Love the Warriors series? Try some of these books…


Time Cat

Are you, or your child, a big fan of Erin Hunter’s Warriors series? There are many fans out there, which sometimes makes waiting for the next book pretty hard. So, while you are waiting for the next release, you might want take a look at some books that I think you might like because of your love of these warrior cat tales.

Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth by Lloyd Alexander is a classic in adventure fiction. In this tale Jason and his magic cat Gareth travel through time to visit countries all over the world during different periods of history.

Whittington by Alan Armstrong is about a feline descendant of Dick Whittington’s famous cat from English folklore. He appears at a rundown barnyard plagued by rats and restores harmony while telling his ancestor’s story.


The Tygrine Cat

The Tygrine Cat by Inbali Iserles follow Mati, a cat who is lost and alone. He seeks acceptance from a pack of feral cats at Cressida Lock, but to defeat the assassin on his trail, Mati must unlock the secret of his identity and learn to harness an ancient and deadly feline power.

Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey takes place in an alternate London in the year 1910. A penniless young dancer is visited by a cat who communicates with her mind to mind. Though she is certain she must be going mad, she is desperate enough to follow the cat’s advice to impersonate a famous Russian ballerina.

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett is about a talking cat, intelligent rats, and a strange boy that cooperate in a Pied Piper style scheme until they try to con the wrong town and are confronted by a deadly evil rat king.


Highway Cats

Highway Cats by Janet Taylor Lisle is the story about a group of mangy highway cats that is changed forever after the mysterious arrival of three kittens.

If you prefer getting caught up in another series, rater than a stand alone book, you might also want to read Redwall by Brian Jacques, Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, Lion Boy by Zizou Corder, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky, or Catwings by Ursula Le Guin.

As usual, there is no way to list all of the appropriate books here, I am sure I have left someone’s favorite out. If you have another recommendation of favorite that I missed, please mention it in a comment so other Warrior fans can read it too!

Sharon Reads: Dean Koontz’s Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages

Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages

Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages by Dean Koontz is a book that readers from elementary school ages through adults can understand and enjoy, with beautiful illustrations and a story that feels very real. Isaac Bodkins was a magical toy-maker who creates toys that can come to life in order to help children trough difficult times. He calls his creations Oddkins. However, Isaac has passed away sooner than expected, and before he could train the next toy-maker. The race is now on to see whether a good or evil magic toy-maker will wield the power. A team of Isaac’s Oddkins are on the move to find the toy shop of Isaac’s chosen heir, while evil toys from the hidden sub-basement try to stop them from reaching their goal before the evil toy-maker can purchased Isaac’s toy shop.

Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages might be Koontz’s first book intended for more than just adult readers, but you would never know it from the read. Living toys are a new idea, but Koontz instilled a new life to the idea, with strong personalities for each of the living toys. I loved the idea that the toys are intended to help children facing special difficulties, although I wished all children could have one rather than just the ones with the ‘potential for greatness’, since I think everyone has that potential. However, that would make for one busy magic toy-maker! The Oddkins that face the action, both good and bad, have quirks and personalities that often made me smile or shudder, depending. The good Oddkin’s quest for Colleen Shannon’s shop, Isaac’s nephew’s search for the truth, and an ex-con in search for more ways to inflict pain intersect with the evil Oddkins intent on securing their future and the success of the dark toy-maker. There are epic battles, internal debates, and characters that will take hold of your heart. What else do you need?

I recommend Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages for adults that are fans of Koontz works as well as adults, teens, and the middle grade set. On a scale of one to five, I would give Oddkins a full five stars. There is a combination of fast passed action with enough introspection and personal discovery to keep readers of all ages and all genre preferences entertained and turning the pages.

(This review was originally published on Sharon the Librarian.)

Female Role Models in Fantasy

I am a fan of books from a wide variety of genres, for a wide variety of age groups. However, there is one common thread in the books I feel the most passionate about, and that is well-written characters. When I find a book with a strong protagonist that I can actually like and yet also believe in as real, I am thrilled. Sometimes finding one of these characters that just happens to be female, and one I would want to hold up to my daughter or nieces as a role model, is very hard. A teen or young female character who does not act as a victim even if the situation might make others feel like one. They act and do everything they can to make their life, and the lives of others, better. Thankfully, I have read fantasy for a long time, and have found a few. Here are the authors, and some of their noteworthy books that you can recommend to the young girls and young adults in your life.

[Cover]1) Tamora Pierce is my go-to recommendation for everyone that walks into the library and is looking for a fantasy book.  Alanna: The First Adventure  is the first book in the first series, Song of the Lioness, by Pierce. Alanna is a young girl that poses as her twin brother to become a knight and deals with the issues of bullying and personal strength. There are currently nine series by Pierce, two of which are geared for young adults, while the rest are for children, and she is still actively writing in at least one of them. My favorite series starters from Pierce are Alanna: The First AdventureFirst Test (Protector of the Small), Trickster’s Choice (Daughter of the Lioness), and Terrier (Beka Cooper).

[Cover]2) Robin McKinley has written a number of books that take classic stories, or plots that are reminiscent of them, and give them a solid twist. One of my favorites, The Hero and The Crown is about Aerin, who has the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword to secure her birthright  as the daughter of the Damarian king and a witchwoman of the mysterious, demon-haunted North. The Blue Sword, Beauty, Chalice, Spindle’s End, Pegasus, and Sunshine are other books I would recommend from McKinley.

[Cover]3) Cornelia Funke is the author of the Inkworld series, which begins with Inkheart. You might recognize the shared title from the movie which was released in 2008.  In Inkheart, twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service. The sequels Inkspell and Inkdeath are equally good reads. For younger readers, I recommend Funke’s Igraine the BraveThe Princess Knight, and the Ghosthunter’s series which begins with Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost!.

[Cover]4) Patricia C. Wrede is the author of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles quartet, which begins with Dealing with Dragons in which Cimorene is everything a princess is expected not to be. She is headstrong, tomboyish, and smart. But most of all she is bored, so bored that she runs away to live with a dragon and in the process finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for. Other books that I would recommend by Wrede are Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, Thirteenth Child, Mairelon the Magician, and Shadow Magic– all of which begin their own series.

Other authors that tend to offer up strong female children, teens, and adults as main characters in fantasy include: Libba Bray, Kristin Cashore, Cassandra Clare, Robin LaFevers, Maria V. Snyder, Garth Nix, Holly Black, Lilith St. Crow, Rachel Vincent, Elizabeth Moon, Kristen Britain, Edith Nesbitt, Dianna Wynne Jones, Patricia A. McKillip, and Sharon Shinn.

I know I left some great authors out, some are on the tip of my tongue even as I type this. Do you have a favorite fantasy book or author with strong female characters?