Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: Effie Truelove believes in magic, as does her grandfather Griffin (although he refuses to do any magic, let alone teach Effie how to use it). After a mysterious incident leaves Griffin close to death, Effie is given an unusual silver ring and told she must look after her grandfather’s library of rare and powerful books. But then the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, and Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life.
Now, Effie and her friends–nerdy Maxmillian, rugby-mad Wolf, helpful Lexy, and eccentric Raven–must discover their true powers if they are to get the books back. And Effie alone will have to travel to the Otherworld, she will discover the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green…
Dragon’s Green is Scarlett Thomas’s first book written for children, and what a marvelous beginning it is! Effie Truelove is a heroine in the same vein as Harry Potter. She’s courageous, loyal, and determined to do the right thing. But her true strength comes from the support of friends, who are just as well-developed as Effie. They’re an entertaining mix of kids who are always willing to come to each other’s aid. The dialogue between them is clever and funny, which further adds to the enjoyment of the story. The world-building is simply phenomenal. The story is set in an alternative London after a catastrophic earthquake has destroyed the majority of technology and seemingly, magic. You can probably guess from the cover and premise, that books play a central role here, which makes this even more appealing. The only reason why I haven’t given this a perfect 5 star rating, is because except for Effie’s grandfather and Maxmillian’s mother, who both seem to know more than they’re willing to share with our intrepid heroes, most of the adults are at best, uncaring, and at worst absolutely horrible. They’re very reminiscent of the way adults are depicted in Roald Dahl’s books. I was left wishing they were a little more original, but the rest of the story is so wonderful that this is a minor complaint. Dragon’s Green is a fantastic and creative beginning to this new middle grade series, and I highly recommend it to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. I can’t wait for the next book!
I received this e-Arc from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 1st, 2016
Synopsis: Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Broken Wheel Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who has traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor–not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined she’d start a bookstore. Or that books would bring them together–and change everything.
There’s a book for every person…and a person for every book.
Others might have found themselves stuck in a tired, old high school in Haninge, but had been a geisha in Japan, walked along China’s last empress through the claustrophobic, closed off rooms of the Forbidden City, grown up with Anne and the others in Green Gables, gone through her fair share of murder, and love and lost over and over again.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is already an international bestseller and after reading this utterly charming book, I understand why.
First of all, let me warn you there’s a few elements in this book that may have you rolling your eyes, or asking “Seriously?!” But trust me. Put those feelings on the backburner, because the rest of the story with it’s captivating plot and quirky characters are worth it!
The first eye-rolling moment comes right at the beginning when Swedish bookworm Sara Lindquist who has played it safe her entire life, finds herself out of work after the small bookshop that she’s worked for many years, goes out of business. She shocks her family when she decides to travel to Broken Wheel Iowa to visit pen-pal and fellow Bibliophile Amy Harris. Once you get past that “She did what?” moment, Sara and the inhabitants of this small dusty town–that has never really seen better days–will mesmerize you until the very last page. I have to admit that part of the attraction for me was that I completely identified with Sara. She’s quiet and unassuming, and people tend to overlook her. She literally lives through her books. Her only friend is Amy who she’s never met. She’s devastated when she embarks on her grand adventure, only to find once she’s arrived that her kindred spirit has passed away. But then something strange happens. The quirky folks of Broken Wheel sort of adopt her, even to the extent of not letting her pay for anything. Sara, in turn winds up adopting them as well and comes up with the idea of opening a small bookstore using her’s and Amy’s collections as stock. The only problem is that no one besides Sara understands the magical appeal of books, so she is forced to come up with some creative ploys to attract these reluctant readers into her store. This results in quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. There’s even a sweet little romance here as well which for a change isn’t filled with large amounts of drama and angst.
You’ll also hear from Amy through her handwritten letters to Sara. It’s through this detailed correspondence that you realize Amy was the glue that held this fading community together. Once she’s gone they’re lost and bewildered. But then this stranger from halfway around the world with all her odd ideas enters the picture and the healing begins.
Despite it’s overall lighthearted tone, the story does tackle a few weightier issues including: religion, racism, and homophobia. The author does this in a thoughtful manner, yet never lets them overtake her story. This is small town America with all it’s strengths and weaknesses.
By the end of the story, while Sara has made quite an impact on Broken Wheel, she finds herself transformed as well. For the first time she sees that there’s a whole world outside of the ones she’s lived in through her books. Going on this journey with her is pure, unadulterated joy.
If you love books about not only the love of books, but self discovery, recovery, and small town America, I urge you to read this. Particularly if you’re a fan of 84 Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff, and The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Society, by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. The only disappointment you’ll feel is when the story is over. I guarantee you’ll be as reluctant to leave Sara and the small dusty town of Broken Wheel as I was.
Thanks to Vanessa at http://romancedonewrite.wordpress.com for this lovely nomination! She’s incredibly talented and has a wonderful blog.If you love writing, romance, and YA fiction, you should really check her out (if you haven’t already).
Here are the rules:
· Compose a one-time post on a specific Monday.
· Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post by. My nominees can post on Monday, May 11th if they’d like.
· Pass the tour on to up to four other bloggers.
· Answer four questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires to do what you do.
On to the questions!
1. What’s are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been working on a YA novel that is based on the tv show Supernatural. This has been my WIP for the last two years so I guess you could say I’m a little slow. I’ve finished my first draft and I’m tweaking it right now.
2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?
Oh gosh. I don’t know if it does. I guess what I’m attempting to do with this, is to expand upon the mythology behind the show. None of my characters are perfect, but I hope they’re ones that readers will be able to relate to.
3. Why do you write or create what you do?
I have had my nose in one book or another since childhood, and they’ve brought me such pleasure over the years. They’ve transported me to wonderful places and introduced me to characters that I wish I could meet in real life. If my work ever gets published, and it makes even one reader feel the same way, I will consider it a success.
4. How does your writing/creative process work?
When I’m first beginning a writing project, I handwrite it first, and then transfer it to a computer. I know this sounds like I’m making more work for myself, and I am. There’s just something about sitting in front of a pc that kills my creative process. I’ve tried it several times and it just doesn’t work. When I was in college, I had to write all my papers this way, even my thesis! I also have to have music playing softly in the background. The type of music depends on what I’m writing. Right now I’m listening to classic 70s rock, and groups like Evanescence, One Republic, Rise Against, and Imagine Dragons.
So, that’s it for me. Here are my nominees:
Emma @ http://emmakwall.com
Jonathan & Aaron @ http://husbandandhusband.net
The following is from The Girl At Midnight, by Melissa Grey which is set to release on 4/28/15, (review coming soon). I think this may be one of my new favorite literary quotes.
“Sometimes”, the Ala said, “when I’m feeling sad, I like to be around all these books. They’re very good at making you forget your troubles. It’s like having a million friends, wrapped in paper and scrawled in ink.”
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