Book Review: People of the Sun by Ben Gartner

About the Book:

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The explosive reveal about who John and Sarah really are and why they’re traveling through time, with their most gut-wrenching challenge yet. In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you?

For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!

My Thoughts:

People of the Sun is a wonderful and epic conclusion to the Eye of Ra series. Once again the reader is pulled into an adventure with John and Sarah, this time to the time of the Aztec. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it brings more clarity to the characters and the timeline of events. The author also ensures to bring out the effects of the previous time travel experiences.

This book goes into some technical detail while talking about time travel and the concepts behind it. As readers, we are also in for a wonderful surprise with the turn of events and the decisions to be made. The book is indeed interactive, giving the reader enough information to get them thinking.

In this book, John and Sarah travel to Mexico during the time of the Aztecs. They end up in the middle of a war which shapes the course of history as we know it today. The most important question is then raised that I think is one to really think: If you could change history, should you? This was perhaps the most intriguing concept behind the book and I love how the author tackled the question. The characters find themselves in this dilemma and it was quite a learning experience for me as a reader to watch them on their journey of learning.

This is indeed quite a roller coaster adventure filled with historical facts, people from history, essential lessons, some science and a whole lot of fun! This series is definitely worth the read not just for middle graders but for every age group!

Book Review: Jesper Jinx Gets Famous (Book #8) by Marko Kitti

About the Book:

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Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

Are you ready for the Puffington Hill International Children’s Book Fair? That is where Jesper and the Silly Old Scribbler are heading in this hilarious and wonderfully chaotic tale of secrets and devious revenge plots.

Can Jesper save the day with another Boredom Breaker or will a vengeful group of peace-loving animals get to him first?

 

My Thoughts:

Jesper Jinx is back and for once he is not the one making devious plans initially! Jesper Jinx Gets Famous is the 8th Book in the series that will leave the reader rolling on the floor with laughter. I loved this new book in the series as it brings a different perspective to the series with the Silly Old Scribbler narrowly escaping being caught for something he should not be doing. Oops, I cannot say more than that since I am sworn to secrecy too! 😉

The story starts off with Jesper realizing that it is once again the holidays and he can spend time working on new pranks with his nest friend Oliver. What follows next are a series of unexpected events that leave Jesper baffled. As desperate as he is to find out why everyone seems to know him, his brush with the media turns his few moments of fame into quite something else! This entire story is more engaging with the author talking to the reader directly and of course sharing secrets with us. We also have a whole lot of animals wreaking havoc or hatching a plan, I cannot say, but it is worth the wait! 😉

The book is inclusive and more evolved showing us how much the series and characters have grown. It has been an interesting journey to get here and I have enjoyed following Jesper’s adventures so far! We can always trust that he has something up his sleeve and even though we have many new heroes in this book, I think the author has brought it all together very well! The overall plot is funny and just what young readers need to have lots and lots of fun!

Once again, I highly recommend this book and of course the entire series! The books can be read by readers of all ages and serve to provide a good break from normal routines! Do give Jesper and his friends a chance. Be sure to talk to the Silly Old Scribbler if you happen to meet him! I’m sure he has something up his sleeve just like Jesper! 😉

Book Review: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates, #2) by Julia Golding

About the Book:

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Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!

Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.
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‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’

When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.

Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.

With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.

Perfect for readers aged 9-109, and for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Lucy Worsley.

My Thoughts:

Note: I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley. A huge thanks to the publishers and author.

This is the second book in the Jane Austen Investigates series that follows a young Jane Austen on another of her adventures to solve a mystery. Cassandra Austen is invited to attend a ball at her old school and asks Jane to come along. The headmistress of the school has a soft spot towards Cassandra, her favourite pupil. However, Jane’s presence is quite unexpected and received with some reluctance.

What follows is a series of friendships, some cricket and a theft that leads to Jane stepping in to investigate once again. We also meet Arjun and Deepti again, characters from Book 1 who are delightful and add some wonderful color to the book. I enjoyed the different perspectives in the book and everyone’s lives.

