Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This week Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon, the 2016 novel by Kelly Barnhill. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Sprinkles: This looks like an interesting book Marshmallow. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Marshmallow: This book is about a girl named Luna and a witch named Xan. Luna comes from a village that sacrifices one baby per year. The baby is left in the woods, supposedly to be taken by an evil witch who lives in the woods. But it turns out that the witch is actually Xan, and she is very kind-hearted. She travels every year to pick up the sacrificed baby, and takes it to a loving family in a different village. The children brought by Xan are called Star Children in that village because Xan feeds them starlight before their journey through the forest.

However, one year, Xan accidentally feeds one of the children moonlight. Moonlight is more powerful than starlight and it enmagicks her. In other words, she ends up with extraordinary magical powers. Xan decides to name her Luna and raise her as her own.

S: That is a very interesting premise. And I can see why the book is titled The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I’m guessing that is Luna. So does Luna know any of this?

M: Not really. Not for a long time. And she cannot hear the word “magic”.

S: That is weird. So the book is about Luna and Xan and their adventures?

M: No. Not quite. There are multiple stories that are going on at the same time. There is a guy who is determined to kill Xan for example, but he is a good person, he just wants to protect his own child. And eventually we see Luna’s real mom show up. Lots of things are happening at the same time, and Luna is trying to figure out how to use her magic.

S: Hmm, that sounds intriguing. I might want to read it too some day.

M: Yes, I think you should. It is about family, love, and who becomes your family. Luna’s family is made up of a dragon and a bog monster besides the witch Xan, and eventually she is reunited with her birth mom too. And there is a surprising twist towards the end, but I am not going to spoil things.

S: Hmm, I guess I will just have to read the book to find out for myself.

Marshmallow is reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Marshmallow is reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

S: So apparently there was a prequel published right around the time the book came out. What did you think of that?

M: I thought it was interesting to get some backstory on one of the characters. We should probably put links to them in our review.

S: Okay, here is the link to the first part of the prequel, and here is the second part. We should warn our readers that there are lots of popups and ads on the linked pages but the story seems to be worth it.

M: I’d say so.

S: Did this book remind you of any other books you have read or reviewed before?

M: No, I think it was quite unique. I’d say it is really a beautiful story.

S: What you did tell me so far reminded me of a couple of the stories in Soman Chaimani’s Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales. Or even the beginning of the School for Good and Evil stories. There, too, children are taken to save their villages.

M: Yes, I can see what you mean. And I do love the School for Good and Evil books. But I view this book as something quite different.

S: Okay, it is a book of its own, deserves its own place among your favorites?

M: I’d say so. I will definitely reread it at least once more.

S: So then would you be rating it 100%?

M: Yes!

S: And that is a good place to wrap up this review then. I might just grab the book and start reading it right away.

M: You do that! And our readers, they should stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!

Marshmallow rates The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf

Today Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf, a book that combines the joys of cooking and science experiments.

Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.
Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about cooking and science, then this might be the book for you. In fact if you like to play with food, this might be a good book to check out!

Marshmallow’s Summary: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids has twenty five “edible experiments” you can cook, from cheese fondue to chocolate chip cookies. Some other recipes include rainbow pasta, caramel candy, banana bread, smoothie and acidic fruit. Each of the recipes has a note from the author, Kate Biberdorf, a messiness level, and of course, ingredients and instructions. Some of the recipes also have experiments you can conduct with the food, and some have explanations for the chemistry in the foods.

Marshmallow is reading about banana bread in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.
Marshmallow is reading about banana bread in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.

For example in the chapter on banana bread, we are given a recipe and really delicious looking pictures of banana bread, but also we are provided with directions on a neat experiment on ripening bananas. The main question is: How do we speed up the ripening of bananas? There are three possible ways and you are supposed to try them all to see which works best. And in the end, with the ripened bananas, you make the banana bread and eat it! The chapter contains information about bananas and the chemical process of ripening fruit.

The author Kate Bibendorf is a chemist by training, and she is a professor of chemistry at the University of Texas Austin. She also has written a series of fiction books about a character named Kate the Chemist, but I have not read those books yet.

Marshmallow is reading about the acidity of different fruits in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.
Marshmallow is reading about the acidity of different fruits in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this a good book that can help young bunnies and their parents have fun in the kitchen. The recipes are simple and creative. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I think I will soon. In fact I could like to try the banana bread recipe, but our bananas are already ripe, so we could not do the experiments. Hmm…

There are a lot of pictures in this book. Most of them display how to make the foods, and others show the author with the finished product. They are all very colorful, and the book is all very cheerful overall. The author is always laughing or smiling, and the food looks delicious!

This book is appropriate for all ages because young bunnies can do all of the experiments with a parent. The experiments might be more fun for ages 6 and up. I am sure all ages will enjoy eating the final products though.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter: A Magical Year – The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay

Marshmallow has been reviewing the illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books, and so far she reviewed  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, all written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay. While waiting for the fifth book to come out in the illustrated version, she came upon another gem: Harry Potter: A Magical Year – The Illustrations of Jim Kay, just hot off the press (publication date is October 2021). As she occasionally does, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter: A Magical Year - The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay.
Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter: A Magical Year – The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay.

Sprinkles:So Marshmallow, tell us a bit about this book.

Marshmallow: This is a book that has Harry Potter quotes for every day. Like the illustrated versions of the Harry Potter series that I have been reviewing for our blog, the drawings were created by Jim Kay. All of the pages are richly decorated with related images and backgrounds.

