Children’s Review: Trapped in a Video Game By Dustin Brady

This is definitely one of the coolest books that I’ve read. If you’ve ever played a first-person shooter, you could probably relate to this game. Before I get into the details, how about we start with the blurb.

Trapped in a Video Game Cover-minKids who love video games will love this first installment of the new 5-book series about 12-year old Jesse Rigsby and his wild adventures inside different video games.

Jesse Rigsby hates video games – and for good reason. You see, a video game character is trying to kill him. After getting sucked in the new game Full Blast with his friend Eric, Jesse starts to see the appeal of vaporizing man-size praying mantis while cruising around by jet pack. But pretty soon, a mysterious figure begins following Eric and Jesse, and they discover they can’t leave the game. If they don’t figure out what’s going on fast, they’ll be trapped for good!

Fun, relevant, and action-packed Trapped in a Video Game is the perfect book to get kids off screens and into books! Included in this edition is a bonus More to Explore section that teaches computer programming concepts through a fun game.

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Reena’s Review

The book gets into the video game right away, starting with the Tutorial. Like all tutorials, it’s a bit slow. After the tutorial the action really starts and Jesse gets thrown into a real video game.

The contrast between the main character and his sidekick, Eric, were awesome. You had main character, Jesse, who was a real stick in the mud. He was all work and no play, for the most part. Jesse had to be dragged into doing anything new or exciting. Then you have the sidekick Eric. He was ready for an adventure. I really liked Eric. Life is meant to be experienced, and he definitely wasn’t afraid to hop into the fun and games.

About halfway through the book, it started to remind me of Jumanji. I haven’t seen the old Jumanji, but I’d say this is similar to what Jumanij would be if it were a video game instead of a board game, like the first movie. Only this time, the game is set in cities around the United States instead of in some jungle. It had a nice feel to it and gave kids a little bit of American geography. Not a lot… just enough to identify some main landmarks around the US.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is it had no real conclusion. I read that this book is meant to be a 5-book series, which might explain why. As for this book, it closed out the main character’s dilemma, sure. The main character also experienced growth. However, the book definitely had an unfinished feel to it. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but rather a “to be continued.”

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. It was full of laughs. I give it a 5/5. I’m off to read book two, which I hope will wrap up everything a bit more nicer.

Corban’s Review

This is my opinion. I like the book because it has adventure, action, and it’s funny. The characters are very interesting and strange. I think it was cool and interesting. The setting was so nice, and it wasn’t like others books. I don’t know books like this one, like getting sucked up in to a game.

The characters were Mark, Jesse, and Erik. Mark was mysterious and strange like how did he survive 20 years with out food. Jesse was a usual kid. He went over to kids houses and usual things. Erik was fun and mean at the same time, like the time he pushed Jesse off a cliff. They were a team, so getting pushed wasn’t so bad.

The setting was in a game. So, it made sense. Like the giant praying mantis and giant crocodile. I also kinda want to be in it to. I rate this book 3 out of 5. I suggest this book if you like action, adventure, and funny things.

*This book was provided to us through Netgalley.

Children’s Review: The Boy from Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis

It took me a bit longer to get through this book. I have to admit; I haven’t developed a taste for middle school books yet. I picked up this book because I wanted to see what’s happening in the younger world. I’ve been working a lot with children lately (grade 3-5) and wanted to get an idea of what interests them. Apparently, The Boy from Tomorrow is of some interest to children. I mentioned it in a 4th or 5th grade class I was visiting last week and they seemed all sorts of excited about it. I don’t know how the kids heard about the book, but pretty cool they’re watching for it to come out. Before I get into the review, how about the blurb?

The Boy from Tomorrow CoverJosie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old and a hundred years apart.

The children meet through a hand-painted talking board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them.

Can he help them change their future when it’s already past?

The description seemed interesting enough. After all, I do have a thing for paranormal fiction. It wasn’t exactly the type of paranormal I thought it’d be. It was more like the psychic paranormal versus the shapeshifters, vampires, and occasional witches I’m used to.

I don’t know what’s typical of a middle grade book. However, I found the pacing to be very steady. I’m used to the edge of your seat kind of excitement. This one concentrated a lot on the every day lives of the character. It makes me wonder if this would be classified as literary fiction, another genre I’m less familiar with.

