Saturday, June 29, 2013


by Alex Flinn
296 pages
Middle School+

Rachel lives in a tower, seeing no one but Mama, an older woman who comes in to take care of her.  Everyday Mama comes, bringing her food, supplies, and conversation.  Mama is so nice to her, she can't help but think what the outside world is like.  Never seeing anything but the occasional deer and squirrel (which she knows from studying books), she sings to pass the time.

Wyatt needs to escape.  His feels like his life is in shambles, and he needs a change of scenery.  At his mom's request, he goes to live with the mother of an old friend of hers, Mrs. Greenwood.  She lives alone in this big, empty house in the middle of nowhere.  While grateful for a place to stay, Wyatt is kind of creeped out by Mrs. Greenwood the first night when he accidentally tries to sleep in her missing daughter's bedroom.  Not quite sure what to think of her, he moves to another room, but takes a diary with him.

Since Wyatt has made friends with some of the local kids, he gets invited to a New Year's party out at a remote cabin.  While they are walking from the car to the cabin, Wyatt hears something strange: a voice singing on the wind.  Though the other dismiss the sound, he can't stop thinking about it.  Drawn by it, he comes back during the daytime to try and figure out where it is coming from.  He struggles through the woods, searching for the source of the music.
Rachel has been watching out her window.  The snow is beautiful, but she feels like something is going to happen, like someone is coming.  Using some special lenses, she spies something different: a boy in a blue coat walking through the woods.  He's coming closer and closer, until he starts crossing the frozen lake.  Unfortunately, it's not completely frozen.  As he disappears, Rachel is faced with a choice: does she leave her tower, the home she has always known to rescue someone she has never met before?

Really interesting book.  Obviously a retelling of Rapunzel, but definitely mixed up from the traditional tale.  Rachel acts outside of the typical Rapunzel character, plus there are some added elements in the story.  Some of those elements felt forced at times, but it was a way to modernize the story and give an explanation to why Rapunzel is in the tower, so they are kind of needed, but still felt a little out of place.

I did like Rachel's character and how she isn't just waiting to be rescued.  She is timid and scared, but she still gets out and does things.  Much better than the traditional Rapunzel character.  Overall, the characters are fairly well written: they grow, change, make realizations, and progress.  Good characters to flesh out the traditional tale.

Overall, pretty good story, but not fantastic.  I liked it, glad I read it, but not sure if I would read it again.  I will recommend, especially to girls that want another fairy tell retelling.  Boys might like it too, since part of it is told through Wyatt's perspective. I did like all the connections and twists in the plot line! Good book!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope

Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope
by Jenna Bush
304 pages
High School+

Ana has HIV, and she insists that she is not dying from HIV, but rather she is bravely living with HIV.  Instead of letting it determine her life, she makes her own decisions and lives life as full as she can.  Even though she is a teen-aged mother, she wants to live life and experience as much as she can.

The story starts with Ana's earliest memories- including the memory of her baby sister's death.  Unknown to her at the time, her mother and the baby both had HIV, which is where Ana inherited it from.  Told from a young age that she must never tell anyone, her life becomes full of secrets- not just about HIV but of abuse and sadness.

Follow Ana as she deals from the youngest age with HIV, family tragedies, abuse and loneliness.  Her life is not easy, but she changes, grows and handles every new trial that comes her way.

This was a book I found just browsing through my library's collection of ebooks, and was ended up enjoying it a lot.  It was a quick read- very short, concise chapters with a few pictures interspersed.  Because the chapters are so short, it moved quickly, never got boring.

This book was almost brutal with the truth at times.  Her life was hard.  She was abused in different ways, had a child at 16, and just struggled through so many trials.  While it might be read quickly and it's not complicated, this book is hard hitting and straight forward.  I put it as high school aged mostly because of how honest and blunt it is.  I hope that by reading this, teens can realize how easy some of them have it compared to her, and also realize that their choices have consequences.  Ana slept with a guy once without using protection and became pregnant from it.  She had to live with the result of what she did. 

