Middle Grade Book Review: The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. Cole

Middle Grade Book Review: The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. ColeThe World's Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. Cole
Published by Delacorte Press on August 8th 2017
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

An adventure novel about four lucky kids and a mysterious, but thrilling ride for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Jurassic Park! CastleCorp and the famous Castleton brothers are unveiling the World's Greatest Adventure Machine! The roller coaster is an experience like no other, and four lucky kids have won the chance to be the first to ride it. There's Trevor, whose latest stunt got him in trouble at school again. There's Devin, whose father is pushing him to be the next Internet sensation. Nika's wealthy grandfather isn't too pleased about her participation. And Cameron, he'll be the first to tell you, is a certified genius. The whole world is watching. But as the kids set off on their journey, they begin to realize that there is perhaps more to their fellow contest winners than meets the eye. And the Adventure Machine? It might just have a mind of its own. Join the contestants on their wild ride if you dare. Your adventure starts now!

The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine is about to launch, and four lucky kids have won the right to ride on the maiden voyage. Our four riders are all very different from one another. Trevor is the troublemaker/mischievous one. Nika is super rich, and very guarded (with good reason). Cameron is as smart as they come, and Devin is a social media star.

One of the things I liked best about the story was the uniqueness of each character. As you read more about them, you can’t help but want to know more. It was very interesting to see how they each handled their own struggles and secrets. Even more so, how they work together and discover more about themselves as they share the experiences on the ride.

As the adventure unfolds, each of the four winners has their first impressions of their fellow participants. However, these impressions are all based on their exterior and will soon change. This important message is very well executed by the author, as well as the concept of working as a team. It is so important to teach our young readers that first impressions aren’t always right. As well as teaching them the importance of teamwork and collaboration.

The pace of The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine is fast and wild. Every moment was filled with something exciting, entertaining and unexpected. As the reader, you will be constantly be guessing what will happen next. Not to mention what is real, or virtual. Middle graders are sure to enjoy all the twists and turns in this story, which will keep them turning the pages.

Along with great humor, engaging characters and a fun, fast paced tone The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine is unforgettable! Middle grade readers are sure to love the exciting plot and adventures within the pages. There is something for everyone from mystery, humor, and thrills. It will leave you wishing you could ride The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine too.

 

*Thank you to Delacorte Press for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.*

four-stars

Blog Tour: Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy : Review & Playlist

Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Goodreads
four-stars

Welcome to the blog tour for Gertie Milk and The Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy. Today is my stop of the tour and I will be sharing with you my review, along with a playlist inspired by the adventures Gertie goes on throughout the book.  Make sure to check out the rest of the tour stops too for other fun content.

 

Gertie Milk and The Keeper of Lost Things

BY: Simon Van Booy

PUBLISHER: Razorbill

PUB DATE: OCT 3rd, 2017

AMAZON|GOODREADS

 

MY RATING: 4 Stars

 

 

 

Synopsis

This enchanting middle-grade adventure follows twelve-year-old Gertie Milk, who washes up on the island of Skuldark, and finds that all of her memories are gone. Home to helpful Slug Lamps, delicious moonberries, and a ferocious Guard Worm, the island is full of oddities, including a cozy cottage containing artifacts from every corner of history.

It is there that Gertie discovers she has been chosen as the next Keeper of Lost Things, tasked with the mission of returning objects to history’s most important figures right when they need them most. With the help of a time machine disguised as a vintage sports car and the guidance of her fellow Keeper, Kolt, Gertie dodges an elephant army in ancient Alexandria, crashes a 1920s flapper party, and battles a ruthless Zhou Dynasty king.

But soon, Gertie encounters an enemy that threatens everything the Keepers stand for: The Losers, villains who don’t want to keep order but destroy it. Now, Gertie must uncover the truth of her own past if she wants to stop the Losers and set history back in place.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Simon Van Booy is the best-selling author of seven books of fiction, and three anthologies of philosophy. He has written for the New York Times, the Financial Times, NPR, and the BBC. Simon enjoys building robots, model airplanes, and off-road vehicles—which he likes to crash. He has an impressive umbrella collection, a Bowler hat, and carries a green thermos of tea everywhere. His books have been translated into many languages. In 2013, he founded Writers for Children, a project which helps young people build confidence in their literary abilities through annual awards. Raised in rural Wales and England, Simon currently lives between Brooklyn and Miami with his wife, daughter, Robot Rabbit Boy, and a fully-grown sheep.


