[BOOKS] ⚣ Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1) ⚡ Lars Guignard – Saudionline.co.uk

  • ebook
  • 340 pages
  • Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1)
  • Lars Guignard
  • English
  • 05 March 2018

10 thoughts on “Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1)

  1. says:

    I read a lot of middle grades and young adult literature, so when I was offered a free copy of the audio version of this book in return for a review, I jumped at it Unfortunately, if I hadn t felt obligated to do the review, I would have stopped the book less than halfway through This is being marketed with comparisons to the Harry Potter and Lightning Thief series Maybe in some parallel universe I would say it is closer to Michael Grant s Magnificent 12 series, especially in terms of reading level, but even then it pales in comparison I love Grant s series It is clever and laugh out loud funny Zoe and Zak are just plain annoying.Zoe Guire is 11 years old, the adopted daughter of a single woman who works for the State Department She tags along on her mother s business trip to India, hoping to take some pictures and get in some Mom and Me time in order to find out about her adoption Instead she gets stuck with a classmate from the states, Zak, who s there with his dad, a colleague of Zoe s mom When the parents are called out of town on an emergency, Zoe and Zak are left pretty much on their own OK, so there s a rent a nanny, but we all know that s not going to stop them The adventure begins when they overhear a mysterious man talking on the phone about a leopard and leaving behind a mysterious map The man is repeatedly described as very muscular and even though we learn his real name, he is referred to throughout the book as Rhino butt They break into the man s hotel room, hide in a giant box, get flown in the box to the foothills of the Himalayas, escape the box with a smaller box of money with which they can buy what they need, and meet up with a series of people who are either trying to capture something known as the ghost leopard or stop it from being captured There are several hair raising encounters and these are well done It becomes clear that Zoe and Zak are predestined to help save the leopard, leading to questions about Zoe s birth and a mysterious set of marks on one of her hands In times of crisis the marks glow and Zoe is able to unleash a special energy force she doesn t quite understand, but it does give Zak a chance to yell Yogi fy them and You re the Yogi nator Both the good and bad guys have special powers, too The bad guys are right out of central casting an evil bhagwan who s really an ancient monkey with an entire monkey army at his command I can see where younger readers 3rd 6th grade could enjoy this book a lot It could also be a great read aloud book but not necessarily the audiobook version, which I ll get to in a minute But it takes quite a while for the action to really get going, and I found it so much harder to buy into the premise of this book than others in the genre While Guinard says it s not meant to be a cultural study, he packs a lot of information about India into the book, almost too much It appears Zoe has memorized an entire travel guide, which allows her to explain not only the Hindu deities but also local customs, the Hindi names for certain things, and on and on I liked the story of an adopted child beginning to question her origins That will clearly play a role in future installments of the series Back to my earlier remarks that Zoe and Zak are annoying I have to wonder if part of this is due to the way the narrator presents them to say that Zoe is perky would be an understatement or whether it s the way Guignard wrote them I think it s probably a combination of both No 11 year old girl would ever say, I needed time to compose myself Zak is the typical sidekick, first talking Zoe into going on the adventure and then eventually realizing the error of his ways The problem here is that he just isn t as funny or interesting as other sidekicks Perhaps the problem here is also that I ve read so many stories like this that my expectations are higher I just really couldn t bring myself to care about either one of them Finally, the narration by Bailey S Carlson was too too what Golly gosh, gee whizz Even in the most harrowing moments Zoe sounds like she s bouncing up and down I also thought it was odd that she used a Western twang for the leopard hunter a k a Rhino butt It was hard not to picture Yosemite Sam She did a much better job with the Indian accents I have seriously considered that I might have enjoyed this book if I had read it instead of listened to it So, overall, this was a fail for me I won t be lining up for the next one in this series.

  2. says:

    Fun book Interesting start to what will be a very entertaining series

  3. says:

