Monday, December 4, 2017

MMGM: The World's Greatest Adventure Machine & The Afterlife Academy by Frank Cole

My school was lucky enough to have Frank Cole come speak to us a couple of weeks ago.  He turned out to be a very entertaining presenter.  His stories were hilarious and his advice about becoming an author, fabulous. So I am happy to be able to highlight a couple of his books.


An adventure novel about four lucky kids and a mysterious, but thrilling ride for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Jurassic Park!

CastleCorp and the famous Castleton brothers are unveiling the World's Greatest Adventure Machine! The roller coaster is an experience like no other, and four lucky kids have won the chance to be the first to ride it.

There's Trevor, whose latest stunt got him in trouble at school again. There's Devin, whose father is pushing him to be the next Internet sensation. Nika's wealthy grandfather isn't too pleased about her participation. And Cameron, he'll be the first to tell you, is a certified genius. 

The whole world is watching. But as the kids set off on their journey, they begin to realize that there is perhaps more to their fellow contest winners than meets the eye. And the Adventure Machine? It might just have a mind of its own.

Join the contestants on their wild ride if you dare. Your adventure starts now!


In a book full of interesting twists and turns (literally and figuratively), the four main characters are in for the ride of their lives.  Each of the four kids, Trevor, Cameron, Devin, and Nika have been chosen in a contest to be the first to ride the World's Greatest Adventure Machine!  And all four are thrilled with the opportunity.  But were they really chosen randomly?  As they learn more about each other and the Castleton brothers, who are behind the ride, they start to wonder if there is more going on then they were told.  Each of the four kids also has something that makes him or her unique.  What are the odds that they would have been chosen for a ride that seems to have gone so horribly wrong?

I can safely say that I've never read a book like this one.  It's full of adventure, humor, and loads of fun.  And the Adventure Machine.  I really wished that it was real.  A ride like that would be awesome in the real world, as long as it didn't go horribly wrong of course ;)  I especially enjoyed the way the kids' strengths complimented each other in rather unusual ways.  This is not the typical story of friendship built through adversity, although that does come into the story. Truly this is a delightful story full of heart, humor, and imagination.


For fans of "Because of Mr. Terupt," "Mr. Terupt Falls Again," and "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library," this funny, suspenseful adventure is about two very different twelve-year-old boys who must save the world from demons while dealing with parents, school, bullies, and girls.

Walter Prairie knows how to deal with bullies. He just has to beat them to the punch. But he doesn't see the biggest hit of his life coming when he is struck dead by a bolt of lightning. Before Walter even knows what's happened, he is sent to a Categorizing office, fast-tracked through the Afterlife Academy, and assigned as a Guardian Agent to protect a High-Level Target.

Walter's HLT, Charlie Dewdle, isn't exactly the most popular kid in school. He's what you might call paranormally obsessed. When Charlie finds an ancient book with spells that can be used to open the Gateway for demons to wreak havoc on earth, it's up to him and Walter to fight an eclectic horde of enemies and protect humankind at all costs.

But saving the world isn't so easy. Especially when your protector doesn't know the first thing about the Underworld, bullies like Mo Horvath are trying to hunt you down, pretty and popular Melissa Bittner is suddenly talking to you, and your parents think you're going crazy.


I'm not quite sure how to describe this book. Funny, yes.  Creepy, yes, there are demons after all.  Creative, yes.  Action-packed, yes.  These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think about this book.  I think the combination of humor and action are what make the book a winner in my mind.  Many middle grade readers love both of those things after all.  I also really appreciate the fact that the plot isn't like any plot I've ever read before.  Admittedly, while there are a lot of books available about guardian angels or some such idea, this book creates a guardian AGENT, and a completely untrained one at that.  Some other things that I enjoyed about the book include: demons using human games such as Jenga and Old Maid to torture each other, the back and forth dialogue between Walter and Charlie once Walter 'possesses' Charlie, and the involvement of Charlie's parents at the end of the story.

While I did figure out who the 'real' villain is in the story (other than the Underworld creatures), it didn't bother me too much because of the creativity exhibited in the rest of the story.  And the author does through in a red herring or two as well.  Both Walter and Charlie are fun, interesting characters that I had no trouble rooting for, but their differences were what made the book so entertaining.  This is a fun book, perfect for reluctant readers who like lots of action and who don't mind a monster or two.

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