Two Mini Book Reviews {The Wishing Spell // Belly Up}


Today, we have a round of mini book reviews! The first book, by Glee‘s Chris Colfer is a fun twist on popular and beloved fairytales. The other is an amusing and entertaining mystery by one of my favorite authors. Yippee! :)

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Summary: Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern-day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

{kindly taken from Amazon}

My Thoughts: As a gleek, I figured that I would read Chris Colfer’s novel just for fun :) It was a quick read and provided plenty of entertainment, and I think with a few tweaks here and there, it could have been really good. However, given that this is his first novel, I can guess that his sequel will be even better. Anyhoo, the story is about two young twins Alex and Conner who have been given their grandmother’s beloved fairy tale book. Turns out that within in the book is a magical world where all the fairy tale characters live. I love how Colfer gave us in-depth detail about the character’s lives, and how they were different from most “twisted” fairy tales. With that being said, I would have liked some more development on a few of them, and maybe they could have been a little meaner? I felt that the twins were just handed whatever they wanted, even though they were complete and utter strangers. The only reason the characters helped them was because they were “nice.” Not a good enough reason for me… Besides from that, the ending needed a little more closure, but nevertheless, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell was a solid read, and I look forward to the sequel!

Pros: Well thought out plot.

Cons: Not the best writing and the characters needed a *bit* more improvement.

Heads Up: Nothing!

Overall: I give it 2 1/2 stars {**1/2} and I recommend it for ages 9 and up.

Belly Up

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Summary: Twelve-year-old Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Fitzroy has murder on his hands and trouble on his tail. He believes that Henry, the hippopotamus at the brand-new FunJungle, has been murdered. The zoo’s top brass claim the hippo went belly up the natural way, but Teddy and his feisty friend Summer McCraken have other ideas. Could the culprit be FunJungle’s animal-hating head of operations? Or is it FunJungle’s owner—Summer’s dad—a man who is much more concerned about money than animal welfare? The deeper Teddy and Summer dig, the more danger they’re in—because when it comes to hippo homicide, the truth can’t be caged!

{kindly taken from Amazon}

My Thoughts: I adored Stuart Gibb’s Spy School, so I have been wanting to read his other novel, Belly Up, for a while. I don’t think it was as good as Spy School, but it wasn’t bad! In this novel, Teddy is trying to figure out who murdered Fun Jungle’s mascot, Henry the Hippo. I loved the plot idea – it was very original and set the reader up for an entertaining story. Obviously, with a death, there are going to be some details, but I think the author provided a little too much info. Boys will likely eat it up. Me? Not so much :) However, I learned a lot about hippos! Hehe. The mystery was well-thought out, and there were enough red herrings to keep me interested. The culprit was unexpected for me anyways, so I applaud the author on that. The characters were well-developed , no problems there. Overall, this was a solid read, and the intended audience {I’m assuming upper elementary school boys} will enjoy it a lot, but I think any age or gender will like it too!

Pros: Strong characters and amusing plot.

Cons: A bit detailed, regarding the actual death.

Heads Up: There were a few words that I don’t think needed to be in there. They didn’t really add to the story.

Overall: I give it 4 stars {****} and I recommend it for ages 10 and up.

Have a delightful start to your week!
Bella :)


6 thoughts on “Two Mini Book Reviews {The Wishing Spell // Belly Up}

  1. […] I’ll read anything by Stuart Gibbs, so Space Case, his newest release, is at the top of my TBR list! He has impressed me with his skill in writing hilarious middle grade mysteries, and I have no doubt that this space themed murder case will live up to his previous books. {reviews: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4} […]


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