Fly Into Fantasy
Would you like a break from the everyday routine world? If so, fly into fantasy with these books. You can take a journey to Wonderland, to a mysterious and magical island located in the afterlife, to another remote island where real magic exists, or to a fairy underground. You can also join three children and a greyhound who is a folk Catholic saint on a long and interesting journey.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Did you ever wonder how the Queen of Hearts ended up like she did? A mean woman who was constantly yelling, "off with her head!" Well, it turns out that she wasn't always like this. As a young girl, Catherine, wants nothing more than to open her own bakery with the help of her maid. However, her parents have other ideas about what a proper young lady of the nobility should be doing with her life, especially when she catches the interest of the king who is an eligible bachelor. Added to this mix is the king's mysterious new joker who intrigues and fascinates Catherine. Will Catherine be able to realize her dreams of owning a bakery and marrying for love? Or will the fates in the form of three eerie small girls stand in her way? Read Heartless by Marissa Meyer to find out.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cardova
In Labyrinth Lost, the main character, Alex, is a witch. But she doesn't want to be one. Magic has cost her family dearly. Alex's father left after Alex had to kill her possessed cat. A boy at school attacked her friend and she inadvertently made a snake come out of his mouth. Her Deathday is quickly approaching. On this day, all of her relatives (both living and dead) will bless her and she will fully receive her magic. But Alex doesn't want this to happen. So she changes a few details of the ceremony. The results are disastrous! Both she and her family are pulled into Los Lagos, a mysterious and magical island like no other where an evil sorceress lives. The sorceress has destroyed everything on the island. Now, Alex must reach the labyrinth to rescue the souls of her family, both living and dead. But in a land where nothing is as it seems and you must always look twice to see the true nature of your environment and your companions, Alex's task is anything but easy.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Do you like magic and the Game of Thrones? If you do, you'll love Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. On the remote island of Fennbird where real magic exists - not the magic brought about solely by spells - three princesses are born to the queen in every generation. Each of these princesses has her own magical gift. The princess with the elemental gift can control and even create the weather. The princess with the naturalist gift can cause flowers to bloom and calm the fiercest beast. The princess who is the poisoner can eat and drink the most deadly poisons and not get sick or die. Yet only one princess can become queen. As the rhyme goes:
"Three dark queens
Are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets
Will never be friends
Three dark sisters
All fair to be seen,
Two to devour
And one to be Queen"
Only one sister can win the crown and keep her life. Of the three sisters, Mirabella, the elemental, has the most magic and power. Arsinoe, the naturalist, and Katharine, the poisoner, are lacking in their magic and power. Or are they?
The ending is a cliffhanger and the story is to be continued in the sequel, One Dark Throne, will be available in September 2017.
This is a charming and enchanting tale about three children who are misfits, unlikely friends, and most surprisingly, saints! Jeanne, the peasant girl, has visions of the future. Jacob, the Jewish boy, is able to heal people with a prayer and a yarrow root. William, a young monk, has the strength of Samson. The three children are accompanied by a greyhound named Gwenforte, who magically arose from the dead.
The tale is told as a narrative. The inquisitor, who wants to determine if the children are indeed truly saints, hears the story of the children through the following people: a librarian at the monastery, the butcher, the innkeeper, the jongleur (juggler), the chronicler, the companion, the friar, the troubadour, and most importantly the nun who seems to be omniscient.
King Louis and the queen mother, Blanche of Castile, are pursuing the children and their dog because they want to save copies of the Talmud (a Jewish religious text) from being burned.
This book, while light-hearted and entertaining, especially when it describes the dragon who has poisonous farts, also brings up the issues of religion, faith, absolute concepts, tolerance, and wanting to belong and fit in. It is a book that gets the reader thinking about important concepts while also entertaining the reader.
At the end of the book in the section : Author's Note: Where Did This Story Come From? the author explains that some of the characters, such as King Louis and Blanche of Castile, were real, but the other characters even though they were imaginary were based upon real people. For example, Jeanne, was based on Joan of Arc and the greyhound, Gwenforte, was actually based on a dog that was a Catholic folk saint, Guinefort. William was inspired the legend of Guilhem or Guillaume d'Orange who fought in Spain against the Muslims who had recently conquered that land.
This educational and entertaining book is for children in grades 5 to 10, but I believe that book can be read and enjoyed by children, young adults, and adults.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
As a little girl, Liesl dreamed of composing music that the world would listen to. She also played with the Goblin King in the Goblin Grove. Now, she is a woman. Life has not been kind to Liesl. Her father tells her "you must grow up and stop indulging in these romantic flights of fancy." She has a crush on her sister's fiance, Hans. Liesl finds solace in her close relationship with her brother, Josef, but if he becomes an apprentice to Master Antonius, he will leave home. Liesl's father drinks his salary away.
For all of Liesl's life, her grandmother, Constanze, has told Liesl and her sister, Kathe, to beware of the Goblin King. According to legend, each winter, the Goblin King selects a beautiful maiden for his bride. The maiden disappears with the Goblin King and sacrifices her life underground with the goblins so that spring will appear in the world above.
The Goblin King captures Kathe, but he really wants Liesl for his bride. After Liesl becomes his wife, she realizes the enormity of her sacrifice - not only must she lose her life, she must also lose all of her senses. But the opportunity to break free of her role as dutiful daughter and supportive sister, enable her to find out who she really is. And as the Goblin King falls in love with Liesl, he must ask himself if love is enough to conquer the old laws that require the sacrifice.