As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

August 3, 2015

MAGNOLIA by Kristi Cook, 2014

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived. Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Emma - College Student

MAGNOLIA is one of the cutest books I have read in a long time! I do not read too many contempories, normally just enough to counter balance the darker fantasies and dystopians. It was a very quick read; once I got to about 20% of the way through, I could not put it down. I stayed up until 4 a.m. just to finish it, it was so good. Another fun thing about this book is that it takes place in the South, which I find so charming and filled with warm feelings, and it was incredibly amusing reading the accents in my head.

While the overall plot was pretty predictable, it did have some twists and turns that still made it interesting. The characters were dynamic, romance was adorable, and the bonds that were formed were enviable.  The story was basically the antithesis of Romeo and Juliet, so instead of feuding families and star-crossed lovers, it was star-crossed families and children who could not stand each other. Even though this book is definitely what I would call a “fluff book,” it still had serious undertones and dealt with genuine issues that can arise in life.

Magnolia is a wonderfully heart-warming book that I recommend no matter what genre you normally read. If you like books that leave a smile on your face, read this book!

Market: Young Adult
Language: Moderate
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: None
Mature Themes: death, hurricane, tumors

July 31, 2015

THIS ROUGH MAGIC by Mary Stewart, 1964

When Lucy's sister Phyllida suggests that she join her for a quiet holiday on the island of Corfu, Lucy is overjoyed. Her work as an actress has temporarily come to a halt. But the peaceful idyll does not last long. A series of incidents, seemingly unconnected - but all surrounded in mystery - throws Lucy's life into a dangerous spin, as fear, danger and death - as well as romance - supplant the former tranquillity. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Penny Blubaugh - Young Adult Author and Librarian

When Lucy Waring arrives in Corfu to visit her sister all she wants to do is relax and forget about the play with her first major role.  The play that’s just folded under her.  But on her first day she’s almost hit by a bullet as someone shoots at a tame dolphin in the sea.  The son of her sister’s housekeeper is drowned.  A local fisherman goes missing.  And then she meets Sir Julian Gale, renter of the Castello on her sister and brother-in-law’s property.  He’s a leading light of the English theatre who’s disappeared in his own way by retiring from the stage. Suddenly everything begins to click into place when it seems that Max Gale, Sir Julian’s son, is mixed up in all the mayhem.  But is he on the right side or the wrong one? 

First published in 1964, this is one of the books I go back to time and time again.  The setting of Corfu is vivid.  The contrast between the island’s orange trees and pines, its blinding heat and blue, blue water, its serene beauty and the story’s underlying violence make a wonderful read.  Lucy’s relationship with Sir Julian – that of a minor actress meeting her idol and clicking with him as they bond over Shakespeare’s Tempest – is charming.  Her relationship with his son is classic magnetic attraction that both try to ignore as they’re pushed together again and again by Sir Julian’s presence.  And the dark work of a series of coincidences that soon point to a murderer who will stop at nothing is violence layered onto a respite of sun and sea.

Peppered with quotes from Shakespeare’s play and washed in colors of blue and gold, midnight and early mornings, THIS ROUGH MAGIC is a true gothic romance.

Market: YA and Adult                                                                      Language: Mild
Sensuality: Not overt, but nicely sexy
Violence: Lots of it but most is off the page
Themes: Romance, theatre, politics of the 60s

July 27, 2015

THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas, 2012

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted? (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Emma - College Student

THRONE OF GLASS took me a long time to get into, hence why it took me so long to read. Though once I finally got into it, I was hooked and could not put it down. It is beautifully written, if not the most beautifully written book I have ever read. There are so many twists and turns, it was impossible for me to fully predict what was going to happen. This book is also filled to the brim with dynamic characters, the standout obviously being Celaena, who never ceases to surprise and is the epitome of a strong female character. The author, Sarah J. Maas, painted her scenes so magnificently that I was immediately able to picture the settings perfectly. I was also really excited to the map in the beginning of the book, I definitely utilized it; I should have tabbed it I looked at it so much.

I only had one minor complaint, it was SO difficult to pronounce everything. Thankfully, there was a guide for how to pronounce most of the confusing names, but it would have been a lot more helpful had it been in the beginning so that one could have known that it was there.

Also, it has quite a bit of gore, it was not too gruesome and it wasn’t extraneous, but it was a bit on the dark side.

