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: 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

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

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake

Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake
by Hugh Lofting

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Doctor Dolittle returns to the Secret Lake hidden in the depths of Africa to interview the oldest living animal, a massive turtle named Mudface. His journey is perilous, but he has his trusty animals by his side. With the help of Chee-chee, Polynesia, Dab-Dab, Cheapside, Gub-Gub, Jip, and his faithful assistant Tommy Stubbins, the Doctor travels through swamps and jungles to find the old turtle and hear the story of the Flood.

I loved the plot in this one! The first part of the book is taken up with the Doctor’s preparations for the journey to Africa, and then his travels to get inland from the African coast to the Secret Lake. Once they find Mudface, the rest of the book chronicles his adventurous story about Noah and surviving the Great Flood.

The writing is charming and hilarious! The animals are all so funny and full of life, and the ridiculous situations are interesting. I’m amazed at how imaginative all of the Dolittle stories are, and the books never seem to run out of wild material for an adventure.

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle in the Moon

Doctor Dolittle in the Moon by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (Doctor Dolittle, #8)
by Hugh Lofting

5 out of 5 stars on GoodREads

Doctor Dolittle rides a Lunar Moth to the Moon using Moon Flowers to provide oxygen for the trip. There he finds forest, lakes, rives, and jungles, along with insect and bird life. The animals have summoned him there to heal their illnesses, but nowhere can they find a sign of the animals. With Tommy Stubbins, Polynesia, and Chee-chee the monkey, the intrepid explorers trek across the dark side of the Moon, searching for answers and discovering strange and wondrous phenomena on the Moon.

I was absolutely fascinated by this story, and all the imaginative and strange wonders on the Moon. The Doctor is wonderful and kind as always, with a fiery energy and intelligence. The story is told from Tommy’s perspective and he is an excellent narrator. I was so entranced with the crazy plot and the wild action, as well as the details of how the Doctor and his explorers survived, finding food and water, and fashioning clothing for themselves from bark and leaves.

It ends on a cliffhanger, so now I have to immediately read the next book in the series!

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: 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