By Tyler H. Jolley
After Alison Liv Isner is sucked into an old globe that sat on her father’s desk, she wakes beside a campfire in a lush jungle, surrounded by five talking animals. She quickly realizes these are the same friends her mom wrote about in her expedition journal. Now, at only eleven-years-old, she has the opportunity to complete her deceased mother’s unfinished expedition in the Temple of the Monkey God.
With her new found friends, a monkey, a fat rat, a bat, a burro with a piranha in a mason jar tied around his neck, Ali decides to face the treacherous booby traps inside of the temple and save the monkey idol from an evil group called The Geese.
As she learns more about her deceased mom through her adventure journal, Ali and her friends realize the book is the key to lead them through the tunnels of the dreaded Temple of the Monkey God. If not, their lives are at stake and Ali will be trapped in the expedition realm forever.
Reading middle grade books (and younger) is still quite an adventure for me (ha! Pun unintended but so appreciated), and so I look forward to reading and reviewing any that are offered to me. First of all, the cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous and if that is not enough for someone to pick it up (come on, I know I'm not the only one who loves book cover eye candy). But mostly, this was a really wonderful story about a girl and a quest. It was a short read (super short), but the author used all that he could to make this book totally attention grabbing and fun. I loved that the story focused on Ali and her quest - more female adventures for the win! It was sweet and touching and I know that I will definitely look forward to reading more about Ali and her adventures! Perfect for readers of all ages!
Tyler H. Jolley is five-foot sixteen inches. By day he is an orthodontist, and by night he is a sci-fi/fantasy author. He carries a curse with him each day, too many fun book ideas and too little time to write them. There isn't a place or time that ideas don't slam into the creative squishy part of his brain. Fun facts: he hasn't puked since 1996, he loves pencils and mountain biking. Writing and riding are a big part of his life.
His debut novel, EXTRACTED came out in 2013 with Spencer Hill Press, and has been a Spencer Hill Press Best Seller, as well as an Amazon Best Seller. PRODIGAL and RIVEN, the second and third books in The Lost Imperials series were released in May of 2015.
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“Here we go.” Ali stepped into the dark opening. Cool, damp air tickled her nose. It reminded her of the inside of a trunk her dad had accidently left in the rain. The next week when they’d opened it, the moldy smell was pungent.
Just a few feet in, light from the entrance cast itself at an angle on the opposite wall.
Everyone had sidled up next to Ali.
“What are you thinking, human?” Figgy asked.
Chicaletta rummaged through the pack on Figgy’s rump and produced a metal-handled flashlight. Ali tripped just as Chicaletta flicked on the light.
Ali looked down at what she’d fallen over. A skeleton with rotted clothes. She screamed.
Suddenly, a huge, square stone as wide as her father was tall and at least two times her height crashed from the ceiling and blocked the entrance.
Glenda’s high-pitched scream nearly deafened Alison Liv Isner.
Chicaletta whipped around and pointed the flashlight at the stone blocking the door. Ali tried to speak but couldn’t find her voice. Adrenaline surged through her veins. The stone wasn’t just blocking the door, but it was also a weapon. Spikes of varying lengths jutted out at them from the rock.
Ali shook her hands, trying to calm her nerves. “What now?”
“We’re trapped,” Tristan said. “We’re going to die.”
“Never mind him,” Bait said.
“Ignore me all you want,” Tristan said. “But one day I’ll be right. Probably.”
“Chicaletta?” Ali walked toward Figgy’s pack. “Do you have another flashlight in there?”
“Yes,” Chicaletta said. “But we should save the batteries.”
“Just light one of those bones on fire,” Tristan yawned.
“What?” Ali nearly yelled.
“It’ll be fine, watch,” Tristan said. He scurried over to the bones. “Hey, skeleton, do you mind if we use your femur?” He held his pink hand up to his ear. “Skeleton, if you don’t want us to use your leg and clothes, speak now.” The skeleton didn’t move. Tristan turned back to the group. “See? He doesn’t care.”
Ali looked to the others for guidance.
“I’ll fish out the flint,” Tristan said. “No offense, Bait.”
Ali walked toward the skeleton with trepidation. But, Tristan was right, after all. Any adventurer would wish to be useful, even in death.
“I guess,” Glenda swallowed hard, “it should be okay.”
Chicaletta blinked and nodded at Ali. “Hurry.”
Ali knelt next to the skeleton and wrapped her hands around its leg; she closed her eyes and cringed. The femur was the largest bone and came free easily from the hip joint. She wrapped the tattered clothes around the end just as Tristan scurried back with a flint and steel. Ali struck the U-shaped steel against the flint, and sparks fell toward the old cloth. It smoldered, and she blew on the embers. Flames encompassed the cloth. It cackled to life, illuminating a modest space in front of her.
Between Ali’s torch and Chicaletta’s flashlight, the tunnel was still fairly dark. The temple felt more like a cave. Musty air permeated the ten foot high stone tunnel.
A hideous scraping sound of stone on stone grabbed their attention. The large block with spikes slid toward them. Slowly, at first. Then with momentum.
“Run!” Ali waved her torch toward a tunnel. “This way.”
The block slid forward with spikes inching closer to Ali and her friends. But then it momentarily stopped, caught on the dry skeleton. Bones crunched and twisted. The skull had become wedged. The spiked stone lurched, and the skull exploded, filling the room with white dust behind them.
Alison Liv Eisner ran down the tunnel, her friends in tow.
There was no stopping the boulder. Filled with terror, Ali pushed forward. The torch’s weak light made it difficult to see far in front of them. The barbed block was a bulldozer, pushing aside dirt and leaves, combined with the dead adventurer’s clothes and bones. A loud banging and clanking noise drew Ali’s attention to what was ahead of them.
“What on earth is that ruckus?” Bait asked.
“I don’t know,” Glenda said. “But it sounds dangerous.”
“Glenda,” Ali said. “Fly ahead and use your echolocation to figure out what it is.”
“Ali, that is a spectacular idea. I can totally do that.” Glenda fluttered away.
“Be careful,” Ali yelled after her.
The group carefully trudged forward, but the spiked stone didn’t stop. Chicaletta’s flashlight cast a dull-yellow cone just a few feet ahead. The hallway narrowed the deeper they walked.