The League and the Lantern

A new year and a new school! That means a fresh start! … Or it is supposed to.

Jake, TJ, and Lucy are entering the 7th grade. Their summer orientation – a sleep over at the local museum – doesn’t go as planned. While participating in a scavenger hunt, Jake, TJ, and Lucy stumble upon something bigger and are quickly caught up in a clandestine fight between two secret organizations – the League and the Lantern. These two organizations have been fighting since the time of Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth, with one seeking to preserve freedom, and the other seeking to rule.

While reading The League and the Lantern by Brian Wells, I couldn’t help but think of the movie National Treasure. For those who enjoy action, mystery, and history (there is even a little bit of science thrown in), you will definitely want to check out this book. The book is clean – no language or sex – and comical. I really enjoyed the character’s references to The Princess Bride.

This well written story is one I recommend without any reservation to parents of 9-14 year olds (or adults who are young at heart.)

The Portal Wars Saga (Book 1)

When I started listening to The Portal Wars Saga (Book 1), I was optimistic that I’d found my next series. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The Hidden Tower is the first book in The Portal Wars Saga by James E. Wisher. The story follows Otto, the third son of a country baron, who desires to become an Arcane Lord. The problem? Magic is illegal. When an arranged marriage allows Otto to become a friend of the prince, Otto decides to use his new connections to advance the status of wizards and ultimately become one of the most powerful wizards himself.

The book itself is well written, albeit a little slow. However, as things begin to ramp up in the story, you begin to wonder if the main character is a hero or a villain. One might say Otto becomes obsessed with magic and power, an obsession that sees the initially considerate, somewhat likeable teenage boy quickly transform into a scheming, vengeful, power hungry individual.

As I prefer stories whose main characters are either heroes or are on a path towards redemption, this is not a series I will continue to read.

Going Postal

Going Postal is a mini-series (two episodes) based off of Terry Pratchett’s book by the same name. The movie follows Moist Von Lipwig, an unscrupulous con man, who is given a second chance at life. All he has to do is revive the post office. Simple as it may sound, the post office is threatened by the notorious owner of the Clacks – Reacher Gilt – who will stop at nothing to see his competition annihilated.

Prior to watching Going Postal, I had never heard of Terry Pratchett. While the movie itself is strange, the story line is unique and intriguing. I was incredibly impressed with the caliber of acting and the quality of the dialogue/plot. Most movies these days rely more heavily on action scenes and less so on developing a solid story line. I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed Going Postal so much; it had a plot.

If you can get past the initial oddity of the movie (especially the first 10-ish minutes), you will find a well-acted, well crafted, and entertaining story.

This is definitely getting added to my “Favorites” list.

Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Adventure awaits in this land of magic and mythical gods!

Five years ago, Tristan Cadence disappeared during his Judgement – a potentially fatal quest to earn a magical attunement. Now, it is Corin Cadence’s turn to enter the Serpent Spire for his Judgement, and Corin has only one thing on his mind – find his brother.

By completing the Judgement, Corin hopes to earn a powerful attunement that will enable him to find his brother. As with all heroes, things never go as planned. While Corin does survive the Judgement, the attunement he receives is not one he was hoping for; furthermore, his actions in the Spire may have put him on the wrong side of the gods. And the last thing any teenager wants, is to be an enemy of the gods.

Sufficiently Advanced Magic, book one of the Arcane Ascension series, by Andrew Rowe quickly draws readers in with it’s easy to read (or listen to) writing style and well developed characters. Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

Arcane Ascension is one series I will be adding to my “favorites” list for teens and adults.

In terms of content, I give book one, Sufficiently Advanced Magic, a PG rating and book two, On the Shoulders of Titans, a PG-13 rating. The series contains some brief references to LGBTQ issues/topics. For the most part these references are quick and almost feel like they were thrown in there for the sake of being politically correct. However, because the second book has a few more references and contains some innuendoes, I would be hesitant to recommended it to younger children. (I will note that books one and two did not contain any sex. I have not read book three yet, but I hope it continues to remain relatively clean.)

Elizabeth’s Legacy

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, mainly due to the lack of reading or watching of anything worth writing about. I’ve spent most of my time binge watching NCIS and PSYCH.

However, I am pleased to report that I have FINALLY discovered something worth writing about – Elizabeth’s Legacy, the first book in the Royal Institute of Magic series by the late Victor Kloss.

Two years after his parents’ sudden disappearance, Ben Greenwood stumbles upon a cryptic letter that could shed some light on their whereabouts. But before he can track them down, he’ll need to find the mysterious organization that sent the letter: The Royal Institute of Magic.

Amazon.com description

For those of us who loved the Harry Potter series, you will definitely see some parallels – orphaned British boy, unpleasant relative, hidden magical world. But if you give it a chance, you will soon discover a unique, clever world that, aside from those few parallels, is not anything like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The magic of Taecia is not dark. In fact, it is almost a science, which is a clever spin on the magic we are familiar with. The humans of Taecia live a life fully integrated with the non-magical folks, using cell phones, computers, etc. Fun fact, they even attend school in the non-magical world!

There is little to no profanity which is often unheard of in books these days, and I love the camaraderie between the main characters. Their loyalty and sense of humor – especially Charlie’s (Ben’s best friend) is truly appreciated.

This is one of those rare, clean books that parents can enjoy with their kids. So, check it out!

Definitely getting added to my “favorites” list.