Review: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace by Eric Wight

by Gangplank Gigi, guest reviewer

Title: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace
Author: Eric Wight
Format: Kindle ebook
Page Count: 96 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Frankie Pickle has a secret life inside his imagination (this aspect is in a graphic novel format). Frankie draws all over his math test as his imagination leads him, but he is given an extra few days to re-take it. Over those days, he is so busy he doesn’t have time to do any studying, but he finds out that his parents have been teaching him math through the things he does in life (such as baking with his father.)

Why I started this book:

I read this book to my 6.5 year old grand daughter after reading it for myself. It was bought on my Kindle.

Likes:

  • This book is a good one for boys, because it is about Frankie.
  • He happily passes the re-take, even if he still uses his imagination.

Dislikes:

  • It was very difficult to read the graphic novel portions on the Kindle. It was black and white both on Kindle and on iPad. (Probably because I bought it as a Kindle ebook versus through the iPad store.) The graphic sections are much easier to read on iPad.

Buy: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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Excerpt: Awakening (The Elder Chronicles, Book 1) by

Awakening 200x300Awakening Blurb: Forget everything you ever thought to be true about our world. Angels are real. And they are fighting for control over the human race.

What would you do if you learned everything you knew about the world was wrong? Microbiology student Elena Michaels is about to find out. After a few chance encounters with Alexavier Edmunds, a strange but intriguing student on campus, Elena is on the run from an ancient organization of angel-like beings. Strange things are awakening within her, and there is only one with the answers—the Elder. But can she make it to him in time?

Buy: Awakening (The Elder Chronicles Book 1)

AWAKENING EXCERPT

Elena’s face felt cold as the blood drained from it. She had not seen the woman’s mouth move while she spoke. She sobered almost instantly, the hackles on her neck rising as she stared at the woman’s cold smile. She recognized the voice in a moment of lucidity as the one she had heard at the airport, their tail, their stalker—one of the Opposition.

My mistress was right, the woman’s voice continued. She told me it would be a matter of time before one of you two slipped up. The amazing thing is you both slipped up at the same time. The woman turned to Elena.

The woman stood nearly a whole foot shorter than Elena and appeared much more fragile. Elena tried to gauge whether or not she would be able to handle this woman on her own. She knew from experience Daimon men were quite powerful, but never expected such strength from females.

Let me clue you in on some secrets. First, Daimon men cannot handle their liquor. In fact, all Daimones are very quickly undone by alcohol. The woman eyed Elena up and down before saying, Second, you could never take me on. To illustrate her point, the small woman gripped the countertop and crushed a small section of it into powder.

“What do you want from me?” Elena asked.

The choice is simple, the woman replied mentally. Either come with me to see my mistress. Or…

“Or?” Elena asked, realizing she would regret this decision.

Or you and your companion die, the woman replied. A placid and sickly happy smile spread across her face as she said it.

The woman’s evident pleasure at making such a dire threat sent a chill down Elena’s spine. She conjured up the most severe feeling of pain she could imagine and directed it right at the Daimon woman as she had done to the other Daimon in Canada. However, instead of the anticipated effect of crippling pain she had seen in the Daimon man, the woman’s eyes flashed, and then she laughed.

Silly girl, the woman said to her mentally. I am no mere weakling. Your foolish mind games have no effect on me.

Alec…I need your help! Elena cried out, hoping beyond hope he would hear and come to her aid.

The woman started laughing even louder. A terrifying grin crossed her face. He can’t hear you. Alcohol impairs Daimon abilities. And Alec has had a few too many. I guess I shouldn’t have bought him so many rounds!

Elena didn’t wait for the woman to move. Filled with blind rage over being trapped by this woman, she pressed her attack. If her death was on the menu, then she would take this woman with her as dessert.

Elena bowled into the small Daimon woman, throwing all of her weight into the attack. To her surprise, the woman fell backward with her arm clutching at the sink.

She didn’t stay down for long, though and responded by pushing back at Elena with startling speed, shoving her back a few paces.

Elena responded as fast. She threw her hands up in anticipation of the Daimon woman’s attack. However, she couldn’t fathom what kind of attack to expect coming at her.

The small woman was lithe. She maneuvered herself underneath Elena’s arms and thrust upward with both arms like lofting a volleyball lifting Elena off of her feet and throwing her into the far wall. Elena managed to turn herself sideways in order to absorb her impact with the wall and push herself off into a counterattack.

