Book Reviews

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My  review of The Doom Machine by Mark Teague

Jack Creedle, and the town of Vern Hollow, have been invaded by aliens. Well, not invaded per se, more like under the watchful eyes of creepy, giant spider aliens who are after Uncle Bud’s invention—a refrigerator-looking machine that actually can create holes in space and time. But, when Jack, Uncle Bud, Isadora Shumway and her highly-respected scientist mother are kidnapped by the spider aliens, things really get crazy.

What I liked: GREAT characters! All the main characters are different with their own individual quirks and attitudes. The plot is solid and interesting enough (who doesn’t love a group of hapless earthlings who have to save the Earth from alien invaders?).

What I didn’t like: Teague writes the story from many points of view, and each time we shift from one to another, there’s a scene break. Sometimes there’s two scene breaks on one page. It got tiresome by chapter five. I appreciate trying to write the story from multiple points of view, but there are better ways to accomplish that. It was also unnecessarily long. 376 pages that could easily have been told in 250.

An okay read, but nothing spectacular.

3.5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

What a fun read! The book is about 12 kids that get to spend the night in a super cool new library designed by a famous game-maker. Once inside, they are invited to play a game where they are challenged to “escape” from the library and receive a prize. The catch? They only have 24 hours to do it, and the library is, well, interactive…in a “Night at the Museum” kind of way.

What I liked: The characters are believable. All kids (and adults) will relate to the personality traits and complicated relationships experienced by the characters. I also loved the clues the kids had to figure out in order to solve the puzzles…totally made me wish I was in that library with them.

What I didn’t like: My only real criticism is that a few of the characters fell a little flat (some could’ve used a little more character development). I found myself flipping to get past a few pages because of the characters. But, the main character is great!

All-in-all, a fun book

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire

Set in 19th-century British Mars, Secrets of the Dragon Tomb has a combination steampunk and sci-fi feel. Edward Sullivan is a 12-year-old who has always dreamed of becoming a spy. One day, his silly cousin Freddie comes to visit and everything changes, and not for the better. His parents are kidnapped by an evil archaeologist and Martian henchmen, and it’s up to Edward, his two sisters, and silly cousin Freddie to save the day. As Edward embarks on a crazy and dangerous trek to save his parents, he’ll learn that people, including his own family, are not always as they seem, and being a spy is not exactly what he thought it would be.

What I liked: I absolutely LOVED the characters. Each was completely unique and fully developed. The book was non-stop action and adventure, with crazy situations and fabulous locales.

What I didn’t like: not much. There were a couple times where I thought the situation went on a little long, but then something would happen that pulled me right back into the story.

I would definitely recommend this book.

5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

What a fun read! The book is about 12 kids that get to spend the night in a super cool new library designed by a famous game-maker. Once inside, they are invited to play a game where they are challenged to “escape” from the library and receive a prize. The catch? They only have 24 hours to do it, and the library is, well, interactive…in a “Night at the Museum” kind of way.

What I liked: The main character is great. All kids (and adults) will relate to the personality traits and complicated relationships experienced by the main characters. I also loved the clues the kids had to figure out in order to solve the puzzles…totally made me wish I was in that library with them!

What I didn’t like: My biggest criticism is that a few of the characters fell a little flat, like they had no real distinctive personality. Parts of the book were a little slow, but not enough to make me want to stop reading. Overall, a fun book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
My review of Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

The storyline is really fun. An average 12-year-old boy is selected to go to Spy School, which is pretty cool. And, like all schools, this one has all the great characters you’d expect to meet, bullies and all. But, when his life is suddenly placed in danger, things get crazy and all kinds of drama and adventures unfold.

What I liked: Great story line! The characters are intriguing and realistic, especially the main character, who thinks it’d be really cool to be a spy and get the girl, but finds out pretty fast that it comes with a lot of danger as well. And, anytime you have an ordinary kid thrown into extraordinary situations you have a great plot.