S: That sounds interesting! So every day, you could wonder what Harry or Hermione or some other person from Hogwarts might have been doing that day and the book would tell you?

M: Not quite. The quotes are placed on a date close to when they are supposed to have happened. But for example on the days before Harry’s birthday, there are several days where we get quotes from Harry’s birthday. But still, if you wanted to have some Harry Potter magic for each day of the year, this would work perfectly!

S: That sounds perfect for a Potterhead like yourself Marshmallow!

M: Yes, exactly.

S: So have you checked the entry for today?

M: Yep! Here is me looking precisely at that page!

Marshmallow is reading the entry for today, November 13, in Harry Potter: A Magical Year - The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay. The entry is a quote from Hermione Granger, taken from Chapter 19 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: "Why don't we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it's a bit cold, isn't it?"
Marshmallow is reading the entry for today, November 13, in Harry Potter: A Magical Year – The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay. The entry is a quote from Hermione Granger, taken from Chapter 19 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: “Why don’t we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it’s a bit cold, isn’t it?”

S: How about your on birthday? Did you check that out?

M: Yes, and it is kind of a sad one, so I won’t tell you about it.

S: Okay, I understand. And we don’t want to give away personal information here anyways…

Marshmallow is reading the pages corresponding to May 24, May 25, and May 26, in Harry Potter: A Magical Year - The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay.
Marshmallow is reading the pages corresponding to May 24, May 25, and May 26, in Harry Potter: A Magical Year – The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay.

S: So would you recommend this book to our readers?

M: Yes, of course. Especially people who like Harry Potter and his world will definitely enjoy this book. It is really pretty, the illustrations are amazing!

S: That is a ringing endorsement, especially coming from you!

M: Well, I always like Harry Potter-related stuff.

S: That’s true of course. So would you like to rate this book then? I think I know what the rating will be…

M: Yes, and I would rate it 100%. It is a beautiful book, especially for bunnies who like Harry Potter…

S: So then we are about ready to wrap up this review I think.

M: Yes!  I’ll again adapt Caramel’s famous closing line to myself and say: “Stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!”

Marshmallow really enjoyed reading and reviewing Harry Potter: A Magical Year - The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay, and is looking forward to reading more from this author-illustrator team, in particular the illustrated versions of the remaining Harry Potter books.
Marshmallow really enjoyed reading and reviewing Harry Potter: A Magical Year – The Illustrations of Jim Kay by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay, and is looking forward to reading more from this author-illustrator team, in particular the illustrated versions of the remaining Harry Potter books.

Marshmallow reviews The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Today Marshmallow reviews The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Marshmallow reviews The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Marshmallow reviews The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like young adult novels with mystery, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): High-schooler Avery Kylie Grambs has recently discovered that she has been included in the will of Tobias Hawthorne, a rich philanthropist who recently died. However, Avery has no idea why she is in the will. She is not related to him, as far as she knows, and has, in fact, never seen him in her life.  She didn’t even know who he was until recently.

Eventually, she attends the reading of the will, which has been delayed until she can attend. Hawthorne’s two daughters and four grandsons are dismayed to learn that out of his forty-six point two billion dollars, they only receive a couple hundred thousand dollars each. Avery, on the other hand, receives the rest of his money, along with all of his possessions, including his house. The only term for this is that she must live in his house for a year. This clearly does not sit well with Hawthorne’s relatives, especially one of his daughters. Skye Hawthorne had hoped that her four sons would receive a majority of the money.

Now that everything is owned by Avery, the Hawthornes have different reactions. Nash Hawthorne, the eldest grandson of Tobias, doesn’t really show up too much. Grayson Hawthorne, the grandson that everyone thought would receive most of the inheritance, believes that Avery somehow conned Tobias into writing her into his will. Jameson, the second youngest, is intrigued by Avery. Xander, the youngest, doesn’t really have any grudges against Avery, as he never thought he was going to receive a large chunk of the money anyways. Skye, Tobias Hawthorne’s daughter and the mother of Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Xander, is furious, and together with her sister Zara, she starts to try and figure out a way to “reclaim” the inheritance. 

With all this money at stake, the Hawthornes may resort to violence to sort out “the Avery issue”. But Jameson and Avery believe that she was selected for a reason. Tobias Hawthorne was very into puzzles, and Avery and Jameson believe that she is part of the last puzzle of Tobias Hawthorne. But even so, who are the players, and who will win?

Marshmallow is reading the beginning of Chapter 57 in The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Marshmallow is reading the beginning of Chapter 57 in The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that The Inheritance Games is a good book, but it is part of a series, which I did not know when I started reading. It was a surprise when I realized that the story would continue into a second book, which I have not read yet. So the mystery is not yet fully solved (even though we do figure out eventually why Avery was in the will).

The plot is very well thought out and thought-provoking. Also, the author and Tobias Hawthorne are very fond of word games, especially with names. (Cough, Avery, cough.)

The Inheritance Games has 370 pages, spilt into 91 short chapters. Avery is the narrator, and we meet each character through her eyes. Events unfold through her perspective as well, meaning that puzzles are only resolved when she figures things out. I was able to figure out some things ahead of time, but mostly the mystery kept me guessing.

In short, I found The Inheritance Games intriguing and very interesting. However, I believe that it is intended for older children, certainly a young adult novel. The plot is pretty complicated. And as the first book in a series, The Inheritance Games sets the scene really well for the second one to come. I’m looking forward to reading that,ys too.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%. 

Marshmallow rates The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 95%.