Author: Patrick Ness
Inspired by: An idea from Siobhan Dowd
Published: May 5, 2011
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
The bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
I have read many books that have made me cry. Some made my eyes wet, some made fat tear drops roll down my cheeks, some made me ugly cry . . . but only two books have ever made me ugly cry with sobs that I couldn’t stop: A Monster Calls is one of those books. I had seen it on shelves and on book sites, but I found it for super cheap at Ollie’s one day, so I snatched it up. I decided to read it two years ago when I was looking to fill time between books with something short and easy. Easy, my sweet aunt!
My mother-in-law had come for a visit and Ivan was about to get ready to go to work when I finished it. They both had to get up and leave the room, I was crying so hard. Poor Ivan never knows what to do when I cry and all Meemaw wanted was to say hi and see the flowers in our backyard! I wasn’t expecting to react so dramatically to this book. It broke my heart. But this was before I started reviewing for Jessica’s Reading Room so I decided to read it again so I could write a review: Bad idea. There are some things that I’ll have strong reactions to when I read or watch or experience it the first time, but then try again and handle it better the second time . . . yeah, not with this book! Ivan is just sitting there working on his Legos when he looks up and sees me break down completely. Poor guy just puts his head down and keeps working! 😊 When I finally get control of myself he asks if this is good kinda sad or bad kinda sad and the only way I can describe it is that it’s a feeling kinda sad. Y’all know how shallow I am.
I’ve always considered myself to be relatively unfeeling and emotionally stunted. Then between, Gerda Weissman Klein’s book All But My Life and The Book Thief, I’ve discovered that I’m waaaaaaaay too feeling! And this book brought out so many feelings, it’s not even funny. I can’t even talk too much about the story because it needs to be experienced. I don’t want to give away information that y’all need to read and feel for yourselves and I don’t want to ruin this book in any way. All I can say is that this book is perfect for a dreary day. If you feel emotional, but it’s all pent up inside, this book will help get it all out! I’d recommend this book for slightly older kids who have suffered. Had I known about this book when I was teaching, there are several kids I would have gotten copies for! Rainy days, moody days, PMS-y days, difficult days, days when you need perspective, days when you need to remind yourself that annoying people could be suffering, this book is perfect for them all! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
Author: Robert Beatty
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Escape into the story of a brave and unusual girl brimming with the ancient powers of the forest. From Robert Beatty, the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina books, comes a thrilling new series filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kirkus Reviews described WILLA OF THE WOOD as “A moving, atmospheric journey of hope.”
Move without a sound. Steal without a trace.
Willa, a young night-spirit, is her clan’s best thief. She creeps into the cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won’t miss. It’s dangerous work–the day-folk kill whatever they don’t understand–but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.
When Willa’s curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to escape. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her day-folk enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it?
As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is, facing deadly force with warmest compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.
I have been a huge fan of Robert Beatty since the day I read Serafina for the first time. He is a master storyteller and has a knack for capturing the beauty and atmosphere of whatever locale he writes about. You can feel his passion for nature, and history, and culture in every word he puts to page. Willa of the Wood is just another example of his amazing talent. The cover, all on its own, is amazing! I couldn’t wait to open the book and start reading, simply because of the beautiful cover! And then once I did start reading, I realized just how appropriate the cover was for the story!
Willa is a cute little Faeran who tries so hard to serve her clan and to take all the education and warnings from her mamaw and padaran seriously. She shows a maturity that makes you think she’s a flawless hunter/gatherer, so it was a little surprising watching her struggle. And her love for her home, her people, and her friends was so sweet. I will admit that the one reason I gave this book 4 stars is because it gets tree-huggery in that really dogmatic, extreme kinda way. Thankfully, Willa comes back from extremity as she grows and learns and she begins to understand necessity. I’m never one to want to stop necessary progress to save a couple trees, but I do also acknowledge that widespread destruction is harmful and wrong.
This book was incredibly emotional for me. By the time I got to the end, I realized that I was tearing up! My heart just got so warm and full; it was wonderful to get to know Willa and the Faeran and all the members of the forest and then to become invested in the story and taking the resolution so personally. I just love this book so much and this is another one that I would suggest giving to any preteen to read. Mr. Beatty is on a roll and I can’t wait to see where he takes Willa and Serafina! A great, great book!!!
Here is Kim with Robert Beatty at his book signing for Willa of the Wood!:
**It’s Time for a GIVEAWAY!!**
Many thanks to Mr. Beatty’s publicist, Scott Fowler for donating a generous Willa of the Wood prize pack for us to giveaway. This is a great prize someone is sure to love!
Included in the giveaway is:
A signed copy of the Willa of the Wood
**This giveaway is run through Rafflecopter and will run from today and end on Tuesday, 8/21 at midnight Eastern.
Due to shipping costs this giveaway will be US ONLY. Once the winner is selected, they will be contacted and their address will only be used for this giveaway. Good Luck!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author: Frances Hardinge
Published: May 10, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3.5 stars
In Caverna, lies are an art — and everyone’s an artist…
In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. They create wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned. Only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed…
I have had this book on my shelf for a while. I bought it on BookOutlet for a great price and the synopsis sounded really good! But, y’all know I’m a pretty ADD reader and I got distracted so I only just now picked it up and read it. And I wish I could say that I loved it . . . and I did strongly like the last half, but that’s about it. It was just really slow in the beginning.
Thankfully, the mystery of Neverfell’s identity was firmly established from the beginning and it was that that kept me reading. What I thought would fascinate me most, a group of people who have no facial expressions and must be taught expressions only by facesmiths, actually got really old, really fast. For some reason, it just didn’t capture my imagination like I thought it was going to.
Once Neverfell got involved in the politics and elite of Caverna, things started to finally get interesting. I liked how little mysteries kept creeping in to try to distract from the main story and throw you off. I found the Grand Steward to be the most fascinating character of all! Because he has lived so long, he has trained his body to sleep only one half at a time . . . as in his left side is awake while his right side sleeps. And both sides have different personalities!! I will admit that he saved the story for me. Once the Grand Steward entered, I was good to finish the book. Had it been half the length it was, I think I would have liked it a lot better. Overall, I would say that this book is worth reading once, but I’ll probably never come back to it. It’s also safe for younger teens, at least the detail-oriented ones! I can’t say that I would recommend this to all teens, but you could definitely do a lot worse!