The Magic Misfits: The Second Story by Neil Patrick Harris

37912471Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pages: Print 336
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Neil Patrick Harris
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was an ARC copy received from a Library conference attended in April 2018. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author. 

Goodreads Synopsis

Growing up in an orphanage, Leila was bullied for being different. But she turned her hardship into skill by becoming an escape artist—a valuable trait when belonging to a group of magical best friends. When a famous psychic comes to town, however, Leila and her pals won’t be able to escape the big mystery heading their way. Whether chasing mad monkeys or banishing ghosts from haunted hotels, these six friends will do their best to keep Mineral Wells safe—but can they still protect themselves in the process?

Join the Magic Misfits as they discover adventure, friendship, and more than a few hidden secrets in this delightful new series. Whether you’re a new fan of stage magic or a longtime expert at illusion, Magic Misfits is sure to delight even more than sawing your assistant in half!

Final Thoughts

This book is geared toward early middle elementary and up. The plot of the story can be a bit mature for younger ages as it dives into a more advanced family drama. The story begins with Leila, sharing her back story, how she developed her love for escaping, and how she meets Mr. Vernon. The story then continues from her perspective as the Magic Misfits work together to uncover secrets tied to a new face in town. A famous psychic returns to town after years away and Leila is the only one that trusts her. The other misfits aim to keep a close eye on the psychic. They misfits team up to investigate an abandoned wing at the hotel the other Mr. Vernon works at. While doing so, they find out more about the psychic and her connection to the town and Mr. Vernon. Can these band of misfits figure out if an old enemy has returned? Can they trust the new the psychic?

Overall this book was great! This book focuses on family dynamics, foster homes, adoption, and friendships. Leila faces a challenge of figuring out who she is and who her birth parents are. She must learn to accept her past once she uncovers the truth. This story has a hint of LGBTQIA, as Leila’s adoptive parents are both males. There is also a bit of family drama that involves the psychic.  This book does a great job of teaching the value of friendship and magic tricks. Neil Patrick Harris fills this book with magic tricks and instructions.

I would recommend this book to any fans of the first novel. I don’t want to compare the two, but I preferred the first novel. That is mostly due to the newness of the characters. I would assume each installment in this series will high a different character, hopefully circling back to Carter. I want to know more about his dad, more information about his involvement in magic. This book focused more on Leila and her story. I am hearing talk of there being more of these to come.

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ARC Review: Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby

img_2562Title: Sleight 
Author:  Jennifer Sommersby 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: Print 408
Release Date: April 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Skyhorse Publishing Inc #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to Skyhorse Publishing Inc #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author the publishing company. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Skyhorse Publishing Inc. 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Growing up in the Cinzio Traveling Players Company, Genevieve Flannery is accustomed to a life most teenagers could never imagine: daily workouts of extravagant acrobatics; an extended family of clowns; wild animals for pets; and her mother, Delia, whose mind has always been tortured by visions—but whose love Geni never questions. In a world of performers who astonish and amaze on a daily basis, Delia’s ghostly hallucinations never seemed all that strange . . . until the evening Geni and her mother are performing an aerial routine they’ve done hundreds of times, and Delia falls to her death.

That night, a dark curtain in Geni’s life opens. Everything has changed.

Still reeling from the tragedy, the Cinzio Traveling Players are also adjusting to the circus’s new owner: a generous, mysterious man whose connection to the circus—Geni suspects—has a dark and dangerous history. And suddenly Geni is stumbling into a new reality of her own, her life interrupted daily by the terrors only Delia used to be able to see.

As the visions around her grow stronger, Geni isn’t sure who she can trust. Even worse, she’s starting to question whether she can trust her own mind.

Favorite Quotes:

“Genevieve, the key to good is found in truth.”

“Henry places one of his now very warm hands on my cheek, the flush of memory pushing through me as the scene unfolds in the forefront of my mind- that day at the circus when we first met in the mess tent as I stood between Baby and Lucian.”

