“Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky” by Kwame Mbalia

I finally got around to trying one of the Rick Riordan Presents books! 😊 I enjoyed reading Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus novels, so I was glad and eager for novels published under his imprint since they would also be fun middle-grade fantasy novels but would instead tap into other world mythologies and folklores.

Apart from that, I was also interested in Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky because there are few middle-grade fantasy novels that center on a Black character and is grounded in Black culture and myths. So I was beyond excited to read this, and I enjoyed it!

Genre:

MG Fantasy

Series:

Tristan Strong, book 1

Pubbed:

2019

Goodreads summary:

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in.

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“Greyborn Rising” by Derry Sandy

Here’s a paranormal novel set in the Caribbean that includes creatures from Caribbean folklore. There are jumbies, soucouyants, lagahoos, and a nefarious obeah man intent on letting in more monsters from the Grey.

(Btw, I know the author and received a free copy of the book to read and review; but my thoughts below are my honest reaction to the story.)

Genre:

Paranormal; Fantasy

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

2019

Goodreads summary:

The Greyborn are Rising and only the Order can save humankind.

The world consists of three parallel realms; the Grey where Greyborn—preternatural creatures of legend live; the Ether which is the realm of Heaven and Hell; and the Absolute where humans make their home, blissfully unaware of the tripartite nature of their world.

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“Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts” by Nancy Campbell Allen

I was looking forward to reading this novel. I started listening to Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance novels last year on audio and took a quick liking to the first book, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, which is influenced by both the fairytale Beauty and the Beast and the classic novel Jane Eyre. I liked the second book as well, but the third one wasn’t as engrossing as the first two. However, I was still interested in the series and even more so because the fourth book, this one, hinted at some Cinderella influences. Unfortunately, my reading experience with Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts was not as great as I thought it would be. I didn’t like it. 🙁

(Btw, I received an ARC through NetGalley to review, but my thoughts below are my honest reaction to the book.)

Genre:

Paranormal; Romance; Historical Fiction; Steampunk

Series:

Steampunk Proper Romance, book 4

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“The Inheritance” by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm

My buddy-reader in all things Hobb, Emily at Embuhleeliest, and I completed the last novel in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series last year and have been craving more of the story ever since. Will Hobb write more stories in this epic fantasy series that’s 17 books long (including a prequel)? I don’t know, but I think there’s potential for her to write more and if she does, Emily and I will read it.

Well, wanting more of Hobb’s stories no matter what they are about, Emily and I decided to read Hobb’s anthology of short stories, The Inheritance, which contains stories written under the pseudonyms Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm.

We began with the Hobb stories, of course, since they are based in the Realm of the Elderlings settings (so that we completely wrap up that series) and then moved on to the Lindholm ones. They weren’t what I expected.

Genre:

Fantasy; Sci-Fi

Series:

Realm of the Elderlings (some stories are set in the same world)

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“The Goblin Emperor” by Katherine Addison

I read Addison’s debut novel, The Goblin Emperor, back in May for the Wyrd & Wonder reading event, a month-long celebration of all things fantasy. The book sat unread on my shelves for a long time, so I was happy when Wyrd & Wonder rolled around and the hosts decided to use it as the group read. And guess what? I loved it! 😊

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

2014

Goodreads summary:

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

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“First Frost” by Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen is now one of my favorite authors. I love her writing too much for her not to be. This is the second of her novels I’ve read and again I devoured the story as if hungering for it for days. It’s a sweet story. I enjoyed reading it, and I loved the characters and the town it’s set in for how quirky they are.

Genre:

Magical realism; Romance

Series:

Waverley Family, book 2

Pubbed:

2015

Goodreads summary:

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

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“The Magic Thief” by Sarah Prineas, illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo

When I checked out the e-book of this novel from my library, it had been a long time since I’d read a middle-grade novel, and I missed them. It was also around the time of the OWLs Magical Readathon, a Harry Potter-themed reading event, and I needed a book to satisfy my Herbology requirement — a book with a title that begins with M.

I’d never before heard of the Magic Thief series or its author, Sarah Prineas, but the synopsis and the cover made me think of the Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage, so I knew I would enjoy reading it. And I did!

Genre:

MG Fantasy

Series:

Magic Thief, book 1

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“The Madness of Cambyses” by Herodotus, transl. by Tom Holland

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), my review of this book will be very short because I don’t remember much about it. I could have avoided posting a review of it, but because the intent of my blog is to record everything I read (at least all the books), I must post a review. So here it is.

Genre:

Nonfiction — History

Pubbed:

Penguin Little Black Classics, N⁰ 78 = 2015
The Histories, transl. by Tom Holland = 2013
The Histories by Herodotus = c. 440 B.C. (Who knows?)

From the back of the book:

Weaving factual account with colourful myth, the ‘father of history’ tells of the psychotic Persian king — and his fateful death. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Certainly an interesting read, but I didn’t care for it. I attempted to read Herodotus’s The Histories once before because I’d read somewhere that it’s like the gossip pages of the classical world, so I picked it up to see what juicy tales Herodotus would tell me. I forgot which translated version I attempted to read back then, but I was very bored after a few pages and gave up because I didn’t really care to read it. I was just being nosy.

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Illustrated Books: “The Book with No Pictures,” “Hello Lighthouse,” and “Spot & Dot”

I read these three picture books for the OWLs readathon back in April. It had been a while since I’d read a picture book and since I had one out from the library and many unread on my bookshelves, I decided to give in and read some of my favorite types of books.

These three are very different from each other. Spot & Dot is a wordless picture book and the second in a series, while The Book With No Pictures has nothing but words. However, Hello Lighthouse is like your typical picture book that uses both pictures and words to tell the story.


The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Genre:

Children Humor

Pubbed:

2014

Goodreads summary:

At once disarmingly simple and ingeniously imaginative, The Book With No Pictures inspires laughter every time it is opened, creating a warm and joyous experience to share — and introducing young children to the powerful idea that the written word can be an unending source of mischief and delight. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Of the three, The Book with No Pictures is my absolute favorite. Oh my gosh! It’s charming, it’s simple, it’s funny. It was a delight to read and is even more fun when read aloud. I didn’t have anyone to read aloud to, so I read aloud to myself. 😥

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“Vicious” by V.E. Schwab

This book had been sitting on my shelves for years before I finally read it for a bookclub I formed with some coworkers. Someone else in the club chose the book, and I’m glad she did because otherwise it’d still be sitting on my shelves unread, and I wouldn’t have known how great a story it is. It’s one of the best I’ve read so far this year.

Genre:

Sci-fi

Series:

Villains, book 1

Pubbed:

2013

Goodreads summary:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

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