Review: The Thief and the Sword (Cleopatra in Space #2)

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Title: The Thief and the Sword (Cleopatra in Space #2)
Author: Mike Maihack
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cleopatra’s space adventure in the REALLY far future continues!

When a mysterious thief steals the ancient sword Cleo recovered in Cleopatra In Space, Book One: Target Practice, Cleo is determined to get it back, but her teachers at Yasiro Academy forbid her from risking her life. Stuck at school, Cleo is having a hard time adjusting to her newfound popularity and responsibility. And when she learns more about the prophecy that names her the savior of the galaxy and the time tablets that could decide her fate, she must go on a dangerous journey to find them before they can fall into the wrong hands.

Review:

There were loads of Egyptian references in this second book in the Cleopatra in Space series. I loved it when I recognized something from ancient Egypt. The way that the ancient figures appear in this futuristic story were great! There was even a new character who was very important to the real Cleopatra.

There was also lots of action. It was a quick read because many of the pages were taken up by chase scenes which filled multiple frames at once. I wish there had been more dialogue because that would have added more to the story than just the images.

I can’t wait to read the next book. This one ended with the possibility of Cleopatra returning to her time, so I’m not sure what will happen next.

What to read next:

  • Secret of the Time Tablets (Cleopatra in Space #3) by Mike Maihack

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  • Secret Coders (Secret Coders #1) by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

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Have you read The Thief and the Sword? What did you think of it?

Review: Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3)

Title: Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3)
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Canongate Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: ebook
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It isn’t always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas.

For one thing, Elf School can be annoying when you have to sing Christmas songs everyday – even in July – and when you fail all your toy-making tests. Also it can get very, very cold.

But when the jealous Easter Bunny and his rabbit army launch an attack to stop Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her new family and the elves to keep Christmas alive. Before it’s too late . . .

Review:

This is another amazing Christmas story from Matt Haig! There were funny parts and sad parts. I don’t normally like reading sad stories, especially sad Christmas stories. Many of them seem to pull on your heartstrings. The sad parts of this story were resolved, so I wasn’t left feeling down. I liked the addition of the Easter Bunny in this story. He isn’t the loving bunny that he usually is in stories. Instead he was more of an evil dictator. That was an amusing twist on the holiday story. I also love the Truth Pixie who appeared in this story. She’s so funny because she can only tell the truth and she must answer all questions. I really enjoyed this book! This is a great series for the holidays!

What to read next:

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

Have you read Father Christmas and Me? What did you think of it?

Review: El Deafo

Title: El Deafo
Author: Cece Bell
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends. 

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

Review:

This is an amazing book! This book is based on the life of the author, Cece, who lost her hearing as a child due to an illness. Hearing is something that a lot of people take for granted (I know I do) so this book was a huge eye opener. There are many different types of hearing loss, and different ways to cope with it. I felt so many different emotions while reading this book. The beginning was sad, because Cece had trouble adjusting to her hearing loss. She felt self conscious about her hearing aids. However, I loved the ending. It was so comforting. I highly recommend this book for kids and adults.

What to read next:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L.Holm, Matthew Holm

Have you read El Deafo? What did you think of it?

Review: Upside-Down Magic (Upside-Down Magic #1)

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Title: Upside-Down Magic (Upside Down Magic #1)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins comes the hilarious and heartfelt story of a group of magical misfits.

Nory Horace is nine years old. She’s resourceful, she’s brave, she likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she’s able to transform into many different animals. Unfortunately, Nory’s shape-shifting talent is a bit wonky. And when she flunks out of her own father’s magic academy, Nory’s forced to enter public school, where she meets a group of kids whose magic is, well, different.

This new, offbeat series from hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.

Review:

I’m so excited about this series! I loved this book.

A girl who I babysit loves Sarah Mlynowski’s middle grade books, and she’s always telling me to read them. I loved this one! It’s such a cool concept.

Everyone in this magical world has one of five different powers: Flyers (can fly), Fluxers (can turn into animals), Flares (can create fire), Fuzzie-wuzzies (are close with animals), Flickers (can turn invisible). However, Nory has to join a class for people who have upside-down magic, which means it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Nory is a Fluxer who turns into two animals at once, not just one. It is even more embarrassing for her family because her father is the headmaster at another magic school. However, Nory learns how to embrace her special magic with her new friends.

I really enjoyed this book, so I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

What to read next:

  • Sticks & Stones (Upside-Down Magic #2) by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins

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  • Fairest of All (Whatever After #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

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Have you read Upside-Down Magic? What did you think of it?

