The Language of Ghosts|Book Review

Title: The Language of Ghosts

Author: Heather Fawcett

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Synopsis: Forced into exile on an enchanted, moving island, ex-princess Noa Marchena has two missions: reclaim her family’s stolen throne and ensure that the dark powers her older brother, Julian, possesses don’t go to his head in the process. But between babysitting her annoying little sister, Mite, and keeping an eye on the cake-loving sea monster that guards the moving island, Noa has her hands full.

When the siblings learn that their enemies are searching for a weapon capable of defeating Julian—whose legendary spell weaving is feared throughout the kingdom—once and for all, they vow to get to it first. To everyone’s surprise, the key to victory turns out to be a long-lost magical language—and only Noa can speak it.

But what if by helping her brother, Noa ends up losing him?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author to read and review but all thoughts are my own

Spoiler Free Review

I read and loved Fawcett’s young adult series, Even the Darkest Stars, and I was looking forward to reading a middle grade book by her. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this! I feel like with fantasy books, having them being a stand alone can be a hit or a miss and this was definitely a hit.

Noa is our main character and she’s an enjoyable character. Noa is the middle child and the only one without magic but she doesn’t let that stop her from helping. Something Noa desperately wants is her ideas and plans to be heard and the lack of being heard by her older brother Julian leads her into trouble. I think those aspects of her make her a more round of a character, add on top that she’s a bit stubborn and she makes for quite the fun main character.

The world in this book was quite fun. Noa, her family, and everyone else helping to get Julian back on the throne live on an island. But not just any island, a moving island with a people eating seamster below. Beauty is the name of the sea monster and I loved her addition to the story, I don’t think it would quite be the same if she wasn’t in it. I like the uniqueness Fawcett added to the story with the moving island, it’s not something you find commonly amongst a story.

One thing that I found a bit confusing was the magic system and I think part of that has to do with the fact that this is a standalone book. I think if this was a series there would of been more of a chance to further the magic system and get more familiar with it. But with this being a standalone and not that long of one, it didn’t allow for much depth of the magic system.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more of Fawcett’s books!

book review

Becoming Brianna|Book Review

Top Ten Tuesday-53

Title: Becoming Brianna52517819._SX318_SY475_

Author: Terri Libenson

Rating: .75

Genre: Middle Grade

Synopsis: Middle school is full of challenges.

Everyone knows how much brainy Bri likes the spotlight (not). So why did she ever agree to something that forces her to learn a new language, give a speech, help organize a party, and juggle drama at school and home?! As the big event inches closer, Bri wonders if it’s all worth it. . . .

Told in alternating past and present chapters, Bri’s heartwarming story unfolds over the eight months leading up to her bat mitzvah–as well as over the course of the big day itself.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher but all thoughts are my own

Spoiler Free Review

One word to describe this book would be cute. The book follows Brianna who is Jewish because her mother is and in the religion if your mother is Jewish, you’re Jewish. But she quite religious school and can’t really speak Hebrew so when her mom comes asking about her having a Bat Mitzvah, Brianna’s first response is no. Soon however she is telling her mom yes and she is suddenly on the journey to preparing for her Bat Mitzvah.

The book switches from the moment Brianna said yes to having a Bat Mitzvah to the day of her Bat Mitzvah. I think switching back and forth from the past to the present worked really well for this book. We get to see her journey of studying for it and also other things going on in her life and also the moments leading up to when she gets up on the Bimah
(the podium or platform in a synagogue from which the Torah and Prophets are read).

While the main focus of this book is on Brianna and her journey of studying for her Bat Mitzvah, it also focuses on other aspects of her life. More specifically, school and friends. When word gets around at school that she is hosting this awesome party(which in reality is just her Bat Mitzvah party) drama happens between her and her friends. So this book also focuses a bit on that drama and how things are at school and away from school.

This book is a bit of a graphic novel. It isn’t fully a graphic novel because there are parts of the book told without illustrations but about half, maybe a little more, is told with illustrations. I am not a huge graphic novel person but I quite enjoyed that aspect of the book, I think in the future I might give graphic novels a chance.

Although I am much older than Brianna I did find myself relating to her. When I was 13 I too had a bat mitzvah and reading about Brianna preparing for her Bat Mitzvah definitely had me thinking about mine. One thing that makes Brianna nervous about having a Bat Mitzvah is reading another language, Hebrew. I remember I felt exactly the same way. I remember when I was studying for mine and I was talking about how nervous I was, I said something like “I’m going to be up in front of everyone reciting a foreign language!”😂

Overall this was an enjoyable book and I found it very cute.