Book Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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The kingdom of Carthya is in trouble. Its king and queen, together with their eldest son, have been poisoned. The younger of the two princes was lost at sea four years ago, presumed dead. Its borders are lined with the armies of neighboring countries, hungry for the land’s rich resources. Once the noblemen begin squabbling over succession to the throne, the resulting civil war will show the weakness their enemies are waiting for. And so ... Read More »

Book Review: Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce

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The full title of this book is: Flora Segunda: Being the Magical Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog. Remember that for the quiz. And while I may not be quite serious about that quiz, this book could be seriously studied. Why? For one thing, because it contains a lot of vocab-building words that I had to look up ... Read More »

Book Review: How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found by Sara Nickerson

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This first novel for the young shows a lot of promise. It is scary, exciting, moving, funny and sad all mixed together…and it even has comic book panels in it. The comics come from a handmade series that a boy named Boyd finds in his local library which, in eccentric fashion, contains only handmade books. They are the adventures of Ratt, a man who, as a boy, gradually turned into a human rat; and his ... Read More »

Book Review: Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson

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Fiona Shaw, the actress who plays Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter movies, inspired the character of Mrs. Rokabye whom we meet in this book. Mrs. Rokabye is the guardian of a little orphan girl named Silver, who lives in a big old house called Tanglewreck. Silver’s parents and sister disappeared in a railway accident four years ago, and Mrs. Rokabye stepped in with legal papers and an evil rabbit named Bigamist (who was soon ... Read More »

Book Review: The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brian

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Like many who are now discovering the thrills and pleasures of Patrick O’’Brian’’s naval fiction, my first exposure to the Aubrey-Maturin series was the film, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. A film with two titles, taken respectively from the first and the tenth book in this twenty-book series. As I read the first nine books, I gathered that the film title was meant to “book-end” the part of the series from which the script ... Read More »

Book Review: The Once and Future King by T.H. White

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Before Dumbledore, before even Gandalf, the English imagination conceived a great wizard of whom all others are but pale imitations. Merlin’s beard! Who could I mean, but Merlin? Since Malory’s Morte d’Arthur there have been many retellings of the popular legends of Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Launcelot and Guenever, and the quest for the Holy Grail. Lately there have even been a series of books by T. A. Barron about the youthful “lost years” ... Read More »

Book Review: The Dragon’s Tooth by N. D. Wilson

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You probably didn’t know this, but Columbus wasn’t the first European explorer to discover America. And nor were Vikings such as Leif Ericson. According to this book, the first colony in the new world was planted by Saint Brendan, a sixth-century Irish monk whose followers started a community of hermits on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Now only one of several Estates that the Order of St. Brendan operates around the world, the community of Ashtown, ... Read More »

Book Review: Tadpole by Ruth White

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Tadpole, a.k.a. Tad, a.k.a. Winston Churchill Birch, is a favorite cousin of the four Collins sisters, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and Carolina. But since his parents died, he has been passed around from one relative to another…until now. Age thirteen, old enough to work, Tad has been legally adopted by his Uncle Matthew, who seems likely to work Tadpole into an early grave, and allow him no time for the joy and music that lights up ... Read More »

Book Review: The Chestnut King by N. D. Wilson

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In this final sequel to 100 Cupboards and Dandelion Fire, Henry York Maccabee girds himself for his final battle with the witch queen of Endor, knowing that if he fails, all life in the world he has learned to love will turn to ashes… beginning with those nearest and dearest to him. He must not lose, but how can he win when a drop of the witch’s blood is eating away at his body and mind like an ... Read More »

Book Review: Eldest by Christopher Paolini

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If you consider how strongly I endorsed Eragon - the first book of the Inheritance Trilogy – you might think it odd that it has taken me so long to get around to reading this second book. Written by the same youthful, Montana-based author, Eldest continues to follow the development of its hero from an illiterate, outdoorsy farmboy to a dragon-riding, magic-using, evil-emperor-defying warrior. So why did I hesitate to read it? I don’t know. Perhaps I was afraid ... Read More »