What I did not like: This novel would probably get a much higher rating, but one thing really bothered me about the book…it has curse words. I wouldn’t mind as much if they were used in context of heightened emotion (ie–he gets super mad and a curse word slips out), but they are thrown in so casually that they took me by surprise each time, enough to pull me out of the story, and that’s bad. The author could’ve easily told the story without them. That’s fine for YA, but not for middle grade.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

I recently re-read this book, and thought it would be a good idea to review it. Most people have heard of the Percy Jackson series, but may not be familiar with the Kane Chronicles.

The Red Pyramid was an interesting story, introducing the reader to the world of Egyptian gods. Because most people, myself included, grew up learning about the Greek/Roman gods, it was interesting to learn about a completely different set of gods. It follows the story of an estranged, recently reunited, brother and sister who (like Percy Jackson) encounter a strange world of Gods and how they affect the human world.

What I liked: I enjoyed the first person accounts by each of the two main characters, Sadie and Carter. I felt that gave us a deeper understanding of each character. I also like the sister/brother dynamic. The two kids are pretty much strangers at the beginning of the book, having not spent much time with each other growing up and both jealous of each others’ upbringing. As the book progresses, they learn things about the other that not only brings them closer, but gives them a sense of understanding as to why they are the way they are (and that maybe their life wasn’t as great as each one thought).

What I didn’t like: The names of the gods and their roles did get confusing. It was hard to keep track of which god was son/brother (or whatever) to which god. I understand their roles changed throughout the history of Egypt, but it did get confusing trying to keep them straight. The author did a great job of trying to make the connections clear, but it still did get a bit overwhelming.

Overall, this was a great book, with interesting characters and exciting adventures. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in mythology or for kids who love a great adventure.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Last Treasure by Janet Anderson

After getting a letter from an estranged aunt he’s never met, 13-year-old Ellsworth Smith decides to go, despite his father’s misgivings, and see the homes built by his ancestor John Matthew Smith. Once there, he discovers that only seven of the homes were ever lived in, the other three had treasures that the ancestor had “hidden” to help future generations in time of hardships. Two of the treasures have already been found, and now, as the family has been torn apart by feuds and money problems, it’s up to Ellsworth to find the last treasure.

What I liked: Ellsworth’s character is likable and totally relatable. I absolutely loved the setting and could easily picture the houses of the square. There’s also an element of mystery, which, of course, I love. And, the ending is also a feel-good, stressing the importance of family and working together.

What I didn’t like: The book took a while to get going; you’ve got to struggle to get through the beginning. But, once you do, the story picks up and becomes really interesting. So, stick it out, it is worth it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Moses LoBeau (aka Mo) is a spunky 11-year-old girl who loves an adventure. But, when robbery, murder, and kidnapping arrive at her small town of Tupelo Landing, Mo and her best friend, Dale, decide to form a detective agency and solve the crimes, much to the chagrin of recently arrived Detective Starr.

What I liked: lots of great characters. Because the story takes place in a small town, all the characters (except the recently arrived detective) all know each other very well (maybe too well) and their interactions are fun and perfect. The main character is a true spitfire and the kind of girl you’d want as a friend if you were 11. It’s a mystery, which I love, and gets even more exciting as you near the end.

What I didn’t like: It’s a slow beginning. Very slow. Even though there’s a murder pretty close to the beginning of the book, it takes a while for the action to pick up. I found myself dragging to read the first half of the book. But, once I hit the second half, I had a hard time putting it down. Very exciting.

Overall, a good book.

4 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson


Every nine years for nine days a secret doorway opens allowing humans entry to a magical island where humans, ogres, giants, and elves live together in harmony. Nine years ago, just before the portal closed, the island’s young prince was stolen. Anxiously, the queen and king have waited for the doorway to reopen. Now, as the ninth year approaches, the royals prepare a ragtag group of rescuers to find the prince and return him to the island. Together, a wizard, an ogre, a fey, and a young hag befriend a kindly kitchen boy names Ben (of unknown parentage…hmmm) as they attempt to lure the rich and insufferable prince (are we sure that’s the prince?) back to the island.

