Book Review: ‘Witchlings’

Witchlings” by Claribel A. Ortega

Source: Scholastic in exchange for honest review

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy

Summary:

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…


You can never really have enough books about finding your place in this world. It’s one of those universal experiences that draws us all together. Witchlings sounds like many other beloved fantasy books: children come of age in a society that places them in groups that will shape their futures and of course, there’s trouble that comes along with the territory.

Even though that’s a trope and story arc that’s been explored time and again, Witchlings feels fresh and new. It’s a different take on the magic that we often see within Middle Grade fantasy.

Seven, Thorn, and Valley are a great group of characters. They feel fully developed and you just want to get to know them more. Some of the words & phrases in the world are a little too sweet and silly for my taste.

Heavy subjects are touched on through the story in an age appropriate way.

All in all, a charming new addition to the middle grade fantasy world.

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Book Review: ‘Hunters of the Lost City’

Hunters of the Lost City” by Kali Wallace

Source: Quirk Books in exchange for honest review

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy

Summary:

Twelve-year-old Octavia grew up believing the town of Vittoria was the only one left in the world. The sole survivors of a deadly magical war and plague, the people of Vittoria know there’s no one alive outside the town walls—except the terrible monsters that prowl the forest.

But then the impossible happens: Octavia meets another girl beyond the walls, someone who isn’t Vittorian. Everything she’s ever believed is thrown into question, and there’s no going back.

In her quest for the truth, Octavia discovers a world full of lies, monsters, and magic. She’ll have to use every scrap of her skill, wits, and courage to uncover what’s real about Vittoria and the rest of the world.

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Book Review: ‘I Must Betray You’

I Must Betray You” by Ruta Sepetys

Source: Penguin Teen in exchange for honest review

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction

Summary:

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom? 

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Book Review: ‘The Downstairs Girl’

The Downstairs Girl” by Stacey Lee

Source: Book of the Month YA

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction

Summary:

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.

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Book Review: “My Calamity Jane”

“My Calamity Jane” by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Source: Library

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction

Summary:

Welcome ​to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou.

JANE (a genuine hero-eene)

Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do, she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short. 

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