Tag Archives: fantasy

Review! Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas

29 Nov

Dragon’s Green
By Scarlett Thomas
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 30, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Effie Truelove believes in magic, as does her grandfather Griffin (although he refuses to do any magic, let alone teach Effie how to use it). After a mysterious incident leaves Griffin close to death, Effie is given an unusual silver ring and told she must look after her grandfather’s library of rare and powerful books. But then the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, and Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life.
Now, Effie and her friends—nerdy Maximilian, rugby-mad Wolf, helpful Lexy, and eccentric Raven—must discover their true powers if they are to get the books back. And Effie alone will have to travel to the Otherworld, where she will uncover the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green…”

What I Thought- This was an utterly fascinating story-line. The world is thrown into a dystopian aftermath after what is called the Worldquake – an earthquake that lasted for seven minutes and somehow destroyed the internet. Electricity still exists, but is limited to only power lights. I absolutely loved being introduced to this setting, and the characters in the book were just as well-developed. While most of the story focuses on Effie, there are chapters featuring the perspectives of the other characters too – this gives us a background of their life and thoughts, which is essential to create characters you empathize with. Thomas narrates the story with a certain style, sort of reminiscent of perhaps A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, if less snarky and sarcastic. The book is slightly dark, but not inappropriate for young readers, and still containing a childlike whimsy – it’s hard to explain, but it’s extremely pleasing for the reader. Imagine a dark world, but still with light. I absolutely loved this foray into children’s literature from Thomas, and I cannot wait to read the next books!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Beast & Crown by Joel Ross

21 Nov

Beast & Crown
By Joel Ross
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Harper Collins on August 22, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- “Boot boy Ji is tired of scrubbing soles and untangling shoelaces. He doesn’t want to bow and scrape. All he wants is freedom—for himself and his friends.

He decides to risk everything for a chance to accompany a young nobleman to the Diadem Rite, a magical ritual that chooses the heir to the Summer Crown. Ji doesn’t care about crowns or ceremonies, but he vows that this trip will grant him and his friends new lives, far away from boots and bowing. What Ji doesn’t know is that he and his friends have a dangerous part to play in the Diadem Rite. One that will change them forever.”

What I Thought- I really enjoyed this fantastical fantasy novel from Mr. Ross. I’ve read his other books, and they were great, but I will say that this is perhaps my favorite. One thing I like is that the book explores the topic of how much our life is determined by where we start – the main characters are (for the most part) servants at an estate, and they want to be able to be free. The world Ross builds is such an excellent fantasy setting – I especially like that the book borders on dystopian, just set in fantastical medieval times. The society seems wonderful at first glance, but when you look beyond the surface, you see how wretched it really is. Ross writes in a narrative tone that is very fitting for the characters and audience, perfectly suited for the intended age-range of readers. The cover art is amazing – love the art deco feel to it. Another thing I really liked was the peculiarities of the culture. It was fascinating hearing the history of the land, and about the humans’ intolerance for non-human beings. It will be fun to see how that outlook changes. In a way, the book could be seen as a call for acceptance. I had such a fun time reading this book, I read it in only two days – I can’t wait for the next book in this new series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Motley Education by SA Larsen

28 Mar

Motley Education
By SA Larsen
Ages 8+
Published by Leap Books, LLC on September 15, 2016

Synopsis- Ebony Charmed is a student at Motley Junior High in Peru, Maine, and she learns how to be a medium. It’s just that she isn’t that great at speaking to ghosts. So why is it that she, of all people, are suddenly in charge of saving the world? Because now she’s finding out that the Norse mythology isn’t so much myth, and that she is a descendant of some people who guard a magical bridge. Life suddenly just got more complicated. Will Ebony and her friends succeed in saving the world before all is lost?