 

MY REVIEW:

Gertie Milk and the Keep of Lost Things is a charming and whimsical new middle grade book by Simon Van Booy. Within its pages we are introduced to an array of interesting characters, thrilling adventures and the enigmatic world of the Lost Things.

Gertie wakes up on the island of lost things with no memory of who she is, or where she comes from. Gertie at first is afraid, but soon she meets Kolt who tells her that she is now a Keeper of Lost Things. Kolt tells Gertie that Keepers are responsible for returning random lost objects to important people throughout history.

As Kolt fills Gertie in on her new responsibilities, he takes her for a tour of all the rooms in cabin that hold a variety of lost objects. Kolt explains that they do not get to choose where they go, but the B.D.B.U (a magical book) will “summon” them and give them the details once it is time to go return something.

This ultimately leads to Gertie and Kolt having a variety of wild and fun adventures as they work to keep order throughout history. However, there is a group of people who would like nothing better than to cause chaos in history. These are the Losers, and they will do anything to keep Gertie, Kolt or any Keeper from fulfilling their duties.

Gertie Milk and The Keeper of Lost Things is a delight to read. I loved the concept of how one simple lost object has the power to alter the outcome of history. Along with the B.D.B.U my most favorite thing about the world of Lost Things is The Sock Drawer. The Sock Drawer is a huge room filled with lost clothing from throughout time (basically a costumer’s dream closet).

Along with the world building the author also does a great job of making the story approachable and fun. It flows really nicely, and constantly throws new and fascinating things at the reader to keep them engaged.

I like that the story advocates a positive message about friendship, loyalty and finding yourself even when you feel lost and confused. Gertie barely knows anything about herself, but she doesn’t let that hold her down. Instead, she moves forward and handles her struggles beautifully.

Gertie Milk and The Keeper of Lost Things is an imaginative, educational and fun read. Readers of all ages will find something to love about this story, and the characters. I am looking forward to reading more about Gertie’s adventures and hope more books are on the way.

 

MY PLAYLIST:

 

 

four-stars

Book Review and Blog Tour Stop: Mighty Jack and The Goblin King by Ben Hatke

by Ben Hatke
Published by First Second Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
five-stars

Happy Book Birthday to Mighty Jack and The Goblin King by Ben Hatke! What is a book birthday you ask? Well, hopefully there is cake involved (I always have a way of finding cake), but it’s also the magical day that a new book gets published/released for sale. Today is also my turn on the blog tour for this fantastic graphic novel. Make sure to check out all the stops on the tour (here), and to read my review below.


Title: Mighty Jack and The Goblin King

Author: Ben Hatke

Pub Date: Sept 5th, 2017

Publisher: First Second

Genre: Middle Grade – Graphic Novel – Fantasy

My Rating: 5 STARS!

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

Synopsis:

The garden behind Jack’s house has gone wild with creatures set loose by the magic beans Jack and his kid sister Maddy planted. One particularly mean creature has kidnapped Maddy and carried her off. Now Jack and his neighbor Lilly must follow her to a world between worlds beyond the vines and stalks, where giants grind the bones of human children to feed their beast in the castle up above, and a fearsome goblin king rules down below. It’ll take more than Lilly’s bag of concoctions and tricks, and more than one hero, to rescue Maddy, reunite Jack’s family, and bring them all safely home again.

 

My Review: 

I gobbled up Mighty Jack and The Goblin King probably about as quickly as a giant would, and I am not ashamed about it. I loved every single page from start to finish. This is the second book in the Mighty Jack series written and illustrated by the talented Ben Hatke. Mr. Hatke uniquely captures the essence of the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale, but manages to give the story an unexpected twist all his own.

 

The narration is quick and fun, simple enough for younger readers to stay focused and committed to the storyline. One of my favorite “voices” in the novels is the goblins. While reading their dialogue I read/heard their voices sounding very similar to Yoda, which to me is a plus. Honestly, this is probably my brain being weird, but I found them delightfully strange.

However, what truly makes Might Jack and the Goblin King shine is the stunning illustrations. Every single page is jam packed with action and with color. You won’t want to take your eyes off of them, and my favorite illustrations were of the goblins themselves, especially the adorable gobblets.

