Embassy of the Dead – Book Review

Embassy of the Dead #1 By: Will Mabbitt
Illustrated By: Taryn Knight
Published On: January 1, 2018

Embassy of the Dead is the kind of book I would have loved to read as a child. It’s spooky and ghostly, but in a fun way. Definitely never truly scary.

It all starts out when Jake accepts a package from a ghost who mistakes him for someone else. When Jake gets home he opens the package to discover it’s part of a finger. That’s yucky enough, but in the Afterworld this violation sets off alarm bells and they immediately assign someone to send Jake to the Eternal Void. Jake needs to find a way out of this fast. With the help of Stiffkey (the ghost who accidentally gave him the package) and Penny they discover that if he can get an Undoer’s license it will invalidate the law that he supposedly broke. Now all he has to do is find a ghost to ‘undo’.

In general the story has a simple and straightforward plot that will be easy for kids to follow. The book also includes a few illustrations that helps young readers visualize certain situations or characters. This is a big plus for me because I remember how much I loved when middle grade books included pictures. Then, between some of the chapters are facts about different types of ghosts, their characteristics and how to handle them.

The only issue I have is that it used a word a few times that in America may be considered a mild cuss word. The way it was used within the book put it into a grey area so it’s definitely not straight-out cussing. But generally it’s word that parents try to steer their kids away from and don’t want them to repeat.

All in all a fun story that gives young readers a hauntingly good time.

Rating: 4 stars

Description:

Jake Green is dead. Or he might as well be when he mistakenly accepts a package from the Embassy of the Dead in this hilarious adventure of the afterlife, the first in a series.

When Jake Green opens a mysterious box containing a severed finger, he accidentally summons a grim reaper intent on dragging him to the Eternal Void (yes, it’s as fatal as it sounds). Now Jake is running for his life. Luckily, he has a knack for talking to ghosts, which just might help him survive long enough to reach the Embassy of the Dead and plead his case. With the help of a prankster poltergeist and a dead undertaker, Jake dodges fearsome undead creatures, discovers his own ghostly abilities, and gets excused from the school field trip due to a terrible (and made-up) bout of diarrhea. But the Embassy has its own problems, and Jake must be very careful where he places his trust–in both the living and the dead. With a plot that zips and a colorful cast of characters, this delightful new series delivers laughs and shivers in equal measure. 

Kiki MacAdoo and the Graveyard Ballerinas – Book Review

By: Colette Sewall
Published On: August 4, 2020

After having a little trouble at the beginning, I found this to be an adorable story about a young girl saving her sister from ghost sylphs who lure young ballerinas to their death.

Kiki isn’t a natural ballerina like her sister is, but it is something she enjoys. While their father is away at a archaeological dig, both girls attend a dance conservatory at Mount Faylinn. Set next to the conservatory is a mysterious forest which the teachers warn them not to enter. Of course, Kiki does and begins to learn about its inhabitants – the fairy folk as well as the sylphs, who dance the ballet Giselle.

I will admit my struggle at the beginning was due to verb tense. After reading book after book that use a specific verb tense it took a little adjustment on my part to settle in to this one’s style. (Example of the difference “He smiles at her” vs “He smiled at her”) But once I did I found I quite enjoyed the story. The relationship between Kiki and her sister as well as Oliver (a boy who lives nearby) were both heart-warming with a positive, uplifting feel to it. Although there are ghosts and tense moments at the end, the bond between sisters and friends won out.

Using the Giselle ballet was a unique and perfect choice for this ghostly story. Most kids won’t be as familiar with it as the Nutcracker, but once they learn about this ghost-filled ballet they’ll come to appreciate it.

General themes include acknowledging and accepting that not everyone is perfect at everything, jealousy, greed, and sisterly bonds.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Owl Hollow Press for the advanced reader story and opportunity to provide an honest review.

Description:

When eleven-year-old Kiki MacAdoo and her talented older sister go to Mount Faylinn Dance Conservatory for the summer, they ignore the brochure’s mysterious warning that “ballets come alive” in the nearby forest.

But after her sister disappears, it’s up to Kiki to brave the woods and save her sister from the ghost sylphs that dance young girls to their deaths. As Kiki unlocks the mysteries of Mount Faylinn, the ballet of the ghost sylphs, Giselle, simultaneously unfolds, sending Kiki on the adventure of a lifetime.

Magic 7 – Never Alone – Graphic Novel Review

Script by: Kid Toussaint
Art by: Rosa La Barbera, Giuseppe Quattrocchi
Published on: January 20, 2020

Magic 7 completely surprised me in how much I enjoyed it. And if I am honest, it was a graphic novel I was not ready to have end. If the 2nd volume had been available to me I would have immediately grabbed it and started reading.

Technically speaking, I was a little worried at the first page. It looked to be set hundreds of years ago, not to mention an old fashioned art style and font style, but as I turned to the 2nd page everything completely changed. That’s when I realized the first page was only a flashback to some previous time setting the story in motion.

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The Night Vanishing – Book Review

Painter Mann Series Book 2 By Dick Wybrow
Published on: January 16, 2020

Painter Mann is a dead private investigator currently residing in what he calls the “In Between” – a place where people who have been murdered go instead of going to their final destination, as you will. In fact he will tell you he is the best PI in the In Between, but because he’s the only one that also means he is the worst one too.

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Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase

Lockwood & Co. #1 by Jonathan Stroud
Published in:  2013
5-stars

Scream Staircase

After listening to this book on audio I have decided that going forward any story with ghosts in it should be listened to on audio instead of read. Huge difference between reading ‘Tap tap tap” and hearing something like “Tap………Tap……….Tap”

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