Blog Tour: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Book Cover

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Date of publication: October 1st, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Children’s Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received: Publisher

Trigger Warnings: None


Goodreads Synopsis:

The new face of big evil is a little . . . small.

Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.

Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all?


Review:

I am always on the lookout for books that my 13-year-old can read. My son is a voracious reader and will read anything that I give him. So, when I saw The Dark Lord Clementine’s blurb, the book caught my interest. I thought to myself: “My son would like this, but I need to read the book first.” I am glad that I did because The Dark Lord Clementine was a great read!!

The Dark Lord Clementine is a story about a girl named Clementine. She lives in a dilapidated castle with her Dark Lord father. One day, Clementine notices her father is missing his nose. That is when she finds out that the Whittle Witch has cursed him. Clementine takes it upon herself to try and find a cure for the curse. She also tries to assume the Dark Lord duties that her father cannot do. With the Whittle Witch waiting to take over the castle, Clementine is running out of time. Can she save her father?

The plotline for The Dark Lord Clementine was evenly paced. The flow of the book was perfect. It wasn’t too fast or too slow. There was no lag in the book or dropped plotlines either, which I enjoyed.

I loved Clementine. She was a timid little girl at the beginning of the book. But as the book went on, I could see her character growth. By the end of the book, she became this confident young woman. I loved it!!

I did feel bad for Clementine. She didn’t have any friends. Well, human friends. She did have the nightmares and the black sheep for company. But other than that, nothing. She longed for friends, even if she wouldn’t admit it to herself. Hiding in the shadows and watching the villagers play said so much. So, when Sebastian and then Darka befriended her, I was happy. Clementine needed it.

I didn’t care for Darka at the beginning of the book. I wouldn’t say I liked that she befriended Clementine to gain favor and hunt in the woods around the castle. I didn’t particularly appreciate that she was hunting unicorns. But I liked that her story had more depth to it. When it was revealed, I started to pity her. But it was Darka’s actions at the end of the book that made me love her!!!

I loved the humor in the book. The Gricken is the most notable one. When Clementine was younger, she tried to turn a frog into a chicken. Unfortunately (and hilariously), the spell backfired, and she turned her family grimoire into it. If she wants to learn a spell, she has to wait for the Gricken to lay an egg. There is a hilarious scene where Clementine pleads with the Gricken to lay an egg. I laughed so hard; I had tears in my eyes.

The end of The Dark Lord Clementine was perfect. I am not going to get into it because of major spoilers. I will say that what Clementine did was brave. The way the book ended made me wonder if there was going to be a book 2.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. : Book 1) by Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co.:  The Screaming Staircase by [Stroud, Jonathan]

3 Stars

Publisher: Disney Book Group, Disney-Hyperion

Date of publication: August 26th, 2014

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, paranormal

Number of pages: 401

POV: 1st person

Series: Lockwood & Co.

The Screaming Staircase – Book 1

The Dagger in the Desk – Book 1.5

The Whispering Skull – Book 2

The Hollow Boy – Book 3

The Creeping Shadow – Book 4

The Empty Grave – Book 5

Where you can find The Screaming Staircase: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead, she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately, this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by specters, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humor and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

Trigger Warning: Suicide after the fact, Murder after the fact

Continue reading “The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. : Book 1) by Jonathan Stroud”

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: A Fiendish Arrangement (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: Book 1) by Alexandra Bracken

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)

Title: The Dreadful Tale Of Prosper Redding

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney Book Group, Disney-Hyperion

Date of publication: September 5th, 2017

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding – Book 1

Where you can find The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness.”

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type. 

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host. 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts, passed down from generation to generation. Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: A Fiendish Arrangement (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: Book 1) by Alexandra Bracken”

Dream Magic (Shadow Magic: Book 2) by Joshua Khan

Dream Magic (Shadow Magic, #2)

Title: Dream Magic

Author: Joshua Khan

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Date of publication: April 11th, 2017

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Young Adult

Grade level: 3-7

Number of pages: 352

Series: Shadow Magic

Shadow Magic – Book 1

Dream Magic – Book 2

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A fabulously exciting sequel to the fantasy adventure SHADOW MAGIC.

People throughout Gehenna are disappearing, even the feared executioner Tyburn. Many of the nobles believe the kidnappings to be the work of the northern trolls, raiding south for the winter, and when Baron Sable and others head off to fight them, Castle Gloom is left guarded by only the squires.

