Mini Review Round-Up: April-May 2016

I haven’t had time to write full reviews of all the books I’ve read recently…actually, I haven’t had a lot of time to read in general! But here are some mini reviews for the last couple of books I read (and didn’t talk about on Mind the Gap).

The Archived – Victoria “V.E.” Schwab

As you may know, I’m obsessed with V.E. Schwab’s Shades of London trilogy (here are my reviews of ADSOM and AGOS), so now I just want to read ALL THE THINGS she’s ever written. I loved the premise of The Archived, and even liked the characters (any love interest who wears guyliner is fine by me), but it took a while to really get going and there were moments where I felt like I had missed something. There was also a plotline that seemed predictable to me, but I liked how it was handled, and I found myself tearing up during some of Mac’s remembered conversations with her beloved grandpa. Even though her writing in this book is still a million times better than mine on a good day, it’s interesting to see how an author’s command over words can change over the years/books. (Rating: 4 interrobangs)

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People – Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu

I decided to read this one because Douglas Coupland was going to be at my work and I figured I may as well give his writing a shot in case I ended up becoming his biggest fan. Spoiler alert: I did not become his biggest fan. I’ve always sort of suspected that I wouldn’t be into his style, but it was a quick read so I didn’t dwell on it for too long – just long enough to know that Sandra the babysitter was my favourite story. He’s one of those authors where I get the feeling I’m missing a deeper meaning (heavily veiled satire is not my jam at all). I did like the (occasionally gory) illustrations by Graham Roumieu – they have a Quentin Blakes-meets-Tim Burton vibe which is definitely something I’m into. (Rating: 3 interrobangs)

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand – Jonathan Stroud

This was the first Jonathan Stroud book I read (13 years ago!! Literally half my life!!) and I remember being floored by how amazing it was. Thankfully, it lived up to my memories (this is the first time I’ve reread it in ages) and reminded me of why I became a Stroud fangirl in the first place (you may recall that I gush about his Lockwood & Co series all the time). Personally, I love how sarcastic Bartimaeus is, and Nathaniel’s cold detachement makes him an interesting – if not always likeable – protagonist. I’m just about done the second book now, so maybe I’ll do a full series review in a month or so. (Rating: 5 interrobangs)

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

This book has won eleven billion awards and is super hyped up in the YA book community, but I was so underwhelmed. It took over 100 pages for anything good to happen…and, in this case, “good” is relative. I didn’t love the style (phonetic spelling in books will always drive me bonkers until it’s being used to denote an accent…and even then it can get old quickly), I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and, while I find a dog talking about poo as funny as the next person, after the seventh time Manchee said “Poo, Todd?” it stopped being entertaining. I know people love this book, but I was so disappointed, possibly because it’s dystopian (aka my least favourite genre). With a series name like “Chaos Walking”, I expected something so much more epic. (Rating: 2.5 interrobangs)

A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

26236443Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Earlier this year, I tore through V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. I loved it so much, I wrote TWO different reviews (which ended up being published on the same day), recommended it to just about everyone who mentioned the word “book”, and ordered the sequel from the UK (so that my set would match!).

I’m calling it right now: A Gathering of Shadows may end up being my Best Book of 2016.

Because I read the first one so recently, I didn’t need any refresher, which was good because the story throws you right back into Red London. I didn’t think it was possible, but Lila Bard became 1000 times cooler than she already was. You wanna talk about strong female characters? Lila is one of the strongest out there. She’s tough, street-smart, and hella powerful. Literally – much of this book deals with Lila coming to terms with her new-found powers/control over the elements.

Strength and weakness are tangled things…They look so much alike, we often confuse them, the way we confuse magic and power.

While Red London is hosting their international magic game (I’m picturing a cross between the Triwizard Tournament and the Olympics), Kell and Rhy are adjusting to their newly complicated bromance. For reasons that you’d know if you read the first one, their lives are even more entangled than before, and it’s made them both restless and reckless. Kell is also struggling with his role in the kingdom, as everyone seems to blame him for the events of the Black Night.

This book should be held up as an example of How to Write Multiple Perspectives and Keep Your Audience Hooked. I was mesmerized by all the POVs (obviously Kell and Lila’s were my favourites, but Rhy is such a scene-stealer and the other minor story line had me squawking in alarm), and hurtled through the last hundred pages. That ending destroyed me in the best way (that last line? I felt chills) but OH MY GLOB, I CANNOT WAIT for the next book.

