Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A cute new picture book by Christi Love ... I mean, Elsbeth Claus ... who went around the country posing as Mrs. Claus to collect real kids' questions about Santa, the elves, the reindeer, and the North Pole. The questions are compiled in this charming book, illustrated by David Wenzel, to finally set at rest all of the things we've always wondered about how Christmas happens each year.
~Dear Mrs. Claus, How old are you and Santa?
~Dear Mrs. Claus, What are Santa's workshops like?
~Dear Mrs. Claus, Can all reindeer fly?
Check it out for a fun, secular Christmas read.
I'm new to the Horrid Henry series, but I understand that they are very popular, and after reading this Christmas installment, I can see why. Totally irreverent, truly horrid Henry makes no apologies for his ways. He's not a naughty boy who finally realizes how naughty he's being and reforms in the end. He's just a stinker to the core. This collection of four Christmas stories was completely un-Christmas-y (not a sappy, uplifting, tear-jerking moment to be found), but still totally funny. And while I hope that my own sons grow up to be Perfect Peters (Horrid Henry's little brother who can do no wrong), I also hope that they'll have at least a few Horrid Henry moments. As horrid a child as he is, Henry still manages to be strangely endearing. Not a classic, but definitely entertaining. Maybe read it to your kids first, and then read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to them. So you get at least a little upswing.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
In other news, I finally finished Once a Witch. Yes, finally. It took me a long time to read, because I was quite unengaged by it. The main character was somewhat sympathetic, but mostly kind of whiny. (In my opinion.) She smoked and drank (at age 17) like it was a character trait, not a character flaw, which bothered me. Call me conservative. And there was far too much whispering in general. Made for an overexaggerated sense of drama. Also some unanswered questions that were generally confusing. The jacket made it sound like my kind of book, but unfortunately, it wasn't. Oh well. On to the next!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It's the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even---and especially---when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there's a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.
I loved the character progression of this book. Ruby starts out as an outwardly lost cause. She pushes everyone around her away. She casually experiments with drugs and alcohol. Her mom is totally deadbeat and rarely around, and then disappears altogether. Her one source of stability, her big sister, disappeared into college when Ruby was still a child and apparently never tried to contact her again. Ruby's internal walls are totally believable, and their gradual dismantling is so beautiful. I definitely recommend this book.
The other thick books I've been immersed in were the Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass)---which, incidentally, according to this, is actually going to have another book added to it in March '11, and has been optioned as a movie by the guys who oversaw the Lord of the Rings production. Wow. I am seriously excited for that one. Hopefully it gets made into a movie someday in the not-too-distant future. Many thanks to our guest reviewer who so highly recommended the series. Ditto to everything she said. Just read her review if you want more info. They were an action-packed, un-put-down-able collection of books. I can't imagine what the fourth book could possibly hold. The series seemed to wrap up quite tidily with the third. Two thumbs up to all my recent reads.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Betraying Season: Sequel to Bewitching Season. This one took a marked turn, I thought, from the first in the series. For one thing, it had a surprising scene of sensuality (I wouldn't recommend it to young teens). For another, there was a lot less discussion of fashion and frippery. I loved all the interplay between the heroine and her obvious intended. Her blindness to the "bad guy" amongst her acquaintances was mostly believable. There were some "I want to strangle the main character for being so obtuse" moments. But mostly, the author pulled the story off well. It wasn't totally fantastic for me, but I liked it well enough.
