Book Review: Birdwing

Birdwing by Rafe Martin
Birdwing 
by Rafe Martin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodREads


Ardwin is the youngest in his family, cursed with one arm that is a swan’s wing. He is feared and reviled by the world, and sets out to seek an adventure that will lead him to his true home. But he will never find peace until he learns to accept himself, wing and all.

This is a continuation of the fairy tale of the brothers who are transformed into swans and saved by their sister who weaves shirts of nettles to break the curse. One little brother’s shirt is unfinished, missing a sleeve, and that arm remains a swan’s wing.

I loved Ardwin’s character! He’s a very deep thinker, and he puzzles through many ideas about identity, instinct, belonging, love, and hate, and forgiveness. There are so many wonderful themes that he wrestles with, but he ultimately finds where he truly belongs.

The plot is wonderfully fantastical, full of wizards, enchantresses, talking animals, deep earth magic, and impossible plot twists that kept me guessing and wondering and perfectly in awe. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: The Bullet Journal Method

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future 
by Ryder Carroll

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I guess I was expecting something… different from this.

This book spends very little time actually outlining HOW to set up a bullet journal. There are a few good ideas about lists, calendars, tasks, goals, and habit trackers, but not many.

The book is almost completely enveloped in a philosophical message about being your best self, and staying true to your real goals, with a ton of cutesy sayings and quotes from Ghandi and Benjamin Franklin.

I wanted a much more practical guide to using my BuJo, but instead this is a lengthy treatise on how to change your life and motivate yourself to reach your goals. I mean, that’s fine. But it’s written so condescendingly, that I was rolling my eyes through half the book. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: The Fellowship

The Fellowship by Philip Zaleski
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams 
by Philip Zaleski , Carol Zaleski 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I read this book by listening to the audiobook, and really enjoyed the voice of the narrator and the structure of the book. Following a chronological and sometimes topical format, this book covers the lives of four of the most famous members of the Inklings. Starting from their childhoods and following them through both World Wars, their academic careers, and their writing, this book also includes details of their family lives and personal friendships right up until their deaths.

I already know a lot about these men, because Tolkien and Lewis are my two favorite authors, and I’ve already read other biographies about the Inklings. But I was really impressed with the depth of information and careful research in this book. There are some really wonderful details and anecdotes that bring these historical figures close to the reader. Continue reading

Book Review: The Wizard Test

The Wizard Test by Hilari Bell
The Wizard Test 
by Hilari Bell (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Dayven hates wizards, believing the rumors that they are sly and dishonest, but he is required to take the Wizard Test to find out if he has any magical ability. When Dayven passes the test and the magic inside him is revealed, he must choose where his loyalties lie, and discover the true meaning of destiny.

I enjoyed reading this book, and loved the magic system! Nothing and no one is quite what you expect, because we see the world through Dayven’s eyes, and he has only known rumors and propaganda. He believes the enemies of his nation are stupid barbarians, and we are just as amazed as he is to observe that they have an elegant and vibrant culture. He believes that all wizards are selfish deceivers, and we are just as astonished as he is to realize that the wizards are compassionate champions of justice. I loved going on this journey of discovery with Dayven as he explores the truth of his world.

I loved the characters, and how they are described in just a few words that gives you a rich picture of who they are. I immediately connected with the main characters, and was pulled along in their emotional story. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: The Rabbit Effect

The Rabbit Effect by Kelli Harding
The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness 
by Kelli Harding

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This book explains many of the hidden factors to health and disease that modern medicine doesn’t routinely cover: social environment, easy access to nutritious food, work satisfaction and safety, family bonds, and environmental trauma. Kindness really can heal disease and prevent infections.

I liked how the information in this book was organized. The chapters have some good examples of real-life cases and scientific studies that prove how each component in a person’s life strongly affects their health.

However, the author has a very leftist viewpoint, and holds up government-controlled health care as a desirable and efficient situation, even hinting that it apparently worked out so well for the British. And yet Britain is well-known for having a terrible health-care system.
Continue reading

Book Review: Fire Bringer

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies
Fire Bringer 
by David Clement-Davies (Goodreads Author)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

As a little fawn, Rannoch is born with an oak leaf mark on his forehead that signals the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. When his father is murdered on the very night of his birth, Rannoch must be hidden and kept safe from the eyes of the tyrant deer lord, Drail. As Drail gets closer to discovering Rannoch’s true identity, Rannoch and his friends must flee to the North, propelling them on an epic journey towards freedom and healing for all the deer in Scotland.

It took me awhile to get into the flow of the story. There are far too many characters, some of them with similar names, making it difficult to remember them all, and the writing spends way too much time explaining boring details ad nauseum. But once the story began to move, I enjoyed the adventure, the characters, and the world-building of the deer herds and their culture. But then I was disappointed in the ending. It needed more flair, and it didn’t deliver quite the epic conclusion I was looking for.

A good read, but not amazing. The writing could have been more polished, and the plot needed better pacing to keep the story moving forward.

Book Review: The Great Brain Reforms

The Great Brain Reforms by John D. Fitzgerald
The Great Brain Reforms (Great Brain, #5) 
by John D. FitzgeraldMercer Mayer

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Tom, known as The Great Brain, is up to his old tricks again, fooling the neighborhood kids into sucker bets, tricking his brother into doing all the chores, blackmailing his adopted brother out of his allowance money, and generally making trouble for the town.

But when a few kids nearly lose their lives in one of his pranks, will the shame and fear of death be enough to get the Great Brain to reform his ways?

I enjoyed this funny story about the mischievous schemes of Tom and how he drags his brothers along for the ride. He definitely reminds me of Tom Sawyer, only he’s WORSE!
The wholesome atmosphere of the old town and the simple quiet people who live there, are stirred up by the wild and crazy scenarios that Tom cooks up. There is never a dull moment! Continue reading