While it's not the typical thing I enjoy, I did find myself really drawn into the story.  I read it in a just a few hours, and it really drew me in.  Ana's life is so different than mine, and helped give me a different perspective on life.  Good book to help gain a new outlook, and help teens see that decisions have consequences.  I will definitely recommend it as a good non-fiction!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Elite (Selection Series #2)

The Elite, A Selection Novel
by Kiera Cass
323 pages
Middle School+

America Singer has survived the cut, and is now in the top 6 left competing for the hand of Prince Maxon and to become the next queen of IllĂ©a.  Still confused about her feelings for Maxon, she's not quite sure how much she really wants to stay or why she wants to stay.  Her feelings for Maxon have grown over the past weeks, to the point where she would miss him if she left.

Added to the mix is America's old boyfriend, Aspen.  He is in the palace serving as a guard.  While he had broken up with her right before she started the Selection, he claims she still has his heart.  Every time he is near, she is flustered and giggly.  Torn between Aspen and Maxon, America isn't sure what to feel about either one.

And on top of all of this, she must compete with the other girls.  While naturally friends with some, others will never be remotely close to her.  Pressure from them, plus the royal family, starts getting to her.  With rebels attacking, secrets being revealed, and visiting officials from other nations, America has never been so stressed.  How can she decide what she feels when she never gets a moment to think about it?

Can I just say, grrrrrr!  The first book was a complete cliff hanger, and this one wasn't much better.  A few things are resolved, but not enough.  Still so many unanswered questions, and things up in the air.  So aggravating!  And now I have to wait again for the next book.  Grrrrr!

Okay, getting over that, let's move on.  I was continually bothered by America's fickleness on who she likes.  When she kisses Maxon, she likes him, but when she's with Aspen, she likes him.  While I can understand her uncertainty when it comes to wanting to be a princess (and queen), I have the hardest time accepting that she is always flipping between the two.  Just choose and get it over with!

Other than that, I really enjoyed the book.  Very gripping, kept me wanting to read, and I like some of the developments and background that we are getting.  I get the sense that the rebels will be very important, but nothing significant has really happened with them yet.  America is starting to develop a greater purpose that just being there for the competition, and I hope to get more in the next book.  While the Selection is the reason America is there, I really want to see more in the other areas, not just this silly love triangle.

Overall, pretty good book, but aggravating at times.  Will definitely appeal to girls more than boys, and those looking for romance more than action.  I will recommend sparingly, but definitely need to read the first one before this one.  Good, but be prepared to be left hanging!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
by Lucy Knisley
176 pages
High School+

Lucy grew up living with her chef mother and visits from a foodie father.  Food has always been an important part of her life.  Whether it is learning how to make luscious croissants or perfecting the chocolate chip cookie, her growth and her story can be told through food.

Follow Lucy as she grows up, following in the footsteps of her parents.  She goes to Mexico with her mother, travels with her father, and eats McDonald's to make them mad.  Not only is her own story told through food, but she shares some favorite recipes!

This was a fun memoir to read.  It jumps around a little, moving sometimes from her story to her mother's.  I liked seeing the comparison between their stories, and how parallel they really were, but at the same time unique to each person.  The author acknowledges that parallelism, but is also definitely telling her own story, not just the history of her parents.

I really think that teens can relate well to some of her circumstances: an awkward first period, her long-time friend (who happens to be a boy) discovering smutty magazines, doing things just to annoy her parents, and finding comfort in her food and routines.  There is definitely a huge emphasis on coming of age and growing up, but it's gently told, nothing hugely overt.

Overall, I really liked the book.  I loved the "cozy mysteries" that have the recipes in the books, so this was a great twist on that theme.  Non-fiction, but doesn't read like non-fiction.  Will recommend it for teens, mostly since a lot of it takes place as Lucy is a teen or young adult.  Fun book!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire Series #1)

The Dragonet Prophcey (Wings of Fire Series #1)
by Tui S. Sutherland
336 pages

In the land of Pyrrhia, dragons roam.  Divided into several kingdoms, they are governed by several queens and have various allies and enemies. When war rules the land, a prophecy comes forth: five dragonets will be born on the brightest night, and are destined to bring peace to the land by choosing one queen.  The dragonets are coming...

Clay, Glory, Starflight, Sunny and Tsunami grew up together, in a cave, always hearing that they are the chosen dragons of prophecy.  They have read scroll after scroll about the outside world, but now they want to experience it for themselves.  When they overhear the elder dragons discussing getting rid of one of them, everyone decides that it is time to leave.  Clay, a little unsure about everything, helps rescue his friends, leads them out of their cave.

