Evie is a teenage healer, always concocting potions for her best friend, Wormy. When he proposes, she says no, and the fairy Lucinda curses her to be an ogre until she accepts a marriage proposal. Any marriage proposal from anyone. Evie travels to the Fens, hoping to learn the art of persuasion from the ogres who live there. Life as an ogre is more difficult than she imagined, but Evie becomes known as the healer ogre. She searches for someone who will awaken her ability to love, and hopes that someone will propose to her. But she isn’t even sure what love is supposed to feel like.
I was disappointed in this book. The story was oddly disjointed, and there were several things that seemed exceedingly far-fetched, even for a fairytale world. The ending was rushed, and the relationships felt forced. The characters are okay, but I wasn’t amazed with their personalities or the bland character development.
Myrtle is traveling by train for a holiday at the seaside, when a priceless tiara is stolen and one of the train passengers is murdered. The local police are incompetent, and only Myrtle and her irrepressible governess, Miss Judson, can solve the case and bring justice to the murderer. But how is a Proper Young Lady supposed to adhere to the Rules of Etiquette AND have the freedom to run around the beach solving crimes? Especially with mean Aunt Helena criticizing her every move.
I cannot describe how much I loved this second book in the Myrtle series! One of the things that made me fall in love with this book is the incredible character development. I love how the main characters change their minds, discover new information, grow in their personalities and abilities, and suddenly realize that their relationships with other characters can be different.
Arthur and his sister Myrtle live in a space home in an outer orbit of the Moon, and they find it very boring. Nothing ever happens in such a remote area of space, and they long to travel to Earth, or see the colonies on Mars, or visit the exciting moons of Jupiter. One day their home is visited by a mysterious stranger named Mr. Webster, and they are thrown into an adventure that takes them across the solar system with pirates, ancient civilizations, and alien spies.
I loved everything about this book! The plot, the characters, the hilarious writing, the world-building, the mystery, the adventure, and every single dramatic chapter all kept me reading for hours on end. This is one of those books where there isn’t a good place to stop reading. You just have to keep going through the next chapter and the next. Continue reading →
Franny is a piano prodigy in a backwards country town. When a mysterious Russian musician arrives in town, Franny begs her to teach piano lessons.
I was not impressed with this book. As a piano teacher myself, I was hoping for something more, but it was pretty basic. Most of the book is about the townspeople and their little country lives. It’s supposed to be funny, but I wasn’t laughing. I was annoyed with the ignorant people. I didn’t like any of the characters. The children are all brats. The adults are all incompetent. The characters are one-dimensional. The writing is good, but not amazing. Continue reading →
Olive imagines her father’s sadness like a gray elephant that follows him around and weighs him down. She enlists the help of her best friend and her grandfather to figure out how to chase away the depressing elephant and cheer her father up.
I am so impressed with this thoughtful and sweet middle grade novel. The story is really emotional, and the writing gently leads us through the journey that Olive takes to reach out to her father. All the elements in the story dove-tail together so beautifully: a project that Olive is working on for school, an old broken bike, a colorful pigeon, a paper airplane that floats on the breeze, and a jacaranda tree in Olive’s backyard. Olive and her grandfather have a favorite song they love to sing together. Olive’s best friend, Arthur, reads a huge book all about elephants and shares it with Olive. There are a dozen little details like these that make this book truly special and meaningful. Continue reading →
Cruz is in Africa searching for the missing clues his mother left behind for him to find after her death. The explorers help a family of mountain gorillas in Uganda, and then follow the clues to a desert region of Africa. The evil Nebula organization is breathing down their necks, and Cruz is devastated when one of his friends is targeted.
I loved this plot! There is plenty of action and suspense. I never knew what was going to happen next! I really loved that Lani is finally part of the team! She is such an interesting character.
The exotic locations are amazing, and I loved learning about different conservation efforts in Uganda and Namibia and all the national parks.
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I can’t stop talking about “Pippa Park”, a middle grade retelling of Dickens’ “Great Expectations, with a Korean-American main character! I adored the book, and loved learning about the rich Korean culture!
When Pippa Park gets a basketball scholarship to a fancy private school, she feels pressured to pretend like she’s rich and cool so that she can fit in with her elite classmates. But how long can she keep up the farce, when her Korean family owns a laundromat and Pippa barely has money to buy a slice of pizza at the school cafeteria? With her grades slipping and her relationships in turmoil, Pippa begins to realize that some of her new friends have family secrets of their own.
This retelling of Dicken’s “Great Expectations” is utterly brilliant from start to finish!
Spark is a teddy bear, sworn to protect her owner from the monsters that attack in the night. But when a truly powerful monster threatens the children of the house, it will take a special league of bears to fight off the monster.
This book was darker and scarier than I expected. The monster is really freaky, with scales, insect claws, pincers, horns, spider legs, and the head of a human. The monster wears a creepy medallion around its neck with a human head on it that comes to life. Even with all the gross descriptions of this monster, I can’t quite picture it in my head. It’s like half-human, half scorpion. Ugh. Continue reading →
Rollie and his best friend, Cecily, have just been accepted into the prestigious Sherlock Academy. They have to solve clues to figure out their class schedule, learn the art of disguise, decode secret messages to find out their assignments, and analyze fingerprints in the class roster. But there is a deeper mystery hidden in the library of Sherlock Academy! Throughout each book, Rollie and his detective friends work to stop the evil mastermind, Herr Zilch, who leads Moriarty’s old underground ring of criminals.
I loved everything about these books! The characters, the plot, the mystery, the action, the school, the writing style… everything is wonderful! Continue reading →