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Book Review: Samantha Plankgunn: The Journey Ahead. By Gillian and the girls 📖🐾

Samantha Plankgunn: The Journey Ahead by Haylyn Benton.

She Rises Studios sent me a copy of Samantha Plankgunn: The Journey Ahead, by Haylyn Benton, in exchange for my honest review. This book is the first in an exciting new series for middle-grade readers. The story follows Samantha in her search to be reunited with her companion, Sampson - the chatty Macaw - before resuming their quest for the Hope Diamond. She meets the legendary Amelia Earhart (the first email aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic), and her navigator, Fred. Both become captivated and moved by Samantha’s life and help her find Sampson so that she can continue her adventure. Read on for a brief author bio, book blurb and my honest review ...

Haylyn Benton, author of the Samantha Plankgunn series


Haylyn Benton is a brilliant writer with an amazing imagination. She loves acting and writing and refers to the stage as her happy place. She's been in 20 productions and written several songs and short stories - and she's only 12 years old! Samantha Plankgunn: The Journey Ahead is Haylyn's first solo book. Previously she co-wrote Spotty the Curious Giraffe with her younger sister, Hadley.

Haylyn is homeschooled and likes to learn in a fun and creative way. This became the main inspiration behind the Samantha Plankgunn stories. The series is full of history, geography, and cultures, which Haylyn hopes her readers will not only enjoy but also learn interesting facts and be inspired to follow their dreams.


Samantha Plankgunn: The Journey Ahead follows Samantha, who’s been cursed since August 16th, 1717. Sampson, her father's blue and gold macaw, and Samantha were the only survivors after her father's ship, and all of his crew sank 150 years ago, leaving Samantha an orphan. Since that time, Samantha has been on a mission to find the Hope Diamond and reunite it with the Hope Ruby in order to lift their curse of immortality. She and her new crew embark on a global trip with countless detours and danger lurking around every corner after making friends with the illustrious aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred.


This is a wonderful story, full of tales of myth and legend from around the world, which is complimented by some lovely black and white illustrations. It’s a swash-buckling adventure that has so many stories to tell and mysteries to solve that I can see this being the start of many, many more Samantha Plankgunn books – or so I hope!

Samantha is a fantastic character, and her stories are wonderful. Her colourful life spans the UK, Madagascar, Egypt, America, and many more places. There are ceaseless encounters with intriguing characters such as Captain Blackbeard, Richard Crowe, Mary Reade and even the Queen of Bora Bora! There’s never a dull moment in Samantha’s life.

A huge thank you to Haylyn Benton and She Rises Studios for giving me the opportunity to review Samantha Plankgunn: The Journey Ahead. It was a pleasure to read, and I eagerly await the sequel. 🏴‍☠️

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Why Do We All Behave In The Way We Do? The Secrets of Life: Book Three, by S. S. O'Connor.

In this, the third book of The Secrets of Life quartet, SS O'Connor explains how game theory developed, and why it came to show us not only how humans arrive at their decisions, but why so much of the apparently bizarre behaviour of the natural world has the same Darwinian reasoning to it. Instead of the confusion and chaos one might expect, he shows that there's a profound logic behind the choices organisms face when they interact and how we humans then refined this process through the addition of our intelligence and language skills.

See you on 7th June!!

Gill x

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