Showing posts sorted by relevance for query beswitched. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query beswitched. Sort by date Show all posts


Beswitched, by Kate Saunders

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders (Marion Lloyd Books, 2010, middle grade, 288 pages), is a Must Read for anyone who, like me, loves British boarding school stories and time travel, in as much as it combines the two in an utterly delightful fashion.

Young Flora, a modern English girl, is determined to be unhappy at the boarding school to which she's being sent while her parents are abroad. But when she falls asleep on the train, and finds that she's off to boarding school in 1935 (!!!!) her horror is even greater. Her three new room-mates brought her back into the past through an experiment with magic, and now she stuck in a world of nasty baths, worse food, and an educational regime far removed from the relaxed, student-directed learning she'd been promised at her new school.

But Flora manages, with the help of her new friends, to become an Asset to the School, and to save someone's life from going badly wrong....

So much fun! It is just enjoyable as all get out to see a 1935 boarding school through modern eyes, especially since Kate Saunders did such a brilliant job bringing it to life! Lots of description, lots of fully three-dimensional characters, and some nasty Latin verbs...with the threat of WW II adding a darker note (faintly, but it's there). Not a book in which Lots Happens, being more character driven, although I did appreciate the classical boarding school trope of the School Girl in Peril making its appearance!*

Flora's struggles with an alien time and its alien culture are convincing, making this my favorite sort of time travel story--one in which the time travel is the main plot element, but one in which it's the effects of the time travel on the main character and those around her that are the central point.

In short, I thought it was great!

Beswitched has been out in the UK for a while, and is coming to the US this December from Delacorte.

*Viz school girls in peril-- I actually won a prize for a haiku on this theme (10 pounds!!!), which I shall share with you now:

Hanging from the cliff,
I wonder when a school girl
Will come rescue me.


This week's round-up of middle grade sci fi/fantasy from around the blogs (Nov. 18, 2012)

Welcome to another week of what I found in my blog reading of interest to fans of mg sff!  Please let me know if I missed your post.

The Reviews:

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at Book Nut

The Boneshaker, by Kate Coombs, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile

The Brightworking, by Paul B. Thompson, at Semicolon

The Coming of the Dragon, by Rebecca Barnhouse, at Chachic's Book Nook

Constable and Toop, by Gareth P. Jones, at The Book Zone

The Cup and the Crown, by Diane Stanley, at Book Nut 

Darkbeast, by Morgan Keyes, at Semicolon

The Drowned Vault, by N.D. Wilson, at Book Nut 

Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones, by Christopher Krovatin, at Geo Librarian

Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green, by Helen Phillips, at My Precious

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy, at Jean Little Library

Horten's Incredible Illusions, by Lissa Evans, at Challenging the Bookworm

Ivy's Ever After, by Dawn Lairamore, at 300 Pages

Liesl and Po, by Lauren Oliver, at A Library Mama

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, at Tales of the Marvelous

Malcolm at Midnight, by W.H. Beck, at Page in Training

Margaret and the Moth Tree, by Brit Trogen and Kari Trogen, at Book Nut 

Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant, by Mark Jeffrey, at Time Travel Times Two 

Ordinary Magic, by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, at Leaf's Reviews

The Ordinary Princess, by M.M. Kaye, at The Book Smugglers

Princess of the Silver Woods, by Jessica Day George, at Karissa's Reading Review (labeled YA, but I've always thought George's princess books were perfect for upper mg)

Sammy Feral's Diaries of Weird, by Eleanor Hawkin, at Nayu's Reading Corner

The Seven Tales of Trinket, by Shelley Moore Thomas, at Semicolon

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, by Nikki Loftin, at Charlotte's Library

The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver, at Challenging the Bookworm and Lily's Book Blog

Tilly's Moonlight Garden, by Julia Green, at Sharon the Librarian

Whatever After: Fairest of All, by Sarah Mlynowski, at Semicolon

The Whispering House, by Rebecca Wade, and A Greyhound of a Girl, by Roddy Doyle, at Semicolon

Authors and Interviews

Helen Phillips (Here Where the Sunbeams are Green) at From the Mixed Up Files

A video clip of M.T. Anderson talking about  Wardrobes and Rabbit Holes: A Dark History of Children’s Literature can be seen at Fuse #8

Other Good Stuff

The books for 2013's World Book Night have been announced--representing mg sff are The Phantom Tollbooth and The Lightning Thief.

Hobbit tourism in New Zealand, at the Guardian

Goblin Secrets, by William Alexander, wins the National Book Award

U is for Unicorn, with Katherine Roberts, at Scribble City Central

And just because nothing says Thanksgiving like cute hedgehogs (?), here's a festive dessert idea from The Cupcake Blog:


Another week's worth of Middle Grade Speculative Fiction links, rounded-up for your reading pleasure!

Please let me know if by some horrible chance I failed to link to your post, or to the posts of your loved ones.

