April 1

Book Review: The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

The Library of Ever

Zeno Alexander

Imprint Books

Published: April 30, 2019

Fiction, Middle Grade

ISBN: 9781250169174

Amazon Goodreads

 

Lenora is a curious, eleven-year-old girl stuck with an inattentive nanny for the summer. When the nanny announces they are going to the library, Lenora cannot wait to escape from her disinterested care and run off to the children’s section. Only that is not exactly where Lenora ends up.

Lenora is a bright child who loves learning, something that does not escape the attention of the Forces of Darkness. When she runs into one of their agents in the library, a strange series of events begins, plunging Lenora into a new and mysterious world…the Library of Ever. As Lenora works her way up from Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian, she takes on more and more difficult librarian tasks, discovering the meaning of learning.

Lenora encounters penguins, ants, kittens, and many agents of the Forces of Darkness. Helped along by the Chief Answerer, Malachi, Lenora must learn how to solve problems and ultimately discover what a secret phrase means.

 

The first three-quarters of this book are fast-paced, full of adventure, and impossible to put down. Unfortunately, the ending was rushed and unsatisfying. Hopefully this means a sequel is coming, as the finale was a let down. This was a good book for middle grade students and others might enjoy the ending more than I did.

NetGalley provided me with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

March 8

Book Review: The Multiplying Mysteries of Mount Ten by Krista Van Dolzer

The Multiplying Mysteries of Mount Ten

Krista Van Dolzer

Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Published: April 9, 2019

Fiction, Middle Grade

ISBN: 9781681197708

Amazon Goodreads

 

The Multiplying Mysteries of Mount Ten is a puzzle based middle grade novel centered around a group of children at Camp Archimedes math camp.  Esther, an artistic child on her way to Camp Vermeer art camp, finds herself stranded at a math camp when her step-father’s truck gets stuck in the mud. At first, Esther is not happy to be a part of the “number crunchers”, but as mysteries begin to unfold, she finds herself making friends as she solves riddles and unravels puzzles.

Esther is the main character in this story. She is funny, witty, and often sarcastic. She goes from not wanting to have anything to do with the math campers to sadness about leaving. Watching her grow throughout the book is interesting, although her character is not deeply developed.

 

I love mysteries, and math, so the two combined? This ought to be great! Unfortunately, reading this as an adult, I know too much about puzzles and math and I solved the clues way too quickly for the book to have much staying power for me.  I knew by the middle of the book how to go about solving the main puzzle, even though Esther didn’t get there until almost the end. I think kids who don’t have a lot of experience solving logic puzzles would find this much more enjoyable than I did.

If you have middle grade students, maybe 3rd or 4th grade, who like math, this would be a good suggestion for them. For older students, I think you might be better off with Chris Grabenstein’s Mr. Lemoncello books which have more difficult puzzles to solve.

NetGalley provided me with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

February 19

Book Review: The Flooded Earth by Mardi McConnochie

The Flooded Earth

Mardi McConnochie

Series: The Flooded Earth – Book 1

Pajama Press

Published: September 28, 2018

Fiction, Middle Grade

ISBN: 9781772780499

Amazon Goodreads

 

When the Flood hit, the world changed. The Admiralty took over, people moved inland, coastal cities were abandoned and became run-down slums. One of these abandoned cities was home to Will and Annalie. That is, until the Admiralty came looking for their father and they found themselves on a high-seas adventure to find him.

Will and Annalie set out to find Spinner, their father, with no idea where he could be. All they have is his old boat, some ancient tech, and his talking parrot Graham. When Annalie’s school fried, Essie, ends up tagging along by accident, she ends up learning a lot of lessons: about the sea, herself, and what it means to be a family. Along the way, the trio becomes a quartet, picking up a stranded former slave named Pod. The four of them survive almost ever type of disaster you can imagine: storms, pirates, run-ins with the Admiralty. Eventually, making it to their destination, the only place they thought Spinner might have gone, the kids discover that you don’t always know who you can trust.

This intriguing story of friendship, family, and adventure is perfect for middle grade students, both boys and girls. Some may relate to Will, a boy who doubts himself but feels responsible for the outcome of everything around him. Annalie is an intelligent girl, who is compassionate and would rather let Will think he’s running the show than step in and take over even when she knows he’s wrong. Essie is in the midst of family turmoil, but would do anything for her best friend. Finally, Pod has never known family, happiness, or security, and when he finds these three things in his new friends he shows true loyalty and love.

The only downside to the book was that I was unsatisfied with the ending. No spoilers here, but I was left wanting more. Thankfully, the next book in the series (The Castle in the Sea) comes out in June, and it is already on my to-read list!

NetGalley provided me with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

February 17

Book Review: Ever Alice by HJ Ramsay

Ever Alice

HJ Ramsay

Red Rogue Press

Published: August 1, 2019

Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

ISBN: 9780996923941

Amazon Goodreads

 

What really happens to Alice after she comes back from Wonderland? According to Ever Alice by HJ Ramsay, poor Alice’s life is never the same. This tale takes readers on a journey with Alice back to the “curiouser and curiouser” world of Wonderland, reuniting us with favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters, and putting a whole new spin on this beloved tale

 

When Alice returned from Wonderland in the original Lewis Carroll tale, life was supposed to return to normal for the silly blond girl. However, with no one believing her stories of talking animals and the Queen of Hearts, Alice found herself torn from her family and place in an asylum. There was only one way out of this situation, and that was a return to Wonderland, to the Queen of Heart’s palace, and to a whole new adventure.

Alice is reunited with her beloved White Rabbit (real name, Ralph), who has a new mission for Alice – kill the Queen of Hearts. Then she will be able to return home and all will be well. What Alice doesn’t expect, is to make friends in the Queen’s court, and maybe even fall in love?

Ever Alice was an  exciting and unique twist on the typical Alice in Wonderland tale. HJ Ramsay takes us deeper into the land we became familiar with in Lewis Carroll’s original works and leads down a dark and sinister path of plots and intrigue. At times the story seems to be heading off a cliff, but Alice always finds a way to solve the problems and come out on top, even when it seems impossible. She is a beloved heroine and Ramsay does an excellent job of staying true to the whimsy and wackiness of the original Wonderland, while taking us on a whole new journey. Any teen, young adult, or even adult who enjoys the original Alice tale should definitely pick up a copy of Ever Alice.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.