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!

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary

Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary (Doctor Dolittle, #11)
by Hugh Lofting

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Doctor Dolittle hears the full story of a green canary’s life, from the time she was born in a cage to her tragic separation from her owner, the window washer. After their success in the Canary Opera, Pippinella and Doctor Dolittle set out to find the missing window washer, and restore Pippinella to her favorite owner.

I enjoyed this book so much! The characters are hilarious, and I loved Pippinella’s varied life experiences and all the weird circumstances that made her change owners so frequently. She lives with a coal miner, a marchioness, a troop of soldiers, an innkeeper, and a tramp. She also lives in the wild for a short time before being captured, stolen from her rightful owner, and sold in a pet shop to John Dolittle. Continue reading

Book Review: Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages
by Trenton Lee Stewart 

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

The whole gang is back for another adventure! Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance are a little older now, contemplating their next move into adulthood, and worried that the Society will lose their special connection as they grow up. They band together one last time to stop the evil Mr. Curtain from escaping from his high-security prison.

I love everything about this book! The character development is excellent, and the friendships within the Society are just perfection. The plot kept me guessing right up to the end, and I was surprised at every turn. I love the witty writing style, and all the puzzles and codes and conundrums that are solved as the team work together to save the day!

Book Review: Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky
Juniper Berry
by M.P. Kozlowsky (Author)Erwin Madrid (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Juniper Berry is the daughter of famous movie stars. As their fame grows, they become more and more distant from their daughter until she begins to suspect that something else is going on. Juniper befriends a scrawny neighbor boy whose parents are also acting strange. They follow their parents deep into the woods where they meet with a mystic creature who promises to make dreams a reality.

I loved this book! The plot is creepy without being too scary for me. I didn’t have nightmares after reading it, but I was deliciously chilled and freaked out while reading it. It has just the right amount of scary as Juniper uncovers the dark secret of her parents’ success. I especially enjoyed the mystic magic that the villain uses and the imaginative world-building. Continue reading

Book Review: Fearless

Fearless by Elvira Woodruff
Fearless
by Elvira Woodruff

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


In 1695, the Eddystone Reef off the coast of Cornwall is called the “Widow Maker” with more than 50 ships wrecking on the rocks each year. When Digory’s father is presumed lost at sea, Digory travels to Plymouth to inquire about any possible survivors from his ship, hoping to find his father alive. He becomes an apprentice to an eccentric inventor named Henry Winstanley, who is the architect of the new Eddystone Lighthouse.

I didn’t even realize that this is historical fiction until the end, when I read the blurb about history at the end of the book. I was pleasantly surprised and it gave the story so much more depth and meaning. Henry Winstanley really did design and build the first offshore lighthouse on Eddystone Reef, saving thousands of sailors’ lives each year.

I loved the writing style, the plot, the characters, and the wonderful themes of courage and family. The writing really draws the reader into this historic time and makes the setting feel immediate and real. The characters are colorful and interesting, and I really enjoyed the smart dialogue. Continue reading

Book Review: A Handful of Magic

A Handful of Magic by Stephen Elboz
A Handful of Magic
by Stephen Elboz

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Kit is full of mischief and unruly vandalism, until his misconduct results in his best friend, Prince Henry being bitten by a werewolf. As Kit works to save Henry from the werewolf’s poison, he uncovers a deadly plot to cripple all of England while children are used as slaves to work in underground mines. To save his friends, Kit must learn to use his magical abilities for good, instead of for foolish pranks.

Full of steampunk magic and mythical creatures, this book creates a world where magic is at war with new scientific discoveries like the electric light and telegraph. Kit’s father, a prominent wizard-adviser to Queen Victoria, worries that magic is becoming obsolete in the face of new scientific inventions, and Kit is determined to prove that magic is just as relevant and necessary as it ever was.

I didn’t quite like Kit and his friends at first, because of their foolishness and vandalism, but they began to grow and learn, and their good hearts and generous spirits began to show through, so in the end, I liked them all and was cheering for them through their adventures. Continue reading

Book Review: Explorer Academy The Double Helix

Explorer Academy by Trudi Trueit
Explorer Academy: The Double Helix (Explorer Academy #3)
by Trudi Trueit 

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Cruz and his friends on board the Orion are heading to the Mediterranean, searching for clues left behind by Cruz’s mother before she died. The evil Nebula operatives are never far behind, spying on Cruz and threatening his family. In the middle of his secret quest for his mother’s clues, Cruz still has to attend Explorer Academy classes, compete with his team in class competitions, and try to have a little fun at a student Halloween party. His thirteenth birthday is quickly approaching, and Cruz is in more danger than ever as he navigates the intricacies of the toughest adventure yet!

I loved this plot! There is plenty of action and suspense. I never knew what was going to happen next! There are several plot-lines intersecting as Cruz juggles his school responsibilities, his personal relationships, dodging the nefarious Nebula, and keeping contact with Lani, his best friend back home in Hawaii. Continue reading

Book Review: Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure

Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure by National Geographic Kids
Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure
by National Geographic Kids

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Enter the Explorer Academy as a recruit and crack the codes to find clues that will lead you through the mysterious halls of the Academy. Starting with easy codes and moving into more and more complex puzzles and encryptions, this book teaches the readers how to create and decode various types of ciphers, including semaphore and Morse code.

I loved the way the puzzles and codes are presented as part of an adventure, leading the reader through doorways to various parts of the Academy. Each code that you break gives you a clue to another place in the Academy that you need to go to find the next clue, and there are detours and hazards along the way. Continue reading

Book Review: The Switch

The Switch by Anthony Horowitz
The Switch
by Anthony Horowitz 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Tad is a spoiled rich kid, living in a massive mansion, with servants at his beck and call. Bob is a poor kid, living in a dirty caravan, working in a carnival, and surviving on the streets with thieves and pickpockets. When the two switch places in a magical swap, Tad must learn to survive on the streets, and Bob discovers that being rich isn’t always as good as it sounds.

This story was so much more than I thought it was going to be! I thought it would be your regular “Freaky Friday” body-swap thing with the pathetic rich kid having to learn how to live without his precious wealth. But wow! I was completely surprised at the turn the plot took, and the intricacies of the story. Even the smallest details took on a major significance as the truth behind Tad’s wealthy family is exposed. Continue reading