Prada and Prejudice: This book was everything I wanted it to be: totally fun, Jane-Austen style. Don't worry, the Bennets don't make an appearance. It's not a Pride and Prejudice rehashing. It's about an American teen who trips on a class trip on the cobblestone streets of London in her brand-new Prada high heels and lands herself in Regency England. No Darcy, but there is a handsome though snobbish duke. The book reminded me a lot of Shannon Hale's Austenland, minus Shannon's lovely writing style. The heroine is really shy, and her best (and only) friend just moved to another school, so she begins the book feeling desperate to get in with the in-crowd but not knowing how to do it. She ends the book in a more positive, self-assured, strong-woman frame of mind. For me, this book was just fun, absorbing, and happy. Of the three chick flicks I read this month, I recommend this one the most. But Austen could've biased me. :)
As a side note, don't forget to enter the Christmas books giveaway, if you haven't already done so. Just leave a comment by midnight, the night of Thanksgiving, November 26th.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Therefore. It is with great delight that I present two wonderful new Christmas books for your consideration---and for two of our readers to take home themselves, free of charge. Like a present from Everead to you! Two lucky commenters will be randomly selected to receive both of these hardcover books, each, compliments of Scholastic. So. On to the books.
The Christmas MagicFrom best-selling author Lauren Thomas and Caldecott Honor artist Jon J. Muth comes this completely enchanting new night-before-Christmas story. Far, far north, Santa prepares for his big night of giving. He feeds his reindeer, polishes his sleigh, and chooses toys for all of the children of the world. And all the while, he listens and waits for that thrum of magic that will make the reindeer fly and help him spread the joy and warmth of Christmas all over the world. I especially loved how this book makes Santa look like an average Joe---just a quiet man with a great big heart. He lives in a tidy little house. He keeps his sleigh in the shed. He darns his own stockings. No elves picture in the book. No giant workshop with conveyor belts and thousands of busy workers appears. Just a simple old man getting ready for a night out. The understated yet beautiful watercolor illustrations seem to say that we can all be Santa in our own way. It doesn't take great wealth, prestige, or power to be a force for good in another person's life. Just a gaze that turns outward and a little thrum of Christmas magic. Check out one of the charming illustrations below.
... and the book trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
The Nutcracker and the Mouse KingWith beautiful new illustrations by Gail de Marcken, this second holiday book tells E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story that inspired the famous Tchaikovsky ballet. Unlike the ballet version of the story, Marie's adventures with her beloved Nutcracker happen over several nights. The Nutcracker is an enchanted young man who can only awaken when shown the selfless love that Marie demonstrates for him in several battles with the fierce, seven-headed Mouse King. The illustrations are truly magical, colorful and sweeping and totally enchanting, and I loved hearing the original story that inspired one of my favorite ballets. Two thumbs way up for both of these Christmas books.
So, if you'd like to win both of these books, you know what to do! Just leave a comment below before November 26th, 2009---Thanksgiving!---to be entered in our random drawing. And merry early Christmas from Everead!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
And be sure to come back, everyone, over the next week or so for a gorgeous children's Christmas book duo giveaway from Scholastic!
Jared is a 10-year-old kid who visits his grandfather every summer in Lone Jack, Missouri, a town with a lot of Civil War history. This particular visit proves an eventful one, to say the least, as the town is becoming increasingly overrun by ghosts of the Battle of Lone Jack, Civil War characters who have continued their deadly battle beyond the grave. Only Jared, a few of his young friends, and some of the town's old-timers can see the ghosts initially. But the ghosts, who have up until now been nothing but harmless spirits, are turning into zombies---mindless, rotting corpses whose crazed violence is unleashed on anyone unlucky enough to stumble into their crossfire. Jared and his friends team up with the old-timers and a ghost-hunting duo to discover what's happening to the ghosts of Lone Jack, and to figure out what they can do to put the warring spirits to rest.
Add into the mix some evil town bullies, a group of six escaped convicts, some really stupid donut-stuffing town policemen, Little League woes, and the cute girl next door, and you have the basis for what felt like a primarily stereotype-driven plot. There were definitely fun moments in the book---even a few that made me chuckle out loud. But as an editor, I was driven almost crazy by the misuse of apostrophes (how is one to pronounce g'tting' exactly?). The editing could use some work. The zombies were a little too gruesome for the intended age group (lots of gore, guts hanging out of bodies, head slicing, bugs pouring from rotten openings, etc.). And the book tried a little too hard to teach readers through long passages of history about the Lone Jack area that would've lost me as a young reader. It took me about three-quarters of the book to get into the story. The ending was exciting and fun. But the rest of it for me ... eh. If you're really into Civil War history, you might find this to be a fun read.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
When Winter, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, was found trapped with her tail badly damaged, she was not expected to survive. This is her miraculous story, from her rescue to learning how to swim again to her unprecedented success using a prosthetic tail. This is also a celebration of her indomitable spirit.
Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again is a sweet, nonfiction read that's perfect for kids who love sea animals or who may themselves be facing a difficult challenge and need a little inspiration. Winter's story is universally appealing, and the book itself is well-constructed with beautiful photographs of the dolphin's adventures, beginning when she was found by a fisherman tangled in a trap line. While I would've often liked more details (it's a cool story!---I wanted to know more about the specifics of it all), perhaps the generalities will inspire kids to get on the Internet or go to the library to learn more---more about how Winter's trainer taught her to move her tail up and down instead of side to side, more about how the prosthetics expert developed a tail that could mimic a real dolphin's, more about how Winter swims now that she's trained with her new tail for a long time. Any book that inspires kids to do better or learn more is a great book indeed. Thumbs up for Winter's Tail.
So now to the giveaway. One lucky randomly selected commenter will receive the following totally awesome Winter's Tail prize package:
*Dolphin key chain
*Winter's Tail game for Nintendo DS (seriously!)
*Copy of Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again book (naturally)
And in case the list isn't tantalizing enough, here's a picture of the prizes.
You have two weeks from today to comment on this post (deadline being November 10, 11:59 p.m.). One comment per person, please. And please be sure to include your e-mail address so that we can contact you if you've won. Tell your friends and fam about this giveaway too---we think it's pretty cool!
And check out the book trailer here:
If that's not enough Winter excitement for you, Scholastic is also holding an essay contest for young readers ages 6-14. Check out the details below if you're interested.
Scholastic wants to hear about an animal that has most inspired your children by having them tell us about their favorite animal hero in 200 words or less.
One grand prize winner and his/her guardian will receive a trip to visit Winter at her home in Clearwater, Florida, one night's stay at a hotel, $500 travel voucher, a Winter prize pack and a Nintendo DS Game system! 10 runners up with receive a copy of Winter's Tail, a Winter's Tail Nintendo DS game and a Winter plush doll!
HOW TO ENTER
Send entries to:
Scholastic's Meet Winter the Dolphin Contest
New York, NY 10012
Each entry must include student's name, age, and grade; teacher's name; and school name, address, and phone number.All entries must be received by November 30, 2009. Winners will be announced on or around December 14th. No purchase necessary. Open to legal residences of 50 United States and D.C. ages 6-14 as of November 30th 2009. Void where prohibited. Click here for complete contest rules. Or go here for the PDF.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I am not a five-year-old boy. So it wasn't my favorite. But if you are a five-year-old boy, you just might like this book.
Colonel Trash Truck is a save-the-day garbage-crushing hero who's helping to clean the world, one piece of trash at a time. The book is meant to inspire kids to "think green" and not litter.
The book is written in rhyme, which occasionally feels forced, particularly the page about cleaning up your "boogies" and "loogies" and not picking your nose. I had a hard time seeing the connection between nose-picking and garbage trucks---technically, using a tissue actually creates more trash, right?
For me, the book mostly missed the mark---lots of very similar illustrations of Col. Trash Truck driving here and there down the street picking up garbage, and sometimes trite rhyming schemes that also weren't entirely accurate. (It often seems to imply that garbage trucks go around cleaning up all garbage, not just the stuff in the cans that you leave on the curb. Could this actually send kids the wrong message? That littering is naughty, but it's really okay, because garbage trucks will "even come pick up the scum left by your little brother"?)
In any case, if you've got a young kid, likely male, who really likes garbage trucks and likes to think about the environment, this could be a fun book for him. That's my take.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
We've been working hard behind the scenes on the judging assignments, and we've put together an enthusiastic panel of fans and bloggers to read the best in graphic novels for both young adult and elementary/middle grade audiences.