The Reviews

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at Semicolon

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, at Reading To Know

Down the Mysterly River, by Bill Willingham, at Fyrefly's Book Blog

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente, at Tales of the Marvelous 

Goblin Secrets, by William Alexander, at The Book Smugglers

Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins, at Quirky Bookworm

Grimm Tales, by Philip Pullman, at The Telegraph

The Hidden Gallery, by Maryrose Wood, at Confessions of a Bibliovore 

Island of Silence, by Lisa McMann, at Michelle Mason

The Maelstrom (The Tapestry Book 4), by Henry H. Neff, at The Write Path

Margaret and the Moth Tree, Kari and Brit Trogen, at Jean Little Library 

The Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan, at Guys Lit Wire

Monsters on the March (Scary School 2) by Derek the Ghost, at Good Books and Good Wine 

Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plot, by R.A. Spratt, at Semicolon

On the Day I Died, Candace Fleming,  Random Musings of a Bibliophile and Semicolon

The Savage Fortress, by Sarwat Chadda, at Charlotte's Library

Seeing Cinderella, by Jenny Lundquist, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile

Shadow of the Hawk, by Curtis Jobling, at In Bed With Books

The Sixty-eight Rooms, by Marianne Malone, at Wandering Librarians

The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver, at The Musings of ALMYBNENR and Charlotte's Library

Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz, at Sonderbooks

Tilly's Moonlight Garden, by Julia Green, at Books Beside My Bed 

Time Snatchers, by Richard Ungar, at Semicolon

The Time-Travelling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette, by Bianca Turetsky, at BooksYALove

Troll Hunters, by Michael Dahl, at The Book Monsters

User Unfriendly, by Vivian Vande Velde, at Books & Other Thoughts

Verdigris Deep (aka Well Witched in the US), by Frances Hardinge, at The Book Smugglers

What Came from the Stars, by Gary Schmidt, at Waking Brain Cells, and a chat review at Reads for Keeps

The Whispering House, by Rebecca Wade, at Charlotte's Library

Authors and Interviews

Cornelia Funke (Ghost Knight) at The Telegraph

Adam Gidwitz (In a Glass Grimmly) talks spooky fairy tales at Educating Alice 

Nikki Loftin (The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy) at Cynsations

Marissa Moss (Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris) at A Backwards Story

Jennifer Nielsen (The False Prince) at A Thousand Wrongs (giveaway)

Craig Everett (Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune) at A Thousand Wrongs (giveaway)

Other Good Stuff 

R is for Ravana at Scribble City Central, with Sarwat Chadda

How cool is it to use lego minifigures in your book trailer? Here's one at Cynsations for Chronal Engine that does just that, plus a giveway of the book.

A lovely list of time travel book series for kids at Time Travel Times Two

And a list of middle grade science fiction at Educating Alice, that inspired me to make my own page of reviews.

Portal Fantasies--agents diss. them, writers and readers react (conversation starts at Dangerous Jam, with lots of comments, and continues at Making Light)  My take: the portal fantasy is alive and well in middle grade fantasy).

Neil Gaiman explains All Hallows Read at Tor

To mark 200 years of the Brothers Grimm, Germany has established a fairy tale route--over 375 miles of German castles, forests, and medieval towns.  Here's a review from the Guardian.


Will a fantasy book win the Newbery? A look at the stars (literally)

The winner of the Newbery Award will be announced Monday--and I have been spending much thought on the chances of a fantasy book winning.

Obvious contenders that have been mentioned many times in many places are Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz,  Starry River of the Sky, by Grace Lin, and The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate.   Of these, Starry River is my favorite, and I'd be happy to see it win.

But what of the other fine fantasy books published this past year?

Elizabeth at Shelftalker posted her masterful list of all the books that got stars from the professional reviewers last year.   And I, in turn, have gone through and extracted the sci fi/fantasy titles.   Here they are, with my commentary in italics:


SIX STARS-- none.
The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver (Harper)

Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz. (Candlewick)

Starry River of the Sky. Grace Lin. (Little, Brown)

There's two of the three mentioned above; I'm surprised that The Spindlers got so many--I found it a perfectly fine book, but not at all outstanding.

Who Could That Be at This Hour? Lemony Snicket, illus. by Seth. (Little, Brown)

It would be fun to see this with a shiny sticker on it, but unless this year's committee was very quirky, I can't see it happening.


The Fire Chronicle (Books of Beginning #2). John Stephens. Knopf,

Greyhound of a Girl, A. Roddy Doyle. Abrams/Amulet

In a Glass Grimmly. Adam Gidwitz. Dutton

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire! Polly Horvath, illus. by
Sophie Blackall. Random/Schwartz & Wade

The One and Only Ivan,  Katherine Applegate, illus. by Patricia
Castelao. HarperCollins

The Seven Tales of Trinket, Shelley Moore Thomas, illus. by Dan
Craig. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

My own favorite of these is Greyhound of a Girl, but it's not eligible.   The Seven Tales of Trinket might be a dark horse in the race--I can imagine people agreeing to agree on it.  And there Ivan...which I didn't care for much myself, but those who love it seem to do so with a passion.   The people handing out stars this year seem to have appreciated humorous books--lots show up in the two star list too.


