Fantasy Book Review: Summers at Castle Auburn

Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

Summers at Castle Auburn
by Sharon Shinn
5 out of 5 stars

Corie is the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, who visits the royal court every summer to be groomed and trained for life among the nobility. The rest of the year she lives with her peasant grandmother in a small village learning to be an herbalist healer. As Corie grows into a young woman, she begins to realize the depth of the court intrigue that surrounds her half-sister, Elisandra. She determines to do everything she can to help her sister. She soon discovers that there are others who need her help too; the magical elven people who are held as slaves in the castle.

I loved everything about this book! The magic, the world-building, the exciting plot, the writing style, the complex characters: everything is golden!

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Book Review: War of Kings and Monsters

War of Kings and Monsters by Christopher Keene

War of Kings and Monsters
by Christopher Keene (Goodreads Author)
3 out of 5 stars

Nathan has no idea who he is. He is an apprentice Caller in the king’s home and best friends with Prince Michael, but he has no memory of his family and assumes he is an orphan. He studies under the Master Callers to summon Melkai monsters from another world. Some of the monsters are massive, and others are miniscule, like Nathan’s own little Melkai, a small lizard. The barrier between the world of humans and the world of the Melkai is weakening. Nathan is sent on a quest to find the other half of the magical key that can seal the barriers between worlds before the destructive Melkai are unleashed to roam freely across the land.

I enjoyed the plot of this book, because there are some clever twists and turns. There are several times when some particular character or object or connection is revealed and it was just so satisfying. The plot is full of fantasy tropes, but I didn’t really mind that because I like tropes. Some of the plot devices were obvious, but again, I don’t mind that as long as it is set up in an interesting way.

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Book Review: The Secret of Platform 13

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

The Secret of Platform 13
by Eva IbbotsonSue Porter (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars


The baby Prince of a magical land has been stolen in London, and the King and Queen must wait until the portal between the worlds opens again in 9 years before they can rescue their son. They send a rescue team of oddballs; an old wizard, a fey, an ogre, and a young hag. With the help of some nice ghosts, they locate the Prince, but he is not at all what they had expected.

Wonderfully inventive and funny! I love this book more every time I read it!

The world-building is imaginative and weird and wild. The characters are interesting and all so different. There are a lot of supporting characters with hilarious personalities, and the main characters are all beautifully vivid.

I really love the way the writing can paint a striking scene in just a few words, really drawing the reader into the story. The plot has all these funny twists and turns that really capture your attention. It’s such a delight to read!

Book Review: The Dragon in the Library

The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell

The Dragon in the Library
by Louie StowellDavide Ortu (Illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars

Kit doesn’t like to read. She can’t sit still. She would much rather be climbing trees or playing with matches or other dangerous things. Her friends, Alita and Josh, convince her to visit the library with them. Kit discovers magical properties within the books that propel her and her friends into a wizarding adventure.

I loved this book from start to finish! The characters, the plot, the world-building, the magic; everything is wonderful!

I liked that the plot is simple and straightforward, but has a few little surprises that keep the story fresh and exciting. The writing style is absolutely hilarious! There are so many cute bits of dialogue and funny scenes that had me laughing.

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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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Activity Book: Paint by Sticker: Unicorns and Magic, Music Icons

Paint by Sticker Kids by Workman Publishing

Paint by Sticker Kids: Unicorns Magic: Create 10 Pictures One Sticker at a Time! Includes Glitter Stickers
by Workman Publishing
5 out of 5 stars
This activity book has 10 beautiful designs of all kinds of fantasy creatures and scenes. The glitter stickers make it really special and cute. It’s easy for kids to do!

Paint by Sticker by Workman Publishing

Paint by Sticker: Music Icons: Re-create 10 Classic Photographs One Sticker at a Time!
by Workman Publishing
5 out of 5 stars
This sticker activity book has 10 colorful pictures of cool and famous musicians from all styles of music, country, rock, and blues. The designs in this one are a little more complex for teens or adults.

There are hundreds of stickers in little mosaic shapes! It’s so easy to put the stickers into place, and the finished product looks wonderful. It’s very relaxing and helped me to get creative. You really feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish!

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Book Review: Starcross

Starcross by Philip Reeve

Starcross (Larklight, #2)
by Philip Reeve (Goodreads Author), David Wyatt (Illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars

Myrtle and Arthur are having adventures again! This time they are visiting a seaside hotel called Starcross located in the asteroid belt. There are mysterious disappearances and strange beings lurking around the hotel, and it’s up to Myrtle and Arthur and their friends to save the empire!

I loved everything about this book! The plot, the characters, the hilarious writing, the world-building, the mystery, the adventure, and every single dramatic chapter all kept me reading for hours on end. This is one of those books where there isn’t a good place to stop reading. You just have to keep going through the next chapter and the next.

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Book Review: Borrowers Afield

The Borrowers Afield by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Afield (The Borrowers #2)
by Mary NortonBeth Krush (Illustrator), Joe Krush (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars

I love seeing how the Borrowers survive in the wild, fighting off insects, gathering nuts and berries, and finding shelter in an old boot. The plot in this book has so many interesting little twists and turns, as the Clock family meet Spiller, a Borrower who lives in the fields and hedges.

They are such funny characters with grit and determination. Pod is resourceful and serious, but cracks a joke now and then. Homily is fearful, but has a reserve of inner fortitude that comes up in a crisis. Arrietty is adorable and sweet, plucky and adventurous and playful. Spiller is mysterious and taciturn. I just love them all!

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Book Review: The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre (The Two Princesses of Bamarre, #0.5)
by Gail Carson Levine (Goodreads Author)
3 out of 5 stars

Perry is the adopted daughter of Lakti noble parents, but her real parents are Bamarre servants. Her true bloodline is kept a secret, because the Bamarre people are considered inferior and cowardly. The fairy Halina visits Perry and urges her to embrace her true heritage and free the Bamarre people from Lakti tyranny. With the help of a magic tablecloth, seven-league boots, and a perfect disguise, Perry plunges into espionage and rebellion. But can she ever escape her Lakti upbringing and be accepted by the Bamarre?

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Book Review: Ogre Enchanted

Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)
by Gail Carson Levine (Goodreads Author)
3 out of 5 stars

Evie is a teenage healer, always concocting potions for her best friend, Wormy. When he proposes, she says no, and the fairy Lucinda curses her to be an ogre until she accepts a marriage proposal. Any marriage proposal from anyone. Evie travels to the Fens, hoping to learn the art of persuasion from the ogres who live there. Life as an ogre is more difficult than she imagined, but Evie becomes known as the healer ogre. She searches for someone who will awaken her ability to love, and hopes that someone will propose to her. But she isn’t even sure what love is supposed to feel like.

I was disappointed in this book.
The story was oddly disjointed, and there were several things that seemed exceedingly far-fetched, even for a fairytale world. The ending was rushed, and the relationships felt forced. The characters are okay, but I wasn’t amazed with their personalities or the bland character development.

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