Tag Archives: 5 lightning bolts

Book Review: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

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Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy Recommended Ages: 14+ If I had read Anna Karenina after this book, it would have cheered me up. Hardy’s last novel, written in 1895, stirred up such harsh criticism that its author never wrote another novel, although he lived until 1928. In me, listening to the audio-book while driving a sales circuit of convenience stores in rural Illinois, it stirred up feelings of failure and disappointment in life. The ... Read More »

Book Review: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

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The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens Recommended Ages: 12+ Kate P barely remembers her parents. Heck, she doesn’t even remember her last name; only the letter P. Mostly she remembers the night her parents disappeared, when her mother gave her a cherished locket, told her to take care of her younger brother and sister, and promised to return someday. Since then, Kate, Michael, and Emma have spent ten years moving from one orphanage to another, ... Read More »

Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Recommended Ages: 14+ Over the past few years, I have frequently experienced the advantages of having audiobooks in my car while commuting or traveling. In that way I have found time, at last, to take in many great works of literature that I might otherwise have skipped because they were too long, too serious, to difficult to focus my mind on during the sleepy time of day when I do ... Read More »

Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

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The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde Recommended Ages: 12+ In a twisted alternate world, the Dragonlands are situated between the Kingdom of Hereford and the Duchy of Brecon, in the west of a balnkanized version of England and Wales known as the Ununited Kingdoms. It’s a world where magic is slowly dying out, its practitioners reduced to delivering pizzas on flying carpets and rewiring houses by spell. A world where knights in shining armor are ... Read More »

Book Review: Pegasus by Robin McKinley

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Pegasus by Robin McKinley Recommended Ages: 12+ She has won the Newbery Medal (for The Hero and the Crown). She has won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (for Sunshine). She has entertained us with tales of vampires, fairies, dragons, and Robin Hood, as well as folk tales spruced up as novels. As the wife of Peter Dickinson, she dwells in a reactor-core of magic and beautiful storytelling that could reach critical mass at any time. All ... Read More »

Book Review: Parsifal’s Page by Gerald Morris

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Parsifal’s Page by Gerald Morris Recommended Ages: 11+ In the fourth of at least ten books in a series based on Arthurian legends, Wisconsin-based author and Baptist minister Gerald Morris brings more than an impressive display of scholarship. He also brings a very evident love of one of the world’s most enduring and powerful stories, a knack for making old tales new in a way that will appeal to younger readers, and a charm for ... Read More »

Book Review: The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

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The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima Recommended Ages: 14+ Book Four of the Seven Realms series brings Han Alister, Raisa, and the Queendom of the Fells to the crisis of their age. And—just think of it—their age is scarcely eighteen! Readers around that age will be especially thrilled by the political intrigues, the deadly dangers, the perplexing mysteries, and the turbulent romance that swirl around these two main characters. He is a former street ... Read More »

Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

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Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Recommended Ages: 14+ What do a wearh, a manjasang, a nachzehrer, and an alukah have in common? In this sequel to A Discovery of Witches, we find out that they are all words for “vampire” used across 16th century Europe, from Oxfordshire to the Auvergne to the Jewish Quarter of Prague. Present-day American witch Diana Bishop has the opportunity to learn about them, not only as a post-doctoral scholar ... Read More »

Book Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

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Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta Recommended Ages: 14+ The Australian author of Jellicoe Road has dealt with many issues facing today’s young adults: loneliness, depression, grief, single pregnancy, suicide, racism, family and school problems galore. Then she turned toward writing YA fantasy, and the “Lumatere Chronicles” is the result. In this first book of the trilogy, we are introduced to a gripping, romantic fantasy about sexy young people riding horses, sailing ships, and ... Read More »

Book Review: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

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The Magician King by Lev Grossman Recommended Ages: 14+ The Magicians introduced us to Quentin Coldwater, a young American whose heart belongs in a Narnia-like world of juvenile fantasy novels called Fillory. When Quentin gets into an exclusive school called Brakebills (think: a college-level Hogwarts in upstate New York), he learns the dangerous art magic, then joins several of his buddies on a journey that takes them to the very real world of Fillory. And ... Read More »