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: 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!

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

Book Review: Book Girl

Book Girl by Sarah    Clarkson
Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life 
by Sarah Clarkson 

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Sarah Clarkson delves into the qualities that a “book girl” possesses, and how she learns and looks at the world. And the author lists her favorite things about reading, along with her favorite books for every occasion in life.

I enjoyed this book, especially the lists of books. There is a short review with each book listed, so you can check off the ones you’ve already read, or look up the ones that sound interesting and put them on your wishlist.

Another wonderful thing about this book was the emphasis on reading as a way to know more about God through stories, and to connect with yourself by connecting with God. I really liked how the author explores various aspects of how stories can comfort, guide, and enlighten, always pointing us toward Christ. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: The Big Book Adventures

The Big Book Adventure by Emily Ford
The Big Book Adventure 
by Emily FordTim Warnes

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Foxy and Piggy love to read. They share their reading adventures with each other, and describe all the wonderful characters they have met. They encounter mermaids and dragons. They fly on a magic carpet, and find buried treasure. Foxy goes to outer space on a rocket, and Piggy has tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter in Wonderland. The two friends decide to start a book club, so that they can go on even more reading adventures together!

I loved the sweet characters of Piggy and Foxy. They are so cute!! They bounce from story to story enjoying each adventure and happy to share the experience of reading with a friend. Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders 
by Daniel Defoe

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Moll Flanders tells the story of her life, from her infancy in Newgate Prison where her mother was convicted as a thief, to her young maidenhood and adulthood as a whore, conwoman, honest wife, mistress, mother, thief, and the worst kind of liar.

I just hated this book from start to finish. I hated the main character, Moll Flanders, for all her sneaky, conniving, selfish, evil ways. She is entirely self-centered. She is disgustingly promiscuous. She has several children by different men, and abandons them all. She lies to everyone about everything. She has no morals whatsoever, and shows no remorse for her heinous crimes. She schemes how she can trick people out of their money, and steals from innocent children. She is revolting in every particular.

I did not like the writing style either.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Evil Wizard Smallbone

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman
The Evil Wizard Smallbone 
by Delia Sherman 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Nick runs away from his abusive uncle, only to fall into the hands of an evil wizard! Nick is forced to become Smallbone’s apprentice, but the old man refuses to teach him any magic. Unraveling the secrets of the Evil Wizard Bookshop and the mysterious town of Smallbone Cove, Nick will have to outwit his master before an even more evil wizard, Fidelou, terrorizes and destroys the entire town.

I am delighted with this whimsical tale of wizardry! I love the enchanted town of Smallbone Cove and the rich history of the people there. I love how grumpy and enigmatic Smallbone is, because we slowly discover that he has a heart of gold underneath. I love the twisty plot with all kinds of weird surprises. I like the writing style too! There’s a lot of dry humor and snappy dialogue.  Continue reading

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 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