The Brixen Witch,  Stacy DeKeyser, illus. by John Nickle. S & S, McElderry

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again. Frank Cottrell Boyce, illus. by
Joe Berger. Candlewick

Cold Cereal. Adam Rex. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There,
Catherynne M. Valente, illus. by Ana Juan. Feiwel and Friends

Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, The. Christopher Healy, illus. by
Todd Harris. HarperCollins/Walden Pond

Last Dragonslayer, The. Jasper Fforde. Harcourt

Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan. R.A. Spratt, illus. by Dan Santat.
Little, Brown

Oh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built a Time Machine to Save History) (Or
At Least My History Grade). Mac Barnett, illus. by Dan Santat.

On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave. Candace Fleming.
Random/Schwartz & Wade

Remarkable. Lizzie K. Foley. Dial

Summer and Bird. Katherine Catmull. Dutton

What Came from the Stars. Gary D. Schmidt. Clarion

Lots more humor--and The Last Dragonslayer, which I love but which isn't eligible.   I could easily see The Girl Who....coming home with something.   


Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated. Gerald Morris, illus. by Aaron
Renier. Houghton Mifflin

Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent (The Father of Lies Chronicles).
Alan Early. Mercier Press

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind. Gary Ross; illus. by Matthew
Myers. Candlewick

Castle of Shadows. Ellen Renner, illus. by Wilson Swain. Houghton
Mifflin Harcourt

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Claire LeGrand, illus. by
Sarah Watts. Simon & Schuster

Deadly Pink. Vivian Vande Velde. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Deadweather and Sunrise. Geoff Rodkey. Putnam

Dragonborn. Toby Forward. Bloomsbury

Earwig and the Witch. Diana Wynne Jones, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky.

The Empty City,  Erin Hunter. HarperCollins

The False Prince, Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic Press

Five Nights to the Crimson Moon. Walter Renfrey. Walter Renfrey

Goblin Secrets. William Alexander. Margaret McElderry/S&S

Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange
Adventure. Lissa Evans. Sterling

Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book III: The Unseen Guest. Maryrose Wood. HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray

The Lost King, by Ursula Jones. Inside Pocket Publishing

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy). Shannon Hale. Bloomsbury

The Peculiar, Stefan Bachmann. Greenwillow

The Secret Prophecy, Herbie Brennan. Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins,

Ship of Souls. Zetta Elliott. AmazonEncore

Time Snatchers. Richard Ungar. Putnam.

The Traveling Restaurant: Jasper’s Voyage in Three Parts. Barbara
Else. Gecko Press

The Vengekeep Prophecies, Brian Farrey, illus. by Brett Helquist.

There are quite a few here I haven't read, mostly the ones that came out after October and so weren't part of my Cybils reading.   Of those I read, the two I like best that are eligible (Earwig and Horten aren't) are The Peculiar and The False Prince.  But I can't quite see them winning anything.   Betsy Bird really liked The Vengekeep Prophecies--"this is a standalone first novel that fulfills its promises and yet leaves you wanting more. In other words, the best kind of fantasy there is."  I will try to read it by Monday, so I can, if moved to do so, predict that it will win...

All of the 2012 books that I helped shortlist for the Cybils are on here--Ivan, The Peculiar, The False Prince, The Last Dragonslayer (Beswitched is 2011)-except for two.  Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, by Mike Jung, didn't get a star, which I think is too bad.  I'm not saying I think it should get anything on Monday, but it should have gotten a star, so I'm glad we shortlisted it and showed it some love.  Likewise, The Cabinet of Earths is a really rich and tasty fantasy that should have been starred.  Much more interesting and better written (in my opinion) than some that did get stars....I could see this one with an honor, perhaps, maybe....

Conclusion:  My money is currently on Starry River to represent for mg sff.  What do you think?


This Week's round-up of mg sff, Feb 3, 2013

Welcome to this week's round-up of middle grade sci fi/fantasy; please let me know if I missed your link!

The Reviews

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins, by R.A. Spratt, at Sonderbooks

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile

Bone: Quest for the Spark, Book 3, by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith, at Guys Lit Wire

Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu, at The Book Smugglers 

The Crimson Shard, by Teresa Flavin, at Charlotte's Library

Dragon Seer's Gift, by Janet McNaughton, at That's Another Story

Elliot and the Goblin War, by Jennifer Nielsen, at Geo Librarian

The Fellowship for Alien Detection, by Kevin Emerson, at Maria's Melange

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, by Mike Jung, at Shannon Messenger, and in a continuing discussion between Maria's MelangeThe Brain Lair, and The Library Fanatic

Ghosts of the Titanic, by Julie Lawson, at Time Travel Times Two 

Jinx, by Sage Blackwood, at Sonderbooks 

Michael Vey : Rise of the Elgin, by  Richard Paul Evans, at A Thousand Wrongs

Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris, by Marissa Moss, at Semicolon

North of Nowhere, by Liz Kessler, at Fantastic Reads 

Small Medium at Large, by Joanne Levy, at Annie McMahon

The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver, at The Book Brownie

Starry River of the Sky, by Grace Lin, at Book-A-Day Almanac

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket, by John Boyne, at Ms. Yingling Reads

The Vengekeep Prophecies, by Brian Farrey, at Charlotte's Library

Authors, Illustrators, and Interviews

A chat with the illustrator and designer of The Year of Shadows at The Book Smugglers

Laurisa White Reyes (The Rock of Ivanore) at The Enchanted  Inkpot

Katherine Applegate shares her reaction to winning the Newbery at Publishers Weekly

Marissa Burt (Storybound) at Literary Rambles

Other Good Stuff:

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of American ( SFWA) has a new interest group of writers who write mg and YA.  Here's the first of a series of posts from this group--a survey of the writers' editors and agents, asking them how they define MG and YA.