Throne of Glass truly is a very special gem in the book world. There were so many exceptional moments Maas created, from the characters themselves, to the minor details that she explored that many authors don’t take the time to do. If you are any sort of a fantasy fan, you should definitely read this book. It is the perfect example of what a high fantasy YA novel should be; from the complex characters, the magic, the royalty danger, romance, it has it all. I have a feeling that his series will easily become one of my favorites.

Market: Young Adult
Language: Mild
Sensuality: Moderate
Violence: Moderate+
Mature Themes: death, abuse, enslavement, evil magic

July 20, 2015

NOTES FROM A BLUE BIKE by Tsh Oxenrider, 2014


The popular blogger and founder of the internationally recognized "Simple Mom" online community tells the story of her family's ongoing quest to live more simply, fully, and intentionally. Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, "Notes from a Blue Bike "takes you from a hillside in Kosovo to a Turkish high-rise to the congested city of Austin to a small town in Oregon. It chronicles schooling quandaries and dinnertime dilemmas, as well as entrepreneurial adventures and family excursions via plane, train, automobile, and blue cruiser bike. (Goodreads)
Reviewed by Griperang
I kept seeing NOTES FROM A BLUE BIKE on the internet but never really looked to see what it was about, in fact I kind of kept ignoring everywhere I saw it. Well one day it caught my attention again and without knowing what it was about I decided to check it out and read it. When I got it I thought oh this sounds interesting. I was sitting in the doctor's office waiting on my husband and dove right in, it grabbed me from page one and I did not want to put it down. Now I started looking more at the cover and the praise for the book and realized that Hey I follow this blog, no wonder I kept seeing so much about the book - duh. Well let me tell you the blog, theartofsimple.net and I encourage you to check it out. To me Tsh and her husband are an inspiration, I applaud them for the way they live. I really enjoyed reading about the travels the family has done and would love it if I could read even more about their time in Turkey. Tsh gives some very good examples on ways to live simply and really makes you stop and think about the things  you do in your own life. She also has included some questions at the end of the book to make you think a little more.
Another thing that I like about Tsh is that she admits sometimes she makes mistakes and has to change things as she goes - liking deciding where her children are schooled (home vs public vs private). I encourage everyone to pick up this book and give it a whirl as I do not think you will be disappointed. I will even tell you that this is one of the best books I have read all year. Tsh has written a couple of other books as well that I plan to check out.
Market: Nonfiction/Memoir
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: None
Mature Themes: None

July 13, 2015

THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst, 2014


It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassable dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she's going to have to figure out just what she's missing--and what she's running from--before she can leave. So now Lauren's on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she'll be found... (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Valette M.

As far as heroines go, Lauren Chase is nothing special: no prophecy about her future, no strange powers since birth. And because of this, she is incredibly relatable. I fell in love with her as she struggles to come to terms with her new world and the mother she's losing. Her motivations ring true and she feels real, clever and sturdy, with no moping about but a matter-of-fact view on life. But, however fantastic she may be as the lead, the character that takes the cake for me is Peter (the Finder in Lost who rescues lost people from the death grip of the void). With cat-like grace and a somewhat mischievous streak to him, it's entrancing to read about him. I agree with Lauren completely when she describes him as a grown up Peter-Pan. He pops in and out of scenes perfectly representing what a man of that past would be, but does it so well that he sweeps all the stereotypes away and practically reaches the status of archetype. If he was the only good thing in the book, I would still gobble up the sequels. Thankfully the entire book is quite good.

It is a very rare author that can take a simple idea -- say, a place where all lost things go -- and flesh it out into such a thoroughly satisfying mix of thriller, romance, and self-discovery. Right from the beginning, Durst's delicious prose paints a disturbingly hypnotic view of a town that exists apart from time, where all lost things go. And all lost people. People who have lost their way in life do not make for a very stable citizenry. Feral dogs roam the streets in packs and bands of ragged scavenger children armed with knives comb through frequent junk piles in a world built on the barter system, all surrounded by a dust storm called the Void that sucks the hope from those that enter until they become nothing more than dust themselves. No one and nothing can leave Lost until they find whatever it is they have lost. But even then, the Missing Man is the only one who can send them home. He refuses to help Lauren, and disappears. Struggling to simply survive, Lauren is forced to face her own despair head on to discover what she's lost. And the Void creeps steadily closer. In this well-brewed tale the stakes never stop rising. THE LOST will rip your heart out and stomp on it every which way. Thank goodness it's the start of a series! And you'd better bet I'll be counting down the days until I can get my hands on the next one.