I found that this book was a little less impactful when compared to Book 1, but I still enjoyed it thanks to some of the newer characters, a talking parrot and some circus friends. The mystery was well thought out with a simple plot of theft which moves quickly ensuring the reader is engaged. In an attempt to solve the mystery, Jane uncovers many truths that shed light on the various characters of the book including the headmistress. This is the perfect book for middle graders and will give them a thrill to read it. Let’s not forget the cricket match that has to come to some kind of conclusion with the girls all showing off their amazing skills in a “boys game”! Not to be outshone, the boys also show off their skills in dancing at the ball! It’s all fun and more fun until things go wrong!

I am delighted to have read the books in this series so far and am looking forward to reading more of Jane’s adventures and her witty, sarcastic letters. She had a gift for writing and the author of this series does her justice in my opinion!

Book Review: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

About the Book:

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Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?

My Thoughts:

Note: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. The below review reflects my honest opinion!

This is a delightful book for young readers and fans of mystery and adventure! The reader meets a young and spunky Jane Austen who is thirteen years old. She is sent to Southmoor Abbey as a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week in place of her sister. Jane is drawn to the mystery surrounding the Abbey and the so called ghost who haunts the place. On a dare from one of her brother’s she decides to investigate and find out the truth since she does not believe that ghosts exist.

The story introduces us to a myriad of characters, including a father-daughter duo from India and Jane’s “lap” dog Grandison. There are many secrets and mysteries to be solved that eventually end up being connected. I enjoyed reading about Jane’s thoughts and experiences which the author described quite well. We are able to see some of the famous author in this young girl with her strong imagination and opinions. We also see how supportive her family is of her, encouraging her to write and share her thoughts and stories. Jane’s letters to her sister were a delight to read about and some of them had me in splits.

Though the focus moved away from the mystery of the ghost in between, the overall plot is well done and will ensure that the target audience of middle graders (as well as adults) will be hooked. The story and main character remind me of Nancy Drew and other such heroines who seek out and solve mysteries. The author has done a great job in bringing a young Jane Austen to life and I am indeed looking forward to join them on further adventures along with all the friends Jane (and enemies) Jane makes along the way! I do hope you all join the adventure too.

Book Review: The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad

  Join us for this tour from June 1 to Jun 28, 2021!

 Book Details:

Book Title:  The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions, Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  175 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Amazon KDP
Release date:   March 2021
Content Rating:  PG: Some intense scenes and mild language.

Book Description:

The point of no return has come!

It’s the summer before high school and life is about to change for fourteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer hexes her with everlasting powers, requiring her to become an enchantress. If she cannot learn to control her magic pronto, she will forget her loved ones and serve as the warlock’s eternal slave.

In order to control her powers, Alyssa must gain control of her emotions. With the struggles of adolescence and disasters everywhere, catastrophes are bound to happen! It’s only a matter of time before Alyssa’s world changes, for better or worse…

BUY THE BOOK:
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Meet the Author: Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She has also written The Frights of Fiji, and A Curse of Mayhem and is constantly creating and brainstorming new ideas.

Sunayna also loves cartoons, traveling, and thinking outside the box.

She lives in New York.

Connect with the Author:   website ~ twitter ~ goodreads

 

Enter the Giveaway:

THE NEW ENCHANTRESS (An Alyssa McCarthy Magical Missions) Book Tour Giveaway

My Thoughts (Book Review):

The New Enchantress is Book 3 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. This book follows Alyssa as she once again gains magic powers and has to become an enchantress. She has to learn to control her powers otherwise she will forget everyone she knows and loves and become a slave to the evil warlock. The story starts off with an upcoming middle grade graduation sleep over where we see Alyssa and her friends gather at her house to spend some time. However, Alyssa’s spirits are dampened due to the loss of her laptop and her newly gained magical powers. Being a moody young teen, she takes it out on her friends causing some backlash.

I found this to be quite childish in the way the friendships are handled. Some of the things the girls say or Alyssa says do not seem to fit with a young teen. It was difficult for me to relate to them as young teens with the way they talked and behaved. However, the writing in this book is much much better than the previous two books and the focus on the plot has been strengthened. I appreciate and acknowledge the maturity in the author’s writing when compared to the previous books, though I believe that there is room for further improvement.