My only complaint would be that it took forever for Lila and Kell to meet up again but IT WAS WORTH IT. Those two make me squeal and fail all over the place because they’re just so perfect for each other. I want to read about them forever. Honestly, I love all the characters – the ones we’ve met before and the new ones who are just as intriguing (‘sup, Alucard Emery, my pirate-y friend). And while I normally appreciate unhappy endings – sometimes, I even prefer them – I will cry enough tears to flood Red London’s Isle if someone dies in book three.

Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.

It’s hard for me to review this one because most of the parts I loved are spoilery and you do NOT want to spoil this read. I managed to avoid reading reviews before picking this up, and I’m glad I did because it’s a journey you MUST take on your own. It has elements that will appeal to anyone, and the writing is so smooth, it’s a genuine delight to read. I bow down to you, Victoria Schwab, for your writing is gorgeous and so are your characters (both physically and personality wise).

If you haven’t already, pick this series up. And then come talk to me because I need to fangirl.

How I felt reading AGOS.

How I felt reading AGOS.


5 interrobangs

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

15801353Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages and I finally picked up a copy a couple of weeks ago. First of all, this cover is gorgeous – I almost don’t like all the awards plastered on it because it takes away from the lovely border. Still, those awards were well deserved – this book was beautiful.

Words were different when they lived inside of you.

One summer, Aristotle meets Dante at a swimming pool and they become inseparable. They spend nearly every day together and, despite their differences, form a deep bond. At one point, Ari even saves his new friend’s life; while he’s embarrassed at being seen as a hero, he can’t escape Dante’s gratitude…until Dante and his family move to Chicago.

I had learned to hide what I felt. No, that’s not true. There was no learning involved. I had been born knowing how to hide what I felt

While the story revolves around the two boys, there are a lot of other strong relationships represented throughout the book: Ari’s mom who worries that he will end up in prison like his older brother; his father who lived through the Vietnam War and came back emotionally scarred; and Dante’s parents who are just wonderful in general (especially his dad who Ari thinks of as being genuinely kind).

I don’t really know what else to say about this book without spoiling anything. It was beautifully written – Ari’s narration has a poetic edge to it and he gives us a lot of information and insight into the characters just by their actions. Of course, I love how diverse it is – the boys are Mexican-American but Dante feels less connected to his culture than Ari because, I think, of his more privileged upbringing (his parents are a professor and a therapist whereas Ari’s mother is a teacher and his veteran father is a postman). And the coming-out plotline is handled well; my only complaint would be that the gay characters are quickly accepted by other important characters without any friction – I’m not saying that’s impossible, but I’d imagined it would have been a bigger deal.

I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.

I think it’s up to each reader to discover the secrets of Ari and Dante’s mini universe for themselves. It’s worth a read…even if it will probably make you cry (at least a single tear).


5 interrobangs

This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales

21469098Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, Leila Sales’ This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

From the very first lines – “You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not.” – I was hooked. There was something so easy about Elise’s voice – because it was told in first person, she brought you right into her head. So at the end of the first chapter, when she decides to kill herself, it comes as a shock because up to that point, you think you understand how her mind works.

…imagination is so often no match for the absurdity, the randomness, the tragedy of reality.

Obviously, she’s unsuccessful, but her suicide attempt kicks off the rest of the story: late-night walks lead her to stumble upon Start, the new underground club that leads her to DJ-ing. I love that Elise’s passion is so unique to YA; I can think of other books with music-obsessed protagonists, but none where our intrepid (or, to use her word, “precocious”) heroine decides to learn how to spin.

When I thought about suicide…I thought about all the songs I had left to discover and all the songs I had left to play.

Elise is one of the few YA characters that I can really relate to. At first, I thought she was speaking to my teenaged self, but eventually, I realized that I can relate to her now more than I did as a teen. Like Elise, I don’t have a lot of friends, and the only times I really leave my house (apart from work) is to go to concerts (not quite the same as DJ-ing an underground party, but some of the smaller venues are sketchy at best). Like Elise, I have a creative outlet (writing), though, unlike Elise, my creative outlet hasn’t won me fame (yet!). I can also see traces of myself in her need to be good at everything (not just good, but great) and the way she commits to “big projects”, which all, ultimately, lead her to finding where her passion really lies.

Time from there passed not in minutes, but in songs.

The relationships in this book seem more true to life than most other YA relationships, especially between Elise and her parents. They’re divorced, but they don’t ignore her or treat her poorly; they love her, and if they’re a little over-protective, it’s only because they’re scared of losing her. I also loved her younger siblings, and there are a few scenes with her sister Alex that tugs at your heartstrings.