Panel Organizer: Liz Jones, Liz Jones Books
Panelists (Round I Judges):
Alyssa Feller, The Shady Glade
Maggi Idzikowski, Mama Librarian
Liz Jones (see panel organizer)
Nicola Manning, Back to Books
Kim Rapier, Si, se puede! Yes we can
Gina Ruiz, AmoXcalli
Alysa Stewart, Everead
Judges (Round II):
Wow, cool follow-up to Daughter of the Forest, which I loved. This second book in the trilogy follows Sorcha's three grown children, mainly her daughter Liadan, through twisting trials, romance, and tragedies, always driving toward the ultimate goal of reclaiming the three sacred islands that are still under British occupation.
As with many fantasy books, there's a prophecy, but unlike some others, the person destined to fulfill that prophecy isn't immediately clear. Two books into the trilogy, I think we've finally figured out who will bring peace to the warring people in the story.
The writing is beautiful, as always. The story is intricate and very human. The characters are deep and independent and so varied. I love that about all of Juliet Marillier's books. Each person is a personality. So check out this series if you're feeling an itching for a new fantastical literary experience. As with the first one, this contains more adult content than I would deem appropriate for a young teen. So I'll recommend it for 16-18-ish and up.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Rolston-- This one won the Cybils award for YA Graphic Novel last year. With that kind of recommendation, I didn't want to pass it up. And I'm glad I read it. It was interesting. I can't say it was my favorite -- I had some issues with it. But as far as writing and illustrating quality? Top Notch. As far as engaging and appealing? Very nice. My issues were more along these lines: Why didn't Emiko break sooner? Why didn't she tell anyone what really went on? And how did she get away with it for so long? So, I guess I don't relate personally very much to Emiko. But I think that the book asks valuable questions about art, life, honesty, etc. What is it about? How one summer can change everything. And how Emiko became a superstar, of course.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi-- I've heard this one mentioned in the realm of YA, but I categorize it adult. Its the life story of a girl in Iran. An autobiography. It is fascinating, and the artwork is just perfect. I really think the art makes the book successful. In this sort of scenario -- where we're getting scenes from Marjane Satrapi's life -- the facial expressions tell you just what she thinks of it all, as it's happening. If it were all written out, it would be too wordy! Either too gushy or too austere. Anyway. I wasn't thrilled with the ending, but it obviously couldn't have been any other way. And it ended symbolically as well. The first panels tell about Marji's first experiences with wearing the veil, and I assume that the last panel is the last time she's worn it. The humor is great. The language gets coarse, occasionally. And I'm glad it's not my life story. But I'm glad I read it.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Silksinger by Laini Taylor is officially released today! Yay! It's a good one! You can read my review here. You can win a copy from the author herself here. If you haven't heard about this one yet, you'll want to start with the first book, Blackbringer. Have fun!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy just came out at the beginning of this month. We had a low grocery bill last week, so I justified adding the $12 book to the cart instead of waiting for four months for my name to come up on the library waiting list. Just like the first, the storyline and writing are extremely engaging. It's the kind of book you shouldn't pick up on a day when you have lots of other things to do. Because the other things you have to do simply won't get done.
The first half of the book was relatively slower paced (though still gripping), but a surprising midbook twist will have you biting your fingernails all the way to the last page. Definite cliffhanger.
As a cohesive, stand-alone book, Catching Fire doesn't measure up to its predecessor. The plot feels slightly scattered, and I finished it feeling like, That was awesome ... but was this book really necessary? It seemed like the plot-forwarding elements introduced in it could easily have been packed into the end of the first and beginning of the third installments. Yes, Katniss and Peeta defied the Capital. Yes, she's become an unwitting symbol for revolution. Yes, she's unsure how exactly she feels about Peeta. These are things I already knew as the first book finished, and they're basically the three points that Catching Fire focuses on. So no earth-shattering revelations here. Just a further developing of plot points that were already in place. There's no doubt that this book acts as a kind of knot-tier between first and third, as do most second books in trilogies. (Obviously I haven't read the third, but this is what I imagine after reading the second.)