What I liked: the first few chapters feel a lot like the first Harry Potter book, although written years before (maybe J.K. Rowling got her inspiration here). The characters are so much fun and eccentric, and the island itself made me want to try and find it. It’s a fun, fast-paced story with a charming, feel-good energy.

What I didn’t like: not a whole lot to not like. My one critique would be that there was no real villain. Mrs. Trottle and her obnoxious son are terrible people, to be sure. But, there was no real sense of danger. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was a bit predictable, but again, not a bad thing. Overall, super cute.

4.5 out of 5 stars

 

 

My review of Loki’s Wolves by K. L. Armstrong and Melissa Marr

I love mythology, so I was excited to read this. Most of the people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are descendants of the long-since dead Norse gods, Thor and Loki. With Ragnarok coming (aka the end of the world), the champions must fight in place of the gods. Of course, thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen never thought it would be him. He screws everything up! Now he must put together the team of champions who will fight to prevent the end of the world.

What I liked: Great story line. I mean, you can’t go wrong with unlikely kids who must take on the world’s greatest monsters to save the world from destruction. Great characters. Matt, Fen, and Laurie are a great team, even if they have a hard time trusting each other. I also liked that each chapter was through the eyes of one of the three main characters, so you get to know each of them well.

What I didn’t like: It was a little slow at first, but not for long. And, I think it did need some explaining before delving into the action.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

12-year-old Georges (the s is silent) moves into a new apartment building and sees a sign for a “spy club meeting.” It is there where Georges meets Safer, the self-appointed spy, and the adventure begins. They start staking-out the mysterious Mr. X who dresses all in black and carries suitcases (full of what?) out of his apartment. As the stake-outs grow more intense, Georges starts to question Safer’s intentions and questionable methods. This is a great book about friendship and confronting your fears.

What I liked: the characters are fabulous. The main character Georges is so believable as a 12-year-old making a new friend. I liked being in his head and seeing all the characters through his eyes. The two families are also great. Each character is so completely different and interesting, it made me want to meet them in person.

What I didn’t like: the first half of the book is so slow. It was a struggle for me to plow through the beginning, but then, once it picked up, it was interesting (and the ending was great). But, the struggle was real. I almost didn’t finish it, and that is bad.

3.5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School) by Gail Carriger

14-year-old Sophronia would much rather climb up things and take stuff apart than curtsy and sip tea. Once her mother decides to send her to finishing school, Sophronia thinks her life is destined for boredom. She is wrong. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies, located on a floating airship, does indeed teach how to be a proper young lady, along with how to be a proper assassin and a proper spy. When a missing prototype becomes the object of thieves, Sophronia decides she must find the prototype before they do, all while dealing with typical teen problems.

What I liked: it’s a Victorian paranormal steampunk novel. Seriously. It has werewolves and vampires and tea and crumpets, all set in a steampunk Victorian background. The main character is a strong, female lead who knows how to use her mind as well as her skills. The steampunk elements are fun, and although the paranormal elements are few and far between, it shows how interesting it would be to have a vampire as a teacher. It is light-hearted and fun, and a bit silly sometimes.

What I didn’t like: the language feels a bit dull. Because the author wants to remain true to the era, she writes in an old Victorian manner, which can drag on sometimes. Aside from Sophronia, none of the other main characters have any real personality and are pretty flat. The plot is a little thin, and at times, I’d forget what it is (a few times, I found myself skipping ahead because it was taking too long to get there). Luckily, Sophronia’s quirkiness kept the story itself moving.

3.5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase has been a troubled kid since his mother’s death, living alone on the streets and trying to keep out of conflict with the police. Then, one day, everything changes. He learns he is the son of a Norse god. Oh, and all the Viking myths are true. Unfortunately, so is Ragnarok (aka Doomsday) and he, Magnus Chase, is the only one who can prevent it.

What I liked: great main character. Magnus is sarcastic (something I love) and snarky. All the characters, good and bad, are unique. I love Riordan’s writing style (he is my favorite author) and I loved learning about Norse mythology, something I knew very little about. As always, I love that his main characters are from a variety of different backgrounds, and this book is no different (from a Middle-Eastern girl to a mute elf that uses sign language). Fabulous.

