T5W – You’re A Mean One…

Hello all! Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Bookish Things You’re a Grinch About

Hmm..bookish pet peeves, eh? I’ve got quite a few of those. ::rubs hands menacingly::

Movie Covers

Look, I understand the concept: once a book is made into a movie, a lot of people will think of it as “the book of that movie I like”, so why not market to those people to try to sell more copies, right? It’s just SO IRRITATING. Especially when you are only halfway through the series and the publisher switches to ONLY movie covers, so your series is half of one and half of the other.

Defacing Books

Having recently rediscovered my love of the library, I run into this ALL THE TIME. Dog-eared pages, notes scrawled in the margins, underlines, covers that have been folded back so far that I don’t understand how the spine still works! It’s really annoying. If it’s your own personal copy, fine, do what you want to it. But if it’s a library book or, heaven forbid, a book I lent to you…remember the golden rule of ‘borrowing’: leave it better than you found it.

Jumping POVs

I get it, you want to show the story from everyone’s point of view, right? Change things up, keep the reader on their toes. Help the reader understand all the characters better. Fine, but at least keep it to only two or three characters. Don’t jump between fifteen people. Don’t make EVERY chapter a new person. And, for goodness’ sake, LABEL THE FRICKIN’ POVS!!!!!

Distracted Women

So, I know this happens (occasionally) with male characters too, but the amount of female characters I’ve seen get distracted from whatever they are supposed to be accomplishing because some hot guy showed up is INSANE. Trying to figure out who murdered your best friend? “I wonder if that hot detective is single?” Trying to save the universe? “This might be the last time I see you, person I just met, so we should totally hook up. The universe can wait.” It’s completely ridiculous. Maybe focus on the task at hand and worry about your love life later.

Which leads me to…

Romance in EVERYTHING

About a year ago, I tasked one of my reading groups with a challenge: “Please suggest to me a book that: 1) has a female main character, 2) is Adult/Young Adult reading level, and 3) HAS ZERO ROMANCE IN IT. No hook-ups, no longing glances, no sexual tension, NOTHING.” Do you know how many responses I got that followed all the criteria? ONE. Out of over a HUNDRED people. Why on earth does every single story have to have romance in it? Why do I have to hit up the children’s section at my library to find a book without it? Is romance really that permeating in every day life, that I can name on one hand the number of adult books I’ve found without it?


So how about you? What are some of YOUR bookish pet peeves?

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T5W – And Now I Can’t Get Natalie Merchant Out of My Head…

Hi all! Wow, it’s been AGES since I did a Top 5 Wednesday! I’m going to do a delayed post from last week, since I really like that topic, so…

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday Topic is: Books For Which You Are Thankful

I have quite a lot of books that I love, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I think I’ll aim for books that have made a real difference in my life.

Fatso Jean, the Ice Cream Queen (Maryann MacDonald)

6-12-2017 1-27-43 PMDescription from Amazon: A misfit in a neighborhood filled with athletic youngsters, nine-year-old Jean seeks solace in eating ice cream, until the teasing of the “Mean Team” leads Jean to set up her own business making ice cream.

My Review: Strange pick, I know, but this was the very first book I read where I actually empathized with the main character. I myself was a large little girl who just wanted to fit in and have friends. This book taught me that you should love yourself, regardless of how you look, and that confidence in yourself is the key to living the life you want.

The Hardy Boys (Franklin W. Dixon)

The_Tower_TreasureCondensed Description from WikipediaThe Hardy Boys are fictional teenage brothers and amateur detectives. They live in the city of Bayport on with their father, detective Fenton Hardy, their mother, Laura Hardy, and their Aunt Gertrude. Frank, the older brother, is eighteen (sixteen in earlier versions), and his younger brother Joe is seventeen (fifteen in earlier versions). 

