Book Reviews, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Middle Grade, Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews: December 2020 – Part 1

Being continents away is exciting, but come with me next time! (13)
*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, Into the Wild (Warriors #1) by Erin Hunter, My Plain Jane (The Lady Janes #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton, and Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens


» The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked

» The House in the Cerlean Sea will definitely be appearing in my “top reads of 2020” list.  This was just what I needed to read during these crazy times.  This book is a gem in a bleak year that is 2020.

» I’ve ALWAYS been a sucker for books with quirky and eccentric characters.  Bonus points if it is a “found family” situation.  I adored this hodgepodge cast of characters so much.  Each of these characters were dynamic and felt very real.   I loved the individuality of each character and how they interacted with one another.  If you love books where the characters worm their way into your heart, The House in the Cerlean Sea checks that box.

» Linus’s character ARC in this story was everything.  I loved watching Linus grow from stoic and complicit in the beginning, to the strong individual we see at the end.  Linus is definitely one of those memorable characters that you’ll fondly look back on for years to come.

» Klune has a very witty and dry sense of humor, which I absolutely loved.  Lucy & Talia in particular made me laugh out loud on a few different occasions.

» Klune’s writing style gave me Fredrik Backman vibes, so if you enjoy Backman’s style I’d recommend you giving The House in the Cerlean Sea a chance.

› Recommended to ⇒ those that enjoy quirky and eccentric characters & found family stories

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ discrimination; child abuse (mentioned – not graphic)

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


» Into the Wild (Warriors #1) by Erin Hunter



5-Star Rating System

This series is one of my most circulated series at my library, so I felt it was time to pick one of these up to see what the fuss was all about.WhatILiked» If I am being honest, I took one look at the cover and the book description and couldn’t help but feel that this book was going to be a bit silly.  A clan of cat warriors?  Thankfully this is far from the truth!

»  Into the Wild has a lot of good things going for it – action, adventure, and political intrigue, making it exciting from start to finish.  I definitely see why so many tweens love this book – and series.  I also think it does a good job of appealing to both boys AND girls, which isn’t always easy to do with the target audience.

» I loved watching Firepaw grow and develop over the course of this book.  One thing I appreciated about Firepaw was that he succeeds and climbs the ranks by being clever, using his wits, and working hard.

» This is an excellent book to bridge the gap between middle grade & YA.  I’ll definitely be recommending this to my patrons that ask for books for their children that are advanced readers, but not yet ready for the content included in YA.

› Recommended to ⇒  kids that are advanced readers, but not ready for YA content

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Redwall by Brian Jacques


» My Plain Jane (The Lady Janes #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies, #2)


5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked

» As a YA retelling of Jane Eyre, My Fair Jane hit the nail on the head.  Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all times, and I really enjoyed how these authors spun this classic.  The authors did a wonderful job balancing the original story with the new elements.

» I always appreciate a good historical setting, especially for a YA audience since they are far and few between.  Bonus points when it is a historical fiction with some fantastical elements.

»  Like the first installment, I enjoyed how lighthearted and funny this book was.  If you need a fun read, I highly recommend this series.

WhatIDidntLike» My Plain Jane lost some of the magic of the first book in this series.  I can’t exactly place my finger on why exactly, but I feel like the characters were a bit bland in comparison to the characters in My Fair Jane.

»  I didn’t love the plot.  The ghost hunting aspects didn’t do it for me, which was a struggle since this was the main plot line.

› Recommended to ⇒ those that enjoy retellings; Jane Eyre fans

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee


» Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing


5-Star Rating System

I finally broke down and picked this book up.  I had been putting it off for years because of the hype.  While I did love this book, I’m not exactly sure it was YEARS on the best sellers list good, but it was very good.WhatILiked»  Delia Owens’ writing is absolutely stunning.  I listened to this book via audiobook, and I feel this is a wonderful way to take in this lushly written story.

» Kya, our main character, was such captivating character.  My heart ached for her throughout this story as she overcomes hardship after hardship.  I couldn’t help but root for her throughout the course of her story.

» The way Owens weaves this story together, the present day murder mystery alternating with Kya’s past, made for a very compelling story.   Typically in this type of format, I will be more engaged with one timeline over the other, but in this case, I was equally engaged in both timelines.

» The fact that the author has a background in science shines through in this narrative.  While the biology aspects of this story could have bogged the story down, this was not the case.  I found Kya’s passion for the Marsh & the animals to be one of my favorite aspects to the story.

» I felt very satisfied with the ending.  Was I surprised?  No, but the way that Owens chose to end things suited the story perfectly.

› Recommended to ⇒ historical fiction fans; underdog story fans

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ child abuse; child neglect; child abandonment

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah




Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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