Cakes in Space

Image Credit: Random House, Philip Reeve/Sarah McIntyre

Image Credit: Random House, Philip Reeve/Sarah McIntyre

Who doesn’t want to read a book about monster cakes in space?? Who could pass up a funky cover like this? Cakes in Space is FUN, snarky, totally ridiculous and a great story. This book is a stand-alone but it’s also the second in the Not-So-Impossible Tale Series by the amazing team, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. Their first book, Oliver and the Seawigs, is also awesome.

The book opens with Astra and her family heading to the new planet of Nova Mundi which is 199 years away. Before they’re locked into their pods for hibernation, Astra’s rumbling belly leads her to the ship’s “Nom-a-tron” to get a snack. She asks for the ultimate cake. The machine takes an unusually long time to process her request so she goes back to her pod to hibernate. Unfortunately the machine takes her request too literally and…MAKES CAKES THAT ARE ALIVE!! Astra wakes from her hibernation before everyone else, but 99 years have passed and the cakes have had 99 years to evolve and have taken over the ship! She has to fight the cakes and along the way she makes new friends, trusts her gut and uses her smarts.

McIntyre’s sci-fi illustrations are very cute and inviting. She only uses a few colors; orange, black, brown and gray and it works surprisingly well. This book is a mix between a picture book and a chapter book because there’s an illustration on just about every page. If you have a child who is a little trepidatious about jumping into larger chapter books, this is a great bridge for them because it isn’t too long and it has lots of pictures! It’s also one of my recommended read-aloud books for families.

Recommended for: 2nd Graders and up, Children ready for longer chapter books
Great for: Friendship, Sci-fi, Action/Adventure, Girl Power, Read-Aloud, Diversity
Book Info: Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve/Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre, 2014 Random House, ISBN: 9780385387927

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Image Credit: Bloomsbury USA, Sarah J. Maas

Image Credit: Bloomsbury USA, Sarah J. Maas

I can’t resist a good Beauty and the Beast inspired story. I also can’t resist a well-written romance, especially one with powerful a heroine. Sarah J. Maas’ lush writing will pull you into her complex, romantic world of dark magic and Faeries. If you already love her bestselling Throne of Glass series, you won’t be disappointed. Maas is marketing this novel as “New Adult” though it is sectioned in Young Adult as well. This book is definitely for the upper age range of teen due to violence and some sexual situations.

A Court of Thorns and Roses opens on a cold wintry evening with huntress Feyre tracking a deer. Her family is depending on her for a kill. She kills an abnormally large wolf that turns out to be more than a wolf; it’s a shape-shifting High Faerie of the realm Prythian. A few hours later another beastly wolf bursts through her door and takes her to his realm as punishment. A life for a life he says. As Feyre is trapped in his realm and in his house, she learns more about Tamlin, her captor and immortal Faerie. Their strong personalities clash but slowly, they start to respect and fall for each other. He needs her and she must fight for him as darkness threatens to change his world forever.

Feyre and Tamlin don’t give up on each other and the most enjoyable aspect of the novel for me was seeing the development of their relationship and the sacrifices they make. Feyre is a strong woman! She doesn’t let him push her around and loves him fiercely. Teens (and adults) who value excellent storytelling with a healthy dose of romance, fantasy and action will enjoy the first novel in this new series.

Recommended for: Older Teens to Adult
Great for: Girl Power, Action/Adventure, Romance, Fantasy, Love, Inner-Strength
Book Info: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, 2015 Bloomsbury USA, ISBN: 9781619634442