The Sleepwalker Tonic | Odin’s Ravens | The Inquisitor’s Tale

Mini Reviews of The Sleepwalker's Tonic by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller, Odin's Ravens by KL Armstrong & MA Marr, and The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Sleepwalker Tonic | Odin’s Ravens | The Inquisitor’s TaleNightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller
Series: Nightmares! #2
Also in this series: Nightmares!
Narrator: Jason Segel
Length: 7 Hours 20 Minutes
Published by Random House Children's Books on September 8th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Bedtime & Dreams, Fantasy & Magic, Action & Adventure, General
Pages: 368
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780385384049
Goodreads
three-stars

Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic is the sequel to the hilariously scary New York Times bestselling novel Nightmares! by multitalented actor Jason Segel and bestselling author Kirsten Miller. You thought the nightmares were over? You better keep the lights on!   Charlie Laird has a dream life.   1) He has a weirdo stepmom who runs an herbarium. 2) He lives in a purple mansion with a portal to the Netherworld. 3) Since they escaped from the Netherworld, he and his best friends have been sleeping like babies.   But Charlie can’t shake the feeling that something strange is afoot. Charlotte’s herbarium used to be one of the busiest stores in Cypress Creek. Now her loyal following is heading to Orville Falls for their herbal potions. Weirder, though, Orville Falls is suddenly filled with . . . zombies? At least, they sure look like the walking dead. Rumor has it that no one’s sleeping in Orville Falls. And Charlie knows what that means.   Things are getting freaky again.   Praise for the Nightmares! Series
"Charlie Laird, who learns fear will eat you alive if you feed it, makes an impression, and...readers will want to accompany him again."—The New York Times Book Review
"A touching comical saga...about facing things that go bump in the night."—US Weekly
"Coraline meets Monsters, Inc. in this delightfully entertaining offering from actor [Jason] Segel and co-author [Kirsten] Miller."—Publishers Weekly
"Comical antics, cartoonish spot illustrations, and creepy villains make for quite an entertaining read."—Booklist
"Succeeds at scaring and amusing in equal measure . . . Sweet, charming, and imaginative."—Kirkus Reviews
"An engaging and creative story...woven with a generous amount [of] humor."—VOYA
"There's humor and a fairly high ick-factor."—School Library Journal
"Cleverly crafted...This novel presents just the right mix of 'scary and humorous.'"—ILA Literacy Daily
From the Hardcover edition.

Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller is a spooky, fun addition to the Nightmares! series. Of course, these books absolutely must be experienced via audiobook. Any other way and I think you will miss out. Jason Segel, of How I Met Your Mother fame, narrates the series. He’s also co-author too. These books are fantastic fall reading for children.

The Sleepwalker Tonic begins slightly after the events of the first book. Charlie Laird is finally getting along with his stepmother Charlotte. She’s still running to local herbarium, only business is on the downswing thanks to a competitor in Orville Falls. Not only that, but there’s a man who is selling this tonic that is claiming to help people sleep and get rid of nightmares. Really, it is just turning people into zombies. It is up to Charlie and his friends to save the day.

So, as you can tell, I am very loyal to the audiobooks in this series. The second audiobook is 7 hours and 20 minutes long. As I stated above, Jason Segel narrates. Of course, his narration is goofy and completely age appropriate. I found that The Sleepwalker Tonic held my attention throughout the duration of my listening. At some point, I plan on also listening to the third book in the series.

I would recommend listening to this only after you’ve listened to Nightmares! because you’re going to want the nuance that comes with knowing the backgrounds of all the characters. Granted, this is easy to get into if you haven’t read the first book in the series. It is very easy to follow along with what is going on. However, the experience of the first book greatly enhances The Sleepwalker Tonic.

Other reviews of The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller:

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I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Sleepwalker Tonic | Odin’s Ravens | The Inquisitor’s TaleOdin's Ravens by K. L. ArmstrongM. A. Marr
Series: The Blackwell Pages #2
Also in this series: Loki's Wolves
Narrator: Casey Holloway, Jon Wierenga, Pat Young, Corey Bradberry
Length: 7 Hours 28 Minutes
on May 13th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Norse, Social Themes, Friendship
Pages: 342
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780316255080
Goodreads
three-stars

Seven kids, Thor's hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things standing against the end of the world.
When thirteen-year-olds Matt Thorsen and Fen and Laurie Brekke, modern-day descendants of Thor and Loki, discovered they were fated to take the places of the Norse gods in an epic battle against the apocalypse, they thought they knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for the gods, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right?
But the descendants' journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. That's only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor's hammer, and save humanity--a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and colossal monsters to make Matt and his friends a legend in their own right.
Perfect for fans of ancient myths and filled with young heroes, monstrous beasts, and godly enemies, this fast-paced adventure is impossible to put down.

