Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

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Book Review of Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels. Or comic books. I have to admit that I haven’t read many of them because they just don’t interest me. My kids, however, like them a lot. In an effort to be a good example and try a new genre, I offered to join the blog tour for this book. So what did I think? Did this book change my opinion of graphic novels? What about my kids? Did they enjoy it? Find out in my book review of Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos.

Blurb:

In this funny, action-packed graphic novel adventure, a science-obsessed girl finds herself in the middle of one of her favorite monster movies. Can she invent her way out of disaster while also saving the monster who has become her friend?

Zoe’s favorite thing to do–besides invent and build robots–is watch classic monster movies. She has never been comfortable with kids her own age, and so she pretends she doesn’t need friends while inside she’s longing for connection. And then one day, Zoe finds a mysterious ring on her way home from school. She puts it on, gives it a twist, and–FRZAAKK! There’s a massive burst of light! The next morning, a familiar monster appears at Zoe’s window. He’s from one of her favorite kaiju movies, and he likes Zoe–he wants to be her friend. Has her secret wish been fulfilled? But it turns out that Zoe’s ring has brought more than just this friendly monster to life. More monsters have arrived, and they are hungry! Now she’ll need to reach out to other people to help her save her town from destruction. Good thing she’s a robotics genius!

My Book Review:

Well, I have to say that Monster Mayhem is actually a pretty cute book. The main characters are super cute. Zoe is a darling character. I love how smart she is! She will be a great example to all the girls that read this book. Unfortunately, Zoe is dealing with something that is all too common: not having any friends. And then when she finally does make a friend, she gets hurt. Ouch! I think we all know how that feels. So, emotionally, she just shuts down.

Zoe’s parents and teachers express the importance of friends, and she won’t have anything to do with friends. She’s so anti-friend that she creates a robot to be her companion. And then the monsters start showing up. Oh no! Through a series of events (sorry, I’m not going to tell you what happens), Zoe learns some great lessons.

The illustrations in Monster Mayhem are so fun! They are bright, colorful, and well done. I particularly love the facial expressions of each of the characters. There are different fonts and font colors to distinguish the characters, so it’s easy to figure out who’s talking. I love Zoe’s goggles! As a mom, I know that sometimes you have to pick your clothing battles! Whether it’s the cowboy boots, the princess dress, or the goggles, you just have to roll with it.

This is a fun book! I did enjoy it, and I especially liked the lessons that Zoe learned. Two of my kids read this book as well. Here are their thoughts:

I liked the drawings and the moral of the story.

            ~15 year-old boy

The illustrations are adorable, cute, and sweet. It was a little strange at times, but still cute. I liked that the girl learned that friends are important.

            ~10 year-old girl

Girls will especially like this book, but boys will like it too! For those kids who are into comic books or who don’t like reading, this book will definitely be a great option for them! I still don’t love the graphic novel format, but this book opened my eyes to the potential of graphic novels. It’s a fun story with colorful illustrations and a great moral—what else could a mom or teacher wish for?

Content Rating PGRating: PG (Clean! There are some monsters, and they might scare some very small children, but they aren’t too scary. There’s some minor violence when they’re fighting the monsters.)

Recommendation: As a silent read: 2nd-3rd grade, as a read-aloud: K and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2nYHRVN

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Golden Plates 1 Adapted by Michael Allred Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl  Mr Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
 

Book Review of Jade City by Fonda Lee

Jade City by Fonda Lee

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Book Review of Jade City by Fonda Lee

On Twitter a few weeks ago, I read a tweet by someone who said that Jade City was a life changing book. Wow! How could I not add it to my TBR pile? I want to read it if it’s life changing! So I pushed aside a few books that I should have been reading, and picked this up. I liked it, but was it life changing? Read my book review of Jade City  by Fonda Lee to find out.

Blurb:

“Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.”