What I did not like: the book was just too long. The writing was great, but there were way too many action scenes. It was like watching an action movie that was more action than character development. By around page 300, I was ready for the final battle/showdown, but I still had 200 pages left to read. I understand that there were many characters to introduce, but fully developing fewer characters would’ve been more enjoyable and allowed the story to be less choppy.

Still, I did enjoy the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a stage play. If you are expecting it to read like a book, then you need to readjust your thinking. The play tells the story of Harry Potter (as an adult) and his youngest son, Albus. While Harry is dealing with problems at his job at the Ministry of Magic, Albus is struggling with his first year at Hogwarts, and the pressure of a family legacy.

What I liked: the characters are all fabulous. The originals (Harry, Hermione, and Ron) are adults now and act accordingly, not like they think they’re still teenagers. They behave as real adults would. The new characters of Albus and Scorpius are interesting and unique, and you find yourself rooting for their friendship. I also loved the time-travel element. So much fun. The father/son tension is also endearing. You feel bad for both of them.

What I didn’t like: I missed some of the old characters. I know that it’s unrealistic for a stage play to have so many characters, but I was left wondering what happened to some of the people (like why is Ron running the Joke Shop and not George?) The beginning is a little slow, it took me a while to get into it. But, once I did, I really enjoyed it. It is a fast read.

4 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet

Strange title. Strange book. In The Cabinet of Earths, 13-year-old timid Maya has moved to Paris (something she had no desire to do) and has a growing suspicion that her mother’s cancer is returning. But soon, she begins to notice strange things…the salamander door handle that moves, but only she sees it; a handsome purple-eyed man who seems too interested in Maya’s family; and a strange, magical cabinet that wants Maya as its keeper. When her little brother’s life becomes endangered, Maya becomes a powerhouse and challenges the forces of evil.

What I liked: Great characters! Maya is believable and her character grows throughout the story, and the relationship with her brother is sweet. All her relatives in France are so strange, and completely fascinating (I mean, who has a purple-eyed cousin that hasn’t aged in 100 years?). The plot is bizarre and different, and very, very interesting.

What I didn’t like: parts of the book move a bit slow. Characters are introduced (like the Dolphin), a big deal is made about them, and then they just sort of disappear. I thought that Paris would play more into the book since the author made it a point to move the characters there, but very few references to Paris are made and the story really could’ve taken place anywhere. But, all of these are minor. I still enjoyed the book.

4 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones tells the story of Zach, Poppy, and Alice, three kids who love playing make-believe adventures with their dolls. When the Great Queen, aka a creepy bone-china doll locked in a cabinet in Poppy’s house, begins haunting Poppy’s dreams for real, the trio decides to take the doll (and her ghost) to her burial site and lay her doll bones to rest.

What I liked: Great coming-of-age story. The three kids are relatable and their friendship, including the drama, is totally believable. It’s a bit scary at times, but those scenes are well-written.

What I did not like: Beginning is a bit slow, but it does pick up. The characters are each a bit selfish, and I found myself sometimes becoming annoyed with them (but I guess that is real life). But, what I did not like at all, and the reason this gets a 3 star rating, is that the kids steal a bicycle and a boat, and they break into a library, all with virtually no consequences. I’m not okay with that.

3 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Witch Wars by Sibeal Pounder

When Fran the Fairy shows up at Tiga Whicabim’s shed (not house, that’s where her mean old guardian, Miss Heks, lives) to tell Tiga she’s a witch, the nine-year-old doesn’t believe her. Then Fran takes her down the pipes and into fabulous Ritzy City to prepare her for Witch Wars. Nine little witches compete to solve riddles and the winner becomes Top Witch and rules over Ritzy City. But, for Tiga, losing means returning up the pipes and back into the hands of the evil Miss Heks. With her new best friend Peggy at her side, a determined Tiga sets off to solve the riddles, win Witch Wars, and remain in Ritzy City forever.

