Book Review: Twenty-One Balloons

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois

The Twenty-One Balloons
by William Pène du Bois
5 out of 5 stars
Professor Sherman is sick of teaching mathematics to unruly children in San Francisco, so he decides to take a year-long balloon ride around the world and never touch land in all that time. However, within days his balloon crashes near the mysterious island of Krakatoa, and he discovers the secrets of the island where a most unusual society is flourishing and fabulous diamonds are available to anyone.

This is such a fun and entertaining story! The plot has all these hilarious details all about the reception for Professor Sherman when he returns to San Francisco, his arrangements for his balloon house and how he planned his balloon trip, and the strange society that lives on Krakatoa and how they organize their days. Most of the narrative is explaining things, so there isn’t a ton of action, but the descriptions are so wild and interesting that you never feel bored.

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Book Review: High Rhulain

High Rhulain by Brian Jacques

High Rhulain (Redwall, #18)
by Brian Jacques
5 out of 5 stars

The good beasts at Redwall rescue an injured bird, and it sets them on a quest to discover all they can about the legend of the ancient Queen Rhulain. Meanwhile, on an island far away, otter clans are enslaved to a ferocious wildcat society, and only the clever outlaw, Shellhound, can outwit their evil wildcat leader. Caught in the middle of these adventures is the young Redwall ottermaid, Tiria. She dreams of Martin the Warrior, who guides her to find her true destiny.

What an absolute delight! This book has everything that I love about Redwall books. Ravenous hares, wise old scribes, adorable moles, silly shrews, and of course brave warriors ready to defend all good beasts.

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Book Review: Icefall

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Icefall
by Matthew J. Kirby
4 out of 5 stars

Solveig and her siblings have been sent to a frozen fjord in the mountains where they will be safe during a Viking war between clans. The winter cold freezes the sea, preventing any ships from getting to them. However, there appears to be a traitor in their midst among the soldiers and servants, and they are trapped until the spring thaw can bring help.

I loved the thoughtful writing style in this book! The writing brings important details to the forefront, giving the characters depth and enhancing the setting without slowing down the pacing.

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Book Review: The Star Dunes

The Star Dunes by Trudi Trueit
The Star Dunes (Explorer Academy #4)
by Trudi Trueit (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars


Cruz is in Africa searching for the missing clues his mother left behind for him to find after her death. The explorers help a family of mountain gorillas in Uganda, and then follow the clues to a desert region of Africa. The evil Nebula organization is breathing down their necks, and Cruz is devastated when one of his friends is targeted.

I loved this plot! There is plenty of action and suspense. I never knew what was going to happen next! I really loved that Lani is finally part of the team! She is such an interesting character.

The exotic locations are amazing, and I loved learning about different conservation efforts in Uganda and Namibia and all the national parks.

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Classic Review: Mam’zelle Guillotine

Mam'zelle Guillotine by Emmuska Orczy
Mam’zelle Guillotine
by Emmuska Orczy

4 out of 5 stars


Another fantastic book in the Scarlet Pimpernel series! I especially like that we see more of Lady Blakeney in this one. She is one of my favorite characters, but after the first book in the series, she barely has any scenes.

I adore the Scarlet Pimpernel! He is such a brave hero, ready to sacrifice anything to save the innocent from the guillotine, and ready to dare the most outrageous plans to fool the evil villains. Continue reading

Modern Classic Review: The Black Stallion

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
The Black Stallion (The Black Stallion, #1) 
by Walter Farley

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Alec is heading home aboard a steamship, when the ship sinks in a storm and there are only two survivors: Alec and a spirited black stallion. The two are washed ashore on a small island, where they forage for food, and Alec tames the wild stallion.

I was completely riveted while reading this book! I couldn’t put it down, and read it in one day. The writing has such good pacing, and the action moves swiftly along, pulling the reader into the next chapter and the next.

I adored Alec’s character. He’s smart and tough and resilient.

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Books with Sword Play

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Book Review: Kitty Hawk #4

Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic by Iain Reading
Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency, #4) 
by Iain Reading (Goodreads Author)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Kitty is traveling through Ireland, when she is asked to help with a family treasure hunt that has baffled experts for generations. Kitty and Andrew team up to unravel clues left by Bruce Ismay, a famous survivor of the Titanic disaster. Their search leads them to the home of his grandson, Thomas Ismay, and the mystery of a painting of the tragic Titanic shipwreck. But Thomas Ismay wants the treasure for himself, and will stop at nothing to prevent Kitty and Andrew from following the clues. He stalks them at every turn, causing trouble, and threatening to derail the entire treasure hunt.  Continue reading

Book Review: Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Egypt

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt by Patti Wheeler
Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Egypt 
by Patti WheelerKeith Hemstreet (Goodreads Author)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Once again, Gannon and Wyatt are exploring the world, this time in Egypt, as they search for the lost tomb of Cleopatra. They are up against superstition, tomb robbers, booby traps, false trails, and their own fears and doubts as they embark on this dramatic adventure.

I love the brotherly camaraderie between the twins, Gannon and Wyatt, and how they tease each other, annoy each other, but ultimately rely on each other through thick and thin. They have a grudging respect for one another, even though they have such different personalities. Continue reading

Book Review: Swallows and Amazons

Swallows and Amazons
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore this series! They are all so fun and wholesome! Rereading it over and over, this lovely book never loses its charm. From the first page, I’m immediately swept away into the adventures on the lake, following the Swallows as they set up their camp and declare war on the Amazons. I love every delightful character, and I love how with just a few well-chosen words, they each come to life and you feel what they feel as they navigate the wild waters of summer.
Forever a classic!

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