What I Thought- Larsen has written an entertaining novel that introduces kids to the Norse myths. I like the idea of the school as well, because it’s similar to Hogwarts, without the magic per se, and also with modern assets. The book is a fun read, and I couldn’t put it down once I started. Larsen has a way of putting a lot of emotion into the story so you just get hooked into the story. The characters act like normal kids their age, and you can believe how they react to the situations that occur. At times the phrasing seemed a little too abrupt, where figurative language could’ve eased the wording a little bit, but that was a trivial thing. This is a great debut Middle Grade novel – Larsen knows how to write a story that kids will want to read! All in all, this is a really great story, and I look forward to reading the next book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell

21 Mar

alchemisThe Missing Alchemist

By Caldric Blackwell

128 pages – ages 8+

Published by Icasm Press January 13, 2015

 

Synopsis- From the back cover: “Having grown up in an orphanage, Craig Pike appreciates his comfortable life as a student of Cornelius, a famous alchemist. But when Cornelius is kidnapped, Craig leaves comfort behind to search for him. Craig teams up with Audrey Clife, a clever archer, and together they travel across mysterious lands and battle otherworldly creatures. Their journey reveals that Cornelius’s kidnapping is only a small part of an evil alchemist’s elaborate grab for power, and the only people standing in his way are Craig and Audrey…

What I Thought- This was a really cool fantasy story. It explains how magic is incorporated into the world (and how it is used) very effectively. Craig is a good kid, whom you instantly want to cheer on. Audrey is a good character and she’s also a girl, which is awesome. She saves Craig multiple times, due to her creativity, and skill with a bow and swords. The land that the story takes place in is described well. Mr. Blackwell has written a good fantasy story (plot-wise and reading level) for young middle-grade readers or elementary kids just getting into fantasy. The story has the potential of being a great fantasy novel for older MG readers if the plot and characters were a bit more involved and expanded on.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms!fourbooks

Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell by Jen Barton

22 Jul

fiona thornFiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell

By Jen Barton

201 pages – ages 9+

Published by Flickerfawn on September 3, 2012

It wasn’t Jaydin the fairy prince’s fault. He was framed. Fiona Thorn, his best friend, knew that. She was going to break him out – ER rather BLOW him out of jail. After all, she IS an explosive worker. Taught by the Demolitions master McClane, Fiona knows just about everything about explosives. She’ll use that knowledge to bust Jaydin out. Riding her trusty Bright Eye horse (Bright Eyes are extremely smart animals, as in that they can talk to humans), Manzanita Rose (or Manzy, for short), Fiona knows that nothing can stop her. What she didn’t expect was 3 princesses to get in her way. 3 spoiled princesses, at that. Soon Fiona finds herself (and the royal pains) on the run from the King because of a misread letter, which made it seem like Fiona kidnapped the princesses. It doesn’t help that there is a murder plot against the king, his brother, and Jaydin. What will Fiona do?

This was a fun book. I think that Ms. Barton did a great job of creating this fantasy world. I really felt like I was there. I loved the sense of adventure and the fact that Fiona is a demolition expert. The magic in it was pretty cool. I loved the “gifts” that the 4 girls got. Fiona is a great female heroine for this book. I loved that she always kept her cool (despite her being hotheaded) and knew what to do. Manzy is a great supporting character. The book is a good reading level for middle grade readers or young advanced readers. At 201 pages, the book was a quick read for me but the story felt very complete. I would really like to read another book by Ms. Barton.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

The Dragon Hollow Trilogy by Christy Bower

2 Jul

Before I get to today’s review – I get to tell you Stephanie The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow blog (Click HERE to go THERE) won my give away copy of The Starburst Juju (see my review HERE). Congratulations! I will be emailing you to get your mailing address. 🙂

juju

HELLO BLOGOSPHERE! 😀

Happy Wednesday to you! Today I have not one, but 3 books to tell you about! An exciting and fun TRIOLOGY!

The Dragon Hollow Trilogy

By Christy Bower

draghol1Book 1: The Legend of Dragon Hollow

212 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on May 25, 2013

Summary (From the back of the book): When an enemy army attacked Mirabeau, Peter and his friends, Sebastian and Alexandra, lost their parents, their homes, and their city. They set off in search of the dragon’s treasure that Peter had read about in his favorite book, The Legend of Dragon Hollow.

