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cottagelantern

cottagelantern

Joined May 2016

mfa student, illustrator, beagle mother, consumer of pasta
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Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
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The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
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cottagelantern
Ophie's Ghosts | Justina Ireland
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5 ⭐️s
this book knocked my socks off!! Ophie begins to see ghosts after a tragic event and goes to live in Pittsburgh with her mother, where she begins working as a maid at the haunted Daffodil Manor. the ending of this book blew my mind, and the mystery kept me up past my bedtime!! highly recommend. 🩵📚✨

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cottagelantern
Mehso-so

2.5/5 ⭐️s
Through young witch Eva, who has considerably less magic than her counterparts, Abe examines how to navigate a world that is not only different, biased, and sometimes hostile due to some not having magical powers, but additionally challenging in the context of disadvantage or disability. I felt like the story could have been about 100 pages shorter and a better read as a result.

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Mehso-so

2/5 ⭐️s
This picture book tells the story of Bass Reeves, a man who was born a slave and became a sheriff in the Wild West before Oklahoma became a state. Reeves really seems like an incredible man; my issue with this book was how flippantly Native Americans were referred to, as well as murder/death - “he ONLY killed 14 people!“ 😳 This just didn't seem like appropriate content for a picture book. What I enjoyed the most were the illustrations.

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A Rover's Story | Jasmine Warga
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3/5 ⭐️s
A Rover's Story examines what it means to be alive. Res, our main character, is a Mars Rover. He experiences a very wide range of human emotions and experiences, but cannot communicate with humans (other than through code). Throughout his life, the author depicts the scientific journey of building a robot for space and the process of space exploration. I was shocked at how emotional a darn robot made me!

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Hummingbird | Natalie Lloyd
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5 ⭐️s
this book healed parts of my heart that I didn‘t even know were broken. I think I finally understand just why representation in literature matters so much after reading this book. I see so much of myself in Olive? the main character. and of course, the writing, plot, characters, details, and voice are all a masterpiece. I won‘t be surprised if this ends up being my favorite book of 2024.

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cottagelantern
Pickpick

4/5 ⭐️s
This was a great introduction to Celtic mythology! Each story is pulled from old books now in the public domain, which was a massive plus for me. I read this book specifically for the Scottish tales, but I enjoyed them all. (But I especially enjoyed the Scottish tales.) If you're looking for a starting point in exploring Celtic folklore, this is a great place to start!

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El Deafo | Cece Bell
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4/5 ⭐️s
this personal story tackles a serious subject and a difficult set of circumstances with humor and bravery. I appreciated how the author depicted her disability as both a superpower and something difficult and frustrating (as someone with disabilities, this was very relatable for me!). graphic novels really work well for educational purposes/memoir, and this is probably my favorite one that I have read thus far.

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cottagelantern
Mehso-so

3/5 ⭐️s
Peterson's strength is in his characters - they are endearing and relatable. the silliness that I disliked so much in this book came out in the narrator's voice and the naming conventions. at least for me, epic fantasy vibes just cannot be combined with silliness and absurdity. I have heard that the series gets progressively better, so maybe I'll pick up the other books at some point in the future.

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cottagelantern
Pickpick

4 ⭐️s
I learned so much reading this book! it didn‘t answer all my questions, but I think it has really opened up new doorways of thought for me. I‘m really glad I read it, and it was a great book to end my 2023 reading year.

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cottagelantern
Pickpick

3.5 ⭐️s
read at my mom‘s recommendation! Mona is a homeless mouse who finds friends, coziness, a job, and bravery at The Heartwood Hotel. really cute and wholesome, and deals with themes like diversity, inclusion, loss, and danger well. adorable illustrations.

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cottagelantern
Pickpick

4 ⭐️s
a stream-of-conscious narrative of a middle school immigrant from Iran living in Oklahoma. heartbreaking and raw, but also funny and gross and wholesome and mournful. this story will stay with me for a long time.

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cottagelantern
Bailedbailed

dnf. not my cup of tea.

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Damsel | Elana K. Arnold
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4 ⭐️s
for a book that only took me a day to read, I have a LOT of thoughts. I didn‘t fully realize until after I finished this that the story is an allegory for rape, and the fact that the story can be carried without that realization is impressive to me. upon that realization, I saw so many subtle hints woven throughout the tale. I liked the MC a lot. biggest gripe with the story: frequent lewdness. definitely adult and not YA. look up the TWs.

4 likes1 stack add
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cottagelantern
Pickpick

5 ⭐️s
poignant, raw, startling, insightful, deep, beautiful. a walk through life holding the hand of nature.

