Mini-Reviews: Quick Middle Grade Reads (Isabella for Real + The Bronze Key)

Isabella for Real by Margie Palatini, Published by HMH Books, ARC received from the publisher through Red Ballon’s Teen Book Club in exchange for an honest review. Buy this Book: Indiebound // The Book Depository.

This was cute! A nice little middle-grade romp intensely focused on one huge Italian-American family in New Jersey. It all starts with a ridiculous case of mistaken identity, and you meet a lot of interesting characters. It’s also written somewhat like a script, with takes and scene changes, and has a couple of scenes in a comic book form.

What I Liked:

  • Isabella’s eccentric relatives.
  • The food talk. Mmm. I want to eat it all.
  • Interesting concept with unexpected internet stardom being the thing to actually cause the problems.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Changing from the comic book parts to the written parts felt very abrupt. I enjoyed the illustrated parts the most, so I almost wanted the entire thing to be a graphic novel?
  • It was very confusing at the beginning. It was a while before anything was actually explained.
    Not very exciting. The conflict was there but didn’t feel like a big deal.
  • It ended up being a sort of full circle situation with not much resolution.

On the plus side, Isabella for Real was very short. But it was also not very exciting and not as unique as I thought it would be.

Isabella for Real will be released on October 11th, 2016.


The Bronze Key (Magisterium #3) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, Published by Scholastic, ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Buy this Book: Indiebound // The Book Depository.

I am going to go ahead and say that this was the best book in the Magisterium series so far. It was more unexpected than The Copper Gauntlet, more exciting than The Iron Trial, and it made me more emotional than either of them. After reading The Bronze Key I want to both scream and cry. In a good way… But also in a very bad way. I am in PAIN. And shock… because I still can’t quite believe it.

I guess you’ll just have to read it.

What I Liked:

  • A fair bit of character development.
  • TONS of plot development.
  • Unexpected and exciting.
  • Seriously I don’t know where they’re going to go from here because this is the kind of stuff I’d expect happening in the last book.
  • Strong third book to lead to the second half of this series!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The romance stuff was so unneeded; I don’t get why that was in there. Ugh.
  • Why?
  • Why?
  • Why?!

I can’t wait (in a mean way) for everyone else to read this book, so people can share my pain. Also, I don’t know how I’m going to wait more than a year for the fourth book. 😭😭😭

The Bronze Key (Magisterium #3) will be released on August 30th, 2016.


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The Copper Gauntlet // Review and Discussion


The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium #2) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, Published by Scholastic, Borrowed from the library.

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall. It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

I had hoped I would like this sequel to The Iron Trial more than I liked the first book, but I ended up feeling about the same after finishing the Copper Gauntlet.

I thought The Iron Trial was a fine book. My main problems with it were that it was predictable and everything felt very simplified. While The Copper Gauntlet was not nearly as predictable as the first book, (yay!) the characters and the plot still felt very simplistic, and the pacing dragged somewhat.

popcornandmagisterium“You couldn’t kill a monster when you were that monster.” 259

However, I did like the plot in this one I lot more! It had a much more interesting path that I really liked the end of. Also, I do really like the main characters. All of the characters in this book feel very one sided right now, but the main three have had some development since the beginning of first book and I think there is potential there. This is only the second in a five book series, so I’m expecting things to happen!

Conclusion: Read it because it’s fun, but don’t expect too much.


Spoiler-Filed Discussion

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