Thursday, October 29, 2009

Enchanting Review: Trail Of Fate

Historical Fantasy
ISBN# 978-0-399-24764-4
240 Pages
Hardcover--Available October 29, 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

THE YOUNGEST TEMPLAR Picks up shortly after book one ends, TRAIL OF FATE starts with Tristan washed ashore, alone and not sure where he is. Drifting in and out of consciousness, he is soon discovered by an armed group on horseback, four men and two women, including the beautiful Celia. He soon finds out that they are Cathars and in danger from the High Counsel led by Father Renard after Celia upset the archbishop during a meeting. Torn between helping them and his own mission, he reluctantly leaves them and heads to find the port town with Maryam and Robard. But when they run into Father Renard on the beach, Tristan quickly changes his mind and lies about knowing where Celia and the others were headed. Deciding to help them, Tristan loses one of his friends when Robard decides to go home, leaving him, Maryam and the dog, Angel, on their own.

What I love most about Mr. Spradlin's writing is the way you feel like you're right there in the story with Tristan and company. Tristan is as stubborn and determined as ever, willing to risk his own life to fulfill his mission to Sir Thomas and deliver the Grail. Celia and his feelings for her throw things off balance. With a vow to one of her fallen protectors, Tristan puts himself directly into harm's way and his friends as well. I hope we'll see Celia again in the future, as she was an intriguing character who seemed a good match for Tristan. The relationship between Robard and Maryam continues to evolve and I loved the dialogue between them and Tristan realizing there's something brewing between them.

The action in THE YOUNGEST TEMPLAR: TRAIL OF FATE moves fairly fast at some points, especially when they finally reach Montsegur and again in the final few chapters. The last few chapters were some of my favorite parts of the book, when Tristan, Robard and Maryam are trying to escape France and the dangerous and equally evil Sir Hugh to find their way to Scotland to finally deliver the Grail. With a jaw-dropping cliff-hanger as an ending, readers will be demanding the next in this adventurous series.

Michael P. Spradlin is the author of more than a dozen books for children. When not writing, he enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with his family and worrying over the fact that he really should be writing instead of doing other stuff.

Enchanting Reviews
October 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Enchanting Review: I Am A Genius Of Unspeakable Evil and I Want To Be Your Class President

YA Humor
ISBN# 978-1-59514-240-5
304 pages
$15.99 ($20.00 CAN)
eBook/Print - Available 10/15/09

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Oliver Watson lives in Omaha Nebraska and he is both an eight grader and a criminal mastermind who runs a vast organization dedicated to the humiliation and punishment of those he feels have wronged him.

Tatiana Lopez is known by Oliver as the meanest girl in school. Oliver seems to have a bit of a crush on Tatiana.

The entire story is told by Oliver so sometimes events may be distorted by what Oliver would like to present. Oliver is nominated for class president by Tatiana and at first he declines, but later changes his mind when he claims he sees an opportunity to annoy or diminish his dad by running and doing easily what his dad worked hard for as a student. Oliver manipulates, threatens and bribes his way to an unopposed election. His dad expresses his pity that poor Oliver won’t know the success of truly running and winning an election. Oliver decides to manipulate a little more and sponsors a ‘rival’ through more bribery, manipulation and threats. He hires a campaign manager for his rival through his criminal organization. This is to ensure his final victory. Things don’t go quite the way Oliver plans due to the his mother and his campaign volunteers led by Tatiana.

This book is great. I really enjoyed the scenes where Oliver acts as though Randy, his fellow student and rival for class president, scares or hurts him. Each time Randy tries to console or help Oliver, Oliver acts as if Randy is threatening him or hitting him, or demanding his money. Oliver takes great pride in being an evil genius. In his efforts to be President, Oliver never truly plans what he will do if he actually wins the election. I like how the author shows the inconsistencies in Oliver’s story about himself. Oliver claims that he does everything completely legally and then goes on to describe incidents like having paid henchmen use blow darts to inject drugs into unsuspecting bullies. This is definitely illegal even if it allows Oliver to take revenge on the bully.

This is Josh Lieb’s debut novel. Josh Lieb is the Emmy-winning producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He worked on The Simpsons and Newsradio.

Kathy Johnson
July 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Enchanting Review: Without Sin

Contemporary YA
Prism Books
ISBN # 978-1-60370-683-4, 1-60370-683-6 EBook
ISBN: 978-1-60370-684-1, 1-60370-684-4Print
155 pages EBook
240 pages print

$5.95 EBook $13.95 print

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Sixteen-year-old Jacob Smithson has a temper. He's picked on because he likes boys. As a last resort, his parents place him in St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Boarding School for Boys.

When Jacob sees Avery Dendritch, a senior, the attraction is hard to deny. The two become fast friends, and as the school year progresses, their friendship deepens until Jacob feels he's found a place where he belongs. But the other students gossip about their growing relationship. Avery can ignore them; Jacob can't. Can Jacob curb his temper, or will his fighting get him expelled from St. Thomas, too?