Another thing I found fascinating about this book is the vocabulary. Often times I think vocabulary for children’s books should be simple and easy to understand. However, I found quite a few words in the book that even I had to look up. I wouldn’t save I have out-of-this-world vocabulary knowledge, but I think my vocabulary is pretty decent. I liked it, but also wonder how difficult it’ll be for children. Since I’ve been working with younger children, I often marvel over the words that are unfamiliar to them. In a day of school, I can easily find myself answering the question “What does that word mean?” when simply expressing myself in what I’d think are simple sentences. But then again, I am in Nevada. From what I hear, we have the worst schools in America. 🙂

On with the plot! As I mentioned, the plot was steady. Not slow, not fast… it just progressed. It was interesting enough for me to continue. However, the book didn’t really engross me until about halfway in. What I did like about the storyline is it didn’t shy away from the subject of abuse. The abuse wasn’t raw or even cringe worth (in my opinion). Rather it was presented in a way that I think some children, especially those who might be neglected or experience a bit of cruelty might question is the abuse is deserving or not. I liked that, because there are children out there who aren’t treat right and don’t have an example of what “normal” should be. The other showed a type of abuse that might be on the subtle side for some children. Then she clearly identified it as wrong. She set clear boundaries and an example of what a “normal” parent-child relations might look like.

The author also did away with the nuclear family, both in the 1915 story and the 2015 story. These days it seems such a rarity to find a nuclear family in their first marriage. Not that I wish to see more divorces, widows, or widowers. However, it’s nice to see the less than perfect nuclear family in a book. It makes it relatable to so many children.

Finally, the book finished strong. Camille DeAngelis did an excellent job bring the characters full circle. When the book ended, I felt satisfied. All the pieces were nicely wrapped up and brought to a conclusion. Often times writers leave me with questions… I wonder what happened with… Not this time. I can’t even imagine there being a sequel with how well the author tied the ends together.

Character wise. Alec had a pretty strong personality. I’m not sure how kids typically are at his age (12). However, he definitely knew how he wanted to be treated. He had boundaries. He also had clear expectations on the way others should be treated. That’s not to say he didn’t behave like a child. To show he was a child, he acted out a few times. I don’t recall him having any consequences for his actions though. It didn’t make him seem spoiled, or anything like that. However, it gave me the impression he lacked boundaries for his own behavior. Other than how he should be treated, I wonder if he did have a sense of right or wrong about the way he should behave, like not running away from his father.

I thought Josie, the other main character, was very realistic in her portrayal. She behaved the way I think children behave. Though she was mistreated by her mother, she still followed directions the way children do. With the rules being so different in 1915 than they are today, even the side characters seemed realistic in their behaviors. I could see neglect being overlooked more readily in that time. Truly, I was more on board with the 1915 story line than the 2015 one. Whereas as the adult seemed overly tolerant and accepting of pretty much everything in 2015, the adults in 1915 seemed to work within what was allowable for the time.

Overall, I think the book progressed nicely, but I can’t say it was overly exciting. It wasn’t a bad read for my first middle-school chapter book. I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5.

I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley.

Novel Review: A Mate to Cherish by Laylah Roberts, Eliza Lee

It’s the last day of Spring Break for me, which means my time for reading is whittling down. One thing for sure, I’m glad I managed to squeeze A Mate to Cherish into the mix. Before I get into my review, how about a blurb?

A Mate to Cherish CoverThey are fallen from grace. A race once worshipped that had grown arrogant and greedy. Now they are few and spend their lives hunting the guilty and bringing them to justice.
A sexy dream. Two hot, sensual lovers. More pleasure than she’s ever felt before. What more could a girl want?

Um, maybe for it to be real. Lauren has hit rock bottom. After fleeing Earth, she ends up penniless and homeless. Before she can even begin her new job, she’s arrested for prostitution and thrown in jail.
Could things get any worse?

Well, yes, actually. They could.

Try getting horribly ill, ending up on the auction block, and being sold to two gorgeous, domineering, stubborn men who intend to return her to the very place she fled.

Malik knows the female in their dreams is their mate. He wants her, craves her, but he can’t bond with her without Tarin, and convincing Tarin she’s theirs will be an almost impossible task.

Tarin is always in control. Always in command. But when the hunt leads them to Lauren, he finds that very control tested. She intrigues and annoys him. Brings him both joy and terror.

But most importantly, she makes him feel.

