Review: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prosper Redding has always felt out of place within his family.
They are all exceptional and he is just, not.
He feels like a disappointment, overlooked and misunderstood.

One night however, he discovers something very interesting about himself. He has a demon living inside him.

Apparently, Prosper’s great- great- great- great- whoever, made a pact with this demon to ensure success for his family for generations to come. Somehow, he ended up tricking the demon to get out of the contract and now the demon, Prince Alastor, is set on revenge on the Reddings, with Prosper as his vessel.

I know. It seems like a strange premise but this wacky Middle Grade novel is such a fun ride. Granted, there were moments, I didn’t know what the hell was going on and honestly, I am still not sure that I am explaining it properly.

The majority of the novel takes place in Salem, Massachusetts which is a town I know very well and love with my whole heart. The atmosphere of this is Halloween all the way. Thus, it would be the perfect read for October. Replete with all sorts of monsters, creatures, haunted houses, cemeteries and malevolent spirits going bump in the night.

There is mystery to this as Prosper struggles to understand the truth behind his family’s secrets and the demon living inside him.

Speaking of the demon, let’s talk about Alastor for a moment. I love him. His is fiendish and delightful and speaks in such a snarky, old-fashioned way. Ahhhh, what a treat. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions reading his banter back and forth with Prosper.

I thought at times there was possibly too much description. That would be my one, albeit minor, issue with the book and perhaps why I think I may have missed some of the finer plot details. I was so caught up with the descriptive goodness of Halloween that plot points apparently went in one ear and out the other.

But seriously, there was a cat-bat! A cat-bat, people. I WANT one!!!

Overall, this was a super fun, atmospheric tale perfect for Middle Grade readers who like a little bit of darkness in their stories. I am currently reading the second book and it is fantastic!!! The dread and despair continues…

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Review: Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Dragon PearlDragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Middle Grade Adventure at its BEST!!!

This rollicking space opera follows 13-y.o., Min, on her quest to find out what happened to her older brother, Jun.

When an investigator shows up at her house, accusing her older brother, Jun, of deserting the Space Forces, Min knows something must be wrong. Jun and Min have dreamed of joining the Forces their whole lives and going on great adventures together. Now that he is in, Min knows that Jun would never disgrace his family by deserting.

Forced to flee her home, Min sets out in search of the truth with the hopes of clearing her brother’s name and bringing him home. Very quickly, Min is forced to rely on her intelligence and quick wit, as she eludes security, works in a gambling den, stows away on a ship, impersonates a Space Forces Cadet and so much more. She discovers her own strength and makes some great new friends along the way.

Min is a really well-rounded, enjoyable character to follow along with. I grew attached to her and loved watching her development over the course of the book. The side-characters, as well, were great. Humorous and likable, they truly added to the story, particularly Sujin and Haneul. It was also great to see a non-binary side character play such an important role in a Middle Grade story.

The ending was fantastic, but really it was fantastic the whole way through. Nice, fast pace, smooth transitions from different scenes and a strong build-up to the end. I think it left off in an excellent spot to continue on with the story. I am definitely hoping for more books in this world and with these characters. It is my understanding that we will be getting more. (fingers crossed)

The bottom line is, I really had a blast (pun intended) reading this book which, to me, is what Middle Grade is all about. It should be a joy to read a Middle Grade adventure book and I was not disappointed with this one. The writing was very, very strong. I was swept up in the world and I thought the sci-fi elements were top-notch; no surprise considering the expertise and experience that Yoon Ha Lee brings to the table.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group and Rick Riordan Presents, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate the opportunity. I think RRP Imprint is providing a great service to our book community by offering a platform for diverse voices from around the world to share their myth, legends and folklore. I cannot wait to read more of Min in the future!

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Review: Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

Winterhouse (Winterhouse, #1)Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars!!!**

Elizabeth Somers is an orphan being raised by her miserable Aunt and Uncle in the equally miserable town of Drere. Just when Elizabeth thinks things can’t get any worse, her Aunt and Uncle ((…like these people could give the Dursleys a run for their money)) tell her they are shipping her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel for three weeks over Christmas Holiday. Are they going with her? No, of course not. They are taking their own, much more glamorous holiday, abroad.

Thus, Elizabeth embarks on the holiday that will change her life forever. Strange events begin occurring to poor Elizabeth before she even sets foot on the Winterhouse property. On the train enroute to the hotel you can tell something is amiss. This book has a wonderful blend of mystery, intrigue, fun and adventure throughout. You follow Elizabeth as she makes new friends, including her new constant companion Freddy who is also spending his holiday sans parental figures, and as she explores the hotel and the many mysteries held within its walls.

The cast of characters in this was one of my favorite elements. You have the two kids, Elizabeth and Freddy, both major word nerds, who develop a very strong friendship rather quickly. You have Norbridge Falls, the eccentric owner of the hotel who spews forth droplets of wisdom onto the children with every turn. ((e.g. “The moment we start feeling better than other people because of our capabilities is the moment we start to lose ourselves.”) And of course, as every good Middle Grade novel should, this story also has a very malevolent set of baddies, the Hiemses, a husband and wife pair that seem to pop up at the most inconvenient times and in the most inconvenient places.