Final Thoughts:

After reading the synopsis of this book, I thought it would be great to request an advanced reader copy of this novel. I have not yet read a book that involved a circus and was very intrigued by the different components showcased in this book. I am a fan of fantasy novels and enjoy books that have some mage component in the storyline. The book starts off with a thrilling opening act involving Delia and her daughter Genevieve. This opening chapter is the part of the book that grabbed my attention from the moment Delia fell to her death while her daughter watched from afar. I almost shrieked in horror after reading this part of the book. The author did a great job capturing this moment in the opening chapter. The book continues with us watching how Gen deals with the loss of her mother and how the circus must move on. A new owner has purchased the circus and while Gen is still trying to figure out the cryptic message her mother left behind, she must also watch her every corner in this new place. She has to figure out who she can trust while diving into her mothers past and trying to connect the puzzle pieces Delia left behind for her. With Baby as her trusted companion, the help of Alicia (a friend of her mothers), and the support of family friends Genevieve will learn more about her mothers past leading to discoveries about herself. Family history is essential in this book as we watch Genevieve, dive into her family tree. She must fight to protect her mothers secrets and protect the ones she loves. Will Genevieve discover the secrets her mother kept hidden from her and will she be able to protect them? What happens when all of her mothers secrets are uncovered? Can she protect everyone she loves and fight for everything her family’s legacy? This is a lot of pressure for a seventeen year old!

Overall this book is written well with copious amounts of descriptive terminology that comes in handy. I was able to imagine the circus based merely on the words used in this novel. The author did a great job capturing my attention throughout this book. It is filled with some subtle and action-packed scenes. I would have preferred to learn more about Henry’s mother and the supporting member’s roles in Delia’s life. I wanted to know more about the other members of the circus and more about Genevieve’s desire to become a Vet. I would have liked more circus action, but the balance seemed adequate with the length of the novel. How has Gen be able to keep that big secret about the power she holds and how long can she keep it?

The story completely entranced me from the moment I opened this book to the ending. The cliffhanger at the end had me wishing for more. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a Young Adult Fantasy novel that focuses on family history, family ties, magic, romance, and circus with a hint of historical references. This book combined all of my favorite genres into one all-encompassing novel. I am more than excited to see what this author does with the second book and am curious as to how Genevieve and Henry’s journey will unfold.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

img_2167Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses 
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Trilogy
Next Book in the Series: A Court of Mist and Fury 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: Print 419
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked out a copy of this book from my local library. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Young Adult Fantasy fiction novel that follows the journey of Fayre. Fayre is an outspoken, energetic, defiant female character. She has taken on the responsibility of ensuring the upkeep of her family by serving as the provider. After her father’s accident and her mother’s death, Fayre decided to take care of her family as a promise to her mother. She must hunt, kill, and trade with the people of the village to feed her father and two sisters. Unfortunately, one kill may be her last. Fayre lives in a land separated from the High Fae, which are magical beings with a variety of powers. The High Fae are known to have a disdain for humans and have slaughtered them in the past. Fayre hunts for survival, when she encounters a wolf in the woods, she has no choice but to kill it. She has no idea that the wolf she murdered is a fairie until she is taken back to the other side of the wall meant to protect them. The High Fae who takes her is wearing a mask. Fayre discovers all of the occupants of this kingdom are forced to wear masks due to a curse that was placed on the entire kingdom out of hatred. Fayre must find her place in this new territory, learn who trust, and fight for the man she loves.

Favorite Quotes:

“Tam told me that your first shot was to save the Suriel’s life. Not your own.” ” It seemed like the right thing to do.”

-I loved this interaction between Lucien and Fayre after she survived an attack that could have killed her. This quote shows a compassionate side to Fayre that I did not get to see earlier in the novel.-

“I’m sending you away because it makes me sick thinking about you in their hands.”