On their journey, they encounter all sorts of people and adventures, and they learn valuable lessons that will help them fulfill their destiny – a destiny that is greater than dragon treasure.

draghol2Book 2: The Secret of The Sword

186 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on September 23, 2013

Summary (From the back of the book): [SPOILER ALERT] After Peter learned he was the rightful heir to the throne, he returned to Mirabeau to discover a tyrant had made himself king. When Peter and his friends, Sebastian and Alexandra, try to spy on the tyrant king, they are captured as traitors. It looks as if things will end badly for the three young people, especially when an invading army attacks the city, complicating the situation.

draghol3Book 3: The Rise of The Dragon King

196 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on October 8, 2013

Summary (From the back of the book)[SPOILER ALERT] In this third book in the Dragon Hollow Trilogy, young Peter Cole has just taken the throne of Mirabeau, but being a king is not what he expected. In addition to the city’s financial crisis that left knights and workers unpaid, King Peter is also faced with the disappearance of a friend; a dragon bent on revenge; a call for help from an ally; and a horde of barbarians on the march for his city. Meanwhile, his two friends, Sebastian and Alexandra, face problems of their own. Alexandra is coming to grips with being scarred by the dragon burns and Sir Sebastian is learning to be a knight while dealing with a bully in Knight School. Peter’s destiny as the foretold Dragon King is liked to whether he can navigate these difficulties and fulfill his calling.

What I Liked About the Trilogy: This series was action-packed, hilarious, and great for kids. The books are full of “references to fairy tales, fables, fantasy fiction, classic literature, nursery rhymes, and children’s songs”. I laughed at “The Three Musket Deer”, a tyrant king named Ham Burger (or King Burger), King Cole, and his wife’s name, Nat (some kids may not get some of the references – I didn’t get a couple and asked my parents about them), and so much more! I think I fell off my beanbag chair a couple of times laughing at the book! The story, itself, very good. Ms. Bower’s writing style is enjoyable and the self-published book is edited well. I liked the story-line a lot. Peter was a great main character. He was brave (for a kid), smart (for a kid), and awesome (for anybody). He handles situations very well. Donkey Oatie was hilarious too. In the book, there is a** repeated, but it is normally talking about Donkey Oatie (as in Donkey Oatie said things about him, like his mother always said that he was a “smart a**”). The theory that geckos, when put in water, turn into dragons, was a great one (and was a TOTAL surprise to me *Note to self – get geko). The books were quick, fun reads for me and I think they’d be great to bring along in the car on summer trips. If the series went on, I’d gladly read the next book, but sadly, trilogies end at three.

I give this series four out of fie bookworms!fourbooks

To learn more about Ms. Bower and her books, please visit her website HERE.

Follow on Twitter HERE.

Follow on Google+ HERE.

Secret Doors: The Challenge by Brian Meeks

12 Oct

secretdoorSecret Doors: The Challenge

By Brian Meeks

ebook sold by Amazon Digital Services

Published July 25, 2013

Approximately 159 pages – ages 12+

Summary – Abby and Stevie are best friends. Abby is neglected by her foster family (her real parents had died in a fire) and is bullied at school. Stevie is an orphan and sneaks out of the orphanage. One day they spot a very small door at the back of a store they were in (they are friends with the owner). Abby and Stevie get teleported into a large room full of kids and some grown-ups. They get teamed up with 3 other kids for a mysterious challenge (called The Challenge) that none of the kids really know what it is for, but Abby and Stevie figured it was better than going  back home. They are told they have to work together to get from a cave they are magically transported to, to a door that when they go through, completes The Challenge. Their path leads them through a strange world where they encounter dangers,  puzzles they have to solve, and meet new friends (and enemies).  They are guided on their journey by Alouicious who shows up now and again (but far too little). The kids must learn to get along and use their talents to make it through this weird world and succeed on The Challenge!