That being said, I still say the book is a must-read. It's a great series, and I am really excited to see how the third book will end it all.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Anastasia Romanov's possible survival of the massacre that killed her entire family has been the subject of much historical speculation over the century or so since it happened (or didn't). Author Joy Preble adds a fictional twist to the tale by interweaving magic and involving the infamous child-eating witch of Russian folklore---Baba Yaga. (Save yourself the trouble of trying to say that name ten times fast ... trust me.) If that's not compelling enough, throw into the mix a modern girl named Anne, an unsuspecting descendent of the Romanov line whose task becomes the rescue of trapped-in-time Anastasia. And if you're still not feeling the need to read this book, know that there's also an incredibly handsome hero in the story with piercing blue eyes and great hair that he's constantly raking his hands through.
In some ways, I felt like this book was pulling me in too many directions. And the editor in me couldn't help but nitpick (the Anastasia letter-writing font is too flowery to be really legible, characters' hearts pound a lot in their chests, there's a bit of an overuse of the one-line paragraphs to add drama to a statement, and some character reactions feel a little formulaic---Anne's extreme anger with Ethan, the good guy who tells her she has magical powers and a mission, for instance).
But despite the minor changes I would make (if anyone wanted my opinion ...), I enjoyed the concept of the story, the changes that take place in the characters, and the deliverance of the resolution. I liked Anastasia's ultimate choice.
There are a lot of unanswered questions in the end, but it does tie together satisfyingly enough. This is a fun read. Just don't try to overthink it.
Monday, August 31, 2009
I couldn't help grabbing this one off the shelf at the library. The colors were so bold and bright, and the title captured me right away. I love dancing in the kitchen! It's probably the most romantic place to dance, don't you think? Well, maybe a ballroom is more romantic. It depends on your definition of romance. I think we should have a poll about this.
The book starts off with a very subdued palette -- the kids are in their dark bedroom, hearing noises from the kitchen. When they finally peek in on their parents, Wow! The color just hits your eye. And you wouldn't think that a book like this would have much suspense, but it does. As the father dipped the mother I held my breath. And what will the parents do when they find their kids spying on them?
This book is so sweet. It is masterfully done, if you ask me. Fans of Dora the Explorer will probably like the little bit of Spanish featured in it. It is really very heartwarming. Highly recommended.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I tried reading this one once during a really, super-busy time, and I didn't manage to get past the first few chapters, which was tragic because I really liked what I'd read. So I finally got around to picking it up again, and I loved it, start to finish.
Based on the Six Swans fairy tale, this book tells the story of seven siblings---six brothers, and the youngest, a sister, and their deep connection to each other through unimaginable trials. Their mother died not long after the heroine of the story was born (as is often the case in these fairy tales ... poor mothers!). Their father is absorbed in a senseless war that has lasted generations. And the seven siblings are left mostly to themselves to raise and care for each other. Their worlds are turned upside down when their father remarries---you guessed it, a wicked stepmother. I won't go into detail about the difficulties that ensue, but suffice it to say, that's where the typical-fairy-tale-ness ends.
The tale is beautifully spun, the mountain of problems the devoted siblings must overcome seems insurmountable, and the climax is as believably carried off as it is nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat exciting.
I'd recommend this book to older readers---maybe fifteen/sixteen and up. There is a rather intense, though not highly detailed, scene where a young woman is raped. Not something I'd personally want my young daughters reading.
The book is a thought-provoking, good read. Can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Sometimes, in winter,a bird in a treelooks like one redleaf left over.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Coriander lives in a spacious house on the Thames, daughter of a successful merchant father and a beautiful and wise mother who makes herbal remedies for all the neighbors and loves her daughter more than anything. All is well in the little girl's world until the arrival of the silver shoes. The moment Coriander's mother opens the package and Coriander gets her first look at them, she knows they were meant for her alone. But her mother won't let her have them. She locks them away. Coriander hears them calling from their hiding place. Against her parents' wishes, she seeks them out, and she puts them on, not knowing what her mother did: that the shoes are a link to another world, her mother's world, and once Coriander puts them on, she can never return to the normal and happy life she knew.