Instead of getting out and exploring the world, Clay and his friends walk right into the claws of one of the queens.  Capture and separated from each other, they long for the security of the cave again.  How will they survive and how will they fulfill the prophecy?

I really loved the detail that went into creating this world and all the different types of dragons.  In the front of the book there are diagrams of the different dragon types, so you can see the differences in body, size and abilities.  Lots of thought was put into this book and it has tons of background.  This does help the reader to distinguish between them, especially helpful at the beginning when the reader has several different dragons to keep track or right away.

I did feel like there were lots of stereotypical characters and not tons of depth to them.  Clay is the insecure big dude, and there is the sassy girl, and the know-it-all.  As the series progresses, I hope that they are more fleshed out, and develop more beyond these stereotypes.  The reader does learn more about Clay right at the end, but I almost wish that passage had been earlier in the book, so you could see Clay grow more throughout the book, instead of just at the end.

Regardless of the characters, I did like the story.  There is the great prophecy that has lots of murkiness that can be interpreted different ways.  Lots of foreshadowing and possible twists in future books.  This book set up lots of friends and connections that can come back later in the series.  I will be interested to see where it all goes!

Overall, great book for that age range. The first few chapters is a little slow, but after that it picks up really quick.  Good for girls and boys (main character is a boy!  Get them hooked!).  Good start to a series, the sequel is out and I will definitely look forward to more!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dutch Oven Cookout, Step by Step

Dutch Oven Cookout, Step by Step
by Michele Pika Nielson
208 pages
All ages!

Ever wonder how to cook in a dutch oven but were so overwhelmed that you just didn't know where to start? Then check out Dutch Oven Cookout, Step by Step!  This book covers everything from the basics, to great tips and amazing recipes.

Start by learning how to season your dutch oven, including the reason why we do it.  Once it is seasoned, create amazing meals like cobblers, soups and meat dishes.  After all the food is gone, properly clean your dutch oven in preparation for next time.  This book takes you, step by step, from the beginning to the end, with lots of helpful tips along the way!

This is an amazing book.   I worked with the author when I was younger, watched her spend years collecting data and trying out recipes.  Each part of this book is thoroughly tested, tried and tweaked until perfection has been achieved!  I love that the book has as much about caring for your dutch oven as it does recipes.  It simplifies what can seem super complicated and overwhelming.  Great tool for families, whether you camp-out all the time or are a novice.  I highly recommend it for anyone that wants to have their own dutch oven cookout!

Please see Michele's website at for more details or to buy your own copy!  She is still doing signings at various locations, so go check her out!

You can also follow her on Facebook!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


by Dan Wells
480 pages
Middle School+

Kira Walker somehow survived the Partial War and RM- the disease that wiped out over 90% of the population when she was a child.  Banding together with other survivors, they struggle on, trying to avoid the attention of the Partials as well.  Partials are superhuman constructs, that look human but have capacities far beyond the normal human.  Scared of Partials and of RM, humanity huddles and hopes for a uncertain future.

Kira, now 17 years old, works in a maternity ward, watching babies being born, but almost immediately dying of RM.  Heart broken and tired of watching babies dies, she starts researching about the disease and how it can be stopped.  Searching through past research, she can tell almost everything has been tried, with no results.  But she gets an idea.  What about going to the source- the Partials that gave humanity RM?

After approaching her superiors with the proposal- catch a Partial to study it- and being straight away turned down, she can't give up the idea.  This is the only thing that hasn't been tried, why won't they let her try it?  Instead of taking no for an answer, Kira plots to cross into Partial territory, capture one, and study it.  Together with some friends, she sets out.

This was really good!  Took me a little while to get into, but after getting into it, it grabbed me.  I had heard positive and negative reviews, but I am glad I read it!  And I definitely want to find the sequel- while it's not a cliff-hanger ending, there's definitely more to do, and more to discover!  I want to read the next book, which is always a good sign.

One of the huge themes in this book is truth and transparency.  The government is definitely not telling the people the whole truth, let alone being clear on the reasons for their actions.  Kira is keeping secrets, and learns more throughout the book.  Truth changes her, the community, and more.  Truth is a very powerful possession in this book.

Another big theme is personal rights versus survival of the group as a whole.  There is a law in this world that women must be pregnant, in order to help continue the existence of the human race.  And they keep lowering the age; in the novel it starts at 18, and by the end it is lowered to 16 at one point.  Women specifically are expected to give up their person rights in order to just try to continue the human race.  When do individual rights become less or more important that survival?

