Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill


*No Major Spoilers*

Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.

Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen.

But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I found this book on TikTok, however I didn’t take a screenshot of the book so I can’t give proper kudos for showing me this amazing, adorable story. I guess I was that excited about reading it! So let’s bake our way into The Ogress and the Orphans!

Now, I normally don’t go reading other people’s reviews for fear that it’d taint my own opinions. However, I was trying to find some quotes for this since I listened to this on audio and this book seems to be somewhat controversial. Now, I’m not going to throw shade (call out or embarrass) these reviewers because everyone has a right to their own opinion. Let’s just say you should read this book with your inner child in the forefront.

Books are funny things. The ideas and knowledge contained inside their pages have mass and velocity and gravity. They bend both space and time. They have minds of their own.

Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans

Sure this novel is parallel to our current society but in a fantasy setting. I get it, but I thought this would be a really good book to help young kids understand in a kid friendly way of what’s going on in the world. The overarching message is that love and kindness defeats all evil and books are the greatest weapons of all.

However, politics be what they may, I loved the parallel take on this book. I loved all the characters and one of the orphans was names Elijah! Elijah was kind of that annoying character in movies who is foreshadowing to the point where they’re just giving away the rest of the plot.

One minor complaint I had with this novel is how often it repeats certain phrasing, I understand why the author did it, to mimic a story told around the campfire or a bedtime story. However, I appreciate the author’s commitment to the theme she set for in her story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It was charming and heart-warming. It made me wish I lived in Stone-in-the-Glen once the conflict was resolved. Sounded like a nice place to live. I’d recommend this novel for those looking for a light story for the kid at heart.

Posted in Personal Blogs

My Go-To Book Recommendations

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com & edited by Elisha’s Book Review

Since I have been trying to get more social on apps like TikTok and Twitter, I usually get a lot of book recommendations that get added to the never ending “To Be Read” list. However, when I can I try and recommend a book in return.

I have a short list of books that come to mind when someone is looking for a new read. So I guess I’ll now share mine.

  • The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris this is an adult mystery novel about a boy with Synesthesia and is on the Autism spectrum. His neighbor is murdered and he’s an unlikely witness.
  • Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt this is a middle grade coming-of-age story about Delsie who lives with her grandmother in Cape Cod. This is an emotional story about growing up, losing and gaining friends, and what it’s like realizing you’re economic status affects how others see you.
  • The Last One by Alexandra Oliva this is an adult survivor story about a woman nicknamed Zoo who enters to be on a reality TV show. Things quickly go awry when a superbug wipes out a majority of the TV crew. However, Zoo thinks the cameras are still rolling. Can she survive in the wilderness without the sparse resources the crew provides?
  • The Troop by Nick Cutter I see this book somewhat frequently amongst book communities, so I don’t recommend this very often unless you’re brand new or wanting to branch out to the horror genre. This is basically a modern, higher-stakes Lord of the Flies.
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George is the story about a boy who runs away from home and goes to carve a way of life in the Catskill Mountains. This reminded me of The Hatchet series, and I found it to be more relaxing and not as intense.

Some of these I have reviews for and others I either read before I started the blog, or felt like I couldn’t do the book justice. If any of these catch you eye or fancy, I hope you read them and let me know what you think about them!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

REVIEW: Modo: Ember’s End by Arthur Slade

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*No Major Spoilers*

Based on the world of Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments, Modo: Ember’s End follows the titular character on a new adventure. Modo has been trained by the British to be a secret agent and is about to find more action than he can handle in the wild-west town of Ember’s End.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was browsing the virtual library, and the cover of Modo: Ember’s End caught my eye. I thought it would make for a fun and entertaining read. Now that I’m finished reading the novel let’s look at this graphic novel.

First off, I am a fan of westerns with a sci-fi twist; steampunk. I have reviewed other novels of this subgenre, which you can check out here when you’re finished reading this review. Modo: Ember’s End makes it’s way to a family-friendly subgenre with plenty of western hijinks and adventure.

One nitpick I had was how Octavia was portrayed as a dumb brutish blonde. I am not familiar with the Hunchback Assignments series, so I don’t know if Octavia is a returning character or if she only appears in this spinoff. However, either way, it’s nothing major that takes away from this story.