3 likes1 stack add
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Barely Floating | Lilliam Rivera
Mehso-so

2.5 ⭐️s
What I enjoyed: the main character, the humor, the plot, the writing style.
What I didn‘t enjoy: if there is one thing that absolutely drives me insane in a book, it‘s being preached to. Granted, this is more subtle than Barnhill‘s brand of sermons, but man, the author really has a gripe against religion. As a person of faith, I found her depictions of Christianity extremely biased and offensive.

cottagelantern ALSO side note: the MC treats her best friend like trash, and her very privileged, picket fencing/protesting parents make no effort to aid the best friend‘s family who are very obviously living in poverty. 7mo
3 likes1 comment
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cottagelantern
The Lost Library | Wendy Mass, Rebecca Stead
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4 ⭐️s
I really enjoyed this little book! we follow 3 POVS: Mortimer the cat, Al the ghost, and Evan the 5th grader. each of these characters are grappling with their town‘s lack of a library. each of their distinct stories are engaging and I really enjoyed this read. it‘s nothing anything deep or ground-breaking, but it‘s cute and short and well-written and that in and of itself is a wonderful thing! 📚🐱✨

6 likes1 stack add
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Pickpick

3.5 ⭐️s
a sweeping story of family, unlikely heroes, other worlds, and a magical girl. I loved a lot of this book: the writing, the characters, and especially the overarching story itself and how it all weaved together in the end. Why the 3.5 stars then? I kept feeling taken out of this turn-of-the-century setting with flippant, modern comments. Also, I‘m putting this book away feeling like it isn‘t finished and that I missed something important.

7 likes1 stack add
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The Screaming Staircase | Jonathan Stroud
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3.5 ⭐️s
In a London where ghost run rampant and only children can see them, Lucy, Lockwood, and George run a ghost-hunting business. I liked this book SO much better than Bartemaeus. The writing was still excellent, but with a PLOT! and well-rounded characters! Took away half of a star because the ending dragged a bit to me. I will be recommending this to the middle schoolers I know!

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Pickpick

4 ⭐️s
Elantris has made me a Sanderson fan! We follow three POVs as they navigate a mystical, spreading disease, political/religious upheaval, and MAGIC! My complaints: “she tapped her cheek in thought“ appeared almost every time the main female character was mentioned, one of the main characters died too abruptly, and and there were some BIG unanswered questions for a book with no sequel. Still loved it, and will definitely read more Sanderson.

katasaurus YES YOU READ ELANTRIS that makes me very happy 7mo
3 likes1 comment
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Piranesi | Susanna Clarke
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my first tattoo, from my favorite book of all time 💙

BarbaraBB 🤩 8mo
10 likes1 comment
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cottagelantern
Mehso-so

3 ⭐️s
Ishiguro tackles a lot of questions essential to humanity and technology in this book. This is a story that is designed to make you think deeply, not answer questions directly, & I think it accomplishes that. However, every character (not just the AI one) felt like a robot to me. The authorial voice was too detached and unfeeling. The ending was sad, but I couldn't imagine it ending any other way, either. Glad I read it, just not a favorite.

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The Hexologists | Josiah Bancroft
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5 ⭐️s
Bancroft's books of Babel were good; The Hexologists blow those books out of the water.
The world was a bit difficult to orient to, but once you're in, you're in. The characters were my favorite part; round and unique in every way. A talking dragon in a “portalmanteau“? Sign me the heck up. The creative world-building is incomparable to any other contemporary author I have read. This will easily make it into my top 5 books of the year.

GondorGirl Ooo this one sounds really good! 8mo
4 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Bailedbailed

I wasn‘t able to get past the first few chapters of this book. Highly recommend looking up the trigger warnings before picking it up.

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cottagelantern
Pickpick

5 ⭐️s
This book was truly ground-breaking for me, and one that I plan to return to often. Idolatry is something I really struggle with, and a sin that is rarely discussed in modern times. This book was eye-opening, convicting, and encouraging, offering wisdom and advice alongside practical steps for help. Highly recommend.

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cottagelantern
Pickpick

5 ⭐️s
Sectioned into three parts, we follow Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe as they journey through life and eventually meet. This novella is nothing short of genius, depicting these two women as they try to know God without access to the Bible and how they deal with all the issues within the Catholic Church. Poetic, raw, beautiful. It will leave you asking questions but still feeling answered.

