Review: The Bad Beginning (Book 1) by Lemony Snicket

by Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer

Title: The Bad Beginning (Book 1) Series of Unfortunate Events
Author: Lemony Snicket
Illustrator: Brett Helquist
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 162
Grade Reading Level: Ages 10+

Summary: Violet, Kluas and Sunny Bauldilair were at the beach when Mr. Poe comes and tell them that their parents had died in a fire. At their house all they find are ashes. Arrangements are made so that the kids live with Mr. Poe at his house while he tries to find them a relative to live with on a permanent basis. Mr. Poe finds them a place to live with Count Olaf. At Count Olaf’s many bad things happen to them… in a series of unfortunate events!


  • I love Violet. She is always trying to invent something. For instance, later in the story Violet invents a grappling hook out of old clothes and old wire. How does she think of things like that so quickly? I would be hard pressed that is for sure.
  • Justice Starauss is very kind to the kids. He lets them use the library and helps them buy food so they can cook for Count Olaf and the troupe of people living with him.
  • Klaus and Violet are always taking care of Sunny and making sure she doesn’t get into trouble. I have a hard time with one sister that’s closer to my age! So while it might not be very accurate in normal circumstances, the Bauldilair kids are a whole other ball of wax.


  • Mr. Poe doesn’t believe them when they are trying to tell him that Count Olaf is a terrible man and gives them way too many chores to do. Mr. Poe should know what sort of kids they are from when they lived with him and it’s really important for adults to take kids seriously when it comes to stuff like that.
  • When Count Olaf puts on a play that is called the Marvelous Marriage. In actuality it is not a play but a real marriage ceremony. He wants to get the Bauldilair fortune that they were left with and does it through trickery. Plus, can you imagine being married to the guy? Gross!

Buy: The Bad Beginning (Hardback), The Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-13), The Trouble Begins: Books 1-3, The Situation Worsens: Books 4-6, The Dilemma Deepens: Books 7-9 , The Gloom Looms: Books 10-12

Rating: I give this book 3 out of 5 treasure chests.

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Review: Fang (A Maximum Ride Novel) by James Patterson

by Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer

Title: Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel
Author: James Patterson
Format: Hardback
Pages: 408
Grade Reading Level: Grades 6-9

Summary: There are 5 kids who seem very normal, but are not even close to normal. When they were still just an egg they were injected with avian DNA in a lab so that they grew wings. They are stronger and more powerful than a regular person.

When they were in the lab one of the workers broke them out and hid them for the longest of time. He took care of them just as a dad would do, but then 4 years later he disappeared and the flock just thought that he had died. The oldest member of the group Max decided she would take care of the flock.

In the flock there are Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, and then Angel. Max, Fang, and Iggy are very close in age. Nudge is a year or two younger than the eldest, then Gazzy being the second to last of being the youngest in the flock, ending off with Angel being the youngest of them.

In the story the kids are at a camp and they are enjoying themselves then out of the blue little Angel says that Fang is going to die in the near future. Max is shocked. She and Fang have gotten very close to one another and they love each other. Max must do everything she can to make sure Fang doesn’t get killed.

Why I started this book:

I like the Maximum Ride series.


  • What I really liked about this book was that there was some romance between Fang and Max. I liked how they would try to sneak away to be just with each other.
  • I also liked that there was a lot of suspense in the book because at the end of the book there is a part where Fang has really died and Max thought of a way to help him. I couldn’t put it down until I knew how she was going to help him!!!


  • What I dislike the most about the book is that Angel loses faith in Max and decides to betray the flock by going and joining the bad guys side and helping them.

Buy: Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel

Rating: 4 treasure chests

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Review: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

by Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer

Title: Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
Format: Papberback
Page Count: 497
Reading Grade Level: 7th-9th Grade

Summary: A normal farm boy was hunting in the forest and when he saw a huge flash of blue light. An invesitagtion led to a big sapphire stone which he brought home. But it wasn’t a big sapphire gem at all. It was actually a dragon egg. When it hatched for him, Eragon became the last of the Dragon Riders. Many thought the Dragon Riders had been killed off and thought the eggs were gone and that the Age of the Dragons would never rise again. But word of a new Dragon Rider spread fast and soon the existence of Eragon and his dragon, Sapphira, had reached Galbatorix and the Elves, Varden, and the Dwarves. Now Eragon is in a race to stay alive and keep his dragon safe. He has only two choices to succeed and one is unacceptable. He won’t serve Galbatorix so he must find the Varden.

Why I started this book:

I started Eragon because it was lying around. I bought it a few years back and hadn’t gotten around to it before now. Plus, I had seen the movie and like it. So I thought why not?


  • What I liked about this book was that it had a lot of action. Once you settled in to read, the world sucked you in from one thrilling chase to the next harrowing adventure. It was really hard to put the book down when you got to a really good part.
  • I really liked Sapphira a lot because she had a lot of wisdom when she spoke to him even though she was younger than him in physical years she was still wiser and older in her mind.


  • I didn’t like that the author had a ton of made up words in the story even though it had a dictionary in the back of the book saying what they meant. It was very tedious looking back to see what they meant all the time.
  • I didn’t like the fact that Brom died. I thought he was a very good character and served as a really good mentor.

