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: Bunnicula by Deborah Howe and James Howe


by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: Bunnicula
Authors: Deborah Howe, James Howe
Format: Paperback
Pages: 128
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Chester the cat and Harold the dog are curious about the new family pet. The Monroes found the bunny at a Dracula movie in a box of dirt. Chester tries to get rid of the bunny, now named Bunnicula by the Monroes, because he’s convinced the bunny is a vampire. He comes to this conclusion based on a book called The Mark of a Vampire. Bunnicula has all the signs – the black and white coloring, the pointy fangs, the ability to turn vegetables white and to escape his cage through miraculous means. It’s a matter of family safety! The bunny has to go!

Why I Started the Book:

Bunnicula was a class assignment in the month of October for a Halloween read. The book was broken into sections. We started by reading one chapter a week and then our teacher read aloud to finish the novel.


  • The pictures in the book were cool. I wish there were more of them because the illustrator did a phenomenal job. The bunny is so cute!
  • It’s a very humorous story. There are a lot of laughs from silly to clever shenanigans. (e.g. Chester mixes up “stake” and “steak” and attempts to pummel Bunnicula with a steak.)


  • (This is not a book dislike.) Don’t watch the twenty minute movie companion to this story! It’s soooo bad! It’s really just awful and the book is so much better!

Last Minute Thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot and plan to read the sequel, Bunnicula Strikes Again! I think other classes and kids would enjoy this seasonal book a lot!

Buy: Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery (Paperback)

Book Rating: I give this book 4.5 treasure chests!

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Review: The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: The Chocolate Touch
Author: Patrick Skene Catling
Format: Paperback
# of pages: 96
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: John Midas is addicted to chocolate. He refuses to eat anything else. In addition he is a very selfish boy. One day when he finds a coin with his initials on it, he takes it to a candy store, and he buys a box of chocolate. The next day he discovers that everything he touches with his teeth turns into chocolate. At first John is deliriously happy but could this chocolate touch go too far? Is there such a thing as too much chocolate?

Why I Started the Book:

I started this book because it was an in class assignment.


  • I like how this book is all about chocolate. I love chocolate!
  • I like how it’s also based off of the Greek myth about Midas’ Golden touch. Explains the main character’s name, doesn’t it? :)
  • I like how this book is written (and wish it was longer).
  • I like the moral of the story: selfishness is not a good thing and to be thankful for what you have. I think that it’s very important to know that.


  • I didn’t like reading this book at school because I couldn’t grab a chocolate to munch on with John at the same time. I found myself drooling after every chapter.

Buy: The Chocolate Touch

Book Rating: I give this book 3.5 Treasure Chests.

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Review: Geek Charming by Robin Palmer

by First Mate Keira

Title: Geek Charming
Author: Robin Palmer
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 338
Grade Reading Level: Grades 7-11

Summary: Dylan Schoenfield is the most popular girl in school and is dating the most popular boy. Girls want to be her and who can blame them? She’s got everything… wealth, looks, and the hottest handbag on the market. When she accidentally tosses it into the mall fountain she begs Josh Rosen, a geeky boy from school, to go in and grab it for her. He holds out until she promises to help with his film project… and then in classic Frog Prince fairytale style, Dylan retracts her offer until daddy makes her go through with it. Is disaster looming in the future or will everything turn out all right?

Why I started this book:

I started this book because I read and enjoyed Cindy Ella.


  • Dylan has been so wrapped up in being popular that she’s totally removed from reality. Diva doesn’t begin to describe her. She says a lot of thoughtless things which come out very mean but her heart’s good.
  • Josh keeps his promise to show Dylan and the popular kids in a fair light. Too bad he accidentally grabs the wrong DVD for the premiere of the documentary.
  • That Josh gets with his dream girl, Amy Loubalu, and that Amy is a nice forgiving girl who befriends Dylan again after Dylan’s fall from grace.
  • Josh and Dylan’s budding friendship and bonding over Woody Allen and Everything But the Kitchen Sink Specials.
  • Dylan’s helpful and kindly meant makeover for Josh taking him from super nerd to geek chic.


  • Josh is a hypochondriac who checks out every minor phantom thing out on WebMD and is completely hooked on his inhaler. He turns that inhaler into a security blanket and uses it for stress, embarrassment, and nervousness. Addicted much?
  • Josh’s friend Steven is a jerk who turns the popularity documentary into Revenge of the Nerds without thought to the damage it would do.
  • Dylan’s friends are hypocrites. Lisa and Hannah both hold Dylan’s shallowness and casual thoughtlessness against her but they are just as bad.
  • Dylan’s popular surfer boyfriend is the worst boyfriend ever and Dylan’s self denial about the situation was old before it started.