The Hardy Boys are constantly involved in adventure and action. Despite frequent danger, the boys “never lose their nerve … They are hardy boys, luckier and more clever than anyone around them.” They live in an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue: “Never were so many assorted felonies committed in a simple American small town. Murder, drug peddling, race horse kidnapping, diamond smuggling, medical malpractice, big-time auto theft, even (in the 1940s) the hijacking of strategic materials and espionage, all were conducted with Bayport as a nucleus.” 

My Review: This was the series that made me fall in love with reading. The original books are perfect for middle grade kids: easy to read/follow and filled with thrilling adventures and mysteries. Over the years, they’ve transitioned to include books for younger and older kids as well. To this day, I own over 200 of these books and I wouldn’t give them up for the world. 🙂

Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)

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Condensed Description from WikipediaThe novels chronicle the life of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry’s struggle against Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who intends to become immortal, overthrow the wizard governing body known as the Ministry of Magic, and subjugate all wizards and muggles, a reference term that means non-magical people.

My Review: Well, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t in SOME way impacted by Harry Potter, but this was such a HUGE part of my life during college that I still to this day read the fanfic, buy all the new books and movies, and receive the merchandise from friends. I’m not QUITE as obsessed as I used to be, but I still really love the HP universe.

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit (Daniel Quinn)

ishmaelDescription from Goodreads: TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person. – It was just a three-line ad in the personals section, but it launched the adventure of a lifetime… 

My Review: There are some books that have to hit you at the right point in your life in order to make an impact. This is one of those books and it hit me at just the right moment: early college days, just learning to think for myself instead of believing what everyone else told me. I don’t remember a lot of what the book discusses, but I DO remember it being one of the first books that I actually thought about in depth (and not just because I was assigned to do so). It made me feel like reading could actually have a meaning besides just having fun or learning information.

Hyperbole & a Half (Allie Brosh)

2D9725260-coverDescription from Goodreads: This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative–like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it–but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly.

So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book: Pictures, Words, Stories about things that happened to me, Stories about things that happened to other people because of me, Eight billion dollars*, Stories about dogs, The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

My Review: This is one of my go-to books when I’m feeling blue. I’ve done a full review of it here. This book has gotten me through many a tough day; days when all I wanted to do was sleep, but was disgusted with myself for not doing something with my life instead of sitting around like a lump. I will forever be grateful to Allie for putting herself out there and helping me realize that I wasn’t alone.


What are some of the books YOU are thankful for?

T5W – Cooking in Eggshells

Hi all! Today’s topic was a “choose your own adventure” type deal where we got to discuss books featuring a paranormal creature of our choosing.

So today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is…Books about Changelings!

(For those not in the know, apparently the Fae occasionally like to steal children (and adults) and replace them with doppelgangers; these look-a-likes are called Changelings. The lore behind these creatures is fascinating, though the reality was often much more brutal.) 

The Replacement (Brenna Yovanoff)

thereplacementMackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. — I read this one AGES ago, so I don’t remember a lot about it except that I thought it was awesome. 😉

Cuckoo Song (Francis Hardinge)

cuckoosongWhen Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family – before it’s too late. — I hope adding this one to the list isn’t too much of a spoiler. I figured out pretty early on what was happening (at least with Triss), so fingers crossed. This was my first Francis Hardinge book and I completely fell in love with her writing.

The Darkest Part of the Forest (Holly Black)

thedarkestpartoftheforestHazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does…As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough? — I didn’t have a lot of expectations going in to this one and I ended up being pleasantly surprised. You can read my full review here.


And since I haven’t actually read enough books about changelings to cover this topic, I’ve had to dig in to my TBR list on Goodreads!


The Stolen Child (Keith Donohue)

thestolenchildOn a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings—an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit him away, name him Aniday, and make him one of their own. Stuck forever as a child, Aniday grows in spirit, struggling to remember the life and family he left behind. He also seeks to understand and fit in this shadow land, as modern life encroaches upon both myth and nature. In his place, the changelings leave a double, a boy who steals Henry’s life in the world. This new Henry Day must adjust to a modern culture while hiding his true identity from the Day family. But he can’t hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the true Henry never displayed), and his dazzling performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he ages the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Of a time when he, too, had been a stolen child. Both Henry and Aniday obsessively search for who they once were before they changed places in the world. — I like the fact that this story includes the child that was taken and not just the changeling left behind. Most novels with changelings focus solely on our world instead of showing both sides.

