The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, by Nancy Farmer

Tendai, Kuda, and Rita are the sheltered children of the chief of security of a futuristic Zimbabwe. When they decide they want to have an adventure, they manage to sneak off their property out into the underbelly of the city. There, they fall off the radar, and their father hires three detectives with special powers (Ear, Eye, and Arm) to find the lost children. The story jumps between narratives of Ear, Eye, and Arm and of the kids. 

This was a fantastic adventure story in a futuristic land. I’ve loved several of Farmer’s books, and this one didn’t disappoint. I loved the way she split the story so that we could see both the pursuers and the pursued. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes kid’s science fiction, or to kids between the ages of 9-12. I wish my nephew read, because I’d insist he read it. ūüôā


The Three Sisters, by Sonia Halbach

The Three Sisters (The Krampus Chronicles Book 1), by Sonia Halbach
This book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange 
for a fair and honest review. 
Every Christmas Eve, Maggie has the same dream. Santa is walking on the top of her grandfather’s manor, when suddenly he slides off the end. But this year is different. This year, it’s a nightmare in which he is pushed by something sinister. Awakened from her dream, she decides to go sledding – ending up in an accident that leads to meeting the handsome (but older) Henry. Henry has come with strange claims: that Maggie’s grandfather, who is well known for writing the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, had plagiarized his poem.¬†


While exploring the mansion for proof of plagiarism, Henry and Maggie are accidentally swept into a strange underground village named Poppel – a village strangely resembling Santa’s fabled home. But not all is right in Poppel. It is ruled by tyrants called the Garrison, and Nikolaos is missing. She and Henry must find three hidden objects before the end of Christmas Eve, or else Maggie, Henry and their families are in terrible danger – as is the hidden village of Poppel.¬†

This was a refreshingly unique story based on the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Alpine German folklore of the anti-Santa named Krampus. Who knew a world could be built just around such a short poem? And I’d never heard of Krampus before reading this book. (Of course, just yesterday I went to the theaters and found out that a movie named Krampus is soon to be released, though there seems to be no relation between the two.) I really enjoyed reading this book. It was cute, adventurous, and had a tad of romantic tension. And one thing I really loved about this book is that the story was complete at the end. That is the perfect¬†beginning¬†to a series, as far as I’m concerned. I will definitely watch for¬†the next in the series.¬†

4 snowflakes for creativity, action, romance, and fun

Black Five, by J. Lynn Bailey

Black Five, by J. Lynn Bailey
In exchange for a fair and honest review,
I received an advanced release copy of this book through NetGalley

in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Penelope Jackson has had a hard life. Her earliest memories were living with her crack-addicted adopted mother – who died when she was 8. Scarred by horrible memories of that time, Penelope moved to live with her aunt JoAnne. Life for the next almost-10-years went pretty calmly. She wasn’t popular in school, but she had her couple of good friends, and her loving aunt. But then everything changed. She found out that she’d been lied to her whole life. That she was a special immortal being called a “black five.” She was the only one who could save the world from an evil tyrant.¬†

I think this book would appeal to its target audience – perhaps 12-15 year old girls. Penelope is a unique, charming, and engaging character. The two romantic interests are handsome, powerful, masculine, mysterious, and totally¬†enamored¬†by¬†her. This is also a nice story because the main character is a girl; but a loving, strong-willed, powerful one. Flawed, as well, which makes her likable. Most stories like this feature a boy as the magical-one-who-will-save-the-world (e.g. Harry Potter). Or if it’s a girl, she’s either a weak, needy one (yeah, I’m thinking Bella Swann); or a hard, unempathetic one (e.g. Tris or Katniss). I’m thinking of this book as sort of a mix between Harry Potter and Twilight. It’s young, it’s clean, it’s magical, and it’s got that love triangle. So, yes, if you’ve got a 12-15 year old girl who loves this type of book, it’s¬†definitely¬†appropriate and enjoyable. ¬†

Now I get to the part that’s harder to say, but this is a “fair and honest review” after all. This book was not for me. I doubt it’s really for many adults at all. Love triangles? Ick. Not only do they give me the willies because I feel like the girl likes one guy and leads on the other, but they always seem to be leading on the guy that I think is better (so it always comes with¬†disappointment¬†in the end). Oh, and the Edward Cullen¬†creepiness factor? It’s in this one too. Except – oh change-up! – it’s in the guy that I actually like. ūüôā Another problem I had with this book is the¬†lengthy¬†journal section. The hand-writing was¬†atrocious. The¬†writer¬†even admitted that his writing¬†was atrocious. It was an incredible struggle for me to read.¬†

Ok. So here’s what I think. This book wasn’t for me, but it’s a great book for 12-year-old girls. Therefore, I think it’s fair-and-honest to give the book 4 stars with the disclaimer: this is a book for young girls. ūüôā

4 stars for appropriateness, likable characters, and magical story