My Book Review:

As I stated above, someone on Twitter posted that they thought this book was life changing. That’s quite a statement. To me, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was life changing, and I find that hard to beat. But I thought I’d like to read it to see for myself. It starts off right in the action. A couple of boys decide they want to steal some jade off of a man in a restaurant. Right from the beginning you know how valuable jade is.

As the story goes on, you get to meet the main characters. Lan and Hilo Kaul, although brothers, are very different. Lan is the leader of the clan, and Hilo is the one who keeps the peace—pretty much by showing a strong arm of violence. There are a lot of characters, and it took me awhile to figure them all out. The names are not difficult, but different, and it would take me a minute to place some of them.

Lan and Hilo have a sister. Her name is Shae. She has chosen a different path than they have, and has chosen not to wear jade or be a part of clan leadership. There are other characters, but these are the most important characters. I thought the author developed the characters very well. They each had individual personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and flaws. You could tell they were family, yet they were their own selves. I liked that they each had their own voice.

The story felt a bit confusing at times, but overall it flowed well, was exciting, and very unique. I haven’t read a book with a similar story line, and I always like that. It does take a minute to figure out the workings of the clan and the layers of leadership, but once you figure it out you’re good to go. Although there was a lot of fighting, there was also strategy and smarts behind the clan’s actions.

Part of the story reminded me of a line in The Incredibles. It’s when Syndrome has Mr. Incredible cornered, and he says, “I’ll sell my inventions so that everyone can be superheroes. ‘Everyone’ can be super! And when everyone’s super…’no one’ will be.” That same philosophy comes into play in this book—only with jade. If everyone can safely wear jade, then what will happen to the clans? Will they be needed or important? Will they still hold the power they now do? I found that aspect to be quite interesting and thought-provoking.

Did I find this book life changing? No, I didn’t. I did enjoy it though. I liked the characters a lot, especially Shae. Hilo was a bit too intense for me, but I also liked Lan a lot. Anden was also an interesting character. I felt bad for him, but I also didn’t. It was weird. He’s in a difficult place, but at the same time, he has a hard time accepting who he really is instead of where he’s come from. That whole thing was also quite thought-provoking.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including many “f” words. “Intimacy,” including scenes, innuendos, and prostitution. Violence including war atrocities, murder, bombings, fighting, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3.5/5 (I lowered my rating from 4 because of all the profanity and graphic “intimacy” scenes.)

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Oujuvi

 

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the book thief by markus zusak   Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
 

Book Review of Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron

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Book Review of Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron

This book just showed up in the mail one day! Fun, right? I love bookmail, and surprise bookmail is even better! Needless to say, I was excited to read this. I’m always looking for fun, new middle-grader reads, and I had high hopes for this one. What could be more magical than a carnival at night with the lights, rides, acts, animals, interesting people, and yummy smells? Check out my book review of Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron to see what I thought!

Blurb:

“Tess and Max are back in England for another summer with their Aunt Evie—this time by the seashore in South Devon. And they’re incredibly excited about the travelling carnival that’s come to town. There are rides, games, and acrobats, The House of Mirrors—and even a psychic, with a beautiful wagon all her own.

In a visit to the psychic’s wagon, while Tess is being hypnotized, the wagon seems to move. Before Tess can shake herself out of the hypnosis, before Max can do anything, they seem to be travelling—along with the rest of the carnival—too quickly for the two of them to jump out. But where are they going and what awaits them? Will they be caught in a world different from their own? And do the Baranova twins, acrobats who miss their sister almost as much as Tess and Max miss their family, hold the keys to the mystery?

Internationally bestselling author Amy Ephron returns with a companion novel to The Castle in the Mist and creates a magical tale filled with adventure, mystery, fantasy, family, and fun.”

My Book Review:

Let me start off by saying that as I read I got the feeling that there was a book previous to this one. I didn’t know for sure that there is another book until after I finished this one. There may have been some things I would have understood more if I had read the first book. This book starts out as an adventure when Tess and Max’s mom drops them off at the airport. They fly by themselves from the United States to England. They’re going to stay with their Aunt Evie  for the summer.