Review: Detention of Doom (DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #3)

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Title: Detention of Doom (DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #3)
Author: Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Lex Luthor’s family company, Lexcorp(TM), invites kids from all over the country to attend an honors ceremony, Clark Kent is happy to participate. That is, until his award trophy creates a portal to another dimension and sucks him in! Lucky for Clark, his old friends Bruce and Diana along with newer friends Barry (The Flash(TM)) and Ollie (Green Arrow(TM)) are on the case! They’ll have to travel to an alternate dimension to free their friend from Lex Luthor’s grasp (and the worst detention ever) in this all-new adventure from Eisner Award winner Dustin Nguyen and Eisner Award nominee Derek Fridolfs.

Review:

I really enjoyed this instalment of the series!

Bruce, Clark, and Diana are sent into a strange detention world by Lex Luthor. Clark entered first, and his friends went in to find him afterwards. They were also joined by Barry (The Flash), Oliver (Green Arrow), and Victor (Cyborg). The kids also found Bruce’s archnemisis Joker and Harley Quinn. While they were there, they came across Bizarro Superman, who ultimately helped them.

I was very pleased with the graphics in this story. They were black and white, but the characters were more distinct. It was much easier to distinguish between the kids. I struggled figuring out who the characters were in the previous book, so I was glad this one was easier to read.

This is a great book!

What to read next:

  • Super Sons, Volume 1: When I Grow Up by Peter J. Tomasi, Jorge Jimenez

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  • Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

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Have you read Detention of Doom? What did you think of it?

Review: The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas #2)

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Title: The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas #2)
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Canongate Books
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: November 3, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF MAGIC

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

Review:

I loved this story!

This story was a lot more complex than the first story, since all of the characters were introduced before. There were three separate plots in this story. First there was Amelia, who was sent to a workhouse and no longer believes in magic. Then there was Father Christmas who helps fix the Elfhelm after it was destroyed in a troll attack. Finally, Noosh and Little Mim went to investigate the trolls.

Amelia’s story reminded me of Charles Dickens stories. She was sent to a workhouse when her mother died to work for an evil old man named Mr. Creeper. He was like Scrooge from A Christmas Story. My thoughts were confirmed when Amelia met Charles Dickens! That was a great cameo appearance that I was so excited to see.

Since this story was more complex, I recommend reading The Boy Named Christmas first, though you don’t have to. Either way, this is another great Christmas story!

What to read next:

  • Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3) by Matt Haig

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  • The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

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Have you read The Girl Who Saved Christmas? What did you think of it?

Review: Curse of the Arctic Star (Nancy Drew Diaries #1)

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Title: Curse of the Arctic Star (Nancy Drew Diaries #1)
Author: Carolyn Keene
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Nancy and her friends must navigate a cruise ship crisis in the first book of the Nancy Drew Diaries, a fresh approach to a classic series.

Nancy, Bess, and George are cruising dangerous waters on a tour of Alaska. Becca Wright, an old friend of Nancy’s, is the Assistant Cruise Director of the Arctic Star, a posh new ship. But Becca needs Nancy’s help when strange things keep happening aboard the opulent ocean liner: The swimming pool becomes a floating grave; a famous passenger is threatened; and even the seemingly innocent mini-golf course becomes a perilous playground. With the majestic and mysterious Alaskan scenery as a backdrop, Nancy and company have to find out who’s trying to sabotage the maiden voyage and why.

Review:

Unfortunately, I was disappointed in this story. I love Nancy Drew stories, and I love seeing all of the different series. The Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew is an example of a  great series for kids, and I’ve enjoyed some of the others as well. This book wasn’t the neat and tidy mystery that I was expecting.

Many of the “incidents” on the cruise were weird, and not really threatening. There was a “body” in the pool, which turned out to be a mannequin. I’m not sure how they thought the mannequin could be a real person. There were also some threatening emails, which almost got the cruise cancelled.

The incidents were juvenile, and that contrasted with the fact that Nancy and her friends are actually older teens in this book. They were adults, though their exact age wasn’t mentioned, so I don’t know why they were spending their time on these childish incidents. I think Nancy, Bess, and George should have been younger characters, since the book is aimed at a younger audience.

Another thing that was disappointing was that the whole mystery wasn’t solved at the end! Some of the incidents were attributed to the culprits that Nancy found at the end, but there were still more suspicious incidents to be solved. It continues to the next book, which I don’t think I will be reading.

What to read next:

  • Strangers on a Train (Nancy Drew Diaries #2) by Carolyn Keene

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Have you read Curse of the Arctic Star? What did you think of it?