Review: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanen McGuire

Series: Wayward Children
Genres: Fantasy, Novella
Maturity Level: 5-
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

This review is going to be one of my shortest ever, because I don’t have a lot to say. Guys … I didn’t love this book!

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Favorites February: The Subtle Knife

Thanks for dropping in for week two of Favorites February! This week I re-read my least favorite book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Subtle Knife. I say least favorite, but obviously I enjoy this series to have read and re-read it, lol.


Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld – Cittàgazze, where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies: twelve-year-old Will Parry, fleeing for his life after taking another’s, has also stumbled into this strange new realm. On a perilous journey from world to world, Lyra and Will uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devastating power. And with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat – and the shattering truth of their own destiny.

Why I Love This Book

  • The multiple-worlds are expanded upon and finally explained in this book, and I love it. More please!
  • Will. He is so troubled and confused and INTERESTING!
  • I love how Will and Lyra become joint-protagonists.
  • Lyra finally gets called out for being childish.
  • More witches!
  • New ways to communicate with Dust.
  • The waiting and build-up surrounding Dust in the first book has BIG payoff in this one.
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Review: Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Series: Sorcerer Royal
Genre: Fantasy
Maturity Level: 3
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At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Sorcerer to the Crown was completely different than I was expecting, and I’m not sure that it really worked for me. The best way I can think to describe this book was that it’s a Pratchett-esque take on Jane Austen. If you like dry humor, satire, and social reforms, you will probably enjoy this book.

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Most Popular Books on my Goodreads TBR

Last week I wrote about the books on my to-reads list on goodreads that had the fewest ratings. Mostly because I think it’s so funny to look at my strange taste in books. In retrospect it’s not at all shocking that nobody was particularly interested in that post, because who wants to hear a bunch of negativity?*

So in contrast, I thought it might be fun THIS week to look at the most popular books! As with last week, by “most popular” I mean the most people have read/left ratings. NOT has the highest star ratings, because Goodreads star ratings can’t be trusted. Buuuut that’s a point for another post. Shall I get on with it, then?

*While the post was not negative, one might expect it to be based on the title…


Author: Frank Herbert
Number of Ratings: 662,384
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I’m kind of shocked this is THE most popular book on my list, mostly since I have a lot of sci-fi/fantasy favorites on there, but it’s in no way surprising that Dune is on this list. Probably even more surprising is that literally HALF of all ratings are 5-star ratings, so… That’s something! I meant to read Dune this past summer, because it’s so long and summer vacation is typically when I have the most time to read. But then I ended up taking three classes, so it never happened. BUT! I got it for Christmas, so 2020 is the year! It’s going to finally happen! (Me and everyone else… I’m seeing this book EVERYWHERE right now…)

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Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction

A fight to the death!

Or at least a fight over my tbr…

I got in a conversation with my brother in law this weekend about literary fiction. I made a joke about the Academy Awards that he didn’t find funny, because he thinks I shouldn’t criticize a bunch of movies I haven’t seen. Which is totally valid, but it was a joke. Whatever. The point was, I haven’t seen (or even heard of) a single Best Picture nominee. Mostly this is because I just don’t see that many movies anymore. I’m busy, they’re expensive, and I’m not a man so I can’t just dump my children on my partner for nine hours every week. BUT! That’s not all there is to it.

I started talking to him about how when I go to the movies, since I go so rarely, I just want to have fun. That’s why most of the movies I see are either action or comedy. Occasionally I’ll watch an uplifting drama. (Watched Blinded by the Light last night and LOVED IT.) And while I’m sure the films nominated for best picture are brilliant, they aren’t what you might call feel-good films. They tend to be heavier, darker, sadder. Sometimes they have hopeful endings, but it’s not the same as watching, say, When Harry Met Sally.

Which got me to thinking. It’s really the same thing when I read.

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Review: Outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Series: Outlander
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Maturity Level: 5
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The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Before reading this book I heard a *lot* about it. A lot of hype, a lot of hate, and a lot of strong opinions. So I came into this book with quite a few expectations. Yet Outlander somehow managed to side-step them all.

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Review: The Starless Sea

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Morgenstern’s sophomore novel completely lives up to the years and years of waiting, and now of hype. It’s mature, nuanced, thought-provoking, and sensual. But it didn’t resonate in my bones the way The Night Circus did.

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