May 20, 2013

Blog Tour: The Trickster's Totem Review, Giveaway, and H.B. Bolton's Top Ten MG Book Picks

About the Book

Life has returned to normal for fourteen-year-old Evan and his older sister, Claire. That is until Dunkle, a clever but stinky little imp, pays an unexpected visit to their school. He has come to take the siblings back to Sagaas, the mythical realm of the gods. Once again, a Relic from the ancient Mysticus Orb has fallen into the wrong hands. Only Evan and Claire, with their unique mystical abilities, can help find it.

Through the power of the Trickster’s Totem, a coyote trickster has escaped. His laughter echoes throughout the realm, as he spreads mischief and mayhem. He burns an entire crop of popcorn, carves his grinning image into sacred artifacts, and things really get interesting when he shape-shifts into Evan’s friends.

Claire and Evan must capture the Trickster, retrieve the Totem, and be careful not to become sidetracked by robotic Steampunk animals, “sweet” pixie-like Pains, and a problematic mermaid … all while dodging Mothman-like aces. Most surprising, Evan discovers the true reason dragons exist in the Native American Spirit World.
Book Links

My Rating:

Background: Evan and Clare are at it again, only this time the adventure was not because of their mistake. The Trickster's Totem was stolen and they have been summoned to help get it back and put Mica the Trickster back in his prison. In this installment, the siblings are in the land of the Native Americans and must find Mica before he tricks his way through all of the villages in the spirit world.

Review: I would like to start this review by saying that if you have not read book 1, that is perfectly fine, you may be a little confused about the siblings at first but the story jumps right in ad you are enveloped in their journey.  

Just like The Serpent's Ring, The Trickster's Totem is a fast paced enticing adventure following the Jones siblings. I found that Evan, since the first book, has become cocky and a bit of a jerk; knowing he has powers that no one else possesses but cannot share his awesomeness has made him a bit bitter at home and fro a while in the beginning of the book. Clare on the other hand has seemingly taken a turn, a little less flirty and obsessed with looks (a little... not much though) and focuses herself on the task at hand. 

I found that The Trickster's Totem did have more character development than book one, because the characters really are growing up and finding themselves, and since they are in this spirit world the people there are helping them with this. 

The story was again very captivating in this book, the Trickster is both entertaining as well as a menace and the twist and turns kept me reading and wanting to find out what happened next. I felt this plot moved a lot faster than the first book, but then again it may just be that I know the characters and the obstacles they are bound to face. Another great MG read for everyone. 

I found this series to be similar to the Percy Jackson series - gods, goddesses, myth, journeying troops - all that jazz.

About Book 1: The Serpent's Ring

 The Serpent's Ring is FREE for Kindle May 28th through June 1st
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum ... that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods. Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.
Book Links


My Rating:

Background: During a normal Family Fun Day with their parents, Evan and Clare are sucked into the world of all the gods and goddesses ever known to exist. They are fated with the task of retrieving the Serpent's Ring from a sea god before he uses it to destroy Earth. Gifted with incredible powers from the Ring, they set out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Review: Bolton has a wonderful way of pulling in a reader. The Serpent's Ring is geared for a middle grade audience but can be enjoyed by all ages and even read as a family. Evan is fourteen and his sister only a few years older and each of them have their quarks. Evan is young and still very self doubting, and the adventure they take allows him to find himself as a teenage boy, even if it is in a supernatural world. Clare, his sister, if your typical stereotype of a teenage girl, she is flirty and preoccupied with clothing and style, but also determined and strong, helping her brother throughout their journey. Strong characters like these are great for young readers, they allow them role models in a sense but also a grand adventure. 

The plot was also very entertaining. I really liked the author's ability to intertwine the roles of various mystical creatures and myths into one tale, and left a great opening for many tales to come. I can say that it was informative as well as captivating. It left me eager to read the next installment. 

Top Ten Middle Grade Book as chosen by HB Bolton

seriykotik1970 via photopin cc
Call me “old school,” but I tend to gravitate toward classic stories, where characters embark on enthralling adventures and travel to magical lands. The truth is, we’re never too old to go on a fantastical quest. Here are my Top 10 Middle-Grade Books:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ Middle-Earth—it’s a real place, right?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll ~ One day, when I finally stumble upon a white rabbit with a waistcoat and pocket watch, I will eagerly follow him down the rabbit hole.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie ~ Who wouldn’t want to fly with sassy Tinker Bell, swim with temperamental mermaids, dance with powerful Indians, and tease meddling pirates?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum ~ Follow the yellow-brick road in between never-ending cornfields with talking scarecrows, through enchanted forests with angry apple trees, and into the spell-binding Emerald City.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis ~ I can’t stand when I open my closet and all I see are clothes.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling ~ Yes, I’m still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts.
MistoAcrilico via photopin cc

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan ~ Ancient Greek gods, mythical creatures, and a camp for demigods to play hero, all can be found integrated seamlessly in a modern world.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black ~ Siblings on a quest to keep the balance between nature and magic — of course I’m enchanted by these tales. And when first imagining my illustrated chapter headers, I looked to Tony DiTerlizzi’s black-ink drawings in The Spiderwick Chronicles for inspiration.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman ~ Creepy antagonist and plot? Yes. Imaginative idea and world building? Definitely!

Choose Your Own Adventure ~ I haven’t read one of these books for a long, long time, but I remember the feeling I had when I could actually help steer the main character down the “best” path or in many cases the “completely wrong” path. Either way, I was a part of the story and enjoyed every minute.
Tour wide GIVEAWAYOne person wins $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
2 people win paperback sets of both books (US)
10 people win ebooks of both books. (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women's fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that's another story, altogether.

Books by H.B. Bolton:
The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus, Book One)
Breaking Down (a short story)
Hungry (a short story)
The Trickster's Totem (Relics of Mysticus, Book Two)



  1. Thanks for writing fantastic reviews for both of my novels and posting my top ten books. It was fun to revisit a few of my old time favorites :)

  2. Oh I remember the choose your own adventure books! They weren't my favorite but I enjoyed them once in awhile.
    I'm so glad you enjoyed both books! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and hosting a tour stop!