Differences between the book and the movie:

  • In the movie we don’t know why Sapphira got her name. Eragon bestows it on her after he went to talk to Brom and got the history of the name from him.
  • In the movie it doesn’t tell how Eragon came to Palancar Valley. But when his mother was pregnant with him she was very poor and went to her brother Garrow (Eragon’s Uncle) asking if he would help her until the baby was born and then take care of it after it was born. Once she gave birth to Eragon a while later she left him with Garrow and never returned.

Buy: Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1)

Rating: I give this book 4 out of 5 treasure chests.

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Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides directed by Gore Verbinski

by Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer

Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stanger’s Tides
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rated: PG-13
Minutes: 136 minutes

Summary: Jack Sparrow is on a mission to find the Fountain of Youth. Along the way he has to team up with the vicious, cold-hearted, and mean Captain Black Beard. The reason behind Black Beard’s involvement? A prophecy – one that forewarns that unless he finds the Fountain he will be ended by the man with one leg. The British and the Spaniards are also on the search for it.


  • What I liked about this movie was that there was a bit of romance between the cleric and the beautiful, charming mermaid Syrena, because for me it made the movie more interesting.
  • Johnny Depp – Jack Sparrow – need I say more?
  • What I also liked about the movie was that there was a lot of action in the movie whether it was fighting or heavy drama. Like the fight between Jack Sparrow and Angelica when they first find out that Angelica is the fake Jack Sparrow and get into a fight.


  • What I disliked about the movie was the part when the mermaids began to attack the pirates because it wasn’t very scary, but it was a little bit gruesome when you see the mermaid start to pull the one pirate into the water and down deeper then you just sees this trail of blood.
  • What I also didn’t like was the way it ended because it just showed Syrena pulling the cleric into the water after saying to him I can help you if you just ask me too. So you don’t know if she actually helped him or ended killing him like the other mermaid did earlier even though we know this mermaid is different. I’m hoping he’s saved. Perhaps we’ll find out in a Pirates 5?

Pirates of the Caribbean Four-Movie Collection (Blu-ray + Digital Copy), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Five-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney


by Pirate Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Author: Jeff Kinney
Format: Hardback
Pages: 216
Grade Reading Level:
Ages 9-12

Summary: Greg Heffley is in his second year of Middle School. Pretty much, his brother Rodrick, can get Greg to do anything Rodrick wants because Rodrick has some blackmail material on Greg. Their mother is trying to get them to play nice, but with competitive streaks a mile wide will that ever be possible?

Why I Started This Book:

My mother and older sister told me about this book and got it from the library for me. I don’t usually choose to spend my time reading, but this looked cool enough so I began it and finished it within two days. Personal record! Awesome!


  • This book is really funny. I would disturb family members by chuckling out loud.
  • The cartoons made this book a breeze to get through and were part of the humor that really made this book awesome.
  • I liked Manny the youngest Heffley boy. He was the tattler and would tattle on both Greg and Rodrick.


  • I thought it was kind of stupid that Greg wrapped himself in toilet paper when he was wet. Wouldn’t he be a soggy chunky mummy and not just a normal mummy? Talk about icky.
  • Rodrick’s science project. It was silly, but stupid. Come on, really, Do Plants Sneeze?

Last minute thoughts: I am going to go back and start with book one as soon as I can.

Buy: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Book Rating:4 Treasure Chests

Review: The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

Reviewed by Cook Cutlery

Title: The Sweetest Spell
Author: Suzanne Selfors
Format: Trade paperback
Page Count: 401 pages
Grade Reading Level:

Summary: Emmeline Thistle was born with a curled foot and subsequently was left in the forest to die because her family only wanted children who could become strong. She doesn’t die because four cows from a near by farm find her and create a circle around her. She was saved and she grew up. People said that this was unnatural because most babies would die.

Once a year they have a husband market where all the girls go into town and bid on the young men that they want to marry. An urgent letter disrupts the bidding, saying that all of the unmarried men were to go to war. This includes Emmeline’s father since he never remarried. Soon afterwards there is a huge flood that wipes out the entire town and Emmeline is carried down stream. She is once again saved by a cow and the owner’s son. He takes her home where his family cares for her until she was healthy. Knowing she can’t return home, Emmeline asks to stay and work.

One day she asks Owen (the farmer’s son) if he would shower her how to churn butter. When she tries it something else happen to it instead! Instead of being white and creamy, it turns into chocolate. When the word spreads that a milkmaid has the power to do that, Emmeline is in extreme danger because everyone wants to become rich off of her gift. Will Emmeline be able to live her life free again or will she always be held captive?


  • All the romance that is in the story. For example Owen and Emmeline begin to have feelings for each other and care dearly for one another.
  • I liked how Owen cared for her even though she wasn’t perfect. Back in her home town known as Flat Lands no one cared for her they called her unnatural and unwanted and that no one would ever love her and such.
  • I liked how even though Emmeline was treated badly by the people she still had a lot of care for the people and wanted the best for them for example towards the end she went outside of the castle to give her people bread and meat even though she was forbidden to go outside the castle wall. Also that she buried Lara who was a leper and that lepers were never given a grave or buried but she did it out of the goodness of her heart.


  • The opening sequence when she was first sent to forest to die when she was just born, treated badly the other people in her village and that she basically loses everything that she cares about.
  • I also disliked that Peddler’s daughter ends up dying. I would have liked if she could have kept living; I didn’t really see the point of her dying. Lara dying causes the Peddler’s heart to change because he sees that Emmeline gave his daughter a beautiful grave. But I still would have liked if she hadn’t died.

Buy: The Sweetest Spell

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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