“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick

I watched and enjoyed the 2011 movie adaptation by Martin Scorsese and have just gotten around to reading the actual book. I’ve heard many high praises for Selznick’s illustrations and stories, but have never read anything by him until this book. I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed what I read, but I appreciated that the illustrations are as integral to the story as the words.

Quick summary:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an illustrated middle-grade historical-fiction novel about a 12-year-old orphan boy named Hugo who maintains the clocks at a busy Paris train station. Hugo’s father, a clock maker, died in a fire, leaving Hugo with a notebook and a broken automaton to remember him by.

Hugo was sent to stay with his uncle, a drunk who managed the clocks at the train station. However, Hugo’s uncle disappeared some time ago leaving Hugo in charge of the station’s clocks and fending for himself. Since Hugo is unable to cash his uncle’s checks, he has resorted to theft to get food and as well as supplies for the automaton, which he hopes will give him a message from his father once fixed.

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“The Apprentice Witch” by James Nicol

The Apprentice Witch is a debut middle-grade fantasy novel that was recently published on July 25. Back in June, I believe, I saw an ARC giveaway in one of the many bookish newsletters I’m subscribed to and entered not expecting that I would be granted a copy of the novel.

The eye-catching cover called to me and I began reading the book soon after receiving it. I was immediately hooked. It’s the sort of fantasy story I’ve been searching for. It’s sweet and simple and set in a quirky village that makes me long for the fantasy novels I read and enjoyed as a kid.

Goodreads summary:

A special middle grade debut of magic and courage in a world of witches, written with the charm and enchantment of Circus Mirandus and The Apothecary.

Arianwyn has flunked her witch’s assessment: She’s doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch — much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.

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“The Sea of Monsters” and “The Titan’s Curse” by Rick Riordan

The Sea of MonstersAfter reading The Lightning Thief by audio book, I said I wouldn’t continue to reread the series in that form because I hate how it’s narrated, but I went back on my word. So, did I like it this time? No.

Quick summary:

The Sea of Monsters and The Titan’s Curse are the second and third books in Rick Riordan’s middle-grade fantasy, adventure series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

In The Sea of Monsters, our protagonist Percy has to rescue his best friend Grover, a satyr, when he goes missing. Percy decides to search for him in the Sea of Monsters, a.k.a the Bermuda Triangle, with his companions, Annabeth, a friend he made in the last book, and his cyclops brother, Tyson. Meanwhile, Luke and his boat of baddies are still up to no good in the name of Kronus.

The Titan’s Curse picks up with Percy, Annabeth, and Thalia, who popped out of a tree in the last book, on their way to check out some half-bloods Grover peeped at a military boarding school. With the help of the goddess Artemis and her band of hunters, Percy and his gang are able to rescue the half-bloods and get them safely to Camp Halfblood, but at the cost of Annabeth, who was lost in effort.

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