Book Review Club: Magical Books for Kids & Adults #reviews

For the October meeting of Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club I decided to review two juvenile books I read this summer. Both feature magic which seems appropriate for Halloween month.

Girl Who Drank the Moon cover

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
2017 Newbery Winner
Fantasy / Fairy Tales
Audio book narrated by Christina Moore

This middle grade fantasy book reads like a fairy tale. Once a year in a land called The Protectorate, the youngest child in the village is sacrificied to an evil witch who lives in the forest. What the inhabitants don’t know is that there is no evil witch. What the Elders who rule the Protectorate don’t know is that there is a good witch named Xan who shows up every year to rescue the baby and take it to the Free Cities on the other side of the forest to be adopted by a loving family. Along the way Xan feeds the baby on starlight.

One year things don’t go as planned. Xan is so enamored of this baby that she accidentally feeds her moonlight which enmagicks her. Xan decides to keep this special child whom she names Luna. Xan is 500 years old. She lives in the middle of the forest with a tiny dragon named Fyrian and a large swamp monster who quotes poetry and is older than magic named Glerk. Xan, Glerk and Fyrian raise Luna, who is so full of magic she can’t control that Xan has to cast a spell to contain her magic.

Meanwhile, back in the Protectorate, a young man named Antain, nephew of the High Elder, watches what is going on with horror. He is present when Luna is torn from her mother’s arms. Her mother subsequently goes mad and is locked up in the tower of the Sisters of the Stars, a paramilitary order of nuns led by the evil Sister Ignatia.

When Luna draws close to her 13th birthday, at which time the spell containing her powers will be released, everything comes to a head in the forest during a volcanic eruption.

The review in the New York Times said the book “educates about oppression, blind allegiance and challenging the status quo while immersing the reader in an exhilarating story full of magical creatures and derring-do.”

The whole book is absolutely delightful, and I can see why it’s the 2017 Newbery winner. I loved the characters, esp. Fyrian, who is actually 500 years old but acts like a child. I loved the voice the narrator used for him. He’s such a cute, endearing character. Highly recommended for both children and adults.

Splendors and Glooms cover

Splendors and Glooms cover

Splendors and Glooms
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Juvenile Literature

Schlitz is also a Newbery winner but not for this book. It’s a Victorian Gothic fantasy and rather dark in the later Harry Potter tradition. There are three children in the book: Clara Wintermute, the only living child of parents who lost the other four to cholera. Clara escaped because she refused to eat her watercress. The family is still mourning four years later. Clara sees Gaspare Grisini and the two children who work for him, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, do a play with marionettes in the park and loves it. She begs her father to hire Grisini to perform at her birthday party with disastrous results. The next morning Clara is missing and Lizzie Rose and Parsefall find a new marionette who looks just like her. They all end up in the Lake Country at the home of a dying witch who needs the children to release her from a curse.

I found the book very interesting and some of the characters, esp. Lizzie Rose and Clara, endearing. Parsefall, a workhouse kid, provides some comic release. Grisini is the real villain of the book, though the witch is a mixed blessing to the children. Well written and engrossing.

Click on the graphic below for more great reviews in Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club.

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Linda

Dear FCC: I bought the Audible copy of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and I borrowed Splendors and Glooms from the public library.

Legacy of Evil: The Hotel LaBelle Series by @@sbuchbinder Ghost #BookHugs

Please welcome Sharon Bell Bookbinder, author of Legacy of Evil: The Hotel LaBelle Series, Book 2, in our Ghost #Bookhugs Author Exchange.

Legacy of Evil cover

Release date: October 13, 2017

Blurb: When a wild mustang is shot in Montana, renowned horse whisperer and telepath, Emma Horserider, is called in to calm the herd and find out what happened. Once on scene she is almost killed by a bullet-spewing drone, and calls her black ops brother for back-up.

Emma’s help roars into her life covered in tattoos and riding a Harley. Remote viewer Bronco Winchester takes the assignment because he is ordered to, but he wonders what type of assistance, his boss’s sister needs. That is until he sees Emma, a valiant Warrior Woman proud of her Crow heritage.

Posing as a married couple, Emma and Bronco go undercover to infiltrate and stop a hate group. Both are anxious enough without the now growing attachment they feel for one another. When the lives of many are on the line, they are not sure if they will live or die—let alone have a chance at love. One battle, one outcome. Who will win? Good or evil?

Excerpt:

Bronco now stood squinting in the late afternoon sun, knocking at a door with no bell, and  waiting  for  a  response.  Dogs  barked  and a window  curtain  twitched.  Good.  Someone was home. He adjusted his pack, leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and said, “Any time now.” As the words slid out of his mouth,  he  heard  the  unmistakable  sound  of a shotgun being pumped.

Uh. Oh.

He raised his hands. “Don’t shoot. I’m unarmed.”

Turning slowly to face his fate, his jaw fell open, and his  heart  rate  kicked  up  a  notch  from  being  on  the wrong end of a shotgun or from the weapon holder’s looks, he wasn’t sure. A raven haired Amazon in a tank top,  jeans, and  metal  tipped  cowboy  boots  held  the Mossberg 500 in a perfect military stance. Long strands of hair blew across her face in the hot breeze. A large purple bruise  bloomed  on  her left cheek. She squinted her dark brown eyes and gave him a laser-beam once over from his dusty black boots to his sweat soaked do-rag.

“Who are you, and what do you want?”

If he hadn’t been so intent on not getting killed, he would  have  spent  more  time  staring  at  those  full, luscious,  kissable  lips  and  thinking  about  how  she would taste. As it was, he guessed he had less than a minute to respond before getting blasted into the next county.

BUY LINKS:

The Wild Rose Press >https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5290-legacy-of-evil.html

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0755RFJFG

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A Message from the Author
One of the things I have learned in my life as an author, professor, wife, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-aunt, and pet lover is that we are more alike than not. For me, romance is not only about the story of people falling in love, but also about connecting with readers and their lives. We are living in challenging times and at times those challenges can feel overwhelming. I call on each of us to take a moment to reach out and connect with other people. Let someone know they matter. It only takes a few words of kindness to life someone up. You may be the one person who helps someone get through a rough patch.

Hugs,
Sharon

Sharon BuchbinderAbout the Author:
Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.

Author Links

Facebook: Sharon Buchbinder Romance Author https://www.facebook.com/sharon.buchbinder.romanceauthor
Twitter ID @sbuchbinder https://twitter.com/sbuchbinder
Instagram: https://instagram.com/sharon_buchbinder/
Blog http://sharonbuchbinder.blogspot.com/
Website http://www.sharonbuchbinder.com/index.html

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