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Search tags: Chris-Grabenstein
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review 2018-10-27 04:44
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library - Chris Grabenstein

A very fun kids' book. This book knowingly (and even textually) admits a big debt to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but if there's room for more than one Willy Wonka in the world, Mr. Lemoncello is a fantastic second.


This is the kind of book I've dreamed about writing-- a book-lover's ode to books. There are many of those out there, but it was still nice to read all the references to great kid lit, and know that I've read about 90% of the books referenced. (now to track down the other 10%).


Anyway, my only complaint is that the book is very pro-Dewey Decimal system, while I'm a convert to Library of Congress. (they do mention LoC organization at one point late in the book)


This book was fun and silly. The kid characters were a little one-dimensional and not all the way fleshed out, but what can you expect from a kid's book?


I'm going to stop overanalyzing it and read some more. You should too.

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review 2018-08-22 13:58
Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race
Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race - Chris Grabenstein

Mr. Lemoncello is gearing up to release a new game in time for the holidays and his biggest competitor is bombing with their newest re-release of the game that was wildly popular. He calls for a meeting and gives everyone the passwords to get into his safe and home. 


Later, while the kids, on the board, are participating in a competition, Mr. Lemoncello's competitors start a plan to destroy him. They put out false information and put things in the library that seem to show that he didn't create the games he says he created. The kids are now on a mission to prove that Mr. Lemoncello is innocent of the charges and the competitors are actually the ones who did all this. 


This was such a fun story. I read the 1st book in the series when my daughter was in 5th grade and the book club she was in had it as the book for a month. I loved it and got the book and my daughter's read it. I got the 2nd book in the series for them as well. Now I am reading this to see if I want to send the book to a friend's son. I do think he will enjoy the story and will be on the hunt for books 2 and 3 for him. 

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review 2018-04-14 14:41
Robot Revolution Review
Robot Revolution! - James Patterson,Juliana Neufeld,Chris Grabenstein

Source: Library


Robot Revolution is another great entry into one of my favorite fiction series for kids. I love House of Robots series for so many reasons. First off, it’s an accessible science fiction series for middle graders. Then there’s the fact that it features a family that is diverse both in race and disability. And then, of course, one can’t forget the house full of robots. I can’t forget the fact that the mom is the brilliant scientist and the dad is the artist in the family.  But House of Robots has something going for it that I just don’t see in other middle-grade books. That is: The Hayes-Rodriguez family is tight. They love and support each other, and you know that no matter what goes wrong, they’re going to be together.


This book is where we see Sammy really show some frustration with his situation. He’s expressed it before in previous books, but this one feels like where he’s pushed to his limits.  Sammy has it easy in a lot of ways, but he’s still just a kid in a family where he is not the priority. Maddie is. It’s perfectly understandable that she tends to take precedence at times, but no one can blame Sammy for the frustration that arises in Robot Revolution. Everyone needs time and attention, whether you be a young boy or a neglected robot. And the robots are definitely feeling neglected too.


Chris Grabenstein and James Patterson do a great job of relaying the frantic chaos of the Hayes-Rodriguez house. All the characters (including the robots) in Robot Revolution are unique and memorable. The new ‘villain’ (well, school bully) is one that it’s quite easy to loathe. It’s nice to see him get his comeuppance at the end.  But the best thing that happens in Robot Revolution is one you’ll have to read to find out. I totally wasn’t expecting it, and it definitely made me happy to read. (I can only imagine the expression on my kiddo’s face when she finishes the last few chapters at bedtime tomorrow.)


House of Robots is a series you need to get for your kids. It deals with various issues that lots of kids can relate to. The illustrations are perfect. The dialogue, pacing, and action can’t be beat. It really is one of the best sci-fi novel series for kids on the market today.

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review 2017-10-17 02:38
Amusing Audiobook about a murder at an amusement park
Tilt a Whirl - Chris Grabenstein

Danny Boyle grew up in Sea Haven, NJ -- a tourist trap of a town on the Jersey Shore. He likes the life -- hanging out with the friends he's had since high school, goofing around, eating and drinking more than he should. He's got a nice Summer gig -- working as a Part-Time police officer. The downside is his partner -- John Ceepak, an Iraq War vet and former MP. He's so by the book, he might as well have written it. The Sea Haven chief served with Ceepak and offered him a job when he was done with the Army. After an incident (IED-related), Ceepak can't drive anymore -- which is where Danny comes in.


It's not an ideal working relationship, but Danny can put up with Ceepak's eccentricities well enough. Until one day their pre-shift breakfast is interrupted by a girl covered in blood, standing in the middle of the street screaming. Ceepak jumps into action, and Danny tries to keep up. The girl takes them to the local amusement park, to the Tilt-a-Whirl ride, where her father lies shot dead. They'd snuck in before the place opened and had been held up by some junkie hiding near the ride. Or so she reports later. Her father owns half the real-estate in NY and NJ (or so it seems), sort of a would-be Trump, so his murder is big, big news.


Ceepak and Danny have to deal with media attention, annoying lawyers, gang members possibly trying to go straight, local politics, a Crime Scene Investigator that's more of a hindrance than a help, and Danny's inexperience if they're going to solve this murder and let Sea Haven get back to what it does best in the summer -- taking in every tourist dollar that it can.


The book is told with a light touch -- Danny's a smart-aleck and is (truthfully) too immature for his job; which is bad for the populace of Sea Haven, good for the reader/listener. But the lightness never gets in the way of the seriousness of the initial murder, and the crimes that follow.


Woodman is exactly the narrator that this book needed -- he's able to sound the right age for Danny, the right attitude, everything (apparently, he does a lot of YA Audiobook work, that makes sense to me). Until I heard Woodman, I hadn't thought what a challenge it might be to get just the right narrator for this. Thankfully, I noted that with a strong sense of relief, because man...he was so good.


The Ceepak books were one of those series I fully enjoyed, and had forgotten how much I had liked them since I (apparently) finished the series. This audiobook helped me remember how much I missed reading them. If you haven't gotten around to them, you should -- either as an audiobook or text -- Ceepak and Boyle are some of the most entertaining police officers around.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/10/16/tilt-a-whirl-audiobook-by-chris-grabenstein-jeff-woodman
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review 2017-04-06 20:57
The Island of Dr Libris
The Island of Dr. Libris - Chris Grabenstein

This book was very easy to read and I was very bored at the time which are the only reasons I finished it. A couple of our children's librarians told me Grabenstein was rude to them when he visited our library for an author's talk (there was some miscommunication about the equipment he needed and he made some comment about us being in Silicon Valley but not having the set up he wanted... I'm paraphrasing).


So that story does color my opinion of Grabenstein. I enjoyed his Mr Lemoncello books, but this one just didn't have the same magic/fun to it.

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