The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

Find in catalogThoroughly enjoyed this book. It took me a bit to get into the rhythm of the present-tense narration, but once I did I loved the ride! This story follows Will Everett, a boy who has always longed for adventures, but never had any of his own. When he boards The Boundless, the most magnificent train in existence, all of that changes. Before long he’s witnessed a murder and is running for his life (sometimes within, and sometimes on top of the train itself). His odds of survival aren’t good–especially when you combine the threat of the murderer with the supernatural wiles of sasquatch and muskeg hags. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of The Boundless itself, a veritable Titanic on rails, and thought the dash of magic that Oppel threw into an almost-realistic story was great–just enough to keep me on my toes. I would definitely recommend this book to older children and young teens, and of course, any other adults who haven’t outgrown stories for the young.

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

Find in catalogIf you have a bad habit of sitting down to read for a “few minutes” and then waking up to realize you’re starving and you’ve finished the entire book, this is the kind of story you’ll want to watch out for. I think my mind is still a little lost in Aquavania. I’m impressed with this author’s ability to connect everything you see into the plot. Things that I thought were slice-of-life details turned out to be crucial information later on. The feeling I have upon finishing? Mostly satisfied, but like there’s still a couple loose ends. But I believe it’s a series… Good thing, too. I hope a couple things from the ending get a better resolve later on. Overall, an engrossing read. The kind of well-written book that’s hard to put down.

Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley

WILDEST DREAMS is GOT meets Parent Trap! Actually, I could also throw in Outlander with the whole parallel universe thing happening. While I’m at it I could even say it had the feel of the Disney movie, Frozen, with all the ice, snow and winter talk. Roll those 4 things together stick them in a blender and pour it into a tall glass and you have WILDEST DREAMS. Three years ago Kara and Christy invited me to read this series with them and at the time I declined. I’m not a fast reader and those two are speed readers so I knew I was no match on buddy reading with them. Also, the sheer size of the books held me back from giving them a chance.

Now a little bit about the story … Finnie pays a high price to travel to a parallel world where her twin from the other realm has agreed to switch places for year times with her. In this parallel world, everyone has a twin and the caveat is their twin is the opposite of them. Which makes for challenges when switched because Finnie must try and act the way her twin would but she knows very little about her new world she is thrust into. BAM!!! Right there, I’m hooked. Finnie’s twin leaves out important information about what will happen when she agrees to switch places. Oh, the blunders and adventures begin when Finnie is switched into her new world having no clue that she’s getting ready to walk down the aisle to marry a man who despises her. Yep, I’m all in on this story. Over the last couple of days, I listened to this story which by the way is 19 hours long. It wasn’t until the last couple of hours that my interest waned a little. “Someone” was missing from the storyline and that deflated my interest. Even though there were those moments at the end where I wasn’t enjoying it like I did the rest of the book it still was enough for me to give this book 5 stars. SERIES: The Fantasyland Series is a series of five novels that take place in our world and a parallel universe where fantasies are true… but perhaps not all you would expect.

Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovich

Find in catalogI highly enjoyed this novel. I liked the way the fantasy/magical aspect was part of the normal everyday life we know… but most people chose to ignore it and just move on. The main character was well written, and I quite liked him. The supporting officer was also a riot. The story line was interesting, with two young girls gone missing and how it’s not as simple as just getting them back. About halfway through the story a minor plot line comes in that left me thinking, “What did I miss? Was there a page missing?” After researching a bit, this is book 5 in a series. My library’s sticker covered up the “series” reference. That being said, it stood alone very well.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, The Witch, and the WardrobeAlthough this is a book that many adults read as children, for me, this was my first time.

This is the second book in The Chronicles of Narnia. I really enjoyed reading it because by knowing the story from seeing two versions of the movie, it was a quick read. I also like the author’s writing style because it’s very imaginative.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a nice, somewhat short story to read, even if it’s to your kids, and for anyone who wants to read the entire series.

Reviewed by Laura

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's NephewMany people are familiar with the book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and land of Narnia, but this book explains how the wardrobe and Narnia came to be. This is the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

I usually read non-fiction books, so when it came time to read fiction, I thought it was finally time for me to read this series. Even though this is a children’s book, I still found it worthwhile to finally read as an adult. I liked the author’s writing style because it was very easy for me to imagine what was going on in the story.

If you’re looking for a good series to read, whether you’re young or young at heart, consider reading this book.

Reviewed by Laura

 

 

The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Other WindThe Other Wind is the final book of Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle, and came out years later than the first four of the series. Each book stands up as a full and satisfying read on its own, but taken together, they form a rich series, with each book focusing a bit more heavily on one character or another. For that reason, I preferred The Tombs of Atuan and Tehanu (books #2 and 4), as they focused on strong female protagonists, with themes of survival and empowerment. The Other Wind wraps up the series in a gentle way, touching on each character’s arc and reminding the reader of their histories as individuals and in collaboration. There is a strong plot – magic, dragons, and a breach between the worlds of the living and the dead – but I felt that this book was different, less urgent perhaps than the others. This might be because it’s wrapping up all the threads and providing closure, or maybe because the characters have all aged, or maybe even because so much time passed between books and my own perspective has changed. I did enjoy this book immensely, though. Ursula K. Le Guin is a living legend and her writing is incredibly moving and lyrical.

Reviewed by Charlie

The Light Princess and Other Stories by George MacDonald

The Light Princess and Other SToriesWhat a lovely collection of short stories! The writing is clever and layered, with turns of phrase that had me chuckling with delight. MacDonald’s character descriptions are particularly fun – here’s an example: “She was a sour, spiteful creature. The wrinkles of contempt crossed the wrinkles of peevishness, and made her face as full of wrinkles as a pat of butter” (p. 2). The stories are quite odd, and I probably would not have enjoyed them very much as a child because some of the themes would have gone over my head. MacDonald himself stated that he wrote not for children, but for the childlike. This is not to say that the stories are not appropriate for all ages – they are; it’s just that they are very OLD, and many modern children might find them challenging.

Reviewed by Caroline