I have to admit that this was my first young adult read and I loved it. The storyline was as I expected, solid and detailed. The author did a good job at building the characters, Jacob and Avery. The character Jacob is our temperamental, possessive, and protective type young male that makes him just perfect for the strong male lead. Avery was more the quiet type but no less protective of Jacob which is also good solid qualities in a character. It would have been an easy to follow, solid storyline if it had not been for all the errors. Errors such as no quotation marks, made it hard to stay in the story as I had to focus more on figuring out when someone was speaking and when they weren’t. The author and publisher could have avoided these types of mistakes with proper editing as it makes the story flow more smoothly.

The author’s website is where you can find all the latest new or updates about the author.

Enchanting Reviews
May 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Enchanting Review: The Hunchback Assignments

YA Steampunk
Wendy Lamb Books
ISBN# 978-0385737845
288 Pages
Hardcover—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Mr. Socrates saved infant, Modo, from the traveling road show he was the star of. Hidden in a cage in the back of a carriage, his small body hunched, his face 'blessed' with the ability to morph into whatever it seemed he wanted. But his regular face, his true self, is so hideous that he must hide it behind a mask he receives as a child. As Modo grows older, Mr. Socrates has him practice morphing his facial features, until he can replicate the look of someone else for hours on end, all the while schooling him in other subjects that a normal child wouldn't normally learn.

Modo was a very likeable and sympathetic character. Forced to suddenly fend for himself on the streets of London, he has to use the lessons he's learned in the past at the hands of Mr. Socrates, as well as his caregiver and his fighting teacher, unsure of when he might see the mysterious Mr. Socrates again. What he does is pretty ingenious, turning himself into a detective, specializing in finding missing objects. This way he sticks to the night, makes what he considers good money and allows himself to hide from the world...until the beautiful Octavia appears at his door, asking him to find her brother, something that pulls him into an adventure he'd never imagine and put him back in contact with Socrates. I liked his relationship with Octavia, a character as mysterious as Mr. Socrates, and I found myself wondering how close her past resembles Modo's. Mr. Socrates himself was very mysterious. You have to wonder what's ahead for Modo and Octavia, and if Mr. Socrates is a totally good guy or is there something he's hiding from his young charges. I'm really looking forward to reading the next book to get some questions answered. I'm sure more interesting characters wait. Mixed with a good dose of adventure, a bit of humour and lots of memorable scenes, THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS is a memorable read.

Arthur Slade has published several novels for young readers, including Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival, Megiddo’s Shadow, Tribes, and Dust, which won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with his wife, Brenda Baker. Visit him on the Web at

Enchanting Reviews
September 2009

Enchanting Review: The Magical Ms.Plum

Magical Middle Grade
ISBN# 978-0-375-85637-2
104 Pages
Hardcover--Available September 22, 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

To end up in Ms. Plum's third grade class is a real privilege as there's something magical about what happens in her classroom. And funny enough, none of her students are able to talk about it, even if they want to. Ms. Plum's supply closet hosts a magical secret. Whatever lesson a child seems to need to learn is taught by whatever animal follows them out of the closet. No one knows what's going to come out of there next, but one thing is for sure, almost everyone in class wants their turn.

I really enjoyed THE MAGICAL MS. PLUM. Every chapter is like a mini story all on its own, featuring a different student in her class. Everyone in Ms. Plum's class learns a lesson by the end of the school year, including Ms. Plum herself, which was one of my favourite chapters of the book. Though this can be a fairly fast read, it doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the book and the lessons that the characters learned. I really liked Ms. Plum and my favourite student had to be Darla. Out of the animals that emerged from the supply closet, it's hard to choose a favourite. The monkeys were great, the squirrels and I loved the peacock for Ms. Plum. I have to say that Ms. Plum and the peacock was definitely my favourite scene in the book, simply because you didn't expect anything to come out for the unusual Ms. Plum. The illustrations as well were really great and added a nice touch to the book.
A great read for boys or girls, even reluctant readers are sure to enjoy the magical glimpse into Ms. Plum's world.

Bonny Becker lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. She hopes kids who read THE MAGICAL MS. PLUM will feel less afraid of making mistakes and will that stumbles are a part of how everyone grows and figures things out. Visit her online at

Enchanting Reviews
September 2009

Enchanting Review: And Then Everything Unravelled

Mystery YA
ISBN# 978-0545087223
256 pages
Trade—Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Delia Truesdale never imagined her idyllic life in California was about to change. When her internet tycoon mother suddenly goes missing off an expedition to the Antarctic, Delia is the only one who believes T.K. is still alive. Worse, since she's the only one, she has no chance to decide to stay home. Oh no, according to her mother's will, she's about to be shipped off to the other side of the country, to New York City and two aunts she's never even met, let alone barely heard anything about. And the two of them are about as opposite as you can get.