Aunt Evie seems like the perfect, fun aunt. She has a fun cottage by the ocean and picks up tickets to the zoo on the way home from the airport. While at the zoo, strange things start to happen. The zookeeper allows her to run in for just a few minutes, 6 ½ to be exact. In those 6 ½ minutes she sees a baby tiger in pain and pulls a pin out of its paw. I think that’s exciting, but what? I’ve never been to a zoo that has the tigers available to touch through a rod iron fence. I’m good with fantasy though, so ok, I’ll keep reading. I didn’t quite understand the reason behind the 6 ½ minutes, but I figured it’d be explained later on.

The next day, Aunt Evie takes the kids to a roadside carnival. She allows them to spend most of the day by themselves while she checks out a local antique store. The plan is that she’ll meet them at 1:30 by the big dinosaur. Well, a lot happens before 1:30! It gets a little weird! Tess goes into a psychic’s trailer to be hypnotized and the carnival ends up moving. Magically. In minutes the kids are transported to who-knows-where. The strange thing is that it’s not the same carnival they end up in.

Honestly, from here on out I was a bit confused. The characters that the kids meet are fun and interesting, especially Tatiana, Alexei, Tara, Anna, and Julian. Maybe it’s my old brain (but I usually like middle-grader books!), but I just didn’t understand. Why? How? What purpose? The carnival moved, but they ended up at a different carnival. So, they had to be the ones to move, not the carnival, right? They kept talking about a ghost carnival, but which one was the ghost carnival? Was it the second one or the third one, or both?

The whole part about them escaping really confused me. What? You want two kids and a horse to do what? How? The 6 ½ minute thing was used a few more times, but never explained, so that was a big hole. Also, how time worked at the different carnivals confused me. I don’t want to give anything away, but it just really didn’t make sense.

The writing is descriptive and engaging and the characters are fun and personable. This book has so much potential! Unfortunately, it just falls flat. There are a bunch of holes and unanswered questions, and I felt like things weren’t explained well enough. If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know that I’m good with middle-grader books. I’ve read and loved many of them. This one, however, just has too many holes. I would also recommend reading the first book because it may answer some of the questions I had. I’m going to hand it to my nine-year-old, have her read it, and I’ll let you know what she says.  

Content Rating PGRating: PG (It’s clean! There isn’t any profanity, violence, or “intimacy.” There are a few kind of tense, scary-ish parts.)

Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th grades) and up

My Rating: 3/5 

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2JFmRwg

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman  Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
 

Book Review of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides

Book Review of Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides

 What is going on at Welcher Elementary? What are those crazy things Spencer can see in his classrooms and in the halls? Why can’t anyone else see them? And what does the school janitor have to do with it? Who can he trust? My children and I have loved this book. It’s so fun! I hope you enjoy my book review of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides.

Blurb:

No one takes Spencer Zumbro seriously when he tries to warn his classmates about the mysterious things prowling the halls and classrooms of Welcher Elementary School. But when he sees Marv, the janitor, going after one of the creatures with a vacuum, he knows he’s not the only one who can see them.

With the help of his new friend, Daisy, Spencer has to find out what the janitors know. The children’s search uncovers the magic taking place behind the scenes of their seemingly ordinary school, where a battle is being waged for the minds of the students. Who can be trusted—and can Spencer and Daisy protect their school and possibly the world?

My Book Review:

My boys (ages 11 and 10) read this book awhile ago and have been telling me and telling me and telling me that I need to read it. They loved it. It made it even better that Tyler Whitesides actually came to their school and signed their book. I had so many other books to read that I hadn’t gotten around to it…until now.

If you’ve read my blog before, you have probably heard me say that I taught first grade before I had children. When I go back to teaching, I will not see the school in the same light. Ever. Do you trust the janitors? Or are they the bad guys? And please don’t tell me those creepy things are in my kids’ school too!