I made a resolution this year to read one fantasy book for grown-ups every week.  My list of possible choice has just expanded--here's the Locus 2012 recommended reading list.   The only one I've heard of is Boneland, by Alan Garner, which has been in the house for months and which my husband says is brilliant....

The Brown Bookshelf is once again celebrating Black History Month with 28 Days Later--every day a different author or illustrator is featured.  And today's entry has just added another book to my tbr list--The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson.

A post in which I look for feminism in middle grade sci fi/fantasy


This week's round-up of middle grade sci fi/fantasy goodness (3/10/13)

Happy Spring Forward Day, if you can muster any enthusiasm for it, and welcome to this week's round-up of middle grade (ages 9-12 ish) fantasy and science fiction from around the blogs.  I have a nagging feeling that somewhere bloggers are blogging prolifically about mg sff and I'm not finding them, so do please let me know if a.  you have a post I missed  or b. you saw someone else's post that you think is worth sharing.

(I have been thinking for a while about creating a mgsff round-up icon; this is my first attempt.  I think the nose cone/tower roof needs to be more defined).

The Reviews:

The Battles of Ben Kingdom:  The Claws of Evil, by Andrew Beasley,  at Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at alibrarymama

The Cabinet of Earths, by Anne Nesbet, at Kristen Evey

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, by Charles de Lint, at Tor, Fantasy Literature, and BooksYALove

The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper, at Sonderbooks

Dark Lord: The Early Years, by Jamie Thomson, at Ms. Yingling Reads

The Dead Kid Detective Agency, by Evan Munday, at That's Another Story

Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg), by Geoff Rodkey, at GreenBeanTeenQueen and Akossiwa Ketoglo

Dragonsong, by Anne McCaffrey, at alibrarymama

Emily Knight I am..., by A. Bello, at Fantastic Reads 

The False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen, at Becky's Book Reviews

The Fellowship For Alien Detection, by Kevin Emerson, at Candace's Book Blog 

Freaks, by Keiran Larwood, at Charlotte's Library

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, by Mike Jung, at Finding Wonderland 

George's Secret Key to the Universe, by Stephen and Lucy Hawking, at Maria's Melange 

Icefall, by Matthew J. Kirby, at Mister K Reads

The Little Secret, by Kate Saunders, at Beyond Books

The Runaway King, by Jennifer Nielsen, at Ms.. Yingling Reads, Finding Wonderland, Book Nut, Small Review, Charlotte's Library, and In Bed With Books

A Tangle of Knots, by Lisa Graff, at The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia (giveaway)

Unlocking the Spell, by E.D. Baker, at Charlotte's Library

W.A.R.P.:  The Reluctant Assassin, by Eoin Colfer, at Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin, at Postcards From La-La Land 

and at Tales of the Marvelous, at look at the first three Oz books

Authors and Illustrators

Illustrator Erin McGuire on creating the cover art for Anne Ursu's new book (The Real Boy) at Nerdy Book Club

Frances Hardinge (A Face Like Glass) at Tor

Anna Staniewski (My Epic Fairy Tale Fail) at Literary Rambles 

Robin LaFevers (Nathaniel Flood--Beastologist series, Theodosia series)--
"The Play's The Thing," at Writer Unboxed

The Chronicles of Egg is on tour--here are the stops

Kit Grindstaff (The Flame in the Mist) at Corsets, Cutlesses, and Candlesticks

Other Things of Interest

Not middle grade, but of interest (especially for those of us looking to expand our age ranges, reading-wise)--the James Tiptree Jr. Award winners have been announced!

The SLJ's Battle of the Kids Book's is about to begin, with three mg sff contenders--Starry River of the Sky, Splendors and Glooms, and The One and Only Ivan.  Of these three, my favorite is Starry River....The Undead Poll (where readers can vote for a book that was eliminated early to rise from the dead and fight in the final round) closes tomorrow.


New releases of fantasy and science fiction for kids and teens--the first half of December, 2011 edition

Here are the new releases of science fiction and fantasy for kids and teenagers from the first half of December. There are a number of bloggers these days who feature the new YA releases, so those are just listed. My information, as ever, comes from Teens Read Too, and the blurbs are all from Amazon this time around.

Elementary/Middle Grade

LOYAL: GODDESS GIRLS by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams It's time for the annual Olympic Games, and the four goddessgirls are not happy--especially Artemis. Even though she's better at sports than most of the godboys, she can't compete because rules say the Games are boys-only. No fair!