Lily is struggling with her growing necromantic powers. The castle fills with ghosts, drawn like moths to a flame by the brightness of her magic. Zombies roam the country, some left over from those raised in SHADOW MAGIC, others awakened by Lily. Families are troubled by the returning dead, so Lily tries to incorporate them into day-to-day life, much to the resentment of the living.

Then Lily is attacked in her own castle by a mysterious sorcerer known as Dreamweaver, a young man determined to conquer Gehenna using jewel-spiders, strange crystalline creatures whose bite doesn’t kill but sends victims to sleep. Lily soon discovers that Dreamweaver is harvesting dreams to fuel his magic.

Lily enters the realm of sleep known as the Dream Time, in an attempt to awaken all the captive dreamers. Instead, she finds herself trapped within a dream, one where her family is still alive. With the help of Thorn and the ever loyal Hades, she must somehow overcome the evil Dreamweaver by using his own magic against him – and reclaim her kingdom.

My review:

I really, really, really wish that I had read book one of this series. Not that I didn’t like the book (I did) but I felt kinda lost during the first couple of chapters. But, besides feeling lost, which really only lasted a couple of chapters, I loved the rest of the book. Like I had mentioned in another blog, I have reviewed a fair amount of middle-grade books lately. Like I also mentioned in that blog, my two oldest children are in 3rd and 5th grade. I am always scouting out new books for them to read and again, with this book, I have found a book that I think that they would like. Scratch that, I know my son, the 3rd grader, would love it. This book is right up his alley. My daughter, the 5th grader, is difficult to find books that she would read.

While this book has some darker elements in it, they weren’t completely dark….if you know what I mean. Zombies are featured predominately in the book. While they are scary and they do want to eat brains, they aren’t typical zombies. They can communicate, they can work. Their other urges are nulled by being in Lily’s general area of power. Which I thought was very cool and it toned down on the creepiness factor.

I liked Lily a lot. She was dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ and brother’s murders by her uncle, trying to run a country at 13 and trying to keep her magic (necromancy) under wraps because of superstitions of her people about a woman doing magic. On top of it all, she has to deal with an arranged marriage to a boy who is the total opposite of her, she is trying to find out who is behind the abduction of her people and the trolls have amassed an army and is marching on Castle Gloom. She also found out that using her magic, a lot, can cause some unforeseen issues with her body. Poor kid was dealing with a lot and she was dealing with it the best that she could.

Thorn, I loved. He was exactly what Lily needed. He was trustworthy, loyal to her and he was willing to do whatever he could to protect her and to protect Castle Gloom. Plus, he had a pretty cool bat mount named Hades. He was the one who found out where the crystal spiders were coming from and he was part of the group that stayed at Castle Gloom when the rest of the army went to fight the trolls.

Now, I will say that the storyline surrounding Weaver, the bad guy, was very dark and I actually felt bad for him….which is rare for me. It was a tragic story and I did like the small plot twist that took place when his story was revealed. I was shocked, along with Lily, when it was revealed who Weaver was. But my feeling bad for him lasted exactly two chapters and then I didn’t like him again….lol. The crystal spiders were an interesting aspect of the book too.

All of the storylines were merged beautifully and there was no lull in the chapter between the author doing that and the ending chapters. I will say that a couple of plot twists in the book (one that was mentioned) got me. The one at the end absolutely had me fooled and I was surprised when it ended up not being what I thought (and feared) it was. I also liked how the author left the book open for a book 3.

How many stars will I give Dream Magic: 4

Why: I think that this will be a great book for kids in 3rd grade through 7th grade (as mentioned above). The characters were fleshed out and likable (or unlikable…depending on who you were reading), the potential scary characters were made not so scary by humanizing them and I really liked that the book had a strong female main character. I would be very comfortable letting my 3rd and 5th graders read these books

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Child

Why: Mild violence. Potentially scary characters for younger readers (trolls and zombies)

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker

The Star Thief

Title: The Star Thief

Author: Lindsey Becker

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of publication: April 11th, 2017

Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s Fiction

Number of pages: 408

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Honorine’s life as a maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia’s study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night…

Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?

My review:

When I saw the cover for this book on NetGalley, I thought it was cute. I mean, two kids sitting on the back of Pegasus in star constellation form? Adorable!! When I read the synopsis, I went “Hmm”, would this be a book that my 9 and 11-year-old like?”. So, I requested this book and I was thrilled when I got selected to review it.