    I m still getting used to listening to audiobooks, and I have to say this one was really pleasant to listen to I really enjoyed the narrator, Bailey Carlson s, reading of this book and I think kids will love it too She does different accents and inflections for the different characters, and it really helps the story come to life It s never confusing to know who is speaking because each voice is distinct I was really happily surprised by this And now for the book itself I don t think that the fans of Harry Potter bit is true I think this book is a bit younger than that For example, one of the characters is referred to as rhino butt throughout the book It was cute the first time, but as an adult it got old quickly Similarly, there s a lot of language repetition like Did I mention and or something It makes it sound like conversation and less like a book which isn t bad, but it did get a bit redundant I also really didn t care for the main character narrator Zoe I felt that she came off older than 6th grade, and a bit pretentious At one point she references how she reads a lot about animals and there s no creatures that have never been photographed Which is weird because new creatures are discovered all the time I grew to like her a bit as time moved by, but at the beginning it was rough going I did however like that she is adopted and is okay with it, it added a nice touch of diversity.All that being said, the story itself is pretty cool There is a lot of information in this book, and I think that s great in a book aimed for kids No doubt readers will walk away having learned something This book is set largely in India, and sometimes Zoe uses a different language like Hindi, and then the meaning is explained I really appreciated this aspect There s also a lot of mythology from the Indian philosophies, like the names of different gods and goddesses and what they represent or did I wish I had a book growing up that focused on Indian tradition I didn t learn about it until I got to college Everything was well explained.The writing was well detailed and easily to visualize It didn t take much to imagine yourself on the streets of India or in the mountains or in the big fancy hotel right alongside Zoe and Zak There s magic and powers and evil powers and a ghost leopard what s not to like It s written in a diary esque type format which makes it seem like the story is being told directly to you, which was cool There were also quite a few moments with humor in them that made me snicker aloud All in all, I thought that this was an enjoyable book I think that kids in the late elementary early middle school age will like this book the best This book is like a mix of the Animorphs series, The Wild Thornberries , and a pinch of Percy Jackson for good mythical measure If you or your child is a fan of those things I d recommend it Thanks to MD Book Reviews Fantastic Press for my copy in exchange for my honest review This review can also be found on my blog, Bitches n Prose.

  4. says:

    I signed up to review this book as part of a book tour I only sign up for these types of books when the premise seems interesting The book was advertised as a combination of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, so I was intrigued.Though I did not dislike the book, I did not feel like it was truly a mix of these two books Its style and focus was different Zoe and Zak, middle grade aged kids, are temporarily living in India, where their single parents are busy at work While away, they leave the kids with a babysitter who doesn t seem to mind when they slip away to solve a supernatural mystery There is a mysterious ghost leopard and some nefarious monkey men, and Zoe s strange birthmarks seem to be involved The premise worked for me While the supernatural elements they encounter are not realistic, I bought into them I like the concept of a chosen one, Zoe in this case, chosen to save the ghost leopard I also enjoyed the foray into Indian culture and religion, with discussion of reality and reincarnation The book contained some intriguing elements That said, the elements should have made the book much better than it was To me, it was too heavily plot centric The most interesting character was Zak He was the one always making dumb decisions Zoe was a little too easy going At first, she tried to resist Zak, but after a while, she just kept going along with the adventure even though it seemed like she didn t want to I wanted Zoe to be a little passionate about something either excited for the adventure, worried, angry, etc To me, the human element could have been emphasized I wanted to know about the characters, their backgrounds, their personalities Although they went on interesting adventures, the adventures were presented quite matter of factly They were described, but only in the barest sense possibly a difficulty in using Zoe as the narrator Because of this, I felt that I never fully felt or experienced the story rather, I was simply told it When I looked up some information about the author, I see that he wrote for film and television, and that makes a lot of sense The book read to me like the way a movie script might It was a series of intriguing plot points and concepts connected together by the adventure of Zoe and Zak The scenes and the way Zoe described them seemed like the author saw them playing as a movie in his head Indeed, I think this would make a better movie than book I would recommend this book for younger readers who prefer adventure stories rather than stories bogged down by introspection and character development And I ve certainly encountered such readers I could see myself as a child illustrating scenes from this book and thinking about the concepts in it after I had finished reading As an adult reader, however, I craved a bit description and character development.

  5. says:

    We begin the adventure hearing Zoe s Guire s every thought, as she travels to India with her mum, for what she thought would be a relaxing holiday after her mums conference finishes Enter Zac Merril, and his dad, also attending the conference Zoe is less than impressed When Zoe and Zac s parent s are urgently deployed to address a matter of great importance, strange things start to happen to Zoe, and Zac is no help He seems to specialise in getting himself and Zoe into mischief, that turns out to not only be mortally dangerous, but also Zoe s mission When they learn of the mythical Ghost Leopard, even Zoe has to admit her interest is piqued, but the treacherous adventure that follows is totally not what she signed up for The two kids have to learn to put aside their prejudices, work together and do everything they can to save the Leopard who is at very great risk They must succeed or the fate of the world, will tip in the balance of the evil Monkey Man.This was quite a fascinating read in parts as we learn so much about India and its traditions along the way The author clearly has a vast knowledge and great love for the place I believe he grew up in There were times when the children were in extreme danger and the villain was particularly terrifying, so I believe this will be best read by 10 Zoe and Zac come into their own, learn how to control each of their unique talents and as a result, they of course save the Leopard, and the day I particularly love the Memory Flowers They were magically written and the Amala and Mukta characters did a great job of deepening the mystery At times I was a little frustrated with the first person narrative, as it does tend to slow the pace, but for a voracious and diligent child reader, this would not be a problem I give it 4 stars..I received a copy as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

