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

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys DaytonSeeker (Seeker, #1) by Arwen Elys Dayton
Published by Delacorte Press on February 10th 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Goodreads
two-stars

The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.
As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.
And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.
Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.

I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I was really excited when I was approved to be one of the first people to read Seeker, but to be honest it took me a very long time to finish it. I felt like it read extremely slow for about at least 70% of the book. Once I got past all that, it did start to go more smoothly, but the story just did not do it for me. I really wish  I could have liked it more, especially because I really wanted a good new epic/fantasy type of series to start reading.

Lots of people keep referring to this book as Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games, but it’s really like them not it at all. It’s different and has its own unique signature, but unfortunately, the story dragged, the characters were not developed well and some of the stuff going on in the storyline just made absolutely no sense. I understand it’s fantasy, but even fantasy needs to have explanations.

Let’s get to the story itself. There are three primary characters (trainees): Quin, Shinobu, and John (seriously…John? Everyone else gets a cool name and this one just get’s stuck with John). They are all in training to become “Seekers” (which BTW…you don’t get a clear explanation of what a “Seeker” really is for way too long). Technically a “Seeker” is a position of honor. You are meant to defend the weak. Of course, these three characters are sort of in a love triangle (just seems over done and too expected). Quin and John are in sort of a secret relationship and Shinobu (a distant cousin of Quin’s) has feelings for Quin.

As the chapters slowly go by Shinobu and Quin discover the “truth” about what being a “Seeker” means (though the reader does not really get to know what that horrible “truth” is…WTF???) Where is this vital piece of information? Why is it missing?

The whole story between John and Quin is just odd. At one point he is trying to find her so that she can show him how to use the athame (a weapon only Seekers have the ability to wield). He even has other people trying to find her and actually attacking her in order to restrain her. It all seems very strange and I was confused. Pretty much anytime Quin and John were together felt awkward and creepy to me. Quin wants nothing to do with her “ power” to wield the athame. She loses her memory for a time, and eventually she starts to stand up and fight/use her abilities, but the reader at this point is still not quite sure what she is fighting for or against. It’s how the whole book felt like. You had no idea what was really going on, or why. There was no sense of where, what, when or why. You would have people training with swords, but later one there would be guns involved in the fighting…what was the point of the sword training ? It seems like the story is set in the past, but then currently technology would appear. The story goes from places like Scotland and Hong Kong but you have no real idea of how you got there and time spans were just completely lost.

The book definitely had its moments and as I mentioned before it had a certain uniqueness about it. I hope that the sequel is a little better planned out and hopefully it will answer all the questions that were left unanswered.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

two-stars

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner
Published by Delacorte Press on October 6th 2009
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Goodreads
one-star

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.

I had heard about this book a while ago, and since it’s now becoming a movie I figured I would read it and go then go watch the movie (I usually do this with all movies that are based on books). I must say that in the case of The Maze Runner, I do believe that the movie might actually be much better than the book, and I haven’t even seen the movie yet. I really did not like this book. It was drawn out, and such a chore to read. Nothing really happens until you are 150 pages deep, I am amazed I kept going that far, but I really hate giving up a book in the middle of it. I know there are lots of people who are big fans of this series, but I can guarantee you I will not be reading any other books in the series.

The main idea of the book is that these kids get sent to a place called “the Glade” where they live while trying to discover a way out through a maze filled with horrible creature called “grievers”. The grievers are slimy, squishy robotic type slugs with spikes that come out of their bodies and metal arms with sharp pincers, saw-like cutters etc. Every month they are delivered a box with supplies, food, and also one more “addition” to their family of “recruit”. To make matters worse, these kids have no memories. For two years (yes TWO years) they continuously search for a way out of this maze (with moving walls…ohh so exciting…NOT!) and they have yet to find a way out. Things start to change after the arrival of Thomas and Teresa.

The characters have no personality, and with the exception of little Chuck (one of the youngest kids in the Glade..probably like 12 or 13), I really didn’t care if they lived or died. I was unable to find any relate-ability to the main character Thomas, and probably only liked Chuck because he was a sweet kid that reminded me of my little brother. All the characters are male, except for the last “delivered” one, who is a girl named Teresa. Of course, the only way she is referred to throughout her time there is as being pretty or “hot” and not much else, besides bringing them a message from the “Creators” that “Everything is going to change”, how super original.

The book is filled with the most annoying made-up slang words like “shuckface” which just made it even more of a hassle to read. Overall what could have been an interesting concept, turned out to be boring, flat and simply put “meh”

This book has been recommended to other readers if they liked The Hunger Games, but this is a far cry from that. While reading The Hunger Games I laughed, and cried and cried some more. Here I just felt like my reading time had been a waste.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

one-star