The plot is much the same as the previous books with something going wrong and Alyssa setting out to fix it. One thing however is how she has to learn to control her emotions to be able to control her powers and thus foil the warlock’s plans. By the end, she learns the meaning of friendship, of thinking about things beyond herself and of giving back. I like how this was handled in the book.

Overall an entertaining magic filled read that will keep readers busy for an evening or two!

Guest Post by Sunayna Prasad:

How I Chose my Novels’ Time Settings

We may be living in 2021 (and a global pandemic), but the events of my stories take place over 10 years ago.

In “The Frights of Fiji” and “A Curse of Mayhem,” the year revealed is 2010. “The New Enchantress” is set in 2011. So, my MC, Alyssa would actually only be a few years younger than me if she were real. She would have just turned 24 this past April.

While that may sound disappointing to certain people, there is a reason why the stories take place a long time ago. Some editors pointed out that the stories were set when my readers were babies or really little and suggested that I updated the first book’s setting, which got revised as a new edition in 2018. However, I am glad that I rejected that advice. The editor also understood and agreed that authors should get to choose to set their stories whenever they want.

But I will share two reasons why the events of my “Magical Missions” series take place in the early 2010s.

1: The first installment was originally written and published in the early 2010s.

I started working on book 1 after a bad turnout with a poorly written novel that I published just around high school graduation. I began work on it in 2011 and published it in 2013 as “From Frights to Flaws.”

I chose the 2010 setting because at that time, I wanted my MC to not only be close in age with me, but also have technology not be too advanced or primitive. In “The Frights of Fiji,” there is even the mentioning of an iPod and the iPad getting released soon.

I know technology and times change drastically and quickly. And if I were to write an unrelated book today, I would probably set it around or close to this time.

Which brings me to my next point:

2: You never know what will happen as you live.

There is a lot of controversy and discussions on the dilemmas of writing a story in today’s world, with a pandemic and restrictions on how to live because of it. Some say set your stories in 2019 or a little earlier, and others give all sorts of chaotic advice.

Some authors change their stories to make the characters live in the covid-19 pandemic, where they have to wear face masks, socially distance, refrain from activities like kissing and traveling. I personally would avoid doing this.

Some experts even suggest omitting the pandemic from your stories in order for readers to escape from the stress we’re living through. But they also worry about it misleading future generations about what the world really experienced during 2020 and 2021. So, certain writers might just leave out the dates or years their stories take place as the pandemic could be a thing od the past once the books are finished or when people get it them.

Therefore, I am glad that I stuck with my original time setting. Readers still enjoyed the stories, regardless of the years they take place.

Although I plan to make the final installment’s last setting no later than 2019, my little (not so) secret is that… there is no pandemic happening in my book’s universe.

While we went on a global lockdown in March 2020 and lived with many restrictions since then, my characters continued to live typical lives (going to concerts, bars, etc.). I feel like after going through the difficult time that I never expected, I was uncomfortable making my characters go through that, even if I won’t publish a book set later than 2019. Also, many people crave escapism from stressful times.

There is a work of fiction that has specific dates throughout different moments of the protagonist’s life, and events of the main story take place in 2020. But the characters don’t have to wear face masks, socially distance, quarantine, or have any other pandemic restrictions. They basically live a normal life, except for the domination of advanced technology. This is the film, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines.”

All in all, those are the reasons I chose my novels’ time setting.

Book Review: The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions #1) by Sunayna Prasad

About the Book:

A world of magic and adventure awaits for 12-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer kidnaps her to an enchanted island, filled with magical creatures and technology, but also danger. It is up to Alyssa to defeat the peril and overcome the warlock.

My Thoughts:

I read and am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour by iRead Book Tours.

I truly love reading middle grade and YA fiction! I love the feeling of adventure and the various scrapes the characters get into. This is what drove me to sign up for the blog tour and start reading this new series by Sunayna Prasad.

