Book Review

Book Review: Sawdust in His Shoes

Sawdust in His Shoes
By Eloise Jarvis McGraw

My Edition:
Paperback, 282 pages
2018, Plough Publishing
ISBN: 9780874868265

I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review.

Joe Lang grew up in the circus, starring in bareback riding shows since he was a boy and gaining popularity by age fifteen. But when he’s orphaned after a terrible accident, Joe finds himself in a vocational school while he waits for a judge to decide his fate. Not one to sit around and wait, Joe escapes and ends up on the farm of the Dawson family. He intends only to stay a few days and reveals nothing about his past, but as time goes on, he starts to feel comfortable. Can he be truly happy away from the circus?

I didn’t know until after finishing this book that it was actually written in 1950; that explains the authenticity, but it doesn’t feel dry like some older texts have the tendency to do (at least for me).

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Book Review

Book Review: Runtime

By S.B. Divya

My Edition:
Paperback, 116 pages
2016, Tor
ISBN: 9780765389794

Marmeg has cobbled her racing gear together from scavenged parts, most of which were broken and she repaired. Despite her lack of sponsors and support team, she aims to race in the Minerva Sierra Challenge – a grueling outdoor race for thrill-seekers with augmented bodies, most of whom have top of the line gear. Marmeg’s gear might be outclassed, but she’s determined to place, as the funds she wins will be life-changing, and she’ll risk anything to get them.

Another awesome (but too short!) novella courtesy of Tor! I’m hoping to see some full-length fiction from Divya, especially more in Marmeg’s world.

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Book Review

Book Review: Slothilda – Living the Sloth Life

Slothilda: Living the Sloth Life
By Dante Fabiero

My Edition:
Hardcover, 111 pages
2018, Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN: 9781510736573

Thank you to the author for sending me this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Slothilda, like many of us, is just a lady (er, sloth) who wants to be ambitious, but would really rather Netflix and chill, eat delicious snacks and take lots of naps.

The adorable illustrations alone would have been enough for me to check out this book. Not only is Slothilda cute, but she’s 100% relatable!

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Book Review

Book Review: Her Body and Other Parties

Her Body and Other Parties
By Carmen Maria Machado

My Edition:
Paperback, 245 pages
2017, Graywolf Press
ISBN: 9781555977887

This collection of shorts focuses on women, the lives they lead and the experiences they have, simply because they are women. Many have a dash of supernatural, paranormal or horror elements, blurring the lines between reality and fiction.

After reading Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead (a short included in a PageHabit box), I enjoyed the way Machado blended a paranormal situation into our current reality and I was excited to discover more of her work. While I enjoy her tone and style, this collection as a whole underwhelmed me.

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Book Review

Book Review: Static Ruin

Static Ruin
By Corey J. White

My Edition:
Paperback, 216 pages
2018, Tor
ISBN: 9781250195548

Mars has been on the warpath, exacting revenge against those who harmed her and the people she loves. Now she’s got a massive bounty on her head and a death count that’s eating away at her conscience. But before she can settle any more scores or try to make an escape, she has to help Pale, a boy raised as a weapon just like she was. He’s having seizures and the only person she can think to help him is the last person she ever wanted to see – her father. But can she even stomach the sight of him?

Oh man, I can’t believe the series is over! What a ride it’s been!

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Book Review

Book Review: The House in Poplar Wood

The House in Poplar Wood
K.E. Ormsbee

My Edition:
ARC Paperback, 333 pages
2018, Chronicle Books
ISBN: 9781452149868 (hardcover)

I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review.

Felix and Lee Vickery live separate lives in the same house. Lee and his mother serve Memory and Felix and his father serve Death and while the boys can meet, neither can see the parent they don’t live with, nor can that parent see them. This has been the Agreement for their whole lives and the boys have done all they can think of to break it. When Gretchen Whipple comes into their lives stirring up trouble, the twins believe they might have finally found someone who could help them break the Agreement. If, that is, they can outsmart Death.

