Book Review: The Prince of Whales

The Prince of Whales by R.L. Fisher
The Prince of Whales
by R.L. Fisher

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Toby is a whale who sings in his sleep. His pod complains that he keeps them up all night, and they worry that his singing will attract human whaling ships. Toby has a vision of a spiritual realm, and sets out on a quest to find his true voice. He is threatened by the evil Dream Eater, a spirit who is sucking the life out of sea creatures. Only Toby’s true voice will be powerful enough to save them from the Dream Eater and the human hunters.

I was intrigued by the idea of using music as a way of communicating spiritual and natural truths. There are some really beautiful and emotional scenes as Toby searches for meaning in his singing and discovers his true voice. There’s a lovely message about being courageous and genuine, and I loved seeing Toby going on this internal journey. Continue reading

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.

Non-Fiction Review: Brain Games

Brain Games by Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Brain Games: Mighty Book of Mind Benders
by Stephanie Warren Drimmer,  Gareth Moore

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Warning: This book will melt your brain!

With puzzles, codes, optical illusions, and games, each chapter focuses on one aspect of how our brains process information, including spatial awareness, how our hearing affects our visual perception, and how our memory works (or doesn’t work).

I especially liked the chapter on Words and Language, which explores how our brains process language and reading. There are tons of word games with anagrams, alphabet codes, palindromes, crossword puzzles, and word search games.

Each chapter starts with an explanation of how the brain functions in particular areas, how the brain is mapped, and what scientists and physicians are discovering about the power of the mind. Then challenges and puzzles are introduced to show how your brain is fooling you, or how your brain is stronger and smarter than you realize. Continue reading

Book Review: The Magic Half

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows
The Magic Half
by Annie Barrows

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Miri is the only single child in a family of twins. When she is whisked back in time, she meets a girl from 1935 named Molly, and the two embark on a mission to save Molly from her abusive aunt and cousins. But the magic that allowed Miri to travel through time is unpredictable, and it will take a special perspective for Molly and Miri to unravel the mysteries of time before it’s too late.

I liked the plot and the adorable characters! Miri is so relatable and sweet, and Molly is quite brave in the face of her terrible relatives.
The plot is not amazingly mind-blowing, but it kept my interest and I liked the interesting magic system that allowed Miri to travel through time. Continue reading

Book Review: Away from Home

Away from Home by Arleta Richardson
Away from Home (Grandma’s Attic, #5)
by Arleta Richardson

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Mabel and Sarah Jane are staying with relatives while attending a prestigious high school in the city. Their parents think that at the responsible age of sixteen the two girls should be able to stay out of trouble, but no matter how hard they try to be sensible, trouble seems to find them anyway.

Mabel wears herself out studying and trying to beat Warren for the top grades in their class, until a brutal accident teaches her what really matters in life. Sarah Jane teases Mabel into asking the most popular and handsome boy in school to a social, even though they’ve never met! Clarice, the snobbiest girl in school, plots to embarrass Mabel in front of her friends, and Mabel has a hard time forgiving her new enemy. Continue reading

Book Review: A Bag of Moonshine

A Bag Of Moonshine by Alan Garner
A Bag Of Moonshine
by Alan Garner

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I loved this collection of fairy tales, rewritten from the folklore of England and Wales. The author has an uncanny ability to mimic the story-telling style of old folk tales, with whimsy and ingenuity.

The black and white illustrations add to the ghoulish atmosphere of the tales, and they are true to the art style I see in so many old fairy tale books from the late 1800s.

The enchantment of these stories lies in the excellent word-craft, and the weird and eccentric characters who populate the world of magic and mayhem. Full of changlings, witches, ogres who spin gold, and the clever youngest brother named Jack, these stories captivate the reader with the magnetic words and witty narrative style.

Book Review: Awesome Achievers in Technology

Awesome Achievers in Technology by Alan Katz
3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


The dad jokes are strong. The puns are cringe-worthy. The history is real.

Do you remember who invented the Sierra video game, King’s Quest, or who dreamed up Space Invaders and Pong? Do you know who pioneered devices like the microwave, windshield wipers, TV remotes, and the first cell phone? Wonder no more, because it’s all in this book!

