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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Book Review: Septimus Heap: Darke

Septimus Heap: Darke (#6)By Angie Sage

4 out of 5 stars

That stinking Merrin Meredith is back, threatening the Castle with the power of the Darke. Only Septimus, his dragon Spitfyre, and Princess Jenna can stop Merrin from covering the entire city in Darkeness.

I loved this book! The plot is full of action and magic and twists. I adore the characters, and I love how they grow and learn throughout the series. This book was particularly emotional for the Heap family as prodigal son, Simon, strives to win back his family’s love and trust.

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Non-Fiction Book Review: Adventures on Earth

Adventures on Earth by Simon Tyler
Adventures on Earth
by Simon Tyler 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book tells about explorers who discovered the highest, deepest, coldest, hottest, and most dangerous areas of our planet. Featuring sections about the polar regions, mountains, volcanoes, oceans, deserts, rivers, jungles, caves, and forests, this book gives a wonderful overview of the history of exploration, and the men and women who broke the boundaries.

I loved the gorgeous artwork in this book! The illustrations are eye-catching, showing the beauty of the nature and the overwhelming glory of mountain peaks and glaciers. Each page is attractive and lures the reader in to read more about incredible natural phenomena. 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

Classics Review: Peter Simple

Peter Simple by Frederick Marryat
Peter Simple (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series) 
by Frederick Marryat

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Young Peter Simple is given a place aboard ship as a midshipman, and he tells us his adventures on the high seas. He distinguishes himself in battle, earning the respect and admiration of his fellow officers. He is shipwrecked, imprisoned, and somehow manages to fall in love in the middle of it all. Peter meets a variety of interesting characters all over the world, who play a part in his epic story.

The plot is full of action and intrigue, betrayal and sneaking plots, raging storms and bloody battles, and of course a little romance. I love the setting of the British frigates cruising through the West Indies looking for trouble with the French.

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