Book Review: Monster Calls

This book was heart-rending in all the right ways. A Monster Calls is from the perspective of Conor, a young boy whose mother is sick. This book was tragic, but we knew what we were getting into from page one, or so we thought.

The fantasy-like stories are juxtaposed against the hard realities until we start to realize that the fantasy stories are just as dark as the issues that Conor confronts daily. Although he’s still a young child, he must learn to deal with very hard things at a young age and the monster is a wonderful personification of his terrifying, and sometimes violent, emotions.

Although it’s dark, it feels similar to Bridge to Terabithia in the way fantasies come crashing down around the main characters.


Book Review: Fire and Thorns

I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns about a month ago or so and I found it very refreshing in some ways, a bit of a let down in others, but over all a great read. I openly cried in the first couple of chapters and I almost lost it again at the end.

First of all, this book passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. The main character, Elisa, has two handmaids who are 1. unique and 2. endearing. Also, there are other characters we meet along the way who are powerful women in their own right. Again, just like other books I’ve read, they have a delightful cast of characters both male and female.

I also love that Elisa does not start out… how to say this… in sync with modern notions of feminine beauty? That is to say, she’s overweight, and this is mentioned throughout the first couple of chapters in the book. Not only that, but as we progress to have love interests in the story, we see that this is referenced again. It was delightfully done in my opinion. I won’t get into my small disappointments with this sub-story for plot spoiler reasons. But, although this starts out strong, I am a bit put out with some of the ways things pan out.

Also, the conclusion is fantastic. Although a reader may suspect the outcome before it comes to fruition, it is no disappointment when it plays out exactly as was suspected. Again, this was a wonderful read. Rae Carson has a number of great titles under their belt.


Reading Review: Ice and Snow

I just finished reading a middle-grade book called Prisoner of Ice and Snow. It had me from page one. Honestly, I loved the female cast and the diverse characters. It was short, sweet, and to the point. The setting was unique, the world-building wasn’t tossed up all at once, and it had genuinely high stakes that keep you reading chapter after chapter. Ruth Lauren did a great job with this one. I particularly loved the ending which will keep you on the edge of your seat.

We start and end in the snow, but with the blood-boiling main character, Valor, things don’t cool down from start to finish. Although the warden who keeps the prison is frosty, she heats up as Valor continues to push her as well. The contrasts are fantastic and simple in all the best of ways.

There are strong themes of friendship and family which are both key themes in middle grade fiction. Also, can I just say, the name Valor? Yes. Please. I love literal names like this one and the fact that this names was the opening line of the book sets the tone and lets the reader know what the book will be discussing.

Again, a great read and I recommend to adults and middle grade readers alike.