Waiting On Wednesday (October 2)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

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This week, I’m waiting on Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne, which has an expected publication date of May 2014.

Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London.

Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones.

Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son—a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack.

Jack’s wonder at the magic and steam-powered marvels in Londinium lasts until he learns he is the pawn in a very dangerous game. The consequences are deadly, and his only hope of escape, of returning home, lies with a legendary clockwork bird.

The Gearwing grants wishes. Or it did, before it was broken. Before it was killed.

But some things don’t stay dead forever.

Clockwork birds that grant wishes, steampunk London, and that gorgeous cover make me want to read this book as soon as possible! Why must 2014 be so far away?!

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Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below.
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Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes
A Monster Calls
is an unflinchingly honest story. It talks about our darkest, innermost secrets and how we leave certain things unsaid because we’re afraid that speaking them aloud will make them real. It speaks of guilt, responsibility, grief, and loss. Most importantly, it speaks about love, and just how difficult it is to let go.

As many reviewers have mentioned, you really must read the paper copy of this book so that you don’t miss out on the beautiful, dark, and sometimes haunting illustrations that accompany this story. They were done by the incredibly talented Jim Kay, and some samples can be found on his website.

Coner is a character that everyone can relate to, whether they’ve been in the same situation as him or not. He feels invisible, misunderstood, angry, and confused. His complete belief and hope in his mother’s recovery was both inspiring and heartbreaking, and there were many times where I just wanted to reach into the book and hug him.

I just loved the monster. To me, he was the embodiment of truth: paradoxical in all ways, and not always the easiest to face. As the yew tree, the monster was both capable of healing (through the treatment) and harming (through the poisonous berries) an individual. It was able to show Coner difficult and confusing truths about the world itself: that good and evil aren’t as clear-cut as we’d like to imagine; that sometimes being seen is worse than being invisible; that stories are incredibly important; that sometimes it’s easier to lie to ourselves than to face the truth. Most importantly, though, the monster showed Coner the truth that he had been hiding from himself, and how his thoughts are just that: thoughts.

You do not write your life with words, the monster said. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.

A Monster Calls is something that everyone should read, whether they’ve experienced loss or not. We cannot all have a monster calling our name to teach us important truths, which is why this story is so important: it’s beautiful, powerful, heart-wrenching, and healing. It reminds us to treasure every moment, to love fiercely, and to forgive both ourselves and those around us.  It’s a story that touched me personally, and will resonate with me for quite some time.

ARC Review: The Tale of Mally Biddle by M.L. LeGette

2When Mally Biddle agreed to spy upon the King of Lenzar and his overbearing knights she knew she was heading into danger. She didn’t know she’d find a family unlike any other.

Posing as a servant in Bosc Castle, Mally serves tea and restocks the fires for the most dangerous men in the kingdom. Her goal is to learn the truth of what happened sixteen years ago, when the infant princess met her death … a death that has more questions than answers.

Along her search for the truth, Mally meets the energized Lita Stump, the strict and matriarchal Meriyal Boyd, and the opinionated Archibald Diggleby. Then of course there are the knights: Sir Leon Gibbs who is slicker than a greased hog, Adrian Bayard, hot tempered and violent, and the worst of the lot: Sir Illius Molick, Captain of the Knights. And then there is Maud, a mysterious woman who just might know everything…

My Rating:  3 cupcakes

The Tale of Mally Biddle reminded me a lot of a Disney movie. It was very innocent – it was never too “scary,” the romance was barely present, and familial relationships were strongly focused on – and would appeal more to a middle grade audience.

Mally was an admirable character: spunky, kind-hearted, and fiercely loyal to both her friends and her kingdom. Her loyalty caused her to make some rather impulsive decisions at times, but that just made the adventures that much more fun to read about. And she has such a fun name!

Aside from one major mystery, there isn’t too much suspense or action. I had correctly guessed the plot twist as soon when I read the synopsis, but it was still nice to see how it came about.

Overall, The Tale of Mally Biddle is a cute, light read for younger teens.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.