This book is a fun and fast read. It is filled with betrayal, action, crazy dust creatures, friendship, big messes, and lots of cleaning supplies. And these are no ordinary cleaning supplies! Mr. Whitesides has created a fun and exciting world filled with magic and secrets.

The characters are well developed and realistic. I could picture the principal perfectly. I loved the descriptions of him. Spencer and Daisy seem like cute, normal kids. I thought they were childish enough that it felt realistic, yet brave enough to make it exciting. Spencer’s mom is the best! She’s awesome, and I could definitely see myself acting that way in order to protect one of my children.

The janitors are a little crazy, but great characters. I really enjoyed learning about how the creatures affected the students. Hahaha!!! Now we know why we tend to fall asleep in class, or why we sometimes get distracted while we walk down the hallways. Did I mention the cleaning supplies? I want some of them. Yep, I think I want a broom. That would be great!

 The story line was a little predictable, but it didn’t stop me from reading. It still has enough action and adventure, along with a few surprises, to be exciting. I liked this book a lot and I know the kids love it! And, the best part? It’s clean! Love it! I highly recommend this book! Now……I just need to dig through my kids’ rooms to find book #2!

Content Rating PG+ Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity or “intimacy.” One of the main characters does die. It’s sad but not detailed or gruesome. They do fight the bad guys and the bad creatures, so there is some minor violence.)

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up (Middle-Graders)

Rating: 4/5

4 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here: http://amzn.to/2pq4Wkw

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Mysteries of Cove by J. Scott Savage Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye  Fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I receive a small commission.)

This post was first published on 8/30/13; updated on 3/20/18

Book Review of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Book Review of A Wrinkle in Time (Book #1) by Madeleine L'Engle

How have I never read this book? I don’t know, but when I saw that the movie was coming out, I told my kids that we needed to read it! We have been diligently reading almost every night to get it read in time. Whew! We finished! I sure hope the movie is good! (Look for my Book vs Movie showdown coming after we see the movie next week.) Are you looking to read the book or wondering what all the hype is about? Read my book review of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle to find out what we thought.

Blurb:

“Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure—one that will threaten their lives and our universe.

Winner of the 1963 Newberry Medal, A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in the Madeleine L’Engle’s classic Time Quintet.”

My Review:

Wow! What an adventure! A Wrinkle in Time takes you on a journey through the universe. Have you ever wondered what’s out there? Do you ever look up at the stars and imagine who or what lives on those planets, and what the stars are made of? Do you ever dream of traveling through the universe? Well then this book is for you! It’s very unique and imaginative. It seamlessly mixes fantasy and science fiction into an incredible tale of courage, sacrifice, and love.

I read this book aloud to my kids, and it was so fun to take this journey together. Even my 16 and 14 year-old boys sat with us. I thought it worked great as a read aloud. There are quite a few exceptional vocabulary words, and so it was good that I could explain (or look them up) if needed. I think it works for a read aloud for about 2nd grade and up, and as a silent read for middle-graders and YA.

I thought it was written well. The characters are so likable and realistic. Charles Wallace differs a little; he’s very likable, but a little hard to relate to. He’s very young and very smart. He reminds me of the main character in Ender’s Game. Meg thinks she’s ordinary, but does some extraordinary things. I love Calvin. He’s a sweet, thoughtful, smart, and caring friend. It’s hard not to like Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Yep, you read that correctly!

The story definitely takes you out of this world! Some of it is WAY out there. I had a friend tell me that she could never get into this book because of how far out there some of it is. I did feel that some of it was hard to grasp because it’s so unique, but since I was reading it with my kids I had to keep going. Once you let go of your boundaries and let your imagination take over, the story comes to life. We all enjoyed it.

As a mom, one thing I loved were the lessons learned. You get to see courage, sacrifice, bravery, and love in action. The characters do hard things that they don’t want to do, but they do them anyway. They learn to trust each other, and to trust themselves. I also love how much you need to use your imagination. As an adult, mine may not get used as often as it should, and it’s fun to delve into this crazy universe of ours.