Though romance isn’t really the main theme, Elise does have a thing for Char, her DJ-tutor from Start. I won’t spoil anything, though I will say I started off liking Char (who wouldn’t love a music nerd?), and ended up strongly disliking him by the end. The only aspect of the book I would change is the way Elise still ended up with a love interest; it was cute and I saw it coming from the second this character showed up, but I like the idea of having a heroine who comes to terms with who she is and doesn’t need to ask a dude out to further validate herself (I do like that she was the one to ask him).

All in all, I’d absolutely recommend this one to anyone who loves music or music-obsessed heroines.


5 interrobangs

George – Alex Gino

George – Alex Gino

24612624BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

I’ve heard amazing things about George, so when I saw it on sale at a library (I’m the only person I know who can go to a library and buy a book), I picked it up right away.

I don’t know a lot about transgender and transitioning or how terrible it must be to feel like a stranger in your own body. I don’t even know if I have all the right vocabulary to be able to talk about it because I don’t have the personal experience to relate to. But I think everyone can understand the loneliness George feels, and it’s easy to empathize with such a sweet character.

It takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination.

It’s hard for George to “come out” to people, and the adults in her life don’t make it any easier by constantly reinforcing the idea that she is a boy. Those are the most heartbreaking moments, which are especially sad because I know there are children out there who actually have to deal with this kind of attitude. I do think it’s lovely that George’s older brother is ultimately so accepting of her, even if her mother takes a while to come around.

I’ve read reviews that complain about the simplicity of the language and the stereotypes (girls like skirts and makeup, etc). 1) I don’t think the language is that simple, given the target audience. And 2) maybe George is the type of girl who DOES like skirts and make up (such creatures do exist).

It’s a short read, but it’s an important one. For all the simplicity of the language, the topic is fairly complex, and I think it was a good step in the right direction.


5 interrobangs

If I Had a Gryphon – Vikki VanSickle, illustrated by Cale Atkinson

If I Had a Gryphon – Vikki VanSickle, illustrated by Cale Atkinson

25614173When a kitten sneezes it’s adorable. When a dragon sneezes? It’s a fire hazard!

Sam is already bored of her new pet, a rather sedate hamster. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought. Unicorns are shy, gryphons scare the dogs at the dogpark, and having a fire extinguisher handy at all times makes dragons seem like an awful lot of work. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet … or is he?

If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations–and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them. The perfect primer on mythological and fantastic beasts for young kids not quite ready for Harry Potter!

Release Date: February 9th, 2016

I don’t think I’ve reviewed a picture book on this blog before and honestly, I don’t know why. I love picture books! I have a whole shelf dedicated to them, and most of those books are from the past couple of years, nevermind the amount I collected during my actual childhood.

So, I think it’s about time I started talking about the wonders that can be found in picture books, and what better book to start with than the superb If I Had a Gryphon.

With sweet rhyming prose and an easy, bouncy rhythm, the story follows Sam as she tries to decide what kind of mythical animal she would most like to have – anything but a boring old hamster. I read it to my three nieces (aged 3-9) and we had fun talking about the different creatures and which ones we would personally like to own (I think I settled on unicorn), so it would be a great discussion starter at home or in the classroom.


Not only does Sam list the usual suspects (what you would normally think of when you think “mythic”) such as unicorns and dragons, but she also mentions kirins and jackalopes and basilisks and many more. I’ve heard people say this is the book you give to a child who is too young for Harry Potter and I couldn’t agree more.

Side note: around the time I received my copy, I was also reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I could not get this precious image of a kirin out of my head.


I might be a little biased because our intrepid heroine may or may not be named after me (she totally is – read more to find out why), but how flippin’ cute are these illustrations?? Cale Atkinson, who released his debut picture book, To the Sea, this past year, is an up-and-coming illustrator from BC who has already done work for different animation studios and publishers. His characters are precious, from the round-faced Sam to the majestic titular gryphon and all the creatures in between, and they make the words come alive. I was interning at Tundra when the artwork first came in and it’s actually uncanny how much Sam looks like a cartoon version of me, even though I’ve never met Cale – and so, she was named. For your enjoyment, here is a photo of me dressed as my picture book doppleganger:

halloween gryphon

I’m lucky enough to know Vikki in real life, and it’s a good thing I love her first picture book otherwise it would be awkward if we ran into each other (I’ve yet to read any of her novels, but since one is referred to as a middle grade version of Dirty Dancing, I don’t see how I could NOT love them). She is a lovely person and is totally living my dream (children’s book marketer by day, children’s book author by night), and if anyone deserves to have a bestselling picture book (and mermaid-like hair), it’s her. It’s hard to pick the right words when you’re writing a rhyming sequence, but Vikki (with the help of her editor, the awesome Sam Swenson) does a fantastic job, making it look effortless and employing some whimsical words and images along the way, such as tinkling unicorn horseshoes and sasquatches with “burly, curly fur”. If you’ve ever wished for an exciting pet or would have cursed someone to be in Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class, this book is for you.


