Book Review: Pippa Park Raises Her Game

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun
Pippa Park Raises Her Game
by Erin Yun 

5 out of 5 stars

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! Continue reading

Book Review: Zeus the Mighty

Zeus the Mighty by Crispin Boyer
Zeus the Mighty: The Quest for the Golden Fleas
by Crispin Boyer

4 out of 5 stars

Zeus is a hamster who rules the kingdom of the pet store along with the other Olympian gods, Athena the cat, Demeter the cricket, Ares the dog, and Poseidon the puffer fish. These animals have mystic powers and find artifacts that help them in their adventures. When Poseidon questions Zeus’ ability to rule, Zeus goes on a quest to find the Golden Fleas (Fleece) to prove that he is worthy to be king of the gods.

I loved this funny book! The animals all have vivid personalities, and I loved their hilarious dialogue. It’s so clever how Greek mythology is woven into the pet store setting. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents

Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents by Carole P. Roman
Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents: A World War II Book for Kids
by Carole P. Roman (Goodreads Author)

5 stars

This book begins with an overview of WWII and which countries were at war at that time. It details the names of different government spy agencies like the Soviet’s NKVD, Germany’s Abwehr, and Polish Intelligence, Britain’s MI6, and gives a general idea of how British and French Resistance would work behind the scenes to confuse the enemy.

Chapter 2 talks about various requirements for being a spy, where and how agencies would recruit their spies, and the ordinary jobs that spies would use as their cover.
Chapter 3 is all about spy gear and special gadgets! There are pistols hidden in gloves, maps hidden in playing cards, grenades disguised to look like lumps of coal, radio transmitters, invisible ink, and even the classic ring with poison hidden in a secret compartment. Continue reading

Book Review: Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall by Rae Knightly
Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall (Alien Skill, #1)
by Rae Knightly (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars


Ben has no memory of when a “meteor” fell near his Grampa’s home while Ben was visiting there. There are government agents snooping around the crash site, and Ben’s Grampa is trying to keep Ben’s name out of it by hiding him away with his mother in the city. An alien named Mesmo is on the run from dangerous government agents, and tries to protect the innocent human witnesses from the “meteor” crash site. A mysterious shape-shifter tracks down Ben as a witness to the crash, and Ben and his mother are both in terrible danger.

I enjoyed the writing style in this book. It’s concise and clear, with a lot of emotional scenes between characters. The writer shows us the inner feelings of each character, and there is some powerful dialogue. The characters are deep and complex with authentic relationships. Continue reading

Comic Review: Green Lantern Legacy

Green Lantern by Minh Lê
Green Lantern: Legacy
by Minh Lê, Andie Tong (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars 

Tai discovers the power of the Green Lantern when his grandmother passes on her jade ring to him. With very little training from the other Green Lanterns, Tai tries to stop vandalism in his neighborhood. But there is an even bigger threat hiding right under his nose, and Tai will need his friends support while he learns to harness his new powers.

I loved this comic from start to finish!
Tai is such a deep and complex character. His close relationship with his family is at the heart of everything he does, and there is a huge emotional aspect to his story that really drew me in. Tai is Vietnamese-American, and his family heritage is important to him. I loved seeing the rich Vietnamese culture, and the traditions of kindness and generosity in his family. Continue reading

Comic Review: Zatanna and the House of Secrets

Zatanna & the House of Secrets by Matthew Cody
Zatanna & the House of Secrets
by Matthew Cody, Yoshi Yoshitani (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars


Zatanna is just trying to survive middle school. She and her stage-magician Dad live in a mysterious house with an adorable pet rabbit, Pocus. Zatanna believes that her father’s magic tricks are just illusions, until one fateful day when she encounters real magic. She realizes that the house holds more secrets than she ever knew, and she must navigate trick stairs, cold dungeons, and enigmatic doors to escape the clutches of a wicked sorceress and save her father.

I loved this comic from start to finish! Zatanna is a wonderful character, and she has some good personal development and teen angst that packs an emotional punch. The plot is enchanting and mystic with lots of wonderful surprises and twists. I loved the magical elements in the House of Secrets, and especially the magical characters and creatures that Zatanna meets as she discovers a new world of wizardy and spells. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Treasury of Bible Stories

Treasury of Bible Stories by Donna Jo Napoli
Treasury of Bible Stories
by Donna Jo Napoli (Author), Christina Balit (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


These are retellings of Biblical stories from Genesis to Daniel as interpreted by the author, and reimagined with embellishments and dialogue. Starting with Creation, this book includes 28 Old Testament stories, ending with Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Elijah, Job, Jonah, David, Solomon, Esther, and Ruth are all included with their struggles and failures, and the power of God in their lives.

The writing can be flowery at times, and the author takes a few little liberties with the history. However, there are also some really wonderful cultural and historical additions that enhance the stories as the reader learns about ancient cultures. I wouldn’t trust this as a source of my religious belief, but it is an enjoyable imagining of what Biblical times could have been like. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: The World According to Francois

The World According to François by Vincent Zabus
The World According to François: The Writer’s Secret
by Vincent Zabus,  Renaud Collin (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Francois is a little boy with a big imagination. He is always writing down stories and telling them to his classmates and teachers, but the bullies in school make fun of his stories and his teachers are exasperated with him. He meets a mysterious woman who tells him that he has a magical power over letters of the alphabet and can command any book to do his bidding. An evil man has seized control of the letters, and only Francois can restore balance to the secret world of authors.

I loved Francois’ character! He has a good heart and enjoys using his intelligence to fantasize about other worlds and magical creations.

Continue reading

Comic Review: Super Sons 1 & 2

Super Sons by Ridley PearsonSuper Sons by Ridley Pearson
3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Jon Kent and Ian Wayne are the sons of Superman and Batman. They team up with a mysterious girl named Candace, with a troubled past, and the unlikely friends investigate an evil plot involving a deadly illness sweeping the streets. Meanwhile, the world is drowning as the polar icecaps melt and sea levels rise. Metropolis is flooded, and millions are forced to evacuate their homes and find shelter as “flood runners” in nearby towns, Jon and Ian included. Can they outrun the floods and find out who is behind the deadly virus?

I feel conflicted about this book. The characters are good, and I loved the artwork, but the story is hard to follow, because the plot is very chaotic. The scenes jump around with very little explanation about what is happening. The characters have extreme emotional reactions to situations, but it is never explained WHY they are reacting that way. There is almost no backstory on anyone. Continue reading

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle’s Return

Doctor Dolittle's Return by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle’s Return
by Hugh Lofting

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Doctor Dolittle finally returns to Puddleby after having spent a year on the Moon. Tommy Stubbins has been struggling to keep the Doctor’s household running in his absence, caring for the animals and the Doctor’s beautiful garden. The Doctor returns with pages and notebooks full of scientific notes and information which he wants to use to write his great book about his experiences on the Moon.

Every book in this series just gets better and better! I am always fascinated by the Doctor’s character. He is so energetic and intelligent and kind. Tommy is just adorable, and a very capable assistant for the Doctor. The story is hilarious, and I loved all the funny situations the animals get into. Each plot line is so imaginative and interesting!