Luna’s Picks 2014: The Books Are Now Reviewed!

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My good friend Luna at Luna’s Little Library recommended some awesome books for me. Each month of 2014 she gave me a selection of choices out of her collection of books. I picked one and then I left it to readers to decide my next read. Here are the books that I reviewed over the year.

January

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February

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 March

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 April

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May

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May brought me the first book that I didn’t agree with Luna with. That is Riot. Please check out my review if you’re interested in why I didn’t enjoy it as much. You’ll find a link there to Luna’s review so you can read a differing opinion.

June

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 July

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August

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 September

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October

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November

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December

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As you can see, I had an amazing year with the books Luna recommended! I have found some authors that I will certainly looking out for in the future. Luna’s Picks will return again, but not this year as both Luna and I are incredibly busy! Thanks once again to Luna for providing this wonderful feature for me!

The Abominables

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

The Abominables follows a family of yetis who are forced, by tourism, to leave their home in the Himalayas and make their way across Europe to a possible new home. Siblings Con and Ellen shepherd the yetis along their eventful journey, with the help of Perry, a good-natured truck driver. Through a mountain rescue in the Alps and a bullfight in Spain, the yetis at last find their way to an ancestral estate in England—only to come upon a club of voracious hunters who have set their sights on the most exotic prey of all: the Abominable Snowmen.

Thoughts:

The Abominables was picked for me to read by the lovely readers of my blog for Luna’s Picks. It was such a cute and easy to read book! The Abominables is such a sweet story which actually is quite fairy-tale esque. Perfect recipe for me!

The Abominables are Yetis who have been undiscovered in the Himalayas for centuries. Lord Farlingham takes his daughter Agatha on an expedition. The story begins with Agatha being kidnapped from her tent. Agatha is scared to begin with, but she soon realises that she has nothing to fear. She decides to stay and care for the Abominable Snowmen that have taken her! The creatures in this story aren’t scary at all. They’re incredibly endearing and its easy to see why Agatha made the decision she did to care for them. The story goes on to explore how our human world treats animals. It’s interesting to read between the lines and recognise the message The Abominables brings with it.

The story isn’t perfect, but it’s sweet and fairy-tale esque. I’m glad that I read it!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An easy to read, fairy-tale like story with a deeper message than you’d expect!

Entwined: Mini Review

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Thoughts:

Can we just talk about how gorgeous this cover is? So beautiful.

I’m a big fan of fairy-tales. I just love reading a story that is so fairy-tale esque. Entwined was picked by my friend Luna from Luna’s Little Library for me to read. It’s a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, which I’m not actually that familiar with. (I may need to change that!) I guess it was a different reading experience for me going into it not knowing that much about it!

Entwined is a story of Azalea and her sisters who are suffering after their mother’s death. As the sisters are mourning their mother, they are forbidden to dance by their father. As with every fairy-tale, nothing is quite that simple. The reader is introduced to a character called the Keeper, who provides Azalea and her sisters chance to escape their everyday family life.

Entwined is a magical, fun read, although sometimes I wish it had a bit of a quicker pace! I still think it’s worth devouring if you like a well written fairy-tale read!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A beautiful fairy-tale that is well worth reading!

Blackberry Blue

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Prepare to enter a world of magicians, enchanted forests, talking animals and wicked witches . . .

Here are six magical stories to thrill and enchant you. Watch Blackberry Blue rise from the bramble patch; follow Emeka the pathfinder on his mission to save a lost king; join Princess Desire as she gallops across the Milky Way on her jet-black horse.

These beautifully written and original stories will delight readers of all ages, and the stunning illustrations by Richard Collingridge will take your breath away.

Thoughts:

I picked this book out of my choice of Luna’s Picks for this month. I thought it was a stunning read, which I believe will delight many from young children, to teenagers to adults. The magical stories feel incredibly original and the beautiful illustrations just enhance the wonderful stories.

I’m not sure why this little gem hasn’t been more widely read or discussed on the blogosphere. I’m hoping that the stunning cover and intriguing synopsis will encourage more readers to give it a go! It’s something different to the usual fairy-tales out there. I can’t pinpoint a favourite story, because they were all so enjoyable. I loved the vividness of each story. I could picture it so easily in my mind.

