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: 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: The Patron Thief of Bread

The Patron Thief of Bread by Lindsay Eagar

The Patron Thief of Bread
by Lindsay Eagar (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars

Duck has always lived on the streets with a gang of urchins who call themselves the Crowns. They pick pockets and steal food to stay alive. Their leader, Gnat, comes up with the idea for one of them to masquerade as a baker’s apprentice to steal from the bakery, and Duck is chosen for the job. Duck uses forged apprenticeship papers to begin working at the bakery, and then passes stolen bread and coins to the rest of the street urchins. But the longer Duck works at the bakery, the more she begins to settle into her new life. The baker lady is kind to her, and they become a weird sort of family. Duck’s loyalties are divided. Will she choose the baker who loves her like a mother would, or her ragtag family of pickpockets?

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Book Review: The Captain’s Daughters

The Captain's Daughters by Doreen D. Berger

The Captain’s Daughters
by Doreen D. Berger (Goodreads Author)
3 out of 5 stars

Diane and Robin are kidnapped by an alien race to be sold as slaves on a far-away planet. Their father, a starship captain, is searching the galaxy for them, but he will have to travel farther than anyone thought possible in order to rescue his daughters. However, Diane and Robin are not sitting around waiting to be rescued. They take matters into their own hands, and try a daring escape.

I enjoyed this book! The plot is a fun adventure and has some interesting twists. There were a couple of times when lucky coincidences in the plot made it a little unbelievable. I feel like the plot could have been a bit tighter in a few places. But those were few and far between, so I still liked the story a lot!

The writing is really good! I immediately connected with the story and with the characters. The pacing is excellent, and the scenes have a lot of suspense. I laughed several times at some of the funny dialogue! Those girls are so sassy!

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Book Review: How Do You Live?

How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino

How Do You Live?
by Genzaburo YoshinoBruno Navasky (Translator)
4 out of 5 stars

Copper reflects on the meaning of life as he faces challenges at his school. He befriends a poor classmate who is being teased and bullied, but that puts him in crosshairs as well. Somehow he must find the courage to stand with his friends, and find out what kind of person he really wants to be. Copper’s uncle and mother give him good advice, but ultimately it is up to Copper to make his own decisions.

This book is told in two parts; the first is Copper’s experiences at school and the second is his uncle’s notes to him about philosophy and the underlying meaning behind everyday things. These two perspectives overlap in alternate chapters. First we read about something that happened to Copper and then his uncle writes to Copper about it, expounding on different moral and social ideas of why that particular experience was important and how it can help to shape Copper into a good person.

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