Non-Fiction Review: Journal Me Organized

Journal Me Organized by Rebecca Spooner
Journal Me Organized: The Complete Guide to Practical and Creative Planning 
by Rebecca Spooner

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I got so many wonderful and creative ideas for my planner from this book! I love how the information is organized, with chapters about different planning methods, notebooks, styles, and supplies, along with ideas for doodling, creating lists, using watercolors and acrylics, brush lettering, and even making your own notebooks from scratch.

The beauty of it is that you don’t need fancy paints, pens, or notebooks to use the ideas in this book. You could just as easily set up a planner or bullet journal in a simple lined composition notebook from the dollar store. And the author gives tips about how to set up in a plain composition notebook versus a dot grid notebook.

I love all the different styles of daily, monthly, and yearly spreads! Whether you want a minimalist style or an artistic style, there is something for everyone. Continue reading

Book Review: Lost Kitties Collector’s Guide

Hasbro Lost Kitties Collector's Guide by Maggie Fischer
Hasbro Lost Kitties Collector’s Guide 
by Maggie Fischer

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This collector’s guide give the details of every Hasbro Lost Kitties toy, along with their bio, their favorite food, their hobbies, motto, life dream, and a hilarious meme for each kitten. The book includes various half-page kitty memes and a poster in the back that says “You have cat to be kitten me right now.”

The illustrations are bright and colorful, and the memes are full of silly misspellings and puns. Each kitty is different and the designs are adorable!

Although most of them are cute and fun and innocent, I found a few slightly questionable kitties with weird bios. For instance, there is Drizzle, the kitty with an OCD paranoia of germs who is constantly bathing. He’s “gripped with the inescapable horror that [germs] are everywhere and on everything. Drizzle once downed a whole bottle of bubble mix because he thought it was just super-clean soap, and farted bubbles for three days.”
Another kitty, Peekerz, is terrified of open spaces, and stays inside her cardboard box all the time. Continue reading

Book Review: Queste

Queste by Angie Sage
Queste (Septimus Heap, #4) 
by Angie Sage

4 out of 5 stars

A disgruntled old ghost has rigged the Questing Stone draw, sending Septimus on a suicide mission against the rules of Magyck Apprenticeship. No matter what Septimus does, he cannot escape the deadly Queste, and he ends up dragging Jemma and Beetle along with him through dangerous forests, and across deadly cliffs, to face the dreaded Foryx monsters and find the secrets of Time.

The world-building gets more and more phenomenal with each book in this series, as we discover further depths of magic and fantasy.
I love how twisty the plot is, where every small detail can have a huge impact on the story. I love the interesting and complex characters and how they all interact.
I am growing to love Beetle’s character more and more through this series, and I loved that he played a more central role in this book.
Jemma and Septimus are fantastic characters, as always. Nicko and Snorri also make an appearance from the depths of Time, and magic surrounds everything they do.

Loving this series!

Book Review: SpaceKid iLK

Spacekid iLK by Andrew  Hammond
Spacekid iLK: Invasion 101 
by Andrew Hammond 

4 out of 5 stars

iLK is a normal alien boy, flying around with his parents in a spaceship and invading planets. But when iLK’s father conquers Earth, he gets tired of being the supreme ruler of such a boring planet, and gives the job to iLK to teach him some responsibility. Earth is soon in danger, and it’s up to iLK to save the planet with the help of some friendly Earthlings!

I thought this book was hilarious! The writing is so clever and silly, and the plot is really imaginative. I loved the world-building with the aliens, and their culture of invasion and world domination. I especially enjoyed the complex family dynamics between iLK and his parents.
Continue reading

Picture Book Review: The Green Giant

The Green Giant by Katie Cottle
The Green Giant 
by Katie Cottle

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


When she goes to visit her grandfather in the country, Bea discovers a green giant made of plants in the greenhouse next door. They have a lovely summer together, playing, swinging from trees, flying kites, and jumping rope with vines. But soon, Bea has to return to the city, and the green giant gives her a magical gift.

