Review | Magic for Sale | Carrie Clickard & John Shelley


Magic for Sale

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A young boy tracks down an elusive ghost in the hidden rooms of a fantastical magic shop.

This book is so cute and fun! While the syntax is not always right, the rhymes are witty and enjoyable for all ages. Adults who loved Harry Potter will get a kick out of the illustrations, which very much feel like a search-and-discover game. Easter eggs abound!

There is one minor plot hole towards the end regarding a large pink monster–where did it come from? Why has it suddenly shown up? Otherwise, a wonderful little picture book!

*I obtained a BLAD of this book as Sales, Marketing & Publicity Assistant for Thomas Allen & Son, the distributor of this book in Canada. Canadian librarians and booksellers can order their copies here.


Release date: July 25, 2017


Book Love: Bookish Tattoos

I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, but if I’m going to permanently ink my skin, I want it to mean something significant. I’ve often considered inking something book-related, but with all the books and phrases to choose from, I’m finding it an impossible task. Below are people who’ve got it all figured out, and now have beautiful tattoos to boot.

harry potter tat

[La Sirena]

narnia tat


tfios tat


sherlock holmes tat

(“You know my methods. Apply them.”) [Tattoodo]

Happy reading.

-Ember Book Reviews


Book Love: Pumpkin Carvings

Who’s excited for Halloween? I know I am. In a strange turn of events, my partner’s family is celebrating Thanksgiving on Halloween, but that just means more food.

Halloween also means pumpkins and pumpkin carving, and when I carve a pumpkin, I don’t go for the amateur stuff. Today’s Book Love post is therefore all about bookish pumpkin carvings. Let me know what your favourites are and maybe even send me some pics of your bookish pumpkins!

Because I’m a sucker for TFiOS…but I never thought I’d see it paired with 50 Shades

TFiOs and 50


Because “Harry Potter Pumpkins” just rolls off the tongue. And, hello, pumpkin juice.

harry potter pumpkin


Because this person’s a genius.

Fangirl pump


Because it’s Halloween and this book scared the crap out of me in the third grade.

coraline pump


Happy Halloween!

-Ember Book Reviews

Book Love: Bookish Cakes

Because I am writing this post at the start of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and have food on the brain, I couldn’t get the image out of my head of book-themed cupcakes I had seen floating around the internet a while ago…

book cakes

[I originally saw this picture on Twitter, but grabbed it off of Write it Down’s blog.]

I decided to do a Google search of bookish cakes, and holy god, I was absolutely blown away. Not only do they look delicious, but the artwork and thought put into them is so intricate and beautiful. It reminds me of why I love reading and why I love the book-lovers community! Check out these delicious cakes below, with links to where I snatched the images:

book cakes2


book cakes3

[Eat Your Books.]

book cakes4

[Cake Wrecks.]

Aren’t they all fantastic?

-Ember Book Reviews

Book Love: From the Page

Hi everybody! I’m thinking of doing a series of posts called “Book Love” where I combine my love for books with my love for lifestyle-related bookish things. If you have any suggestions, feel free to contact me and I will see what I can do.

The first thing I wanted to draw your attention to is From the Page, a candle-making shop inspired by all things bookish!

from the page

I discovered them through Twitter, when an author I followed tweeted about them, and then found them on Etsy. I have ordered six of their tin-candles and absolutely love them. The problem is that I don’t like burning them because they’re so cute that I want to keep them. My favourite scents are Hobbiton, Peeta’s Cakes, Hagrid’s Pumpkin Patch, and Dauntless Cake (which I don’t think they have anymore–I’m so sad, agh!).

from the page hagrid

from the page peeta

I currently have Hazel’s Flowers sitting untouched on my headboard because I can’t bear to part with it.

from the page hazel

Everything about these candles are so cute and thoughtful, from the design to the scents and packaging. Delivery was super-speedy and they made great gifts for my mom and in-laws. I even gave two to my boyfriend that he keeps in a drawer as incense.

I encourage you guys to check them out and buy their stuff! If you’re not sure where to start, I’m happy to recommend some things, and the shop owner is also super friendly; contact her if you have any questions.

