The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs 📚

I read a paperback edition of The House With a Clock in Its Walls. This is the first book in the Lewis Barnavelt series.

Genre: Children’s fiction, middle grade fiction, fantasy.

Illustrator: Nathan Collins

Publisher: Templar, Picadilly Press

Originally published: 1973

Pages: 192 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 4 hrs and 33 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

TICK TOCK,
A DEADLY CLOCK…

When orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan, he is amazed to find out there is a wizard in his family!

Lewis experiments with Uncle Jonathan’s spells and uncovers the mystery behind the ticking that he can hear throughout the house, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It’s an evil clock and it could destroy humankind.

My thoughts:

I had never heard of this book or the movie adaption of it before the trailer popped up on our Netflix feed. Immediately after having watched it, I thought “This sounds like it must’ve been adapted from a book!”, so I did a bit of a Google search and found the Lewis Barnavelt series where this was the first book.

The movie trailer looked absolutely magical and dark, so just up my alley, and I had to read the book before we watched it. I also have somewhat of a soft spot for Jack Black when it comes to movies because he’s such a wonderful actor and he’s perfect for quirky and mysterious roles in my opinion.

I loved the magic and darkness in this story. It’s one of my favorite things when authors dare to be a bit more on the darker side in their children’s books. I remember loving that as a kid myself.
We get to experience some of the grief that Lewis experiences after having lost his parents, and also the struggle of trying to find your place and to fit in. This book also touches on the subject of bullying and the challenges of finding out who your true friends are.
And the banter between Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann was hilarious!

But even though there were a lot of things in this book that I really liked and enjoyed, there were a few things that I didn’t like as much.
I think one of the biggest drawbacks for me as a reader was the amount of buildup to the big climax, and then having it resolved so quickly. It felt somewhat anticlimactic, and as if a chunk of the story was just left out altogether.
I also felt like I had quite a few questions that went unanswered, but knowing that this is the first book in a twelve book series makes me think that I’ll get more answers further down the line.

But all in all, I did enjoy The House With a Clock in Its Walls, but I did not love it. It’s one of those very rare instances where I actually liked the movie more than the book. That doesn’t happen too often.
Even so, I will continue on with this series, and I will let you know what I think of the other books as well.

It is creepy, dark, quirky, and funny, but I just had a bit higher expectations for it that it failed to meet. But if you have kids who like Goosebumps and other slightly dark and creepy children’s books, then I would recommend giving this book a chance.

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Pax by Sara Pennypacker 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of Pax by Sara Pennypacker 📚

I read a paperback edition of Pax.

Genre: Children’s fiction, middle-grade fiction.

Illustrated by: Jon Klassen

Publisher: HarperCollins

Originally published: February 2nd, 2016

Pages: 288 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 5 hrs and 32 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own.

My thoughts:

I randomly came across Pax while browsing a Norwegian bookstore and it was cover love at first sight! So much so that I decided to buy the book before I even read the synopsis. When I did read the back, I was even more sure that it would be a good match.

I love when authors write stories from the perspective of animals. Giving the animals a voice of their own adds a whole other depth to a story. I find that it’s even more enjoyable when we get to shift between the perspectives of humans and animals so that we get to experience certain events in two (or more) different ways. Pennypacker did a really good job with that throughout this book.

Pax isn’t just a story about a strong bond between a fox and a boy, but it also tells a story of grief and war. As far as I could tell, which war this story is set in isn’t mentioned, but I got the feeling it was probably World War II. Not knowing doesn’t take away from the story at all though since the focus isn’t on the war itself, but more the experiences of growing up during one.

The illustrations throughout this book are absolutely stunning! I wouldn’t have minded if there’d had been more of them, but hey, quality over quantity!
A big round of applause for Jon Klassen!

Both Peter and Pax develops quite a lot as characters during the short amount of time that we get to spend with them, and I loved being able to join them on that journey.

How about the ending?

I loved the way that it ended, even though it might not have been the ending that I was expecting or hoping for. But I thought it was the right way to end the story.

