Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians: The Scrivener’s Bones

4 stars (I really liked it).

Scrivener's Bones cover (link to Goodreads)

I am going to start with a series of confessions. I read the first Alcatraz book years ago and didn’t like it much. Sanderson’s sense of humor doesn’t really match with mine, so when he goes all zany, as he does, he loses me. I decided then not to read the rest of the series.

My 13 year old son has read the first three books and liked them, but the wait was so long before book 4 that he got too old for them and can’t remember now what happened in the first three and doesn’t care enough to reread them so he can finish the series.

A few months ago, I was able to read an advance copy of book 6 of this series. I remembered enough of book 1 to muddle through, but . . . it was a lot more interesting than I remembered. And suddenly I wanted to read the rest. So those are the confessions: I didn’t think I would like this, and I’ve read most of book 6 and you haven’t. So there.

Okay, so now on to the review. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I was never bored, and the humor worked for me. I liked the characters and the twists. It’s short and sweet, so I finished it in a day or two. I’m definitely reading the next one.

Children of Blood and Bone

4 stars (I really liked it).

Children of Blood and Bone cover (link to Goodreads)

If you haven’t heard of this book, you haven’t been paying attention to book hype the last few years. As a west-African-based fantasy about systemic oppression, it is an important book, a book that is doing what few other books are. And for the most part, it does it well. The plot clips along at a good pace, the writing is strong, the conflict is compelling. I had issues with the romance, though I might come around to it in a sequel or two . . .

For me personally, it was a bit dark and violent. But lots of people like dark, and I’m not opposed to it in small doses (like, reading one book but not diving immediately into the sequel, for example). I’d probably recommend this to older YA readers and adults for this reason.

I listened to the audiobook, and Bahni Turpin is as amazing in this as she is in The Hate U Give. Her versatility is unbelievable.

Review: Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

5 stars: It was amazing!

Bob cover (link to Goodreads)

I love when reading a middle grade novel feels like hanging out with real kids. I love when middle grade is funny and heartfelt and earnest and exciting. This one ticked all the boxes for me. I didn’t miss that this is the second book by Rebecca Stead that I loved, and I noticed after reading that Wendy Mass is the author of a book my oldest son loved and read twice. I guess that’s going on my to-read list! This book would be appropriate for pretty much any kid old enough to listen to a novel.

Review: Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


4 stars: I really liked it.

The Raven Boys cover (link to Goodreads)

The fandom for this one is super devoted, and I can see why. It’s well written, mysterious, and full of colorful characters with weird names. Blue, the female main character, is a non-psychic in a family of psychics (reminds me of my friend Christine Amsden’s series a bit), but when she’s around, she enhances their abilities. She has been told she’ll one day kill her true love with a kiss. One day she sees a boy named Gansey  on a specific road at a specific time, meaning he will die in the next year. She doesn’t usually see anything, so the fact she does probably means either he’s her true love or she’ll kill him, which . . . yeah. Intriguing. When she meets Gansey in person and finds him insufferably arrogant, it turns into a fun enemies-to-lovers story with a deadly twist. Or so I thought.

Actually, Blue starts falling for a different kid in Gansey’s group of friends, and I really like that romance a lot, and I’m not sure how I feel about the whole love triangle with Gansey thing, and the intriguing vision at the beginning doesn’t pan out in this book, so that was kind of annoying, and maybe I’ll read more of these but maybe not.



Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley


3 stars: I liked it.

Magonia cover (link to Goodreads)

A new member of my writing group read the first chapter of my second book and said it reminded her of Magonia, so of course I had to read it. And yeah, in terms of voice and style and all that, it was eerily like reading my own writing. At the same time, it needed help in terms of plot. Hm. Actually, so does my second book. So. 

The story is about a teenage girl who has severe difficulties breathing. Her lungs don’t work right or even look right, and no one knows why. She’ll probably die of it someday. Then she starts seeing a ship, like a sailing ship, in the sky. Meanwhile, she’s got a best friend who is becoming more than that. He’s delightful. Anyway, she turns out to be a Magonian (magical sky people) who’s been lost on Earth for years, and she has a Magical Destiny, and all that. And if she lives where she can breathe and be her best self, it means leaving New Adorable Boyfriend behind. At times the book dragged or felt directionless, but I did like the ending.