The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is an adult fiction novel. 

Nora Seed lives a solitary life in the town where she grew up. She could have been anything growing up. An Olympic swimmer, a rock star, a glaciologist, a wife and pub owner, a philosopher and more. Instead she is depressed, anxious and filled with regret. 

When the only creature, her beloved cat, who has ever needed her dies, Nora decides to die. But when she chugs a bottle of pills instead of dying she is transported to The Midnight Library. A library filled with all the possible lives she might have lived and a familiar librarian asking her to choose another. 

Will Nora find her perfect life before time runs out? 

I got a very Christmas Carol vibe from this book, except Nora is a depressed loner instead of a Scrooge. This isn’t a bad thing but made the book feel sort of “done” before. I did like that Nora could only change a regret for a path or a decision not taken, instead of just picking a new life. She can choose which regret to change but she can’t choose where that will lead her. 

I minored in philosophy, so for me all of the philosophical references and this whole idea of the multiverse appealed to me. It gave the storyline a little more depth in my opinion,  rather than just being a book about life’s decisions influencing ones path. 

Overall, this was a good read. Maybe not the most memorable down the road but in the moment a good one to pass the time. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now! 

-M-

The Silvered Serpents

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi is the second book in The Gilded Wolves series. 

Severin and his fellows are back after their disastrous first run in with the Fallen House but things are definitely not the same. Severin is distant and cold and his desperation to make amends by harnessing the power of the Gods has become all consuming. 

Severin and his crew follow the clues from Paris to Russia in the hopes of finding the Fallen House’s treasure before the Winter Conclave. But things aren’t as they seem and soon everything will change. 

Overall, I enjoyed this second book in the trilogy but I will admit, I was much more invested in the first book. 

Second book syndrome at its best. The first, introduces the characters and plot, the second builds more on the plot/world building and the third is the action and wrap up. And often, I find the second book lacking the draw of the first and third. 

One thing I did like about this one is the development of the relationships in this book. We see a different side of each of the characters and it is darker and less hopeful than the first book. 

We still get that steampunk, magic, Victorian mix that I liked in the first book and it looks like we are going to get a chase to the finish in the final. This one gets 3.5 stars from me. 

That’s all for now!

-M-

Book of the Little Axe

Book of the Little Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma is an adult fiction novel that spans from Trinidad to the American West during the time of colonialism and westward expansion.

In 1796 Trinidad, Rosa Rendón feels out of place in her body. She longs to take over the family farm and idolizes her father. But her place is with the home and hearth and Rosa rebels from this life of domesticity. Meanwhile, Trinidad has moved from Spanish to British rule and it is unclear whether Rosa and her family, free black property owners, will be left alone in peace.

Speed ahead to 1830 and Rose is living with her husband and children in the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Montana. Her son, Victor, is about to become a man but is blocked from receiving his vision quest by secrets from Rosa’s past. Rosa must take him on a journey that will reveal his truth and her painful past.

A journey to truth and a history explained. Book of the Little Axe covers a tumultuous time in history.

This book was highlighted in the e-platform I used, so I figured I’d give it a try. Not my usual genera but I thought it might make a good one for my local adult book club. And it was one that kept my attention and kept me reading.

One of the things I really liked about this book was the narrative set up. I thought the jumps from past, to present, to the diary was really well done and contributes to the story. The story itself is arresting and captivating. And Rosa, as a character, is dynamic and witnessing the way she changes between 1796 and 1830 is really quite amazing.

I did have a problem with the language at times because there were a few spots where significant, traumatic events were happening where I didn’t really “get” what was happening until after the fact. I don’t know if this was on purpose but I felt like I was missing something.

Overall, this is a moving, well crafted novel that will appeal to a wide audience. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is a feel good fantasy for a wide range of readers.

Linus Baker works hard and follows the rules. He is forty, lives alone with his cat and is comfortable in his routine. As a Case Worker for The Department of Magical Youth, Linus is often sent out to various orphanages to assess and judge the well-being of the children. When “extremely upper management” send him on a “classified level 4” assignment, Linus isn’t sure they picked the right man for the job.

Marsyas Island Orphanage, is home to six dangerous children: “a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist.” Never one for bravery, Linus must put aside his fear and judge for himself if the children and the orphanage they call home is safe.

But there is more to the island than these children, a charming and enigmatic caregiver/teacher and a surprising caretaker may just baffle Linus more than the children. Can Linus stay objection? Should he?

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story about magical orphans and an unsuspecting savior. But now that I am reviewing this book, I honestly do not know who is the intended audience. It was an electronic book, so I didn’t really look at what “shelf” I got it off of; I just assumed by the color and description it was juvenile or tween. When I was listening to it, I was like “wow a juvenile book narrated by an adult, that’s unique.” Although, is it a juvenile fiction book? Now I am not really sure. I do, however, think it would be a wonderful audio book for a car ride or as a read aloud for younger readers and, content-wise, appropriate for a wide range of readers.

I love Linus’ relationship with each of the children and caregivers. It is really neat to see how he grows throughout the book; he becomes more colorful–gray and dull in the beginning but brighter and more openminded by the end.

There’s also a political commentary going on in this book about “second class citizenship” and equal rights, as well as the state of government run facilities. Whether intended or not, it would make for an interesting discussion.

Overall, I was enchanted by this book and immediately thought of it for a friend of mine who likes to read aloud to her two boys. This one gets 5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Flunked

Flunked by Jen Calonita is a juvenile fiction book, great for 5th graders.

Imagine a fantasy world where villains’ are the ones teaching children how to be good. Well that is just what happens at the Fairy Tale Reform School.

Fairy Tale Reform School is a boarding school for children who show evil tendencies. History is taught by the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen does therapy sessions, Ursula teaches etiquette classes… oh and the headmistress is Cinderella’s evil step mother. Nothing can go wrong here right?

Gilly doesn’t consider herself wicked, at least she doesn’t think she is. But she is a thief. Gilly, her mom, dad and several brothers and sisters live in a shoe and are hardly making ends meat. So she steals from the royals occasionally to get by… they can afford it anyway, right?

Eventually, Gilly gets caught and is send to Fairy Tale Reform School. But who will take care of her family while she is gone? And are these villains’ really reformed criminals or is there something else at work?

This is one I often recommend for 4-5 graders, so I figured I really should read it myself. And it was really good. This is a perfect book for kids who like a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of humor, some action and a good twisted fairy tale.

I love when a series builds a little band of “heroes” who are going to investigate some shady doings in order to save the day. And Gilly, Jax and the rest of her friends are just the right amount of delinquent and good at heart.

Overall, I think this book will appeal to boys and girls 4-6th grade and would be great for readers who like “Land of Stories,” “Whatever After,” and Disney’s “Descendants.” It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes.

This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-