Plus the amount of detail is incredible, as I’ve come to expect from all Tundra picture books (photos from my phone don’t do the illustrations justice). If you have a physical copy, remove the dust jacket for a magical surprise!


5 interrobangs

The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence

The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence

15984268A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn’t had the easiest childhood.
But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.
So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing …
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world.

When my sister, Ro, finished reading this book, she immediately handed it to me and said “I think you’ll like this”. She compared Alex Woods to an “older version of a Susin Nielsen character”, and let me just say that she was right.

The story starts off with a bang: right away, you’re wondering who Alex is and what he’s doing crossing back into the UK from Switzerland. I don’t really remember Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, though I do know I’ve read it, but it’s easy to see why the two books are comparable. Their protagonists aren’t your every-day kids: while Curious Incident features an autistic boy, Alex Woods was a “regular” kid until he was hit by a meteorite.

Honestly, the meteorite is the only unbelievable aspect of this book. And even that is given a scientific explanation that makes you think, “yeah, that could happen”.

The book is relatively slow-going: it takes you back about seven years and describes the events that led up to the moment we first meet Alex at the customs office. Most, if not all, of the events described have some sort of significance, but if you’re not a fan of character-driven novels, you might want to skip this one. Alex’s voice is so strong and so believable, I occasionally forgot that I wasn’t reading a real autobiography: Gavin Extence captured the voice so well, it had a realness to it.

I will also admit that this book made me cry. Even though I knew full well who was going to die and had sufficient time to emotionally prepare myself, I, like Alex, cried. Not full on ugly-crying, but the silent tears that make it seem like crying was inevitable so there was no point in trying to stop them.

Funny, endearing, and heartbreaking, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is an excellent story about friendship, death, and the lives we lead.


5 interrobangs

Mini Review Round-Up: September – October 2015

I realized the other day that I read a bunch of books in the past few months that I didn’t write reviews on. I’m not sure why, to be honest, but instead of writing eight (!) extra posts, I’ve condensed them all into one post of mini reviews!

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine

24463265A charming middle-grade mystery. I can see it appealing to people who’ve read/want to read The Adventures of Miss Petitfour (except a lot less cats). There were certain elements that seemed “older” than middle-grade, but I feel like people in the UK have different standards for children’s books. Also, LOVE the endpapers/spot illustrations by Julia Sarda.

Rating: 4 interrobangs

Knightly and Son – Rohan Gavin

17978149Mix Artemis Fowl (or really any Eoin Colfer boy protagonist) with a hint of Sherlock Holmes, a dash of Lemony Snicket’s All The Wrong Questions series, and a lot of Spy (the hilarious British show), and you get this. I think I literally laughed out loud a couple of times (or at least snorted). Another fun middle-grade mystery, not to be taken too seriously.

Rating: 4 interrobangs

The Ghosts of Ashbury High – Jaclyn Moriarty

0-545-06973-4I’ve been a big fan of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury/Brookfield books for many years, and I was so stoked when I realized there was a fourth book (they’re loosely connected so you don’t really need to read them in order). I liked what she was doing with it – ghosts! gothic fiction! exams! – but I found it took longer to get into this installment than the others.

Rating: 4 interrobangs

Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times – Emma Trevayne

18332010This cover kills me, it’s so pretty. It had a lot of elements that I really enjoyed – clocks and London and alternate universes, to name a few – and I would compare the tone to classic children’s books like Peter Pan or The Wizard of Oz. The only thing that stopped it from being perfect was the slow-moving plot: stuff happened, but it took a while for it to really pick up.

Rating: 4.5 interrobangs

Vivian Divine is Dead – Lauren Sabel

18651963I got an ARC of this last year when I was interning at HarperCollins Canada and then sort of forgot about it until last week. It started out great, then kind of sputtered along in the middle, and the end was good in a soap opera kind of way. Now that I think about it, it’s probably similar to a really dramatic Hispanic soap opera. Decent, but not stellar.