This story also had me crying a little bit, which doesn’t happen all too often these days! So extra points for having me so engaged in the story!

All that being said, I wish it would’ve been a little longer though. I felt like there was more to this story, but I also understand that even though I enjoyed it as an adult, it was written for a much younger audience so having it be 350+ pages long might not have been the right choice for this particular book.

I highly recommend Pax to readers who loved Watership Down, Charlotte’s Web, or any other story of hardship and struggle that are told through the perspectives of animals. It’s written beautifully and it tells a really heartbreaking but also heartwarming story that is just as enjoyable for adults as for kids.

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The Slug Queen Chronicles by S.O. Thomas 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of The Slug Queen Chronicles by S.O. Thomas📚

S.O. Thomas

I read a digital edition of The Slug Queen Chronicles that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Children’s literature, fantasy.

Publisher: Ichigo Black Books

Originally published: March 28th, 2020.

Pages: 318 (Kindle edition)

Synopsis by the publisher:

Twelve-year-old Cricket Kane never believed in fairies, until one set its sights on her little brother. To get him back, she travels to a magical world full of cursed boogie men, female Santas, and living nightmares. She’ll stop at nothing to save her brother, especially after learning the sinister motives behind his kidnapping, but doing so might cost her life.

Can she find him and the other children before it’s too late?

My thoughts:

I love discovering children’s books as an adult that I just instantly know would’ve been a favorite if I’d read it as a child! The Slug Queen is one of those rare finds.

I picked this book because I wanted something light and easy to read, but little did I know that it would take me on a whirlwind of an adventure where I would meet so many magical and wonderful (some even slightly terrifying) characters.

Cricket Kane is the kind of adventurous girl that you can’t help but love instantly. She takes the reader by its hand and in a flash, you are whisked away to a land of magical beings and a female Santa. What’s not to love?

The dynamic between the characters is as magical and wonderful as they are, and the whole world that S. Thomas has created comes to life so easy and it makes for a story that’s really hard to put down. She’s built a world that’s filled with darkness, hope, love, terrifying creatures, magic, and quirkiness. I found myself sitting up at night, just needing to need another chapter, and one more, and one more.

Not only is this a magical, wonderful and fast-paced story, it also comes with gorgeous illustrations.

I have nothing but praise and love for this wonderful story. It’s one that I instantly fell in love with, and one that I will add to my library, reread, and read to my children.

I would highly recommend The Slug Queen to any reader who loves magical worlds and beings. Let Cricket take you on an adventure you won’t forget!

Thank you, S. Thomas, for sharing this magical story with the world.

Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it💛

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman- REVIEW

The Graveygraveyard-bookard Book is a middle grade fantasy novel. The story starts with Jack (Also known as “the man Jack”) has murdered an entire family except for a toddler. When Jack goes upstairs to finish his mission he finds the toddler gone. The toddler has crawled out of his crib and outside to explore. He finds himself at the nearby graveyard and surrounded by ghosts.

The ghosts of the graveyard are uncertain of what to do when they realize that the child is alone and hunted, but when the Lady on the Grey appears and tells the ghosts that “the dead should have charity” and the baby be kept in the protection of the graveyard. Mr. and Mrs. Owens take him in as their own son and he grows up in the graveyard, protected by the dead.

This boys name is Nobody, but his dead friends call him Bod. He’s under the protection of Silas, a man that is neither dead nor living. Bod is a normal boy, but the protection of the graveyard makes him different. There are adventures both inside and outside of the graveyard for Bod to discover, but he has to be careful. The man Jack is still looking for him. He wants to finish what he started so many years ago.

***

The Writing

Neil Gaiman is a master of captivating and magical writing. His words formed into beautiful pictures in my mind. They grabbed me and held me tight from beginning till the end. This is one of those books that I wish I’d discovered sooner. Gaiman has a playful way of writing about the dark and scary that just turns it into something extraordinary. This is my second Neil Gaiman book to read and I really look forward to reading more of his work.

