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Tag Archives: series

Tuesday, Wednesday, happy day!

Tuesdays at the CastleCastle Glower is no ordinary castle. Its alive, or as alive as a castle can be. On Tuesdays while King Glower is busy hearing his subjects, the castle rearranges itself to stave off boredom. Sometimes it even builds new rooms. Princess Celie, the youngest of the four royal children, has a special bond with the castle; it seems to favor her. Perhaps it’s because she’s the first person in its long history to attempt to draw a map of the castle, but no one knows for certain. What is obvious, though, is that Castle Glower helps Celie, along with her sister Lilah, brother Rolf, and friend Pogue, when the king, queen, and eldest son go missing. The royal council declares them dead, making 14-year-old Rolf king, but the children don’t give up hope so easily. The castle helps them sneak around and spy on guests to see if they are friends or foes.

Although Tuesdays in the Castle by Jessica Day George is a children’s book, it captures the hearts of all ages. The writing is light but the action is packed and there’s comedy throughout. The book was a fast read for me, but I enjoyed every bit of it. Prince Lulath was a particularly fun character because his English isn’t very good and he always has his four precious doggies with him. Celie is the main star of the show and readers will be drawn to her kind heart and loyalty to her family and Castle Glower.

***Spoiler Alert***

The sequel, Wednesdays in the Tower, is set to be released May 7, 2013. I had the privilege to read a digital ARC.

Wednesdays in the TowerIn the second book, the king, queen, and eldest son Bran have returned to Castle Glower. This time the castle shows Celie a tower with no roof and a rather mysterious occupant – an egg. It’s no ordinary egg, though. It’s huge and orange, like the color of flame, and is hot to the touch. At first Celie thinks it might be a dragon egg, but soon she learns that it’s actually a griffin egg. Griffins were thought to be mythical creatures, but Celie knows that it is not so. Bran, Pogue, and Rolf all help Celie gather information about griffins, from books in the castle library to old tapestries hanging on the wall depicting humans riding griffins in battle. They know that all of this ties into the history of the castle, where it came from (legend has it that it just appeared one day), and why it has started acting strangely. They just need to figure out how it all ties together.

Again, the writing was light with just the right mixture of action, comedy, and mystery. The history of Castle Glower starts to come to light in the sequel, as well as its capabilities. Celie starts questioning where all those rooms come from on Tuesdays and where do they go when the castle gets rid of them. Many readers probably asked the same questions when reading Tuesdays and George found a good way of addressing those questions without giving everything away right at once. In fact, she doesn’t give everything away in the book, but leaves it with a cliffhanger, an open ending just begging for another sequel. Which brings me to my totally selfish whine: I want to know what happens! The next book likely won’t be out until summer of 2014. I can’t wait that long! Why did I foolishly pick up the first book (and enjoy it, along with the second book) when the series is still being written? Argh!

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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Literature

 

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Those who don’t learn from history are stupid

Note: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) through my workplace. The book is scheduled to be released in March 2013.

The publisher Shadow Mountain has yet to fail me. When it comes to young adult fantasy and adventure, they know their stuff. Back in early 2009, they sent copies of teaser chapters from a new series by an up-and-coming author. Not one to read adult fantasy (save for the Quantum Leap books and a few others), I picked up the book sample and read it on my break. Instantly I was blown away. I wanted to continue reading beyond the two teaser chapters but the book wasn’t due to be published for another two months! Instantly, I ordered it and the day it arrived, I was eager to get home from work and start in on it. The book was The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner. He’d published a series before, but wasn’t widely known – yet. Within a year he published another book, The Maze Runner, through another publisher. It was through this new series (four books in total) that earned him the title New York Times Bestselling Author. I have every single one of his books and it is because Shadow Mountain first introduced him to me.

Then in late summer of 2011, my Community Relations Manager handed me an ARC of a book titled The Janitors by Tyler Whitesides. The publisher was Shadow Mountain so I thought I would give it a try. Once again, I was blown away by the clever and well written fantasy book!

Inventors SecretSo when my CRM told me he had an ARC from Shadow Mountain, I didn’t even ask who or what it was; I just said I wanted it. It was The Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris. Not surprisingly, I loved the book.

It’s the year 2074 and twins Abby and Derick have been admitted to the world-renown school Cragbridge, a school for gifted and talented students. Abby doesn’t believe she belongs there. It’s Derick who gets the perfect grades and programs video games. She struggles with math and has done nothing extraordinary with her life. So why is she even admitted into the school? Because her grandfather founded it.

This makes life for the socially shy Abby even more difficult. She gets ostracized by her roommate, who then tells the other girls that Abby’s at school while someone who should be there isn’t. At this point in the story, I was already emotionally attached to this young girl and my heart went out to her when people started being mean to her. But eventually Abby makes a friend, Carol, who thinks that being ordinary in a school full of extraordinary kids makes Abby special.

Like most of its students, Cragbridge is no ordinary school. Animals are studied through avatars and historic events come alive in the classroom. Thanks to the wonderful inventions from Abby and Derick’s grandfather, learning has become so much more than just reading books.

Because of his inventions, though, Oscar Cragbridge fears he is in danger. Indeed he is right; a man the reader only knows as Charles seeks to learn all of Oscar’s secrets and to get them, he traps Abby and Derick’s parents aboard Titanic three days before its doomed demise. All Abby and Derick know, though, is that their family is missing and it’s up to them to follow their grandfather’s clues to rescue them. The clues rest in various places, including books, quotes, and historic events. I won’t say how it ends but lessons are learned and there is an opening for more to come.

The book is also a clever history lesson. Morris does a great job of describing the historic events as Abby and Derick review them, making it feel as if the reader is right beside them as they watch history. One event they review is Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance being stranded in Antarctica. As I read this part of the book, I remembered my own fascination with the story when I first learned about it a few years ago (22 men stranded in Antarctica for two years and they all survived). It made me want to read even more about the event; perhaps other readers will feel the same and pick up history books after reading this one.

Fans of fantasy and adventure are sure to love this book just as much as I did. Download or buy a copy (preferably from a brick-and-mortar store) in March – you won’t regret it!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Literature

 

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