I thought this story was charming! The giant tells Bea all about when he was a young sapling in the city, and how he had to move out to the country because of all the pollution that made it hard for him to breathe.
Bea herself is an adorable character. Curious and sweet, she enjoys simple summer activities and is friendly to everyone (and every plant).

I like the crayon look of the art style, but the artwork isn’t very polished or symmetrical. Sometimes Bea’s eyes are different sizes, and the green giant’s design is severely lacking. He just has a plain smiley face for a face! Just two dots for eyes and a line for a mouth. I would have expected something a little more imaginative from an artist. And his body doesn’t seem like it has any structure. He’s a boneless blob of green and yellow leaves. He looks weird, instead of endearing.
Continue reading

Picture Book Review: It’s Your World Now

It's Your World Now! by Barry Falls
It’s Your World Now! 
by Barry Falls

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This children’s book encourages children to be creative and true to their dreams, reminding them that they are capable of anything, but also that not everything will go their way. But most importantly, this book conveys the message that each child is loved, no matter what.

The one reason I enjoyed reading this book is the possibility for pointing out so many fun details in the illustrations. There is a ladybug hidden on every page, and it’s so delightful to search for it in the pictures. When reading with a child, it would be really fun to point to each picture and ask them “What is that?” or “Who is that?” and teach them about various people, places, and things.

All the illustrations are bright and colorful with a cartoonish look. The pages vary from simple and clean to extremely busy with complicated pictures of various things all jumbled together. I prefer the clean style, but I can also see the appeal of the jumbled images since it would be fun to point out each thing on the page while reading with a child.  Continue reading

Book Review: Forgotten Beasts

Forgotten Beasts by Matt Sewell
Forgotten Beasts 
by Matt Sewell

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This beautifully illustrated book teaches about extinct animals from the ancient past. There are no monstrous lizards or dinosaurs in this book. This is all about other types of mammals, birds, and sea creatures who once roamed the earth. Some are familiar to us, like the woolly mammoth and the sabre-toothed tiger, but most are impressively rare and wild-looking.

The illustrations are soft and colorful, with a gentle and silky style. But I wish there were more detail in the illustrations, and I wish that there were more drawings of each animal. It would have been interesting to compare the bone structure of fossils to the artist’s rendition of fur, feathers, and scales. It is very beautiful, but I was hoping for more detail.

As always with these sort of scientific books, I’m put off by the assumption of theories and dates that have not been proven. The author writes about millions of years, as though those dates were established scientific fact. The theory of evolution is also discussed as though it were fact and not theory. It makes me lose confidence in the veracity of the writing when ideas that are not proven are written about as if they were true.
Continue reading

Book Review: The Door in the Forest

The Door in the Forest by Roderick Townley
The Door in the Forest 
by Roderick Townley

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Daniel is a boy who cannot tell lies, no matter how much he wants to. Emily is a secretive girl with an eccentric grandmother. Together they try to find a doorway to the mysterious island and the magical secrets it holds. But a sneaky Army Captain has camped out in the town with his soldiers looking for traitors and spies, and he is determined to ferret out Daniel and Emily’s secrets.

This book was only okay. I was disappointed in the story. The big revealed mystery about the island was a major disappointment. I was bored with the characters. The plot barely moves at all. This is not nearly as imaginative as some of this author’s other books. I ended up skimming through the last 50 pages.

Book Review: Poppy and Rye

Poppy and Rye by Avi
Poppy and Rye 
by AviBrian Floca (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This cute story follows Poppy as she travels to the far-away Brook to bring the sad news of Ragweed’s death to his family. But when she arrives, the Brook has been dammed by selfish beavers, and Ragweed’s family have been threatened and their home flooded. The only one brave enough to help Poppy stand up to the beavers is Ragweed’s younger brother, Rye.

I loved this sweet and whimsical story! The writing is old-fashioned and charming, and I loved the adorable mouse characters.
I was especially interested to see the depth of Rye’s character, and some character development from Poppy and Ereth. It was delightful to see a simple story with such deep themes.