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Author Archive for Morgan Reeves



The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

by Morgan Reeves on August 25th, 2014
The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi Cover Image

The Search for WondLa has been on my “To Read” list for awhile now, since it was published in 2010. But having learned a valuable lesson in series anticipation from Harry Potter, I put off starting this trilogy until the last book was published. This May the final book was published, The Battle for WondLa, and the time was ripe to start this series.

DiTerlizzi has mixed a good bit of science fiction into his fantasy to create a fascinating world. Eva Nine is a human girl being cared for and trained by Muthr, a humanoid, multifunctional robot. They live in an isolated Sanctuary with no contact with other humans. Eva longs to go outside and venture into the real world, but up until now Muthr has prevented this, deeming it safer to stay inside. But when their home comes under attack from an outside force, Eva is forced to flee on her own. Outside, her encyclopedic Omnidroid cannot identify any of the strange creatures she encounters. Feeling increasingly unprepared for life on the surface, Eva is captured by the strange hunter Besteel, but is able to escape and free his other captives at the same time. Thus, she has made her first friends, Rovender Kitt, a tall blue alien, and Otto, an enormous water bear.

Rovender has some news for Eva, instead of being on Earth as she had assumed, they are on a planet known as Orbona. To help make sense of this new world, she insists on rescuing Muthr from the ruins of their home. Reunited, the group sets off in search of other humans using Eva’s most prized possesion, a photo of a girl, robot and book with only the letters “Wond L a” still visible. Along their journey they encounter both kindness and cruelty from the natives. Eva and Muthr soon realize that they are oddities that no one has seen before, and thus valued for their rarity. The mystery of their origins is left unanswered for most of the book, with the only tantalizing hints coming at the end. Told in four parts with short chapters, this a fairly quick read accompanied by DiTerlizzi’s sylistic illustrations. An interesting tale that leaves you wanting to more, a demand that can gladly met by the sequel, A Hero for WondLa.

The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones

by Morgan Reeves on July 28th, 2014
The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones Cover Image

I have been looking forward to reading this latest and perhaps last tale from the late and fantastic, Diana Wynne Jones, ever since it was announced. Finished by her sister Ursula, The Islands of Chaldea is a fitting bookend to such a long and varied career. The story begins as Aileen, a young magic user in training, discovers that she doesn’t seem to be all that magical. Devastating news for a girl from a long line of powerfully magical Wise Women of Skarr. Aileen is not given any time to dwell on this as she and her no-nonsense Aunt Beck are sent on a quest by the king of their stony grey island. Their quest is in response to a prophecy, that only a Wise Woman and a man from each of the four Islands of Chaldea will be able to remove the barrier that separates them and reunite them as one kingdom. At the end of the last battle between the islands, Logra was magically sealed off from Skarr, Bernica, Gallis, with the barrier in place for most of Aileen’s life. They set off accompanied by Ivar, an arrogant prince of Skarr, and Ogo, a Logran abandoned during the war.

After an eventful start involving poisoned clothes and a sometimes invisible cat, the companions arrive on Bernica. As they wander through rolling green hills, a traveling monk joins them, bringing with him a bird who may tell the future. After Aunt Beck runs afoul of a queen and her donkeys, Aileen begins to come into her own as a leader. She gets them all safely to Gallis, where spells are sung and a religious order reigns supreme. Here they find the relatives of Aileen’s long lost father, who offer them a way over the barrier to Logra, via hot air balloon. Together with her newly discovered cousin and his size changing dragon, they make it over the barrier only to crash land and be taken prisoner. In the capital, the companions find that the poor Lograns have blamed the barrier on the other three islands, and hope for its removal as much as the rest of Chaldea. Who then put up the barrier in the first place? As a decades long conspiracy begins to unravel, Aileen must become the Wise Woman she was meant to be and bring together the four magical guardian animals of Chaldea to overcome the great evil intent on keeping the islands apart.

A great read for fantasy fans, The Islands of Chaldea is a fantastic coming of age adventure, full of the magical comedy Diana Wynne Jones was best known for.

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

by Morgan Reeves on June 30th, 2014
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel Cover Image

Trains, Sasquatches, and a circus make for an exciting combination in this steampunk adventure story from Kenneth Oppel. During the late 1800′s in Canada, Will Everett grows up witnessing the expansion of the continental railroads as the son of the railway company manager. A shy boy with a talent for drawing, he has always wished for adventure, but never seems to find it. Now on the maiden voyage of The Boundless, the longest train ever built, his adventure finally begins, as he witnesses a murder. In order to stay alive and warn his father about the criminal plot, Will disguises himself as part of a circus with the help of an old acquaintance. He teams up with Maren, the highrope walker from his past, and Mr. Dorian, the circus ringmaster who has an agenda of his own. Together, they try to reach the front of the seven mile train before the criminal gang catches them. The journey, full of perils both magical and real, puts Will’s drawing skills and new friendships to the test. As the train reach the snowy mountains, danger finally catches up to the circus trio, and not everyone will escape uninjured.

The only hitch in this otherwise fantastic story, is the present tense narration takes some getting used to for most readers. Overall this is a page turning story bolstered by mild fantasy elements and plenty of detail from a lesser-known period of history, with some edge of your seat moments that lead to a suspenseful climax.