Sarah Beth Durst is very good at what she does. Her rich descriptions and hearty characters bring the story alive with such oomph it will leave you gasping. I tried, goodness knows how I tried, to read this book slowly, to savor every mesmerizing word, but it ended far too quickly. A strong start to a very promising series. Stunning. Transfixing. Captivating.

Market: Young Adult
Language: Mild
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Death

July 6, 2015

THE UNHAPPENING OF GENESIS LEE by Shallee McArthur, 2014

Seventeen-year-old Genesis Lee has never forgotten anything. As one of the Mementi—a small group of genetically-enhanced humans—Gena remembers everything with the help of her Link bracelets, which preserve memories perfectly. But Links can be stolen, and six people have already lost their lives to a memory thief, including Gena’s best friend. Anyone could be next. Which is why Gena is less than pleased to meet a strange but charming boy named Kalan who claims that they’ve not only met, but that Gena knows who the thief is. The problem is, Gena doesn’t remember Kalan, she doesn’t remember seeing the thief, and she doesn’t know why she’s forgetting things— or how much else she might forget. As growing tensions between Mementi and ordinary humans drive the city of Havendale into chaos, Gena and Kalan team up to search for the thief. And as Gena loses more memories, they realize they have to solve the mystery fast. Because Gena’s life is unhappening around her. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Rosalyn E.


Shallee McArthur's debut novel, THE UNHAPPENING OF GENESIS LEE,
 is a phenomenal book. Well written, fast-paced, intriguing characters, but best of all, a smart world view. 

In this near-future society, a group of people with genetically modified memories (the Mementi) have formed their own colony, which is slowly being infiltrated by regular people (Populace). Genesis Lee is Mementi, and stories all of her memories in beads. She's pretty content with her life, hanging out with friends and practicing her dance, until her best friend's memories are stolen by the Link thief who is terrorizing the Mementi population. When Gena runs into a cute Populace boy who claims to know her, but who she doesn't remember, things get serious. Because Gena has never forgotten anything. Ever. But to stop the thief, she's going to need his help.

I thought the book had a nice balance of Gena's own internal conflicts with forgetting and the external tension rising between the Mementi and Populace. The story had some cool twists, but my favorite parts were the relationships. I liked how things were complicated: her relationship with Kalan and other Populace, her relationship with her best friend (who's forgotten the last two years of their relationship), and with her family. And I was so impressed with how smart the book was--I've done some research in memory studies (mostly in terms of collective memory, rather than physiological memory), and it was clear to me that McArthur knows her stuff. 

A great read for fans of light sci-fi.


Market: YA
Language: mild
Sensuality: mild
Violence: moderate--some physical violence and death as part of an uprising
Mature Themes: memory loss, anxiety, rebellion

June 22, 2015

THE STORY OF OWEN: DRAGONSLAYER OF TRONDHEIM and PRAIRIE FIRE by E.K. Johnston, 2014

THE STORY OF OWEN: DRAGONSLAYER OF TRONDHEIM:

Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim’s fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard. Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen! (Amazon)

PRAERIE FIRE:

Every dragon slayer owes the Oil Watch a period of service, and young Owen was no exception. What made him different was that he did not enlist alone. His two closest friends stood with him shoulder to shoulder. Steeled by success and hope, the three were confident in their plan. But the arc of history is long and hardened by dragon fire. Try as they might, Owen and his friends could not twist it to their will. Not all the way. Not all together. The sequel to the critically acclaimed The Story of Owen. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Jessica Day George: author and Bookshop Talk host

I was attracted to the first book, The Story of Owen, because I thought it was set in Trondheim, Norway. I thought nothing could be better than a Norwegian dragonslayer! Then I realized that it was Trondheim, Canada. Huh. Well, still, dragons! I figured that the motto of the book, for me, would be, “Come for the Norwegian setting, stay for the dragons!” But it actually turned out to be, “Come for the dragons, stay for Siobhan and Owen, and everyone else in this book because they are your new best friends and you love them all.”

So. Much. Love.

