Review: Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

by Second Mate Embry, guest reviewer

Title: Igraine the Brave
Author: Cornelia Funke
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 212
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: As a daughter of two magicians, Igraine is expected to follow in their footsteps, casting spells and concocting potions, right? Actually, all she wants to be is a knight and have adventures. She gets her chance when Osmund the Greedy tries to take over the castle, and her parents are turned into pigs! Luckily her brother is making a potion to turn them back, but he needs one more ingredient. Will Igraine become a knight, save her parents, and beat Osmund? Or will Osmund the Greedy rule over the castle with an iron fist forever?

Why I Read This Book:

I read this book because I have enjoyed other books by Cornelia Funke and thought that I would try it. Also, that back blurb caught my attention in the library and sounded interesting.


  • I like the idea of a 12 year-old knight. She’s fighting for us pre-teens!
  • I liked the magic used by Igraine’s brother and parents; it seemed unstoppable.
  • So we know Igraine wants to be a knight, right? Well she would be a knight with one fear: Spiders. I thought it was hilarious that out of all the fears she could possibly have, her ONLY fear was spiders.


  • I found myself skimming this book to get it finished. It didn’t really hold my interest and more than anything I just wanted to finish it. Some parts of the book I enjoyed, but I like to be totally captivated during the whole book, not just good parts here and there. I’d be all excited about something that happened and curious to read on, but then instead of finding more rising action it was more of a plateau and that got very dull very quickly. I think Cornelia Funke could have made this book a lot more intense by keeping the rising action strong.

Buy: Igraine The Brave

Rating: 2.5 Treasure chests!

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Review: Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Will Work for Prom Dress
Author: Aimee Ferris
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 272 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12-16

Summary: Quigley Johnson and her best friend Anne Parisi have joined together to get jobs, buy dresses, find dates, and go to prom. It’s all part of the betterment plan. But playing a corpse or dressing as pickle aren’t exactly glamorous, that’s why when Anne’s designer mom offers them positions as models for fledgling designers they both jump on it. They like 2 young men there, but with two boys courting them at school it’s hard to know who to ask as their formal date.

Why I started this book:

Goodreads recommended it to me based on books in my TBR pile.


  • How Quigley handles David throughout the book and especially at the end when his pranks are hurting others.
  • Poor Quigley goes through a lot of minor mortifications – face full of dressing as the corpse, having to dress as a pickle, etc. She gets through it all with aplomb.
  • I like how she gets her art focus and pursues it almost absently. Additionally I love how her anger at life gives her a great idea for a speech.

Toss up:

  • Anne is sort of a good friend. There are things she does well, like stick with Quigley through thick and thin, but then there’s a lot she does not. One of which is leaving Quigley behind while chasing after boys. She also gets into a scrape with the police for vandalism.


  • Zander was really harsh at one point in the book and honestly I don’t feel Quigley should have gotten back together with him, despite his reasons. They could have been friends. I would have preferred that honestly.
  • This book was one I picked up and put down a bit, but once I pushed through the slow part it was smooth sailing.

Buy: Will Work for Prom Dress

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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Review: The Seeing Stone by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black


by First Mate Keira, guest reviewer

Title: The Seeing Stone (Book 2: The Spiderwick Chronicles)
Author: Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black
Format: Hardcover
# of pages: 109
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: When Simon is captured by goblins, Jared and Mallory must find a way to get him back. Thimbletack knows what to do but he’ll only rhyme and give clues. Angry, Jared attacks Thimbletack and gets the seeing stone. Suddenly all things fey come to light!

Why I Started the Book:

I got three Spiderwick novels at once so I could read them back to back. This is book number two.


  • The goblin species – part frog in appearance with wicked looking teeth that are not their own.
  • Hogsqueal, the hobgoblin. His spit allows the Grace children to see the fantasy kingdom right under their nose.
  • The troll in the lake. Good thing he’s not very smart or the kids would be in serious trouble.


  • Tibbs getting eaten. Poor cat! How gruesome!
  • Thimbletack the brownie/boggart is one wicked little creature who makes a lot of mischief. I’m not sure he’ll stay as a dislike as I read more of the books, we’ll just have to wait and see what he does.