What I think – The plot idea of this book is intriguing. Two kids find a door and get challenged to The Challenge! Sounds cool. The world the kids go through was interesting. In this world humans were tiny and the animal there were huge. There were also some other creepy creatures like a rock-like giant and beasts from the Pit of Woe (a cool name).  Besides Abby and Stevie there are 3 other kids. One of the kids is a nature lover (Jo), another is a fashionista, a pessimist and kind of mean (Cindy),  and a nice, optimistic boy (George). Out of the 5 kids I think my favorite character is George, but none of them really stuck out for me. Abby started out as a strong main character but faded around the middle of the book. All of the characters were likeable (except for Cindy, but she kind of grew by the end of the book).  The conversation between characters was odd. The characters are 12, but they way they talked to each other sometimes sounded too young. There were a few instances of bad language that parents of younger kids may not like (he**, da**, pi**) and a couple of editing mistakes I found. It bothered me because I was never really sure why they were going on The Challenge other than to just do it. But, I also figured what kid would not just want to go on an adventure. I like the idea that the kids have to work together and get along to complete the journey. Overall I liked the story and I hope we get to learn more about the characters and the challenges they go on in future books in this series.

I give this book 3 out of 5 book worms. threebooks

The Golden Sword (The Camelot Inheritance Book 1) by Rosie Morgan

12 Aug

goldenswordThe Golden Sword (The Camelot Inheritance Book 1)
By Rosie Morgan
190 pages – ages 9+
Published by Rosie Morgan; 3 edition on December 12, 2012

Arthur Penhaligon didn’t know why a strange “Crow Man” was following him and his friends around. Or why that man would break into Arthur’s house just to change Arthur’s screen saver for his computer. Or why storms keep happening whenever the Crow Man is around – it’s the middle of August and HAIL is coming down! And there is also the small matter of a big army of cats protecting the group of friends. Something strange is going on… Arthur finds himself being captured by unknown enemies and caught up in a battle between good and evil.

Don’t think this is another King Arthur story because of the name. This one is very different! I love the action in this book, and the plot was great. The characters were very good and likeable.  There were a couple of instances when characters appear in the story and were not introduced to the reader right away that I found a bit confusing (like when Tamar first appeared). The book was a quick read and very appropriate for any age. The ending left me wanting more! I will be looking for the second book in the series to come out.  I think the cover is good, but I wish it showed a golden sword!

I give this book 4 our of 5 book worms.fourbooks

Chrysalis Chronicles Book 1: The Eyes of the Desert Sand by Edwin Wolfe

16 Jul

Chrysalis Chronicles Book 1: The Eyes of the Desert Sand

By Edwin Wolfe

320 Pages – Ages 12+

Published by Fox Hunt Publishing Group on March 24, 2012

 Ethan Fox lived in the city but really wanted to be somewhere outdoors with big open spaces. His family took a vacation to the beach and Ethan went for a walk where he met a young girl, Haley. Haley had amnesia and couldn’t remember anything. While Ethan was talking to Haley, he saw a blue bunny with yellow polka-dots named Jasper. Ethan followed the bunny and Haley followed Ethan and they found a hidden staircase into the ground. From that moment on, both of their lives get more dangerous and more exciting when they meet the Caretakers and their allies!

I loved this book! The characters in the book were very unique and cool. Some of the creatures were totally new and some were ones you heard of before but were totally different from what you know (did you know that leprechauns are really nasty small people who kill the Grumplings by using a four-leaf clover (a Grumpling’s favorite food) as bait?) I liked really liked the Hydromorphs (creatures that could breath under water and shape-shift). The strange creatures and hidden worlds Mr. Wolfe describes are very interesting and I really got into the story. The reading level was more challenging and that made it more enjoyable for me. I recommend it to kids 12+ and young advanced readers that are 9+.

I give “The Eyes of the Desert Sand” five out of five bookworms!

To learn more about Mr. Wolfe, visit his website, HERE. There are a lot of fun things to see on the website and you can even read a sample chapter of “The Eyes of the Desert Sand.”

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