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The Stars of the Show

I think today, I’m going to start with the characters. First, Laylah Roberts identified pretty much every one of the good guys from the onset of the book. It was interesting to have all the characters briefly introduced at once. I didn’t remember most of them, since only a few had any significant part in the book. However, I liked the idea of having finite characters. It gives me the impression we’ll receive at least 4 more books, where the other packmates find their bonded ones.

Lauren was a our heroine. She had a bit of a false bravado, yet she was also courageous. Truly, I think she only survived because she was the main character. If not for being the heroine and with the folks she got into trouble with, her mouth would have surely gotten her killed if she were a side character.

Malik, our second. If you’re familiar with the characters on the Orville, he kind of reminds me of Bortus’ mate Klyden. He’s more of a peacemaker/caretaker, but not at all feminine. He’s 100% male, through and through. I rather liked him. There was something about his tentativeness that I found rather charming.

Finally, there’s Tarin, the first. He’s supposed to be the protector. However, I don’t see him more protective than Malik. I’d say he’s more of a leader than anything… and a provider. At times, his boldness surprised me. I found him very demanding. I tend to dig in my feet when I feel like someone’s controlling me, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about him. He definitely wasn’t a kick to the curb type of guy, and I certainly saw his appeal. Just not sure I’d mesh well with him.

Most romances I read have one heroine and one hero. This one had two heroes, which worked well. I’d say when it comes to multiple sex partners, two guys is more than enough. The author wrote the roles so none of the characters ever seemed excluded. I always hate when there’s not enough people to go around and one of the characters gets forgotten, left out, playing the voyeur or something odd. One gal and two guys sounds just right. Pulled directly from the book, Roberts described their of this species as:

There were always three. A first who guided and protected, a second who calmed and cared for them all, and a female. An elika. The female was always the center, always the most important, the most cherished.

I love that! I could see this in the way the males acted toward their female. And it wasn’t weird. I’ve read a lot of novels where the female is never let out of the male’s sight once they’ve been claimed. This wasn’t at all the case. They had a bond, but it was reasonable… kind of the way one would expect a normal male to act. Plus, they had great chemistry.

The Storyline

This novel started hot and heavy. From page one… no… the first line, the heroine was getting hot and heavy. It gave me a pretty good feeling that tis book was made for me. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

The stakes were high and believable. At first, I couldn’t understand why her bounty was worth so much labor. As the story progressed, it all became clear and added believability to the story. I liked that the main characters had something significant to lose (their life, each other, their livelihood).

The style of writing was different than I’m used to. It had a bit of a cheese factor. In fact, it was so cheesy at times, I had my doubts. Slowly, I got a feel for it. It was kind of cheesy in the way Guardians of the Galaxy is or The Orville… quirky in an enjoyable way.

I would say there was only one time toward the end, when Tarin cooked up a hair-brained scheme that was the stupidest and most suicidal idea ever, that I had an are you kidding me? moment.

Other than that one hiccup when the pack let Tarin think for them, I thought the book was well laid out. I got the impression Laylah Roberts knew exactly where she was planning to take the story because everything wrapped up extremely neatly in the end. I was highly satisfied with the conclusion. I’d definitely read another of her paranormal romance stories. I give this one a 4.5/5.

Favorite Lines

  • “Asswipe?” the same voice asked. “I do not wish to wipe your ass.”
  • “That would’ve been a bad investment if we had,” Alam told her. “So far you have taken a lot of care and attention.”
  • So this is her pleasure spot? It was on the outside. Unusual.
  • “Sanitary? Honey, you have been having sex incorrectly if you think it is supposed to be sanitary.”

*I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Novel Review: Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase

Yesterday, I finished all my homework for the week (a day ahead of schedule). As a reward, I decided to take on a book. I had my first request to Netgalley in over 5 years approved and got granted Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase. The cover was nice and sparkly, as you can see below. What attracted me was the potential for hot, steamy sex. Oh… and it was also paranormal. You know how I love the combination. Before I get on with the review, let’s get a little blurb action:

Consort of Secrets CoverA steamy new gothic-flavored reverse harem paranormal romance from bestselling author Eva Chase.

Every witch knows the rules: Stick to your own kind. Never reveal your powers to outsiders. Take a consort from the witching families or kiss your magic good-bye forever.

For years I’ve been quiet, obedient Rose Hallowell. I accepted the man my stepmother chose for me. But I never stopped missing my long-ago friends.

Now we’re back on my childhood estate to arrange my marriage. The boys I grew up with? They’re still in town—and they haven’t forgotten me either. And damn if they haven’t grown up well.