Love for Owen, dragonslayer-in-training, and his family of dragonslayers and blacksmiths, who are trying to bring back the glory days of independent dragonslayers, before it became political. And how do they decide to do this? By pairing Owen up with a bard, Siobhan, for whom I also have …

So. Much. Love. Siobhan is a prodigy who hears musical accompaniment to every minute of her life. Siobhan, who pairs up people (in her head and her compositions) with the instrument that most suits them, is the narrator of these books because she is the bard, and so she tells the stories. Stories about Owen. About Owen’s family. About her family, and their town. Stories about dragonslaying and music and history, all of which are fascinating because this is an alternate world in which Michigan is a ravaged dragon-infested wasteland. In which Joan of Arc was a dragonslayer, and so was Vlad the Impaler, and the Beatles were the first musicians to become popular without singing about dragons. It’s a fascinating world, culturally, politically, historically. Commercial airlines are unheard of, and travel is limited, because any large machines attracts, you know, dragons. Not only has Johnston done a tremendous amount of world-building, but she’s also come up with at least a dozen fascinating dragon breeds, and I loved every minute of it.

I finished the first one and immediately had to pre-order the second, Prairie Fire, which just came out in March. The Story of Owen was on several Best of 2014 lists, and short-listed for a couple of awards, and I expect the same for Prairie Fire. Not only do the books have a great premise, but they’re beautifully written and chockfull of humor, family and political drama . . . and tragedy. The ending of THE STORY OF OWEN had me sniffling, but I was full on sobbing by the end of PRAIRIE FIRE.

Market: YA
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: Dragonslaying.
Mature themes: Death. Politics. Owen is raised by his Aunt Lottie and her wife, Hannah. Dealing with life-altering injuries.

FORBIDDEN by Kimberley Griffiths Little, 2014


In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart. Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Emma - College Student

FORBIDDEN is a mind-blowing read! First of all, this is the oldest setting for a historical fiction YA book (according to the Epic Read’s Age of YA timeline). I could tell that the author, Kimberley Griffiths Little, took so much time researching this time period. It was so impressive that she was able to make one believe, save for some details, that Jayden, the main character, was living in this real, magical, and dangerous world. Somehow, the author, Kimberley Griffiths Little, was able to make this book, which was completely clean, into a down-right steamy book. It was a really fun experience, though, because many things in today’s standards, such as talking to a boy alone or holding hands, was viewed as very scandalous back then, so while reading that she only just touched his hand made me blush.

My only major frustration came from Jayden’s sister Leila. Oh my goodness! She never realizes what a shame she is becoming for her family. I cannot imagine what was going through her head. That being said, Kimberly is also a mastermind at getting into odd characters’ heads, Leila being one example. She has masterfully understood how these strange people think.

I had sort-of hoped that this was a standalone while reading it, just because she left it on such a cliff-hanger and I knew that was going to happen if it was a series. I al super excited to read the next book and very curious to see how Kimberly expands this ancient world she has reconstructed for her readers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Fantasy or Historical Fiction. It has amazing world building, romance, and dynamic characters, what isn't there to love.

Also, a huge shout out and thank you to Kimberly for giving me my copy of Forbidden! I cannot wait to read the next one! And merry belated Christmas!

You can see the Epic Read’s awesome timeline here: http://www.epicreads.com/blog/the-age...


Market: Young Adult
Language: None
Sensuality: Mild, but makes you feel like there is more
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: priestesses of Asherah, abusive arranged marriage

June 15, 2015

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Christin Terrill, 2013


Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet. Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Valette M.

I haven't seen two main characters that fit together as well as Em and Finn do in a long time. Both perfectly capable of standing independently, their love was simple and unselfish. The course of the story yanked out their inner selves and spread them out for public perusal as they struggle with the ethics of what they intend to do. They compliment each other in a team willing to lay aside petty wishes for themselves in search of a safe future. Em and the Finn of the future both carried a deep seated grittiness, courtesy of the nightmare the future is -- quite different from the average, and perhaps slightly spoiled in one case, teenagers they were in the beginning of their journey. I enjoyed the jagged juxtaposition presented as the past and future characters lived out their timelines, reacting the same events in drastically different ways, but still being the same person. Their interactions posed several heavy questions and deep thoughts on what gives a person their identity and ends justifying means. Overall, the characters were well thought out and relatable.

