January 23, 2012

My Very Unfairy Tale Life

By Anna Staniszewski
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

Jenny is no ordinary girl.  At the age of 9 she was approached to become an adventurer--someone brought into magical worlds to help save the day.  With Anthony, her gnome-guide, Jenny had been adventuring non-stop for 3 years, so much so, that the rest of her life was barely remembered.  Her old best friends acted like she was a stranger and she couldn't remember the last time a math test wasn't taken by magical means.  Jenny's parents had gone missing years ago, and her aunt was more interested in animals.  But finally, Jenny has had enough.  She quits adventuring...only to be persuaded to go on one last quest.  There she meets the most terrifying of villains--and he defeats her.  Jenny swears to never go back...but when faced with the normal life she's been missing, will she be happy?

January 09, 2012

Mistress of the Storm

By M.L. Welsh
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

Verity Gallant is a plain, unpopular bookworm, resigned to never be as pretty as her younger sister.  But everything changes the day a stranger gives her a red book all about someone called the Keeper of the Wind, a wonderful and awful character.  Verity finally makes a friend in Henry Twogood and he brings her to see something even more wonderful: the return of the ship The Storm to the town of Wellow.  And with the return of the ship comes another stranger; Verity's grandmother who decides to stay with the family and treats Verity with the utmost contempt. Verity begins to learn about the complicated history her family has had with The Storm--one of violence and bad deeds--that her parents have hidden from her.  She also is troubled by the evil force that is her grandmother and the other strange and mysterious dealings that begin happening around town.  Could it be that these things are all connected?  And even worse--could they all be connected to Verity?  Although the story doesn't come together quite as well as it could, readers will enjoy following the threads as they magically spin together.  A solid read.