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

by Morgan Reeves on May 23rd, 2014
The Last Wild by Piers Torday Cover Image

Like many children, Kester Jaynes feels powerless, and without much choice in what goes on in his daily life. Kester’s situation is unique in that he is mute; he has no voice. He lives in a world where all of the useful animals and plants have died off due to “red eye,” a terrible plague. Only “varmints,” pigeons, rats, and cockroaches are left alive. Fear of the virus has led to a taboo against touching animals. Food has been replaced by the corrupt Facto corporation with a nutritional slime and the entire human population has been forced to live in cities for their own protection.

Six years ago Kester was kidnapped and brought to live in a home for troubled children, where he is told something is wrong with him. When he starts to hear voices, he thinks he has finally gone crazy. Reality though is even stranger, the voices turn out to belong to a cockroach and pigeons, who help him escape and bring him to a gathering spot of the last surviving animals. These are the last wild; the last living animals and they need Kester’s help. Their leader, a large stag, asks Kester to find them a cure. While Kester feels unprepared for the weight of such a task, he promises to try. He even has an idea of where to start, by finding his way back to his veterinarian father. But traveling with animals that society both covets and fears leads to some dangerous situations. As Kester is forced to make more and more decisions, his self-confidence grows. By the end he has found both his father and his voice, but tensions remain as the cure is not wanted by the food controlling Facto corporation.

Overall an imaginative take on a dystopian world that will strike a chord with kids who are starting to make their own choices.

Preferred Searches

by Morgan Reeves on May 23rd, 2014

You are able to save a search term (and accompanying limits) to bring up again later. This will not save the individual results, but the search criteria. It is a good way to see what is new from your favorite author or in a interesting subject. You can save multiple searches, so it can be a small time saver to just click down through your favorite searches instead of keying in each individually.

Two Catalogs

You might not know that there are two different catalog options, Catalog Pro and Catalog Classic. You can access both from the library’s catalog search page. The Catalog Pro tab is circled in blue. The Catalog Classic tabs are circled in orange.

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Saving Your Preferred Searches

You can only save searches while logged in on Catalog  Classic. The option to save only appears while logged in. Once logged in, the “Save as preferred search” button will appear next to the “Search” button on your results page

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Use the “Limit” button to limit your search by different material formats or different collections. Clicking the “Save as preferred search” button will save the search term and any limits you have added to the search.
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Managing Your Preferred Searches

You can view and manage your lists in both Catalog Classic and Catalog Pro. When you are logged in, click on your name in the top right hand corner in Catalog Pro. In Catalog Classic, use the “View Your Account” located on the top of the page.

Catalog Pro

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Catalog Classic

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On your account page in both Catalog Classic and Catalog Pro, you will then select the “Preferred Searches” option. Here you can remove individual searches by checking the appropriate boxes under “Mark to remove” and clicking “Update List” You can also check the “Mark for email” box to receive an email when new items matching your search are added to the library’s collection.

Catalog Classic

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Catalog Pro

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Clicking on the “Search” link next to each saved search will perform the search in Catalog Classic, even if you are connecting via Catalog Pro..

That’s all for Preferred Searches.

A Snicker of Magic

by Morgan Reeves on April 29th, 2014
A Snicker of Magic Cover Image

Felicity Pickle is a poem catcher, a word collector, and a wanderer longing for a place to call home. When her mother decides to try moving the family to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, Felicity is hopeful that this might finally be the place where they can settle down. After all, it’s her mother’s hometown, as well as still having just a bit of magic floating around. On her first day at her new school, Felicity makes a new friend, Jonah, who has the not-so-secret occupation of helping people when they really need something. When Jonah suggests she read one of her poems in the school talent show, Felicity agrees, even though she knows she gets stage fright. The family settles in with gruff Aunt Cleo, who shows her softer side in telling stories of the family’s history. It soon becomes apparent that Felicity’s performance in the talent show is the key to shaking off the wandering ways of the Pickle family, which may be tied to a curse tied up in the history of Midnight Gulch. The cast of vibrant characters leap off the page  in this middle-grade tale of tangled up history and yes, just a snicker of magic. To cap off the end of National Poetry Month, give this great read about the meaning of family and home a try.

Belly Up & Poached by Stuart Gibbs

by Morgan Reeves on February 7th, 2014
Belly Up & Poached by Stuart Gibbs Cover Image

If you are looking for a fun kids mystery to drive away the winter blues, look no further. Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is a middle grade romp set against the backdrop of FunJungle, a brand new mega zoo in Texas. When Henry the Hippo, the beloved mascot of FunJungle, turns up dead, 12 year-old Teddy Fitzroy suspects foul play. He soon discovers Henry was not as popular with some of the zoo staff as he was with the adoring public. Teddy’s search for clues takes readers behind the scenes at the zoo, into exhibits and sometimes into danger. As his suspect list grows, it seems like the only people he can really trust are his parents, who support him and believe him, even when other adults dismiss him as just a kid. Help from a new friend and an apparent betrayal leads to a chaotic but satisfying conclusion. Can you figure out whodunit before Teddy?

Poached, a sequel to be released in April, finds Teddy starting the school year as the new kid, with few friends and a knack for getting into trouble. Getting on the wrong side of the school bully seems bad  but when the newest animal to FunJungle is koala-napped, Teddy finds himself in real trouble as all the evidence points to him. He’ll need all the help he can get from his friends and parents if he is going to clear his name and catch the real criminal. These mysteries are as funny as they are full of interesting facts about animals and zoos.




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