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: 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: 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: 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

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.

Continue reading

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!