Book Reviews: Masterminds Trilogy

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Masterminds (Masterminds, #1)
by Gordon Korman
3 out of 5 stars

The town of Serenity is not as serene as it seems. Eli and his friends begin to discover that their seemingly perfect town is hiding dark secrets.

I really liked the mystery in this book, and the gradual unravelling of the secrets that the townspeople are hiding. The adventure aspects of the story are exciting and kept my attention, but sometimes felt far-fetched and unrealistic. I was rolling my eyes a couple of times.

The characters are smart and emotional, and they all have such unique personalities. I really enjoyed getting to know each of them, and seeing how their flaws and strengths push the story forward. They each react in different ways when they discover what is really going on in the town, and I can’t wait to see what further character development they might have in the rest of the series.

Continue reading

Series Review: Sherlock Academy

Sherlock Academy by F.C. ShawWatson's Case by F.C. ShawThe Holmes Brigade by F.C. ShawSherlock Academy by F.C. Shaw

Sherlock Academy
by F.C. Shaw

4 out of 5 stars

Rollie and his best friend, Cecily, have just been accepted into the prestigious Sherlock Academy. They have to solve clues to figure out their class schedule, learn the art of disguise, decode secret messages to find out their assignments, and analyze fingerprints in the class roster. But there is a deeper mystery hidden in the library of Sherlock Academy! Throughout each book, Rollie and his detective friends work to stop the evil mastermind, Herr Zilch, who leads Moriarty’s old underground ring of criminals.

I loved everything about these books! The characters, the plot, the mystery, the action, the school, the writing style… everything is wonderful!
Continue reading

Book Review: IS Underground

Is Underground by Joan Aiken
Is Underground (The Wolves Chronicles, #8) 
by Joan Aiken

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

I love this 8th book in the Willoughby Chase series! Dido’s little sister, Is, vows to find her long-lost cousin, and ends up looking for a missing prince too. All the children in London are being snatched up and sent to “Playland”, where they are promised treats and games and fun. But the horrible reality is a dark mine where they are forced to work as slaves, and Is has to go underground to continue her search. Is gets unexpected help from some unique and interesting characters, but it is only her fierce determination and street-smarts that will save her cousin and the other children from the horrors of the mines.
Continue reading

Book Review: The Soldiers of Halla

The Soldiers of Halla
The Soldiers of Halla by D.J. MacHale

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so happy with this last book in the series. There were a lot of questions answered and mysteries solved, and somehow it all finally made sense. I loved seeing all the story threads from previous books coming together, and all the settings being revisited.

There was a big information dump near the beginning that got a little tedious, but at least all that stuff was explained finally. But other than that, the writing is (as always) funny, serious, well-paced, compelling, heart-wrenching, with a sense of urgency that keeps you reading.

I was completely riveted with the plot, the action, and the characters! I cried a few times, and I was laughing at other times. I was utterly invested in the story.

After sticking with these characters through 10 books, it was so rewarding to see them growing into these amazing people, coming into their own, and I was cheering them on, fighting their battles alongside them. They are like real people to me now. Continue reading

Manga Series Review: Orange

Orange 1
Orange 1 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this manga! Naho receives a letter from her future self, and has to follow a long list of instructions in order to save her friend. Naho’s future self is suffering from all these regrets and it’s up to the young Naho to live her life in a new way, make hard decisions, and move past her shyness to become a bold new person.

The artwork is good, the characters are funny, and the writing is great! I love how all the characters are memorable and different. There is a lot of light-hearted comedy mixed in with the tragedy. I loved the sweetness of the story mingled with the serious material.


Orange 2
Orange 2 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love seeing all these friends growing closer, realizing their feelings, dealing with heartbreak and worry. Naho is so cute as she learns not to be so nervous around boys, and she is growing stronger and more confident on every page!
I am loving this manga so much! The story really tugs at your heartstrings!

Orange 3
Orange 3 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Things are heating up for the friends as they desperately work together to save Kakeru, and I love seeing how they really come together to support him. This story is so heart-felt and sweet, and I love that there are many light-hearted and funny moments in the middle of the serious subjects.
The characters are all so memorable!

Orange 4
Orange 4 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, this manga just keeps getting better and better! I want to scream at the characters and cry and laugh with them. I adore every single person in this group of wacky friends.
I may be emotionally involved with this story. Yes, I think so. Probably. Yes.


Orange 5 by Ichigo Takano
Orange 5
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My face is crying. My face is crying so much. Just a beautiful wonderful ending to this manga series! I loved seeing these friends all band together to save one of their own. I loved how each member of the group really had to open up and become vulnerable as they all got closer. Especially Naho had to take risks and become a bolder person in order to save her friend.
What a perfect ending! I love it so much!


Series Review: May Bird Trilogy

May Bird and the Ever After
May Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this book May Bird is whisked off to the land of the dead, called Ever After, and adventures her way across the land, searching for a way home. She makes some ghostly friends, and some enemies, in her quest to find the Book of the Dead which holds the answers to every question.

The writing is excellent, and there are many good characters. I just don’t like ghost stories. All the Halloween-style world building was not to my taste, but I think other people would enjoy that kind of setting.

The story takes a little while to finally get going, and then I really liked it! I loved May’s character. She is spunky and weird and brave! The people she meets are interesting and crazy and hilarious. So many wild characters! Continue reading