Led by Artemis, Athena, Persphone and Aphrodite, the ladies of Mount Olympus hatch a plan to get Zeus to open up the games to everyone. Will they succeed--or end up watching from the sidelines again?

These classic myths from the Greek pantheon are given a modern twist that contemporary tweens can relate to, from dealing with bullies like Medusa to a first crush on an unlikely boy. Goddess Girls follows four goddesses-in-training - Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis - as they navigate the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most priviledged gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.

BATTLE FOR EARTH: JOHNNY MACKINTOSH by Keith Mansfield People in London are being taken away in unmarked police vans, never to be seen again. While trying to keep up with his school studies and ensuring his football team stays top of the league, it's Johnny's job to safeguard planet Earth. Suspicious of the strange occurrences, Johnny investigates to find that alien enemies are feeding humans to their Queen on a nearby planet. He then discovers a more terrifying secret: the aliens are planning a devastating invasion of Earth. The battle for Earth will take all of Johnny's and his friends' strength and resolve. Can they win, and if they do, what price will they pay to save the world?

THE BATTLE OF RIPTIDE: A SHARK WARS NOVEL by EJ Altbacker Ever since Gray, Barkley, and their friends defeated Goblin, an infamous great white, at Tuna Run, life in the Big Blue has become murkier than ever for this young shiver of sharks. Food is scarce. Enemies lurk in every shadow. And Gray still doesn't know what has become of his family - of his mother, Sandy, and the rest of his Coral Reef shiver. Everywhere they swim, currents seem to whisper of a growing threat . . . of a shark who will stop at nothing until he has seized control of the entire ocean.

Now Gray must train with Takiza Jaelynn Betta vam Delacrest Waveland ka Boom Boom, a wise and mysterious fighting fish who has promised to teach his young apprentice the ways of the ocean and the secret of what it means to be a great warrior. That is, if Gray can learn to believe in himself, find the courage to trust his heart, and grow big enough to fight back!

BEFORE CARD-JITSU - THE NINJA QUEST: CLUB PENGUIN by Tracey West In a time when ninjas were still a myth on Club Penguin, Sensei chose the top penguins to go on a journey with him through the mountains. You have the power to discover the Dojo. This 80-page book features Sensei, one of the most popular characters on Club Penguin, and how he developed the ninja experience.

BESWITCHED by Kate Saunders A magic spell has spun Flora into the past. She's mysteriously swapped lives with a schoolgirl in 1935! No iPod? No cell phone? No hair products? How will she survive?
Now Flora's a new girl at St. Winifred's, where she has to speak French at breakfast, wear hideous baggy bloomers, and sleep in a freezing dormitory.
But lots of adventures in the past are amazing even if they are not forever. How will she find her way back to the 21st century?

THE FUTURE DOOR: NO PLACE LIKE HOLMES by Jason Lethcoe A mystery is afoot at 221 Baker Street, but will Griffin Sharpe be able to figure out the clues before the future catches up with the past?

When Sherlock Holmes moves out of Baker Street, a new tenant moves in-a mysterious woman named Elizabeth who has long been a fan of Holmes. When she discovers that Griffin and his uncle are also detectives, she becomes very friendly. So when Elizabeth goes missing along with a special invention, Griffin sets out to rescue her. But finding Elizabeth will take them on a race against the clock that bends time itself!

A KING'S RANSOM: THE 39 CLUES, CAHILLS VS. VESPERS by Jude Watson Amy and Dan are in a race for their lives . . . and the enemy may be even closer than they think.

When seven members of their family were kidnapped by a sinister organization known as the Vespers, thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, vowed they'd stop at nothing to bring the hostages home. But then the ransom comes in and the Vespers demand the impossible. Amy and Dan have just days to track down and steal an ancient map. The only catch? No one has seen the map for half a century.

Now Amy and Dan are on a desperate search that will lead them to the Nazis, spies, a mad king and some of history's dirtiest secrets. It's the race of their lives . . . and one misstep will mean certain death for the hostages.

PRIZE PROBLEMS: THE PONY WHISPERER by Janet Rising Being able to talk to ponies isn't all that it's cracked up to be!

Pia never thought anyone actually one magazine contests. So when her friend Beans wins a riding vacation for two, she's totally excited to go with her. A whole wonderful week riding new ponies and making fabulous new friends. But when things start to go missing around the ranch, Pia turns to the ponies to see what they have to say-and is shocked at what she hears!

Can Pia and her new pony pals solve the mystery before their vacation gallops to an end?

STORM WARNING: DOG WHISPERER by Nicholas Edwards Emily and her dog, Zack, have a special bond. But it’s more than that—they can read each other’s minds. Even more surprising, Zack knows when people are in trouble. Now, Emily and Zack are able to use their powers to save lives, though Emily is endangering hers in the process and making her parents worry. When a hurricane warning is issued, everyone in town starts preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best. What are the odds of a hurricane actually hitting a small town in Maine? Emily and Zack can’t see into the future, so they don’t know what’s going to happen, but if the hurricane does come and the worst does happen, are a girl and her dog enough to save a town from the destructive power of Mother Nature?