Overall, pretty good book.  I enjoyed it a lot.  A few things seems a little cliche (evil government officials, evil Partial that might not be so evil), but I liked the style and the overall story.  I will recommend to teens, probably more the later middle school to high school age.  Boys might enjoy, for the action, but I can see girls being more into the issues than boys.  Good book!  If they like The Hunger Games or Maze Runner, this would be another good pick!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel

 The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel (Kane Chronicles Series #1)
By Rick Riordan
Adapted by Orpheus Collar
192 pages
Late Elementary+

Carter Kane has lived with his dad ever since his mom died.  But they don't really have a home: instead they travel the world, looking at historical artifacts- specifically Egyptian. When they go to London to visit his sister Sadie, his dad starts acting weird, takes them to the British Museum, and everything goes crazy.

Sadie misses having a family, but doesn't really know how to connect with her archaeologist dad or her slightly geeky and quiet brother.  Not knowing much about Egyptian history means they don't have much to talk about.  Regardless, she's glad whenever they come to visit.  But when strange fiery people burst of or the Rosetta Stone, she feels completely out of touch with reality.

Sadie and Carter quickly learn some startling truths- Egyptian gods are real, their mythology is history, and they are descendants of the pharaohs.  They have a legacy of magic and serving as hosts for the gods.  They travel with their uncle, learn more of their history, make enemies of other magicians, and discover that Sadie's cat Muffin is actually the goddess Bast in disguise.  The more they learn about what their father was doing, the more they enemies they make.  How can they survive with magicians, police and gods chasing them?

Very fun book!  Keeps very close to the novel, as far as I can tell.  The original novel switches between Carter and Sadie as the narrator, and the graphic novel uses different colored frames on the text boxes to define who is narrating.  It took me a second to catch that difference, and to someone that hasn't read the original novel, that might throw them off.  But they did a good job keeping the voices of the two kids separate and distinct.  

Overall, really good book.  I liked this adaptation of the novel, and think this would be a good way to introduce the series to kids.  The books are huge and can be a little intimidating, but this version, while keeping true to the story, is a little less intimidating.  Also, you get the visuals of the Egyptian gods, which a lot of people aren't as familiar with them as much as they are the Greek and Roman gods.  I really enjoyed this version, almost as much or more than the original novel.  This has helped me like this series more than previously, so good book!  I will always recommend Rick Riordan!

Friday, June 14, 2013

City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments Series #1

City of Bones, The Mortal Instruments Series #1
by Cassandra Clare
512 pages
High School+

Fifteen-year-old Clarissa Fray lives with her mom, wishes her dad hadn't died, loves to draw and hangs out with her best friend, Simon, at clubs.  Clary's life seems fairly normal and ordinary.  But one night at the club, she gets a little curious after a few bizarre looking teens apparently murder another.  Shocked and not quite sure what to think, especially when no one else can see them, Clary is drawn into their world of demons and hunters.

After finding out that she was born to be part of this world, Clary's life is turned upside-down.  Her mother is kidnapped, Clary is almost killed by a demon, and is only saved by Jace, one of the curious looking teens from the club.  Attracted to him, but repulsed by his attitude, she's not sure what to think about him.  Grateful to be rescued and healed, she listens to his problems, learns about the Mortal Cup, and also learns that her mom was the last to be seen with it.

This begins her adventures in the world of the Shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves and more.  Clary is meant to be part of them, but can't remember ever encountering them.  What happened to her memories, why would her mother have the Mortal Cup, and can she ever go back to her normal life?

This was actually a really good book!  I've been disappointed with series, especially super popular series, in the past, but this one did pretty good about living up to the hype.  Vibrant world, with lots of details that makes sense.  There's enough history and reasoning to why the world is set up the way it is that you're not left wondering why this happen, or why this person acted the way they did.  The sensible world is a great backdrop to an action packed story.

I really like how the reader gets background throughout the book, so it's not dumped at one spot, but the world in continually evolving and making more sense.  You learn about everything that's going on, but don't get spoilers, and don't get everything dropped on you at once in a big boring glob.  Great development!

Characters- I liked Clary well enough, but it was really her interactions with everyone else that makes the story.  She makes decisions that effect her, Jace, Simon and others.  She has to see the consequences of those decisions, and then either accept them or do something about the consequences.  I think that is a great way to teach people that you have to deal with what happens because of your actions.