What I liked that there was a bit of steampunk in the book. If you have followed this blog, you all know how much of a fan I am of steampunk. So I was thrilled when I saw that there were airships and other steampunk elements in the book. The bees were probably the coolest part of the book. They were all mechanical and acted like real bees. Except they didn’t make honey, they tracked down the Mordant’s and reported where they were to Captain Nautilus.

I loved the use of the constellations in The Star Thief. What a great way to get kids to look to the stars and track the constellations. I even got into it, googling the names of the various characters and seeing what constellations they were attached too. There was a lot that I wasn’t aware of (not that I know a lot about constellations). Like I said, it was truly fascinating.

Honorine was a very spirited girl. She had been raised in the Vidalia (yes, like the onion…lol) household with her best friend, Francis, and worked there as a maid. She loved inventing and dedicated her free time to doing so. She was also very spunky and knew her own mind. So when the Mapmaker showed up to “save” her, she questioned him. And she questioned his motives during the entire book. She was a very smart girl.

I was a little shocked when it was revealed who Honorine’s parents were. Actually, a little shocked wasn’t the word for it. I did feel a disconnect when she actually met her parents. Maybe because they weren’t like “Oh my baby girl, I have searched for you” and smothered her with kisses. Instead, her father wanted to use her for his own agenda and her mother, well, she wasn’t very motherly….lol.

The end of the story was full of action and I liked how everyone had an HEA….including the bad guys.

How many stars will I give The Star Thief: 4

Why: This is a perfect story for any child between the ages of 8-12. The storyline is great and keeps your attention and the characters are likable. The drawings at the beginning of each chapter are beautiful and I can’t wait to see them in paperback (I am pre-ordering for my son).

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Child

Why: some very mild violence and one scene where Honorine is hurt that might upset some younger readers. Other than that, a perfect children’s book.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Pixie and The Green Book Mystery by Coraline Grace, Illustrations by Encarna Dorado

Pixie and the Green Book Mystery - Grayscale Illustrations

Title: Pixie and The Green Book Mystery

Author:  Coraline Grace

Illustrator: Encarna Dorado

Publisher: Wonder Bay Publishing

Date of publication: November 19th, 2016

Genre: Children’s book, Fantasy

Number of pages: 97

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (via Goodreads):

Pixie’s school day is an apple disaster, but a trip to the library changes everything. Fairy tales have come to life out of their books and danger is lurking. It’s up to our book-loving hero to get them out of the mysterious green book and back into their stories. But time is running out, Tick! Tock!

My review:

Pixie and The Green Book is a very cute children’s book that follows Pixie as she has an awful day in school and out. The only bright spot in the day was when her mother took her to the library. Pixie loves the library and was thrilled to go. But once she was there, she finds the usual librarian wasn’t there and her replacement was a mean older man who hushed her all the time. While Pixie is looking at the children’s section, she sees a glowing green book and what happens after she opens the book becomes an adventure to return fairytale characters to their books and to defeat the Book Guardian, who is trying to trap the fairy tales. Just what a girl who had a bad day needed!!!

This book was very easy to read with a simple plot line that was very easy to follow. Pixie definitely was very likable and I could see a child relating to her when reading the book. The Book Guardian was a bit scary (I read this out loud to my 3 and 9-year-old) but it wasn’t anything that would give kids nightmares. My 9-year-old actually said that he reminded him of his father…..lol (which made me crack up laughing).

The storyline with the fairy tales getting taken out of their books by the evil Book Guardian was very cute also. I liked the twist that the author put in as to where the fairy tales were going and I liked the paperback is better than electronic devices undercurrent.

The end of the book was a bit of a cliffhanger and I was left wondering about the pencils (read the book!!). Also, and this was my favorite part of the book was the glossary at the end of the books with words that kids who are reading it might not know. The author included very simple definitions and I thought it was great!!! Also, there were some questions if the book was being read in class (or if you were reading it to your child) that made the kids think about what they just read. As a mother with a child who has reading comprehension issues, this impressed me and I wish that all children’s books in this age/grade range would do that.

How many stars will I give Pixie and the Green book: 4

Why: This is a great read for anyone between the ages of 8-10 (or in grades 2-4). With a simple plotline, cute characters and a villain who was the right amount of scary, I can see children absolutely loving it. For the adults (and the children), a glossary of words that could be confusing and a question/answer section round the book out. Also, at 97 pages, this will keep a child’s attention.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Child

Why: Clean book with a very slightly scary villain.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**