The Mysterious Benedict Society

510cd0w1aUL._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_So my friend, Stephanie, is getting her PhD in English, which means she’s going to be a doctor-of-books like my mom. She was at a secondhand bookstore and saw Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society and thought it looked like something I would like. Smart girl, that Steph.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is a great book for young minds who love to learn. In the book, four kids (Constance Contraire, George Washington / a.k.a. Sticky, Reynie Muldoon, and Kate Wetherall) go through a series of tests. What’s cool? You get to take the series of tests with them. That may not sound like fun, but trust me: it is. These tests are more like riddles and puzzles that you try to figure out as you read, along with the characters. I even learned Morse code from this book! My mom couldn’t believe it: I got out my school notebook, so that I could practice Morse code. Best use of a school notebook ever.

More fun stuff in the book includes: old mansions, secret agents, a curiously evil school, and the quest to conquer an evil person with an evil machine. My favorite character: Kate. And, the best thing? I just found out this book is the first of a SERIES. Win!



Melody Pickle and The Enchanted Arch, Part 1

517mE6mKNwL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_I LOVE this book because it has magic, and who doesn’t like magic? More than once, I was on the edge of my seat, since Melody tends to get herself into lots of pickles. Get it?!

Melody Pickle, who is 15 years old, goes to a park and finds an enchanted arch with her friends. Because she’s the brave and curious one in her group, she goes through the arch, and her adventures begin! These adventures include a wolf-man; enchanted animals; and magic wands. She gets imprisoned in a work camp straightway, and the drama begins! It’s one thing to be imprisoned, but even worse to be imprisoned in a new world you don’t understand!

I love Harry Potter for its magical world, and I liked this book for the same reason. The arch isn’t the only thing “enchanted” in this first part of the Melody Pickle series. The book is too! And I can’t wait to read more!

(Side note! I know the person who wrote this book, and I think he is so smart for creating it. Get your copy today!)



The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

61Dzq6bVS1L._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_There are two Calpurnia Tate books, by Jacqueline Tate, and I’ve read and loved them both! These books are about a young girl who LOVES nature, so she goes to see her grandpa who helps her discover new things. Her mom and dad disagree that being a scientist is a fine job for girls, though. They want her to be a proper young lady who sews and knits! YUCK! I told my Mom that I’m glad I don’t have to knit … she said that’s because she’s a feminist.

Calpurnia is trapped between her mother, father, 6 brothers, and her grandpa (she tries to be with him as much as she can), piano practice, and other crazy stuff! The books are classified as historical fiction, because they teach all sorts of things about living in the year 1900 (from the invention of the telephone to the automobile)! The books are also educational, because each chapter begins with a quote from Charles Darwin, who wrote The Origin of the Species.

61ug2juimvL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_In The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (book 1), which is a Newberry Honor Book, Calpurnia and her grandfather discover a new species of hairy vetch. In The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate (book 2), Calpurnia and her grandfather predict a hurricane, because they know what it means when a seabird flies inland! Also, the family gets a new pet, after trying out LOTS of pets (thanks to Calpurnia’s animal-loving brother, Travis).

I love these books because Calpurnia kinda reminds me of: well, me! She’s adventurous, she loves animals, and she’s my age! She also has a brother (or brothers) who drives her up the wall sometimes.



About me


My name is Arina, and I’m the kid in the photo. Fun fact: my Mom, Dad, and I are in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, which is my birth country. I’m adopted, like all those great characters in books (e.g., Harry Potter … although Mom and Dad beat the Dursleys by a mile).

This was a long time ago, of course … way before I could read on my own … although you can tell that I liked the idea of reading even then. I can read on my own now, and I like it very much, hence my review blog (with my Mom).

Want me to review your book? Sure! Email me at Preferred genres include children’s books; middle grade; fantasy.

In full disclosure: My Mom reads everything I read, manages the email account, and she also edits my stuff … which is great, because she is a doctor of books (that means she has lots of degrees in English).