Saturday, March 16, 2013

VBT: Review and Giveaway ~ Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud by Jon Thomason

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Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud

Max has anger management issues. But she has a secret, too. She can make things happen. Like magic. She almost killed a loser skate punk and nearly used it on her stuck up older sister. The question is, can she do anything other than blow things up? Can she learn to control it? And is it really possible that an obscure teenage girl is the key to keeping all of humanity safe?

Philip just got his ring back. He got it taken away for messing with his teacher’s mind so he can cheat on a test. Now that he has his ring, he thinks he should be able to use his power to make his life better. A lot better. The problem is that people want him to be responsible. But if you could do magic, wouldn’t you use it to escape work in any way possible?

Aaron wants to be a soldier. He knows there are lots of people who would try to take over, and he’s determined to stop them. The problem is that there’s this new girl. And she might be not be on the right side of things. She’s really talented and pretty, but she might be able to destroy everything he believes in. Whatever the case, he knows he needs to learn to be world class with the magic sword while he figures out what to do.

Brynn never gets out. Her grandfather won’t permit it. Her only access to the outside world are high fashion magazines, so she has an unusual idea what she should wear. She’s dying to get out and travel. And adopt animals. Any kind of animal. Is she a lonely future granny with cats or are her ridiculous clothes actually the next fashion craze? What possible role could she play in the destiny of the world?

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is a fast-paced fantasy adventure for all ages (10 and up) and is the first of a planned trilogy. Fans of magic, swordplay, secret agents, and conspiracies set in a modern everyday world will not be able to put the book down. Jon Thomason is a debut author and paints a vivid world of magic right under our noses and delivers rapid-fire action that keeps the pages turning.


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"Impressively inventive and enjoyable...vivid storytelling and exceptional characterization...Max's personality is layered and complex...conveyed flawlessly...keeping readers intrigued and engaged...writing style is smooth, and a subtle sense of humor comes through...narrative tension builds at a good pace and easily flows toward a satisfying and exciting conclusion...parents are likely to both approve of the story and enjoy reading it themselves...talented writer...sure to find an appreciative audience that will eagerly anticipate the next book in the series." -- ForeWord Clarion Review

"Thomason shines in his heroine's characterization...magical" --blueink Review


Author Jon Thomason

Jon Thomason lives with his family in San Diego, after many years living in the beautiful Seattle area. He has a successful career in high tech where he's been fortunate enough to participate in many big-name industry releases.

Storytelling permeates everything he does. In the moments when Jon is not helping build the story of the tech world, he can almost always be found working on a project: writing, photography, videography, graphics design, or 3D art.

And he's always careful to conceal his jinni magic abilities, though perhaps might slip one day and be discovered...


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Here is an excerpt:

Maxine Xylander ran through the driving Seattle rain. Technicolor afterimages chased her, screaming in tortured surround sound. Blood and glass, like rubies and shattered crystal carelessly strewn about.

Her ears were still ringing from the blast and the screams. She tried running faster to outrace the memories. Did she kill him? She couldn’t seem to catch her breath. A fire truck splashed past going the opposite direction, howling and strobing through the rain. More sirens wailed and converged as she ran and ran. I’m bleeding! I can’t see anything! Glass everywhere. Blood. The boy in agony. His shredded hoodie.

And then she was throwing up in the gutter. She heaved between ragged breaths. The raging water rushing through the gutter washed the foulness away, but could do nothing for the sour taste in her mouth. She staggered to her feet, but she shook so violently she could barely walk. Even though she ran here every day, nothing looked familiar.

Sometime later—seconds?—minutes?—instinct took over and she started off again. Her teeth chattered and her knees knocked. Her soggy ponytail whipped back and forth. But she kept going. On automatic. Pounding out a run. She couldn’t go home. And definitely not back to school. The scene of the crime. The memories were still hissing at her. The boy moaning. The witnesses screaming. A bomb? Terrorists?

