nearly full of caged kids waiting to be forced down a ladder in the floor. Cole manages to hide until everybody has gone down the hole, wondering how anyone could think of getting away with kidnapping ... Read More »

Book Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris

I’ve never read anything by Brandon Sanderson before, and I’m generally leery of thick fantasy novels that have the look of “Book One of a Punishingly Long Series.” Three things convinced me to give this book a try. First is the fact that, although it was his first published novel back in 2005, Sanderson hasn’t written any sequels to it… yet. I’m told he plans to, but so far all he has rolled out is ... Read More »

Book Review: The Thief Queen’s Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon

ThiefQueen

In The Floating Island, we first met Ven Polypheme, an unusual specimen of the ancient Nain race. Unlike the typical Nain, whose idea of a good time is to dig ore out of a mountain’s roots, Ven’s family lives in a human city and specializes in building ships. Unlike other members of his large, practical family, Ven has the itchy feet of an explorer. And unlike practically anyone else in known history, Ven has survived ... Read More »

Book Review: Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson

Stilettos

It’s been quite a few years since I read Enchanted, Inc. because, frankly, I’m a guy and chick lit isn’t my thing. But it was such a funny and magical book that continuing with the series has often been on my mind. And now I find that the Katie Chandler series has grown to seven books. Based on the adventures of a Texas belle who finds adventure, romance, and professional fulfillment in New York, it ... Read More »

Book Review: Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz

DeeplyOdd

He still keeps saying, “I’m just a fry-cook,” even though it’s been nineteen months since he last wielded a spatula in anger. During that time, he has followed the tug of his psychic senses from one horrific ordeal to another. He has stopped mass-murders before they happened. He has staved off a nuclear apocalypse, canceled an alien invasion, and unpicked a snarl in the fabric of space-time. He has exterminated nests of serial killers, rescued ... Read More »

Book Review: The Wizard in the Tree by Lloyd Alexander

WizardTree

If Chocolate Frogs Famous Wizard Cards featured beloved wizards from the pages of literature, you know there would be a card each for J. K. Rowling’s Dumbledore, and Tolkien’s Gandalf, and Peter Beagle’s Schmendrick, and John Bellairs’ Prospero… I’ve already got quite a long list in mind. Now that I’ve read this brief book by the Newbery Medal and National Book Award winning author of the Prydain Chronicles, I have another name to add to ... Read More »

Book Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming

ChittyBang

We’ve run into this problem before: First it was a novel. Then it was adapted, more successfully than faithfully, into a movie. Then came a film novelization, a novel designed to be more faithful to the movie than the movie was to the original novel. They did it to Pierre Boulle’s Planet of the Apes. More recently, it happened to Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon. It even happened to another book by Ian ... Read More »

Book Review: Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Wildwood

When I saw this book at the public library, I thought it had a striking design. This, including loads of quirky but beautiful illustrations, is the work of Carson Ellis, who has also decorated books by Lemony Snicket and Trenton Lee Stewart. As for the author, I thought his name sounded familiar. Only later, after I had brought the book home, did I connect it with the alternative-rock band The Decembrists, of which Colin Meloy ... Read More »