Classic Sci-Fi Review: Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)
by C.S. Lewis
4 out of 5 stars
Ransom is kidnapped and taken to another planet, where he escapes his kidnappers and must fend for himself on an alien world. Everything he encounters is entirely foreign and strange, from the water to the trees. The landscape is wild and inhospitable, and there are aliens who (he has been told) need a human sacrifice for some pagan ritual.

Malacandra is such a vibrant planet, with rich cultures and languages of its own. I love all the little details of the aliens and their society that make it feel like a real place. It’s utterly bizarre and wild, but with little flecks of familiarity that endear you to the alienness of it all.

The writing and story-telling are truly brilliant. The plot is exciting, and the writing draws the reader into each scene so that you are experiencing what Ransom is experiencing through every adventure. I love that there are a lot of philosophical questions and spiritual lessons in this book, but it never weighs down the plot or spoils the adventure.

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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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Picture Book Review: The Book No One Ever Read

The Book No One Ever Read by Cornelia Funke

The Book No One Ever Read
by Cornelia Funke (Goodreads Author) (Illustrations)
2 out of 5 stars

One little book is tired of sitting on the shelf. He longs to find a reader. The other books are content to sit and wait, but this book is ready for an adventure. I liked the concept of books wishing to be read, and I thought the story was good. The books are caricatures of famous authors like Victor Hugo, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, and Alexander Dumas.

I found the artwork… unsettling in a strange way. The books look so weird and creepy! Their ghoulish little faces…. It was like some nightmare unreality of twisted forms and crooked illusions. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just hated the artwork. I could barely look at the page. I found it so disturbing that I just wanted to close the book and throw it away.

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Non Fiction Review: Ensnared in the Wolf’s Lair

Ensnared in the Wolf's Lair by Ann Bausum

Ensnared in the Wolf’s Lair: Inside the 1944 Plot to Kill Hitler and the Ghost Children of His Revenge
by Ann Bausum
4 out of 5 stars

In the midst of Nazi Germany, a group of men attempt to assassinate Hitler. Their plan fails, and their families pay the price. Hitler is merciless in his revenge on the families and children of the men who tried to kill him. But a few of the children survive, and they are nicknamed the Ghost Children.

I appreciate this clear look at a complicated time in history, and how the nuances of the political climate in Germany were so much more complex than we can understand today. I think history tends to remember all Germans as being evil people who were complicit with Hitler’s plans, but so many of the German people were actively fighting against him from within.

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Non Fiction Review: Kid Innovators

Kid Innovators by Robin Stevenson

Kid Innovators: True Tales of Childhood from Inventors and Trailblazers
by Robin Stevenson (Goodreads Author), Allison Steinfeld (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars

All inventors start out as curious kids who love to learn and explore. This book gives short biographies of some famous innovators and how their childhood shaped their dreams. The bios include the stories of Steve Jobs, Jacques Cousteau, Florence Nightingale, Walt Disney, the Wright brothers, and many others.

There are sections about technology, exploring, codes, medicine, and trailblazers. It’s not just about inventing something new. It’s about revolutionizing how something is used, how art is created, or how people think. The history of computer codes, airplanes, wind turbines, rockets, nursing, hair products, entertainment, and a dozen other fields are explored.

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Book Reviews: Masterminds Trilogy

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Masterminds (Masterminds, #1)
by Gordon Korman
3 out of 5 stars

The town of Serenity is not as serene as it seems. Eli and his friends begin to discover that their seemingly perfect town is hiding dark secrets.

I really liked the mystery in this book, and the gradual unravelling of the secrets that the townspeople are hiding. The adventure aspects of the story are exciting and kept my attention, but sometimes felt far-fetched and unrealistic. I was rolling my eyes a couple of times.

The characters are smart and emotional, and they all have such unique personalities. I really enjoyed getting to know each of them, and seeing how their flaws and strengths push the story forward. They each react in different ways when they discover what is really going on in the town, and I can’t wait to see what further character development they might have in the rest of the series.

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Book Review: A Love for the Strangers

A Love for the Strangers by Rachael Kathleen Hartman

A Love for the Strangers: What the Bible Says About Loving Immigrants
by Rachael Kathleen Hartman (Author)
4 out of 5 stars
The Bible talks about “strangers” and “aliens” hundreds of times, calling Christians “strangers” in the world because our true home is in Heaven. The Israelites were commanded to welcome “strangers” into their community. God tells us more than once to love our neighbor (no matter where they come from) and to be compassionate toward those in need.

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Book Review: Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates

Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates by Rebekah Manley

Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates: A Picture Book Parody for Adults by Rebekah Manley ( Author), Catarina Oliveira (Illustrations)
5 out of 5 stars

Alexandra decides to try a 30 Dates in 30 Days challenge, and she swipes right for some dates that turn out to be decidedly awful, awkward, and no fun. These truly bad dates are immature, selfish, and downright gross. They leave her with the check, mansplain and lecture her, stay on their phones the whole time, or just don’t show up at all. At the end of her 30 dates, Alexandra decides to invest in herself and live her best life alone… with a few good friends.

I loved this funny picture book for adults! The writing is hilarious with clever hashtags scattered throughout. For anyone who has horror stories of terrible dates, this book will ring true and help you to laugh off those bad times with the same carefree and courageous attitude Alexandra shows.

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