What an incredibly addictive read! The whole book takes place over the course of only a few days as events seamlessly snap into place in nonstop plot. I must say I wasn't expecting quite the explosion this book is. Usually I find time travel books to be unrealistic and disappointing (because really if someone has such a powerful tool how can their lives have any problems?). But nothing could be further from the truth with this one! I appreciated that Cristen Terrill doesn't focus too much on the technical aspect of why time travel is possible in her world, but rather turns the readers' attention to the character development and intricate plot unraveling before our eyes and uses the time travel machine as only an accessory to the larger story. That's not to say that time isn't involved: This story is made of time jumps with a whole new take on paradoxes and non-linear timelines and just enough logic to ring true.

Cristen Terrill has an almost brusque clearness to her writing that lends itself well to the brutal atmosphere of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. The book displayed professional and experienced prose with enough flair that I will be looking out for future books.

Market: Young Adult
Language: Mild if Any
Sensuality: None
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Death, Corruption

Second review by Natalie

Love it. So much. I literally love it. I am so sad it's over.

This is time travel done by a freaken genius. It was, I just, the book, GO FREAKEN READ IT!

There are 4.5 characters in this book. If that confuses you, don't feel ashamed, if it somehow makes sense to you, you are either incredibly smart or need to seek help immediately. The reason I say there are 4.5 is because there are the 3 main characters (Marina, James, and Finn), and then there are their future selves (again, story about time travel) who go by Em, James/Doctor, and, well, still Finn.

Marina, is our Main MC. She's a girl who has been hardcore in love with James since, well, since forever. Naturally, he doesn't exactly reciprocate it. James is Washington D.C.'s version of a Sherlock Holmes. Not in the mystery solving way, but his entire demeanor and such. I literally did imagine Benedict Cumberbatch as James. It was wonderful to say the least. Finn was the other boy, and I liked him, but I was just so focused on James because he was brilliant and I Am Sherlocked (you'll get that if you watch Sherlock).

Anyway, the plot. James was a genius, so he was able to build a working time machine, which, while he meant to do good, ended up wreaking havoc on the world. He didn't understand he needed to stop. He has Em and Finn in custody, interrogating them for information. Then, Em and Finn get a chance to go back in time to stop James before he builds the time machine, and that means to kill him. You switch narratives between Em and Marina, who are the same, just different times. So this may get confusing, but trust me, it's just because I'm attempting to explain it, Cristin Terrill does a superb job making it clear.

Then the ending came round. And, basically, I needed more. I NEED more.

I hear there's a sequel, but frankly, I don't know what can happen. but I know what I WANT and desperately NEED to occur. The sequel isn't happening. The author said she couldn't do it, and while I support her whatever choice she makes, I'm still SO sad.

Happy Reading!!!

Market: Young Adult
Language: Mild
Sensuality: Mild 
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Torture (not detailed), assassination attempts

June 8, 2015

ODDLY ENOUGH by Bruce Coville, 1994


Readers take a walk on the odd side with this fantasic collection of Burce Coville's best short stories--both classics and originals. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Emily, bibliophile and perpetual student

This anthology of stories is indeed odd - chilling, hilarious, beautiful, and just plain weird. They range from the mock-horror story "Duffy's Jacket" to the horrifyingly twisted "Old Glory".

There's the story "With His Head Tucked Underneath His Arm", about a man wrongfully executed, and the transcendent "Homeward Bound", a story of transformation and forgiveness.

However, my two favorite stories from this anthology are the first and the last: "The Box" and "A Blaze of Glory".

"The Box" is about a boy named Michael, who is asked to take care of a box by an angel; he knows he's an angel because of the white wings he wears. And he never opens it, because the angel asked him not to. Of course, it's not nearly as easy to take care of the angel's box as Michael might have thought, but he tries his best anyway. It's a short little gem of a story, and I recommend it highly.

"A Blaze of Glory" is actually two stories - the tale of a man taking care of his terminally ill grandmother, and the story she tells him in her more lucid moments about an incident in her past that she had nearly forgotten - though those she touched have not forgotten her.

ODDLY ENOUGH proves that Bruce Coville's range of styles is huge, and also that he can write short stories (something that he admits he doesn't believe in the end note).

Market: Middle Grade fiction
Language: None
Sensuality: Mild (in "The Language of Blood" and "The Passing of the Pack")
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: The true meaning of patriotism, the nature of love, sacrifice.