The Storm Runner

In full disclosure, I’m pretty psyched about the new Rick Riordan imprint series of world mythology for middle-grade readers.

This one not only has Mayan mythology (which I was searching for last year when we were studying them) but also homeschooling (due to bullying, which is actually which is a nice nod to normalizing the whole idea.)

I have a personal goal of reading more diverse books this year and this one is so well written I’d recommend it to adults too. It follows the “Rick Riordan” formula of a kid discovering that the myths of their heritage are indeed real. It’s both familiar and comfortable for kids who are into this genre. Plus, I bet most of the gods will be new to readers. Everyone has some knowledge of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and now thanks to Marvel Norse gods. This universe was new to me and was so fun to delve into.

I’d also add that Zane is so much fun to read about and he is definitely as likable as Percy Jackson. I’m looking forward to reading this aloud as a bedtime story and to hopefully a few sequels!

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from NetGalley without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

The Good Demon

The prose in this novel was so descriptive that I not only read it one sitting, but I felt as if I were transported into the book. This is a classic horror story with a twist. The writing is evocative of either Neil Gaiman or Stephen King. Kind of YA homage to both I suppose. 

A demon has lived inside Clare since childhood. Once it’s discovered a local preacher is called to get it out and the story begins with Clare just desperate to get her friend (the demon) back. For a long time, her demon was her only friend and had proved trustworthy and loyal. 

While reading, I had the same thoughts that you get watching a horror movie; I adore that anticipatory lump in my throat as you mentally prepare for a good jump scare. You know, how you start to suspect one thing and then something worse happens? That’s this book- delightfully creepy.

Probably an unconventional pairing, but reading this with Good Omens, and maybe some C.S. Lewis would make for some fun discussions about how quickly we humans can be tricked into almost anything by the supernatural or other humans.

Recommending this for older kids who like horror as a genre. There is alcohol, sex and obviously some scary spiritual imagery. Nothing gratuitous but possibly nightmare provoking. (if you love scary books this is a plus)

I just one-clicked the author’s previous book Goldeline, sight unseen. It’s MG so I’ll review it here too. I’m now a big fan,

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss+ without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas

September 18,  2018

York: The Shadow Cipher Book One

Remember how you could completely see yourself in the world of Hogwarts? That’s how it is in this book with a sci-fi version of New York City. I was only fifty pages in when I had that sinking feeling. The next book won’t be released for a year… I tried to read slowly in the same way that I try not to drink coffee too fast in the morning. In other words, it was over before I knew it.

A bit like a steampunk National Treasure this story is labeled middle grade, but anyone who loves a cipher will enjoy themselves. Tess and Theo are twins in the seventh grade. They are hilariously normal. Theo wears a shirt that says “Schrodinger’s cat is dead” on the front and then a zombie cat on the back with the line, “Schrodinger’s cat is ALIIIIIIVE.” There will be a movie version of this book and I will be buying that shirt. 

Anyway, here’s the gist things. Back to Tess and Theo Biederman and friend, Jaime Cruz, who live in a Morningstarr building in New York City. In this version of York, the famous Morningstarr twins started inventing and building a fantastical array of dwellings, transportation, and life-like machines in the late 18th century, and the present-day result is a steampunk-like mash-up of technological wonder.  Then, they vanished, leaving behind a trail of clues to inherit their secrets. Real estate magnate Darrell Slant is planning to evict all residents of their building unless they solve the cipher first. 

The best parts? The parents are alive, the kids have a sense of social justice, the city atmosphere, a mc with anxiety, and most of all its a smart book. The characters are smart and expect the readers to be as well. One million thumbs up.

York: The Shadow Cipher By Laura Ruby is available now (check out the deckle edge edition!)

Minecraft: The Island

I loved this first person written story of survival in the Minecraft universe.
It was everything I felt the first time I played Minecraft outside creative mode. We were early adopters of Minecraft and played the beta version in the long ago times when there were no guide books or internet cheats to tell you what you could and couldn’t eat. Max Brooks takes the reader inside Minecraft where you are right there with him as he discovers how to survive and that eating raw meat in the Minecraft universe is just as gross as in real life. 

In the narrative of the story, the author finds two books that help him on his way; I’m pretty sure that these are the books he referred to: Minecraft: Guide to Exploration and Minecraft: Guide to Redstone due out in October. That kind of product placement annoys me, but in this case made me want to get them as reference books for our next journey into the wilds of Minecraft.

There is a list at the end of the book naming all the things he learned in Minecraft world, and although I read an uncorrected ARC I hope they left my favorite in there:

33. Books make the world bigger. 

Minecraft: The Island By Max Brooks is available today!

Also, there are TWO versions available on Audible one narrated by Jack Black and one by Samira Wiley!! Good thing we have credits just waiting for this.

July 18, 2017