Let me know what you guys think and what your purchases are! I’m so excited for you all the get to know From the Page.

-Ember Book Reviews

P.S. From the Page has no idea I did this and did not sponsor me in any way.

Strong Female Protagonists

I thought I’d do a quick post today about books with strong female protagonists for any age group. All too often lately, especially in YA, I find that a “strong” female character is defined as being sarcastic, witty (though this is always the author’s definition of witty and I rarely agree with them), and ready to run head-on into dangerous situations. While sometimes this works, there are other ways for a female protagonist to be strong and a good role model, so I’m going to give some examples.

Warning: some spoilers ahead.


Katniss Everdeen

Katniss is the first example to pop into my head because yeah, while she volunteers for the Hunger Games, I wouldn’t call it “running head-on into danger” because she’s only doing it to save her sister. I also really loved how she didn’t fall into the classic YA trope of falling for Peeta, but instead she used him and manipulated his feelings to her advantage in order to get them both out alive. What I loved about this was that the author understood that it wouldn’t really make sense for Katniss to fall head-over-heels for Peeta in a situation like this, and also that characters’ feelings are much more complicated than “girl meets cute boy, girl falls in love.”


Hermione Granger

Hermione is amazing. She’s smart, she’s the only girl in a group of three with two other guys, she’s headstrong, she holds true to her beliefs, and she makes tough decisions even if it means almost losing the person she loves the most in the world. I love Hermione for a load of reasons, but what I really loved was that, throughout the Harry Potter series but especially in the last book, there were more important things at stake than her feelings for Ron. There were more important things at stake in general, and she even wiped her parents’ memories to protect them while sacrificing her relationship with them. Hermione is, in my opinion, the definition of selfless and I admire her so much.

Also, does anyone remember her movement to help the House Elves? They never had it in the movies, but it was GREAT.

name of the star madness underneath the shadow cabinet

Rory Deveaux

Rory is from Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series, and she is seriously kick-ass. The dialogue throughout the entire book is intelligent and interesting without being annoyingly sarcastic or trying too hard at being witty, and it’s not just her that is able to maintain these features. There’s a love interest, but she’s kind of just fooling around—she has more important things on her mind than the feelings of some boy. While this turns a little bit with book 3, Rory’s feelings are always kind of off to the side with the main issue at hand being the evil ghosts and what is going to happen with the world. There are more important things for Rory to focus on, and while she’s sad and misses the person she loves, she has perspective and knows what needs to come first.


Hazel Grace Lancaster

I’ve been harping pretty heavily on the love stories in these books, so I want to make it clear that I’m all for a good love story if the girl or boy isn’t stupid about it. Hazel is a great character, in my opinion, because she’s flawed, and not in the ways that are so commonly written (such as an overuse of sarcasm or misunderstood wit). She’s a little bit self-centered (for example, thinking that her parents would sit around doing nothing after she died), which I really like because it’s so realistic. Nobody’s perfect, and Hazel is written that way EXTERNAL to her illness. I also loved that Gus obviously thinks she’s gorgeous and is all over her, but not every guy she comes across trips over his feet in her presence. This isn’t a Bella Swan situation where she thinks she’s ugly but every guy within a five mile radius wants to get in her pants. I also really liked that she pushed Gus away for a little while before finally giving in to her feelings. It shows a lot about her strength as a person, I think, especially in comparison to other YA females who give in easily to their feelings for the hot guy. Also, the way she handled Gus’s death was heartbreaking but so wonderfully mature.

dear dumb diary

Jamie Kelly

The Dear Dumb Diary series is a series that I’m not ashamed to say I read until I was eighteen years old. These books are hilarious, and Jamie is the epitome of what I hope my child will be someday. She’s smart, funny, is keenly observational, but is also heavily, heavily flawed. She is, after all, just a kid. But I love that, as a girl, she still does what some would call “gross” things and she has a crazy best friend (Isabelle). Basically, she’s just a regular girl, not what society wants to define as a “girl.” She’s not really “lady-like,” she has an equal amount of guy friends to girl friends (though her best friends are girls), and her biggest concerns are not getting punched by Isabelle and finishing her homework on time. I love it.

Who do you think makes a strong female protagonist?

