Thursday, March 5, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review & Giveaway: Countdown Zero [Blog Tour]

AHHHH!!!!! I am so excited to be talking about Chris Rylander's newest release Countdown Zero, the second Codename Conspiracy book, today.

Countdown Zero (The Codename Conspiracy, 2) by Chris Rylander, February 3, 2015. 368 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: publisher.
From Chris Rylander, author of the breakout hit Fourth Stall saga, comes the second book in the Codename Conspiracy series, an incredibly funny and clever mash-up of middle grade school story and spy adventure.

Ever since Carson Fender was let go by the secret agency that had enlisted his services to help foil a nefarious plot perpetrated by one of their former agents, he's been back to hanging with his friends, pulling pranks, and not having to lie to everyone about how he's spending his days. And that's for the best, isn't it?

Of course, this was all before a note showed up in his school lunch, informing him that Agent Nineteen had three days left to live, and that there might still be someone inside the Agency working against them. Carson has always been able to rely on his friends--but what happens when there's no one left to trust?
First Sentence:
The darkness concealed me, even amid the bright white snow that drifted down from the night sky.

While I had held out hope my library would get Codename Zero in time for me to read it prior to reading Countdown Zero, that was not to be. Yet, even though I had not read the first book, I was able to easily jump into the setting and story of book two without really missing a beat (though you can count on it that I'll be getting to book one one day).

Since I really enjoyed Chris Rylander's previous series The Fourth Stall, it is no stretch of the imagination to guess how excited I was at the chance to read something new by him. You know what, Countdown Zero did not disappoint in the least! Yes, Chris Rylander's writing and storytelling were top notch in his latest and helping me to get over a few bad books.

Okay, while the first few chapters had me hungering to know what went down in book one and how exactly Carson came to work for the Agency. I quickly became so wrapped up in the story and Carson's inability to reclaim the thrill of the prank and how hard it was for him to keep his former spy activities secret from his two best friends. Man, Chris Rylander did a wonderful job capturing the restless feelings of Carson during this portion of the book, which, also made it nearly impossible for me to walk away. Something about the combination of restlessness and need for something more that plagued Carson made him a character that just jumped off the pages. Why, because I believe that things, albeit (usually) less adventurous, like Carson experienced and how it changes them is something that all readers, young or old, experience and of which they can relate to when reading Countdown Zero.

Even though I could probably talk about early book Carson for the entire review, I better move on.

While I really enjoyed the thrilling adventures that Carson embarked upon, or should I say found himself embroiled in, it was the his character development that really struck me. I thought the author did a great job of bringing him from a bored kid feeling unfulfilled with going back to his normal life to fully taking into account what he was signing up for. Yeah, just right there is why I loved reading about Carson and his story. For me, it was more than the whole secret agent thing, even though that made the book pretty awesome, because it showed there was more to him than prank pulling.
   Even though I really enjoyed the character development, that would have been a moot point in the writing had been as good as it was and able to carry the story forward. So, I am happy to report that Chris Rylander's writing does not disappoint. He just has this great way of capturing the characters and conveying what's going through their heads, as well, as creating truly interesting story-lines.

Hmm, I'm pretty sure this review can be summed up in three words: JUST READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!! Really those three words say it all. You really don't want to miss out on the action and adventure. Also, one of Carson's friends is totally awesome and brave...and they make one incredible team. Carson and said friend are one of the reasons I'm hoping there'll be a third one (need more of them)!!!!!!!!!

Final Verdict: Countdown Zero- Middle school-er secret agent, action and adventure, Chris Rylander's latest has much to offer to those looking for an exciting read with great characters. One cannot go wrong with Countdown Zero.

Countdown Zero earns

About the Author:
Chris Rylander is the author of the Fourth Stall Saga and the Codename Conspiracy series.  A fan of brown shipping boxes turned on their sides, dance-offs to win a girl's heart, and rice, he lives in Chicago.  You can visit him online at

You can haunt Chris Rylander at-
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You can keep up to date with Walden Pond Press by following them any number of ways (trust me, you want to keep on eye on the great things they do).

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Tomorrow, be sure to check out Aeicha's post at Word Spelunking for the Countdown Zero blog tour!

GIVEAWAY: One signed copy of Countdown Zero courtesy of Walden Pond Press.

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this book was received from Walden Pond Press in exchange for an honest review.

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