A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray

The words you guys. The words. Yes, I know, you are thinking. “Uh, excuse me Jessie, books are literally made of words.” But these words describe places in such lyrical ways they roll around in my head painting vivid pictures. I was only on page two…  “Beside me, buildings cringe with moss. Walkways glisten with dirty puddles. Teetering balconies slouch from walls with garments strung between casements like cobwebs.” …and there I was, in love.

I’d like to think it’s more than personal preference that makes this setting of such a vivid scene so important. Thrown into a whirlwind of a fantasy world where the heroine is being marched away in chains by the end of the first chapter you’ve got to be able to get your bearings quickly.  And the beautiful descriptions make sure you do.


I hit the unveiling of the big plot point and found myself in an unexpected conundrum of not knowing whether to complain to the book (sometimes I talk to my books) that “Your characters “big news” is the same thing everyone says and does” or yelling “OH MY… You did what now?!?” which brought me right up to the end where I still was in a conundrum because I couldn’t decide if I was so mad the book ended because I just really wanted to know what happened next or that a reader should seriously and legitimately not be left hanging at such a point.

Would I recommend it? Fellow YA Fantasy readers I suggest you give this one a read and then call me so we can talk about that ending!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

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An Empty Vessel by Vaughan Mason, Written by JJ Marsh

Warning: This is not a happy story.

I’m sure you’ll figure that out as quickly as I did when you read the first page and see that Nancy the main character is sentenced to be “hanged by the neck until you are dead.” However as this fairly short novel backtracks into the lives of the condemned woman and those around her, it paints a rich scene with well developed characters making it a worthy read despite its macabre topic.

Would I recommend it? Yes. The book explores topics ranging from war time jobs for women during WWII, abuse, women’s roles in the home afterward, family obligations, innocent until proven guilty, the death sentence and the advantage that being “pretty” gives you in life all without lecturing on any of them. I think it would make an excellent book club choice!

 

But what’s with that book title Jessie?

So glad you asked! JJ Marsh has taken a fictional character out of her Beatrice Stubbs Series and written his book! How cool is that?!? You can find more info about this on her website: http://www.beatrice-stubbs.com/relaunch/2019/03/10/an-empty-vessel/

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

 

The Doll Maker by Celine Jeanjean

Sometimes stepping back into a fictional world is like coming home or snuggling under a cozy blanket. Reentering the world of Damsport with Longinus and Rory is more like slipping on your favorite summer dress. But then, as you pull on the comfortable fabric, ready for a sunny day of adventure, you absently slide your hands down your side and discover that your favorite dress, the one you’ve worn again and again, has pockets that you had never even noticed before!

Would I recommend it? Yes! In case the pockets in dresses reference wasn’t for you, let me be plain. I have always enjoyed this series but as it goes on and the characters continue to grow, I fall more in love with the world, the characters and Jeanjean’s writing. Start with The Bloodless Assassin and enjoy the ride!

Make Believe

In the world of make believe anything goes, right?

Except, maybe it doesn’t.

Even in make believe we, or perhaps just I, am only willing to suspend so much reality. Of course you can have magic, but it must have rules. Yes, butterflies can fly in snow, but they better still have six legs because they are still insects. And, as per a recent conversation on the book we are working on now, yes, you can have a snowman ride in a bike basket driven by a bee through the autumn woods without him melting… but that bee better be able to reach the pedals. Otherwise it’s just ridiculous.

Tooks (my illustrator), thinks perhaps I’m crazy (in a laughing, loving way.) She’s probably right – but I still think that there is a line to walk. If you are going to create a world with magic, it should have rules and magical realism needs to preserve a sense of “realism” or it devolves into utter nonsensical silliness. On the flip side you have to have some goofy silliness to make the magic work. Like I said, walking the line, though I’m willing to concede that my “line” is crooked and random as we create another book of “what if’s” and magic and we decide what is fun and what doesn’t make sense!

P.S. Visit booksforthebees.com and sign up for our newsletter for very occasional updates on our progress including tomorrow’s newsletter that will contain our whole ridiculous biking bee with a snowman conversation!

Tom Wasp and the Seven Deadly Sins by Amy Myers

A Victorian London murder mystery being solved by a chimney sweep?

You have my attention!And once my attention was captured, this book kept it!

The characters were rich enough that I thought in the back of my mind that this must not be the first of the Tom Wasp books (Great news, it isn’t!) but wholly contained enough that I didn’t feel I was missing anything. The chimney sweep lifestyle and idioms were so well done I went out and found another book on chimney sweeps just so I could learn more. And the mystery was different enough to keep me flipping pages past bedtime.

Would I recommend it? A page turner that sent me to the library looking for more on the subject? Oh, and did I mention that it made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion? Really, what’s not to love?

Just in case it was unclear the answer to all those questions is, “Yes, get the book!” (Though perhaps you should start with the first one, it wasn’t necessary but it is definitely now on my “to read” list!)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Harry Potter with Sprinkles on Top

Clara hid under her blanket, then she popped back out, jumped up, walked around and climbed up to lay across back of the couch behind me. We were in the last two chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and she was a nervous wreck. She gasped and she giggled and she stopped me with frantic questions about what was going to happen next that I refused to answer. When we reached the final page she laughed and laughed, then asked if we could start book two tomorrow.

Reading a great book for the first time is magical.

Re-reading a wonderful book is like visiting an old friend.

 

And re-reading a book with a child is like combining the two but with sprinkles and a cherry on top.

When I was about Clara’s age I visited one of my aunts, all by myself, and she read me Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl.

It was the best thing ever.

I was old enough to have read it on my own but she read the whole thing out loud, her own love of the book shining through the reading. Of all the things we did together and of all the books I read as a kid that memory and that book have always remained a favorite.

If you don’t have a kid of the proper age borrow one. Read them one of your favorite books. Take a decadent amount of time to do so and give yourselves an experience with sprinkles and a cherry on top.

A Learned Woman

I have a four year degree, in theory it was awarded for my studies in biology.

It’s actuality I think it’s a degree in procrastination and late night cramming.

It worked then and it’s a skill I haven’t forgotten.

 

The current state of my table. Piling everything in one place counts as organization and preparation right?

This weekend I’m doing my first library program and with just one more night of cramming I should be prepared.

All I need is a beer and a package of ramen and I’ll feel 22 again.