Young Adult

THE FIRE: WITCH & WIZARD by James Patterson & Jill Dembowski
ILLUMINATED by Erica Orloff
MELODY BURNING by Whitley Strieber
SISTERS OF ISIS VOL. 1 by Lynne Ewing
THE WATCH KEEPER by Reese Haller


This week's middle grade fantasy and science fiction round-up!

Hi. If by any chance you are new to my weekly round-ups of middle grade sci fi and fantasy, here's how it works--I read blogs all week and bookmark posts about mg sff, which I then share on Sundays! I miss lots of posts, and even ones I actually read and planned to include sometimes get lost in the shuffle (sadness), so let me know if I missed yours!

The Reviews:

Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magic Power, by David Pogue, at One Librarian's Book Reviews

Benjamin Franklinstein Lives! by Matthew McElligott and Larry Tuxbury, at Maltby Reads

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at Charlotte's Library

The Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout, at Wands and Worlds

Down the Mysterly River, by Bill Willingham, at The Speculative Scotsman and at Good Books and Good Wine

The Girl Who Cirumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne Valente, at Eva's Book Addiction

Ghost Messages, by Jacqueline Guest, at Geo Librarian

Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld, at Wandering Librarians

The Jewel of the Kalderash, by Marie Rutkoski, at Beyond Books

The Light Princess, by George MacDonald, at Becky's Book Reviews

The Mostly True Story of Jack, by Kelly Barnhill, at Geo Librarian

Sidekicks, by Dan Santat, at books4yourkids

The Six Crowns series, by Allan Jones, at Literate Lives (I was wondering about this series--I think I'll have to try it on my own eight year old)

Skellig, by David Almond, at Anita Silvey's Book a Day Almanac

The Tale of Emily Windsnap, by Liz Kessler, at My Favorite Books

The TimeRiders series, by Alex Scarrow, at My Favorite Books

The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann, at The Reading Fever

Well Wished, by Franny Billingsley, at Charlotte's Library

Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, at One Page at a Time and Rachel's Reading Timbits

The Wizard of Dark Street, by Shawn Thomas Odyssey, at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

I have a tendency to forget to include the reviews over at only shows up in my google reader after the month is over. But playing catch up a bit, here are a few of their reviews from the past few weeks:

The Empire of Gut and Bone, by M.T. Anderson, here

Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck, by Dale E. Basye, here

Noah Barleywater Runs Away, by John Boyne, here

The Resisters, by Eric Nylund, here

and finally, Anne at Black and White overs Part II of a compilation of field guides to fantastical creatures

Authors and Interviews:

Arthur Slade (The Hunchback Assignments series) at The Enchanted Inkpot

Jonathan Auxier (Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes) at Literary Asylum

Shawn Thomas Odyssey (The Wizard of Dark Street) at YA Bound and Mel's Books and Info

Other Good Stuff:

Old, but still very good news--The Queen's Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner, won the Mythopoeic Award for children's literature.

Just for kicks, here's the list of all the past winners in that category--how many have you read? I have read 10...
  • 1992 Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
  • 1993 Knight’s Wyrd by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald
  • 1994 The Kingdom of Kevin Malone by Suzy McKee Charnas
  • 1995 Owl in Love by Patrice Kindl
  • 1996 The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones
  • 1997 (Combined with Adult Literature)--The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
  • 1998 Young Merlin trilogy by Jane Yolen
  • 1999 Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
  • 2000 The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley
  • 2001 Aria of the Sea by Dia Calhoun
  • 2002 The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
  • 2003 Summerland by Michael Chabon
  • 2004 The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
  • 2005 A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
  • 2006 The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
  • 2007 Corbenic by Catherine Fisher
  • 2008 The Harry Potter series b J.K. Rowling
  • 2009 Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • 2010 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
And finally, Doret (aka TheHappyNappyBookseller) has a post of great and mournful relevance: How to Work/How to Shop at a Liquidated Borders


My favorite books of 2012, and the Cybils shortlists

I waited until today to share my favorite books of 2012, partly because I was reading right up to the wire, and partly so as not to inadvertently give away anything about the Cybils shortlist for mg sff.  Now the shortlists are up!

Here's what we shortlisted (and boy, was it a stuggle to limit it to seven out of the grand total of 151 books nominated!)

Beswitched by Kate Saunders
Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung
The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

I have no idea which is going to win, and I don't envy the second round panelists their job!  For the full blurbs of our shortlist, and all the other fine shortlists, head over to the Cybils site!

On to my own favorite books.

For the first time in my life, I tried to keep track of the number of books I read in a whole year, using Goodreads.  I finished at least 312 books (not including picture books or graphic novels), which is about what I expected, given all the other distractions in my life.  In the process of recording, I did, however, surprise myself by realizing for the first time how many books I start but don't finish (I didn't keep exact track, but it was easily 100).   Of all the books I read, only nine were re-reads (thanks to the influx of books to review, and to the Cybils, and to so many recommendations from other bloggers!)  Although it's fun reading new books, this makes me a bit sad, because being a re-reader is part of my self-image.  Rather than consuming books and moving on, like a brush fire, I want to surround myself with books I love, and keep them for future warmth.

