Sleep, Merel, Sleep

sleepmerelsleep_cover-animatedSleep, Merel, Sleep by Silke Stein (Released on June 7th!)

Synopsis: Who wants to be awake forever?

Life has changed for eight-year-old Merel. Since the birth of her sick baby brother, her parents seem to have forgotten she exists. But when she finds a tiny silver violin in her bedroom rug, things take a turn for the worse.

Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her and that she must embark on a perilous journey to recover it or stay awake forever. Together with her devoted toy sheep Roger, tired Merel sets out in search of Lullaby Grove. Before long, she finds herself haunted by a scary stranger.

Follow Merel into a surreal world. Meet a sleepy king with an obsession for feathers and a transparent old man on a night train going nowhere. Discover why the moonfish cry, why you should never walk across the Great Yawns ― and if poor Merel can escape her pursuer, win back her sleep, and realize what matters most in her life.

3.5 stars. This book was very abstract and weird, but quite interesting. It would be a great pick for middle-grade children who are about to become big brothers or sisters. Merel’s brother was just born, and Merel isn’t too pleased with him. Because he is sick, Merel’s parents never have time for her. One night, Merel’s sleep abandons her and she must go on a whimsical journey to find her “Sleep” and return his violin to him so that she can go to bed. Along the way, she meets friends and enemies and learns about what truly matters in her life.

I do wish that some things were explained a little more and that the transitions weren’t so odd and quick. It was a little like Alice in Wonderland, where the story is one nonsensical adventure after another, but it was still fun. Also, I wished that the ending wasn’t so abrupt, and didn’t leave so many loose ends untied. The last chapter or so confused me at first, because Merel went from one situation to another without explanation.

I liked how Silke Stein incorporated the issues of death of a loved one and the sickness of a premature sibling. It explains it in a way that children could understand, but adults can relate to.

The various characters were imaginative and interesting, and were one of the best parts of this book. Merel is relatable and brave. Though a bit unlikable at first (I mean, she threw enough tantrums that even her sleep abandoned her), she grew into a strong and smart little girl.

ARC provided by the author, Silke Stein, in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

 

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Stories from the Witch Store

witchstore

Stories from the Witch Store by Olga Gutsol (114 pages, Published 8/20/2017)

Summary: Funny and imaginative chronicles from the life of a hereditary witch Arelia who, along with her loyal companions Cat and house-ghost Puck, moved to the small town of Burnaville to open the Magic Potions store. Here she falls into a lifetime of boredom. How have her magical powers resulted in this? What is missing from the charming life she has built?

Review: I rated this book 3.5 stars. It’s quite a cute book (I mean, look at that cover!) with beautiful illustrations and lots of fun adventures for a witch and her best friends. Arelia is witty and interesting, although she can be a bit annoying sometimes, complaining a lot and thinking that she is above everything and everyone because she’s a witch. Cat and Puck (the house spirit) are quite funny. I also wish that there was more backstory. We don’t get to find out much about Arelia before she moves to Burnaville or any of the other characters before the story. And although there are a lot of interesting day-to-day experiences, there isn’t a whole lot of a plot, so if you’re interested in something with a clear story arc, character development, and some sort of overarching goal, this might not be the book for you. Still, it was a very compelling premise. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything where a witch is just jotting down her everyday adventures, and it was very interesting to read about Arelia’s type of witchcraft. Stories from the Witch Store was an interesting, fast, and beautiful read.


Note: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.