Rating: 3 interrobangs

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean – Justin Somper

1721141This was a re-read. I know it sounds almost like a joke (vampires + pirates?), but it’s honestly such a good series, even if the second book is a little slow. Lorcan Furey is definitely one of my book boyfriends. And I know it gets better, especially when the badass lady vampirate shows up. Really, I was just glad to see it still held up after almost ten years!

Rating: 5 interrobangs

Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights? – Lemony Snicket

25229245I’ve been reading Lemony Snicket books for literally half my life, so you think by now I’d know that a series ending is just going to leave me confused. It was about as satisfying (that is, unsatisfying) as I expected, but still so Lemony Snicket (if you’ve read his books, you know exactly what I’m talking about). Loved the references to ASOUE characters!

Rating: 4 interrobangs

Whisky From Small Glasses and The Last Witness  – Denzil Meyrick

2482053222665422I liked book one more. It was well-paced and I could easily imagine the small Scottish town where it took place. It’s interesting because some of the characters, such as DS Scott had heavy Scottish accents which were depicted in the text (think Hagrid’s way of speaking x 1000). Book two was harder to get into for because the storyline was more complicated and DS Scott played a huge role, which made reading it a chore.

Rating (Whisky From Small Glasses): 4 interrobangs
Rating (The Last Witness): 3 interrobangs

Have you read any of the books on this list? Or do you have any recs for me now that I’ve read these? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter this giveaway for an ebook of J.P. Grider’s Naked and Far From Home, courtesy of Xpresso Book Tours!

The Hollow Boy – Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co: The Hollow Boy – Jonathan Stroud

24397043As a supernatural outbreak baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests against the psychic agencies throughout London, Lockwood and Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness between the team now that Anthony has shared his childhood story, and Lucy is feeling more and more like her true home is at Portland Row.

It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro. Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including an old school where bloody handprints and a glowing boy are appearing. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood and Co.’s concerns when a living assassin makes an attempt on Fittes’s and Rotwell’s lives.

Can the team get past their interpersonal issues to save the day on all fronts? Danger abounds, tensions escalate, and new loyalties form in this third delightfully terrifying adventure.

Last year, when I read book two, The Whispering Skull, I told myself to take the third book slowly so that I wouldn’t be quite so impatient for the next installment.

Apparently, I forgot my own advice because I could barely function for the two days I was reading this (I had to be an adult and go to work otherwise I’d have finished it in a day!).

Jonathan Stroud continues to be one of my favourite authors. His characters are sarcastic and smart, brave and bold, and realistic.

Lucy’s jealousy over new-girl Holly is understandable: Holly’s character is presented in such a way that you, as a reader, can’t help being a little suspicious of her too. Also, as a Lucy/Lockwood shipper, I was just as frustrated as Lucy whenever Lockwood seemed to express more interest in Holly’s opinions than in the stalwart Lucy’s.

George’s character has also evolved. I remember him as being more annoying in the first book, but I think he’s “growing up”. Either that, or Lucy isn’t as bothered by his quirks, which means she’s presenting him in a more favourable light than before. Sometimes I feel like George is the Ron Weasley of the group: he’s a main character and a huge part of the story, but he can sometimes be pushed into the background because of Lucy and Lockwood’s stronger personalities (no offense to either George or Ron, I love them both).

This installment also felt a little scarier. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s common knowledge that poltergeists are terrifying – and that’s exactly what Lockwood & Co are up against. Stroud’s writing continues to shine, drawing you into the story and creating vivid scenes that leave you holding your breath.

Once again, it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and while it’s not as dramatic as the end of the second book, it perfectly whets the appetite for book four (and, hopefully, a fifth book?). And, to be honest, it left me more than a little worried about Lockwood’s fate (I would not put it past Stroud to kill a main character again).


5 interrobangs

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015. I’ve read a lot of great books so far this year, so it was hard to pick 10, but here we go (as always, it’s not in any particular order). Most are linked to my reviews, but the Ellie Marney ones link to Goodreads.

1) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali
2) Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
3) The Lovely and the Lost – Page Morgan
4) The Wondrous and the Wicked – Page Morgan
5) Every Word – Ellie Marney
6) Every Move – Ellie Marney
7) Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra
8) The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley
9) The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen – Susin Nielsen
10) The Little Prince – Antoine de St-Euxpéry

What are some of your favourite books that you’ve read in 2015 (so far)?