Book Review: Magic or Not?

Magic or Not? by Edward Eager

Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic, #5)
by Edward EagerN.M. Bodecker (Illustrator), Quentin Blake (Cover Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars
I loved rereading this children’s classic! When twins Laura and James move to the country, they find an old wishing well, and begin to test the magic waters with their wishes. The wishes seem to come true, but in such regular, mundane ways that the children can’t be sure… was it magic or not? The eccentric Lydia comes blasting into their adventures, and their neighbor Kip joins in the fun.

The wishing well definitely appears to be influencing their adventures, but only when they wish something good for others, never when they wish for themselves. So the four friends attempt a quest of good deeds, with mixed results when the disgustingly spoiled rich kid, Gordy, begins to tag along and pester them. Can the children accept the strange directions that the wishing well sends them, or will they draw the line at including the nasty Gordy in their group?

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

Book Review: Island of the Aunts

Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson

Island of the Aunts
by Eva Ibbotson
5 out of 5 stars

The aunts need help, so they decide to kidnap some children and train them up. But these will have to be special children; children who can be trusted with the greatest secret of the island.

Fantastic and imaginative! I loved it! I had me gasping in surprise, and laughing and crying and laughing some more.

Update: Reading this the second or third time is just as enjoyable and magical.

I love all the weird and wacky characters! The aunts are just hilarious, Minette is utterly sweet, and Fabio is such a brave little fellow.

I love all the magical creatures, the mermaids, and selkies, and other wild creatures. It’s all so imaginative and interesting. The details make it all feel real and exciting.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

February Reading Wrap Up

This video is NOT sponsored, but does contain affiliate links. Familius Affiliate Link: http://www.familius.com/happy-families-read-together/?utm_source=booksformks&utm_medium=Influencer If you make a purchase using an affiliate link, I may receive a small affiliate commission before taxes and at no additional cost to you. There are also Amazon affiliate links below. I only recommend books and products that I actually enjoy myself, and all the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts. Thank you for your support!

Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery https://amzn.to/3bjYZyP

Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie https://amzn.to/38blio8

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby https://amzn.to/30d8AB0

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses https://amzn.to/3sMwm30

Friendshipping: The Art of Finding Friendship https://amzn.to/2MSEBLK

Zeus the Mighty: The Maze of the Menacing Minotaur https://amzn.to/3ebSqQA

Flash Facts by Mayim Bialik https://amzn.to/38cTVKB

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost https://amzn.to/3ebxHwa

The Night Walk https://amzn.to/3v0pocP

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE, LIKE, and COMMENT!