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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Supernatural Pet Sitter

 

The Supernatural Pet Sitter
(The Magic Thief, #1)

by Diane Moat
Publication date: March 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Middle-Grade

Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen.

Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others.

Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.

In order to protect the animal’s magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Familiars don’t do well when they are separated from their witches. That was how Pepper got into the business of pet sitting. Gnomes have a low-level connection with all supernatural animals. Gnomes are kind of like the Dog Whisperer, except that they communicate well with Familiars, basilisks (a magical lizard), unicorns and so on, rather than the more usual “pets”.

Pepper’s business of helping witches by taking care of their Familiars had boomed over the past year. Thank goodness she wasn’t sitting for the McCrorys last month when “it” happened.

Mr. McCrory was an accountant and Mrs. McCrory worked part-time at the downtown Dewitt Mall. Their two kids lived away at college. Mrs. M’s Familiar was a huge, bright-green-and-blue parrot named Frank. Pepper had only checked on the parrot once when the McCrorys drove their kids to their out-of-state campus several months earlier. Frank didn’t cause any trouble, so the job was easy money.

Supposedly, Mrs. M was at work one day last month when she had a “bad feeling” that prompted her to go home to check on Frank. The house seemed undisturbed, and everything looked fine at first. But when Mrs. M went to Frank’s cage, she found him looking away from her. He wouldn’t even turn around when she called his name. When she walked around the cage to greet Frank face-to-face, he had only ducked and bobbed his head the way a normal parrot would. But Frank wasn’t normal.

Next, Mrs. M had reached out to the Familiar with her magic, but got no response from him. Not only that, but she said she had trouble focusing, and even her own magic had felt weak. With hands trembling, she had picked up Frank to try again. Nothing. Since that day, Frank’s magic was gone, and Mrs. M’s magic was broken.

 

 

Author Bio:

Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. Dog Gone is her debut novel, born from years of hearing animal rescuers say about animal abusers, “If only I could get my hands on that person…” Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

 

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Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Follow the Music

Today is the cover reveal for Follow the Music by L.C. Ireland. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Follow the MusicFollow the Music (The Collective #1)
By L.C. Ireland
Genre: Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: March 7, 2017

Blurb:

Ama is a talented, young musician whose life is changed forever when she is kidnapped by bandits and wounded so badly that she loses her hearing. Far from home and newly deafened, Ama discovers that the music she has been learning all her life possesses hidden powers. The music may even be powerful enough to guide Ama home … if she can learn to listen without hearing.

You can find Follow the Music on Goodreads

Excerpt:

Ama tried to hear. She tried to hear the words spoken by the girl with the honey-brown eyes, who held out her hands to push her back down when she tried to sit up. She tried to hear her own ragged breaths as panic welled inside her. She strained to hear the music that had accompanied and defined every moment of her life. But she heard nothing.

Nothing.

And that’s when Ama knew, absolutely knew, that she wasn’t dead. Because Ama’s mother had always told her that Heaven was made of music. And this strange place was nothing but silence. The quiet was so loud that Ama wondered if sound had ever existed.

She couldn’t even hear herself scream.

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!  Just click here!

L.C. IrelandAbout the Author:
Leslie Colleen “L.C.” Ireland is an Arts Specialist in Ogden, Utah. By day she works as an educator and arts advocate for two elementary schools. By night, she writes plays and novels.

You can find and contact L.C. Ireland here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Follow the Music. One winner will win an e-copy of Follow the Music by L.C. Ireland. Open International.

For a chance to win, enter the giveaway below:
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34

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone: An Adorable, Sassy, Hilarious Read!

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The Charming Life of Izzy Malone

Izzy Malone isn’t your typical middle schooler. She wears camouflage combat boots, the stars are her only friends, and after a month she’s set a new record for the most trips to her principal’s office.

But Izzy’s life isn’t so charming these days. The kids at school think she’s a mouthy misfit, her musical prodigy sister gets all the attention at home, and no one takes Izzy’s determination to compete in her small town’s Great Pumpkin Race seriously.

When Izzy’s antics land her in hot water, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whippie’s Earn Your Charm School. At first Izzy thinks it sounds stupid—her manners are just fine, thanks—but Mrs. Whippie’s first assignment proves intriguing. Tucked inside a letter is a shiny charm bracelet and instructions telling her she will “Earn Her Charm” by performing a series of tasks. For each task Izzy completes, she’ll receive a charm to place on her bracelet. “Complete them all,” the letter says, “and you will have earned a prize unlike any other.”