Elena rushed across the room. The woman crouched at her approach. Instead of missing her target, however, Elena lowered her center of gravity and leapt, flying over the woman’s back. While sailing over her opponent’s body, Elena stretched out and grasped the woman around the waist.

Elena’s momentum carried her forward, and she tucked her head and rolled, pulling the Daimon woman off her feet and flipping her onto her head with startling force. The Daimon’s legs flailed and slammed into the large wall mirror, shattering it.

But she did not stay down for long. Before Elena could right herself, the woman leapt up and moved back across the room. Elena stood and whirled to face the woman but was caught off guard as a fist struck her across the face. Surprisingly, it did not carry much force. Elena brushed the blow off and delivered her own to the woman’s chest, forcing the woman back several feet.

The Daimon crumpled, winded by the force of Elena’s attack. When the Daimon stood again, she clutched a large shard of the broken mirror, which she wielded like a knife.

Buy: Awakening (The Elder Chronicles Book 1)

Scott Wieczorek Author PicBio: Scott Wieczorek is a professional archaeologist working in the American Middle-Atlantic region. He has written numerous short stories and several full-length novels ranging from science fiction, to paranormal mystery, to horror. In addition, he writes reviews of books by Independent authors. Samples of his work are available on his blog at wieczorekfictblog.blogspot.com.

Buy: Awakening (The Elder Chronicles Book 1)

Review: Lost in the Bayou by Cornell de Ville

Reviewed by Tavern Wench Maisie

Title: Lost in the Bayou
Author: Cornell De Ville
Format: E-Book
Page Count: 187 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12-14

Synopsis: People were warned about the Voodoo Swamp, but no one seems to take any notice. Others have visited and disappeared and left no trace. After a plane lands in the swamp some years ago with her parents inside, Robin Sherwood is hurt and shocked that they were never found. Robin has to escape before her uncle Conrad finds her, so Voodoo Swamp provides her the best ever distraction.

What made me want to read it:

It was recommended to me, yet I had heard about the novel from a friend of mine and it interested me enough to want to review it.

Good points:

  • It has a great introduction that sets the scene for the story and gets the horror element into it with no messing around.
  • It is wonderfully spooky.
  • Gets to the point and takes the reader on a journey they will never forget.
  • Convincing characters.
  • There were plenty of scary and fun moments.
  • Liked the characters, they were perfectly realised in the story.

Bad points:

  • It ended!
  • Wanted to know more spooky things about Voodoo Swamp.
  • Uncle Conrad’s clawed hand!

Last minute thoughts: Would love to see a second novel to this one come out with more about the previous victims of the Voodoo Swamp, and any more who decide to be foolish enough to wander into that kind of dangerous territory.

Lost in the Bayou

Rating: 4.5 Treasure Chests

Review: The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig

by First Mate Keira

Title: The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
Author: Lauren Willig
Format: Trade Paperback
Page Count: 468
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: One heroine is researching for her dissertation on the Pink Carnation. The other heroine is living it. Both heroines are already set on the path of love, but the road is bumpy and not without potholes. Can they successfully navigate their way through to happily ever after?

Likes:

  • You can read this novel without picking up the others in the Pink Carnation series first. However, I am definitely most eager to check them out. This looks like a very promising book series.
  • Eloise and Charlotte Lansdowne, the heroines of both the present and past love stories, are a gem. Eloise was amusing and Charlotte sweet. I found a little of myself in both of them.
  • Robert, Duke of Dovedale and Charlotte’s love interest, is the type of hero who understands that knights in shining armor are important and tries to make himself into one. He doesn’t yet realize he’s already a prince among men and that is his largest appeal.
  • The vivid imagery and adept storytelling woven by Lauren Willig will suck you in and not let you up for air until the very last punctuation mark. You will find humor, romance, intrigue, kidnapping plots, secret clubs, nefarious doings, and more within these pages.

Dislikes:

  • Charlotte’s friend Penelope reminds me too much of a character from another novel which is coloring my view of her. I want to shake some sense into that girl. She’s the only fly in the ointment as far as I’m concerned.

Buy: The Temptation of the Night Jasmine

Rating: 5 Treasure Chests

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Review: Night by Elie Wiesel

by Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer

Title: Night
Author: Elie Wiesel
Format:
Hardcover
# of pages: 108 pages
Grade Reading Level: 8.7

Summary: Elie Wiesel is a young 14 year old Jewish Orthodox boy. He’s 15 at the end. He lived during the time that Adolf Hitler rose to power. He was one of very few to survive the Holocaust. Night is his journey of how he and his father survive the different concentration camps, one of which was Auschwitz. During the journey they are evacuated from Buna and sent to Auschwitz’s concentration camp.  Once they walk through the gate of Auschwitz it’s only the beginning of their rigorous journey to survive the horrors they are going to encounter and endure.