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The Puppets of Spelhorst | Kate DiCamillo
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5 ⭐️s
This story follows the adventures of 5 puppets who long to fulfill their calling to tell a story. I wasn't sure what to expect from this little book, and I certainly did not expect it to be so poignant and serious and deep (I don't know why not though because that's Kate DiCamillo in a nutshell). This tale is a master class in subtlety and meaning. Absolutely brilliant in every way.
(photo: me & Kate at the LOC after she signed my copy ♥️)

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Pickpick

5 ⭐️s
With a fast-moving plot and deeply complex characters, Pullman crafts a deeply atmospheric and metaphor rich world. Pullman uses his own religious views to create fantastical inversions, all deeply tied to his personal interpretation of Paradise Lost and Christianity. I have SO many feelings about this book; I love the characters and worldbuilding, even if I don't agree with Pullman's religious convictions.

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Panpan

2.5 ⭐️s
While Barnhill's tale has a beautiful, fantastical plot and characters that are well-developed and engaging, Barnhill cannot stray from her characteristic sermonizing tone and need to push a political agenda behind her stories that would be more powerful without these things.

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Lalani of the Distant Sea | Erin Entrada Kelly
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3.5 ⭐️s
Lalani‘s oppressive life leads her to discover her courage, bringing restoration for multiple races and lands. Vignettes display the viewpoint of misunderstood creatures, and Lalani brings healing through identification and empathy for the cursed and forgotten. The story is strongly based on Filipino folklore which I appreciated learning about, & would have been a 5 star reading if the folklore had been more explained and made meaningful.

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Wolfish | Christiane M. Andrews
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5 ⭐️s
In this Romulus and Remus retelling, the abandoned twins are paralleled with two other children who face neglect and isolation; all four children have coping and survival mechanisms, some positive and others negative, some developed and some given by nature. Andrews emphasizes found family tropes, the benevolence of nature and animals, and the healing and knowledge that can come from spending time in nature. An absolutely beautiful book.

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Court of Fives | Kate Elliott
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5 ⭐️s
This epic, sweeping YA fantasy implements inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome‘s Egyptian influence with a sprinkle of the classic New England tale Little Women. I generally dislike YA and present voice, but I LOVED THIS BOOK! The worldbuilding - chef's kiss! The characters - chef's kiss! The Greco-Roman and Egyptian influences - CHEF'S KISS!!!!

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cottagelantern
Panpan

1 ⭐️
Frequent violent episodes, mentions of torture, and child abuse are plot points perhaps implemented to raise the stakes of this novel; however, by using inconsistent narrative voice, breaking the fourth wall only when convenient, and introducing characters only to remove them when no longer needed for plot, the reader is left wondering if this book was written by AI. Basically, I hated this.

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The Amulet of Samarkand | Jonathan Stroud
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2 ⭐️s
Wow, I really hated this book. LOL. A small magician boy selfishly desires for revenge at any cost and a comical demon aids him in attaining it. I loved the writing style, but there is NO plot and the characters are completely insufferable. I want to check out Stroud's Lockwood and Co. series, which I've heard is much better.

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Pickpick

4.5 ⭐️s
A sentient bookshop spans time and space in 1940s New York, welcoming all kinds of travelers into the cozy and comforting atmosphere unique to bookstores. By using WWII as a backdrop of tension, Thompson further layers on the concept of Light and Dark, and how tempting it can be to use the Dark for what is believed to be good purposes. I was pleasantly surprised with this book! I hope the author writes more.

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The Lightning Thief | Rick Riordan
Mehso-so

3 ⭐️s
Trials, deceit, and restoration all revolve around classic mythological characters brought into the 21st century, demonstrating the enduring nature of western civilization. Overall, a cute read. I can see why all the boys I was friends with in Middle School were obsessed with it. Didn't enjoy this enough to continue with the series, but I want to check out Riordan's Egyptian mythology series.

5 likes1 stack add
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Superman Smashes the Klan | Gene Luen Yang
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3 ⭐️s
This graphic novel centering around the American classic superhero demonstrates through parallel of Superman, originally from another planet, with a Chinese American family that racism is pointless as well as dangerous. Again, graphic novels aren't really my jam, but I loved the message of this book and the fantastical elements of Superman's backstory.

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Ella Enchanted | Gail Carson Levine
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4 ⭐️s
Wrestling with the blessing and curse of obedience, protagonist Ella navigates the manipulation of the greedy and the kindness of the compassionate as she seeks to break the spell upon her. Ella is ultimately the individual to break her curse, demonstrating to readers the agency and power inside every individual to overcome difficulty, regardless of whether or not they are responsible for the problem itself. Really enjoyed this re-read.