They’ve got no magic, no place in my life. But they’re charming and sweet and infuriatingly hot, and I can’t seem to stay away. The more I try to resist, the more secrets I uncover about my family, my betrothal, and everything I thought was true about the witching world.

I’ve been lied to. I’ve been betrayed. So to claim my magic and my happiness, I’ll break every rule there is—and then some.

Don’t mess with this witch. Every rose has thorns.


The Story Line

As I mentioned, I was looking for a steamy romance… hopefully something that leaned toward erotica. To be honest, I thought I’d picked out the wrong book when I started reading Consort of Secrets. The book had a definite young adult feel to it. You see, Rose Hallowell seemed to be completely controlled by her father and step-mother. In fact, the opening scene had her riding in the car with them, heading into the driveway of her old family home… and not because they picked her up from the airport either. Rather, she seemed to be living with them, family style.

Rose’s “boys,” a she called them also had a young feel to them. They climbed trees, talked about getting into trouble with her parents, snuck around, things I’d expect from high schoolers and younger. I found early in the story that Rose and the “boys” were actually 24/25 years old adults.

Rose, I could attribute her immaturity to culture. After all, I didn’t know what the typical witching life was like. The “boys,” not so much. I got the impression they were in the United States or possibly even Canada. Rose talked a lot about Portland, which I assumed was Oregon. That being the case, at least one of them would have behaved like North American boys, right?

If Eva Chase took out the sex completely and just left some light kissing and a bit of high school sexual tension, I think this would have made a decent young adult book. It really had that feel to it, even the story line ran in the direction of young adult. The characters seemed more investigative in a kid detective mischievous kind of way than the way I’d expect adults to uncover oddities.

Overall, I think the story line was okay. It didn’t really fit into to the adult genre (style-wise), in my opinion. On the other hand, the sex excludes it from the young adult genre. I think if the stakes were steeper and it’d been a young adult book, I would have been more receptive of the book and liked it a lot more. My expectations were hot and steamy adult romance and I feel like I got a young adult story line with some sex thrown into the mix.

The Major Players

Let’s talk characters. 🙂

Rose was our heroine. I think I missed the part in the description that it’d be a reverse harem. I thought Rose’s personally worked well with the concept of a reverse harem. I honestly didn’t get the impression she was that invested in the boys. Rather she seemed to be the type of gal who simply wanted the attention of men. After all, she’d been MIA over 10 years without any contact with her boys but wanted to step into her old role. She also seemed to view other witching men as tools to accomplish her purpose. It gave her a bit of a shallow feel. However, I think it worked, particularly if she was leaning toward having a harem of men.

At first, I thought Ky was her leading male. This was before I realized it was a reverse harem. He entered the story first and even had his own chapter early on. It wasn’t until later that I caught on that each of the boys would have their unique role in the story. Of all the guys, Ky seemed the most generic. I found him easy going, with a bit of generosity and practicality. He seemed to set a baseline, where all the other boys deviated.

Seth, Ky’s brother, was the stick in the mud… a naysayer, really. He had a ready counter to anything that was suggested. I think his apprehension and inability to take a step forward really made him miss out in some situations. It gave him a bit of a lackluster feel.

Damon was our resident bad boy. I wanted to like him. I have a thing for underdogs, particularly when they have a story behind their rough edges. In the end, he didn’t draw me the way I’d have liked. I also found him sloppy, careless, and inconsiderate when it came to sex.

My favorite was Jin. He was thoughtful, caring, and selfless, not just in his actions but also his thought patterns. It seemed like Eva Chase left his personality for the last when finally giving detailed introductions of the boys. I think this was an awesome strategy. If she’d given us Jin first, I’d have had a hard time accepting any of the other boys into the picture. Jin’s tender devotion was beautiful.

Favorite Lines

This book wasn’t as witty as some books I’ve read. However, I did pull out a couple of lines I liked.

  • “She didn’t leave her ribbon on the gate because she figured it needed some air.” (The ribbon on the gate was Rose’s way of contacting her boys.
  • Rose by mid-morning sunlight was my favorite Rose. (Like this thought, Jin had a wonderful way of showing his emotions.)

Overall, I’d say this was a middle of the road read. I think it could have used higher stakes and a more adult themed story to match the reverse harem concept. Even so, it kept me engaged enough to want to learn how the storyline panned out. I give Consort of Secrets a solid 3.

*I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.