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.





The Electrical Menagerie & Giveaway!

39719906The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reader (Releases on June 9th!)

Synopsis: The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.

Sylvester Carthage, illusionist, and engineer has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.

To save their show, Carthage & Huxley stake everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, the Menagerie’s bid at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians — but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.

Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.

4 stars. The Electrical Menagerie was a fantastical adventure reminiscent of The Greatest Showman and Caraval. It was a whimsical journey through the fame, danger, and magic of the show business on the Celestial Isles. I haven’t really been a fan of the steampunk genre in the past, but this book really changed my views on it. It was a fun, fast-paced read that got my attention right from the Prologue. I really love the writing style- it’s descriptive, it’s imaginative, and it makes you feel like you are right in the action. All of the plot twists caught me by surprise and the murder mystery side of the story had me interested and guessing, and the conclusion was thrilling and satisfying, leaving room for future stories but not a cliffhanger.

The book is filled with well-developed characters that you can easily relate to. They are well-thought out and have seemingly real emotions and thoughts. Carthage and Huxley, the main characters, are so different, yet their friendship is very real.

The world was also extremely well developed. I could imagine everything so well, but it wasn’t too wordy or dense. Floating islands, stars that orbit the planet, space trains, holopapers, and magical electricals.

I don’t really have much to complain about with this book. Perhaps some of the tricks and shows could have been explained just a little better, and the backstories of some of the minor characters could have been elaborated on just a little more, but other than that, there isn’t anything to complain about.

Amazing storytelling, fleshed-out characters, and a mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat- it makes for a fascinating tale and a series that I am looking forward to seeing more in the future!

Note: I was provided with a free advanced review copy of this book. This does not affect the content of my review.


Until June 13, you can enter to win a Celestial Isles Prize Pack from the author. This includes: “High Victorian” luxury playing cards, a handmade galaxy mug, a Science and Engineering themed notebook set, and a tin of Electrical Menagerie themed tea! (US only.) Click on this link and enter to win!

Stories from the Witch Store


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.



Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Illustrated by Carson Ellis

Number of Pages: 560


Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.

So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater, as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Review: I really enjoyed this book. It was a cool concept and I loved all of the illustrations throughout the book. The beginning was a little boring, but it got more exciting at it went along, and it turned out to be pretty action-packed and adventurous.

I didn’t like the characters very much. None of the main characters seemed to have back stories or unique emotions. You don’t really get to know Curtis or Prue.

I also thought that the book was pretty predictable. All the people you expected to be bad were bad and all the people you expected to be good were good. Nothing super exciting happened. Overall, I’d give it a three out of five stars.