REVIEW: Dial-a-Ghost by Eva Ibbotson

This is a real cutie-patootie book, one of those adorable ones that make you feel all gooey inside when you read them. In a good way, though! It’s not deliberately trying to manipulate the heartstrings, like some really bad TV movie. It’s just totally adorable on its own merits. So what’s so cute about Dial-a-Ghost? I’m so glad you asked! 1: The Dial-a-Ghost agency, which finds homes for ghosts! I love that the world of Read More …

REVIEW: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

The problem with reading series out of order is that sometimes you like a later book more than an earlier book. And then it gets awkward! That’s what happened here, because I totally LOVED In a Glass Grimmly (so much so that I couldn’t even REVIEW IT) and I only liked A Tale Dark and Grimm. (Just fyi, though: The series isn’t a series as in “a continuous plot from one book to the next.” Read More …

REVIEW: Not Just a Witch by Eva Ibbotson

I love Eva Ibbotson’s books but the problem I have with them is they tend to blend together. Her children’s books tend to have the same themes of family, responsibility, and personal growth– which is great when you spread out reading her books, but bad when you read three or four close together. Then that all seem TOO similar, and each individual story isn’t as effective as it might have been otherwise. Not Just a Read More …

REVIEW: A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer

A Girl Named Disaster isn’t actually related in any way to my favorite Nancy Farmer book, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, except that it takes place in roughly the same location. Girl is set WAY before Ear, though– back in the 1980s– and it’s about a person going from a tribal/rural living to an urban one (Ear is about the reverse). They make good companion books, and not just because of what I Read More …

REVIEW: Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson

On the Eva Ibbotson scale of cuteness, this is somewhere between Which Witch? and Journey to the River Sea. There are some really horrible adults, but there are also some really lovely ones. The kids go on a journey of self-discovery, but it’s mostly the kind that tells you that you CAN do useful things and you’re a good person, etc. And while most of the story is focused on the kids and their time Read More …

REVIEW: The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

Like Eva Ibbotson’s kids books, John Bellairs books harken back to a time when you could comfortably terrify kids and not get too worked up about it. In my review notes I said that JB is the “gothic Diana Wynne Jones,” and I stand by that. His books are atmospherically scary– maybe nothing PHYSICALLY scary happens, but they’re full of tension, gothic horror, and other fun stuff. (I think they’d make kick-ass movies, too!) The Read More …

Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones

The nice thing about authors who write over a period of multiple decades is that they (usually) have the opportunity to try out different genres, writing styles, and so on. Diana Wynne Jones mostly wrote in fantasy-ish genres, but she did a few sci-fi stories that aren’t too bad, either, and this one, Dogsbody, is probably her most famous of her pre-Howl’s Moving Castle writings. Seems like everyone recommends either this book or HMC (while Read More …

MINI-REVIEWS: Act of Will, Virus on Orbis 1, Someone Like You

Book cover of Act of Will by AJ Hartley

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. At first I thought it was a comedy story, something like a Terry Pratchett book. Then it turned into something else, something more like…I don’t know. A Megan Whalen Turner book? (Only not YA.) And then I stopped trying to compare it to other books and just enjoyed the story. It’s a great story, very entertaining and yet also kind of heartbreaking. Will’s an interesting protagonist. If this Read More …

REVIEW: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray

I picked this book up at the last library book sale mostly because the cover and title had mucho potential. It turned out to be a really sweet little book that reminds me a lot of The Secret Garden or Noel Streatfeild’s books. It’s an enjoyable read, with likable characters and a plot full of interesting medieval life. Adam of the Road is a very well-written children’s historical fiction novel; I didn’t notice any historical Read More …