Review: The Witch Boy (The Witch Boy #1)

Title: The Witch Boy (The Witch Boy #1)
Author: Molly Ostertag
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 28, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

Review:

This story looks at gender norms within a magical setting.

In this society, all of the girls are witches and all of the boys are shapeshifters. There are no exceptions. Aster wants to be a witch so he spies on the girls’ training. He gets caught many times but he persists. He hasn’t found the animal he will have to shape shift into yet, and he wants to learn magic. However, things take a dark turn when the boys start to go missing while searching for their shapeshifting animal.

I liked the way that this story explored gender norms. Just because the girls were supposed to be witches, doesn’t mean that Aster can’t join them. He shouldn’t be penalized for being a boy. This is true in real life where things are divided by gender, starting with baby clothes and toys. Dolls are for girls and trucks are for boys. However, these stereotypes are wrong and limiting to children.

The ending of this book was great and surprising. I loved this story!

What to read next:

The Hidden Witch (The Witch Boy #2) by Molly Ostertag

The Nameless City (The Nameless City #1) by Faith Erin Hicks

Have you read The Witch Boy? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – January 31

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up.It’s winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell’s Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love. So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul. The power’s down but they’ve got candles, blankets, and wood–a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there’s nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: The Dead Queens Club

Title: The Dead Queens Club
Author: Hannah Capin
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Mean Girls meets The Tudors in Hannah Capin’s The Dead Queens Club, a clever contemporary YA retelling of Henry VIII and his wives (or, in this case, his high school girlfriends). Told from the perspective of Annie Marck (“Cleves”), a 17-year-old aspiring journalist from Cleveland who meets Henry at summer camp, The Dead Queens Club is a fun, snarky read that provides great historical detail in an accessible way for teens while giving the infamous tale of Henry VIII its own unique spin.

What do a future ambassador, an overly ambitious Francophile, a hospital-volunteering Girl Scout, the new girl from Cleveland, the junior cheer captain, and the vice president of the debate club have in common? It sounds like the ridiculously long lead-up to an astoundingly absurd punchline, right? Except it’s not. Well, unless my life is the joke, which is kind of starting to look like a possibility given how beyond soap opera it’s been since I moved to Lancaster. But anyway, here’s your answer: we’ve all had the questionable privilege of going out with Lancaster High School’s de facto king. Otherwise known as my best friend. Otherwise known as the reason I’ve already helped steal a car, a jet ski, and one hundred spray-painted water bottles when it’s not even Christmas break yet. Otherwise known as Henry. Jersey number 8.

Meet Cleves. Girlfriend number four and the narrator of The Dead Queens Club, a young adult retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry unscathed—but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen…twice…

Review:

I saw a review for this book on Vicky Who Reads blog a couple of weeks ago and I knew I had to read it! This book is a mix of the Tudors of England meets Mean Girls. It’s amazing!

I love the combination of historical figures and modern teens. My own manuscript is an adaptation of Wuthering Heights in a modern high school, so I especially love these kinds of adaptations.

There were also some thriller aspects to the story. Henry’s girlfriends either disappear or die after they break up. It ends up becoming a mystery of what really happened to Anna Boleyn. She apparently set a tower on fire, leading to the deaths of her and her brother. The real Henry VIII murdered his wives when they weren’t pleasing him anymore. The question in this story is did Anna actually set the fire or was she innocent?

I loved this story so much! I can’t wait to see what Hannah Capin writes next!

What to read next:

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley

Have you read The Dead Queens Club? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – January 30

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley. The release date is February 26, 2019.

Goodreads Synopsis:

After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle Monvoisin is forced to see her mother’s Shadow Society in a horrifying new light: they’re not heroes of the people, as they’ve always claimed to be, but murderers. Herself included. Mira tries to ease her guilt by brewing helpful curatives, but her hunger tonics and headache remedies cannot right past wrongs or save the dissenters her mother vows to purge.

Royal bastard Josse de Bourbon is more kitchen boy than fils de France. But when the Shadow Society assassinates the Sun King and half the royal court, he must become the prince he was never meant to be in order to save his injured sisters and the petulant Dauphin. Forced to hide in the derelict sewers beneath the city, any hope of reclaiming Paris seems impossible—until Josse’s path collides with Mirabelle’s, and he finds a surprising ally in his sworn enemy.

She’s a deadly poisoner. He’s a bastard prince. Together, they form a tenuous pact to unite the commoners and former nobility against the Shadow Society. But can a rebellion built on mistrust ever hope to succeed?

What books are you waiting on this week?

Top 5 Wednesday – Characters You’d Cosplay

This meme is hosted by Lainey from Thoughts on Tomes. The Goodreads Group for Top 5 Wednesday can be found here.

This week is a freebie, so I chose a past topic that I wanted to try. I chose the October 2018 topic: Characters You’d Cosplay:

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

2. Alina Starkov (Grisha Verse)

3. Lara Jean Covey (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before)

4. Scarlet Benoit (The Lunar Chronicles)

5. Veronica Lodge (Archie Comics)

What characters would you cosplay?

Review: Sticks and Stones (Upside-Down Magic #2)

Title: Sticks and Stones (Upside-Down Magic #2)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The kids in Upside-Down Magic know their magic is a little out of control. But that doesn’t make them weird–it only makes them human.

Strange things are happening at Dunwiddle Magic School-and the Upside-Down Magic class is getting blamed!

Yes, Marigold did shrink Lacey Clench to the size of a gerbil. But that was an accident. And, yes, most people weren’t prepared for Nory to transform into a squippy (that’s half squid, half puppy)-but it’s not like Nory meant to mix up paws and tentacles. And while Bax does have the unfortunate magical condition of turning into a stone, he swears he has nothing to do with the rocky magic that’s been happening in Dunwiddle’s halls.

When things get messy, it’s easy to point your finger at the kids with the messiest magic. But the Upside-Down Magic students aren’t going to let themselves get in trouble. Instead, they’re going to find out what’s really going on-and get their school back on track before something really wacky happens.

Review:

The kids in this story have special magic powers. Nory and her friends have upside-down magic because their powers don’t work the way they are supposed to. Though these kids have special powers, they still have to deal with ordinary school problems in this story.

Someone at the school is turning everything into stone. The other kids think it must be the upside-down magic class who is pranking them. Bax seems like the most obvious culprit because he can turn himself into a stone, but he claims he didn’t do it. Nory and her friends have to fight to remain in the school while they investigate the strange pranks.

What I love about this series is that it’s a well developed story. I enjoyed it and I was intrigued until the end, even though it’s aimed towards a younger audience. I didn’t guess what was happening, so I was surprised at the end but it also made sense.

This is a great series and I’m excited to see what happens next.

What to read next:

Showing Off (Upside-Down Magic #3) by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins

Fairest of All (Whatever After #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Have you read Sticks and Stones? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – The Most Recent Additions to my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is The Most Recent Additions to my TBR. Here’s my list:

1. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

2. Corpse and Crown by Alisa Kwitney

3. The Last by Hanna Jameson

4. The Dysasters by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

5. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

6. At The Mountain’s Edge by Genevieve Graham

7. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

8. The Au Pair by Emma Rous

9. The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

10. Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

(All photos taken from Goodreads)