This is a children’s biography of the lovely E.B. White. This is a gorgeous book written and illustrated by Sweet who uses collage and mixed media art to bring to life White’s works. So good it made me tear up in places.
Cinders and Sparrows, by Stefan Bachmann
Zita is an orphan working as a servant when she gets a message, delivered by scarecrow, that she is the heir to a castle. She travels to cavernous Blackbird Castle to find she comes from a family of powerful witches. She begins to learn magic from the cold Mrs. Cantanker and becomes friends with the servant boy and girl. There is a mystery surrounding the castle and Zita must learn to use her magic well before it’s too late. Cinders and Sparrows is a great read. It has enjoyable characters, great worldbuilding, and just enough spookiness.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, by Garth Nix
Brand new Garth Nix? Of course I must read it! This book is a bit of a departure from his standard fare, which usually takes place in imaginary worlds. This one is set firmly in a real-life London of 1983. It reminded me a bit of Diana Wynne Jones, which is never a bad thing. The story follows Susan as she goes to London to discover the identity of her father. She gets caught up with Merlin, a young person who is part of a family of ‘booksellers’ that are really the magical keepers of the arcane. When evil forces start hunting Susan, she and Merlin must go on the run to find her father and put a stop to a devilish plot. This is a one-off for Nix and a lot of fun. While I love his Abhorsen series, I do like it when he steps aside and writes single books—like he did with A Confusion of Princes.
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
Another audio book. I was in the mood for some Agatha and got this one from the library streaming service. Apparently, it is her bestselling book. I can understand why. Ten strangers are invited to a modern mansion on a tiny remote island off the coast of England. Then they start dying one by one. Who’s the murderer if there is no one on the island but themselves? The audio was narrated by Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) and he was wonderful. He brought a lot to the story. Not that you can really go wrong with an Agatha Christie book.
The Switch, by Beth O’Leary
Career-minded Leena is off her game, not having gotten over her sister’s death the year before. Eileen is ready for a new start after her husband of fifty years left her for another woman. So what does this granddaughter/grandmother pair do? Switch their lives. Leena moves to her Grandma’s place in rural Yorkshire. Eileen moves into Leena’s posh flat with her very modern roommates. This book is absolutely charming. Each character goes through a lot of changes and comes up with a happy ending that you’ll love.
Witch Hat Atelier (Vol. 1), by Kamome Shirahama
This manga was recommended to me by a coworker. Coco wants to be a witch and when she discovers that to be a witch only requires special ink and a knowledge of symbols, she causes her life to blow up. The magician, Qifrey, rescues her and takes her to learn magic in his school. He has an ulterior motive—to find the dangerous witch who gave Coco the magic ink. This is a cute story with almost too-cute art. It didn’t really grab me though, so I won’t be reading any more volumes.