Tithe (Holly Black)

titheSixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death. — This one sounds quite a bit grittier than The Darkest Part of the Forest, but I’m intrigued by the description and LOVE Holly Black, so I’ll probably give it a go once my library gets a copy.


Got any good stories about Changelings? Or would you have picked another paranormal creature?

T5W – Haunted and Haunting

Hello all! This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Favorite Creepy Settings! I’m going to give you guys 5 spooky books where the author does a fabulous job of using the creepy setting to enhance the story.

The Screaming Staircase (Jonathan Stroud)

screamingstaircaseFor more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive. — This one surprised me. It’s listed as a middle grade book, so I wasn’t expecting it to freak me out as much as it did. There’s actual danger, a good story, and a haunted house so scary that even Stephen King would approve. I literally slept with my lights on after I finished it. Great book!

The End Games (T. Michael Martin)

13228537Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks. In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good. But The Game is changing. The Bellows are evolving. The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules. And the brothers will never be the same. — I know some people find solace in the woods, but I can’t help it, the woods have always scared the bajeezes out of me. So reading a zombie novel set in the woods was probably not the best of ideas. 😉 Being from WV myself, though, I had to give this one a try. Pitch dark forests, old mines, burned out ghost towns, and my own capitol overrun by zombies & crazies alike…what a great horror novel!

Wayward Pines series (Blake Crouch)

wayward-pines-series

From the first book: Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive. — Ever meet someone who seemed a little TOO friendly? That’s basically how this series starts out, with a town that’s a little too Stepford Wives to be believable. The whole setting is just offputting, which really enhances the suspense. If you like the Twilight Zone and don’t mind a bit of gore, this series is for you!

The Mist (Stephen King)

themistIt’s a hot, lazy day, perfect for a cookout, until you see those strange dark clouds. Suddenly a violent storm sweeps across the lake and ends as abruptly and unexpectedly as it had begun. Then comes the mist…creeping slowly, inexorably into town, where it settles and waits, trapping you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world. The mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. What unleashed this terror? Was it the Arrowhead Project—the top secret government operation that everyone has noticed but no one quite understands? And what happens when the provisions have run out and you’re forced to make your escape, edging blindly through the dim light? — Stephen King is BRILLIANT at taking completely normal surroundings and turning them into the scariest places on earth. In this case, the local supermarket turns first into a refuge from the monsters outside and then into a madhouse containing it’s OWN monsters. I actually read this in the original novella format (and liked the ending WAY better than the movie) so I’d recommend starting there.

House of Dark Shadows (Robert Liparulo)

houseofdarkshadowsWhen the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land. But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into–as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house. They soon discover there’s something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school. Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places–in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen’s dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare. — This one also surprised me. I came into it not expecting very much and ended up ADORING it. Basically the setting is this old, creepy house where each room is a portal to another time. It’s REALLY COOL. And actually dangerous, which doesn’t seem to happen often in children’s books. I definitely recommend this one for kids who don’t scare too easily.


How about you guys? What book settings completely freaked you out?

Top 5 Wednesday – I Put A Spell On You

Hello all! I haven’t done a Top 5 Wednesday in quite some time, but I LOVE the topics they chose for October so I’ll probably try to keep my hand in this month. 🙂

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday Topic is: Books Featuring Witches.

