International Book Week

It’s International Book week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the fifth sentence. Don’t mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your post.

“Among them went whichever men or women had been leaving gifts for me, or arranging for them to be left.”

What’s your 5th sentence?

The Brides of Rollrock Island

The Brides of Rollrock Island

By: Margo Lanagan


Ember 2013

A Young Adult fantasy review

Isolated on the sea, Rollrock is a simple island where everyone knows the rules: Work on fishing boats, bear children, and fear the witch.  For a witch can draw beautiful women out from the seals of the sea, and when these changed selkies come to Rollrock the island will also transform.

The shame of seal lineage marks Misskaella, but with power instead of beauty.  The love of seals will only take her so far, but the enchantment of them gives her the means to remake Rollrock completely.  What will men pay for the allure of a seal maid, how strongly will seal blood course through new children, how far can the seal witch reweave her island?  With the voices of witches, and the young of generations, Lanagan weaves a tumultuous, but bewitching tale.

The pace pitches and rolls unevenly, but with the suspense and surety of a sea voyage.  The characters bring you into their depths less with likeability and more with the vividness of their thoughts and the universality of their emotions.  Loneliness, bitterness, and betrayal all become part of Lanagan’s siren song alongside love, desire, and success.  “The Brides of Rollrock Island” explores the importance of control, follows the speedy lanes and jagged byways of blame, and showcases the pull of looks.  Yet the heart of this book, is that everyone must be true to themselves, even though that self may transform completely.  The selkies yearn for the sea, a man alters in response to his home, and “a lad that loves his mother above all” can explain a mire of heart-wrenching evolutions.

Lanagan’s honeyed writing lays a glistening coat over the bitter chocolate of her characters’ rough tales.  Thick with the caffeinated inevitability of time and awakening readers’ taste buds with plenty of sea salt,  “The Brides of Rollrock Island” is something to savor, that sticks with you as the sweet only enlivens the dark.  This book will enchant you with words, steer you through the waves of multiple minds, and submerge you in powerful emotions.  It’s a dark fairytale bursting with magic and connections, strong with life’s tides and haunting choices.  For a look at life’s layers, coats, and hidden currents, Lanagan’s work provides a beautiful vessel.

Top Ten…ish Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

This is a rendition of’s Top Ten Tuesday.  I found this week’s very interesting.  I actually have 2 sections, prolific authors where I’ve read the highest numbers and less prolific authors whose works I have read in their entirety (or nearly so).  Here goes:

In order, authors I’ve read the most works by:

  1. Agatha Christie-She stimulates the little grey cells!poirot
  2. Ann M. Martin-Of all the huge series I read growing up, it seems that the first 35 of the Babysitters’ Club was the only real strain actually written by the same author instead of being ghost-written.  (Which I am kindof grateful for, without those ghost writers this post would be overtaken with Sweet Valley Twins and Nancy Drew, etc.!)
  3. Dr. Seuss-Oh, the books that I’ve read!  They get stuck in my head!  His rhymes simply sped, like a Liternffafed.
  4. Georgette Heyer-For heroines with spunk, romances with bickering, and incorrigible pets, she’s your lady!
  5. Dave Barry-Reading this humorist basically runs in my family.
  6. Rafael Sabatini-Swashbuckling heroes, historic shenanigans, and high romance ahoy!
  7. Diana Wynne Jones-Griffins, goddesses, and greatness-all with good quirk and great heart!Howl-s-Moving-Castle-howls-moving-castle-913538_1024_768
  8. Madeleine L’Engle-I still find the odd quote or image from her books spring to mind surprisingly often.

Authors who didn’t write as much, but who I have read the most books from PROPORTIONALLY:

9. Jane Austen-I’ve even read “Lady Susan” and some of her journal writings.


10. Barbara Helen Berger-I’ve read every book published.


11. Sarah Prineas-Read every book published so far and have definitely got dibs on her next one!


12. James Thurber-An older humorist, his works are harder to come by, but I’ve read nearly all of them, plays, picture books, essays, and all!

typewriter ribbon-1

What about you?  What authors have you read the most from?  Which haven’t written as much but you have thoroughly devoured them?

Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings

This is a rendition of’s Top Ten Tuesday. Fairy Tale retellings are a love of mine, so this topic really excites me!  However, I have some pretty strict rules for what counts as a retelling and what gets too far away, what’s more of a sequel, what’s just a reference…  It made a lot of these choices rather difficult to make.

  1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine for “Cinderella”
  2. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Pope for “Tam Lin”                                     perilousgard2
  3. The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler for being the first version of “12 Dancing Princesses” to appeal to me.kn_12dancing
  4. Entwined by Heather Dixon for being my favorite version of “12 Dancing Princesses”
  5. Firebird by Mercedes Lackey for “The Firebird”
  6. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston LeRoux for “Beauty and the Beast”
  7. My Mother, She Killed Me, My Father, He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer for oh, so many storiesMy-Mother-She-Killed-Me
  8. The Tiger’s Bride by Angela Carter for “Beauty and the Beast”
  9. Travels with the Snow Queen by Kelly Link for “The Snow Queen”
  10. Shadowspinner by Susan Fletcher for “1001 Nights”                                   aladdin-28

What are your favorites?  Do they match your favorite fairy tales or not?

Top Ten Bookworm Characters

This is a rendition of’s Top Ten Tuesday.  I found thinking of favorite bookworms surprisingly difficult!  If this were cinema it would be another story, but in books it was surprisingly hard to think of someone I’d really term a “bookworm.”  This is what I came up with:

1. Alexia Tarabotti from “The Parasol Protectorate” series by Gail Carriger

(Review of the first one here:

Alexia loves reading and education and she hides out in libraries.  Ergo, I am confident we can call her a bookworm, although honestly we hardly ever see her read.

