Book Review: A Bag of Moonshine

A Bag Of Moonshine by Alan Garner
A Bag Of Moonshine
by Alan Garner

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I loved this collection of fairy tales, rewritten from the folklore of England and Wales. The author has an uncanny ability to mimic the story-telling style of old folk tales, with whimsy and ingenuity.

The black and white illustrations add to the ghoulish atmosphere of the tales, and they are true to the art style I see in so many old fairy tale books from the late 1800s.

The enchantment of these stories lies in the excellent word-craft, and the weird and eccentric characters who populate the world of magic and mayhem. Full of changlings, witches, ogres who spin gold, and the clever youngest brother named Jack, these stories captivate the reader with the magnetic words and witty narrative style.

Book Review: Brave Red, Smart Frog

Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins
5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This delightful collection of familiar fairy tales is told with a fresh voice and enchanting writing!

Including new versions of Snow White, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and several others that are less well-known, this book provides a crisp new look at these old tales while still remaining true to the main stories.

While the basic plots remain the same, it’s the sparkling dialogue and little inside jokes that make these fairy tales so enjoyable to read and reread.

The lovely illustrations bring the stories to life and give a nod to classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Walter Crane. I love how elegant the illustrations are! Continue reading

Book Review: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How to describe the delicious whimsy and melancholy of Valente’s books? It’s impossible to do, but I shall try.
It’s like spiced cinnamon tea served in a golden teacup with all the honeyed tears of your childhood heart when it first broke into pieces. No, that’s not it. It’s like cool peppermint tea in a silver chalice and all your favorite golden words at the bottom… no, no, that’s not it either. It’s like your heart and mind are at war, and when they finally call a truce they sit down for a lunch of memory sandwiches and warm library books baked with pink icing. But it’s all wrapped up in a glittering fairy story, so you don’t mind so much that your heart was just sliced open and your mind picked apart.

This fourth book in the Fairyland series is no exception! I was wary, as many were, since this book is not about September; but I immediately fell in love with the new characters, and cheered them on through their adventures.
This is the story of Hawthorne, who is whisked away to be a changeling and make trouble in the world of men. When he meets Tamburlaine, they become friends and discover that they are not so very different. The two find their way to Fairyland and are immediately roped into a quest. Continue reading

Book Review: The Revenge of the Shadow King

The Revenge of the Shadow King
The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Max Sumner and his three best friends, Harley, Ernie, and Natalia–who form the secret club The Grey Griffins–seem to be the only people in their very normal Minnesota town to notice that strange things have started to happen. When creatures like goblins and fairies and unicorns, all characters from a card game the Grey Griffins play, begin to make appearances in Max’s backyard, Max and his friends know something is terribly wrong. And it’s up to them to stop the wicked creatures of the cards from destroying their town-indeed, their world. – GoodReads

I liked this book pretty well, but it wasn’t amazing or anything. Most of the characters, plot, and writing were very trite and redundant. But there were a few really good scenes that kept me interested enough to finish reading the book.

The writing keeps stating the obvious over and over again, and has a problem with “telling” instead of “showing”. The writing is mostly good and interesting, but I never really got lost in the story. I never forgot that I was reading a book. Continue reading