Overall I had fun with the story. I loved the humor the author put into this story, and I think this graphic will be fun for the whole family. I’d recommend Modo: Ember’s End if you’re looking for a family-friendly western for all ages.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street by Lauren Oliver

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*No Major Spoilers*

Cordelia Clay loves the work she and her father do together: saving and healing the remarkable creatures around Boston at the end of the nineteenth century. Their home on Cedar Street is full to the brim with dragons, squelches, and Diggles, and Cordelia loves every one of them.

But their work must be kept secret—others aren’t welcoming to outsiders and immigrants, so what would the people of Boston do to the creatures they call “monsters”?

One morning, Cordelia awakens to discover that her father has disappeared—along with nearly all the monsters.

With only a handful of clues and a cryptic note to guide her, Cordelia must set off to find out what happened to her father, with the help of her new friend Gregory, Iggy the farting filch, a baby dragon, and a small zuppy (zombie puppy, that is).

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First off, I’d like to say, if you are a fan of the monsters and creatures in the Harry Potter universe, this theme gets expanded tenfold. Even though most monsters are only mentioned in passing, I feel this monster-filled world is just as fleshed out as in Harry Potter.

To imagine our world is filled with creatures that are only featured in mythology and fairy tales reminds me of the Pokemon video games, just without the animal abuse. The world feels so strange and alien since Cordelia was sheltered growing up in a house full of monsters.

One small nitpick I had early on was the similarities between the father and daughter’s names. I had to go back and reread sections because I got the two mixed up. Although to make up for it, I’m impressed at how the author gets us to bond with Cordelia and Cornelius and makes the disappearance more impactful without wasting our time.

As Cordelia’s search for her father and the monsters continues, I love all of the hijinx and misadventures the characters get into. In one case, Cordelia finds herself at a traveling circus that boasts a freak show of monsters. For Cordelia to think this circus as her monsters almost instantly, shows how young and somewhat immature she is.

I love the ending of this story, it wrapped everything up all nice and neat. Everyone learned from the struggles faced on the adventures shows through. Even Cornelius learns from his mistakes and moves on from the loss of his wife. So if you’re looking for a novel with a happy ending, you’ll find it here.

Although I know this is a children’s chapter book, I feel the issues discussed are appropriate for all ages. Friendship, racism, and growing up in a world that looks down upon the “lesser than”. Big issues discussed in appropriate ways.

I would recommend this for lovers of fantasy, monsters, and a coming of age story that’s worth the read. The Monsters of Cedar Street is a fun read for readers of all ages.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Spinner Prince (Pride Wars #1) by Matt Laney

lion *No Major Spoilers*

Prince Leo is next in line for the throne of Singara, a land ruled by super-evolved felines. Like every thirteen-year-old, Leo must prove his worth by hunting a deadly beast called a slaycon. But killing a slaycon is the least of Leo’s problems. The enemy beyond the Great Wall is rising up. Inside the wall, Singara is being torn apart by Leo’s rebellious cousin. Worst of all, Leo is a Spinner, cursed with a dangerous and forbidden power he can’t control.

The future of Singara is in Leo’s hands. Can he conceal his curse, claim the throne, and protect his realm? Or will he embrace his power and discover a far greater destiny . . . for himself and for his world?

I have been a fan of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter for a long time. The way she could personify the cats to make them believable characters was well done. Matt Laney has created believable and in-depth characters.

This novel is meant for middle grade-level readers, however, I found this book to be enjoyable for all ages. The characters are relatable and remind me of The Lion King movie in a sense. A young lion is to take over the throne, but a family member gets in the way…you know the rest.

However, this is not word for word like the movie. There are enough differences and variations to make this novel in its own uniqueness and story.

Being a Spinner in Leo’s world is highly forbidden. A Spinner is someone who tells fictitious stories. In a world, where only facts and nonfiction rules, you can see why this would be a problem.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel. The story is good, and it leaves just enough of a cliff-hanger to keep you interested in the series. I would recommend this novel for adult and children alike. A good book to share with the family.

I would also recommend this novel for lovers of the Warriors series as well as the Lion King movie.