Book Review: Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams
Down the Rabbit Hole (Echo Falls, #1)
by Peter Abrahams

1 out of 5 stars


Ingrid solves a murder mystery while auditioning to be Alice in a theater play of “Alice in Wonderland”.

I did not enjoy this book. There is profanity, under-age drinking, under-age gun usage, and domestic violence. Ugh.

The writing style is full of fragments. I don’t mind a fragmented sentence every once in a while for emphasis or to draw the reader’s attention to something specific. Sometimes there is a pacing that needs a fragment or a run-on sentence to achieve a kind of pattern in the narrative, but this was just excessive. So many fragments that it got really tiresome.

Book Review: The Elephant

The Elephant by Peter Carnavas
The Elephant
by Peter Carnavas

5 out of 5 stars

Olive imagines her father’s sadness like a gray elephant that follows him around and weighs him down. She enlists the help of her best friend and her grandfather to figure out how to chase away the depressing elephant and cheer her father up.

I am so impressed with this thoughtful and sweet middle grade novel. The story is really emotional, and the writing gently leads us through the journey that Olive takes to reach out to her father. All the elements in the story dove-tail together so beautifully: a project that Olive is working on for school, an old broken bike, a colorful pigeon, a paper airplane that floats on the breeze, and a jacaranda tree in Olive’s backyard. Olive and her grandfather have a favorite song they love to sing together. Olive’s best friend, Arthur, reads a huge book all about elephants and shares it with Olive. There are a dozen little details like these that make this book truly special and meaningful. 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

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: SpaceKid iLK

Spacekid iLK by Andrew  Hammond
Spacekid iLK: Invasion 101 
by Andrew Hammond 

4 out of 5 stars

iLK is a normal alien boy, flying around with his parents in a spaceship and invading planets. But when iLK’s father conquers Earth, he gets tired of being the supreme ruler of such a boring planet, and gives the job to iLK to teach him some responsibility. Earth is soon in danger, and it’s up to iLK to save the planet with the help of some friendly Earthlings!

I thought this book was hilarious! The writing is so clever and silly, and the plot is really imaginative. I loved the world-building with the aliens, and their culture of invasion and world domination. I especially enjoyed the complex family dynamics between iLK and his parents.
Continue reading

Book Review: The Book of Boy

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

The Book of Boy
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A young hunchback goatherd named simply “Boy” is indentured as a servant to a shrewd pilgrim traveling through France in search of various relics of Saint Peter. As the two journey together, they boldly endure various adventures in their pursuit of the holy relics of Saint Peter, until they arrive at last within the holy city of Rome. Boy discovers that the pilgrim is hiding a dark past, and the pilgrim gradually reveals Boy’s most closely guarded secret, his own true identity.

Continue reading

Book Review: Maude March on the Run!

Maude March on the Run! by Audrey Couloumbis
Maude March on the Run! (Maude March Misadventures #2) 
by Audrey Couloumbis

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Another rip-roaring adventure in the Wild West with Maude March and her little sister, Sallie. They are on the run from the law again, in a series of misunderstandings that leaves Maude accused not only of bank-robbery but of murder. Reports come in from all over the West, claiming Maude has committed crimes in Texas, Kansas, and as far away as the Dakotas while she was nowhere near those states. Sallie and Maude disguise themselves as boys and set out for the Colorado Territory, where they hope to meet up with their Uncle Arlen. Along the way, they have adventures, narrowly avoid the posses tracking them, and make a few friends in unlikely places.

I loved this sequel to the “Misadventures of Maude March”! The story is told from Sallie’s point of view, and she has some witty commentary about all the crazy situations she and her sister fall into. The dialogue is snappy and funny, and the characters have a lot of depth and development.

There is not a boring moment in this entire book! The plot moves quickly from adventure to adventure, with some mystery and suspense to spice things up in between. I could barely put it down!