Adventures Through Awkwardness: Fantasy February

middle grade challengeAdventures Through Awkwardness: Fantasy February!

Welcome, friends, to month 2 of Adventures Through Awkwardness Middle Grade Challenge! Congrats on a great January!

For February, we’re focusing on one of my very favorite genres: Fantasy. Nothing quite like jumping into a made-up world with magic, dragons, and MAPS. WORD.

As always, you can choose ANY middle grade fantasy to read and review this month. It can be new, it can be old. If you’re looking for some recommendations of what to read this month, here’s some of my personal favorites!

Book cover The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom Christopher Healy

 The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom: League of Princes #1 by Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be. {Goodreads}

Book Cover Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1 by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves. {Goodreads}

Book cover Fablehaven Brandon MullFablehaven: Fablehaven #1 by Brandon Mull

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite … Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most. {Goodreads}

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What are YOU going to read for this month’s challenge? Let us know in the comments (where you can link up your reviews, too)!

Waiting on Wednesday (43): The Copper Promise

Waiting on WednesdayThe Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Book cover The Copper Promise  Jen Williams

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…

Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.

For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.

But sometimes there is truth in rumour.

Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.

DRAGONSSSSSS. So I seem to be finding all of these books lately that aren’t available in the US. This is quite a large shame in the case of THE COPPER PROMISE because HELLOOOOO OMG, there be DRAGONS in this book. Not only dragons, but “hungry, restless” ones. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. (Sorry not sorry for the CAPSLOCK, friends.)

But aside from the dragons, I just love the sound of this one. There’s a quest (QUESTS!) and what sounds like some kind of crew of a mysterious nature–what IS the deal with Wydrin, Sebastian, and Lord Frith guys?–that my interest is BEYOND piqued. Kind of dying for this to come out on this side of the pond, friends.

THE COPPER PROMISE comes out February 13, 2014 from Headline in the UK

The Copper Promise

Waiting on Wednesday (40): Dreamwood

Waiting on WednesdayDreamwood by Heather Mackey

Book cover Dreamwood Heather Mackey


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Five-Star Friday: The Name of the Wind

Five-Star Friday is a periodically regular (say what?!) feature that I’m planning on running on Fridays (but not every Friday) in which I talk about (or verbally drool over) a book that I’ve read and ADORED (sometimes they’ll be recent releases and other times they might be older…my piles are tall and the bottoms are old). Yay! I always feel so happy and light and wonderful when I am beside myself with delight over a book, and I want to share the love with you all in the hopes that we can all get together and have an embarrassing, squeal-filled love-fest full of lots of high-pitched “Ohmygod, I KNOW!s” and chest-clutching sighs of contentedness. Huzzah!*

There are not many words for how much I ADORED THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss. I will endeavor to get them all written down here. Because guys? This book is SO LEGIT, I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to do it justice by talking about it.

Book cover for The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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Fantasy Map Love

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

(Or, why I could easily navigate the way to Rabbit’s House/Monsea/the Gryffindor Common Room etc.)

So, maybe by now you guys know that I love fantasy. If you didn’t, well, I love fantasy. ADORE IT. When I read a high fantasy book that has a map, it instantly is one of my favorite things about that book. And when I read a high fantasy book that DOESN’T have a map? I feel like a big part of that book is missing. I want to be able to know the world, to see it, to understand how the author imagined the world as they were writing. Maps are, in my opinion, pivotal for context. Also, they’re pretty and often look old or antique, and this just tickles my history-loving fancy.

Because of this love, I wanted to show you some great fantasy maps. Some of these are from the books themselves, some of them are not. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but you can click on each to enbiggen. There were great maps that I couldn’t find images of online. I tried to keep it YA/MG, so it’s possible that I’ll highlight some adult high fantasies in future map nerdings.

But what do you guys think? Do you love maps like I do? What one map is a particular awesome favorite of yours? What fantasy that you’ve read most NEEDED a map (my personal vote for this is THE LOST CONSPIRACY)?

100 Acre Wood, by A.A. Milne

So, my map love probably started with this one: The 100 Acre Wood. I remember watching this cartoon in the mornings and loving how each episode started with a look at the map. SIGH. Winnie the Pooh 4 LIFE!!!

The Seven Kingdoms from Graceling, by Jeffery C. Mathison

The Dells from Fire, by Jefferey C. Mathison

Both of these maps appear in the published books of GRACELING and FIRE, so if you’ve read those books, you’ve seen these maps. But I still think they’re awesome and cool to look at and I LOVE Kristin Cashore, so Seven Kingdoms map love!

Ravka from Shadow and Bone, by Keith Thompson

You guys, I was already geeking out with excitement for SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo when she posted this map of Ravka on her website a couple of months ago. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s totally worth an enbiggening. Plus, the illustrator, Keith Thompson, is the mad genius behind the interior illustrations in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series.

Kingdom of Tortall, by Haley

Tamora Pierce writes SERIOUSLY amazing girl-power high fantasy and I LOVE it. There are so many great maps of Tortall, in the books and elsewhere, but I like this one. One of my favorite things about Tamora Pierce’s books is that they all take place in the same world, so each book we read only furthers our familiarity with the places. SWEET!

Llyvraneth, by Mike Schley

I haven’t read STARCROSSED by Elizabeth C. Bunce yet, but it’s sitting right next to me as we speak. I will read this one ASAP.

Map of Hogwarts, by gamma-ray-burst. Harry Potter fans, you can download this map from this artist's Deviantart page!

Seriously. AWESOME. I love this Hogwarts map. LOVE IT.

Narnia, by Daniel Reeve

So, I’ve never read the Chronicles of Narnia–GASP!–but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating the map, friends. 

Book Review: Above World (Above World #1)

Title: Above World

Author: Jenn Reese

Series: Above World, book 1

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Dystopian

Publisher: Candlewick

Published on: February 14, 2012

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

Source: ARC from the DAC ARC Tour

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony’s survival is in doubt. The Kampii’s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people.

But can Aluna’s warrior spirit and Hoku’s tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt—growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains—here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

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Excuse Me While I Fangirl: Fantasy World

Sigh. This makes me so happy. First of all, look at all these amazing, imaginative places that I LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Second of all, it’s a MAP. I am a nerd about maps. Terabithia? And Where the Wild Things Are? *happy dance* Also, Sodor! What up, Thomas the Tank Engine! Fantasy is AMAZING, guys.

Top Ten Tuesday (11)

Top Ten Tuesday: FREEBIE! Top Ten Series I Need To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!


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Top Ten Tuesday (10)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend to People Who Don’t Read YA/MG Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!


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Book Review | Icefall | Matthew J. Kirby

Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father’s victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, and a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another.

Those charged with protecting the king’s children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father’s watchful eye? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a kingdom?

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