Soon Izzy’s adding charms to her bracelet. But when a task goes seriously awry and threatens to derail her mother’s budding political career, Izzy has her hands full proving she’s not an emerging juvenile delinquent. Add in some middle school mean girls, a giant pumpkin that could be the answer to all her problems, and discovering she might have a crush on the boy she accidentally punched in the face, and Izzy may just pull it all together and Earn Her Charm. And she’s about to find out the best kind of friends are just like stars: Bright and beautiful, appearing just when you need them, to shine a little bit of light on a dark night.

Middle Grade/Contemporary
Simon & Schuster / Aladdin M!X Publishing
Expected Publication Date:  November 29th, 2016
274 Pages
Preorder a copy here!

4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: oh my penguins, this read is SO adorable; poignant, powerful, poetic prose; the morals and statements this book makes are ground-breaking; this is a book the whole world needs to read; quirky, endearing characters; a wide range of subjects and focuses; Jenny Lundquist just jumped to the top of my “need to read more of” list

So many HUGE thanks to Jenny Lundquist and Simon & Schuster / Aladdin M!X Publishing for sending me a free ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

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You know, penguins… I really ought to read more middle grade. Every time I finish a midgrade novel, I tell myself this. And every time….I somehow wind up forgetting, until the next time I pick up another midgrade. I just honestly…there’s something SO fun, and innocent, and awesome about middle grade novels. They’re ALWAYS more focused on the morals than on romance (because duh, at this age most kids still believe the opposite sex has cooties). This book by Jenny Lundquist? Reminded me once again why I fell in love with midgrade, and CONTINUE to fall in love with it.

 

 

These characters are vibrant. They are loud. They are all quirky in their ways, and self-conscious, and confused, and conflicted. There are so many emotions, there is SO MUCH human nature, playing throughout this entire journey…and yet every word, every smear of ink, is there for a purpose. Every sentence sets the tone, makes a statement, and left me breathless–which is why, when it came time for me to choose my quotes for this review, I struggled. I had NINE quotes bookmarked. I couldn’t help but add every single one of them to goodreads after finishing–Jenny Lundquist’s words are just too powerful, too poignant, to remain unread.

 

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I absolutely adored the “pen pal” aspect of this novel. In an age where writing physical letters has devolved into emails and monosyllabic text messages… Well, I can imagine the letters featured in this book–and the relationship built around the sending and receiving of them–was something truly special. The fact that someone went out of their way to listen to, and validate, Izzy in ways she’s never really gotten before… that just made it better, in my mind. And the prose is so gorgeously poetic, it called for letters–for an outlet where the abstract, instead of the realistic, could come out to play more. Because Izzy is, in the end, in middle school–and still bursting with creative potential.

 

 

And the morals–the morals and the statements this read makes are SO super important. I feel this, in particular, is a book that the whole world needs to read–ESPECIALLY right now, with all the hatred that’s flying around. Ideas include: bullying; remaining true to yourself; being kind to others; familial love; standing tall under pressure… I mean, I could keep going, but there are a LOT of morals floating in these pages…and each one is important. Each one is poignant, and powerful, and NEEDING to be read.

 

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This was a super entertaining, humorous, fantastic read! The cover is also super adorable, though you won’t necessarily understand all of the artwork until you turn the last page. The characters are charming and vibrantly unique; the focus on relationships and morals is engaging and heart-wrenching; and I have, I fear (though “fear” isn’t quite the right word!) discovered a new author to devour. I recommend this to literally everyone, but especially: lovers of midgrade; those who sometimes forget how unique and special they are; and those who enjoy snarky, sassy characters. I cannot wait to pick up my next Jenny Lundquist book; I only regret not having done so sooner!

1

The Bone Sparrow: Poetic Prose, Heart-Breaking Plot

Penguin2.3

The Bone Sparrow

The Bone Sparrow

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.

The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before.

Middle Grade/Diverse Reads/Contemporary
240 Pages
Disney-Hyperion Publishing
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Get a copy here!

5Penguins
Quick Reasons: GOODNESS, this book is so important; diverse characters/settings; this is a mid-grade novel with HUGE bite; super important moral/societal statements are made throughout this read; I just… I can’t find the right words; this is a MUST read; gorgeous, poetic, lyrical prose

Huge thanks to Zana Fraillon, Disney-Hyperion Publishing, and Netgalley for granting me free access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

I want to start this review off… with the dedication, because it’s gorgeous, and says so much in so little about what readers will find between these pages (or, at least, a small part of what they’ll find):

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Penguins… If you haven’t picked up a Disney-Hyperion book in the last year, you need to drop whatever you’re doing and GO DO IT. Right now. Go on. I’ll wait right here. Seriously, I have read a good number of books from them this year so far, and every. single. one. has pushed me, challenged me, and shown me the world from unexpected and diverse perspectives. Disney-Hyperion strives not just to bring a beautiful story to readers…but to shove readers off the cliff of comfort and make them see the world differently.

