In a style similar to that of Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl, Nicholas Gannon writes The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse, a stand-alone sequel to The Doldrums, and adds illustrations similar to those drawn by Brian Selznick in The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  This combination of ingredients makes Gannon’s book a reading treat for middle grade readers. The story’s protagonist, Archer Helmsley is a troubled child who talks to taxidermied animals and sets tigers lose in museums.  He has been waiting for twelve years to meet his grandparents, famous explorers and “practically fictional characters” to Archer, who has read their journals and knows their talesRead More →

Living in a world where books are thought to clutter the mind and technology is shunned in favor of a photographic memory called Knowing, Samara Archiva wants to heal the Knowing with Forgetting so that the Knowing can find peace.  Without Forgetting, pain is a constant for the Knowing, and many commit suicide to escape the process of reliving excruciating memories that never fade.   Knowing, which essentially means to remember too much, leaves no room for imagination or dreaming, and from an early age, the Knowing are taught the importance of concealing emotion and for caching memories.   Caching, a special privilege of the Knowing, involvesRead More →

Similar to the Harry Potter and Charlie Bone series’,  Ed Masessa’s Wandmaker series focuses on magical learning. Wandmaker’s Apprentice is the second novel in the series and picks up from the dramatic events of Wandmaker. In that first novel, Henry and his sister, Brianna, came to terms with their different abilities connected to wand making. In this world, hidden behind the scenes from ours, magical ability is harnessed through different wands for various purposes. For those in this magical world, “your wand is an extension of you” (99). After defeating the villainous Dai She, Henry and Brianna are taken in by Wand Master Coralis. CoralisRead More →

Despite the world’s efforts to destroy them, Wilhelminia and Gerhard keep each other alive.  Born into the Royal House of Heidle, Wil and Gerdie are spares, the youngest and scrawniest children of the king of Northern Arrod, the world’s wealthiest nation.  Wil, like her queen mother, is a restless wanderer, a child in love with the free air.  Although Wil is also a champion for justice, a darkness lurks in her blood, a curse that has scarred her, leaving a birthmark.  Gerdie, forever the pragmatist, believes that spells and curses are nonsense.  A scientist who clings to logic, Gerdie thinks magic is a fairy tale. Read More →