Comic Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow, Part 1
Avatar: The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m loving the continuing story of Team Avatar in these graphic novels! In this one, there is political unrest in the Fire Nation as a band of traitorous rebels try to put the evil Ozai back on the throne. Zuko must fight to protect his newly-found family, but there are spies and enemies around every corner, and Zuko will have to call on Avatar Aang to help.

I love the artwork, and you can really feel the action moving the story forward. It’s easy to imagine it playing in your head like a movie, because the dialogue and facial expressions and fight scenes all flow so well. Continue reading

Book Review: Mad Ship

Mad Ship
Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story continues with Althea desperate to prove herself as an able-bodied seaman so that she can hopefully regain control of the Liveship Vivacia. But unbeknownst to her, Vivacia has been captured by pirates, and Wintrow is forced to bargain with the evil Kennit to save his own life and his father’s.
Malta is caught up in a flurry of courtship that could mean the forgiveness of the Vestrit family’s crushing debts, or it could spell ruin for her reputation. Brashen is striving to simply make a living on board a ship anywhere, but the mad ship Paragon might change his plans. And the mysterious Amber begins to have more influence on events as she has a finger in every pie in Bingtown. Continue reading

Book Review: The Great Cheese Conspiracy

The Great Cheese Conspiracy
The Great Cheese Conspiracy by Jean Van Leeuwen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an adorable little book about some mice living in a movie theater, who watch a lot of films about bank robbers. When they decide their gang is going to rob a cheese store, they come up with one hilarious plan after another and have several daring escapes, but no cheese. It’s up to their fearless leader to pull off the biggest cheese heist in mouse history!

I love stories about mice because they are the ultimate underdog characters! These little guys come up with some ingenious and hilarious projects, and I love the humor and silliness in the writing.

This would be the perfect book to read aloud to children, or for a child just starting to read chapter books. So cute!

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Graphic Novel Review: Laddertop

Laddertop, Volume 1
Laddertop, Volume 1 by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Robbi and Azure are chosen from among their classmates to train for Laddertop Academy, a space station that hires gifted children to do maintenance work in the miles of tiny service tunnels. Laddertop space station was a gift from an alien race, but the aliens disappeared soon after. When Robbi begins her training, she finds out that Laddertop holds mysteries and enigmas that could destroy Earth or save it.

Robbi and Azure are excellent characters, with Azure providing some humor and Robbi being the serious-minded protagonist.
I really liked the interaction between all the children in training. They poke fun at each other, make friends and sometimes enemies, but it’s never boring!

The world building is very intriguing! The Laddertop space station is set up in such a unique way, and the humans who run it don’t really understand what it is capable of. I’m dying to know what those aliens are up to, and what role Robbi will play in their plans!

I really need to get my hands on the 2nd volume!

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Book Review: Ennara and the Fallen Druid

Ennara and the Fallen Druid
Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Myron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ennara has to hide her identity as a child with magical abilities, because she would most likely be kidnapped, enslaved, and forced to use her magic to benefit evil masters. She wears gloves to cover the tattoos on her hands that mark her as a magic user, but her mentor, Tork, trains her in the use of white magic.
When a shadowy demon begins attacking her village, Ennara is sent on a quest with Tork to recover the only weapon that could defeat the shadows, the Sword of Gisilfrid. But the sword is hidden in a sunken city deep below the ocean waves, and Ennara will need the help of her friends to defeat the evil Fallen Druid and retrieve the sword.

Treachery, spies, shadow magic, elemental magic, adventure, magical history, quests, friendship, love, and of course the power of family… this book has a great story line! I love how there is such an emphasis on light and sunshine and warmth, as opposed to the darkness and shadows. Continue reading

Book Review: The Case of the Cursed Dodo

The Case of the Cursed Dodo
The Case of the Cursed Dodo by Jake G. Panda

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This hilarious “jungle noir” mystery features endangered animals, a panda detective, villainous snakes and shrews, and one very enigmatic green bird.
Jake G. Panda is a hotel detective who gets involved in a mystery that will lead him on an adventure across the Sahara, through Morocco, and to fabled lost cities in Asia. Following the signs of the green bird, Jake has to fight off not only poaching humans, but also back-stabbing animals willing to make a few dollars on other animals’ misery.

The humor is wonderful with lots of puns and classic lines from film noir! It reads like a funny version of the Maltese Falcon or Casablanca. It’s hilarious and delightful to read! Continue reading

Script Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s so hard to write a review for this because all the feels and expectations and everything. It was not what I expected, and it was both more than I expected and less in some areas.

I thought the plot was completely fantastic. I was surprised in every act and liked the emotional dynamic between Harry and his son, Albus.
I did think sometimes that there was too much focus on emotional conflict in relationships and it just got in the way of the story. Although it makes it feel like a more grownup story, it creates a very different serious mood rather than the fun adventure plot we have in other HP books. There’s too much focus on relationships rather than actions and mystery and world-building magic. Continue reading