So these are my favorites of the books that I read in 2012 that I have kept to read again (not counting the already re-read).  Which is a very personal thing, so this list isn't at all the same as a list of books that I'd argue were the "best," or the books I'd recommend most heartily. 

The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde.  Utterly satisfying magical fun.

Tilly's Moonlight Garden, by Julia Green. Best doll house furniture of the decade. Good fox too. Other things as well.

The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater.   I will want to read this again just before reading the next one!

Summer of the Mariposas, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.  Sisters!  Plus new to me mythology and and a setting and context that was utterly fascinating.

House of Shadows, by Rachel Neumeier.   I think I will enjoy it even more on re-reading, because of soothingly knowing what's going to happen!

Caterpillar Hall, by Anne Barrett.   A beautiful comfort read that I should have read in my childhood so that I could already have had the pleasure of re-reading it many times.

The False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen.   I love Sage, and can't wait for the sequel.

The Sherwood Ring, by Elizabeth Marie Pope.   I put this one off for years, because of not really liking the 18th century.  Silly me!

(just for my own record keeping, I reviewed 144ish books, not including picture books or easy graphic novels).


This Sunday's round-up of middle grade fantasy and science fiction from around the blogs (7/8/2012)

Welcome to another week's engatherment of what I found in my blog reading pertaining to middle grade (ages 9-12) science fiction and fantasy. I myself haven't read much this week, as I am in the throes of dining room remodeling, so much so that my little one, who has been known to say, "I guess you love books more than you love your own little child," said "You have been working too hard. You should sit down and read." Truer words were never spoken.

But in any even, other people have been reading and reviewing. Please let me know if I missed your post!

The Reviews

Above World, by Jenn Reese, at A Backwards Story

Astronaut Academy, by Dave Roman, at Guys Lit Wire

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at Readatouille

The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander, at Book Nut

The Boy Who Howled, by Timothy Powers, at Readatouille

Castle of Shadows, by Ellen Renner, at Cracking the Cover

Dragon Castle, by Joseph Bruchac, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile

Dragonbreath--Lair of the Bat Monster, and Revenge of the Horned Bunnies, by Ursula Vernon, at Ms. Yingling Reads

The False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen, at The O.W.L.

The Filth Licker, by Christy Burne, at BooksYALove

Goblin Secrets, by William Alexander, at The Book Monsters

The Groosham Grange series, by Anthony Horowitz, at The Write Path

Half Upon a Time, by James Riley, at The Book Cellar

Heirs of Prophecy, by Michael A. Rothman, at From Tots to Teens

Kat, Incorrigible, and its sequel, Renegade Magic, by Stephanie Burgis, at Jean Little Library

The Kindling, by Brandon Bell, at A Casual Read and Geo Librarian

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, by Chris Colfer, at Gossamer Obsessions

Liesl and Po, by Lauren Oliver, at The Dancing Reader

The Magic Tunnel, by Caroling D. Emerson, at Charlotte's Library

The Name of This Book is Secret, by Pseudonymous Bosch, at library_mama

Nation, by Terry Pratchett, at YA's the Word

The Princess and Curdie, by George MacDonald, at Becky's Book Reviews

Project Jackalope, by Emily Ecton, at books4yourkids

Scream Street: Flame of the Dragon, by Tommy Donbavand, at Wondrous Reads

The Serpent's Shadow, by Rick Riordan, at Beyond Books

Spellbound (The Books of Elsewhere), by Jacqueline West, at Book Nut

The Storm Makers, by Jennifer E. Smith, at Bookalicious

The Unseen Guest (Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place) by Maryrose Wood, at Book Nut

The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann, at Everyday Reading

Authors and Interviews

Timothy Powers (The Boy Who Howled) at Readatouille

Joanne Levy (Small Medium at Large) at The O.W.L.

Carolyn Turgeon (Next Full Moon) at Literary Rambles (plus giveaway)

Katie W. Stewart (The Dragon Box) at The Reading Cafe

Michael A. Rothman (Heirs of Prophecy) at It's Raining Books

Other Good Stuff

Hufflepuff pride--"Sorted This Way," from The Mary Sue

"G is for Grim" (as in Death Dog)--Susan Price (Ghost Drum) at Scribble City Central

The favorite fairy tale retellings of various bloggers, at Random Acts of Reading

I'm always on the lookout for new lists of multicultural sci fi/fantasy, and here's a nice one at This Blog Belongs to Emily Brown, and here's an article on why parents should read multicultural books to their kids (found via Waking Brian Cells)

Cold fantasy for a hot summer's day, at Charlotte's Library

A nice piece on Eva Ibbotson at The Telegraph (also found via Waking Brain Cells)

And finally, from NOAA: "No evidence for aquatic humanoids has ever been found."