 (Can these gobblets be made into little stuffed animals? I totally want one..or ten.)

 

The story revolves around the three main characters Jack, Lilly and Maddy, but the main focus is on Jack and Lilly. They are on a mission to rescue Maddy from being fed to the Giants’ “beast” (some type of machine thingy). While on their journey they are separated and both must push ahead on their own. I like how the author incorporated the family dynamic into the story, and also the importance of being a good friend. Lilly is my new hero, I love her take charge attitude and how clever and brave she is. Both our heroes learn important lessons, but the story never comes off as being “preachy” at any point. It all occurs very naturally.

There is even a little bit of romance in the story, and it is so AWKWARD! However, it is also sweet and perfectly relatable for the newly turned teenage reader.

While you don’t have to read the first book in this series, I would recommend you do. Because it will give you some back story on our characters and from whom they got their “magic beans” from. Hopefully the next book will have some answers as to who he is.  As well as a whole new adventure for our trio. I can’t wait!

If you are looking for a fun and lively graphic novel filled with adventure for a middle grade reader, look no further than these awesome Mighty Jack books. It will charm even the pickiest of readers with its beautiful illustrations and interesting creatures.

Thank you to First Second for providing me with a finished copy of Mighty Jack and The Goblin King in return for my review and participation in this blog tour.

 

About the Author:

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. benhatke.com

 

 

five-stars

Blog Book Tour and Giveaway: The Blue Moon Narthex by N.J. Donner

Published by Steel Page Press LLC Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Welcome to The Blue Moon Narthex Book Tour! Today is my stop on the tour hosted by Irish Banana Tours and I will be sharing my review of The Blue Moon Narthex. This is a great new series for middle-grade readers and is sure to capture their attention.  Remember to enter the awesome giveaway at the bottom of the post! You don’t want to miss it!

 

The Blue Moon Narthex

Author: N.J. Donner

Publisher: Steel Page Press 

Pub. Date: Feb 7th, 2017

My Rating: 3 Stars

AMAZON

GOODREADS

B&N

 

 

ABOUT THE BLUE MOON NARTHEX:

The balance of good and evil has been left in the hands of a thirteen-year-old… Since the beginning of time, Karmanic matter worked silently and unassisted keeping good and evil in balance, until growing greed in the world meant Karma couldn’t keep up. As World War I rages, the secret Karmanic Sovereign Legion works behind the scenes to help Karma.

 

A suspicious train accident and an odd stone-shaped object that belonged to his father thrust Cole McCarthy and two schoolmates into the middle of this battle to keep dark forces in check.

 

With only the powerful stone, a letter, and grandfatherly Norm to guide them, the trio must unravel clues and tap into unknown strengths to discover who Cole’s father really was and keep themselves and those they love safe.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N.J. Donner is the author of the new Karmanic Sovereign Legion books. N.J. loves to explore. The world fascinates him and he wants to figure out why and how things work, including Karma.

College adventures took N.J. far from his small Nebraska hometown to the southern hemisphere and the inner city. This was the beginning of his wanderlust and today he loves to travel with his wife, Amanda, and their three children.

N.J. became the first person to graduate with a minor in international affairs from Nebraska Wesleyan University and spent the years right out of college building a successful steel company.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

 

MY REVIEW:

The Blue Moon Narthex is a middle-grade fantasy is made for readers who enjoyed the Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series. It is filled with adventure, friends, mystery and even a bit of magic. Were there moments and certain things about the three main characters that reminded me a little (maybe a bit too much) about the Harry Potter series- yes. However, since this is the first book in the series I still believe there is time for it to become more defined, and hold its own with future books. Now that we got that over with, let’s move on to how fun this book is to read. My advice is that if you are a grown adult (like myself…most days) please keep in mind this book is meant for Middle-Grade readers.

 

Thirteen-year-old Cole and his two best friends Britten and Sasha are suddenly thrown into a secret world they didn’t know even existed. The world of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion is dedicated to fighting evil. This is the world Cole’s father was involved with before he died. Cole inherits the Blue Moon Narthex stone which leads him and his friends to the Coreseum. The Coreseum is a school where the kids are divided into groups depending on their talent and given a role to master as part of their education.