The Frights of Fiji is Book 1 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. In this book, we are introduced to Alyssa, a 12-year old who lives with her uncle and cousin ever since her parents passed away. Right from the beginning we are introduced to the existence of magic as Alyssa meets Simon, a talking bust and then discovers a plot that involves kidnapping her. Initially it felt weird as Alyssa tries to convince her uncle of the existence of magic. As the story progresses, we are introduced to a world of magic and magical technology, chronicled along the lines of what we have and use in general. We are introduced to various characters and the evil warlock who is plotting to capture Alyssa.

The writing is amateurish and abrupt in sections, jumping from one thought to another. The characters are not well developed and I was not able to connect with any of them, though I did like Simon a little. I also found the level of explanation into the technology used to be unnecessary and somewhat repetitive. All this made for a difficult read.

However, there are elements to the plot that have potential and make for an interesting story. There is travel to a new place, magical locations and rules that are not known to normal people and so on. I like how Alyssa and her friends work together to foil the plan of the warlock and find a solution to their predicament. Overall, this would be a one time read at best, but I am definitely going to read on to see what happens!

Wrap-Up: Books Read in April 2021

Hey guys! 

Here’s my wrap-up post for the Month of April!

I read 5 books in the month. This is low compared to my usual number, but I have been quite busy and was not able to spend a lot of time reading! But I am happy that my reading streak has not stopped.

I thoroughly enjoyed the below books and as you can see, I read a little more romance in the month when compared to other genres! I guess I just needed some light reading 🙂

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Once again, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or book recommendations! You can also just stop by to chat, I’m almost always around! 🙂

Book Review: Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

A blast from the past, nostalgia hit me as I picked up this book once again to re-visit the sights and smells (trust me some are rather nasty, especially in Goblintown) of Muddle Earth.

About the Book:

Muddle Earth (Muddle Earth, #1-#3)

Joe Jefferson is an ordinary schoolboy from ordinary Earth. At least, he was. But something strange happened when he was walking his dog, and now he’s Joe the Barbarian—fearless warrior-hero, summoned by Muddle Earth’s leading wizard* to slay ogres, wrestle dragons, and bravely confront villains.

Joe doesn’t feel much like a warrior-hero.** But evil is stirring in the heart of Elfwood, and the people of Muddle Earth need help (although most of them don’t know it yet). Perhaps Joe Jefferson really is a hero after all. . . .

* Actually, Muddle Earth’s only wizard. And he’s not very good.
** He doesn’t really look much like one either.

My Thoughts:

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a very long time, but even more so, this book has remained close to my heart for much longer! This is a book that was a part of my childhood and honestly is one of the few books that made me laugh as much as I did.

This is a story of a young boy Joe who ends up in a situation he never expected to be in. All of a sudden, he is in Muddle Earth, portrayed as the fearless warrior-hero who has come to save them from evil. This is a hilarious adventurous story that follows Joe as he figures out how to survive and finds that everything he does is somehow accepted by the people of Muddle Earth.

Readers are in for a treat as we encounter ogres, dragons, a wizard (who is not very good), and a kid who is quite smart and also rather lost. The story is hilarious and will have the readers in splits. There are pictures to accompany the text which are brilliant and add an even more eccentric spin! I love how the characters are portrayed through the pictures.

This is very much a treat and should be read by all children. Even adults are in for a hilarious adventure!

Wrap-Up: Books Read in March 2021

Hey guys! 

Here’s my wrap-up post for the Month of March! (A little late for this post, I know! But I have been busy and I lost track of these posts!)

I read 9 books in the month which is a major improvement! I am quite happy to have kept the reading streak going.

I thoroughly enjoyed the below books and as you can see, they span a whole lot of genres which kept me entertained.

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Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Book 3)

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Once again, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or book recommendations! You can also just stop by to chat, I’m almost always around! 🙂

WWW WEDNESDAY – 14/04/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

A variety of genres actually!

Twinfluence by Grace Costello (Goodreads Author), 

Nina Walker (Goodreads Author), M.F. Lorson (Goodreads Author)

Twinfluence

The Frights of Fiji by Sunayna Prasad

The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, #1)

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am hoping to get started with my brand new copy of The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. The book has an amazing cover and spray painted edges! Considering that this is one of the most talked about books, I am excited to join the fan club!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!