2. Tonino Montana of “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” series by Diana Wynne Jones (Specifically, “The Magicians of Caprona”)

Now, here is a real bookworm!

3. Will Stanton of “The Dark is Rising” series by Susan Cooper

Will, as an Old One, is very attuned to the power of books.  I think of him as a bookworm, though again, I’m not sure how much he actually reads…

4. Mr. Tumnus of “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis

His home was filled with books.  So, there.

5. Sophie from “The School for Good and Evil” by Soman Chainani

(Review here:

Sophie loves all of the stories, she knows every tale, every stereotype, and every last word about blemishes.  I’m going to say that counts even though she doesn’t actually read books, even to study.  (Yes, I know Agatha does, but she never seems to enjoy it for itself, does she?  It’s always for a useful reason.  This is the same reason I couldn’t include Kami Glass of the Lynburn Legacy series.)

6. A-Through-L or Ell of “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making” by Catherine Valente

This Wyverary loves books like none other.  After all, his father is a library, so how else to show family feeling?

7. Professor Percy of “The Custard Protocol Series” by Gail Carriger

(Review here:

This man gets lost in his books, thrives on his books, and marvelously moves the plot forward with books, all while still having quite a presence.

8. Charles Wallace of “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle

The intuitive genius loves his books.

9. Mr. Bennett of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Ah, the denizen of the library.

10. Death of “Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore

(Review here:

This royal librarian has both bite and brains.

Who are your favorite bookworms?  Also, who would you rather discuss books with?  Read alongside?  Whose taste in books would you most share?  From my list I would say Alexia Tarabotti, Mr. Bennett, and Tonino Montana.

Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles 1)

Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles 1)

By: Lauren DeStefano


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 1, 2013)

A Young Adult dystopia fiction review

On the floating island of Internment, Morgan Stockhour wonders what lies beyond the Edge of her world, about the forbidden ground below.  How different is life there, really? Why is it so dangerous that even to approach the Edge will mean it is too late? Above all, why does it hold such a powerful fascination for her?  Is there something wrong with her that she still longs to know more, even after a trip to the Edge blinded her brother?  Then violent incidents start occurring on civilized Internment and the neat borders of Morgan’s world start to bend in ways even she couldn’t imagine…but how far before they break?  When on a floating world, just how many ways are there to fall over the Edge?

DeStefano’s take on teenagers discovering their ordered world comes at a terrible price stands up well to predecessors like The City of Ember and The Giver.  Internment’s well-defined myths, its ever-unfolding laws, and the casual delivery of its entrenched perspective bring this world to life.  Through Morgan’s eyes, readers realize the norms and assumptions of Internment’s citizens as if they were our own; DeStefano lets us belong there rather than thrusting us abruptly into her world like most dystopian works.  The duality between growing into our knowledge of Internment as Morgan knew it at the same time as Morgan unearths the lies behind that facade brings the emotions and questions of Perfect Ruin straight to the reader in a unique way.  The sharp individuality of Morgan’s supporting characters keep entwining the audience further into this world, this life, these questions, because they illustrate so clearly what lines of thought belong to them personally and which come from living in this particular space and time.

Perfect Ruin starts with a somewhat cliche dystopian setup, but through DeStefano’s writing style and the interplay of relationships, it lends the familiar aspects of this plot a more intimate emphasis, and rather different punctuation.  Here, questions come with clouds and wedding rings put a period to many ordinary statements.  It’s these details that moved me the most and enticed me to keep on reading, and feeling, along with Morgan.  I invite you to do the same and go past that book cover’s Edge…to see how far you fall with Perfect Ruin.  

Prudence (Custard Protocol Series 1)

Prudence (Custard Protocol Series 1)

By: Gail Carriger


Orbit US (March 2015)

A YA Fantasy Steampunk review

(Review of the first in Carriger’s previous series here:

Prudence, releases March 17, 2015

When Dama, better known to those who aren’t his adopted daughter as Lord Akeldama, gives Lady Prudence not only an advanced dirigible, but also a dangerous, tea-centric mission in India to carry out, the world’s only metanatural charges full-steam ahead.  After all, with her best friend Primrose to ensure the supply of proper pastries, Professor Percy to do research, and Quesnel Lefoux’s engineering, how far off course could Prudence’s crew really go?  Unfortunately, it turns out that a mysterious kidnapping, disputes over an international treaty, and the maneuverings of a secretive liaison can steer one sadly far away from one’s tea.  Nevertheless, the youngest and most impulsive of the Maccons must captain her ship through the tumult.

Prudence introduces its next generation of characters with gusto.  They manage to takeover all the action without replacing any of the drama still to come for the elder generation.  Carriger makes it clear that these older relationships will still bear fruit.  Still, it is easy to set it aside for Prudence’s new characters and new climes.  While the title heroine feels much more immature and in need of development than Alexia, it is fascinating to see this world through such different eyes.  The depths of Prudence’s new acquaintances are barely skimmed, but are already as rich and smooth as whipped cream.  Once in India, the scintillating expansion of this world and its inhabitants unfolds with a marvelous flair for intrigue.  The plot’s twists and discoveries proved hearty, satisfying fare, well-buttered and crisped.  It kept me up, devouring it, until much later than I intended.  The lacking aspect of this novel is the romance.  Prudence’s flirtation brings out nothing in either of its participants and progresses in a stilted fashion, without enough substance to back it up: a rather weak serving of tea to accompany an excellent meal.  However, as the first book in a companion series, Prudence had a lot to establish, and there will be later books to grow both the heroine’s romance and maturity.  All in all, this debut makes me very eager for the rest of the Custard Protocol books.  Perhaps with some illustrations of Queen Ivy’s horrific hats?

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