This book is no different in this regard, though it might be my favorite one so far this year. This is a middle grade read with a HUGE amount of bite, guys–this book sucks you in with the lyrical, gorgeous prose…and holds you hostage throughout. Subhi immediately endeared himself to me–his voice is unique, often hilarious, and (for a large portion of this read, at least) filled with that which so many of us go seeking in our later years: hope. This book takes a challenging, important societal flaw and puts it under a microscope–and forces readers to step outside their comfort zone in the process.

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Zana Fraillon broke me into a thousand tiny penguin pieces with this book, guys–and I am honestly just SO awed and glad to have been given the chance to experience this. The characters and setting are diverse and hard-hitting; the plot, while filled with the naive humor of children and told from a young perspective, takes on a dark and hopeless tone throughout. But above all else, this book makes you ask WHY.

There is a lot of abstract imagery and oral-narrative feel to the prose, so I suppose this isn’t the book for everyone. Personally, I adore stories that are poetic and haunting and abstract–they allow me to see the world in my own way, while still seeing it from another’s eyes. And when handed a topic as important–as heart breaking–as this one, sometimes the more abstract the better. This doesn’t mean the book shies away from the hard truths, or sugarcoats–it doesn’t. Not once. These characters are handed some terrible situations; they fight for their lives, for their memories, and for their rights to be seen, to be heard, to EXIST.

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Just… trust me, penguins. Disney-Hyperion is doing beautiful things with their books lately, and I’m loving every single journey. If you’ll let them, books like this will open your eyes…and put a fire in your soul. If you’ll let them, books like this will change you for the better. I recommend this to lovers of lyrical prose, hard-hitting middle grade novels, and beautifully diverse reads with important things to say. I cannot wait to see what Disney-Hyperion–and Zana Fraillon!–do next. For now, I’m off to sweep my pieces off the floor and attempt to put myself back together.

4

The Friday 56 (#1)

the-friday-56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Or join The Friday 56 on Instagram!
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“With blood on her thorns she must creep through the wall.
When the last hope is lost, a Twistrose is called.”
(click the above pic to go to my post on instagram!)
The Twistrose Key
A striking middle-grade debut in the tradition of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass

When a mysterious parcel arrives at her family’s new home, eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist has a curious feeling she’s meant to discover what’s inside.

Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world.

Full of charm, suspense, and heartfelt emotion, this memorable classic in the making will leave readers breathless.

Want to see my review on this book?  Go here:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1209608970
(warning: this review was written before I found MY review format–it’s old, in other words!  Be gentle with it!)
Are you participating in the #Friday56 ?!  Link me below if you are, or find me on instagram at betwixtthesepages !
2

Wildwood: Coyotes, Bandits, and Bloodthirsty Ivy

Penguin2.3

Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)

The first book in the epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder, and danger—nothing less than an American Narnia—from Colin Meloy, lead singer of the highly celebrated band the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, the acclaimed illustrator of the New York Times bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Wildwood is the first in a planned trilogy.

Wildwood Chronicles #1
540 Pages
Fantasy/Middle Grade
Balzer + Bray Publications
Publication Date: August 30th, 2011
Get a copy here!

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: lyrical, melodic, atmospheric prose; beautifully vivid descriptions and scenes; a few parts of this seemed to drag; quirky, unique cast of characters; vibrant, well-rounded emotions and situations; action-packed and decently paced plot

The illustrations that accompany this story are WONDERFUL, guys–seriously! They are so filled with intricate, delicate details and movement, you’ll feel as if you’ve crash-landed into the middle of the scenes being depicted each time you stumble across a new one. Carson Ellis did a masterful job combining elements of the narrative with his own personal artistic flair, and helped to bring this story more fully to life for me, so huge hats off to the artist!

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First off: this book was not quite what I was expecting, going in. I mean… I’m not rightly sure what I WAS expecting, but a battle between bandits, coyotes, and bloodthirsty ivy was definitely not it. This book has a smattering of dark and realistic undertones that both enthralled me and pushed me away in turn…and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey!

