Review: Heart of the Moors: An Original Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Novel

Title: Heart of the Moors: An Original Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Novel
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Press
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes a captivating original novel set between Disney’s Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, in which newly-queened Aurora struggles to be the best leader to both the humans and Fair Folk under her reign; her beau, Prince Phillip, longs to get to know Aurora and her kingdom better; and Maleficent has trouble letting go of the past.

Review:

This is a great middle grade faerie story from Holly Black.

I loved that this story stayed true to the story of Maleficent, but it was in Holly Black’s style. Holly does a great job of writing about the different types of faeries in a descriptive way. I could imagine the beautiful settings because of how thoroughly and concisely they were described.

I also enjoyed the plot of the novel. It was a complete plot, while not straying too far from the movie plots. This story is a side plot, which can accompany the movies, but does not replace them.

I really enjoyed this novel!

What to read next:

Mirror, Mirror by Jen Calonita

Have you read Heart of the Moors? What did you think of it?

Review: Guardians of Magic (The Cloud Horse Chronicles #1)

Title: Guardians of Magic (The Cloud Horse Chronicles #1)
Author: Chris Riddell
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In Guardians of Magic the award-winning, 2015-2017 UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell weaves together a stunningly illustrated magical quest in which three ordinary children, with extraordinary gifts, come together to defeat the enemies who threaten the mysterious cloud horses. This is the first title in The Cloud Horse Chronicles series.

The Kingdom of Thrynne is a place where fairy tales don’t behave, and magic can be found in unexpected places. But magic brings danger to Zam, Phoebe and Bathsheba, because it is forbidden. 
Now, the future of magic itself is under threat from powerful enemies: those who fear it and, worse, those who want to use it for their own ends. 
What can three ordinary children do to protect it?

Review:

This story follows three different narratives. Zam is a baker who discovers a magical spoon. Phoebe is a musician with a talking cello. Bathsheba is the daughter of a giant-slayer, who thinks giants shouldn’t be killed. They all come up against enemies who want to steal their magical items.

There were many common elements of fairytales that I liked in the story. Zam baked gingerbread people and Phoebe is a musician in a cat orchestra. There were also evil princesses, which defied the usual princess narrative.

I loved the illustrations that went along with the story. They were detailed and showed everything that was happening in the story. It also gave visual representation to some unusual creatures, such as the goat people and the giants.

This is a great story!

Thank you Pan Macmillan for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse (Goth Girl #1) by Chris Riddell

Have you read Guardians of Magic? What did you think of it?

Review: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Missing Adults

Title: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Missing Adults
Author: Scott Bryan Wilson, Bob Solanovics
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Eating candy nonstop and watching TV all day sounds great . . . until you actually do it, as the kids of Bayport High find out when all the adults vanish, and the world’s greatest (high school) detectives–the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew!–have to team up to solve the mystery! Whether it’s going under cover, sneaking out at night, chasing weird buses, or following a strange smell, they know it’ll take all their wits and smarts to get their parents and teachers back . . . that is, if Joe and Frank don’t kill each other first. Oh, and there’s also the matter of the skeleton that can walk. And a major feud with a rival high school. And a koala-in-a-diaper costume. And lawlessness in the hallways. And an unrequited crush . . .

Review:

I love that there are so many new adaptations of Nancy Drew happening right now. I have enjoyed many of them, but this one didn’t really work for me.

The characters were quite exaggerated in this story. Joe was lazy and excitable. He got furious anytime anyone called him something other than Joe. His outbursts became quite repetitive after a while. Nancy was very secretive about her past life. It was strange and the reason was not explained in the story. Perhaps the reason will come out in future books, if this becomes a series.

I also thought the illustrations didn’t match the characters. Nancy looked like the main character from the cartoon Daria, but Nancy is nothing like that character. She didn’t look like any version of Nancy Drew I’ve ever seen before. The Hardy Boys looked like opposites, with Frank in a button down shirt and Joe sporting a mohawk hairstyle. We didn’t even get to see some of my favourite characters, George and Bess. George was illustrated once and Bess was mentioned in dialogue but they didn’t do anything in the story. I wasn’t familiar with the supporting characters that were in the story.

This graphic novel didn’t really work for me. The characters were too extreme and not true to the originals.

Thank you Dynamite Entertainment for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Demon of River Heights (Nancy Drew: Girl Detective Graphic Novels #1) by Stefan Petrucha, Sho Murase

The Ocean of Osyria (The Hardy Boys Graphic Novel #1) by Scott Lobdell, Lea Hernandez

Have you read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Missing Adults? What did you think of it?

Review: DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High

Title: DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High
Author: Amy Wolfram, Yancey Labat
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Zoom
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A new era of DC Super Hero Girls begins in DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High!

Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Bumblebee, and Zatanna are continually late to class because of their crime-fighting, and Principal Chapin is tired of hearing their excuses. These girls need to show more school spirit…or else they’ll be suspended!

Principal Chapin’s demand that they each find an after-school club and stick with it for a whole week seems easy, until the girls get kicked out of the clubs they choose. Instead, they must think outside the box and step out of their comfort zones. As if having secret identities and balancing school with super-heroics didn’t offer enough challenges!

Review:

I love the DC Super Hero Girls graphic novels. It’s great to see these familiar characters interacting in their high school. 

This graphic novel was a little different from the other DC Super Hero Girls books I’ve read because the girls were divided into groups of super heroes versus villains. They are usually a big group of friends, not divided. This was part of the storyline, because the superhero girls were getting in trouble for being late at school, but the villain girls somehow always made it there on time, even when they were wrecking havoc. 