-Ember Book Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (Five) Characters I’d Like to Check in With

I heard about this post by The Broke and the Bookish through Erika the Bibliophile. I thought it was super neat because, as an avid reader, writer, and daydreamer, book characters are more than just fictional to me: my imagination transforms them into real people—friends—who I am convinced are still out there doing their thing to this day. So OF COURSE I fell in love with the idea of listing all the characters I wonder about on a casual (constant?) basis. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with ten characters that I’m all that worried about. Instead, I picked my top five. I’m also going to tell you all where I hope they’ve taken their lives, or where I think their lives might have gone based on where the book(s) left off. Hopefully you guys will comment and give me your two cents as well! I’d love to hear who your top ten (or five or seven or three-hundred eleventy-one) characters are.

#1. The Harry Potter characters

I know that Erika the Bibliophile also posted this as her number one, but can you blame her? I grew up with this series and was heartbroken when I read the final lines, knowing that I would never read them for the first time again. Like Erika, the epilogue wasn’t enough for me, but rather than wondering about the main gang (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, etc.), I’m more concerned about the next generation and how Hogwarts is carrying on after the final battle.

Here’s what I think: I like to imagine that Harry’s son is a teensy bit evil. I don’t know why. I guess I just think it will thicken the plot a little bit (I felt that the epilogue led into a very boring story and I’d like to spice that up). I imagine him in Slytherin, but I picture him isolating himself from the other children and eventually taking a turn down the dark path. I mean, how crazy would that be? Harry defeats the Dark Lord just to have his son turn around to become Voldermort, the Next Generation.

hp harry's sonvoldemort

#2. Gemma from Libba Bray’s The Gemma Doyle Triology

Kartik was left in a tree. I mean, enough said, right? Not that Gemma can’t go on without Kartik or anything, but she really loved him. I guess I just wonder if that tree still stands, if Gemma eventually moved on but in her old age still thinks about him. I wonder if, like Rose in the Titanic, she spent her life with somebody else but her heart still truly belongs to Kartik. I kind of hope it does, but at the same time I feel sorry for the poor bugger she ended up with. (I mean, the ending of Titanic is great and all—it’s my favourite movie—but when she returns to Jack, IS NOBODY WORRIED ABOUT HOW HER POOR, DEAD HUSBAND IS FEELING LOOKING DOWN ON ALL THAT???)

gemma doyle

#3. Allie from The Vinyl Princess

It’s been a long time since I read this book, and I don’t remember the precise spot that it left off at, but I still wonder about Allie skateboarding through the streets on her way to work at the music store. Basically, Allie was awesome, I wished I could be her, and I think she’d make a freaking cool thirty-year-old, so I’d like to see that.

vinyl princess

#4. Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars

(Yeah, I refuse to call her Hazel Grace. That was Gus’s thing. It wouldn’t feel right for me to get to call her that.) So, if you don’t know how TFiOS ended, you’ve been living under a rock. Basically, I just want to know if Hazel is okay. I want to know if she’s still even ALIVE. But most of all, I want to know that wherever she is or wherever she left off, she still loves Gus with all her heart. What can I say? I’m a romantic. I hope she’s still best friends with Isaac, and I hope that they think of Gus whenever they play video games. I hope that Hazel has a little picture of her and Gus in Amsterdam tucked away somewhere that she pulls out to look at occasionally. I hope she spends lots of time with her parents. I hope that wherever she is, she’s happy.


#5. Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever

This one’s a bit trickier for me. The book left off with Macy and Wes jogging down the beach together, and they make a cameo in another of Sarah Dessen’s novel, but it’s not 100% whether or not they stay together. That’s why it’s tricky: I want to know but I don’t. If they’re still together, I want to know. If they’re not, I don’t. I also can’t really picture what their happily ever after would look like. Do they have kids? Do they have a dog? A house or an apartment? Does Bert visit them in his ambulance? Is Macy still best friends with Kristy? So much of the novel was spent with Macy and Wes navigating boundaries and not with them actually together that it leaves me with too many question marks. I’m overwhelmed. I almost don’t even want to start looking for answers.


-Ember Book Reviews xxoo