  6. says:

    Love Love Love This book had me from the first chapter This book overflows with top notch character development, culture, adventure, and FUN Written from the perspective of Zoe, an 11 year old girl, the book begins with a bang Caught up in the overwhelming sights and sounds of India, she arrives at her hotel ready for an adventure Unfortunately, her mother s work interferes with her plans, and she must find a way to entertain herself for awhile Joined by a school friend, the slightly annoying and greatly impulsive Zak, these two embark on a journey that puts them in the middle of magic, mythology, and imminent danger An adventure bigger than she could ever imagine.I was immediately drawn in The author captured the voice of a young girl perfectly So perfectly in fact, that I literally felt like I was the one in the story and could see my own daughter acting or thinking this way Throw in the development of Zak, and their imposing antagonist Rhino Butt, and you have wonderful character development It was a joy watching Zoe Zak s partnership of necessity turn into a dynamic duo True to themselves, each character had their own voice, set of skills, and shortfalls It was a delight watching them work together and overcome their differences.In addition to the story, I really appreciated how the author blended in history about India, the culture, religion, dress, locations I finished the book knowing about it, and didn t feel as if I was learning This is a story that leaves an impact in so many ways This is a book that does not disappoint I am looking forward to the sequel.5 Stars

  7. says:

    Zoe Zak and the Ghost Leopard is an adventure story about Zoe and Zak who were chosen to protect the people of India from the Monkey God When Zoe s mother takes her to India for her business trip, Zoe is determined to take the best picture so she can win her school s contest But when she sees Zak, a boy that she went to school with, she is annoyed and really doesn t want him there However, he loves adventure so when he finds Rhino Butt s map, Zak wants to know where it takes him I absolutely loved Zoe Zak and the Ghost Leopard and think that it s the perfect book for middle graders There is that time when children don t want to hear any about fairytales and want some action to get them excited for books I really think that this book was well written and is able to catch anyone s attention The characters were very well presented and it was amazing to see the world through 11 year old s eyes Since I was listening to the Audiobook version, I do think that it takes time to get used to the narrator, that was for me at least At times it felt like she was overdoing it but if you consider the fact that this is meant to be a younger public, it was perfect.

  8. says:

    There is an in between stage when children are not wanting to read baby books any and parents do not want them reading young adult books yet Finding a good book to help foster the love of reading in a child can be a challenge That is why I am so excited about this book and series It has high interest level without a vocabulary that excludes all but the best of readers in the target audience I am also excited because I think this will be a great read aloud and my kiddos are almost at the age where they will really enjoy the humor and adventure and mystery of The Ghost Leopard If you have a middle level child who loves to read, I think this is a great book for them If you have a slightly older middle level child who is a reluctant reader, I also think this book would be great for them.

  9. says:

    WIN 1 of 3 COPIES OF GHOST LEOPARD Open WW Ends December 17, 2013 My ReviewSteeped in Indian mysticism, Zoe Zak and the Ghost Leopard is a magical journey through the eyes of 11 year old Zoe Guire into an ancient world where good must battle evil to protect the legendary Ghost Leopard which assumes a physical form and consequently is vulnerable only one night every 100 years When Zoe travels with her mother, her colleague, and his son Zak Merril to India, she soon begins to hear and see strange things But things suddenly take a turn when she and Zak find themselves mixed up with modern day poachers hired by an evil Monkey Man intent on destroying what he cannot have the Ghost Leopard Assisted by the mysterious Amala and the wise yogi, Mutka as well as through Zoe s discovery of her own special abilities, the children will stop at nothing to protect the sacred Ghost Leopard.Ghost Leopard is the first book in the Zoe and Zak series following the exploits of the two main characters in India We are introduced to Zoe, in first person narrative, as she first arrives in India with her mother I really enjoyed the development of Zoe s character over the course of the story When she first arrives in India, she seems rather conservative, risk aversive, and quite mature for her age We learn that she was adopted under mysterious circumstances and this mystery unfolds as the story progresses Zak is the polar opposite of Zoe and she views him as a bit of a goofball who takes too big of risks We see both the characters evolve in their interactions as they go from having low opinions of each other, to learning to appreciate each others strengths This, of course, sets up the continuation of the series.The author has spent considerable effort in incorporating elements of Indian culture, mysticism, and mythology I really enjoyed how there were sporadic mentions of Indian terms, concepts, and food such as saris, namaste, bhagwan, lassi, chai, and so much These terms were introduced by Zoe as she recognized some of these things from reading books about India prior to visiting the country The text is peppered with these little factoids about India Further, there are discussions of some of the deities associated with Hinduism, such as Ganesha, as well as in depth discussions of the yogi way of life I think these discussions are an excellent introduction to the Indian culture.The plot itself is a non stop, action packed rollicking good time There is absolutely no guessing as to what will happen next There is danger, magic, mystery, and intrigue as the reader is taken for a wild ride from a bustling modern city in India to quaint villages in remote areas, and through the perilous Himalayan mountains in search of the mystical ghost leopard There is no time for a breather as the author keeps up a relentless pace which is sure to keep young readers engaged with the story and leave them begging to follow Zoe and Zak on their next adventure I can t wait to read the next book My Bottom Line Zoe Zak and the Ghost Leopard is a non stop, action packed magical adventure which features a dynamic duo in Zoe and Zak rich descriptions of the Indian culture and mythology lots of danger and intrigue and an engaging plot filled with unexpected twists and turns I highly recommend the Zoe and Zak series to tween girls and boys who love reading stories featuring fantastical adventures with a touch of magic Ages 8 I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion All opinions expressed are my own