The cover caught my eye when I was browsing the LibraryThing Early Reviewers page (I mean, come on, isn’t that color combination gorgeous?!) and when I saw it was a dark middle-grade, I slammed the request button. I’m so happy I won a copy! This was a great read, perfect for the fall/Halloween season.

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Book Review

Book Review: The House With a Clock in Its Walls

The House With a Clock in Its Walls
By John Bellairs

My Edition:
Paperback, 179 pages
2004, Puffin
ISBN: 9780142402573

Lewis, newly orphaned, moves in with his uncle Jonathan. He soon finds that Jonathan and his eccentric but kind neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are more than they seem – they’re witches! Jonathan is happy to perform acts of magic to amuse Lewis, but he’s distracted by the constant ticking of a clock hidden somewhere within the walls of the house. Jonathan has a hunch the clock is evil and when Lewis accidentally resurrects the former owner of the home, they learn she means to use the clock to destroy humanity.

I’ve been listening to Richard talk about his love for Bellairs’s books for quite some time. But what sparked me to buy the book was the preview for the movie with Jack Black (which I might watch someday). I saw it and thought, hey, that book is probably pretty good! Turns out I should have taken Richard’s recommendation ages ago!

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Book Review

Book Review: Beast – A Tale of Love and Revenge

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge
By Lisa Jensen

My Edition:
Hardcover, 337 pages
2018, Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763688806

I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review.

Lucie is new to her position as a housemaid at Chateau Beaumont. She’s got to be careful not to lose her position, as she can’t go back to her stepfather’s home. But the Chevalier de Beaumont, Jean-Loup, is a cruel and abusive master. When Lucie gets a chance to have her revenge, with the help of a wise woman, Jean-Loup is turned into a terrifying beast. Lucie stays on at the castle while all others flee, to ensure Jean-Loup suffers and her revenge is exacted to the fullest. But as time goes on, Lucie finds the beast is nothing like her former master. When a beautiful girl arrives and threatens to break the spell on the beast, Lucie vows she will do everything she can to prevent it and keep the beast she’s come to know.

Once again, Jensen wowed me with her retelling. My review on Alias Hook totally doesn’t do justice for my intense love of that book; and I was worried Beast wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I was so wrong! While Beast isn’t as dark, and has a vague YA feel about it, it was just as moving and engrossing as Alias Hook!

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Book Review

Book Review: 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior

5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior
By Mark & Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller and Boya Sun

My Edition:
Paperback, 250 pages
2017, Random House
ISBN: 9781101935880

In the city of Chrysalis, Oona Lee is training to become a sand dancer, though she’s clumsy and doesn’t have a way with her magic the way her older sister does. Her older sister who ran off without a trace and only recently contacted Oona once more. When the city falls under attack, Oona finds herself teamed up with An Tzu, a poor boy with some amazing friends and Jax Amboy, celebrity athlete. The kids soon find themselves wrapped up in a plot that spans the five worlds of their galaxy and Oona must delay her reunion with her sister if she wants to save her friends and her home.

I purchased this on a whim and I’m so pleased I did! I absolutely loved the mix of sci-fi and fantasy elements, the protagonists and the art style!

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Book Review

Book Review: Widdershins

By Charles de Lint

My Edition:
Paperback, 560 pages
2006, Tor
ISBN: 9780765312860

Jilly and Geordie have been best friends for years, circling around each other but never admitting to themselves just how much they love each other. Caught up in a war between the native spirits of the land and the fairies, the two set off on their first adventure together in years. When Jilly finds herself trapped in her own mind, battling monsters from her past and Geordie is banished even farther away, they finally realize just how much they want to be together.

I’m a big fan of de Lint’s work, though I haven’t read as much of it as I’d like. One of my favorite books is The Onion Girl, of which Jilly is the central character. I enjoyed reading about her magical adventures again and following some familiar and new characters.

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