Buy: The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2), The Spiderwick Chronicles (Boxed Set; Books 1-5)

Book Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

Keira runs a book review blog for readers by readers on romance novels entitled Love Romance Passion. She’s been reading romance since she was in her teens and began blogging about romance so she could share her passion for her favorite genre. She loves reading paranormal, Regency, historical America, and highlander most of all and completely adores blind and wounded heroes.

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Review: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 4.5) by Jennifer Estep

spartan frostReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 4.5)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Format: Ebook
Page Count:
Grade Reading Level: Ages 14+

Summary: What Logan Quinn is up to right after he leaves Mythos Academy. He deals with his angst over being possessed and almost killing Gwen.

Why I started this book:
Love the series and asked for the book as a Christmas present, which I got. Thanks, Mom!


  • I enjoyed Logan’s point of view (POV) of what happened the day he almost killed Gwen in Crimson Frost (Book 4). His worry, guilt, and concern over hurting her and how he could potentially hurt her again is very sweet and tender. Logan truly cares for Gwen.
  • It’s a highly important novella in terms of defining what is going to happen between Gwen and Loki. I wonder if you will be able to figure it out as it is purposefully oblique. I only recognized it after reading Killer Frost (Book 6).
  • I am happy that Logan and his father, Linus, are working to repair their relationship. A boy needs his dad. A dad needs his son.
  • I like that Logan was as obsessed getting information about Gwen as she was about him. Poor Oliver stuck in-between those two! But Logan/Oliver should not have kept the information a one-way street. Gwen deserved to know more too!


  • No Gwen! She’s present in Logan’s thoughts but not on page! Darn. I was hoping for that. A gypsy girl has got to knock some sense into a Spartan somehow, right?
  • Not long enough – should have brought us to the point where Logan meets up with Gwen in Midnight Frost (Book 5).

Favorite Quote: “Tell her I’m sorry. Again.”

Buy: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy)

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

Review: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 1) by Jennifer Estep

Reviewed by First Mate Keira 

Title: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 336 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: Mythos Academy is a boarding school for children of myths and legends. Gwen is a total outcast because she’s a Gypsy and has no special fighting abilities and in point of fact doesn’t really believe anybody is related to the gods. But Gwen has a gift which only Mythos can teach her about – she can wield psychometry, which allows her to see a person’s memories, feelings or thoughts when she touches objects – and so to Mythos she goes. Surviving high school has taken on a whole new meaning.

Why I started this book:

I saw how many people were reading it and were loving it so I had to get a copy and see for myself!


  • Hot Spartans, especially deadly Logan Quinn. It’s cute that he calls her Gypsy Girl (mostly to grab her attention/get under her skin.)
  • The girl sleuthing going on trying to figure out who killed Jasmine Ashton at the Library of Antiquities and stole the Bowl of Tears.
  • Gwen and Daphne Cruz’s change from enemies/acquaintances to friends.
  • Gwen becoming the champion of Nike.


  • Gwen Frost lands a spot at Mythos Academy when she helps stop a girl from her old school getting raped by her stepdad. Was this really necessary? I get the girl power side of the equation but still it’s a little overkill. Why couldn’t Gwen’s mother’s tragic car accident be the only reason she was going and leave the fact that she never went before to family politics between the dead mother and living grandmother?

Last Minute Thoughts: Ready for book two please!

Buy: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy)

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

by First Mate Keira

Title: Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 300
Reading Grade Level: Grade 7+

Summary: Beauty and the Beast retold in modern day New York from the Kyle Kingsbury or the Beast’s point of view in a high school setting. Need I say more? Yum!

Why I started reading this book:

It’s being made into a movie. See trailer:


  • Getting the Beast’s POV. It shows his progression from a pretty but petty vindictive and mean boy to an ugly but mature reflective and kind boy. We also read his rage and despair at the unfairness of his new situation.
  • Kyle changing his name to Adrian to represent his new persona.
  • The line, “Kyle Kingsbury, you are beastly.”
  • The rose garden and castle – making a magical kingdom in NYC.
  • The blind teacher, Will. He’s a good mentor.


  • Lindy’s crooked teeth. Why is it an issue? Most people look pretty good with crooked teeth, but if it was really bad and made her look ugly it’s easily fixed with all that money Adrian has.
  • Kendra the witch is an iffy for me.
  • Tuttle Prep sounds like it needs all its students to be turned into Beasts; especially Sloane. Where’s the justice there?

Last Minute Thoughts: Can’t wait to see the movie.

Buy: Beastly

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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