The characters are vibrant and unique, a motley cast of personalities that was both a blur of chaos and a mixed bag of entertainment. I don’t feel as if we really got a SENSE for many of the characters, however–most of them, in the long run, fell a bit flat overall, instead relying heavily on the cliches of their roles to carry them through and/or “round” them out. The only characters I feel we really got an HONEST sense for were Prue, Curtis, and Alexandra–and even they, at times, felt a bit stiff and formal to me.

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The language was also pretty heavy-handed; while I enjoy the lyrical or melodic prose, this book felt a bit TOO overdone in places, and instead became a hindrance instead of an enjoyment. Certain scenes, therefore, felt a bit like I was slogging my way through a bog–a bit heavily weighted, a bit slow to the point. These moments were ones where I found the book to be a bit dragging–a lacking of, I suppose, the type of adventure and action I had fully expected to come across when opening this book.

However, the plot IS full of action, and there are plenty of battle scenes and snarky moments to go around. I especially loved watching how the inhabitants of Wildwood reacted to and interacted with Prue and Curtis; it was in these moments I found the most character growth, the most pertinent pieces of information. And there is, of course, a sort of Narnia-esque feel to this read in general.

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Overall, I enjoyed this read, though it wasn’t quite as full of adventure as I’d been expecting. The illustrations and artwork are beautiful and delicately done, matching well with the vibrant and clashing personalities of the characters we meet throughout the journey. I definitely recommend this to lovers of mid-grade novels; Narnia; and snarky, headstrong female protagonists. There’s an understated magic to this book; perhaps you should give it a try!

3

Sign of the Green Dragon: Sleuthing doesn’t Always Mean Computer Research and Safety

Penguin2.3

Sign of the Green Dragon

181 Pages
Children’s/Middle Grade
CreateSpace Edition Publishing
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2016
Available on Kindle Unlimited
or get a copy here!

Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A buried treasure.

After six months in a new school, Sam’s finally fitting in. He’s the one kid with enough talent to hit the winning home run and bring the baseball trophy back to Haggarty Elementary. But Sam’s guardian is shipping him off to boarding school before that can happen.

When teammates, Joey and Roger, hear his bad news, they plot to hide him until the big game. Their secret cave is a perfect place until an earthquake shatters a wall and reveals a wooden chest with a red-eyed dragon carved into its top. Inside, a bony hand clutches a map with a note, promising treasure.

With Joey and Roger, Sam sets off to track down the clues and hopefully discover treasure. When some puzzle pieces start to make sense, the boys become lost in a labyrinth of underground tunnels, trapped by dangerous thieves and sealed inside an airless tomb.

Sign of the Green Dragon gets a high five for fantasy, fun and some fearsome adventure. If you like intrepid would-be knights on impossible and dangerous quests, you’ll love this story. As one reader says, this book, “has more twists than a dragon’s tail.”

Order now to jump into the adventure.

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: decent action/adventure tale; entertaining; occasional moments of snark and sass; a ‘coming of age’ journey (of sorts); quasi-mystery; perfect for thrill seekers and dragon lovers; some missing words/grammatical inconsistencies; I wish we’d gotten to see more of the magic/dragons aspect

Huge thank you, first and foremost, to C. Lee McKenzie and Createspace Edition Publishing for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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While not necessarily my favorite read of the year, this book was at turns endearing and enchanting. The focus on the boys’ struggles with and attempts at figuring out the “mystery” of this book–what the note they discovered meant, who/what the dragon twins were, and where the treasure was hidden–got somewhat lost in the grand scheme of the ending, particularly when one of the adult characters went missing/was kidnapped and the search for him began. I also felt like, for a book about dragons, I don’t feel like this focused enough on those key aspects–while there ARE dragons, they make sort of an odd, late appearance and do no more than explain that while they’d been “watching over the boys” the whole time, they couldn’t interfere because rules. In the end, I was just a bit let down by the promise of–and then lack of–dragons (but this is because I love books with dragons/dragon lore.)

 

The story, however, was quite a bit of fun. There were tons of humorous, snarky moments–particularly from our main boy, Sam–and I found myself being drawn into this world of mystery and intrigue fairly quickly. The prose is, admittedly, a little blase and young–but given the age this read is targeted for, I didn’t mind this so much. The fact that the characters become wholly consumed by and obsessed with their quest, and therefore don’t really notice the other things happening around them, was also realistic and well-done. I remember being that age and getting the same amount of tunnel-vision, and could easily understand where the boys were coming from throughout the read.