 

Hopefully, as the series develops the main characters will come into their own voices. Though they are likable, they do read a bit “younger” than 13. I also feel that their personalities need to be a bit more defined and individualized. Then again, when was the last time you met a 13yr old that was completely self-confident and sure of themselves? There were also times that their immaturity turned me off a bit, I do love the friendship between these characters and how they are always there for each other.

 

Though the characters need a bit of work, the world building is fantastic in The Blue Moon Narthex. While reading the book I felt like I could “see” the Coreseum, the Narthexes and the “sliding”. The author did a wonderful job describing and explaining these places and things in detail. Though I would have liked to see the “real” world and WWI appear or factor in a bit more into the story. The war is only mentioned a few times but not enough for such a huge world event. But then again, maybe the author was avoiding it on purpose. After all, we dive into fantasy to get away from “reality”, and placing the war more prominently would have taken away from the fantasy.

 

Being given a thorough background on the mythology of the world, and details on how Karmanic Matter is discovered and used kept me intrigued and fascinated. It also made the world of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion come to life for me. The concept of “sliding” into different dimensions is what I really loved about this book. It’s one of my favorite things to read about in science fiction/fantasies because I would love to be able to do it myself.

 

Overall, I believe that the Blue Moon Narthex will captivate younger middle-grade readers and transport them to an exciting new world, filled with mystery, friendship and even a bit of magic.

 

*I received this book in a promotional package from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

 

GIVEAWAY: 

Enter for your chance to win a Blue Moon Narthex Swag Box

(US ONLY)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week 1:

2/6: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review

2/7: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Q&A

2/8: Kara the Redhead – Spotlight

2/9: Young Adult Rocks – Review

2/10: books are love – Top 10

Week 2:

2/13: Such A Novel Idea – Q&A

2/14: Book Stacks Amber – Excerpt

2/15: Books Buying Beauty – Review

2/16: Red House Books – Guest Post

2/17: Basic Book Blog – Review

Week 3:

2/20: The Irish Banana Review – Review

2/21: Lisa’s Loves – World Building

2/22: Pondering the Prose – Review

2/23: Who RU Blog – Novel Secrets

2/24: The Plot Bunny – Review

 

Middle Grade Book Review: If The Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid

Middle Grade Book Review: If The Magic Fits by Susan Maupin SchmidIf the Magic Fits (100 Dresses, #1) by Susan Maupin Schmid, Lissy Marlin
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on October 25th 2016
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Inside an enchanted castle, there’s a closet—a closet with one hundred dresses that nobody ever wears. Dresses like those need a good trying-on, and Darling Dimple is just the girl to do it. When she tries on Dress Number Eleven, something unbelievable happens. She transforms into the castle’s Head Scrubber! It turns out that each dress can disguise her as someone else. And Darling is about to have an adventure that calls for a disguise or two…or a hundred.

If the Magic Fits is the book every little girl who enjoys playing dress up and pretty gowns needs to read. Because in this story, elaborate and magical dresses have the power to transform the wearer into someone completely different.

Our heroine isn’t a princess, and wasn’t “born in a tower or a golden chamber”. Darling Dimple is a simple 10-year-old girl who works in the castle. Everything changes when she discovers a room filled with elegant and marvelous gowns. Upon trying one on, she realizes that they possess magic which transforms the wearer into someone completely different.

Darling is a believable and lovable character. The type of heroine kids can look up to. When one day Darling overhears a plot to release the stone dragons of the castle, she seeks out a way to use the dresses to stop the villains and save the kingdom.

Even though I am far older than the target audience for this enchanting book, I really like the story. I love fairy tales and this is the kind of tale I would have loved as a child. Younger readers who love fantasy, beautiful gowns, castles, princesses, and dragons will also enjoy this story.

Schmid does a lovely job creating a fun and descriptive world with her words. The writing will enthrall and captivate the reader. If not for the nearly 300 pages, this would be a perfectly well put together fairy tale. Due, to the length of this book younger readers, might feel a bit overwhelmed. However, older pre-teens should have no problem with the length.

If you are looking to regain a little bit of that childhood sparkle or have young readers that enjoy a well written and beautiful fairy tale, make sure to pick up If The Magic Fits

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an E-arc in return for an honest review.

three-half-stars