Micro-reviews: one of everything!

I'm so excited and overwhelmed! Tomorrow I leave for New York City (my first time there as an adult) and KidLitCon (the conference for children's literature bloggers)!

But. Before I go, I have to tell you about some of the books I've been reading lately. Great stuff!

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale -- This is the much anticipated (by me) sequel to Princess Academy. Miri and friends are headed for Asland and going to stay in the ...(dun dun dun) Palace of Stone! (That stone being Linder, the stone their village quarries, of course). It is set over the course of 6 months, and I confess the gaps in the timeline threw me at first. Once the action became more closely spaced in time, probably the last quarter of the book, it really hooked me. I don't know if that says more about the writing or about me as a reader, but there you have it. Loved the themes, loved the characters (well, the lovable ones), and the story overall.

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Volume 1 by Tove Jansson -- Charming! I read this one a while ago, and then started seeing references to Moomin everywhere. Moomin is loveable and silly and has friends and family of all types. Most memorable for me: Moomin on the Riviera, which was such a spot on story about vacations! The strip originally ran in London in the 1950's.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente -- I'd heard so many good things about this book, and I could tell from the title that I was either going to love it or hate it. Loved it! It reminded me of The Neverending Story, except that one dragged for me a bit, and this one didn't. Also I liked September much better than Bastian. I think there's a sequel coming out sometime, but it's not a cliffhanger.

Caddy's World by Hilary McKay -- As far as I'm concerned, the only problem with the Casson family books is that they make me forget that the Cassons aren't real, so I have to burst my own bubble when I imagine going to England to visit them. Hilary McKay is my absolute favorite realistic fiction author. For fans of the series (which started with Saffy's Angel) this one is actually a prequel, set in the year Rose was born and focusing on Caddy's experiences. My biggest problem with this one: too much grouchy Bill and not enough lovely Eve. :-)

Library Wars: Love & War Volume 6 by Kiiro Yumi -- These books just make me laugh so much. I read this volume in one sitting at the end of a rather rotten day and it says something that by the end I was in the mood to belly-laugh at Dojo and Kasahara's antics. It's manga, and reads R to L (backwards to us native English speakers).

B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel and Melissa Iwai -- This one is the most recent winner for beloved picture book at our house. I grabbed it from the library and a couple of days later I said to Jacob, "This book has a nice flow. I appreciate that, since I have to read it over and over and over." Sobel's lovely poem takes us through the construction of an amusement park from beginning to end. Iwai's bold illustrations are our first clues that it is a park being built. The text and illustration work together seamlessly, and it was an immense hit with my two year old.

How about you? Read anything good lately?
...And now I must pack....



Christopher Paolini was quoted on the cover of this book as saying that the book's dragons were "some of the most interesting" he'd read. And while I don't love everything Paolini has written, he was right! Seraphina's take on dragonkind is unique, fascinating to think about, and indeed, very interesting.

Seraphina is a young woman trying to pass herself off as human---but she isn't, entirely. Her father was human, but her mother was a dragon, one who'd made the ultimate sacrifice of all her family, her loyalty, and her kind for the love of Seraphina's father. A treaty, only forty years old, brought a very tenuous truce between the human and dragon worlds, but recent deaths threaten to tip the precarious balance between peace and all-out war. And Seraphina finds herself in the middle of it all, trying to simultaneously hide her parentage and use its truth to her advantage in uncovering the identity of the crown prince's murderer.

The writing is so imaginative and lovely. The story twists and turns and is completely fun to get lost in. The characters are awesome. I really enjoyed this book. Though naturally, it'll have a sequel, as pretty much every last YA fantasy book these days does. So the ending is less than conclusive. But ah well. Definitely a good read.
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