Isabelle is an orphan. She works in a factory to pay the rent and buy food for herself and the ailing elderly lady who adopted her. Her job? Sticking address labels on umbrella boxes…all…day…long. And she’s only ten! It rains all the time in her town. She doesn’t even know what sunshine feels like.
Even though this life sounds miserable, Isabelle is sure that one day, something special will happen to her and one day, something special does! Isabelle unexpectedly receives a perfect red apple from a very unusual source. This gift begins Isabelle’s journey to her home, not her room in the attic of the decrepit boardinghouse, but her real home – Fortune’s Magic Farm. The Farm is Isabelle’s real home, it’s the place where the ingredients for magic potions are grown. At the Farm, Isabelle meets some people like herself – special people who have an important job to do saving the world from misery and unhappiness. Author: Suzanne Selfors
Isabelle reminds me a lot of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Charlie is also down on his luck when he finds the golden ticket – his ticket to a magical place that is actually meant for him, like he was destined to go there. Isabelle is destined to go to Fortune’s Magic Farm too.
I loved the characters in this book. In Isabelle’s crummy town, Runny Cove, there are some real meanies. On Fortune’s Magic Farm there are some really fun, crazy characters – crazy in a good way – like Willy Wonka.
Eff and her family live in the American frontier during pioneer times. But this isn’t your regular frontier story – in this story the pioneers have magical skills! What Columbus discovered in the New World is a dangerous place where dragons and mammoths and bears live. (As if grizzly bears aren’t bad enough, throw in some prehistoric creatures and some magical beasts!) The settlers have used their magic to set up a magical barrier – an invisible force field – to keep the dangerous animals away from their settlements.
Eff’s twin brother Lan is the seventh son of a seventh son. In their magical world being a seventh son is good – it means powerful magic. Eff is a thirteenth child. Some people think thirteenth children are bad luck. Even some of Eff’s relatives believe that Eff is cursed and will bring bad luck to everyone around her. Eff believes it too until the year everything changes.
This is a really original story set in an unlikely place. I think we are all used to reading magical stories set in the Middle Ages with knights and castles, but this time Patricia Wrede has done something really different. I liked that about this book. I also liked Eff. If lots of people around you were telling you you were bad luck…it would be hard not to believe them, wouldn’t it? I liked watching Eff fight for belief in herself. I can’t wait for book two. Author: Patricia Wrede Series: Frontier Magic (This is the first one – more will follow.)
Conn is an orphan surviving the best he can picking locks, thieving and picking pockets. One night, he picks the pocket of the powerful wizard, Neverly Flinglas. Conn gets the wizard’s locus magicalicus, a stone that is the center of the magician’s power. Nevery isn’t mad that Conn tried to pick his pocket, he’s astonished that touching the magic stone didn’t kill Conn. No one else is supposed to be able to touch a wizard’s stone. Intrigued, Nevery takes on Conn as a servant and when Conn shows he indeed has a mysterious and powerful attraction to magic and magical things, Neverly makes him his apprentice.
The two of them get caught up in a magical investigation when Neverly is hired to figure out why magic is draining away from their city. This story has it all: wizards, a power hungry crime boss, friends, enemies, spying & betrayal. Nevery and Conn are both great characters. Neverly is grouchy and stern, but Conn is so endearing, smart and funny he manages to weasel his way straight into Nevery’s heart…although Neverly would never admit it. Author: Sarah Prineas
Great reading in league with Harry Potter, Septimus Heap and The Bartimaeus Trilogy.
A boy wakes up in a dark cave, confused. He doesn’t know where he is or even who he is. Three people mysteriously appear to lead him to safety. The leader of the three is Lord Umber, an explorer, inventor and adventurer who studies all things mysterious and magical. He gives the boy a name, Happenstance, or Hap for short.
As the group heads to Lord Umber’s home, they discover unusual things about Hap besides his startlingly green eyes. For one, he never sleeps. Ever. He can see in the dark and he can jump high…Superman high.
How did Lord Umber know where to find Hap? Does Lord Umber know who and what Hap is? Lord Umber seems to be trying to solve the mystery of where Hap came from, but at the same time, he keeps deep secrets about himself.
Lord Umber and Hap are only the beginning of the great characters you meet in this book. Try the creepy villain who is after Hap. Naturally this guy’s name is “The Creep.” He has a multitude of eyes. He has stolen them from unsuspecting animals and people. His knees bend in the wrong direction…like a bird. You also meet Nima, captain of the Leviathan Barge, a ship/submarine carried on the back of a huge sea creature. And living in the walls of Lord Umber’s castle is Thimble, a fierce warrior that is only a few inches tall.
All of these mysterous and magical elements begin a really original and exciting new adventure series. There will be more – Happenstance Found is just the beginning.
Kendra and Seth are back in book 4 of the Fablehaven series and this time the stakes are greater than ever before. The kids are officially memebers of the Knights of Dawn, a group that is committed to keeping all the magical creature preserves in the world secret, and therefore safe.
The Society of the Evening Star, the bad guys, led by the mysterious Sphinx, are on a mission to collect artifacts hidden in the preserves that will give them the key to the demon prison and power over the whole world.
The Knights of Dawn decide that their best defense is a good offense. They decide to steal the hidden artifacts first to keep them out of the hands of the Society of the Evening Star.
By reading the journals of the original caretaker, Patton, Kendra discovers the location of one of the hidden artifacts. The problem is, it is hidden in the middle of a dragon sanctuary and guarded by an unknown number of dragons.
Kendra and other members of the Knights of Dawn set out for the sanctuary hoping that they know enough and have skill enough to find the artifact…and stay alive. As usual, Seth follows his instincts instead of the rules and manages to stow away on the trip. And it’s a good thing. What makes each of them strong is made even stronger when they are together, a fact that really becomes clear this time around. I can’t wait for number 5.