Against the Tide, by Tui T. Sutherland


Summary: Against the Tide is the fifth book in Spirit Animals, a middle-grade fantasy series imagined by Brandon Mull. The first one is called Wild Born, by Brandon Mull. The story picks up where book four left off. The team is looking for the amulets from other Great Beasts while trying to figure out if they have a mole in their midst.

My Thoughts: Spirit Animals is such an adorable series appropriate for middle-school-age kids. I plan on giving the first in the series to my 8-year-old step-daughter. It may be slightly above her reading level, but it’s the right level to challenge a second or third grader.

I love that Spirit Animals is written by different authors for each book – it introduces new authors to me. Against the Tide did not disappoint. I had some good laughs and was engaged the entire time. The story-line is not predictable, despite being appropriate for younger children. I am excited to get the next in the series, and will certainly look at what other books Sutherland has written.

The Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova

510cvzpkoll-_sl500_Synopsis: Alexandria leaves her home in America to travel Bulgaria and teach. But on her first day there, she runs into a mysterious family, whose bag she accidentally “steals.” When she discovers how valuable the contents are, she feels she has to find the family and return the bag personally. However, the family is difficult to find and she is led on a wild goose chase looking for them. All the while, strange people are following and threatening her.


My Thoughts: This is Kostova’s attempt to do for Bulgaria what she did for Istanbul in The Historian. I was hoping this book would turn out as good as The Historian, but it fell flat for me. What was the point of the plot again? It was a bit silly. And so wordy. I was hoping there’d be a fascinating big reveal at the end that would make this 18.5 hour audiobook worthwhile, but the ending was about as mediocre as the middle. Despite this total meh-ness, I give the book 3.5 snowflakes instead of only three because the book was interesting at times, and the writing flowed well.

3 and half snowflakes