by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 384
Grade Reading Level: Grades 8-12

Summary: North of Beautiful is about a girl with a port-wine stain on her face. A port-wine stain is basically a big red birthmark. Tera faces many challenges, such as hiding port-wine stain with pounds of makeup, her urge to go to art school, and most of all, being verbally abused by her father. But when coming home from a laser surgery removal (to lighten the port-wine stain) she and her mom decide to stop for coffee but end up slipping on black ice, having the car spin out of control, and hitting a boy!

Why I Started the Book:

I started this book because I read it for school. I choose this book to be made into a “movie trailer” by using software called PhotoStory. We did this by using pictures and quotes from the book. Check it out:


  • This book reminded me of the Twilight love triangle between Edward, Bella, and Jacob! But instead, with Erik (Terra's boyfriend), Terra, and Jacob (the guy who becomes a close friend of Terra's)! But sadly they aren't paranormal characters :(
  • Team Jacob! Jacob was similar to the Jacob in Twilight. They both seemed laid back and if they were worried, they didn't show it. The relationship between Terra and Jacob was sweet and a whole lot better than with Erik! Jacob was more caring and concerned about Terra's happiness, and Erik … well let's just say he gave Terra lingerie for Christmas!


  • Her dad was EXTREMELY annoying, abusive, and everything in-between! He would get worked up over little stupid things. And he never seemed even faintly happy. AT ALL! It was as if he wanted to make Terra feel like she was ugly, worthless, and stupid. (Maybe he was?)
  • This book went by slow. Not because it was boring, but because it was REALLY long and I read really slow! Also I tried to finish it quickly so I could focus more on my project.

Last minute thoughts: I loved reading this book! It wouldn't recommend it to guys because it mainly involves beauty. But the moral says that everyone is truly beautiful no matter how “ugly” on the outside!

Buy: North of Beautiful

Book Rating: I give this book 4 treasure chests!

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Reviewed by Savvy Karin

Title: Wandering Warrior
Author: Da Chen
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 336 pages
Grade Reading Level: Grade 8+

Summary: Luka is a young 11 year old boy destined to be the most successful emperor. He has five moles on each foot, which is how this leader-to-be will be recognized. He is being raised by the monk Atami, as he is orphaned. Later he finds out who his parents are which is central to the story.

Of course, first he will have to learn the art of fighting Yin Gong, defeat the cruel emperor, rescue a maiden, fight mythological creatures as well as be befriended by them, be imprisoned... you get the idea. Along the way, he is befriended by two thieves, is helped (and betrayed) by a fur dealer, rescues his mentor(s), defeats another boy (and gains his help)...

If he reveals himself, the cruel emperor Ghengi and his Mogo warriors will kill him to maintain their own rule of China.

Why I started this book:

I decided to see if our library had a copy of this book, after coming across a review I had kept from 2003 where the headline for Nicholas Thomas' review in the USA Today, read:

Whiz-bang action at every turn
'Wandering Warrior' is China's answer to Potter


  • It has a very cute illustration on the cover.
  • It sounds as though the book was setting the stage for a series of books, but I don't believe they have been written."Rebuild Xi-Ling. We must first find our 18 lost warriors. Each is in possession of one unique Xi-Ling art. Without them, the collective wisdom of our tradition will be lost forever. ... Twelve of our treasures are still missing, not counting your dagger. Each weapon is blessed with rare magic and unique power..."That sounds quite fascinating to me, more so than this first book.


  • This is considered a YA book, but it is surely not a children's book. It is too sophisticated and complex. It is filled with adventure, excitement, mythological creatures and the hard life of living in those days, but for me, at least, it didn't hold the thrall of the Potter books.
  • I wish I knew enough to know what parts of the book are authentic and which are fanciful, outside of the mythological creatures.

Last Minute Thoughts: It didn't hold my interest, but it might hold the interest of a boy.

Buy: Wandering Warrior

Rating: 2.5 Treasure Chests

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Review: Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski

by CaptainYarr August 20, 2014
Review: Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski

by Captain Lyaf Yarr Title: Bras and Broomsticks Author: Sarah Mlynowski Narrator: Ariadne Meyers Format: Audio Book # CDs + Minutes: 7 CDs (8 hours, 11 minutes) Grade Reading Level: Ages 12-17 Summary: Rachel discovers that her little sister, Miri, is a witch and that her mom is also! Her dad is about to remarry. […]

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Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Book 1) by Douglas Adams

by First Mate Keira August 19, 2014
Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Book 1) by Douglas Adams

Reviewed by First Mate Keira Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Book 1) Author: Douglas Adams Format: Audio Book Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins Narrator: Stephen Fry Grade Reading Level: Ages 14+ Summary: The Earth is doomed. Plans were submitted to clear a pathway through the solar system […]

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Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides directed by Gore Verbinski

by cookcutlery August 18, 2014
Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides directed by Gore Verbinski

by Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stanger’s Tides Director: Gore Verbinski Rated: PG-13 Minutes: 136 minutes Summary: Jack Sparrow is on a mission to find the Fountain of Youth. Along the way he has to team up with the vicious, cold-hearted, and mean Captain Black Beard. The reason behind Black […]

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30 Book Series for Boys You Shouldn’t Miss, Part 2

by First Mate Keira August 17, 2014
30 Book Series for Boys You Shouldn’t Miss, Part 2

Continuing on from last time’s 30 Books Series for Boys You Shouldn’t Miss, Part 1, today’s list also features books recommended for boys by boys (and grown-up boys). Chronicles of Narnia- This series is seven books long, has won many awards, been adapted for all kinds of media (currently 3 books have been made into […]

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