Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tuesdays at the Castle

Tuesdays at the Castle
by Jessica Day George

Princess Celie lives in Castle Glower, a magical castle that continuously adds rooms, passageways and towers.  No one quite understands why or how the castle does it, but Celie tries to map out all the changes as they happen.  Things are always mysteriously appearing and disappearing, depending on if the castle likes you or not!

 Then Celie's parents, the king and queen, disappear.  The councilors want to be names "regents" for Celie's older brother, and foreign princes and invading the castle.  Celie and her older siblings are held prisoners in their own castle!  How can Celie help them when she is trapped in a tower with no way out?

I loved this book!  It was lots of fun to read, and the action was very fast paced.  I had a hard time putting it down.  The plot lines are fairly straight forward, but has enough twists and fun moments that it was really engrossing.

Celie was vibrant and very exciting to read about.  The reader has great insight into her emotions, and her personality keeps the book moving so well.  Had fun getting to know her, and seeing her foils in her siblings.

This book is great for late elementary and middle school readers.  Most definitely more for the girls, and lots of fun!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


by Rachel Hartman
480 pages
Middle School+

Update!  I read this again for the YALSA 2013 Best of the Best Challenge!  I loved it just as much, if not more than I did last time.  I was more eager to read, so it went really fast this time. The world is so vivid, beautiful and well crafted. 

I noticed this time the glossery in the back, so if there was someone or a place mentioned that I didn't understand, I was able to look it up. For example, several times, Daanites are mentioned with some significance.  Once I looked it up, I understood more about those characters, how it affects them and why they said it when they did.  Very helpful tool!

I also saw lots of foreshadowing, both of events that happen later in the novel, but also stuff that hasn't happened yet.  In addition to all the people in her head that she still needs to meet, there are several more themes that need to be resolved.  The dragon rebellion/civil war will be very interesting!

Still an awesome book!  Definitely recommend it!  I did lower it to middle school age, mostly because I didn't really find anything that is mature content or anything like that which would be inappropriate for middle schoolers.  It is a big book, but I've seen little kids with big books before!

Seraphina lives in a world where humans have made peace with the dragons, trying to live together. Dragons shift into human shape to understand the humans, including their strange and foreign emotions. Dragons see those emotions are diseases, to be excised from the brain. Each species has difficulty understanding the motivations of the others' actions.

Into this world comes Seraphina, child of a human lawyer and musician dragon.  An abomination to either species, she hides her true self from everyone, including herself.  Her musical talents start bringing her into popularity, and the attention of even the royal family.  She must hide your half-dragon nature from everyone, even those she comes to care about. Inside her mind, she keeps a "garden" with characters, who she thought were imaginary, that she starts finding in real life.

On top of all of this, it's the time of the Treaty Festival, the anniversary of peace between the humans and dragons.  Seraphina must help plan the festivities, protect the royal family from unknown plots, and find a rogue dragon who she believes is her grandfather.   How can she reconcile her true self with how others around her will perceive her?  And can she protect all those close to her?

Seraphina is a great book, with a beautiful world that it created.  This book takes the stereotypical relationship between humans and dragons, and takes it to another level.  The world is realistic and even the seemingly minor characters have depth and connections.  While at times it is slow moving, it takes that chance to build the story, and adds layers and layers to the story.

Overall, I really loved Seraphina!  Seraphina herself is a character that I can identify with, and seeing her growth throughout the book was rewarding.  Of course I love dragons, and this was one of the most original story with dragons I've read in a long time.  Seems like it is well set up for a sequel, and if there is one, I will definitely read it!  Recommend it for teens and adults alike!  Great book!