The characters are so intriguing and much more interesting than typical fairy-tales and that’s coming from someone who loves a fairy-tale!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

It is well worth reading these beautiful fairy-tales!

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance’s holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

Thoughts:

I have had this book on my radar for a while now, so I jumped on the chance to read it when Luna picked it for my Luna’s Picks feature. I was immediately drawn in by the cover and the interesting title. I thought The Mysterious Howling was a good, charming read. I definitely want to continue with the series at some point!

The Mysterious Howling is centred around Miss Penelope Lumley who leaves her school in order to apply for a governess job for three children at Ashton Place. The advert emphasises that the governess has to be good with animals. As Penelope arrives at Ashton Place she finds out the three children are naked and wild. They were found by Lord Ashton in the woods. It’s clear that the children have been raised by wolves. Penelope takes on the task of socialising and teaching the children.

The Mysterious Howling is a great read. It felt like I was reading an old classic. It really does have an old-fashioned Enid Blyton-esque feel to it. I absolutely loved the main character Penelope. I adored how she wanted to educate and socialise the young children. Although I have a slight criticism- the children were socialised quickly without much depth, but that’s a minor niggle really. I’m certainly interested to see where this series goes. It certainly has a lot of potential!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A lovely piece of children’s literature. It’s charming and easy to read!

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest.

Thoughts:

Where The Mountains Meet The Moon won my reader’s choice for Luna’s Picks, I’m so glad the book blogging world picked this book for me to read as I thought it was an incredibly sweet and engaging read including Chinese folktales.

The book centres around Minli and her parents. They don’t have a lot of money and they have to work incredibly hard to get by. Minli’s dad’s stories often make her happy and give her some sense of hope in a quite bleak world for her. Minli sets off on an adventure to see the Man in the Moon so he can tell her how to bring fortune to her family so they can all be happy again.  There are some lovely short stories within the story which were incredibly cute.

Minli is a really sweet character that I loved to read about. She’s clever and can manage to deal with some incredibly tricky situations. I loved how much she cared for her family and wanted to make life better for them all. I loved the character of Dragon too. Their relationship was endearing. I thought Dragon was fun, resilient and courageous. Their partnership just made the story for me!

This story is superb for children. It carries with it some positive messages about happiness, friendship, family and being thankful for what you have instead of wanting more.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book is a great middle-grade read which adults can appreciate too. It may seem like it carries a cheesy message, but I found it incredibly endearing!

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Thoughts:

I was very happy that Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children won this month’s Luna’s Picks as it is a book that I’ve had my eye on for some time now. I finished it quickly, but I’m still going over what I really thought of it. It’s certainly a unique read and not like anything I’ve read before! The thing that immediately caught my eye with this book was the very creepy levitating girl on the cover and the vintage photographs inside. I was so excited to dive into this book and find out what it was all about.

It’s really hard to try and describe the plot of this book without spoiling too much, so please excuse the very vague description of this book. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children centres around Jacob and his grandfather, Abraham. Abraham escaped the Nazis during the Second World War, but unfortunately some of his family weren’t as lucky. Abraham is still haunted by his past though and his past is particularly mysterious. More mysterious than Jacob could possibly imagine, yet things are set to change! Abraham tells Jacob stories about children who can levitate, who can become invisible and other such peculiar things. Jacob is convinced that these are just fairy tales he’s hearing, but he begins to realise how peculiar his life really is…

One thing that really struck me about this book was how well Ransom Riggs built the atmosphere. It was deliciously eerie. I don’t think I’d like to set foot in this setting! As I started the book I was convinced that it was going to be a horror story. It’s not. It’s more like a mystery story. I became immersed in the world so quickly, I loved watching it all unfold as it became clear what exactly was going on. The vintage photographs just really added to the story, and I enjoyed studying them before moving back onto the text. I’ve heard that this book is going to be turned into a movie and I can completely see why it would work and especially under Tim Burton’s magic.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book is completely different to anything I’ve read before. It’s eerie and incredibly mysterious with some very creepy vintage photos!