Overall, pretty good book.  I enjoyed it a lot, this actually being the second time I read it through.  Characters react realistically, the world is a vivid setting for the action, and it is definitely full of action and drama.  I would definitely say high school age, more than middle school, mostly for the feel of things.  Good book!  I recommend it!  Looking forward to reading more in the series!  And an added benefit-  the is only one book left in the series that hasn't been published.  Five are out (starting with this one) and only one to wait for!  I hate starting a new series that is just barely starting.

Anyways, fun book, great read, I recommend it!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Korgi, Book 1: Sprouting Wings

Korgi, Book 1: Sprouting Wings
by Christian Slade
80 pages
Early Elementary+

The korgis live in a fantastical village and come in all shapes and sizes.  Peaceful creatures, they are happy and friendly to all around.  With their woodland friends, the only danger they face are the mysterious ogres that live deep in the forest.

Follow one little korgi and his friend as they set off on an adventure.  Instead of picking berries, they wander off to find what lies in the forest.  Not only do they discover some mysteries of the forest, but they also discover things about themselves.

Very cute, simple little book!  This story is told entirely with pictures, no words at all.  The black and white illustrations are detailed, and it is fun to look at everything to find all the little smiles and korgi expressions.  Nicely detailed, but sometimes felt a little busy.

The story is cute, fun and simple.  This is a great book for early "readers" or to help teach inference, since there are no words.  Surprising twists in the story, cute pictures to go with.  Winner of a book!  Definitely one for the early elementary ages, since older ages would be bored by the simpleness of the presentation.  If your kids like fairies and not-so-scary monsters, this would be a great book for them!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles Series #1)

Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles Series #1)
by Isobelle Carmody
256 pages
Middle School+

In a world where being different is dangerous, Elspeth Gordie has to hide who she truly is.  She is different than everyone else because she can read your mind.  Even her brother, who loves her, is a little freaked out by this.  A cat  is the only one that really excepts her for who she is.  And he isn't even around all the time.

Finally she slips and someone turns her in to the officials.  Aberrations like her are sent to mysterious Obernewtyn, a place none return from and that horrible rumors abound.  Slightly scared, and slightly relieved to finally be able to reveal her abilities, Elspeth travels there to be held for the rest of her days.

But when she gets there, Obernewtyn is not nearly as terrible as she heard.  She has to work hard in the kitchens and in the fields, plus there is no escaping the remote mountain location, but life could be a lot worse.  But when her friend is taken in for "doctor treatments," Elspeth starts noticing changes in her.  Something strange is going on, and Elspeth must figure out what before she too becomes a victim.

I felt like this was an okay book, has lots of potential for later books, but took me a little while to get through.  Lots happens, there is adventure and intrigue, but it felt a little shallow to me.  None of the characters really change that much, or grow tons.  Elspeth has the same issues at the end as she did at the beginning, and the rest of the characters stay the same- not tons of depth to them. The world is interesting and Obernewtyn does set up lots of possibilities for later novels in the series, but this one just felt a little flat. 

Overall, I probably wills till recommend this for mostly girls that are looking for another fantasy series.  Good book, just fell flat.  I hope that the rest of the series develops the characters more and presents new and different challenges to Elspeth.  Interesting premise, and maybe when I read the next it will be better.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wednesdays in the Tower

Wednesdays in the Tower
by Jessica Day George
240 page

Princess Celie is still mapping out her beloved Castle Glower, but strange things are happening.  The holiday feast room has returned, even though it's the wrong time of year.  New rooms are appearing almost faster than Celie can map.  The most intriguing addition is a tower beyond her classroom.  At the top of this mysterious tower is an egg.  A bright orange, big as a pumpkin egg.

As Celie cares for the egg, she wonders what it could be.  It is way to large to be anything she knows about, but it could be a roc, or a dragon, or even something else.  When it finally hatches, a small, pitiful looking griffin tumbles out, starving and immediately latching onto Celie as its caretaker.

Celie quickly feels overwhelmed by this new responsibility, so she asks Castle Glower for help.  In addition to adding another tower just off her bedroom, it starts providing food and toys for Rufus the baby griffin.  Charmed by him, Celie keeps him a secret.  But when she finally wants to tell people, the Castle itself stops her!  It slams doors, and even closes off areas to keep her from telling.  Only a coupe people know, and they help her raise Rufus.

