The Book Thief
Young Adult / April 8, 2016

Author: Marcus Zusak. Summary: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: One of the few books that can bring tears to my eyes. Zusak has a knack for unconventional prose that truly overturns the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  In this moving World War II story he focuses not on the allies, or the Jews, but on a common German family. They may hate Hitler, but there is nothing they can do, or will do – and yet the consequences of the war will hit them…

The Girl Who Could Not Dream
Middle Grade / Juvenile / April 8, 2016

Author: Sarah Beth Durst Summary: Sophie has lived all her life just above the dream shop where her parents work. She can’t dream alone, but when she borrows a dream from the dreamshop she can dream it – and coax things, and animals, out of the dream with her when she wakes up. This is how she acquired Monster, her devoted pet. And it’s a good thing he loves her so much, since she doesn’t have any other friends. But when her parents go missing, along with most of the bottled nightmares, Sophie may not be able to do this on her own – she needs allies, and fast. But are all her allies quite trustworthy? My Thoughts: A deliciously wry, humorous middle grade book I would recommend to younger fantasy lovers. Durst sets us in a solid, intriguing world and brings on the action. Here your deepest fears can come to life… but is this a threat or a tool? The characters lampshade and laugh at their own speeches and life lesson declarations, and Monster’s irritation with some of the clichéd dream characters is wonderful. In fact, Monster is one of the best sidekicks I’ve seen in a children’s book….

Icons
Young Adult / April 8, 2016

Author: Margaret Stohl Summary: When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy. My Thoughts: The writing style was plain, simple and straightforward, with none of the beauty in prose I enjoy. The plot was rather strange – Aliens have taken over the Earth! We must save ourselves with emotions! (?) The characters felt underdeveloped. They were extremely bad at communicating, thus creating excuses for several fights and sundry other problems. They did have an interesting means of sharing emotions, by which they might be flooded by each other’s (strong) passions. I must note, hiding a love triangle by having the girl refuse to admit it does not help. I’m afraid the overall rating for this story was bored, with a hint of confusion, and a final statement of ‘meh.’ Content Review: Sexual…

The Unicorn Girl

Author: M. L. LeGette Summary: Leah Vindral is suffocating–trapped in her own skin. In a land where magic is feared, magic saved her from death … but it came with a terrible price. Marked forever, she is shunned and isolated by those she loves most. Brimming with bitter rage at those who abandoned her, Leah flees from her childhood home only to be swept into an impending war: Mora, a wicked witch, has been imprisoned for years, waiting like a spider in the folds of her web for the chance to regain the powers once stripped from her. It is there, while she waits, that she learns of a strange young girl … a girl who can speak to unicorns. Now Leah must save the country that shuns her, for if Mora returns to power, all will be lost. But can Leah, who is so frightened and confused herself, find the strength to save them all? (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: There wasn’t anything wrong with The Unicorn Girl. It was just… bland. Generic. The writing style felt stilted and stiff, with ‘ly’ adverbs liberally scattered. There were elves – tall people with pointed ears who live in a shining castle, and…

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Adult , Young Adult / April 8, 2016

Author: Patricia McKillip. Summary: Sybel, with frost-white hair and eyes as black as Drede’s heart, is the sorceress of Eldwold, and she has lived alone on the mountain with her five beasts all her life. So when Coren Sirle, seventh son of a seventh son and nemesis of the king, comes knocking at her door with an infant, she has no idea what to do. Take him and love him, Coren begs, and the sorceress does, raising the boy to young manhood and letting herself love him as nothing else. Then Coren returns, wishing the boy back. Sybel refuses, determined to keep Tamlorn away from the tangled webs of politics and war. But when Tamlorn begs to meet his father, Sybel calls the king of Eldwold to her doorstep to meet his son, setting in motion chains of events that even she will be unable to stop. Tamlorn wants a father. Drede, king of Eldwold, wants the iceflower sorceress for his own. And Sybel wants only to be left alone to call the Liralen – until her power is shaken and her confidence ravaged. Then wakes her anger. My Thoughts: I think The Forgotten Beasts of Eld may be something…