She knew better. She unleashed a power on the kid. Not dynamite or a gas explosion. Not a suicide bomber: she did it. She flashed back to the boy’s ugly face through the plate glass. He’d made a crude, racist insult to Angie and Jill, who happened to be beautiful, smart, and Asian in addition to being Max’s best friends. His group of losers had been taunting them for weeks. But today, it was too much for Max. She’d had enough. An angry fire burned inside her. It was fueled by rage, by hate, and by the unfairness of every second of her thirteen-year-old life. When the creep sauntered out the door and turned to flip them off through the window, the fire inside her went wild. Uncontrollable. She couldn’t help but release it…

…and the window exploded. Jagged slivers of glass tore the boy and showered the crowds of kids hanging around after school.

Blood and glass.

My Thoughts:

I found this book to be somewhat slow at first. Eventually it got better. :-)

This book was about Jinn, you know genies. I thought it had a somewhat Harry Potterish feel to it.

This one is perfect for Middle Graders and teens. It is the first book in a series. There are a few loose ends that will hopefully be tied up in the next book.

I feel that the author got carried away and overly described some things in the book. But I'd rather have too much than not enough.

This was a cleanly written, fun, fantasy book appropriate for all ages. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Blog Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash plus a copy of Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud

Print copy to US only, Ebook Internationally

Ends 3/31/13

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Thank you for commenting! Don't forget to enter the Comment Incentive Giveaway. The link can be found at the top of the page!


  1. I've seen this book before... hmmm... was it here? I find the cover odd, between the washed out girl with the weird eyes and the digitally drawn landscape, it just doesn't make me want to read this book. I would have never guessed it was about genies from the cover. I might give this one a try, I think I have it on my Kindle (downloaded it when it was free), but I have a lot of other YA stories that have grabbed my attention to read when I'm in the mood for that type of book. Totally in my hotter romance stages right now ;)

    1. lol! I've been in a hot romance phase lately too. ;-) Maybe there is something in the air?

      And yes, you've seen it here before. I participated in the release day blitz so that I could share the free book opportunity as well as the other giveaway.

      FYI, just in case you haven't figured it out, this is a different giveaway. Make sure you enter! :-)

    2. thank you for the precision about the new giveaway. ^^ and evanlea didn't remember but she took it when you introduced it to us so you had some impact once again^^

    3. I didn't think about the giveaway being a different one, thanks for the heads up. I thought it was on here that I had originally seen it, but I've been sick over the last couple of weeks and not online as much as I would like or need to be, so I've been trying to catch up on a lot of items and some of it is blurring together. LOL

  2. I do remember when you shared the cover and that it was possible to get a free copy for a limited time ( thought since it was on kindle it wasn't for me) You told us to wait for the review and that it was going to be posted today ;) couldn't have forgotten

    Like i thought it's not the book i need at the moment but i'm glad you finally liked it. perhaps if i hear the rest of the series will be better or at least teh loose end closed... i don't know i don't feel attracted to this one ( though the comparaison with the precedent post perhaps has something to do with it;) a paranormal book had stolen my heart first)

    1. thank you so, so much Brenda. you made my day good and special ... i hoped for something like that for years so really thank you

    2. You are so welcome. :-) Your birthday should be special like you.

    3. Wasn't on yesterday, so HAPPY Belated Birthday Miki! Hope you receive your hearts desire for your birthday. Mine is always for more books LOL

    4. Thank you a lot and don't worry with the time difference there is always a place where you were on time ;) and even with a little delay the importance is that you thought of it.

      I only asked for books too ;) My mother tried to get the 3 french releases i asked but a month later ( it was february release) they still weren't there....she did surprise me with the first belgian strawberries though so i am happy and your wishes made it even more special so thank you once again
      both of you

  3. I've seen this one around. It sounds interesting. I may have to check it out. My neice would probably really like it. Shes reading way above her level. Shes 8 so possibly a new gift for her.

    1. I was always an advanced reader when I was little. It's great that she has an aunt like you to encourage her to keep reading. My mom always took me to the library when I was little, I guess that is why I have such a love of books.

    2. yes better keeping encouraging her ^^. if she is forced to read books under her levels she will get fed up with reading so better read something she likes and she can no matter the age recommendation ( even if you can still be attention to teh topic and such)

  4. +JMJ+

    The description reminds me more of Maximum Ride than Harry Potter--but perhaps the details in the novel itself are more Rowling-esque. (Have you read that James Patterson series, Brenda?)

    1. No I haven't read any of James Patterson's books. I've heard that they are good though!

      What would you recommend?