Two Spells by Mark Morrison

51fuRmKahML Twins Sarah and John are off to Wales for the summer to stay with the grandparents they’ve barely met. Almost immediately, even before the family has reached their destination, it’s clear that the area of their mother’s birth isn’t ordinary. A werewolf in the road, a fortress named Two Spells atop a mountain, and a mysteriously dysfunctional GPS that keeps returning them to Two Spells rather than guiding them to their grandparents are merely the beginning of their adventure.

Soon the twins are completely immersed in the world of the magical library—intrigued by the library and the magic within it. Soon enough it is clear that there are forces at work that would destroy the library, and they’re right in the middle of a battle for survival: the library’s and their own.

Mark Morrison’s first book shows that he has a great love of fantasy and magical worlds and a fantastic imagination.

Although I, too, am a fantasy lover, I often found myself disoriented in the complexities of the plot of Two Spells, although your mileage may vary. I also wished that Sarah had a little more agency and a little less help from adults and magical creatures in the resolution.

Though the author puts this book at a young adult level, I’d put it at a middle grade level, as Sarah and Jon seem young for a true young adult book.

The author sent me a copy of the book in hopes of receiving a review.

 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

FalconerChronicle Books, 2014

Kam is not your ordinary Victorian debutante. She was quite an eligible catch in Edinburgh society—that is until the grisly murder of her mother. Now Kam lives under dual shadows of pity and suspicion. But Kam cares little about how others see her—much less than she once would have—for with her mother’s murder she discovered another world, a world that changed her life. Now Kam spends her evenings battling and killing faeries, and her greatest challenge is how to hide her new badass self in the façade of the demure debutante she once was.

Ironically, the only ones who know Kam for her new faerie-slaying self are her partner and trainer, an uber-powerful faerie and the pixie who inhabits her closet, fixes her clothes, and drinks all the honey he can get his little hands on. Soon, Kam’s going to have to get beyond her one-faerie-a-night killing spree because the most powerful faeries, the ones that have been safely locked away for thousands of years, are about to get free, and if Kam doesn’t stop them, they’ll be coming for her and for everything she loves best.

I requested this book from NetGalley because the title led me to believe I’d be delving into a world of medieval bird wielders. Well, not so much, but I certainly was not disappointed. A strong heroine is exactly what appeals to me in a Victorian setting. I much prefer the young woman whose main concern is hiding her weapons in her ball gown than the one who’s agonizing about how to fill her dance card. The steam punk elements are great fun to contemplate, and the main characters’ histories and personalities are complicated enough to be mused over in the times one must stop reading to attend to real-world responsibilities.

I went from this book straight to The Vanishing Throne, the second book in the series which did not disappoint. The Fallen Kingdom, the third book in the series, is out in June. I’ve got the ARC waiting in my reader, and I’m eagerly awaiting the moment that it rises to the top of my to be read list!

Want to Read Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again! Here are the books I added to my Want to Read List last week.

girl-mans-up

 

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

I’m always looking for books with transgender characters. I can’t remember where I saw this first, but I’ve included a link to the Goodreads page.

 

hidden-figuresHidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

We went to see the movie based upon this book this weekend and loved it, but movies sometimes have to make concessions to the facts in order to make the story work in a short, on screen format. Now I want to read the book and see how they match up!

truthwitch

 

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Thrice Read’s account of the Susan Dennard signing was enough to get me interested in this witchy series.

 

dream-things-truethe-radius-of-us 

This Nerdy Book Club post featured Marie Marquardt, the author of two books that feature the experience of undocumented and asylum-seeking immigrants in the United States: Dream Things True and The Radius of Us

 

Bonus: Here’s a great post full of LGBT book suggestions.

 

Want to Read Wednesday

I review a fair number of books, aiming for one middle grade or young adult book review a week. I also read reviews others write and keep my Goodreads Want to Read list well populated. I’m always interested in the books that are getting some buzz, even if I don’t have the time to read them just yet, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of the books that make it onto my Want to Read list each week.

Here’s my list for this past week:

5-elements-the-emerald-tablet

Five Elements: The Emerald Tablet by Dan Jolley

Magic is good. I’d love to read a new middle grade book that portrays elemental magic well. Plus, a great new series is reading for today and for the future, too.

The tip off came from: Ugh, I’ve lost track of this one…will update if I find it.

 

grudging

Grudging: Birth of Saints Book One by Michelle Hauck

This is an adult historical fantasy. Witches, chivalry, medieval world… might certainly appeal to young adult readers and it’s another series.

The tip off came from: A writing contest on Michelle’s page: Michelle4Laughs.com

 

one-for-sorrow One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn

A ghost story set during the influenza epidemic of 1918. My grandfather nearly died in boot camp of the Spanish influenza and his condition after left him ineligeable to serve in the military, so I’m curious. Plus ghosts!

The tip off came from: NetGalley.com

 

scythe

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The review got me on this one: reluctant reader eating it up, important and complex moral questions, compelling main characters. Young Adult. Plus, series!

The tip-off came from: The Winged Pen Blog

 

march-against-fearThe March Against Fear by Ann Bausum

Important from a historical perspective and relevant to today. Definitely looking forward to cracking this one open and deepening my understanding of the relationship between the Civil Rights movement and the Black Power movement. Young Adult.

The tip-off came from: Teen Librarian Toolbox

Which books caught your attention this week? Leave a comment below.

Want to connect on Goodreads? Sarah Monsma on Goodreads