 

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean! There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” and no violence.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) and up as a silent read and Early Readers (2nd-3rd grade) and up as a read aloud.

Rating: 4/5 stars

4 Star Rating

 Hurry! If you start reading now you may still be able to finish while the movie is still in the theaters! To purchase this book click here:  http://amzn.to/2p5WDLk
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson  Mysteries of Cove by J. Scott Savage
 
 

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I receive a small commission.)

Book Review of Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye

Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye

Book Review of Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye

Have you ever needed help? Lots of help? There’s no way you can do this alone help? Well, that’s what Ozzy needs. He has a big mystery to solve; a mystery that has affected his whole life, and he needs help. He doesn’t know who to turn to until he sees an ad in the newspaper for a wizard for hire. Of course, this is the job for a wizard! Ozzy calls him, and that call begins the start of an answer-finding quest. Find out more in my book review of Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye.

Blurb:

“Fourteen-year-old Ozzy is desperate to find his parents, but he’s not so sure about that ad. . . . He’s read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but they couldn’t actually exist in the world today, could they?

Enter Labyrinth, aka ‘Rin,’ who dresses the part. Sort of. His bathrobe high top tennis shoes seem unorthodox. At least Rin acts like a wizard, but Ozzy has his doubts. Do real wizards write notes on their shoes and eat breakfast for every meal? Most of all, Ozzy just wants to know if Rin can cast any magic spells.

With the help of a robotic-talking raven invented by Ozzy’s father, a kind and curious girl at school who decides to help Ozzy, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard who may or may not have a magical wand, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he seeks about his missing parents.”

 

My Review:

First, Brandon Dorman has outdone himself again! That cover art is awesome, right? Seriously. I love the cover art! As soon as I saw the cover I had to read the book. Yes, I totally judge books by their covers (Shhhh! Don’t tell!).

The image was idyllic–a mother and father with their small child on the porch steps of a quaint mountain cabin. There were city families that would have paid good money to have their pictures taken in such a scene–a family portrait they could show to their friends as proof of how close they were to nature and each other. For the Toffy’s, however, it wasn’t an act–it was their life. They were safe and hidden away from something of which Ozzy was completely unaware.

Things change quickly, however. Their ideal life changes in an instant. What happens next will keep you reading and reading because you have to know what happens. This is a mother’s worst nightmare! Ozzy is a great character. He has a great voice, and he’s one tough, brave kiddo. I love his independence, his ingenuity, his curiosity, and his will to live.

Enter the wizard. Or is he? That’s part of the mystery with this book. You see hints of greatness at times, and huge shortcomings at other times. He’s a fun character, though. His eccentricities make you laugh and scratch your head. Half the time you think it’s possible that he’s a wizard, and the other half you just think he’s crazy. He doesn’t come into the book right away, but when he does, he brings craziness with him.

Part of the fun of this book is trying to figure out if Rin really is a wizard. And what should Ozzy do if Rin’s just making it up? This book is so fun, I liked it a lot. There’s a hint of sci-fi, and maybe some fantasy? Ozzy makes up for seven boring years by having all sorts of crazy adventures within a short period. Some of them are a little far-fetched, but then again, with a wizard on your side are they really that implausible? I loved the parts where he began learning about the world outside his forest. Ozzy’s sidekick is hilarious too!

I liked Obert Skye’s writing style. It’s easy to read and understand, it flows well, and it’s highly entertaining. His descriptions are well crafted, and the characters are well developed and likable. I thought the ending could have used a few more pages, but that’s a small thing. One other thing I liked were Rin’s words of wisdom throughout the book. So funny!

Look, you two, I know it appears as if we have unwittingly found ourselves on a great adventure, but it’s important to know that this adventure started years ago. We are just now playing out the plot. Little things that were said, little things that were done—all those things, both granular and grand, shaped the choices and consequences that have led right here.