Such a fun little read. Meant for girls around 8-10 years old, Witch Wars has a wonderful variety of characters. Tiga and her best friend Peggy are definitely the underdogs that you want to root for, but all nine witches have distinct personalities, both good and bad, that make the story flow and keep the reader interested in the story. The illustrations are remarkable and help bring the characters and the setting to life. All-in-all, a fun and quick read.

5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens

Murder is Bad Manners is a murder mystery set in a 1930s boarding school in Britain. Daisy and Hazel have formed a detective club and, up till now, their mysteries have been pretty simple. Then, Hazel finds one of her teachers murdered and, after rushing to get daisy, returns to discover the body has disappeared. Everyone is a suspect.

The story is fun and interesting, and one of the few murder-mystery books I’ve seen for kids. The two characters are extremely different and both completely believable. The mystery is challenging and doesn’t talk down to kids, like some books do. The two characters really have to work and deduce to figure things out. I won’t give away the ending (it is a murder-mystery, you know), but I will say it is not one you predict from page one. I would definitely recommend it for anyone, even adults, who loves a good mystery.

5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

The story is about two different kids. It begins when the main Character, Ned, and his twin brother build a raft and set off to sea, but the raft sinks and Ned’s twin is killed. The villagers decide “the wrong boy” survived and treat him awful. When his mother, a witch and keeper of a very powerful magic, leaves to see the queen, bandits attempt to steal the magic, and it infuses itself onto Ned.

The other main character is Aine, whose father (now bewitched by magic) is the leader of the bandits. She hates what the magic has done to her father. She is independent, strong-willed, and sensible.

The two characters meet and join forces to undo a very old problem.

What I liked: strong characters and a good plot. The two kids are likable and both undergo a transformation throughout the story, making them both better people. There’s a great connection between the two of them.

What I didn’t like: the beginning is SLOW. The two characters do not even meet until the middle of the book. Although, once they do meet, I did enjoy their relationship. I am also not a fan of the ending. It came out of nowhere. She’s gone for a year, then comes back, and he leaves with her without saying good-bye to his dad? It left me disappointed.

3.5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

When 13-year-old Theodora “Theo” Tenpenny accidently spills rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she’s surprised to find another painting underneath. Using her knowledge of art and a bit of research, Theo is convinced the painting is a genuine Raphael, which presents her with a dilemma. Her grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, what if the painting was stolen? Determined to find out the truth, Theo and her new friend Bodhi set out on a quest for answers and discover her grandfather had many secrets, including classified missions during World War II.

I love mysteries and Under the Egg is the best kids’ mystery I’ve read in a long time. The girls have to do research to find things out, so the reader learns quite a bit along with them, not just about art and art history, but also about World War II, Monuments Men, and the Holocaust. I love that the kids have to work hard to figure out the clues. The characters, including the adults, are relatable and likable. All-in-all, a great read.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Divergent by Veronica Roth

Okay, I’m sure many of you have already seen the movie, but have you read the book? I saw Divergent in the theaters when it came out in 2014 and liked it, saying that one day I would read the book. And, that day has finally come.

For those of you not familiar with the story, Divergent is a dystopian tale about a society where people are divided into five factions. When it is time for the main character, Beatrice, to choose which faction she belongs with, she is torn between her own family and a different faction. When she chooses to leave her home and everything she knows behind, everyone is shocked, including her new faction. Beatrice changes her name to Tris, with plans to embrace her new life, but a secret, one she has kept hidden from everyone, threatens to destroy her and everything she cares about.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It is, of course, much better than the movie because you get inside her head and understand her motivation for everything she does (which in the movie you don’t). She is a great, strong female lead, who is both empathetic and formidable. The other characters are also well-rounded, interesting, and very diverse in nature. The action moves quickly and I found myself wishing I could spend longer periods of time reading, so I wouldn’t have to wait until the next day to find out what happened next.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

A John Grisham series for kids? I had to try it out for myself. This first book in the series introduces the reader to Theodore Boone, the son of two lawyers, who absolutely loves the law. As the biggest murder trial in the history of his small town is underway, Theo wants nothing more than to watch every minute of it. Unfortunately, he has to go to school. But, things get complicated when he is approached by a schoolmate who knows a secret witness, one who could change the outcome of the trial. Now Theo must figure out how to get the witness to come forward before a guilty man is declared innocent.