  10. says:

    I am learning how to listen to audio books I have to do something else active or I fall asleep I can t be on the computer at all or I totally tune out So, I cleaned My husband is possibly fainting and probably trying to figure out how to thank the publisher and Candace Cleaning is very low on my list of priorities But cleaning while listening to an audio book.it s like being in another world and I kind of forgot I was doing something I hate I might be on to something here.Zoe and Zak are eleven year olds who find themselves suddenly free of parental supervision in India Zak, who seems to be a little impulsive or a just an 11 yr old boy begins their adventure by sneaking into Rhino Butt s room I know, I know But he has that name for a reason Zoe saw him getting out of the pool at the expensive hotel where she was staying with her mother and where she discovered a classmate, Zak, and his father were also staying He was wearing a very tight black speedo and his butt reminded her of a rhino s behind That s why she called him that and Zak picked up the name from her It s a great visual and it s easy to remember who he is, especially with the audio book And of course, he s a villain so it s a good name.I laughed at some of the antics of Zak and Zoe s exasperation at him There is no romance between them just a budding friendship And a huge adventure for two eleven year olds alone in the cities and the jungles of India Their mission is to keep the Monkey Man from harming the Ghost Leopard who is only vulnerable every one hundred years on the night of the full moon It s obvious from the descriptions that Lars Guignard has spent some time in India From flooded streets to food to wild bus rides we get a taste of India along with a fun, G rated adventure I was thinking of questions as I listened, Why would she believe that and before the thought left my head, Zoe would say, I didn t believe it for a minute or I had to be dreaming Sometimes I have a hard time suspending my belief because I don t think the character is asking enough questions or is accepting things too easily, but not this time Zoe asked all the questions I would have asked and I think I actually believed in the Ghost Leopard before Zoe did There was a lot of luck involved with Zoe and Zak defeating the villains and some supernatural help from some mystical friends It s all very believable in a mystical sort of way.This is a great adventure novel for middle graders It s not too scary, easy on the violence but enough drama for a fast paced adventure Nothing in the way of a romance, just a great friendship and the promise of another adventure.I received a copy of this audio book from the publisher for review I was not influenced by this The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1) characters Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1) , audiobook Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1) , files book Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1) , today Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1) , Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #1) 35c2d Now Available As An AUDIOBOOKPaperback Ebook Available Only AtImagine You Re Totally Lost In A Strange City With No Idea Where You Are And No Way HomeNow Imagine That Elephants And Snake Charmers Start Telling You That You Ve Been Chosen To Save The WorldWould You Even Believe Them What Would You Do Zoe Guire Isn T Sure Having That Elephant Talk To Her Was Really Weird, And, As A Rule, Zoe Doesn T Do Weird Except The Thing Is, When Zoe Goes Along On Her Mom S Business Trip To India, Things Get Very Weird, Very Quickly Soon After She Arrives, Zoe Finds Herself Tagging Alongside A Kid Named Zak, Lost In A Crazy City, With No Money And No Way HomeAnd Those Are The Least Of Zoe S Troubles Because If She S To Believe The Scary Looking Snake Charmer Guy Sitting In The Corner, She And Zak Have Been Chosen Chosen To Protect Some Kind Of Mythical Animal Called The Ghost Leopard From Who Knows WhatNow, The Further They Get Into The Mountains, The Crazily Impossible Things Get Carpets Fly And Statues Talk And If Either Zoe Or Zak Want To Make It Back To Their Parents, Or The Sixth Grade, Or Anything Even Close To Normal, They Re Going To Have To Make Some New Friends, Learn Some New Tricks, And Listen, Really Listen To That Talking Elephant Because If They Don T, The World Will Never Be The Same AgainJoin Zoe And Zak As They Journey High Into The Himalayas To A Place Few Have Been And Even Fewer Have Returned To Tell About ItLive Life Beyond The Edge

About the Author: Lars Guignard

www.larsguignard.com He would love to hear from you.