Content Rating PGRating: PG (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” and only some minor violence as they fight off the bad guys.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) and up

Rating: 4/5 stars

4 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

To purchase this book click here: http://amzn.to/2p58V6P

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides   The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris  Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
 
 

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I receive a small commission.)

wizard for hire_blog tour

[Book Review] Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

[Book Review] Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians (Book #1) by Brandon Sanderson

I haven’t read anything else by Brandon Sanderson, but I think he has outdone himself with this book. Let me just say that I haven’t ever laughed out loud at a book like I did with this one! I am so excited to share with you my book review of  Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians! 
 

Blurb:

 “On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand in the mail, an inheritance from his lost parents. When it is immediately stolen, he learns that it is no ordinary bag of sand. With it, the evil Librarians who secretly rule the Hushlands–Librarian-controlled nations, such as the United States, Canada, and England–will finally overtake the Free Kingdoms as well. Alcatraz and his ragtag band of freedom fighters must stop them, once and for all.”
 

My Book Review:

 
One of my friends in my book group recommended this series to me about a year ago. I got them at the library for my son, but never had the chance to read them myself. I checked them out again for my daughter to read, and finally  read the first one. I have to say, this book is so much fun! The voice in the book is hilarious! It’s told in first person, and I don’t think I’ve read another book where the first person narrator has such an engaging, witty, and humorous voice. Alcatraz suddenly gets pulled into this crazy world of evil librarians and conspiracies. Even though he’s the supposed hero, the first words in the book are, “I am not a good person.”
 
This book is a (fictional) autobiography of Alcatraz. In it, he tells his life story. I love how he says in the book that the evil Librarians will advertise it as a fictional book (because they don’t want the truth out), but it’s really an autobiography. So fun! It is very well written, engaging, creative, imaginative, and humorous. Yes, there are some scary parts where Alcatraz, Bastille, Grandpa Smedry, and Sing are in grave danger and have to fight those evil Librarians, but the way they’re written makes it seem not so bad.
 
I love the idea of the different lenses (Want more info. on the lenses….read the book!). Did you know that there are actually more than seven continents on the earth? Those evil Librarians have gotten away with not teaching us about them. Hahaha!! I knew some of those librarians were secretly evil! Alcatraz is a great character. He’s definitely not perfect, but in the book that imperfection becomes his strength, which is a great lesson! I love the part about their different talents! Grandpa Smedry is awesome too. Bastille is a little rougher around the edges, but I liked her more as the book went on.
 
If you’re looking for a fun middle-grader/YA series (moms like it too), you’ve come to the right place! There are five books in this series. As a mom, I love finding series for my kids to read. It’s great because then I know I have five good books in a row for them to read. If you want to laugh and learn the secrets of the evil Librarians then you need to read this! The kids love it because of the humor and the adventure, and I loved it for the same reasons. It’s very creative, imaginative, and unique. I highly recommend this book! 
 

Content Rating PGRating: PG (There is no profanity and no “intimacy.” There is some violence with characters being tortured-it’s not too graphic, fighting with different weapons, and lots of stuff breaking. Of course there is a bad guy, and he’s a really good bad guy!!)

 

Age Recommendation: 3rd grade and up (It’s a great middle-grader/YA book!)

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman  Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides
  
 
 
 

This post was first published on 12/23/16; updated on 2/27/18.

[Book Review] Potion Masters: The Eternity Elixir (Book #1) by Frank L. Cole

Potion Masters by Frank L. Cole

[Book Review] Potion Masters: The Eternity Elixir (Book #1) by Frank L. Cole

Blurb:

“Twelve-year-old Gordy Stitser is one of the few people who knows the truth about the secret society of potion masters, called Elixirists, whose specialized concoctions have been responsible for three centuries of advancements, including hybrid cars, enhanced military weapons, and the cure for the common cold. Not only is Gordy’s mom on the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide (B.R.E.W.), but she has also been training Gordy in the art of potion-making.
 
