The Impossible Race (Cragbridge Hall Book Three)

The Impossible Race (Cragbridge Hall Book #3) by Chad Morris

“In the final book of the Cragbridge Hall trilogy, Abby, Derick, and their friends must utilize their skills in time travel and technology to survive roving bands of dinosaurs, race through space, build robots, and fight virtual dragons. It’s known as the Race–an annual tournament where teams of students compete in the hopes of winning an unbelievable prize. But before their year’s competition, Derick and Abby receive a terrifying message from the future: Charles Muns’s plan to control history is going to succeed. It will cost countless people their lives and change the destiny of the world. And there is nothing anyone can do to stop him. Despite the danger, the twins gather their friends and enter the Race, ready to compete against the best of the best in order to claim what might turn out to be a key of ultimate power. Can they complete the Race in time and stop Muns? Or has the future already been written?”

My Review:

I love this series! My boys and I have been counting down to book three since we finished book two. May I say that it did NOT disappoint!! Wow. This book is action-packed from the beginning. Not only does it continue with the history and excitement of the first two books, but it adds more! Think space, robots, and the future. Seriously, could it get any better? Well, now think spies, betrayal, dinosaurs, dragons, mythology, deadlines, and even more secrets. Abby, Derick, Carol, and Rafa are there, and this book adds many more fun characters. I love how Abby never gives up. Her attitude is so great. She is such a great, strong female character. You see a little bit of a more vulnerable side of Derick, and Carol is still as hilarious as ever. There isn’t as much history in this book as there was in the previous two, but there is still some, and there are other twists and turns that make up for it. I love how this series makes being smart and trying hard in school a good thing. I love how it shows that doing your best in school translates to success in other areas in your life as well. I love the lesson of never giving up and thinking through problems, and I also love the lesson that the future may not be set–work harder and/or smarter, try something different, think of things in new ways, and your future is in your hands. You have the power to do whatever you want to do in life. There are some fantastic new inventions in this book that I really wish I had. Someone needs to invent them for real! And did I mention the illustrations and cover art? Brandon Dorman has definitely outdone himself this time. This book is the perfect way to end this series (Does it have to end??). Everything does get tied up nicely, but it’s a middle-grader series, and that’s of course how I wanted it. I can’t wait for my boys to read it, they are going to love it!

Another great thing about this book is that it is clean! Yay! There is no profanity and no “intimacy.” There is a little bit of violence when they are fighting robots, and Muns is still evil, but it’s not too bad.

Rating: PG (No profanity or “intimacy.” There is some minor violence when they’re fighting robots, and Muns is still his evil self.)

Recommendation: Third Grade and up (Boys and girls will enjoy this book, and it would make a fabulous read-aloud.)

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

The Avatar Battle (Cragbridge Hall Book Two)

 The Avatar Battle (Cragbridge Hall Book Two) by Chad Morris

(Summary taken from inside the book jacket) “The adventure continues as Abby and Derick begin their second semester at Cragbridge Hall, the most prestigious secondary school in the world. The year is 2074, and Abby and Derick are busy designing their own virtual worlds and learning to control new robot animal avatars, but when their Grandpa Cragbridge admits them into the Council of the Keys–a secret group of people who have keys to travel back in time–strange things begin to happen. One by one, members of the council are found unconscious and unable to wake, their keys stolen. Now Abby, Derick, and their friends must scramble to figure out who is behind the attacks before they become the next victims, which would give their enemy the power to change the past–and forever alter the present and future.”

My boys and I loved the first book in this series, and they have been asking me for months when the new book will be coming out. Finally I get to tell them it is here! And boy, it did not disappoint! Abby and Derick are great characters, along with Carol, who adds a lot of humor, and Rafa, who adds some mystery. I might have liked this one more than I liked the first book. Maybe??? I loved the new gadgets and tricks. I thought the build-your-own world bit was awesome. I love that there are so many lessons in these books. I think it’s great that Grandpa Cragbridge makes them work for their answers. I like how it describes Abby thinking and thinking and trying out new ideas and using knowledge she gains from her classes. I also like that she doesn’t always succeed, but when that happens she just keeps on trying. I feel like I’m constantly telling my kids to keep trying, don’t get discouraged, get back up and try again……it’s much better coming from a fun book than from mom’s mouth….again. The characters in this book have flaws (Abby performing lowest in the school and Derick actually failing at some things) and they know it. I love that they don’t get too down on themselves and stop trying. It’s a great lesson for all of us. The avatars are so fun, and the cover by Brandon Dorman is amazing. I love the history lessons as well. I actually learned a lot about the Hindenburg. I did feel like this book had a little less history than the first one, but it had more action. If I had a complaint that is what it would be; I wish it had a few more history lessons in it.  If you enjoyed the first book, you definitely need to read this one!

There is no language and no “intimacy” except some minor flirting between Carol and Derick. There is some violence, and a few characters do get injured. It’s a little scary in parts. There is a fun twist at the end that surprised me! My 12 year-old son has already read the book as well, and he loved it. He specifically commented to me about that surprise twist at the end. Crazy and unexpected, for sure!

Rating: PG (No language or “intimacy.” There is some violence with characters being injured, and there are definitely bad guys.)

Recommendation: Third grade and up. This series is great for young and old, boy and girl, and would make a great read-aloud.

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

The Inventor’s Secret

The Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris

(Summary taken from the press release) “Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don’t read history, but watch it happen in 3-D holograms–where running in gym class isn’t around a track, but up a virtual mountain, and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar. Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world. Twin siblings Abby and Derick Cragbridge are exited as new students to use their famed grandfather’s inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins begin following a trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who the can trust, discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall, and decide whether they should learn from history, or attempt to change what has already happened.”

I love the imagination and creativity in this book! How exciting to be able to watch history happen, and to learn about animals from the animals’ point of view. I liked Mr. Morris’ writing style and found it easy to read. It flowed well and kept me wanting more. His character development is really good, and I liked his characters, especially Abby and Derick. I love that Abby is a strong female character. She is not perfect and does get scared, but she works hard, she doesn’t give up, and she ends up doing some incredible things. I liked Abby’s friend Carol and I wasn’t sure about Rafa, but ended up liking his character as well. I could just picture Oscar Cragbridge as a funny old inventor guy. I picture him as quirky and intelligent, and just a little crazy. But, I also picture him as serious and protective. The storyline kept me turning pages. I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a great mixture of mystery, adventure, detective work, love of family, never giving up, betrayal, and some great history lessons. (Shhhh…….don’t tell the kids that they’ll enjoy learning about history.)  I seriously would love the Bridge. I wish I had one!

I can’t wait to hand this book over to my boys; they are going to eat it up! And, what do I love? This book is clean! There is no language, no “physical intimacy,” and no extreme violence. There is some fighting and there are some close calls, where you think characters may die. There are a few weapons brandished, and used, but no one ends up dying. There were a few spelling and grammatical errors, but I did receive an Advanced Reader’s Edition, so I assume they will be corrected in the final copy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it.

 Rating: PG (Some fighting with weapons, some evil characters)

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up. I enjoyed this book as an adult, and I know my 4th and 5th grade boys will love it. It will interest both boys and girls, young and old. It would make a fun read-aloud as well.

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