Note: any commissions earned from anyone buying a book through the Book Depository link in my sidebar will be used to buy the condo next door, from which horribly loud rap music is currently issuing.


This week's middle grade science fiction and fantasy round-up (March 24, 2013)

Here's this week's worth of middle grade sci fi/fantasy fun!  Please let me know if I missed your post.

The Reviews

The Aviary, by Kathleen O'Dell, at The Hiding Spot

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at Time Travel Times Two

Bot Wars, by J.V. Kade, at Ms. Yingling Reads and Charlotte's Library

The Cypher (Guardians Inc.), by Julian Rosado, at Lady With Books

Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede, at The Hub 

Dragon Born, by Toby Forward, at Charlotte's Library

Dragon Run, by Patrick Matthews, at Ms. Yingling Reads

The False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen, at Writer of Wrongs

Frogged, by Vivian Vande Velde, at Candace's Book Blog (scroll down)

Garden Princess, by Kristin Kladrup, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile 

A Greyhound of a Girl, by Roddy Doyle, at Sonderbooks

Kat Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis, at Welcome to my Tweendom 

Keeper of the Lost Cities, by Shannon Messenger, at Annie McMahon

Larklight, by Philip Reeve, at The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia 

The Little Yokozuna, by Wayne Shorey, at Charlotte's Library

The Menagerie, by Tui T. Sutherland, at Book Haven

My Very UnFairy Tale Life, by Anna Staniszewski, at Sharon the Librarian

Odd and the Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman, at The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

The Prairie Thief, by Melissa Wiley, at Akossiwa Ketoglo

The Serpent's Shadow, by Rick Riordan, at One Librarian's Book Reviews

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, at Bibliophilic Monologues

A Tangle of Knots, by Lisa Graff, at Book Nut

The Water Castle, by Megan Frazer Blakemore, at A Fuse #8 Production 

Authors and Interviews

Jennifer Rush, aka J.V. Kade, (Bot Wars) at Sturdy for Common Things

The Chronicles of Egg blog tour reaches its final stops

Other Good Stuff

The Children's Book Week Finalists have been announced, and Tasha at Waking Brain Cells has a nice spread showing them all.   MG sff is represented by Stickman Odyssey, Book 2: The Wrath of Zozimos by Christopher Ford. (And that's it? YA is all speculative fiction).  Rick Riordan, however, is in the running for author of the year...

Thoughts on "Desiring Dragons," by the writers at Unsettling Wonder

Two Blog Events of interest--Fairy Tale Fortnight, hosted by The Book Rat and A Backwards Story, and Once Upon a Time VII, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.

I would love to know what became of the little girl who started embroidering this sampler showing the solar system way back in1811 (recently featured on the blog of the Museum of Childhood).  Clearly her mother was not unsympathetic to the girl's interest in science, and never forced her to finish it....


This Sunday's round-up of middle grade fantasy and science fiction from around the blogs (8/19/2012)

Here's what I learned this week: wall paper is not easier than plastering and painting. Unless your house is new. This is why I am late getting this up.

Here's what I found in my blog reading this week--please let me know if I missed your post or the posts of your loved ones!

The Reviews:

Beswitched, by Kate Saunders, at Fantastic Reads

The Brixen Witch, by Stacy DeKeyser, at Charlotte's Library

The Cabinet of Earths, by Anne Nesbet, at A Thousand Wrongs

Claws, by Mike and Rachel Grinti, at Charlotte's Library

Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, book 1), by Geoff Rodkey, at Mister K Reads

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire, book 1) by Tui T. Sutherland, at Charlotte's Library

Earwig and the Witch, by Diana Wynne Jones, at library_mama

Gods and Warriors, by Michelle Paiva, at The Book Smugglers

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy, at Sonderbooks

Invisible Fiends: The Beast, by Barry Hutchison, at Bart's Bookshelf

The Lost Conspiracy aka Gullstruck Island, by Frances Hardinge, at The Book Smugglers

Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile, Reading Everywhere, A Patchwork of Books, Ms. Yingling Reads (and probably lots of other blogs, but time is too short for me to look for them today....)

Project Jackalope, by Emily Ecton, at Charlotte's Library

The Second Spy (Chronicles of Elsewhere, 3), by Jacqueline West, at Beyond Books

A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz, at Confessions of a Bibliovore and Gina Carey

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brockett, by John Boyne, at So Many Books, So Little Time

The Wednesdays, by Julie Bourbeau, at My Precious

The Wishing Spell, by Chris Colfer, at Beyond Books

Authors and Interviews

Alan Garner at The Guardian (including his hilarious first attempt to end The Moon of Gomrath!)

Greg Leitich Smith (Chronal Engine) at From the Mixed-Up Files (giveaway)

Margaret Peterson Haddix at Cynsations (giveaway)

Other Good Things:

A plethora of Peter Pans, at Read in a Single Sitting

Juliet Marillier talks Beauty and the Beast, at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles

Because I love Zita the Space Girl, I'm passing on this Jolly Raffle link.

A fascinating interview with an Andre Norton Award Juror, at the Intergalactic Academy -- do read it!

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