Gordy is a natural, and every day he sneaks down to the basement lab to invent new potions using exotic ingredients like fire ant eggs, porcupine quills, and Bosnian tickling juice. One afternoon, Gordy receives a mysterious package containing an extremely rare potion labeled ‘The Eternity Elixir.’ In the right hands, the Elixir continues to protect society. But in the wrong hands, it could destroy the world as we know it. Now, sinister potion masters are on the hunt to steal the Eternity Elixir. It’s up to Gordy, his parents, and his best friends, Max and Adeline, to prevent an all-out potion war.”
 

My Review:

What a fun book! I think it’s almost every kid’s dream to make potions, right? Didn’t we all mix strange concoctions when we were little, hoping in our heart of hearts that it would make our parents forget about chores or bad grades or broken rules? No? So it was just me? Ok, then, moving on…Gordy is a fun character. He is smart (maybe not so much street smart as potion-smart), witty, courageous, and quick thinking. He’s a good friend and a good son. I really like his voice in this book; it feels like your best friend is telling you this outrageous story of what happened to him last weekend. His friends Max and Adeline are great supporting characters. His mom is this super-secretive-awesome lady who is the CIA/FBI of the potion world; I liked her a lot.
 
This book is very creative and unique. I love that you’re reading about this skeleton with a rock head who travels thousands of miles on his own to accomplish his task, and you think that’s normal and totally feasible. It’s great. And the bad guys are definitely bad guys. They’re a little scary with some evil plans. This book is a fast, easy read. It’s quite entertaining, and I enjoyed it a lot. I can’t wait to hand it over to my kiddos, I think they’ll really like it. 
 
 Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” and only some minor violence as they fight off the bad guys.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides   Fablehaven (Book #1) by Brandon Mull   Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
 
 

[Book Review] Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5) by M.L. Forman

Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5) by M.L. Forman
Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5)
by
M.L. Forman

Blurb:
“Whalen Vankin is a great and honorable wizard, and he has only ever personally trained two other wizards. One is Alexander Taylor, a young man who has earned a reputation as a brave adventurer, a warrior, and a man of honor. They other is Jabez, Vankin’s nephew–a man whose choices have led him down a different, darker path. Dark magic has covered Westland, and evil is stirring. Whalen and Alex must journey together into the heart of danger, confronting a sea serpent, and facing down more than one dragon. Alex must find the legendary Axe of Sundering–the one weapon that offers a chance to defeat Jabez–and protect the land from  the dark wizard’s plans. But finding it will be an adventure of its own as the only pathway to the Axe leads through the underground tunnels and secret passages of the Castle of Conmar. But Jabez has a final weapon at his disposal: the powerful Orion stones, which could spell the end to Whalen and Alex both.”
My Review:
May I just say how much fun this series has been? My boys have read lots of books and series (they are now 16 and 14) and this series is high up there as one of their favorites! My 14 year-old put this book on hold at the library a couple of years ago, because it’s anticipated date of publication was back then, and it was on hold for a year. After the year was up I redid it and it was on hold again for awhile, then the library took it off. My son asked every couple of months if this book was out yet. There were some complications in getting this book written and published; I think the author was very sick or something. Needless to say, at my house, the anticipation for this book was enormous! So, when I was asked to review it, of course I said, “Yes!” And, both of my sons read it before I did; they were so excited! Did it let them down? Nope! (Thank goodness!) The Axe of Sundering is a great end to the series. I will really miss reading about Alex and his amazing adventures. This book has some great twists and turns, and there are a few times that you are very worried about both Alex and Vankin. Will they pull out of this one? Will they be able to defeat all this evil? They both put themselves in some sketchy situations in order to try and defeat the Brotherhood and its leaders. I missed having the familiar adventurer friends in this book, but some new friends were introduced, and by the end they had won my  approval. I just love the creativity of M.L. Forman; what an imagination! The concept of the Axe of Sundering is quite clever, and the different places that Alex and Vankin travel are so unique and interesting. This book, along with the rest, is well written, the character development is great, it is exciting and full of adventure, and it’s a great end to the series. There were some unanswered questions and a few things left undone, but I know the author’s health was not great, and I’m glad he persevered to finish. I loved the twist at the end, and thought it was very fitting! I highly recommend this book, and the whole series! 
Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity or “intimacy,” but there is quite a bit of violence. They are in the middle of a war against evil, and there is quite a bit of fighting. Some prominent characters die; some of the deaths are a bit graphic.)
Recommendation: 4th or 5th grade and up (Perfect for middle-graders and YA readers…and their moms!)
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Adventurers Wanted Series:
(Click on the images to find out more about each book!)
Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
Book #1