Buy: Geek Charming

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

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Movie Review: Monte Carlo directed by Thomas Bezucha

by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: Monte Carlo
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Run Time: 109 minutes
Rated: PG

Summary: Grace thought that everything would change when she went Paris after graduation. And she was right in the most unreal way possible! When her friend, Emma, and her stepsister, Meg lose their spot on the tour they were on, the run into a hotel to get out of the rain and come across a girl who is strangely identical to Grace. Emma and Meg convince Grace to pretend to be the rich ‘Cordelia Winthrop Scott’ while the real one plays hookey avoiding a charity function, but Cordelia doesn’t know about her body double. Will the people in Cordelia’s life figure out what an imposter Grace is? Can love found in such circumstances survive a revelation of their little secret? Or will the trip end in disaster?

Why I watched this movie:

I watched this movie because I thought the trailer looked really cute, and I like Selena Gomez. When some friends wanted to go I said yes!


  • Selena Gomez is SO gorgeous! (And she is dating Justin Bieber, so yes I’m very jealous.) Her hair is so pretty and I loved her makeup in this film. Selena Gomez just looks great no matter what she does or what she wears.
  • Pierre Boulanger (who plays Theo) is also very hot! (And Second Mate Embry’s crush!) Oh his hair! So cute! I also like his character, the sweet rich boy who wants to help the world! :) Aw!
  • I love the whole idea behind this movie. I want more trading places movies like this one – there really isn’t enough outside of the The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday!
  • Owen (Cory Monteith) aka Finn on Glee was in this movie and played Emma’s boyfriend! At first when I saw him I was like ‘Oh my goodness! That’s Finn! But all Texas-fied!’ And I think he did a good job too! He’s got home-boy down.
  • I love all of the romantic couples! The characters played well off each other and were good for each other. They were are all so cute together! I thought it was funny how Meg was all grouchy, uptight and complaining all the time until she fell in love which made her happy, goofy, and careless. Oh love! <3
  • I thought the scenery was very very very beautiful I wish it looked like that over here! It’s WAY better then the view of the hedge out of my window!
  • Luke Brancey (the boy Meg dates) is also very hot! I guess this movie is just filled with very good looking people! Not overly realistic but fun to watch.
  • I liked the part when Theo finally works up the nerve to kiss ‘Cordelia’ but it was actually the real Cordelia instead of Grace (the one he wanted to kiss) and the real Cordelia slaps him! I felt bad, so bad for him, but it was still hilarious.

Last minute thoughts: After seeing this movie with all of the volunteering and building schools and such it makes me want to do something good and helpful for the world/ humanity. I’m green! I recycle! In conclusion, this movie was great! I would love if there was a sequel. :)

Buy: Monte Carlo

Movie Rating: I give this movie 5 Treasure Chests! It was amazing!

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Review: My Unfair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, Book 2) by Janette Rallison

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: My Unfair Godmother
Author: Janette Rallison
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 352 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 10+

Summary: After her parents’ divorce, Tansy Miller quits being a good girl. She stops reading, a passion she loved to share with her father but can’t stomach anymore, and starts dating a local bad boy. When she gets caught for an act of vandalism she didn’t commit or condone doing, Tansy figures life can’t get any worse… until her fairy godmother Chrysanthemum Everstar says she’s 72% pathetic. Ugh. Chrissy gives her 3 wishes to fix her life and Tansy isn’t going to waste them.

Why I started this book:

I loved the first book in the series, had to read this one!


  • Tansy is a rebellious teen, a little cliched in her approach to get back at her dad, but then again the girl does start out %72 pathetic. I love how her first efforts to change that make it worse instead of better. She evolves into a character you can root for as the plot moves forward.
  • Hudson – a manly high school senior – not a joke or an oxymoron. He’s not into the high school drama, believes and works for justice, is respectful, honorable, but still a little tarnished which just makes him that much sexier in a knight’s armor.
  • I love how Tansy and Hudson play off each other in this book, especially when they butt heads in the beginning because of Hudson tricking her into snitching on her (ex) boyfriend.
  • Rumpelstiltskin storyline – wow! Awesome.


  • Uh how stupid is the dad? All buddy-buddy with the stepson and ignoring his own daughter until she does something too outrageous and finally gets his attention coming across like a hardcase. Yet he wonders why she’s got issues? Eye roll.
  • The leprechaun once again didn’t appeal to me. He’s got to go and Chrissy agrees!

Last Minute Thoughts: When will Chrissy get her next assignment?

Buy: My Unfair Godmother

Rating: 4.5 Treasure Chests

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