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The plot is fast-paced and action packed, though not weighed down TOO heavily with subjects of import. Sam is, throughout, struggling to figure out his place in the world–recently moved into his uncle’s house, his plight to come to terms with a feeling of helplessness and homelessness was endearing and heart-wrenching. The amount of devotion C. Lee McKenzie put into making and molding dynamic, differing familial relationships was a highlight of this read.

 

Of course, given the rating, you probably already know that this was not necessarily the book for me personally. While I enjoyed the story and the focus on familial relationships, both blood and not, I was disappointed by the seeming lack of actual dragons. There were also quite a few missing words or grammatical inconsistencies that, while not necessarily dragging down my reading progress, did trip me up a time or two throughout. They weren’t big enough to merit much on my radar, but there were enough of them that I started to notice after the first couple chapters.

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Overall, this was a cute coming of age tale with a slight focus on the fantastical. I had a good deal of fun following the boys on their journey–and seeing where Sam’s personal struggles led him at the end. C. Lee McKenzie crafted a read that lovers of mystery, thrill-seeking adventures, and dragons will appreciate–no matter their age! This was a fun read; I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us from this author!

4

Blog Tour (Review): The Voyage to Magical North

The Voyage to Magical North
by Claire Fayers
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: July 5th 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Childrens, Pirates, Fiction
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Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne is a girl with a past–if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she’s spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter.
When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship theOnion. Before you can say “pieces of eight,” they’re up to their necks in the pirates’ quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don’t even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she may find out who her parents are. And if she’s unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way.
I live in South Wales, birthplace of the famous pirate, Henry Morgan. I used to work at Cardiff University, first in health and safety (you will notice that my pirates fight VERY safely) and then in the university science library. Now I write full-time at home with my husband and my two cats, usually stopped every chapter or two to let them in or out of the door. (My cats, not my husband: he can already open doors.)
In my free time, I like skiing, flying kites, and music – I can play the cello a bit and I’m learning the piano. I enjoy gardening and grow a lot of fruit and veg so if I come to visit you don’t be surprised if I bring a jar of jam.

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4Penguins
Quick Reasons: well first and most importantly, there are magical zombie flesh-eating penguins in this book!; awesome action/adventure story mixed with oral narratives and sea folklore; terrifying, creatively unique world-building; spine-chilling villains; great coming-of-age narrative with some heart-bending, wise moments; this was such a fun read!

HUGE thanks to Claire Fayers, Henry Holt and Co Publishing, Netgalley and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for setting me up with an advanced copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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First things first: THAT COVER! Penguins, is that cover gorgeous! I mean seriously, just LOOK at it–you get the gist of this story without even having to crack open the cover, and I just adore when book designers manage to do that so beautifully. I knew, before I even read the synopsis, that I needed to read this book–and I am so so pleased to say I wasn’t wrong.

This mid-grade novel is at turns darkly humorous and incredibly terrifying. There’s so much snark being flung between the pages, I feared I might drown in it if I weren’t careful–and yet each character, in turn, is brought into a darker, scarier light…before finding that middle ground I so love in character development. That moment where the lightbulb blinks on, and I realize I know them exactly as I should. Basically, these characters are hilarious, and witty, and SO full of vibrant life I found myself wanting to be them throughout the read–or, at the very least, to know them.

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This book is also filled with realistic relationships and wholly natural, completely HUMAN doubts/fears. Each character is 3D–crafted and molded with the story, instead of feeling like paper dolls shoved in for entertainment purposes. No character is “just” anything–each is individualized, equally important, and entertaining or terrifying in their own rights. Each character is COMPLEX…and I appreciated that so, so much. In a book such as this, sometimes character development falls to the wayside to give emphasis to the adventure. Claire Fayers, instead, made each equally weighted and important, giving readers a well-rounded, awesomely enthralling book!

The plot is not lacking on the action/adventure front. This book begins with a bang, and doesn’t let up until the very end. Claire Fayers took well-known sea folklore and molded it with (and around!) the magic of this world. Her narrative is both convincingly real and utterly fantastic, leaving little room for readers to question the story or become lost in the details. The world is both very similar to our own…and yet, somehow, still vastly different. Well-known animals (I mentioned the flesh-eating penguins above!) are both very easy to “see” as their realistic counterparts…and terrifyingly, drastically changed to suit the story.

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This was, overall, a fantastically magical and entertaining read, and I cannot WAIT for you guys to pick it up! Not only is the cover beautiful–the story, the characters, the snark and the wisdom all come together to make a cohesive, enthralling journey. I definitely recommend this book to lovers of magical realism, sea voyages, and coming-of-age narratives. If those things appeal to you, or if this review sounds like your type of book, PICK IT UP!