A Night in the Lonesome October (Roger Zelazny)

lonesomeoctoberLoyally accompanying a mysterious knife-wielding gentleman named Jack on his midnight rounds through the murky streets of London, good dog Snuff is busy helping his master collect the grisly ingredients needed for an unearthly rite that will take place not long after the death of the moon. But Snuff and his master are not alone. All manner of participants, both human and not, are gathering with their ancient tools and their animal familiars in preparation for the dread night. It is brave, devoted Snuff who must calculate the patterns of the Game and keep track of the Players—the witch, the mad monk, the vengeful vicar, the Count who sleeps by day, the Good Doctor and the hulking Experiment Man he fashioned from human body parts, and a wild-card American named Larry Talbot—all the while keeping Things at bay and staying a leap ahead of the Great Detective, who knows quite a bit more than he lets on. — Since everything is told from the Dog’s perspective, you only discover things as he does, so I had quite a lot of fun trying to figure out who was who in this book. Not a very scary tale, but enjoyable nonetheless.

A Tale Dark & Grimm (Adam Gidwitz)

taledarkandgrimIn this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after. — This was a really interesting take on the old fairy tales. The author manages to have the kids run through quite a few of the them, changing things around to make it one continuous story. He keeps the grisly nature of the originals, though, so keep that in mind before handing it to your kid to read.

Dark Witch (Nora Roberts)

darkwitchIona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives. When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package. Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive… — This was my first ever Nora Roberts book! Not being a romance-y person, I had avoided her until now, but this was such an interesting story that it completely pulled me in, romance and all! 😉

The Excalibur Murders (JMC Blair)

3312838Merlin is no magician, merely a scholar and advisor to King Arthur. But after the supposedly magical Stone of Bran is stolen along with the legendary sword Excalibur and one of Arthur’s squires is brutally murdered during the theft, Merlin must use the power of reason to conjure up a miracle and catch a murderer. — Does Morgan Le Fay count as a witch? She’s really more of a sorceress, but she’s totally awesome so we’ll go with it. This was a fun little mystery book!

The Bone Witch (Rin Chupeco)

bonewitchTea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human. Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves. — I haven’t actually read this one yet, but it’s written by the author of The Girl From The Well (which I LOVED) and it has really good reviews, so fingers crossed!


While trying to find books for this list, I realized I haven’t read very many books with witches! Got any suggestions?

T5W – In A Land Far, Far Away

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books NOT Set/Inspired By The Western World!

Wow, this one was actually WAY harder than I thought it would be. Getting into the Pop Sugar reading challenges and a few groups on Goodreads has really broadened my book horizons, but I still apparently haven’t read very many books that aren’t based on the Western World. :/ I had to break into my TBR pile to make up the difference!

The Night Parade (Kathryn Tanquary) — Japan

thenightparadeThe last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare. But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked… and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth – or say good-bye to the world of the living forever. If you like Hayao Miyazaki films, you will love this book!

Wildwood Dancing (Juliet Marillier) — Transylvania

wildwooddancingHigh in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm. But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop. When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love. This one was really good. I love reading about mystical creatures and faerie tales from other countries and this book managed to incorporate quite a few of them! 🙂

The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith) — Botswana

theno1ladiesdetectiveagencyThe No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors. This one is from my TBR pile. It looks pretty good, so fingers crossed!

The Girl From The Well (Rin Chupeco) — Japan

thegirlfromthewellA dead girl walks the streets. She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago. And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan. Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out. This one is cheating a bit, since it DOES start out in the US. But the premise of the book is Eastern and all the characters end up in Japan, so I’m counting it.

The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm (Nancy Farmer) — Zimbabwe

theeartheeyeGeneral Matsika’s children steal out of the house on a forbidden adventure–and disappear. In Zimbabwe, in the year 2194, the children’s parents call in Africa’s most unusual detectives–the Ear, the Eye and the Arm–who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely. Also from my TBR pile, I picked this book up at a used book sale last year and it looks really fun!


Anyone have some recommendations for great novels that aren’t set in the Western world? I’d love to broaden my book horizons even more! 🙂

T5W – “A Happy Child is a Child Reading a Good Book”

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Children’s Books! Now, I love me a good children’s novel, so I’m going to do a bit extra in this post. Instead of just 5 books, I’m going to give you 5 more recent novels and 5 older novels. 🙂 — To keep things a bit shorter, I’ll just give you the descriptions from Goodreads by themselves instead of adding a personal review, but I have read each of these books and would recommend them all highly!