Why I Started This Book:

We read this book in language arts as part of our Holocaust unit. We read Night because he was the same age as many of us in class and this is the story of how he survived some truly awful terrible things.

Likes:

  • Elie Wiesel is a truly extraordinary human being. I’m glad he survived and I can only wish there had been more survivors.
  • I am grateful many of the descriptions were brief and that some things were condensed to a few sentences. It made it easier for me to read it.
  • I liked this book because it tells a tale of inner strength. If someone, especially a kid, survive all that, it really makes you think. It’s sort of empowering because of that. It’s a good lesson to teach kids. You can survive even the worst of troubles, fears, and experiences.

Dislikes:

  • This really isn’t against the book so much as it’s against human history. I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that anyone could think doing this to people is okay. Ethnic cleansing is not okay and it made me really uncomfortable to read about it from someone’s personal experience. It’s impossible to understand such evil.
  • On the trip to Auschwitz a woman has visions and starts to scream out “Fire! Can’t you see it? Fire!” Many people run to the edge of the cattle cart to see if there was a fire and there wasn’t one, but still she persisted in screaming “Fire!” until some men beat her up. How awful. Then they tie her up and gag her to silence her. Then when they arrive at the gate of Auschwitz they realized why the woman was screaming “Fire!” because when they looked up they saw a huge crematory and they looked at the chimney, coming out of it was huge flames. This is even worse. I can barely stand imagining such a scene let alone living through it in real life.
  • I also disliked the fact that his father didn’t survive when they got to the other camp. I wish Elie was able to say goodbye to his father before he was taken in the night. I wish I could rewrite the ending if not the whole story. The whole thing is so sad.

Last Minute Thoughts: Reading this book is like squeezing your heart until you feel all bruised and hallowed out. It isn’t pleasure reading and despite the rating I probably wouldn’t read it again, but it’s definitely a book you should made a point of reading.

Buy: Night

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

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Review: Malice by Chris Wooding

by First Mate Keira

Title: Malice
Author: Chris Wooding
Illustrator: Dan Chernett
Format: Hardback
Pages: 379
Grade Reading Level: 7th-9th Grade

Summary: In Britain all the children know the rumors of a comic book called
Malice. They also know that if a ritual is done and a chant said six times they could be taken into the world of that comic. Some do so on a dare. Others because they’re missing adventure. Others to prove it doesn’t exist. More still because they believed Malice was better than their normal lives. It doesn’t matter why you do it – you’re Tall Jake’s as soon as you invite him into your life. It’s only a matter of time before he comes to collect. There’s no going back and certain doom awaits you on the other side.

Why I started this book:

My librarian recommended it to me because I liked fantasy book series. This is the first book and the story is continued in Havoc.

Likes:

  • Malice is divided into several zones and this book takes you through two. The Clock Tower and the Oubliette. In the Clock Tower they face the Clockmaker and his metal inventions. In the Oubliette they face a hungry impenetrable darkness and blind ravenous gnawls.
  • Seth – he’s pretty foolhardy and he thrives on Malice which makes him feel a little guilty.
  • Justin – he’s the knowledgeable guide to the world, having actually read the comics before doing the ritual. He’s also a good friend despite what his life has taught him about how friends never stick around when trouble’s afoot.
  • Kady – she’s not a bad character either, I just don’t like the fact that she practices hypnosis. Of the three she’s the most practical and comes as prepared as one can be for a place like Malice.

Dislikes:

  • The use of hypnosis throughout the novel. People simply couldn’t have (partial) amnesia? It’s all false testimony on the senses doing more harm than good.
  • I had trouble with about half of the illustrations which were too stylized. I couldn’t make head or tails out of what I was seeing some of the time so I ended up just reading the bubbles. I figure somebody with more background in comics will manage with no problem. It just wasn’t the case with me.
  • The real victims are all the parents who have no idea what’s going on and only know that their children go mysteriously missing and if they’re lucky come back… but the kids never come back the way they were before the left and nobody knows why, not even the kids.

Last Minute Thoughts: The beginning is pretty scary (horror like scary), but once the kids make it to Malice is more like a thrilling adventure. I also sincerely hope that despite how it appears Justin is still alive. I can’t wait for the next book about the kid rebels known as Havoc.

Buy: Malice

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

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