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Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean 5 stars

J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan is a classic, and though I wanted a sequel to try to live up to the original, I didn't think it would. I was wrong. This book, though obviously written by a different author, had a very distinct feel. McCaughrean has a way with words, using them to further the mood. I read this aloud to my daughters and often, they rolled off my tongue.

Neverland is leaking dreams into the real world where Wendy, John, and the Lost Boys have grown up. They return to find the cause of the ills, only to find more questions than answers. They meet a mysterious circus master, Mr. Ravello, and his path quickly entwines with Pan's and the children. They meet a new fairy, Fireflyer, cross paths with Roarers (Lost Boys grown up), escape a deadly fire, and climb to the top of Neverpeak in search of Hook's buried treasure. And Ravello is there for each adventure, curiously submissive to Peter's every whim and demand.

But Ravello is more than he seems and the children have to work together to rescue Peter and each other.

This book was better than I expected and I'll be seeking out other books by this author.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield 5 stars

Diane Setterfield weaves her magic slowly and subtly. Prolific author Winter Vida has never given a true interview in her life, so when she mails Margaret Lea, telling her that she's willing to give her a truthful interview, Margaret isn't sure what to think. She hasn't ever read one of Winter's books, but once she does, she's intrigued.

What follows is part ghost story, part gothic fairy tale, part mystery. The rules are clear: Winter must tell her story from beginning to end and there are to be no questions. As Winter's story enfolds, the truth of her past will keep you guessing until the final chapters.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 1 star

I give this book one star because while the characters were fleshed out and the plot was believable, I didn't like the characters. Nick is accused of killing his wife, but Amy isn't the sweet girl everyone seems to think she is. There are many twists and turns throughout this book, but I was halfway through this book before I really cared to find out what happened in the end. The beginning was slow, the characters are despicable (except for Officer Boney--I liked her), and there's no justice for the many wrongs each character does toward the others.

I will not be reading any other books by this author.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman 5 stars

Malorie and her children live in a world of self-imposed darkness. They leave the house only with blindfolds tied tightly, and the children have only seen inside the house they've lived in for four years. The house is covered in blood stains and something lurks outside, waiting, patient.

Malorie, her children, and her past are all drawn perfectly. Slowly the reader learns what Malorie fears, why she's alone in a house with two small children, and why she plans escape. I guessed at the ending, but it's better, darker, richer than I imagined. To survive in this new world, hard decisions have to be made and Malorie makes them.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks 4 stars

Imagine you are a child who has a cupboard that magically turns anything plastic to life. What would it be like? What would you do?

Omri quickly learns that it's not as idyllic as he first imagined, nor as much fun, but it's certainly exciting! Little Bear, the Iroquois Indian he brings to life, has ideas of his own. He's no mere plaything, but has thoughts and feelings and demands. When Omri lets his best friend, Patrick, in on the secret, things get much more complicated when he brings his own plastic cowboy, Boone, to life. Little Bear and Boone are natural enemies, and with that, Patrick almost spilling the secret, and a search for a wife for Little Bear, the excitement never ends.

Reid Banks has created characters who will be remembered long after the final page is turned.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner 3 stars

The beginning third of this book is pretty slow, and the main character, Thomas, is kind of annoying. But once the action starts, the book gets better. I didn't really like the author's writing style, either, but the story itself was good. And the ending left me wanting to read the next book in the series, but wasn't such a cliffhanger that it's unbearable.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 4 stars

From the time he was little, Jacob has been listening to his grandfather's tales of monsters, a paradise-like orphanage, and peculiar children. But as Jacob grows up, he leaves his grandfather's stories behind as fictional tales, told in the place of the true horrors of the second world war. But when his grandfather is murdered, Jacob goes looking for answers.

His search leads him to Wales, and there he learns that his grandfather's stories were real, and that the answers to all his questions lie in the past. The monsters are real, the idyllic orphanage is real, and the peculiar children are real.

If you like fairy tales or gothic fiction, this book is for you. The characters come to life and the pictures scattered throughout the narrative add a touch of realism.

Grim by Christine Johnson 2 stars

This book is a collection of short stories based on the Grimms' fairy tales. There is some true talent within these pages, but there are also many disturbing scenes that make me hesitate to recommend this book. The original tales have gruesome things (rape, incest, murder), but this book seems to dwell on them in a way that made me highly uncomfortable.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner 3 1/2 stars

Where the first book dragged for the first third, this one jumped in full of action and adventure. Thomas, Theresa, Minho, and the others were more fleshed out. The book slowed down a bit halfway through, but the ending was a sucker punch to the gut and ended on a cliffhanger.

Dashner's method to storytelling can be a bit annoying sometimes with awkwardly phrased sentences sprinkled throughout the book. Overall, though, this book is much better than the first in the series.

The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley 3 stars

I wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. I've heard good things about Robin McKinley, but this book didn't live up to what I expected.

The Stolen Princess: though the description in this story was beautiful, I felt it dragged on. I wanted something to happen, and the ending felt contrived. There were too many coincidences to be believable. 3 stars

The Princess and the Frog: the princess and frog were fleshed out and an unexpected villain added. I wish the story had been a bit longer, but I liked the ending. 4 stars

The Hunting of the Hind: again, this story dragged on a bit, though it had beautiful descriptions again. The ending was a bit anticlimactic, though. I wanted a more exciting confrontation between good and evil. 3 stars

The Twelve Dancing Princesses: this one was long, too, though its pace seemed better than the first or third story in this collection. The middle dragged a bit, and it felt like the ending hinted at something without actually fully explaining. I don't need things spelled out for me, but if you're going to hint at something in a story, at least give me some confirmation that what is being hinted at is, in fact, true. 3 stars

I might read McKinley again, but it's going to be a while before I do. This was a quick read, but easily forgettable.

January total: 10
Year total: 10

Date: 2016-02-03 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elanortheeldest.livejournal.com
that Riggs book sounds *really* good!!

And I loved "The Indian in the Cupboard" when I was little. I Should re-read it soon.

Thanks for posting the list! :) I love book lists!

Date: 2016-02-04 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluiidmommy.livejournal.com
It really is! I'm going to read the second soon.

Lots of people on Goodreads disagreed, but I think the second book is even better.

I love book lists, too, but I always end up with too many books I want to read!

Date: 2016-02-03 11:26 pm (UTC)
ext_33795: (mmm books)
From: [identity profile] katharhino.livejournal.com
Robin McKinley is great! I'd recommend trying Beauty, The Outlaws of Sherwood, or the Blue Sword when you're in the mood to give her another try.

Date: 2016-02-04 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluiidmommy.livejournal.com
Thanks for the recommendations!

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