Odin’s Ravens by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr is the second book in The Blackwell Pages trilogy. I thought this was an okay read for me personally. It definitely will find more appeal with a younger audience. However, I do not think I will continue on with the series. It’s just not for me.

Odin’s Ravens begins where Loki’s Wolves leaves off. Basically, Baldwin the god descendent that everyone loves because he is so much fun has been poisoned. So, the gang has to go down to the underworld to rescue him. In addition, they also have to complete their mission – defeat the Valkyries, defeat the serpent, and save the world. There’s definitely going to be some challenges and some angst along the way.

The audiobook has a ton of narrators – Casey Holloway, Jon Wierenga, Pat Young, Corey Bradberry. This makes sense because there’s like seven important characters – descendents of the Norse gods in this book. However, as I listened, I could not help but compare to Joshua Swanson’s narration of some of the Heroes of Olympus series. That series also has a ton of characters, but I never felt like I lost my place. I just felt like there were way too many narrators and I found my attention wandering and myself getting bored while listening to this book.

Certainly, I think the audience is out there for Odin’s Ravens and The Blackwell Pages, but that audience is not me. Perhaps people who cannot get enough of Rick Riordan’s mythology based series will enjoy these books. I mean, I love Rick Riordan but I can’t help making the comparison. And frankly, these books fell kind of short for me. However, they are not terrible or anything. They just kind of suffer from my already having read something similar. I’d recommend though to actual middle school kids.

Other reviews of Odin’s Ravens by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr:

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Sleepwalker Tonic | Odin’s Ravens | The Inquisitor’s TaleThe Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
Also by this author: A Tale Dark and Grimm
Narrator: Adam Gidwitz, Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley, Kimberly Farr, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, Benjamin Bagby
Length: 10 Hours 22 Minutes
Published by Penguin on September 27th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Medieval, General, Action & Adventure
Pages: 384
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781101612606
Goodreads
four-stars

An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout!   * New York Times Bestseller * New York Times Editor's Choice * People Magazine Kid Pick
“A profound and ambitious tour de force. Gidwitz is a masterful storyteller.” – Matt de la Peña, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author   “What Gidwitz accomplishes here is staggering." – New York Times Book Review
Includes a detailed historical note and bibliography. 1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.   Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together. 
Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.
"Puckish, learned, serendipitous . . . Sparkling medieval adventure." —Wall Street Journal★ "Gidwitz strikes literary gold with this mirthful and compulsively readable adventure story. . . . A masterpiece of storytelling that is addictive and engrossing." —Kirkus, starred review
★ "A well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure." —Booklist, starred review
★ "Scatological humor, serious matter, colloquial present-day language, the ideal of diversity and mutual understanding—this has it all." —The Horn Book, starred review
★ "I have never read a book like this. It’s weird, and unfamiliar, and religious, and irreligious, and more fun than it has any right to be. . . . Gidwitz is on fire here, making medieval history feel fresh and current." —School Library Journal, starred review
From the Hardcover edition.

Of all the books reviewed today, I absolutely enjoyed The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz the most. So much about this book appeals to me – from setting to the types of characters to the author. I’ve got quite a bit of admiration for The Inquisitor’s Tale. If you listen to any of these three audiobooks, listen to The Inquisitor’s Tale. It is the best of the three reviewed today.

Set in 1242, Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale is about three children – Jacob, Jeanne, and William. The story begins with travelers at an inn sharing stories. A man, the Inquisitor, is there taking down the stories. You see, he has heard rumors of the children committing saint-like acts and feats that defy belief. The people at the inn each have something to add about the children. So, the story takes on a tone a little bit like The Canterbury Tales, only they are all relevant to each other.

Jacob is a Jewish boy who fled his home which caught on fire because back in the Medieval times there was a strong anti-Semitism wave. William is an oblate at a monastery and is on a mission. Also, William is a person of color which is pretty important to the story. Jeanne is a French girl whose dog has died and come back to life. She also has visions of the future. Of course, during the Inquisition, these things will get you killed, so the kids are basically on the run. Oh, and William has this superhuman sort of strength.

So, The Inquisitor’s Tale revolves around if the children end up finding safe haven and if they are indeed saints. It’s an interesting examination of religion and medieval thought in regards to faith and heresy. I felt like this was such a complex and interesting middle grade book. It’s a book that is sure to have cross audience appeal. There’s blood and violence and gore. There’s also humor too. It’s a book that does not undermine or underestimate the intelligence of its intended middle grade audience.

The audiobook has a bunch of narrators, but in this case, it’s perfect for the book. The cast of narrators of The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children And Their Holy Dog is comprised of Adam Gidwitz, Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley, Kimberly Farr, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, and Benjamin Bagby. These narrators are appropriate for the story. Each is unique and plays their section to perfection. The audiobook is 10 hours and 22 minutes long and worth every single minute of your time.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

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