Featuring 12 incredible inventors, engineers, chemists, and pioneers who made their dreams a reality in technology, this book gives short bios of the inventors, along with a comedic poem or song written by the author in their honor, and sometimes a small comic sketch or personal anecdote.

This book is FULL of “Dad jokes”. There are idiotic puns and wisecracks on every page that made me roll my eyes. Not exactly captivating entertainment, but I think this book would appeal to children with a silly sense of humor.
I enjoyed the actual information about these incredible men and women, and their fascinating inventions and accomplishments that influence our daily lives.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

Book Review: The Sea Island’s Secret

The Sea Island's Secret by Susan Diamond Riley
The Sea Island’s Secret: A Delta & Jax Mystery
by Susan Diamond Riley

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Delta and her little brother, Jax, are visiting their grandfather on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for the summer. Their grandfather, Pops, runs a local history museum that is losing its funding, and Delta and Jax want to help save the museum. They discover a skeleton from the Civil War, and launch a treasure hunt for the missing “Jasper’s Gems” with the help of a ghostly presence that seems to guide them.

I enjoyed this story because of the rich history and the Southern culture. Many of the historical elements in the story are true, although the plot itself is fiction. I loved how specific places on Hilton Head and Charleston, and historic events from the Civil War are featured in the story.
The writing is good, and the plot is amusing. It’s not amazingly life-changing or anything, but a good story.

I liked the characters and the way the two siblings bicker and fight, but ultimately love each other. They have a lot of spunk and energy, and they keep the story moving forward with their decisive action and risk-taking.

Old Southern towns are known for their chilling ghost stories, and that is one of the best things about this book! I really enjoyed how the mystery of the skeleton unfolded along with the history of the ghost. It’s not too scary, but just creepy enough to make it enjoyable.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

Book Review: Treasures from Grandma

Treasures from Grandma by Arleta Richardson
Treasures from Grandma (Grandma’s Attic, #4)
by Arleta Richardson

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Mabel and Sarah Jane are at it again, dreaming up trouble and childish shenanigans in their little country town. Mabel is determined to sew her own dress for the ice-cream social, but has difficulties sewing a seam correctly. Sarah Jane tries to help a boy at school to lose weight by stealing his lunch. Mabel resolves to make a perfect score on her math test at school, just to prove to the boys that a girl can be smart too. A family of gypsies visits the area, and Mabel’s family allows them to squat on their land despite the dire warnings of their neighbors that all gypsies are thieves.

I love the old-fashioned writing and the wholesome innocence of the stories. Each chapter has its own plot with a neat moral at the end where Mabel and Sarah Jane learn a valuable lesson about friendship, honesty, and compassion to their fellowman.

I just love how energetic and plucky Mabel is. She is forever getting into scrapes, but remains as bold and high-spirited as ever, no matter the disappointments that come her way.
I can’t wait to read more from this adorable series!

Book Review: Montmorency

Montmorency by Eleanor Updale
Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? (Montmorency, #1)
by Eleanor Updale

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Montmorency is a common thief, who devises a plan to use the new London sewer system to carry out plans for bigger and better burglaries, launching him into London’s high society as a gentleman. He masquerades as his own servant, Scarper, to sneak out through the streets and alleyways to stage robberies and escape the police undetected. Then he cleans up and dresses for high society as the wealthy gentleman, Montmorency, leading a dual life of villainy and affluence. The plan works a little too well, and Montmorency begins to despise the lower classes, and starts feeling guilty about his crimes. But will he ever be able to truly join the high society he mimics, or will he forever be a common thief?

I liked the many layers of this story, as Montmorency goes from a hardened criminal to a more educated and cultured individual. He wrestles with ideas of honor and honesty, and reads books to expand his knowledge and manners. His character development is gradual and believable with a satisfying conclusion. It’s as though, while he is cleaning up from roaming the sewers, his mind also starts to clean up and his ideas change, throwing off the old ugly ideas like the dirt getting scrubbed off his soul. The imagery is wonderfully subtle.
Continue reading