I really loved this book. It was quite the page turner. If you're a fan of historical fantasy, I'd highly recommend picking this one up. It's the perfect blend of history, magic, and of course a touch of romance. Two thumbs up. :)
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. We listened to this one on the drive. I liked the narrator (VERY important for an audiobook) and I liked the story. Jacob and I laughed out loud fairly often. But the book is thought provoking as well. What would you do, really, if you had a million dollars? What if you had come by it in a very unlikely way? Mom, you should check this one out.
Karlsson-on-the-roof by Astrid Lindgren. Ransom recommended this one to me -- it's by the author of Pippi Longstocking. It was odd. And silly. And somewhat predictable, but much better than I thought it would be from the first bit of the book. Anyway, I enjoyed it and I think it would be quite fun to read with second or third graders because there is so much that is unexplained and that you could have them fill in. :)
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George. I had been meaning to read this one for quite a while. It was very cute. Tagline: She wanted dragon gold. She got a pair of slippers. So. It takes place in that fantasy time in which dragons are still around and used to be friends with humans, but aren't anymore. But Creel is going to change all of that. Maybe? She manages to be pretty sharp (but amazingly dense about the biggest most important thing in the book: the slippers) and her story is quite enjoyable. I'm glad I already own the sequel.
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelucci & Jim Rugg. The Readergirlz pick for this month. This one is a graphic novel about Jane. She's recovering from tragedy and moving to a new town. Can she make friends and find herself? Can she change the world through art? I enjoyed the overarching themes of the book, and was entranced by the John Doe sub-plot, but had a bit of a hard time with some of their art attacks. I'm supposed to believe they had the money to buy the supplies for that? Without anyone knowing? mmm. Enjoyable read though.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
To read my reviews of other graphic novels, click the "graphic novels" tag below.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
When I started to read City of Bones, I had no idea how intense the series was going to be. I read all three books in a matter of days because I couldn't put any of them down. There’s a part of me that wishes I would’ve read this series as each book was published, so I could wait and let the adrenaline coursing through my body ebb a bit. But, then there’s an even bigger part of me that’s glad I didn’t have to wait between each book as it would’ve been torture, even more so than waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or Breaking Dawn.The Mortal Instruments trilogy (consisting of City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass) is a young adult urban fantasy set in New York City. The Shadowhunters use runes to give them power to keep the world safe by defeating downworlders--non-humans or non-Shadowhunters. Mundanes, or humans, can't see Shadowhunters. However, one evening, Clary's thrown into the Shadowhunter world when she witnesses what she thinks is a murder. That same evening, she's attacked by a demon when she returns home to find that her mother has disappeared. She must enlist the help of Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks like an angel and acts a lot like a stuck up jerk, to find her mother.Each book was just as intense as the previous one. However, I think the stories became more intense as I went along because I knew the characters and I was more interested in what happened to them. The feelings the characters were going through along with the intense situations occurring around them made each book so action-packed that I felt like I needed an inhaler to help slow down my breathing and a sedative to relax my nerves.I’ve been trying to figure out a way to explain the intensity of this series to people who ask me what the books are about and this is what I’ve come up with. Imagine the frustration with the love triangle situation in Eclipse and add in the suspense and edge-of-your-seat feeling from the last three Harry Potter books, or even The Hunger Games. Unlike the Twilight Saga or Harry Potter, the books don’t deal with just one of those situations at a time; they deal with both intense situations throughout the entire series and it just escalates with each one! I was literally captivated by the story within the first chapter of each book.City of Glass is probably the best ending to a series I’ve ever read. The story or ending didn’t feel contrived. It didn’t feel like it was forced to go a particular way to meet the author’s expectations. The characters grew and they still acted like I expected them too. Most of the conflict was resolved, but some of it was left open for future possibilities. The ending wasn’t too fluffy or over-the-top, yet it left me feeling satisfied. I’m very pleased with how things turned out and I can’t wait to read the stories again in the future.