For all of us booknerds, there’s more! There is a library! A library with a very special book hidden on its shelves. The Book. It is when Elizabeth comes across this book that things start to really heat up for her. There is so much here to enjoy: messages hidden in paintings, skeleton keys, codes, orbs of red light, coffins hidden in back bedrooms, long-held family secrets and so much more.

As mentioned before, this story occurs during the Christmas holiday season and I would highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself, or that Middle Grade reader in your life that will be haunting your halls this holiday season looking for something to do because he or she is bored!!

This entertaining little book could be the perfect cure for that! Additionally, the next book in the series is releasing at the end of December so they won’t have long to wait for the sequel!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Henry Holt and Co., for providing me with a copy of this delightful book to read and review. As always, I truly appreciate the opportunity to provide my feedback on a book and I cannot wait to pick up the next book in this series!

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Review: The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner #1)The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Prepare for a gush fest people because I LOVED this book!

The Storm Runner is a new middle grade fantasy novel that is being published through the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. If you aren’t aware, sort of the purpose of this imprint is to provide a stage for diverse voices to tell stories based upon myths and folklore from various cultures around the world. This book is based upon Mayan Mythology and is full of angry gods, magic, mythological creatures and a ton of action and adventure.

Our main character, Zane Obispo, is a kid who has struggled a bit in his social life due to a limp caused by the fact that one of his legs is a little bit shorter than the other. Throughout school, Zane has had to deal with bullies and the feelings of inadequacy that can come when you feel like people are only seeing your faults, as opposed to the rest of you. Despite this, Zane is a sweet baby cinnamon roll who is full of good humor, love for his family and respect for his elders.

I truly fell in love with Zane’s character. I think he is an incredible role model for young readers and, heck, even adult readers. Not only is Zane a great character but he is surrounded by a whole flock of amazing side characters who bring humor, love, depth and drama to this adventurous tale. After witnessing a demon crash a plane into a volcano near his house, Zane ends up heading out on a quest to save the world with his new friend, Brooks (who also happens to be a shape-shifter) and his lovable Uncle, Hondo. Together these three battle scary enemies and plot incredible schemes to save all of humanity. Through his travels with his Uncle and friends, Zane discovers who he truly is and how powerful he can be.

There was so much action in this book. Literally, scene after scene of edge of your seat moments that keep you glued to the pages long after ‘lights out’ time has come! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves middle grade stories and/or books based upon mythology. Additionally, I think this would be a great book for parents or guardians to read with the kids in their life. I think there are a lot of great discussions to be drawn from this book and a lot of fun that can be shared as well. Overall, this is a fantastic story that will leave you feeling like magic is not only possible, but real.

Thank you so much to Rick Riordan Presents and Disney Hyperion for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. It was such a wonderful experience, one I will be thinking about and dreaming about for some time to come. I really appreciate the opportunity and hope that this series is a big success and continues on!

Initial Review: YEEESSSSSS! ARC received – this story sounds amazing – I cannot wait to dive in!

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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs    |    Publication Date: June 7, 2011    |    Rating: 4-stars!

What a wonderful time this was! I decided to read this book as part of my Unread Shelf Project 2018 – basically I am working backwards through my virtual GR ‘to be read’ list and picking one book per month to read off the backlist. I added this book to my tbr in November of 2015. I have no excuse really for not getting to it before now. Sometimes I do end up avoiding hyped books subconsciously; it’s a problem. I did attempt to watch the movie adaptation of this book but didn’t make it through.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this! I listened to the audio in conjuncture with also reading a hard copy so I moved through it really, really fast. I loved the unique storyline and the characters. Jacob, our MC, is so funny – I laughed out loud several times in regards to his dialogue or observations. Another aspect of this I really enjoyed was the use of so many antique (ahem, creepy) photographs that tie right in to the storyline. I have never seen that done in quite this way before and it was really refreshing. I am sure I am probably one of the very few middle grade readers left on the planet to not have read this one, so I am beyond the moon to be crossing it off my list. There are two other books in this trilogy and initially I was thinking I would stop with this one, but after completing it, I do think I will move on with the series. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, middle grade read – it was quite an adventure!

So, I mentioned a while back a bit about my Unread Shelf Project – just a quick update, the first book I selected for that official project was ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote, which I had added to my tbr in October of 2015. I am currently reading that and absolutely loving it. I had read this book in high school, or shortly after high school, but really didn’t remember anything about it besides that it is a classic true crime narrative. I am so glad that I am rereading it because Capote’s writing is just so brilliant and I don’t think I was really able to appreciate that the first time around since I was so young. Now, as an old goat, I can really take my time and enjoy the dramatic way he constructs this horrific American crime.

Next up for this project is a book I added to my tbr in December of 2015: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This is a fairly well loved post-apocalyptic novel that I am actually buddy reading with some friends from Bookstagram; so really looking forward to that! As luck with have it, my copy arrived in the mail today, so I should be starting it this week!

What are some books you are looking forward to checking off your tbr? I want to know! Leave a comment below or reach out to me through my contact links.

Cheers~