Graphic Novel Review: Fake Blood

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner
Fake Blood 
by Whitney Gardner 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


A.J. likes a girl.
A girl who is obsessed with vampires.
Conclusion: A.J. must become a vampire. Or at least, dress up like one.

Haha! I knew right away that this would be a funny graphic novel, and I was NOT disappointed! A.J. has a crush on Nia, and pretends to be a vampire to get her attention. But he gets the wrong kind of attention, because Nia dreams of becoming a vampire slayer, and comes after him with a stake!

Oh, I almost died laughing, this was so funny!
I loved the dynamic between A.J.’s two best friends. I loved the sweet flirtations between A.J. and Nia. I loved the colorful cartoony artwork. And I loved the hilarious plot and relatable characters. Continue reading

Book Review: The Mozart Season

The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff
The Mozart Season 
by Virginia Euwer Wolff

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Allegra is a violinist entering a prestigious Mozart music competition. At 12 years of age, she is the youngest finalist in the competition, and works closely with her violin teacher to be prepared. But as she memorizes the Mozart concerto, other things in her life begin to affect her music.
Her mother’s emotionally wounded friend, Deirdre, who is a genius vocalist, makes Allegra wonder about how pain can find a voice through music. Allegra’s grandmother, who escaped the Nazi death camps, urges Allegra to embrace her Jewish heritage, and Allegra reflects on her identity as a musician. And there is a mysterious homeless man who haunts all the local concerts in the park, dancing by himself in the back and searching for a song he can’t remember.

As a musician, I enjoyed this story so much. The writing is quite accurate about how one feels about learning music, and embracing it, and connecting with the composers; how you can make yourself crazy practicing too much, how your nerves will go haywire before or after a performance, how music shapes everything you do and everything you are.
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Book Review: Jennifer Murdley’s Toad

Jennifer Murdley's Toad by Bruce Coville
Jennifer Murdley’s Toad 
by Bruce CovilleGary A. Lippincott (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Jennifer wishes she could be beautiful, but feels ugly and dumpy. When she buys a talking toad at the Magic Shop, her entire life changes, and she is whisked on an adventure where she will have to choose between pursuing beauty or saving her friends.

I loved this hilarious story, and read it all in one sitting! The madcap plot is full of surprises, and the snappy dialogue makes every page interesting. I enjoyed the magic system and how it interacts in strange ways with the modern world.

I thought Jennifer was sweet and REAL and beautifully awkward. Her family is quirky and weird, and her friends are peppery and unreliable. The best part of the book was Jennifer’s various relationships with her parents, siblings, and school friends, and of course, her magical talking toad.

I adored every chapter! Can’t wait to read more from this series.

Book Review: Falcon’s Feather

The Falcon's Feather by Trudi Trueit
The Falcon’s Feather (Explorer Academy, #2) 
by Trudi Trueit 

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Cruz and his friends are searching for clues left behind by Cruz’s mother, on a quest that will take them to Norway and Iceland. The team stops along the way to do some underwater diving, help some whales in trouble, and tour the beauties of Norway in between their Academy classes and explorer training. Cruz and Emmett soon discover that there are spies on board the Academy’s flagship, Orion, and they don’t know who to trust. When Cruz’s diving equipment fails and puts his life in danger, it only makes him more determined than ever to find some answers.

I didn’t think it was possible for this book to be even BETTER than the first one, but WOW! I am so crazy impressed with this series.

The plot is non-stop action with tons of wonderful adventure, mystery, puzzles, spies, betrayal, high-tech gadgets, and of course, the fascinating characters.

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Book Review: The Nebula Secret

The Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit
The Nebula Secret (Explorer Academy, #1) 
by Trudi Trueit

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Cruz has just been accepted into the elite Explorer Academy, which only accepts 25 students per year. In the midst of his classes on anthropology, science, geography, history, and conservation, Cruz also has training sessions in a virtual reality program designed to prepare the students for real-life exploring all over the globe. Then Cruz starts to receive threats from an unknown enemy, and discovers a mystery in the school. His mother died working in the top-secret labs at Explorer Academy, and Cruz is determined to find out what really happened to her.

I loved this book so much! The adventure, the mystery, the engaging characters, the impressive setting at the Academy… I love it all. But the best thing of all… the puzzles and codes!!! I LOVE puzzles and codes.
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Book Review: Mudshark

Mudshark by Gary Paulsen

Mudshark
by Gary Paulsen

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Mudshark is the smartest kid in school, finding lost objects and solving mysteries for his classmates and teachers. When a psychic parrot takes up residence in the school library, Mudshark’s detective agency is threatened, and he’ll do anything to outsmart that talking bird. Between stolen chalkboard erasers, a missing gerbil, and a toxic situation in the faculty restrooms, Mudshark will have to think and scheme and plan to save his school!

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Book Review: The Book of Boy

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

The Book of Boy
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A young hunchback goatherd named simply “Boy” is indentured as a servant to a shrewd pilgrim traveling through France in search of various relics of Saint Peter. As the two journey together, they boldly endure various adventures in their pursuit of the holy relics of Saint Peter, until they arrive at last within the holy city of Rome. Boy discovers that the pilgrim is hiding a dark past, and the pilgrim gradually reveals Boy’s most closely guarded secret, his own true identity.

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Book Review: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen
Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows 
by J.M. Bergen

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Thirteen-year-old Thomas is sure that magic is real, and he goes searching for proof in every dusty old bookstore he can find. One day, a mysterious bookshop owner lets Thomas borrow the magical Book of Sorrows, and Thomas discovers a secret family history and a world of magic and myth that takes him on a dangerous adventure.

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