The Characters

Bod was such a funny and different character. I loved that we got to be along for the ride as he grew up in this very unusual place. He felt very relatable in spite of his very different lifestyle. One could easily recognize the curiosity and wonder of growing up and into ones teens. The frustration of feeling left out and wanting to belong and explore.

My two favorite characters in this book (except for Bod) was Silas (Bod’s protector) and Elizabeth Hempstock (un-justly executed witch). Both of them brought something very special and unique to the story. Silas wrapped in mystery and Elizabeth being the sassy sidekick.

The first time I met his tutor Miss Lupesco in the book she annoyed me a whole lot, but she grew on me and by the end of the book I wanted to be a part of the graveyard family myself.

The Plot

This story starts with a bang and as I read about the murder that was committed I had my thoughts about this being a book for children. But then again, children’s literature today isn’t the same as it was when I was a child. And when the story progressed I found it to be very intriguing, exciting and beautiful.

The man Jack’s hunt made for a thrilling story, but the most wonderful part of this story is Bod and the way he grows and develops throughout the story. And all of those wonderful characters blend into one collection of delightful personalities that made this a fantastic read.

It took a hold of me from the beginning and I loved every part of it. Had me curious and anxiously waiting from beginning to the end.

***

There are so many things that I loved about this book! And I really do look forward to reading this for my son when he’s a little older. It’s different and wonderful! And the artwork by Chris Riddell is gorgeous!!

Highly recommend!

five-stars

Want your own copy? Click on the BookDepository logo below:

The_book_depository_logo

***

Do you have a favorite Neil Gaiman book? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, Toodles 🙂

A New Kind of Morning

Readposter

For those of you who are frequent readers it will be no surprise that I’ve been struggling with my arms and shoulders the last months. After starting treatments and my life has changed. There are a lot of the things that I used to do that I can’t do anymore. I cannot carry heavy weight, I’m not able to write as much or as often as I would like to and the biggest change of all has been staying home from work.

My job involves sitting at a desk for 7,5 hours of the day something that really ruins my shoulders and arms even more. The pain was excruciating and my doctor wanted me to stay at home while we’re trying to figure out a way to treat this.

But enough about pain and illness. This is not going to be a negative post at all. I want to share a change in my day that I hope to make permanent.

My love of books will be of no surprise, and it would be a lie to say that I don’t wish my son to grow up with the same joy and love for reading as I did. My father read a lot to me when I was younger and I believe that he is the one to thank for my love of literature. Thank you Dad!!

I knew from before I was even pregnant that I wanted to read a lot to my kids. The reality of it all is that often things just doesn’t go as planed. I’ve read to my son since he was a baby, but it hasn’t been consistent. He often got restless and struggled to pay attention to the reading if it got too long.

It was not until when he turned five that reading really became an activity that he really enjoyed and requested. We started with some short books and advanced as we went. Now we read books with less pictures and more complicated stories, and I absolutely love going on these adventures with him.

The most amazing thing happened yesterday. I got up a bit earlier than I usually do when taking him to school because he’d told me he wanted to go a little earlier so that he had more play time with his friends before the bell rings.

He ate his breakfast and I made myself a cup of coffee.

“Would like me to read you a chapter of Dunderly (a Norwegian book we’re reading at the moment) before we go to school?”

The question just rolled out of me and I’m so thrilled that it did!

For every chapter I read he requested one more. It ended up with us reading for a little more than half an hour. After dropping him off at school I though about what a wonderful morning it had been and decided to ask him if he wanted to do it again. When I asked later in the evening he said yes with the most excited grin on his face and the bookworm inside of me danced with joy.

So today we woke up early, had breakfast and read for half an hour once more.

It is such a wonderful way to start of the day. Going on an adventure together with someone you love!

Even though the pain in my arms is awful these mornings of reading has been a positive thing that has come out of it. I hope to make morning read permanent in our lives even if it means getting up even earlier whenever my shoulders/arms are better and I’ll  be getting back to working.

Morning read is now one of my absolute favorite times of day!

Reading-quote-by-Dr.-Seuss