The Crow of Connemara By: Stephen Leigh

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Age: 18+                                      Genre: Fantasy Fiction                                 Quality Read: Good

The Crow of Connemara by Stephen Leigh follows Colin Doyle, a young American who’s parents are both Irish. Colin studied Irish music in school, and now he wants to follow his dream and move to Ireland to have a go in Irish bands. When his father is desperately sick, Colin meets with his family and tells his plans to his sister, who supports his decision. After the death of his father, Colin flies to Ireland to follow his dream. He soon discovers the real reason why his grandfather left so many years ago and never returned, despite his love for his home country. Colin meets an enchanting young woman, Maeve, who the towns people try to avoid, but Colin is drawn to her and soon he is in much deeper than he ever imagined.

Stephen Leigh integrates modern setting and culture with the old, Irish mythology. He creates a new and exciting twist on old lore and makes the stories relevant today. There are some suggestive parts and language in the book. I do not recommend this for young children, and I highly suggest caution with teenagers as well. Overall, however, it was an exceptional book.

Purchase it here: The Crow of Connemara

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The False Prince By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

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Age: 10+                                           Genre: Fiction                                         Quality Read: Great

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen is the first installment in The Ascendence Trilogy. Sage, an orphan, finds himself subject to a nobleman along with three other boys, Latamer, Roden, and Tobias. All orphans… All expendable. With the neighboring country of Avenia threatening war, the regents of Carthya have to deal with a problem that has risen within the castle, and Bevin Conner, the nobleman who bought the orphan boys, has his own way of fixing things. The boys are taught in all the ways a royal might be. They receive great food, an education they could never have hoped for, and clothes finer than anything they have ever seen, but at what cost?

Jennifer Nielsen creates a stunning tale following these orphan boys, and by the end of the book the reader has to go back again, beating themselves up for all the hints that they missed the first time. All the details are woven through beautifully. And, despite the book being written in first person, the personality that arises through the use of this point of view is astounding.

Purchase it here: The False Prince

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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I typically try to stay away from reviewing Harry Potter books because I want to promote books that are less known, but I had to review this one.

Age: 8+                                                Genre: Fiction/Play                                Quality Read: Okay

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a post Harry Potter play written by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. Though Harry Potter was a wonderful series, this book/play fell short of expectations. The play follows Harry’s son Albus Severus as he goes to Hogwarts. Albus meets Scorpius Malfoy and Delphi. Throughout the play, Harry and Albus’s relationship is strained, which is not something that the Harry from the Harry Potter series would let happen. Albus and Scorpius have grand adventures through time, but the overall plot is weak and unrealistic (accounting for the fact that it follows teenage wizards.)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child seems to be written more as a fan-fiction than an actual canon story. This piece of literature does not do J.K. Rowling’s writing justice. Although a lot of characters come back from the original series, the personalities of many of the character’s are off.

Purchase it here: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

The Kingdom Keepers By Ridley Pearson

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Age: 7+                                               Genre: Fiction                                       Quality Read: Great

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson follows five teenagers who live in Orlando, Florida. They have been chosen to be the new hologram hosts for Disney World, a dream for any kid, but soon that dream becomes very real. These five teens, Finn, Maybeck, Charlene, Willa, and Philby, find themselves waking up as their hologram selves whenever they fall asleep. Much to their chagrin, they discover this is not an accident when they meet a Disney imagineer named Wayne.

The Kingdom Keepers is an exceptional series. It is primarily a children’s series, but both young and old alike can enjoy the thrilling adventures that happen. This is a seven book series, and each installment leaves readers wanting more. Each of the characters grow up in different ways and the development of these characters is pure genius.

Purchase the collection here: The Kingdom Keepers

Or Purchase the first book here: Disney After Dark

Who Moved My Cheese? By: Spencer Johnson

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Age: 8+                                 Genre:Fiction/self-help                                       Quality Read: Good

Who Moved My Cheese? is a self-help book written as fiction to demonstrate how people view change. There are four characters: Hem and Haw (the little people) and Sniff and Scurry (the mice). These four characters all live off of cheese that is found in a maze. They find a plethora of cheese, but soon it is all eaten up. Sniff and Scurry head off to find more cheese, but Hem and Haw are convinced that the cheese will find them. However, when Hem finally realizes that the cheese will not come, he heads off to find cheese. He finds small amounts, but nothing groundbreaking. Finally, he finds Sniff and Scurry amidst piles of cheese.

Spencer Johnson writes this fictional book to help people understand the importance of change in people’s lives. He also portrays how people must move with change or be left behind.

Purchase it here: Who Moved My Cheese?

The Dancing Master By: Julie Klassen

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Age: 14+                                 Genre: Historical Fiction                        Quality Read: Good

The Dancing Master follows Alec Valcourt when he moves his mother and sister from London for reasons unknown to the residences of Devonshire. Alec looks to start a dancing school in Devonshire, but this hope is squashed when he discovers that the town’s matriarch, Mrs. Midwinter, has forbidden dancing. Alec, however, resolves to find a way to bring back dancing to the community with the help of Julia Midwinter, the matriarch’s flirtatious daughter. Alec and Julia both discover faults from their pasts.

Julie Klassen takes her readers on a stunning adventure. Her characters have such deep secrets that keep her audiences turning pages until the last. There is some adult content suggested in this book. It is very well written, and it allows a taste into the past of England.

Purchase it here: The Dancing Master

Fablehaven By: Brandon Mull

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Age: 7+                                            Genre: Fantasy                                     Quality Read: Great

Fablehaven is a five book series that follows the story of two siblings, Kendra and Seth Sorenson. The series begins with Kendra and Seth staying with their grandparents over the summer while their parents go on a cruise. Kendra and Seth find that their stay with their strange grandparents becomes a lot weirder with the introduction of magical creatures. They encounter a monstrous cow named Viola, a gollum named Hugo, and many other creatures. Seth becomes friends and trading partners with a pair of satyrs, Newel and Doren, while Kendra becomes close with fairies in an unexpected way. The series continues following their story as they try to save these creatures from the Society of the Evening Star, which aims to open the demon prison Zzyzx.

Brandon Mull takes his readers on a crazy adventure throughout the Fablehaven series. Brandon Mull is one of my favorite authors because he is very descriptive and makes the characters come to life. His books can be read by children and adults alike. This is a series that I highly recommend.

Purchase it here: FableHaven

Or Purchase the First Book here: FableHaven