Book Review: Horns and Wrinkles

Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson
Horns and Wrinkles
by Joseph Helgerson (Author),Nicoletta Ceccoli (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Claire lives along a stretch of the Mississippi river where magic is still alive, where trolls sit under bridges, and blue-winged fairies weave spells. When her cousin Duke bullies her, his nose begins to grow into a rhinoceros horn, and Claire is misled into a bargain with river trolls to cure him.

The world-building and magic system are quite imaginative and fanciful.
I liked the twisty plot and the odd characters.
The writing style is good, painting a vivid picture of freakish creatures and bizarre magic.

However, the book is much too long. The plot drags on and on with long scenes and lengthy dialogue that take forever to get to the point. I got bored with it, and then something new would finally happen and it would spark my interest again, and then it would drag on and on again, and I got bored again until the next new plot point finally got going.

Book Review: Falcon and the Charles Street Witch

Falcon and the Charles Street Witch by Luli Gray
Falcon and the Charles Street Witch
by Luli Gray

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Falcon’s little brother, Toody, falls out of an airplane and Falcon jumps out to save him. She is wafted along in a warm air current to land safely in New York City in the hidden garden of a witch. However, Toody is lost, and Falcon sets out on a mission to find him. She will need the help of her friend, the young dragon named Egg, and the help of a dragon who is extremely old and has lost his fire.

This book was all over the place. The plot meanders around with random magic and odd characters, all jumbled in a chaotic storyline. The characters are good, but lackluster. They have a lot of funny dialogue, but not much substance or depth. I didn’t really like how the modern world and the magic world interacted in this book. It didn’t make sense to me, so the setting felt disjointed.

Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this book. Maybe I couldn’t enjoy it because it’s the second book in the series and I haven’t read the first book.

Book Review: The Monster’s Ring

The Monster's Ring by Bruce Coville
The Monster’s Ring 
by Bruce CovilleKatherine Coville (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Russell visits the Magic Shop and gets a magic ring that turns him into a monster, and uses it to help him stand up to the bully in his school. But the Monster Ring makes Russell feel wild and feral, and not just when he’s wearing it! He starts howling at the moon at odd times, he terrifies his classmates during their Halloween party, and he growls at the school principal. Can Russell keep his wildness under control before he becomes a monster for good?

This story is fast-paced and has good development. Russell goes through such a transformation, not as a monster, but as a character. He starts out as this frightened, timid little boy, and discovers that power and strength are not about having big muscles and fangs. He learns how to express himself better, and his life changes because of his courageous honesty with his family and friends. I really loved the character development and the story arc!

The story is also funny, with crazy scenarios and magical shenanigans that made me laugh!

Book Review: The Griffin’s Feather

The Griffin's Feather by Cornelia Funke
The Griffin’s Feather 
by Cornelia Funke (Goodreads Author)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Firedrake is back! Along with dragon rider, Ben, and the incorrigible Scottish brownie, Sorrel, the whole gang is off on an adventure, with new friends and some new enemies too. They are trying to acquire a rare griffin feather, the only magical way to save a nest of baby Pegasus eggs. Ben worries that this adventure might be too dangerous for Firedrake, since the griffins have a history of warfare with the dragons. It will take fierce courage and loyalty to bring them through this magical adventure together!

I love this author’s writing! The plot is imaginative, full of dry humor and magic. There are wild and wondrous settings all over the world, full of fascinating creatures, both mythical and real.

The main characters (Firedrake, Ben, Sorrell, Twigleg, and Barnabas Greenbloom) are magnificently written, with backstories, deep motivations and fears, and hidden longings that push them forward in the story, shaping their decisions and interactions with others.

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Book Review: Queste

Queste by Angie Sage
Queste (Septimus Heap, #4) 
by Angie Sage

4 out of 5 stars

A disgruntled old ghost has rigged the Questing Stone draw, sending Septimus on a suicide mission against the rules of Magyck Apprenticeship. No matter what Septimus does, he cannot escape the deadly Queste, and he ends up dragging Jemma and Beetle along with him through dangerous forests, and across deadly cliffs, to face the dreaded Foryx monsters and find the secrets of Time.

The world-building gets more and more phenomenal with each book in this series, as we discover further depths of magic and fantasy.
I love how twisty the plot is, where every small detail can have a huge impact on the story. I love the interesting and complex characters and how they all interact.
I am growing to love Beetle’s character more and more through this series, and I loved that he played a more central role in this book.
Jemma and Septimus are fantastic characters, as always. Nicko and Snorri also make an appearance from the depths of Time, and magic surrounds everything they do.

Loving this series!

Book Review: The Door in the Forest

The Door in the Forest by Roderick Townley
The Door in the Forest 
by Roderick Townley

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Daniel is a boy who cannot tell lies, no matter how much he wants to. Emily is a secretive girl with an eccentric grandmother. Together they try to find a doorway to the mysterious island and the magical secrets it holds. But a sneaky Army Captain has camped out in the town with his soldiers looking for traitors and spies, and he is determined to ferret out Daniel and Emily’s secrets.

This book was only okay. I was disappointed in the story. The big revealed mystery about the island was a major disappointment. I was bored with the characters. The plot barely moves at all. This is not nearly as imaginative as some of this author’s other books. I ended up skimming through the last 50 pages.

Book Review: Poppy

Poppy by Avi
Poppy,   by Avi

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Poppy and her large mouse family are held in servitude to the formidable owl, Mr. Ocax. When Poppy and her boyfriend, Ragweed, decide to flaunt Mr. Ocax’s rules, it means trouble for the whole mouse family. Only Poppy can discover the truth behind Mr. Ocax’s secret fear, and save her family from starvation!

This story was so cute! I loved the whimsical plot, and the funny characters. The writing is charming, and the illustrations are beautiful.
Poppy is such an idiotic little fool, but she has a good heart and she is brave in the middle of terrifying circumstances (well, terrifying to a mouse).
I loved grumpy old Ereth, and his hilarious insults! He brings so much comedy into the story.

I enjoyed this so much that I’m going to continue on with the sequel, Poppy and Rye.

Book Review: Physik

Physik by Angie Sage
Physik (Septimus Heap, #3) 
by Angie SageMark Zug (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Septimus and his family are threatened again, this time by the ghost of Queen Etheldredda the Awful. Princess Jenna and Septimus team up to stop her from going through with her evil plans to take over the Kingdom, but of course there are many obstacles, magic conundrums, and secrets from the past to be discovered and overcome.

There are so many vibrant characters in these books, and I love the main characters, Septimus and Jenna. I was so interested in the twisty plot! There is a lot going on in every chapter with many moving parts in the plot that wind around each other.
The writing is rich and flavorful, but still concise and pointed. I loved the map in the beginning, and the small illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.

Can’t wait to read more from this series!

Book Review: The Evil Wizard Smallbone

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman
The Evil Wizard Smallbone 
by Delia Sherman 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Nick runs away from his abusive uncle, only to fall into the hands of an evil wizard! Nick is forced to become Smallbone’s apprentice, but the old man refuses to teach him any magic. Unraveling the secrets of the Evil Wizard Bookshop and the mysterious town of Smallbone Cove, Nick will have to outwit his master before an even more evil wizard, Fidelou, terrorizes and destroys the entire town.

I am delighted with this whimsical tale of wizardry! I love the enchanted town of Smallbone Cove and the rich history of the people there. I love how grumpy and enigmatic Smallbone is, because we slowly discover that he has a heart of gold underneath. I love the twisty plot with all kinds of weird surprises. I like the writing style too! There’s a lot of dry humor and snappy dialogue.  Continue reading