Book Review: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Rats of NIMH, #1)
by Robert C. O’Brien
5 out of 5 stars
Mrs. Frisby’s son is sick in bed, and cannot be moved. But the farmer is coming to plow up the field where they live as soon as the frost has left the ground. Mrs. Frisby goes to the rats to ask for help, and discovers the secret past of the rats of NIMH.

I just love this book more and more every time I read it. It’s so interesting to find out about the rats and how they live and their past history. The whole world-building of the society of all the animals who live around the farm and in the woods is fascinating. I love stories about mice because they are so little. Who doesn’t love a good under-dog story?

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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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Book Review: Mothstorm

Mothstorm by Philip Reeve

Mothstorm (Larklight, #3)
by Philip Reeve (Goodreads Author)
4 out of 5 stars

A mysterious cloud is approaching the solar system from deep space, and of course only Arthur and Myrtle can solve the mystery and save the British Empire and the nine planets (along with some asteroids and dwarf planets). They are joined by our favorite old characters and a few new ones, as they travel between the planets to fight for Queen and country.

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.

It’s wonderful to see how the entire trilogy is wrapped up beautifully in this last book. The plot comes together really well to solve problems and answer questions that have been hanging since the first book. I love how each thread of the story resolves into this great ending!

I am amazed at how imaginative this fantasy world is. The aliens and their strange cultures are all so intricate and well-formed, right down to the diseases, commerce, and vegetation of each planet. I love that it is set in a steam-punk 1850s British Empire full of space travel that has expanded to Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. It’s such an interesting solar system, and each planet has it’s own history and people who live there.

The writing style is very humorous with that sort of dry humor that I love. I was delighted at how some of the characters are doing their best to have good manners and polite modesty in the middle of their outlandish adventures. We may be about to be blown to smithereens by space pirates, but let us not forget proper courtesy and decorum. The whole book is hilarious!

The characters are really varied and interesting. They come from all sorts of backgrounds, and I loved the character development for so many of them. They change and grow and learn from one another.

Myrtle has some excellent development as she learns that she is stronger and more resourceful than she thought. She does NOT faint every time something dangerous happens, as a properly-educated young lady should do. Instead she begins to take little steps towards saving herself, instead of waiting for a hero to rescue her as a demure young lady should do. And through those little steps she moves on to bigger steps, until finally she gains enough confidence in her own abilities to have the courage to jump into the fray and save everyone.

I only wish there were more books in this series!

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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