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One Dead Spy | Nathan Hale
Mehso-so

3 ⭐️s
Filled with wit, humor, and history, One Dead Spy depicts several of the events of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of Nathan Hale, a British officer, and a hangman. This book wasn't for me (as it seems graphic novels tend not to be), but it was entertaining and educational and I can totally see how kids could enjoy it.

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Panpan

2 ⭐️s
Serwa has been raised to hate the very thing she learns she was born as: a black-magic vampire. Grappling with deep racism and prejudice, readers are invited to question taught biases and beliefs. Brown uses the folklore of her Ghanian heritage as a foundation for her story, creating an undertone of reality in Serwa and her family‘s adventures. This writing style wasn't my cup of tea, and I really hate vampires, but unique if nothing else.

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The Last Cuentista | Donna Barba Higuera
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4 ⭐️ s
In this dystopian future, Earth has been destroyed and Petra is the only human still alive who can remember the stories of the past; in her struggle to regain freedom amidst the subjugation of The Collective, she demonstrates the unique power of ancient stories to change lives, even if the meaning is obscured by time and cultural differences. This is the first book in YEARS to make me cry! SUCH an emotional story, holy cow 🥺

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Elatsoe | Darcie Little Badger
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4 ⭐️ s
Weaving together a futuristic United States with Native American folklore and mythology Elatsoe is a tale of legacy and survival that conveys both the perseverance of indigenous peoples and the ways in which they have been exploited. YA dystopian isn‘t generally my vibe, but I really enjoyed this book! I hope the author writes a sequel.

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Pickpick

5 ⭐️s
Let no one say that magic school stories are overdone and archaic; Anne Ursu proves all such judgements wrong in her story of Marya, a young girl suppressed and abused, who through simply being herself and following her instincts brings about the restoration of female autonomy throughout her entire world. I loved the main character, the magical school, the themes, the side characters, the side plots, everything!

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Witchlings | Claribel A. Ortega
Panpan

2 ⭐️s
This coming-of-age story centers around the Witchlings, chosen by their town leader to be “spare” witches. They are singled out as unnecessary in their community, and this isolation brings to light both systemic abuse revolving around class and familial abuse. I really wanted to like this book, but I found the pacing and plot to be too messy and incongruent. The characters were great, but everything else felt sloppy and unbelievable.

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Goose Girl | Shannon Hale
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5 ⭐️ s
I read this book as a child and I remember being absolutely awestruck by it - it is SO ENCHANTING. Through the use of magical languages, relics of an ancient past that are disregarded by most, Hale weaves a beautiful story. Protagonist Ani has the unique gift of speaking to animals which initially seems to interfere with her royalty but results in her salvation when her lady-in-waiting attempts to steal her crown. An all-time favorite.

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Pickpick

3.5 ⭐️ s
Stakes begin low as Zoe starts a summer internship at a local bakery in hopes of trying out for a Food Network show. However, when a letter arrives from Zoe‘s biological father in prison who she has never interacted with, priorities change. Marks uses Zoe‘s epistolary relationship with her father as a bridge to discuss modern-day racism, both in every-day society and in the American justice system. A really sweet, and meaningful, story.

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Pickpick

5/5 ⭐️s
I loved how unique this book was and the serious themes it addresses, such as toxic relationships, abuse, and abandonment. Easily the darkest MG book I have read. I thought the ending was brilliant - it really enforced that toxic relationships need to end, even if it's difficult and painful. I also really liked all the secondary characters.

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The Firebird Song | Arne Flores
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4/5 ⭐️s
When I began reading this book, I felt almost giddy - it really is quite similar to what I want to write. However, as the story went on, I felt that less and less (but I guess that's a good thing). Overall, I really liked the story and the characters, but it got too complicated and things were not explained, which left me disoriented and increasingly less invested. I found the ending to be unsatisfying.

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Pickpick

5/5 ⭐️s
I loved this story! You can really tell the author is also the illustrator, as the text and pictures are absolutely seamless. I love the characters and the message!

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Amulet | Kazu Kibuishi
Panpan

2/5 ⭐️s
This is the first graphic novel that I have ever read! Unfortunately, I wasn't very impressed. The parallel universe was too random for me, and the main story line lacked any common sense so I kept being drawn out of the story. Probably engaging for early readers though.

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cottagelantern
Pickpick

4/5 ⭐️s
My favorite thing about this book was Ruby's writing style - very similar to what I'd like mine to be! Some of the characters from the past weren't super well-rounded, but she used them to create tension. I can't wait to read what happens in the next book.