-These were the words Tamlin uttered to Fayre before sending her away to be safe. He made a decision to do what was best for her. I cried when I read this part.-

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I thought this was a great novel. I loved the development of each character, especially Fayre. I also enjoyed the backstory of Lucien and the history of how he became a part of Tamlin’s closest friends. I enjoyed the building of Fayre and Tamlin’s relationship. Tamlin’s strong character fit well with Fayre as they both worked to decide their importance to each other. Fayre is portrayed as a strong female character and faces many obstacles throughout this novel. The writing style of this book was particularly important to me since this book is over four hundred pages. The author did a great job capturing my attention during the entire story. I loved the plot twist, and I especially loved the last few chapters of the book where there is a significant action scene. I think throughout this entire book I hoped that Fayre would overcome her disdain for the High Fae and that she would become a key component in them breaking the curse. There were a lot of moments in this book where I was mainly on the edge of my seat, and I loved it. I enjoyed the build-up of each vital scene and the interaction between each character. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in young adult fantasy fiction. If you are giving this book to a teen, there is a bit of a tame love scene in the middle of the novel (be mindful of this). I am excited to see Fayre and Tamlin’s characters developed more in the next book in this series. I hope to learn more about a particular part of the ending that had me question why Lucien’s father would come to his aid in those challenging moments. (If you’ve read the book then you know what I am referring to.) My feelings were all over the place once I finished this novel. I was angry, and I cried for a moment. I felt a secure connection to each character and that only happened because of the fantastic writing by Sarah J. Mass.

Will I continue to read the remaining books in this series? Yes, of course!
Will I read more books by this author? Yes!

Have you read this series? If so, what were your thoughts?

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The Forgotten Lands by Jennifer Strain


Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was given a copy of this book from the author Jennifer Strain, in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author.

The Forgotten Lands by Jennifer Strain is a fantasy juvenile fiction novel. It follows the story of Sadie and her two cousins. The Forgotten Lands is a short story, being only seventy-five pages long but it is filled with adventure. It makes you remember those stories you grandfather used to tell you as a kid. The stories about when they were younger and how they loved to go on an adventure. This is exactly how this story begins. Sadie’s grandfather tells her the tales of this mysterious apple in the family’s orchid that will lead any child who finds it, on a wonderful adventure through the forgotten lands. I don’t want to give too much away since this is a short book. I do recommend this book to anyone who has a child and is interested in reading it. It is a quick read and is appropriate for any child learning to read chapter books as this is not too overwhelming.

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The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris


Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5 stars

*This review contains a few spoilers in the beginning. This review is solely my own opinion.*

The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris is a juvenile fiction read that focuses on the life of Carter. Carter has had a rough start to his life and continued to face challenges. He is left in the care of his Uncle Sly; the name fits perfectly with his personality. All his life he has just wanted to belong, and you hope that he does. In an attempt to separate himself from his Uncle and no longer be subjected to his Uncle’s foolery, he decides to run away. Carter hops on a train and lands in an unusual town known as Mineral Wells. Carter embarks on a tremendous journey to find a place where he belongs. Of course, this would not be a story without a villain; the villain is B.B. Bosso, a carnival owner, and magician. Carter would not call himself a magician because he did not believe in magic but he did know tricks and had a keen eye for noticing them. Carter stumbles upon the carnival as he enters the town and is amazed by all the tricks. Carter later runs into a gentleman called Mr. Vernon, a man who considers himself to be a magician. As Carter continues to stay in this new town, he must learn who to trust and who not to trust after he is offered a deal that some would not refuse. In this novel we watch Carter meet new friends, build new relationships, and accept himself for who he is. Carter learns to trust his instincts and be more open-minded when it comes to magic. Will Carter stay in Mineral Wells after everything? Who is B.B. Bosso and what is his involvement in the plot twist? I guess you will have to read this book to find out. I have already shared a lot of information.

This book is a selected title for the book club I host. I knew that this is something I must read. The author serves as the narrator in the story by providing inserted magic lessons and interacting with the reader. I love the connection that is made between the narrator and the reader. It feels like the narrator is talking directly to you and it feels like someone is merely telling you a story. This book is very much appropriate for young children as it is filled with magic, adventure, life lessons, and family. It teaches to youth to explore their imagination, to believe in magic, and to always be honest with your friends regardless of the potential outcome. There was one piece of this story that left me wondering. Carter was given a box from his parents, but in the end, we still have no idea what is in that box. I wanted to know more about his parents and what was in that box. I am excited to note that this is the first novel in the series and that there will be more.

This book is available for purchase on all major book outlets such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.