With all the mysterious actions of the Castle, Celie's family has asked for help from the Wizard College.  But when an unexpected wizard shows up, and takes a lot of interest in Celie's study of griffins, she gets very suspicious of him.  Does he have anything to do with the Castle's strange actions?  And why should a griffin appear now, hundreds of years after the last known griffins lived?  And how can Celie keep Rufus a secret for much longer?

This was a great sequel to the first book.  But warning!  Such a cliff hanger!  I like that the setting from the first has been fleshed out a little more, and some questions from the first are beginning to be explained.  While the first stood by itself just fine, this addition enhances it and makes the world even more interesting.  I can't wait for the next one!

So, definitely a book and series to recommend.  I can see a lot of little girls really enjoying this one.  Celie is so likable, and stays true to being a kid, without seeming childish most of the time.  Her relationship with her family is realistic, and her reactions at times definitely what a kid would do.  Strong female character without her being a tomboy or overly feminine or being super romantic.

Overall, fun book!  I really had a hard time putting it down.  I finished last night and stayed up a little too late finishing!  Great book!  Good characters, intriguing plot lines, and lots to come in the next one (whenever it finally comes).  I eagerly await the sequel!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Reading Lists!

Summer is upon us! Schools are getting out, kids running a muck, and it's time for a summer reading list!  

This year's theme for the kid's summer reading programs, if your library is part of the nation wide theme, is "Dig into Reading."  For teens, the theme is "Beneath the Surface." No matter if they are delving into the depths of the earth, or diving under the waves of the ocean, here is a list of books that that can have kids digging into something under the surface.  Things might not be quite as they seem, so dig into a good book!


Gregor the Overlander
Suzanne Collins

Over Sea, Under Stone
Susan Cooper

City of Ember
Jeanne DuPrau

Revenge of the Witch
Joseph Delaney

Dark Life
Kat Falls

The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman

James Gurney

Brian Jacques

Tail of Emily Windsnap
Liz Kessler

Amulet. Book 1: The Stonekeeper
Kazu Kibuishi

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J. K. Rowling

Louis Sachar

Doug TenNapel


Ann Aguirre

Of Poseidon
Anna Banks

Meg Cabot

Forgive My Fins
Tera Lynn Childs

Julie Cross

Maze Runner
James Dashner

Heather Dixon

Catherine Fisher

A Spy in the House
Y.S. Lee

Forbidden Sea
Sheila A. Nielson

Garth Nix

Alanna: The First Adventure
Tamora Pierce

Veronica Roth

The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Golden Twine

Cat's Cradle Book 1: The Golden Twine
Jo Rioux
112 pages

The orphan Suri lives with a group of travelling caravans, hiding from the leader of the camp.  The rest of the group tolerate her, hide her from the leader, but wish that she would get a real job, not just pretend to be a monster tamer.  While she learned almost everything there is to know about monsters from a book, sometimes she can be a little blind to what is right in front of her eyes.

But when a mysterious caravan joins their troop, the monstrous thing hiding inside of it gets Suri's attention.  Not to mention rumors of caitsith, cat-like creatures that can only be distinguished by their tails.  Has Suri gotten in over her head?  Or will the medallion she made with a dragon's tooth and some pretty string she found really help her to overcome obstacles?

This was a really fun book!  I found myself smiling and giggling while reading it- not because of outright humor, but more because of little things.  Great story- lots of fun!

I really liked the characters.  Instead of being flat and static, they have depth and history.  You learn about about Suri's history, her dreams and quirks.  Even the other characters have fun quirks and habits.  They aren't just stock characters.  While this is just the beginning of a series, I can see lots of potential for future interactions between various groups of characters, such as the circus people versus the prince versus the caitsith.  Lots more stuff that can happen in future books!

The Golden Twine also had a really nice balance of artwork and story line.  The illustrations used color in a slightly different way: lots of children's graphic novels tend to be either monochromatic (just one color) or super bright and cartoon-like.  While this has more muted colors, there is still lots of color to be found in the book, and is used in very significant ways.  Great illustrations, they add a lot to the story, much like the Amulet books.

Overall, I really had fun with this book!  Lots of variety in characters, potential for some great story lines, and a great balance of art to story.  Definitely one I will recommend to kids!