Book Review: Dragon and Herdsman

Dragon and Herdsman by Timothy Zahn

Dragon and Herdsman (Dragonback, #4)
by Timothy Zahn (Goodreads Author)

4.5 out of 5 stars

In this fourth book of the series, Jack and Draycos visit a distant planet with their friend, Alison Kayna. They discover a herd of creatures called Phooka that appear similar to K’da like Draycos. However, the creatures are insentient, unintelligent, slow, and behave like animals with no language. Draycos wonders if his people, the K’da, could have evolved from this lower animal form. He questions what that could mean for his species in the future.
The mercenaries from the Malison Ring track Jack and Draycos to the planet, forcing them all to flee into the dense forest. Jack must herd the Phooka through miles of dangerous terrain to save them from being slaughtered by the mercenaries.

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Book Review: Beyond the Stars

Beyond the Stars by Doreen D. Berger

Beyond the Stars (The Captain’s Daughters, #2)
by Doreen D. Berger (Goodreads Author)

3.5 stars
Diane and Robin are thrown into another adventure in this second book in the series, when they befriend Jannel, the future ruler of a planet under quarantine. Jannel is a girl their own age, who comes aboard their spaceship for safety away from the virus that is threatening her planet. The girls try to help Jannel overcome her fears for her future, but they wind up in terrible trouble.

I liked the world-building for this new planet that we visit with Diane, Robin, and Jannel. I appreciated that there is a history of politics that has led to the current unrest on the planet, and the way the virus plays into that is really interesting. We also get to learn a little bit about the wild flora and fauna of the planet!

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Book Review: Witchlings

Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega

Witchlings (Witchlings, #1)
by Claribel A. Ortega (Goodreads Author)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Seven is worried that when she is sorted into her witches coven she might not be in the same coven with her best friend. However, she never imagined that she would be a Spare, a witch without a coven at all. Seven and the other two Spares are set an impossible task to defeat a horrific Nightbeast. They must complete the task, or they will lose their magic forever, or worse, be turned into toads!

This book has everything I was looking for! There’s a great magic system and interesting world-building. I really liked that the witches’ world has a distant past that must be reckoned with. You really get a sense of the depth of the history behind their laws and the way their everyday lives are ordered.

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Book Review: Pippa Park Crush at First Sight

Pippa Park Crush at First Sight by Erin Yun

Pippa Park Crush at First Sight
by Erin Yun (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars

In this second book of the Pippa Park series, Pippa is in trouble when she agrees to host a massive Christmas party for the Royals. She is completely overwhelmed trying to schedule catering and decorations and entertainment for the party, plus she has to find the perfect dress and the perfect date! She still has a huge crush on Eliot, her math tutor, but there is a new boy in her life, Marvel, who is helping out with the church Christmas pageant. Which boy will Pippa ask to be her date to the party? Assuming she can actually manage to host the party without disappointing the Royals and everyone else.

This series retelling of Dicken’s “Great Expectations” is utterly brilliant from start to finish!

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Book Review: The BFG

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG
by Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars

A little orphan girl, Sophie, looks out the window one dark night and sees a mysterious shadow peaking into bedroom windows. It’s the Big Friendly Giant, the BFG! He whisks Sophie away to the land of the giants, and reveals his marvelous dream collection. But other giants are not so friendly, and Sophie and the BFG must devise a plan to stop the other giants from eating humans.

I love this story! It’s imaginative and fun. The language is hilarious and delightful. The BFG is dorky and silly and adorable. Sophie is brave and kind and intelligent. There are so many little details about the BFG that make this a truly interesting story; like the snozzcumbers that taste so disgusting, and the way he captures dreams, and his funny way of talking. All those things are so unique and wild and winsome.

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Book Review: The Sisters of Luna Island

The Sisters of Luna Island by Stacy Hackney

The Sisters of Luna Island
by Stacy Hackney (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars

Marigold is the youngest of three sisters in the magical Lafleur family. They are aromages, brewing up charms using aromas. But all magic has a price, and sometimes their magic has severe consequences if they try to change fate. Ever since a terrible accident, Marigold and her sisters have given up aromagic, and their family seems to be falling apart. Marigold discovers that all their bad luck could be because of an ancient curse, and she is determined to find a way to break the curse and save her sisters!

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Book Review: The Wizard in the Wood

The Wizard in the Wood by Louie Stowell

The Wizard in the Wood (The Dragon in the Library, #3)
by Louie Stowell

4 out of 5 stars

Kit, Josh, and Alita are privileged to witness the birth of a new baby dragon along with their new school library! But dark wizards are sneaking around the new library, and it is up to Kit to protect the baby dragon. Josh and Alita want to help too, but Kit is the one with the magical abilities. She tries to take on all the responsibility, but finds that it is too much for her to handle alone.

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

Meant to Be by Jo Knowles

Meant to Be
by Jo Knowles (Goodreads Author)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Ivy loves living in her apartment building because her best friends are right down the hall, but the rest of her family is hoping to move away to a nicer house. Her best friend, Alice, gets some bad news and Ivy tries to cheer her up but ends up always saying the wrong thing and hurting Alice’s feelings. Ivy feels terrible, but doesn’t know how to make things right again. Ivy hopes that they can bond again through their favorite cooking show.

This was such a cute little book! Ivy’s narrative voice was a little more juvenile than I was expecting, but I found her very relatable and sweet. I remember always feeling like I said the wrong thing when I was a kid, and not knowing how to fix it. I love the excellent writing style! Ivy’s voice is very distinct and memorable.

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Book Review: Hunters of the Lost City

Hunters of the Lost City by Kali Wallace

Hunters of the Lost City
by Kali Wallace (Goodreads Author)

4 out of 5 stars

Octavia has lived all her life within the walls of her city, the last refuge for humanity in a world that has been destroyed by war and plague. The only living things outside the walls were monsters. There was no human life left anywhere except in Octavia’s city…. or so she believed. Octavia meets a mysterious girl who claims to be from another city. Together they could destroy everything the town believes and bring healing to a society drowning in lies.

I loved this book so much! The adventure, the magic, the world building, the character growth; this book has it all! I got emotionally attached to the characters very quickly, and it was so wonderful to see how Octavia grows and heals and changes as the story progresses. There are so many big revelations and plot twists as Octavia learns just how deep the lies really go. Every time she discovers something new in her world, the reader discovers it along with her.

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Book Review: Cress Watercress

Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire

Cress Watercress
by Gregory Maguire, David Litchfield 

3 out of 5 stars

After her father dies, Cress and her family move to a basement apartment in an oak tree. Her mother struggles to pay the rent, and Cress is annoyed by the snooping neighbors. The landlord is a grumpy owl, and a large family of squirrels make a great deal of noise. But they all join together when danger is near.

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