Adventurers Wanted: The Horn of Moran (Book #2) by M.L. Forman
Book #2

Adventurers Wanted: Albrek's Tomb (Book #3) by M.L. Forman
Book #3

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman
Book #4
Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5) by M.L. Forman
Book #5


[Book Review] Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman
Picture from amazon.com
Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4)
by
M. L. Forman

Blurb:

“After hundreds of years without a true king, the desert land of Nezza is in danger of falling under the rule of a ruthless lord advised by an evil wizard with dark intentions. A desperate cry for help brings Alexander Taylor to this perilous land and sets events in motion that will require him to rescue an old friend from an impenetrable dungeon. Once in Nezza, Alex meets a new band of adventurers and joins them in their quest to find young Prince Rallian–the man destined to become the rightful king of Nezza. In their path lies a deadly sand monster, a wise and insightful oracle, a massive army of illusions, and a host of lords and leaders ready to fight for–and against–the king of their land. But a dark shadow threatens Alex’s every step. And in Nezza, a land where magic is feared and wizards are held in suspicion, Alex will have to be more wise and cunning than ever before if he and his friends are to succeed–or even survive.”

My Review:

At first I wanted to be an adventurer…after reading this book, I’m not so sure! Eeek! I think I’m too big of a wuss! I would NOT want to be captured by an evil lord and kept in an impenetrable dungeon! I wouldn’t want to come face to face with a scary sand monster! I wouldn’t want to fight against an evil lord’s army, and I wouldn’t want to try and broker a peace treaty with warring peoples. Sheesh! I WOULD, however, want to read about it! I would love to read all about it from the comfort of my couch and my warm, snugly blanket! Of course, I could do that all day! Sometimes by the time you get to book #4 in a series, you can tell that the author is just done. The writing goes downhill, the characters don’t act like themselves, etc. That is definitely not the case with this book! I love how creative this series still is, how Alex is still learning and growing, and how the underlying plot is still there, and maybe even becoming more apparent. Alex’s humility is refreshing, and even though he’s a pretty big deal, you wouldn’t know it by talking to him. It was fun to see Skeld again, and I liked many of the new characters, especially Rallian and Virgil. Stonebill was a fun character as well. I laughed every time I though of Alex talking to Stonebill, and I laughed even harder when I thought of how it looked to his friends. This book is full of action, lots of magic, a slight romance, and a good amount of mystery. It’s well written, the character development is very good, and it is a great addition to this fun series.

Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity and no “intimacy.”There is, however, quite a bit of violence. They are in the middle of a war, so there’s a lot of fighting. A few main characters die, and a bunch of others die as well. The deaths are not overly graphic, but some of them are sad.)

Recommendation: 4th-5th grade and up (Perfect for middle-graders and YA)

Adventurers Wanted Series:
(Click on the images to find out more about each book!)
Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
Book #1
Adventurers Wanted: The Horn of Moran (Book #2) by M.L. Forman
Book #2
Adventurers Wanted: Albrek's Tomb (Book #3) by M.L. Forman
Book #3

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman
Book #4