Book Review: The First Crystal

 

The First Crystal by J.M. Bergen
The First Crystal
by J.M. Bergen 

3 out of 5 stars

This short story follows the villains of the Elandrian series, Arius and Arriana, as they search for a mysterious crystal and have to survive the booby traps of an ancient cave to retrieve it.

There wasn’t much to the story other than getting past the booby traps, and showing how heartless and power-hungry Arius and Arriana can be. I would have liked a longer story with more meat on it. For instance, how did they know which was the right cave to search? The story begins just outside the cave, and we never get to see the actual search. Continue reading

Book Review: Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria

Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria by J.M. Bergen
Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria (Book 2)
by J.M. Bergen 

4 out of 5 stars

Thomas and his magical friends are determined to stop the evil Arius before he can find a staff of great power and use it to destroy everything they hold dear. A mysterious monster is stalking them, so Thomas’ teacher, Scott, accelerates their training in magic abilities and fighting techniques. Thomas’ mother has been keeping secrets about where Thomas’ father really disappeared, and Thomas will have to decide who he can trust.

I enjoyed this book so much! The magic system is marvelous, the plot is brilliant, and the characters are deep and endearing.

One thing I really loved is how this book continues the world-building from

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Graphic Novel Review: The Knights of Mars

Castle in the Stars by Alex Alice
Castle in the Stars: The Knights of Mars #3
by Alex Alice

5 out of 5 stars


Seraphin and his father are working to keep the secrets of aether out of the hands of the Prussians, and trying to track the whereabouts of the missing Bavarian king. Eventually, their search will lead them to the red planet, Mars.

I love this graphic novel from start to finish! The artwork is delicate yet bold, with beautiful colors, clear action, hilarious character expressions, gorgeous designs, and emotional scenes.

The story is full of suspense, adventure, and family! I loved the friendships, the family dynamics, and the history that made this a deep and emotional tale. Continue reading

Book Review: The Princess Games

The Princess Games by Danai  Kadzere
The Princess Games
by Danai Kadzere (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars

Emma and Laralyn are two peasant girls, one beautiful and one plain. When the King and Queen decide to adopt a Princess, the girls become contestants in the Princess Games to win a place in the royal family. Emma is sturdy, clever, and hard-working. She only cares about the food. Laralyn is dainty, demure, and determined to win. She only cares about pleasing her money-loving mother. How can they compete with the dozens of other girls who all want to be the new Princess?
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Book Review: Deeplight

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
Deeplight
by Frances Hardinge

3.5 stars out of 5 stars
Hark is a conman and a thief. When his best friend, Jelt, convinces him to try a dangerous diving stunt, Hark finds the ancient heart of a dead god and tries to use it to heal Jelt. But the heart is deceitful and begins to change Jelt into a monster.

I liked the deep characters in this book. They are well-written with interesting personalities. The relationships between the characters are deliciously emotional and complex. I especially loved the character development! Several of the characters change and grow and learn. Their relationships change. Their views and beliefs change. It’s wonderful to see the internal journey that they go on, and how their relationships with each other either help or hinder them on that journey.
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Book Review: Celtic Mythology for Kids

Celtic Mythology for Kids by Christopher Pinard
Celtic Mythology for Kids: Tales of Selkies, Giants, and the Sea
by Christopher Pinard

5 out of 5 stars

I love these fairy tales from Celtic myths! They are retold in a simple manner for children, and each tale is between 3-7 pages long. The tales use a few Irish and Scottish words, but they are explained and there is even a glossary of Celtic words in the back of the book. I love how the rich Celtic culture is celebrated in this book!

The stories themselves are wonderfully interesting and full of magic and history! At the end of each story, there are some questions to prompt discussion and get the reader thinking about the choices made by the characters in the story. Continue reading

Book Series Review: Warren the 13th Trilogy

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Warren the 13th Trilogy

by Tania del Rio (Author),  Will Staehle (Illustrations)
5 out of 5 stars

I loved this trilogy! The design is elaborate and the plot is mysterious. I loved the characters and the writing style. I flew right through the pages, and enjoyed the action in every chapter.

Warren is such a likable and interesting character! I really appreciated his curiosity, his resilience, and his love for the hotel. He feels connected to his parents and to his ancestors through their shared history in the hotel, and it gave the story a lot of depth to have that heritage. He finds clues that his father left behind for him, and that gives him the courage to face difficult circumstances.

There are so many great supporting characters, all unique and quirky and memorable.

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Graphic Novel Review: This Was Our Pact

This Was Our Pact by Ryan  Andrews
This Was Our Pact
by Ryan Andrews (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars


Ben and his friends are determined to follow the river on the night of their Autumn Festival. Every year thousands of lanterns are floated down the river, and legend says that the lanterns float up to join the stars. Ben makes a pact with his friends to find out the truth about where the lanterns go, and they hop on their bikes to follow the lanterns. But the weird kid, Nathaniel, follows them, and when everyone else turns back, Nathaniel and Ben discover the true magic that surrounds the lanterns.

This book is so beautiful and whimsical! I was enchanted from the very beginning. The lovely artwork, the imaginative plot, the emotional characters, and the engaging dialogue kept me entranced through every page. Continue reading