Theater Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild

I’ve heard rave reviews all around about Streatfeild’s Shoes books, but this one sat on my to-read shelf for quite a while before I picked it up recently in a fit of needing something easy (it’s middle grade) and fictional.

It is not only delightful, it’s a classic. I know I’m not imparting new information there–you can find that in other places, by more important reviewers. I need reminded, though, of what I love and enjoy in classics, especially with my to-read shelves brimming with review copies and lots of nonfiction. It’s good to pause and read one every so often (or even more often than that).

I think I’ll be reading this tale aloud to a certain girl soon, because not only is it far better to have THIS voice in the back of my mind than that of Junie B. Jones, but it is also an adventure in the old-fashioned, utterly enjoyable, thoroughly wonderful sense of the word.

I realize this isn’t even really a review. But I guess posting it anyway falls under the disclaimer of “it’s my space and I wanna,” right? And if it gets you to read this book…well then, I’ve done my job. 🙂

Toward the Gleam, by T.M. Doran

I heard about this book via a recent episode of In Between Sundays, where Nick interviewed the author. I was so intrigued by the premise of the book and what I found when I clicked through to the website that I promptly wrote and asked for a copy of it.

I mean, come ON. Comparing Doran to Tolkien? I figured this book would either be great or…not so much. Either way, I had to find out for myself. So many of my review books are nonfiction–which is great, I’m a nonfiction writer myself–but, as I’ve said so many times, fiction feeds me. It’s my passion. I LOVE TO READ FICTION, especially when it’s good fiction.

And great fiction? Well. Let’s just say that I’m beside myself when I find it in new authors or areas.

Find it I did!

I feel NO COMPUNCTION recommending this book. I heard someone recently call it science fiction, and it has fantasy on the back cover. I hesitate with those labels, though. While it is assuredly science fiction and fantasy in one sense of the label, there are no aliens or zombies. I know, I know, before you beat me with my misunderstanding of the label, let me just say that I avoid the SFF section of the bookstore. It disturbs me.

Finding a book that’s in the genre that I can finish, enjoy immensely, and recommend is always a surprise to me, even though I’ve found enough in the last couple of years to include SFF as a heading on my reading list.

I’ll be doing a more in-depth review soon at, but I wanted to share my highest recommendation here as well.