Mini Reviews #6: Middle of the Road Middle Grade

I have been reading a lot more new Juvenile Fiction as of late. Some of the books I have really enjoyed and had a lot to say about them! But some of them have just been middle of the road. So I figured that I could feature them here.

So, without further ado, my middle of the road middle grade novels:


15818254Jinx by Sage Blackwood, 368 pages

“In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magnus.

Jinx knows that wizards are evil. But Simon’s kitchen is cozy, and he seems cranky rather than wicked. Staying with him appears to be Jinx’s safest, and perhaps only, option. As Jinx’s curiosity about magic grows, he learns to listen to the trees as closely as he does to Simon’s unusual visitors. The more Jinx discovers, the more determined he becomes to explore beyond the security of well-trod paths. But in the Urwald, a little healthy fear is never out of place, for magic—and magicians—can be as dangerous as the forest, and soon Jinx must decide which is the greater threat.

Sage Blackwood introduces a daring new hero for an innovative new world as Jinx is joined by friends, battles enemies, and discovers life beyond—and even within—the forest is more complex than he can imagine, and that the Urwald itself needs him more than he could ever guess.”

My Snippet Review: A fairytale feel, but a disjointed story. This book started out as Jinx learning about magic from his rescuer, wizard Simon, and I found it to be extremely engrossing and fun! But then Jinx leaves and goes out on his own and ends up walking to the Bonemaster, who is the most evil wizard of all. Only he isn’t very evil or scary. And the dialogue and writing styles both got really tired really quickly. It took me a month to finish this book because I just got bored.This is just one of those books that fell flat with me. Started out with great potential, but ended in a bust.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Second Shelf Book (2 out of 5 stars).


The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis, 348 pages

“One Boy
Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die.
One Mission
Jack needs to find seven magic loculi that, when combined, have the power to cure him.
One Problem
The loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and haven’t been seen in thousands of years.
Seven Wonders
Because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.”

My Snippet Review: A solid beginning to a MG fantasy series. The characters were likeable enough, and the story was exciting. But I found it to be EXTREMELY similar to The Mysterious Benedict Society (Review here). But in this story, the crazy scientist is stealing children from homes with parents and not letting them go back home. There is a mysterious brain/health aspect to this story that is not really explained well, and I hope that book two dives more into that. But this story is action-packed from beginning to end, and definitely would appeal to fans of Rick Riordan for sure.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Middle Shelf Book (3 out of 5 stars).


marco-Bomb-mock-1PMarco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz

“Best friends Stephen and Marco know a thing or two about impossible missions. It’s thanks to them that cell phone thieves at school are apprehended, lost puppies are returned, and gym uniforms are lent out to the forgetful thirteen-year-old masses.

When Marco finds out that Benji–the dreamy exchange student on whom he has a crush–and his band are playing at the high school prom, he enlists Stephen’s help to crash prom and get Marco onstage to profess his love. But as most veteran operatives know, not all heists run smoothly. Stephen is sick of Marco calling the shots 99.97 percent of the time, and he’s especially tired of being the sidekick. On top of it all, Marco and Stephen need to act fast–before Benji goes back to England at the end of the school year. Even though these boys are experts in espionage, it’s going to take a mission impossible to pull this maneuver off.”

My Snippet Review: I went into this book thinking it was going to be a cute, fluffy LGBT read (I mean, did you read the blurb?!). But this book was not the fun read I thought it was going to be–this book deals with a lot of really deep issues, especially for a MG novel. This is a story about family, friendship, bullying, hate crimes, and love. Definitely breaches some serious subjects, which is why it is for sure in the older juvenile age group, if not YA. It makes me so incredibly sad that hate crimes and bullying have to be included in such a young age story, but that is just the reality of this world. This is definitely a realistic story, and not necessarily of the happiest variety. But Hannah Moskowitz captures the emotions of this story well.Both Marco and Stephen go through some serious character growth, especially for such a short novel. Overall, a very pleasant surprise for me, and a very solid contemporary/realistic MG standalone.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Middle Shelf Book! (3 out of 5 stars)


Well, that’s it for now! Have you read any of these novels? What did you think about them? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss!

Love and Bolthouse Smoothies,


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