Manga Review: Magic Knight Rayearth II, Vol. 1-3


Magic Knight Rayearth II, Vol. 1Magic Knight Rayearth II, Vol. 3Magic Knight Rayearth II, Vol. 2
Magic Knight Rayearth II, Vol. 1 by CLAMP

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The three magical girls are back in the mysterious land of Cephiro for a second adventure! They don’t know who summoned them to this alien world, but they have their weapons and the Mashin spirits to help them fight, this time against invaders from neighboring worlds. Without a Pillar to hold the planet together, Cephiro is literally falling apart, and only the three Magic Knights can defend this world until someone new can take on the job of being the Pillar.

All the same things that I liked and disliked about the first volumes still hold true. The plot is obvious, the characters lack depth, and the action artwork is confusing. But the girls are cute! and I like the pretty artwork, and the adorable characters and their sweet friendships. Continue reading

Book Review: Magic or Not?

Magic or Not?
Magic or Not? by Edward Eager

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved rereading this children’s classic! When twins Laura and James move to the country, they find an old wishing well, and begin to test the magic waters with their wishes. The wishes seem to come true, but in such regular, mundane ways that the children can’t be sure… was it magic or not? The eccentric Lydia comes blasting into their adventures, and their neighbor Kip joins in the fun. The wishing well definitely appears to be influencing their adventures, but only when they wish something good for others, never when they wish for themselves. So the four friends attempt a quest of good deeds, with mixed results when the disgustingly spoiled rich kid, Gordy, begins to tag along and pester them. Continue reading

Book Review: Life Charmer: Koda’s Quest

Life Charmer: Koda's Quest
Life Charmer: Koda’s Quest by Kristal Shaff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Koda picks up an ancient Native American arrowhead, he is endowed with the power of the Life Charmer, and is able to control the life force of animals. He can carve a wooden totem or likeness and summon the spirit of a living animal into the wood. But because of these god-like powers, Koda is being hunted by monsters of Native American myth and legend, and he must find allies in unlikely places among the tribes if he is to defeat his enemies and prove himself to the gods. The tribal council of elders sends Koda on a quest to prove his worth, and while Koda is still learning about his abilities, he will need the help of his new friends to stay alive.

This book reminds me strongly of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Koda is sarcastic and funny, and he surrounds himself with a variety of delightfully weird characters. The book mixes the modern-day world with ancient myth and magic. And of course, there is nothing quite like a heroic quest against monsters! Continue reading

Book Review: The Wizard’s Dilemma

The Wizard's Dilemma
The Wizard’s Dilemma by Diane Duane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another book in this series that broke my heart! Such beautiful writing!

Nita gets the terrible news that her mother is dying of cancer. In between hospital visits, Nita searches for a dangerous and elusive wizardry that will cure her mother, but the price may be more than she can pay. She and her wizarding work partner, Kit, have suffered a misunderstanding that keeps them apart. Determined to find a cure on her own, Nita falls prey to the evil Lone One, not realizing that Kit might have stumbled on the answer to all their problems, if only they can reconcile in time!

As in all the other books, I adore the camaraderie and complete trust between Kit and Nita. Their friendship is so special, and seeing it fall apart in this book was heartbreaking. But even through their argument, I loved seeing these characters grow and change, and their friendship ultimately grows and changes along with them. All friendships have some rocky spots, a few bumps in the road, and I was so happy to see how both these characters overcome the obstacles in their way, and it makes them better people, and makes their friendship stronger! Continue reading

Book Review: A Wizard Abroad

A Wizard Abroad
A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nita is shipped off to Ireland to stay with her Aunt Annie for a few weeks. The barriers between Ireland and the Old World of Tir na nOg are thin, and Nita must help the Irish wizards to ward off nightmare creatures from the past. Legends and monsters from Irish legend come into the realm of reality, and only Nita and her friends have the magical power and the connections to stop them.

As always, it is utterly impossible to describe the wonder, the grandeur, the sheer enchantment of a book by Diane Duane. There’s something so indescribably foreign and deliciously familiar in all her characters. Continue reading

Book Review: The Book of Wonders

The Book of Wonders
The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m so disappointed in this book. The cover made it look wonderful, but the characters are two-dimensional, the story is trite, and the dialogue is boring. I read it all the way through, but it never really captured my attention or my emotions. Continue reading

Book Review: Rebel Genius

Rebel Genius
Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so impressed with this book! I loved every second of it! There are definite influences of the Italian Renaissance in the setting through the artwork, architecture, and names. The writing is full of action, mystery, and magic, and of course, the characters are absolutely delightful. They feel like real people, varied and interested, changing and growing all the time, each with their own secrets and agendas.

Giacomo is an orphan, living on the streets, when he mysteriously acquires a Genius, a little bird that is a companion to artists to inspire their imaginations and give them magical powers of creativity. But the evil ruler, Nerezza, sends her soldiers to kill all the Genius birds and their artists, and Giacomo and his new little friend are on the run. Giacomo teams up with some other artsy children, and they go on a quest to find an object of magical power to bring Nerezza’s evil rule to an end. Continue reading

Book Review: Entwined

Entwined by Heather Dixon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, I love this book so much! Based on the cover, I thought it was going to be this sweety cutesy teen romance, but it was so much more and had so many levels to the story. Blew me away! Plus, I always love fairytale retellings, and this one is the ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’.

Azalea is the eldest of the princesses, who have just lost their mother. Since their grieving father is so distant and cold, the girls turn to dancing to remind them of their mother and comfort them in their grief. But the strict rules of Mourning won’t allow dancing, and the girls have to search the castle for a secret place to dance. Continue reading

Book Review: Juliet Dove, Queen of Love

Juliet Dove, Queen of Love
Juliet Dove, Queen of Love by Bruce Coville

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this on audiobook, and I think that really made a difference to the story, hearing an entire cast of characters reading the dialogue. There was so much acting and expression put into every sentence that it made the story really come alive!

This is the tale of Juliet, who is a shy young teen with a literary and artistic family. When a mysterious woman gives her an enchanted amulet, every boy in town starts to fall in love with her. It’s up to Juliet and her new rodent friends from the Magic Shop to unravel the mystery of the amulet, and get Juliet out of the ancient love story she is doomed to relive.

First of all, I love stories that bring in the old Greek gods into modern settings (because of Percy Jackson). Secondly, I love stories with wise-cracking rats or mice. And thirdly, I love stories with strong family relationships with both a mother and father present and involved and actually parenting (instead of dead, divorced, or absent). Continue reading

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