Augusta County Library has pinned 25 Best Books Lists on their Pinterest board. Boards like these prove that Pinterest can provide a true service.
It sort of makes my reviews and "best books" lists redundant. No worries. I still have a lot to say.
Stuff I've read recently.
One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath. I love Polly Horvath. This book includes romantic schemes run awry, environmental concerns, money problems, and the ever-popular recipes from the fishing town of Coal Harbor. (ages 10 through me)
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann. Steam punk/fantasy (Wait, Isn't most steam punk fantasy? Or is it more science fiction?) OK, this steam punk-ish novel includes fairies, goblins, and other magical creatures alongside automatons and utilities formed of mechanical and magical substances. A boy born of a magical father and a human mother - these despised children are known as Changelings - and a young member of the House of Lords are caught up in a mystery surrounding the deaths of several Changelings. Touches of horror echo through this suspenseful novel. (Ages 11 through adult. The writing is that good.)
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. Children trapped inside marionettes; An aging witch and a magic jewel; cruelty; grief; class snobbery; escapes and captures. And three very engaging children who form the nucleus of this action packed adventure. ( 12 and up. But a good 10-year-old reader who is not squeamish might really like this.)
Goblin Secrets by William Alexander won a National Book Award this Fall. Rownie, one of the witch, Graba's, "children", looks everywhere for his older brother, Rowan. Rownie lives in a world where many people have clockwork limbs and organs and where humans are not allowed to wear masks or perform in theaters. Goblins, discriminated against, travel through the city with their theater on wheels and perform wonderful shows. Rownie steals from Graba so that he can see one of these shows in hopes of finding Rowan, who was a gifted actor. This is the set-up of this spell-binding book. If you like fantasies, and other-worldly settings, close-knit clans and secret societies, corrupt government and underground resistance, you will enjoy this book. (ages 14 and up)
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker. Foster kids and a dead foster parent. Yep. That's what this book is about - along with summers on Cape Cod, blueberry bushes, interdependence and learning about asking for help. Two 12 year old girls decide to hide the sudden natural death of their care taker. One girl just doesn't want to go through the exhausting changes of yet another foster home. The other girl is related to the dead woman and hopes to make a home for herself and her irresponsible mother on Cape Cod. How they survive the summer and learn to tolerate and then value each other makes a good story. (ages 11 and up)
I am in the process of finishing Jepp Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh. This one is historical fiction. It is amazing how many books with similar themes crop up every year. This book also concentrates on performances. These are the performances of dwarves who live to amuse wealthy nobility. More on this one later. This is for 14 and up.