Recent Novels

Circus Mirandus (Cassie Beasley)

circusmirandusMicah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle.

The Island of Dr. Libris (Chris Grabenstein)

islandofdrlibrisBilly’s spending the summer in a lakeside cabin that belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. But something strange is going on. Besides the security cameras everywhere, there’s Dr. Libris’s private bookcase. Whenever Billy opens the books inside, he can hear sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. The clash of swords. The twang of arrows. Sometimes he can even feel the ground shaking. It’s almost as if the stories he’s reading are coming to life!

The Book of Storms (Ruth Hatfield)

bookofstormsEleven-year-old Danny’s parents are storm chasers – which sounds fun and exciting, and it is, so long as you aren’t the son who has to wait behind at home. And one night, after a particularly fierce storm, Danny’s parents don’t come back. Stranger still, the old sycamore tree in Danny’s yard seems to have been struck by lightning, and when he picks up a fragment of wood from the tree’s heart, he finds he can hear voices … including that of next door’s rather uppity cat, Mitzy. The stick is a taro, a shard of lightning that bestows upon its bearer unnerving powers, including the ability to talk with plants and animals – and it is very valuable.

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse (Chris Riddell)

gothgirlMeet Ada Goth. She lives in Ghastly-Gorm Hall with her father, Lord Goth, lots of servants and at least half a dozen ghosts, but she hasn’t got any friends to explore her enormous, creepy house with. Then, one night, everything changes when Ada meets a ghostly mouse called Ishmael. Together they set out to solve the mystery of the strange happenings at Ghastly-Gorm Hall, and get a lot more than they bargained for.

The Wishing Spell (Chris Colfer)

wishingspellThrough the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, Alex & Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

Older Novels

The Children of Green Knowe (L.M. Boston)

greenknowe“Tolly” Toseland 7 is rowed up to great-gran Linnet Oldknow by servant Boggis – there has always been a Boggis at Green Knowe. The real “castle” is over 900 years old. Gran tells old family stories, and songs. Over the generations there have been many who can see, hear, and feel the ghosts, evoked by white-on-black illustrations. Toby 14, Alexander, and Linnet 6 linger after the Plague, as does the cursed topiary Green Noah.

A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)

wrinkleintimeMeg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Circle of Magic (Tamora Pierce)

(From 1st novel) With her gift of weaving silk thread and creating light, Sandry is brought to the Winding Circle community. There she meets Briar, a former thief who has a way with plants; Daja, an outcast gifted at metalcraft; and Tris, whose connection with the weather unsettles everyone, including herself. At Winding Circle, the four misfits are taught how to use their magic – and to trust one another. But then disaster strikes their new home.

circle

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (Brian Jacques)

7997A boy and dog trapped aboard the legendary ship, the Flying Dutchman, are sent off on an eternal journey by an avenging angel, roaming the earth throughout the centuries in search of those in need.  Their travels lead them to Chapelvale, a sleepy nineteenth century village whose very existence is at stake.  Only by discovering the buried secrets and solving the dust-laden riddles of the ancient village can it be saved.  This will take the will and wile of all the people-and a very special boy and dog!

Canyons (Gary Paulsen)

canyonsCoyote Runs, an Apache boy, takes part in his first raid — the one that will usher him into manhood. He is to be a man for but a short time….More than a hundred years later, while camping near Dog Canyon, fifteen-year-old Brennan Cole becomes obsessed with a skull that he finds, pierced by a bullet. He learns that it was the skull of an Apache boy executed by soldiers in 1864. A mystical link joins Brennan and Coyote Runs, and Brennan knows that neither boy will find any peace until Coyote Runs’ skull is returned to an ancient sacred place.


What are some of YOUR favorite children’s books?