What I like: great protagonist. I love Theo and his passion for law. I like that the reader also gets some facts about how the law actually works (always good for kids…and adults…to know). The book was a short, fast read, good for kids around 10-11 years old. (Might be a little harder for 8-9 year olds, only because of the legal jargon.)

What I didn’t like: parts of the book, especially the beginning, were slow (but not terrible). The only thing I really didn’t like about the book was the ending. It was so abrupt. It was kind of like…wait, that’s it?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

My review of Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Chasing Vermeer is a middle-grade novel centering around two slightly odd eleven-year-olds, whose intellectual curiosity brings them together to solve a mystery.

What I liked: It’s a mystery! I love mysteries, especially when they’re about kids out-smarting adults. The book incorporates art into the story, educating the reader on some pretty interesting art history. The cover and the interior drawings are wonderful.

What I didn’t like: Although it is a mystery, the two kids don’t really use problem-solving or reasoning to solve it. There are way too many coincidences throughout the book, and the finale is pretty disappointing and flat. The two main characters are likable, but it would’ve been more interesting if they had used their intellect to solve the mystery rather than rely on dreams and coincidences. I would’ve liked to have seen them discover clues and then put together the pieces to discover the bad guy and find the painting.

All-in-all, it was well-written and beautifully illustrated, but a bit disappointing throughout.

3 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Keys to the Kingdom 1: Mister Monday by Garth Nix

After suffering an asthma attack that nearly kills him, Arthur Penhaligon is saved by a mysterious man in a wheelchair named Mr. Monday that hands him a key -a key that saves his life, a key that puts him in danger. When an army of dog-faced “Fetchers” show up, Arthur knows he must go to the house, the one that only he can see, and unravel the mystery. But, once inside the house, things become much more complicated, and Mr. Monday wants his key back.

The novel starts off great. Fast-paced and captivating, the story gripped me and I wanted nothing more than to keep reading. Until Arthur got to the house. Then the story became incredibly confusing. Mr. Nix did a great job creating a completely different world inside the house, but it is more like a dark, Alice in Wonderland dream and difficult to follow. Several times, I had to go back and re-read something because I didn’t quite understand what Arthur was seeing. I found the story a little too dark and too confusing for my taste.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The name of the book says it all. The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody Ownes, aka Bod, an orphaned human boy who ends up being raised in a graveyard by its…residents. As he grows up, the always curious child leads a series of adventures both inside and outside the graveyard, but always threatened by the man Jack, the same who murdered the boy’s parents.

This was a truly fun read. The author introduces a wide array of characters from different historical time periods that gives the graveyard distinct personality, and draws the reader in by wanting to know more about the characters. Bod, himself, is a complex kid whose curiosity gets him into interesting, and sometimes stressful, situations. Although the story sometimes turns a little too dark, it always comes back to a safe, kid-friendly story. There was a smattering of artwork throughout the book, although I found it a bit distracting to the story. All-in-all, a good book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

My review of The Last Treasure

After getting a letter from an estranged aunt he’s never met, 13-year-old Ellsworth Smith decides to go, despite his father’s misgivings, and see the homes built by his ancestor John Matthew Smith. Once there, he discovers that only seven of the homes were ever lived in, the other three had treasures that the ancestor had “hidden” to help future generations in time of hardships. Two of the treasures have already been found, and now, as the family has been torn apart by feuds and monetary misfortunes, it’s up to Ellsworth to find the last treasure.

The book took a little while to get going, but once it did it was quite interesting. Ellsworth’s character is likable and relatable. I loved the setting. Anderson put great detail so the reader gets a good feeling for where they are. I could easily picture the houses of the square. There’s also an element of mystery, which, of course, I love. And, the ending is also a feel-good, stressing the importance of family and working together. All-in-all, a pretty good read.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars