The Eighth Day

The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni is a juvenile fiction book for 4-7th graders.

Between Wednesday and Thursday, there is an eighth day. It is a quiet, empty day, with few people and hardly anyone knows it is there. When Jax wakes up on this day, it takes him totally by surprise. Could it be a zombie apocalypse or worse? So when he runs into eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he is relived to learn of this extra day.

As Jax begins to navigate his new life as a Transitioner, he learns that some people–like himself–live all eight days, most live the normal seven, and a very few live only on the eighth day. And one such eighth day-er lives right next door.

Evangeline is in hiding. Decedent from a powerful sorcerer, there are those who wish to use her blood to alter the eighth day time table. Determined to become her friend, Jax doesn’t realize what is at stake and his ignorance could be the ruin of them all.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was unique and fun and I want to pick up the sequels right away.

There was this great balance between folklore, fantasy and science fiction. You aren’t really sure if it’s science or magic or something else at play here. And because of this, juvenile fans of all three genres will feel at home with this book.

I just really liked this world. I liked the factions of good guys vs bad guys, the hereditary aspects passed down from generations and the crests denoting them. The tradition and incorporation of myth and legend. This was all done very smoothly.

Overall, this was a fun read and I think my book club crew will really enjoy it.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco is the conclusion to The Never Tilting World duology. 

After a treacherous journey to the Great Abyss, twins Haidee and Odessa thought the worse was over. The world has begun to turn again and they fought the void and lived to tell the tale. But even though the world turns once again the Great Abyss will not be satisfied until a sacrifice has been made and a goddesses blood has been spilled. 

Refusing to give in to a tradition of sacrifice that has gone on for decades, Haidee and Odessa must search for answers within the Cruel Kingdom, the underworld. But gaining entrance may cost them more than they are willing to give. 

Will the twins be able to find the answers they seek before it is too late it or will terror, guilt and anger get in their way? 

I often find that duologies work better than trilogies because you don’t get the second book lull that a trilogy often has and I think this is true of The Never Tilting World duology. There was action each step of the way, all while building up to a fairly satisfying ending. 

I did listen to this one on Audible and, as happens when listening vs reading, I think there were a few instances where I was preoccupied while listening and missed a free crucial connections. There were a lot of little intricacies between the two books that all go together to “reveal” the ending. Missing these caused a little confusion here and there for me.  So I think I would recommend reading vs listening to this one. 

Otherwise, I found this world to be really unique and dynamic and the author did a great job of layering on details throughout the story. This one gets 3.5 stars from me. 

That’s all for now! 

-M-

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalai is a juvenile fiction book, steeped in myth and folklore, probably best for 5-7th graders.

“Strong’s keep punching.” Is the family motto of the Strong family and seventh grader, Tristian Strong, feels like doing anything but punching after he losing his first boxing match, while dealing with the death of his best friend, Eddie. In the hopes of “getting his mind off of things,” Tristan is sent to live with his grandparents for the summer, working in the fields and getting away from any reminders of Eddie.

All Tristan has left of Eddie is a beaten up journal where he wrote down old stories. On his first night in Alabama, a sticky little doll sneaks into Tristan’s room and snatches to doll. When Eddie chases the creature down, he and it let loose an evil spirit and they all fall into another world–Midpass.

Burning seas, bone ships, mechanical monsters and more greet him, along with black American gods like John Henry and Brer Rabbit. In order to get home Tristan must ally with these gods and save Midpass, but what can one lost teenager do?

I enjoyed this book a lot and I think it will have a lot of appeal to fantasy fans of myth and legend. The book gives you glimpses into folklore and myth from West Africa and these samples make you want to go out and learn more about the original tales.

Although Tristan is a great character and will be relatable to many, I think the side characters really shine in this book. Gum Baby, John Henry, High John and the others were so fun to read. I loved “seeing” glimpses of them throughout the story and hope the come in to play more in the next book.

It’s hard to believe that this is a debut book for Mbalai because it has memorable characters, a storyline that pulls you in and some pretty good worldbuilding. Overall, I think this will be a great read for kids who are looking for something similar to the Riordan books but with a new feel. This one gets 4.5 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-

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-