A funny part of this graphic novel was that the teachers were never shown. They weren’t even given dialogue. This reminded me of Charlie Brown, where the teachers and adults only make noises, but we never actually understand what they’re saying. This made the students the focus of the story, rather than what the teachers were telling them. 

I really enjoyed this graphic novel!

Thank you DC Comics for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

What to read next:

DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis by Shea Fontana, Yancey Labat

Have you read DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High? What did you think of it?

Review: More Than a Princess (More Than a Princess #1)

Title: More Than a Princess (More Than a Princess #1)
Author: E.D. Baker
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From E. D. Baker, a magical new series about a heroic princess who’s more than she seems — and a kingdom whose fate rests in her hands.

Aislin is more than just a princess — she’s half-fairy and half-pedrasi, with magical gifts that let her draw strength from the wilderness around her. When she’s captured and used as bait between two warring kingdoms, she must find a way to break free of their plot… while also minding the human princesses she encounters, conventionally beautiful girls who are all too ready to point out her differences. Thankfully, Aislin’s inner strength goes beyond her magical qualities, and with a few loyal friends by her side, she’s ready to stand up for herself and her kingdom.

E. D. Baker, whose books have sold over 1 million copies, offers a classic, original fairy-tale that celebrates beauty and goodness in all its shapes and sizes, sure to delight readers who love magic, suspense, girl power, and adventure.

Review:

This is a great fairytale story!

Aislin is mixed race. Her parents are a fairy and a pedrasi. They broke down conventions by marrying and joining two different groups of people together. They have magic, so they stay hidden from humans. But their secrets are threatened when a human king finds their kingdom.

Aislin was a strong character. She was very brave to stand up for her people. She had to deal with a lot of racism and criticism on her looks. She didn’t look like a typical human princess because she was built differently. The boys would tease her, but she didn’t let it bring her down. I really liked the way race relations were in this story, though they were represented in fairytale creatures. This can be compared to racism and discrimination in real life.

I really enjoyed this story!

What to read next:

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong

Have you read More Than a Princess? What did you think of it?

Review: Unplugged and Unpopular

Title: Unplugged and Unpopular
Author: Mat Heagerty, Tintin Pantoja, Mike Amante
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After Erin Song’s parents ban her from using her phone, TV, Internet, and all her screens, she soon discovers mysterious, strange creatures and must foil their plot to take over Earth in this sci-fi graphic novel for tweens.

Erin Song lives in a digital world. Everyone has a phone, a tablet, a computer—more screens than you can count. Even with a world of information at her fingertips, Erin can’t figure out the secret to popularity at her clique-y junior high school. So when uber-popular Wendy asks for help cheating on a test, Erin jumps at the opportunity. This could be her big break! Unfortunately, she gets caught, and her parents ban her from all her devices. Suddenly, Erin Song is the only girl in the world who’s not allowed to look at a screen.

And that’s when Erin notices something funny: small, furry aliens making humans disappear with a weird device Erin’s never seen before. No one else notices them, though—except Erin’s grandmother and two old men who run the local library. They’ve discovered that the aliens are using screens to control the human race, tricking them into thinking they aren’t really there—and that anyone who’s been abducted never existed.

Now it’s up to Erin and her grandmother to save the day! But without technology on their side, do they stand a chance?

Review:

This was a great graphic novel about technology taking over our world.

In this story, Erin gets grounded, and has all of her electronic devices taken away. She can’t use her phone, computer, or even TV. She was already unpopular at school, so this just made her social life even worse. However, since she wasn’t plugged into the devices, she discovered that aliens were actually brainwashing and abducting humans through their phones. It turned out to be a good thing that she had a break from her devices.

Erin works with her grandmother and two elderly men to save Earth from the aliens. The police wouldn’t listen to the old people because they thought they were crazy. They also wouldn’t listen to Erin because she was young. This shows that even though someone may be young or old, you shouldn’t dismiss what they’re saying because it could be important.

I loved this graphic novel!

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Have you read Unplugged and Unpopular? What did you think of it?

Review: Rising Star (Cross Ups #3)

Title: Rising Star (Cross Ups #3)
Author: Sylv Chiang
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Annick Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The continuing adventures of Jaden, Cali, and the Cross Ups crew.

When Jaden gets a call inviting him to Comicon to test out a new version of his favorite game, Cross Ups, he is thrilled . . . sort of. He’ll get to go with his best friend, Cali, they’ll be in New York City, and best of all, he’ll meet his idol and the greatest gamer of all time, Yuudai Sato. But he’s got no time to practice, and worse, his signature moves no longer work. His trip starts to feel less and less exciting, and more and more like one big problem. Jaden has to come up with some solutions—fast. He looks to some older gamers for guidance, but is JStar willing to change who he is for the sake of a game?
With its sharp dialogue and relatable characters, Rising Star, the third book in the Cross Ups series, chronicles the ups and downs of middle school with a relevant, contemporary twist.

Review:

This is another great book in the Cross-Ups series.

The kids go to New York Comic Con in this story. It was timely, since it just happened a couple of weeks ago. Comic Con is the biggest event for gaming and pop culture, so it was so cool to see Jaden and Cali living out this dream. I went to BookCon a couple of years ago, which is held at the same convention centre as Comic Con, so I could relate to that part of the story.

A great part about this series is that there are both a boy and a girl main character. Jaden narrates the story but his best female friend, Cali, plays a lead role in the story. Though video games are typically thought of as a “boy’s” activity, girls play video games too. I’m glad that girl gamers are represented in this series.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Annick Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Fan the Fame by Anna Priemaza

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang

Have you read Rising Star? What did you think of it?