With Delia the only one believing her mother is still out there somewhere, she's forced to deal with the fact that everyone around her wouldn't believe a word she says if she told them what she suspects. Between a weird phone call, mysterious satellite pictures online and the fact she just doesn't feel her mother's gone, Delia does what she can to prove to the world her mother is still alive. I liked Delia right away and her aunts, Charley and Patience are about as opposite as you can get. Charley was definitely my favorite of the two with her fun personality and unique way of doing things. especially how at first she had enrolled her in a totally different school without telling her prim and proper sister and was ready to send Delia there, until Patience came charging in. I loved how Charley set up a meeting for Delia to come to terms with what happened and it ends up being with a psychic, one who seems to agree with everything Delia's found so far. Her mother is still out there somewhere. But when she warns her she can't tell anyone, because the eight will turn into twelve, Delia decides to get her own detective to look into things since she doesn't know whether eight means days, weeks, months or even years. The pace of the book moves along very well and things are revealed all in good time, and the evolving relationship between Delia and Quinn, with his at times opposite personalities was enjoyable to watch unfold. Filled with unique and interesting characters, fun scenes and a mystery that gets more deep and dangerous the more Delia finds out, AND THEN EVERYTHING UNRAVELED is definitely an entertaining mystery read.

Ms. Sturman is the acclaimed author of several adult mystery novels, including The Pact and The Jinx. After graduating from Harvard College, Jennifer earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She now lives in New York City, a few blocks from Delia’s aunt. She has no free time, but if she did she would probably spend it watching teen movie classics and playing poker. Please visit her online at

Enchanting Reviews
August 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Enchanting Review: Ghost Huntress

YA paranormal
Houghton Mufflin Harcourt
ISBN # 9780547150932
352 pages
Paperback—Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Sixteen-year-old Kendall Moorehead is having a hard time adjusting to her parent’s recent move from Chicago to the small town of Radisson, Georgia. For one thing she can’t sleep. Not at all. Her father brings home a white-noise machine which should help her fall asleep but instead she starts hearing a scary voice that shouldn’t be there.

Kendall finds out that most of Radisson is haunted. Celia, a local resident and student at Kendall’s high school, lets her in on how she can go about finding out what’s behind the strange voices. In the meantime, Kendall’s father is being attacked by an invisible force at his new job. Should Kendall listen to Celia and form a local ghost hunters team to find out more? Can Kendall deal with her abilities to communicate with the dead in time to help?

I enjoyed this teenage ghost hunter’s book. The author does a great job showing the whole world of those who search out for ghosts and other paranormal things. In fact, the author is a paranormal investigator. Kendall’s struggles with her nurse mother not accepting her paranormal ability felt real. Her relationships with kids at her new high school were interesting. I guess if you live in a town where most houses are rumored to be haunted by Civil War ghosts, someone showing up and claiming to actually see them wouldn’t be that hard to believe.

What did feel forced was the whole pop references throughout the book. Also the crossing felt a tad bit abrupt. The sequel to GHOST HUNTRESS is coming out this fall. For those who love watching GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST ADVENTURES this book will appeal to them. I know I’m curious what Kendall will do later on with all those ghosts waiting to be helped.

Marley Gibson is a member of the New England Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the creator and founder of Chick Lit Writers RWA. Marley works full-time as a meeting planner and lives in the Boston area with her husband Mike. Find out more at or her blog

August 2009

Enchanting Review: The Blonde of the Joke

YA contemporary
Harper Collins
ISBN# 978-0-06-125560-1
260 pages
Hardback—Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Val knew there was something different about Francie the first day she showed up in her Physics class. Blonde, brass, and gutsy, Francie was everything Val wanted to be. Then Francie decides to let her become her partner in shoplifting at the upscale mall. So both the mousy brunette and flashy blonde go on a wild ride of stealing. Francie sees something in Val, a wild streak. Val is unaware of this hidden part of herself. The risks for stealing get higher and both of them continue to shoplift. Along the way other secrets are revealed. Secrets that will either bring them closer or pull them apart.

I enjoy this story of a teen, who felt invisible at her school until Francie appears in her life. The voice is unique and engaging. At times hilarious and sarcastic, you can’t help but be entertained. Francie is at times way over the top in her outrageous behavior. I could see why Val would be attracted to her. Val at first seems gullible but in fact is stronger than she thinks. The only thing I felt was missing was the secret of Val’s dying brother. And the ending tended to be a bit abrupt.

The secrets of shoplifting were very revealing. Who knew what a simple rubber band could accomplish? What makes this book engaging is how Val opens up from her shell to the very end when she makes a final decision that turns her life upside down.

Bennett Madison learned everything about shoplifting from working at the Gap. He lives in New York City. You can visit him at

August 09