Mini Book Reviews

Mini Book Reviews

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I’ll be sharing mini book reviews here on the blog.

(I borrowed each of these books from the library because I wanted to, all opinions are 100% honestly mine, and I’m not compensated in any way for writing them.)

My goal is to help you find books that you–or the young readers in your life–will love.

Book Release

Undone

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She must destroy the most powerful magical object of the age… or the dragons will destroy her family.

Four hundred years ago, a hero with an enchanted sword defended the kingdoms from increasingly violent dragons. Their numbers decimated, the dragons forged a treaty with the fairies to entrap the Dragon-killer and destroy the sword. But fairies are nothing if not treacherous…

The sword, as powerful and dangerous as ever, has fallen again into the claws of the dragons. In return for their help rescuing her sister, Zia has rashly promised to destroy it. Unfortunately, she has no idea how.

Together with her sister Meri and the all-knowing Talking Dog, Zia must find a way to finish off the sword for good, navigating fairies, wizards, love, magic, and another unwanted prophecy. If she doesn’t, she’ll never see her parents or younger siblings again…

This is the third and final book in the completed Charmwood Chronicles trilogy, which should be read in order. The two previous books are Sabryn and Firstborn.

Undone is available on September 13, 2022, from Amazon and from your favorite bookseller or library!

Mini Book Reviews

Mairelon the Magician (YA)

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by Patricia C. Wrede

Kit, a street thief in London, is hired to sneak into a magician’s wagon and snoop around. When she took the job, she didn’t expect the magician to be an actual, practicing wizard. Soon Kit is involved in a mixed up adventure in search of a magical artifact.

This magical romp in Regency England is so much fun. I read it in high school, and I loved it just as much again on this reread. The sequel, Magician’s Ward, is also fantastic.

Mini Book Reviews

A Deadly Education (YA)

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by Naomi Novik

After Orion Lake saves her life for a second time, Galadriel wishes he’d go off and die himself. Instead he follows her around the Scholomance, saving her life again and again from evil creatures. She wishes he and his groupies would leave her alone, but she soon accepts him as a friend. Can they—and the rest of her small friend-alliance—save the Scholomance and all the students in it?

Not kidding, if book two had been available when I read this, I would have gone straight for the next book. I loved the voice, the magic, the world—Novik proves again that she’s a creative genius. A warning, however: there is some bad language and mature content.

Additional warning, now that I’ve read book two: if this sounds like a series you’ll love, maybe wait until book three comes out, because the ending of book two nearly killed me, and I couldn’t go directly on to read the next one.

Mini Book Reviews

Holes (MG)

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by Louis Sachar

When Stanley Yelnats is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he has the choice either to go to prison or to Green Lake correctional camp. In the camp (where there is no actual lake), convicts are forced to dig five-foot holes, one a day, every day. But Stanley soon realizes that the digging is for more than just building character: the Warden is looking for something.

This book was a quick, fun read, blending an ancestor’s gypsy curse, a Wild West outlaw, and a dangerous desert creature seamlessly into the story of one boy’s time in a juvenile correctional facility. I loved the voice, the story, and how perfectly all the loose ends were tied together.

Mini Book Reviews

The Good Hawk (YA)

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by Joseph Elliott

When their clan is betrayed to the Vikings and carried off as slaves, Jaime and Agatha must find a way to rescue them, braving wildwolves and shadow creatures as they venture into the unknown.

This book was pretty good—probably a 4 out of 5. I can’t pinpoint any one thing that bothered me about it, except that it was a little darker/more gruesome than I like. I did love that it was set in Scotland/Skye, and I always like old Gaelic and Viking adventures, but I didn’t connect with it the way I do with other books.

Mini Book Reviews

The Silence Between Us (YA)

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by Alison Gervais

Maya, a Deaf high school senior, has just moved to a new state and a new school. She must navigate the challenges of being Deaf in a school full of hearing kids, while simultaneously dealing with moving, college applications, cute boys, and a brother with a serious health condition.

This was a really sweet high school romance. I enjoyed every minute, and I loved seeing a Deaf person as the main character. It enabled me to see being Deaf or Hard of Hearing from a different perspective and rethink my own preconceived notions and biases.

Mini Book Reviews

The Graveyard Book (MG)

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by Neil Gaiman

As a toddler, Nobody Owens climbs out of his crib and wanders out the front door and up the hill to the nearby cemetery, away from the house where the rest of his family is being murdered in their sleep. The ghostly citizens of the graveyard protect him from the killer who comes to finish the last of the family, and they raise Nobody as their own, teaching him and watching over him until he must finally confront the killer himself.

As horrific as that description sounds, this was actually a great book. The characters were really fun, and Nobody has a whole different kind of adventures than other kids who don’t grow up in a graveyard. Obviously the book deals with the Dead, death, graveyards, and even the undead, so if that’s not your thing, don’t bother reading it. But it’s also about family and identity and friendships and broadening horizons and courage and accepting adventure when it comes.

Mini Book Reviews

The Girl who Drank the Moon (MG)

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by Kelly Barnhill

A baby is taken from her screaming mother to be left in the woods for the (make believe) witch in the annual Day of Sacrifice. The (very real) witch rescues an abandoned baby and feeds her starlight on the way to finding her a new, loving home. Except that she accidentally feeds the baby moonlight and enmagics her, so she must raise the magical child herself with the help of a tiny dragon and a swamp monster.

This book was lighthearted and fun, but it still dealt with big themes like love and family, hope and sorrow, and even death.

Book Release

Firstborn

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When fifteen-year-old Zia’s cursed and exiled older sister reappears only to be captured by the fairies, Zia is determined to use her magic and join the rescue. But between visions, prophecies, infuriated dragons, and a sword that shouldn’t exist, Zia may be getting into more than she bargained for.

This is the second book in the Charmwood Chronicles trilogy. While it can be read without reading the previous book, Sabryn gives helpful background. Because this is the middle book in a trilogy, several things are left unresolved until the final book, Undone, coming September 13, 2022.

Firstborn is available on May 17, 2022, from Amazon and from your favorite bookseller or library!

Mini Book Reviews

The Westing Game (MG)

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by Ellen Raskin

Eccentric millionaire Sam Westing has no heir, or rather, he has sixteen of them. These heirs must participate in the game set out in the old man’s will if they want a chance to win the whole inheritance.

This is a fun and intriguing puzzle mystery with a kooky cast of characters, including a high school track star, an 11-year-old investing genius, a lawyer, a bomber, and a thief. I really enjoyed it, though there were times I had trouble keeping everyone straight. When I finished, I wanted to go right back to the beginning to see the clues I’d missed.