The Mask Falling

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon is the fourth book in The Bone Season series.

Paige and Warden are on the run from Scion London and the Rephaim. Seeking shelter in Paris, Paige agrees to work for an underground organization, working as a spy to bring down Scion. But she did not escape London unscathed and the road to being healed will take all her mental and physical strength.

With Warden, Arcturus, at her side, Paige must heal her body and soul, traverse the catacombs of Paris and risk herself again and again for revolution. But how often can one face death and come out alive… and whole?

Man, I really do love these books, but Samantha Shannon, you are killing me! There is just sooo much time in between each book in the series. Book three came out in 2017. And although, I remember most things, I am sure I am missing those little intricacies that would make the story even better. NOW, don’t get me wrong, I know why these books are taking so long. Just looking at all the research and language injected into this book, I am sure Shannon spends a ton of time on each one. But that still doesn’t make it any easier to be left hanging so very badly for so very long. Sigh.

I sort of loved that this book revolved around Paige and Warden. Their relationship has be up and down and it is great to see them working side-by-side again. I also really like the Parisian underworld. The tunnels, the masks and the new characters all really contribute to the story. But man, that twist. I thought I saw what was coming and it turned out to be very different than what I thought.

I’m in for the long haul with this series but let’s hope this next one is out in under four years!

This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Across the Green Grass Fields

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire is the sixth book in the Wayward Children series.

Regan loves horses more than anything, almost as much as she loves following the rules. She knows what is expected from her at school and at home and she tries to meet that expectation at all costs. So when she finds out something about herself that isn’t “normal,” her world comes crashing down.

As her world begins to unravel, Regan is thrust through a doorway marked with the words, “Be Sure.” But Regan is anything but sure when she finds herself trapped in a world full of centaurs, kelpies, and other magical horse-like creatures. Especially, when she is told that a human in Hooflands always means something bad is about to happen.

As Regan accepts Hooflands as her new home, she comes to learn that being a hero can mean many things and being true to herself is the most important thing of all.

Man, I wanted to like this. I wanted to like this just as much as I’ve enjoyed almost all of McGuire’s Wayward books. But I just didn’t. Where was the magic and mystery? Where where my familiar tie-ins to book one? With the exception of the doorways, this book just felt so different from the series I know and love.

Ultimately, this book was slow. It’s only 175 pages and it felt like I was reading it forever. Not a lot happens. Usually, these tiny books are quick reads with a lot of action and a lot of heart. But this one didn’t give me that feeling. And the ending felt as lackluster as Regan felt at finding out what her “destiny” truly was.

Not too much else to say about this one. It was OK and that’s not what I expect from McGuire. This one gets a 2.5 womp womp stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi is the first book in a juvenile fantasy series.

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah is a bit of an outcast. She isn’t as rich or popular as the kids at her school, so she tends to stretch the truth a bit. This time, it has gotten her in BIG trouble–world ending trouble.

Aru lives at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture with her mom and when she gets caught in a lie, she lights a forbidden lantern and ends up releasing The Sleeper, who is going to end the world if not stopped. Well, it’s a good thing Aru is, unbeknownst to her, the reincarnation of one of the five Pandava brothers from Indian myth and it is duty to stop the sleeper and save the world… in her Spiderman pajamas.

With the help of a talking pigeon and one of her reincarnated Pandava brothers, who is allergic to everything and obsessed with death, Aru must travel to the Kingdom of the Dead and make right what she started. Sounds easy right?

Hmm, this was a slowwww read for me. I just opened it up and could not get into it, until about 200+ pages in. It did pick up speed toward the end but it was surprisingly hard to want to pick up this book. It has all the elements of a great juvenile fantasy and is somewhat reminicent of Riordan’s Lighting Thief, so many kids will probably enjoy it but I just couldn’t get into it.

There is a lot of great Indian myth and legend come to life in the book, which I think will appeal to a lot of kids but, not know much about these myths ahead of time myself, made me feel a little lost.

I don’t think I personally would continue the series but if a 5-7th grader were looking for a new one to start and liked the Riordan books, I think they might just enjoy this one.

This books gets 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Masterminds

Masterminds by Gordon Korman is the first book in a juvenile fiction series probably good for 4-7th graders.

Eli Frieden has never even stepped outside of his hometown Serenity, New Mexico… but when you live in a town that is perfect in every way, why would you want to. At least that is what he’s been raised to believe, until one day he bikes to the edge of town and everything changes.

Now Eli is questioning everything that make Serenity what it is, even his own father might be in on it… but in on what? Together he and his friends work together to uncover what secrets a town without secrets is really hiding. And what they found out, will shift the way they think about their world forever.

Once the truth is out, will anything ever be the same?

This is actually an older title and I think the entire series may actually be out, which will be a plus to my book club crew because I tend to pick titles that they have to wait for the sequels for.

I sort of love this idea of these kids finding out that they are clones of criminal masterminds and now they are wondering if they are good, bad or something in between. And it was so much fun seeing the little hints of inherited talent that may or may not have come from their DNA.

There’s also a lot of great discussion questions that can be pulled out of this book, while it still being entertaining to the kids. Questions about living in a “perfect” town, living without secrets, value vs love, censorship and more. The discussion we can have over nature vs nurture is going to be really interesting.

Overall, this was a fun book with a lot of good potential for a book club. I’d probably recommend this one for 5-6th graders. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells is a 4-6th grade juvenile fiction novel about a smart kid who teams up with the police to catch art thieves.

Sixth grader Edmund, aka Eddie Red, has a photographic memory and some really great art skills, which makes him the perfect tool for the NYPD to use to catch a renowned group of art thieves called the Picasso Gang. But not everyone is as thrilled as Eddie is to be working with the police.

As Eddie continues to work the case, he and his genius best friend dig themselves in deeper and may find themselves in a whole lot of trouble.

This was a fun, quick read that will be an easy one for my 4-6th grade book club. It is perfect for mystery and action readers alike. It is also the first book in a series, which parents are always looking for when trying to get their kids to read more.

One of the things I love about this book is that Eddie doesn’t get all full of himself once he starts working with the police. He openly admits that he is scared and he has the same flaws any kid would have–he’s short, skinny, sometimes awkward, has to deal with bullies and school work, and a budding interest in girls that makes his hands sweat and his stomach knot. I think this is great for a middle grade read. Relatable characters that are still extraordinary are some of my favorites.

I also think the artwork inserted here and there throughout the book adds a nice touch. And for the budding artists out there, there is a short face drawing tutorial at the end.

Overall, this was a good read for 4-6th graders and though not super deep, should be a decent one for discussion. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-