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Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh

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Jagger Jones is a whiz kid from Chicago's South Side. Ask him anything about Ancient Egypt, and Jagger can fill hours describing all that he knows. But when he and his precocious little sister Aria fall more than three thousand years back in time to the court of Amarna, Egypt, Jagger discovers a truth that rocks his world: books don’t teach you everything there is to know.

Mummies, pyramids, and cool hieroglyphics make awesome movie props, but the ancient court of Amarna is full of over-sized scorpions, magical amulets, and evil deities determined to scare unwanted visitors away. If Jagger and Aria are to return safely home, they must find nine soul-infested gemstones, defeat an evil general, save the royal family, and figure out how to rescue themselves!

Armed only with Jagger’s knowledge of history and a few modern objects mined from his pockets and Aria’s sparkly purse, the siblings have exactly one week to solve supernatural riddles and rescue the royal family. If they can pull it off, Jagger Jones just might return to Chicago a hero.

250 pages, Paperback

First published May 28, 2019

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About the author

Malayna Evans

5 books447 followers
I'm a writer, Egyptologist, mom (2 kids, 1 rescue dog, and a hedgehog), friend, avid reader and dedicated coffee drinker.

I'm excited to introduce Jagger Jones and his little sister, Aria, to the world with my debut novel: Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh. A little spoiler for you: ancient Egypt is nothing like Jagger expected. Sure, he knew ancient Egyptians believed in magic, but real magic? And giant crocodiles? And an evil General? It's almost enough to make even a die-hard history nerd like Jagger want to get back to Chicago.

I'll confess Jagger and Aria were influenced by my own little people, but over time they came alive in my mind. Funny how that works.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I look forward to sharing more about me and my work. Thanks for checking in. xo, me

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 reviews
Profile Image for Darlene.
217 reviews13 followers
June 5, 2018
This time travel tale is a wonderful blend of modern day siblings who get transported back to ancient Egypt. It's not easy figuring the "ins and outs" of getting along with the often temperamental Gods of ancient Egypt. Readers will enjoy the manners of the Pharaoh's court as the hero, Jagger Jones, tries to blend in, looking for who to trust and who is out to get him. The details about Egyptian culture are fascinating and add authentic drama to the story.
Profile Image for Naomi Milliner.
Author 2 books69 followers
February 2, 2019
This debut mg Novel is a fun, exciting and tremendously well-researched ride. The brother-sister dynamic is believable and enjoyable; the world of ancient Egypt is beautifully rendered in vivid detail; and there is the perfect blend of humor and adventure. Already looking forward to the sequel. This would make an especially good read for the classroom.
Profile Image for Thelizyouknow.
102 reviews
April 2, 2019
Thanks to LibraryThing for the complimentary advance review copy of Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh.

Jagger is a thirteen year old genius from Chicago's South Side. He and his younger sister Aria accompany their mother, a travel writer, on journeys all over the world. This time it's Egypt, and when the time magic kicks in and their mom stays behind, the real adventure begins.

This delightful book targets junior high age readers, but it's a treat for all ages. Aria's mangling of Egyptian names had me laughing out loud. The story takes place in a popular historical era--we see the future King Tutankamun pass by on one occasion, and meet other historical characters in a magical fantasy that will make your heart dance then break then dance again. For lovers of Harry Potter, Jagger Jones is a natural.

My only criticism is that the language was sometimes jarring. Modern kids may in fact refer to themselves as "kids," but probably not as often as this book does, and it's doubtful that an Egyptian princess would use the equivalent term. This does not detract from the genuine pleasure of a fine read, though. I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Kristin Thorsness.
Author 1 book21 followers
February 18, 2019
Whiz kid Jagger Jones thinks he knows pretty much everything about ancient Egyptian life, but when he and his snarky little sister, Aria, fall through time and actually walk the ancient streets, he learns that books don’t tell you everything—ancient Egypt was filled with backstabbing, mystery, and REAL MAGIC.

This story grabbed me from the start. The brother-sister relationship between Jagger and Aria is a perfect blend of loving and adversarial, and the rich descriptions of ancient Egyptian life painted vivid images in my mind. I was not at all surprised when I read the author’s note and learned that Malayna Evans has a PhD in Egyptology.

As a former 5th and 6th grade teacher, I appreciated the inclusion of discussion questions at the end of the book. This book would make a great classroom read aloud or book club selection, and since it’s the first of a planned trilogy, there’s more to look forward to. I, for one, can’t wait!
Profile Image for Rosaria Munda.
11 reviews
February 25, 2019
Move over Indiana Jones! JAGGER JONES AND THE MUMMY'S ANKH lands Chicago siblings in Ancient Egypt to solve magical mysteries with the help of an iPhone and modern science and debate important Chicago questions like where to get the best deep dish. The big charm of the book for me was Jagger, whose reluctant heroism, love for his snarky little sister, and hint of angst about his broken home grounded the story. I was charmed.
Profile Image for Lisa Schmid.
Author 4 books19 followers
May 28, 2019
Jagger Jones and The Mummy's Ankh is a time-traveling tale that takes the reader on a magical ride. I especially loved the relationship between Jagger and his snarky little sister, Aria. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments along with page-turning excitement. Every middle-grade reader with a thirst for adventure needs this book!
Profile Image for bookseverlasting.
131 reviews13 followers
May 29, 2019
If you're a fan of John Grisham's Theodore Boone series, Jagger Jones & The Mummy's Ankh by Malayna Evans is the book for you! Just released yesterday, May 28, 2019, and published by Tantrum Books for Month9Books, this Middle Grade novel is centered around a pair of biracial siblings from Chicago's South Side who time-travel to Ancient Egypt. If you like watching Indiana Jones movies or enjoy Social Studies a little more than the other kids in your class, it's time to order this book.

Thirteen year-old big brother Jagger Jones, a future historian, hates to travel, because his mother is a travel-writer who drags him all over the world. He'd rather be at home reading about historical places than experiencing them. His 11 year-old sister, on the other hand is an adventure-seeker. When these two get yanked 3,000 years back in time, they have quite the adventure.

Parents, teachers, booksellers and librarians -- The author has a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago and her expertise shines throughout the book. The novel is factually accurate, but perhaps there are a few too many Egyptian terms used. The story is so good, you want to be able to get lost in it just a little more. Action-packed and fast-paced, this book will especially appeal to gifted students and children with a strong vocabulary and high reading level. Includes discussion questions and a pronunciation guide. Perfect for a school or library book club, or a class set purchase. Only possible concern would be if you have are in a religiously sensitive school or district (ex: where Harry Potter was banned) because there is magic used and the appearance of Egyptian gods throughout the book. But, honestly, nothing offensive. Again, it's historically accurate.

Lesson plan connections/collaborations/literary tie-ins: Coordinate a class reading with a field trip to a museum, arrange a visit from a historian, archaeologist, or Egyptologist. Time a class read-aloud with social studies projects, art projects (decoupage mummies), language arts/library media center events, a countries of the world unit, Black History Month, African-American Read-in, geography unit, etc. So many amazing cross-curricular connections, including science and math. Can you say #STEAM?

The cover design by Danielle Doolittle and cover illustration by Tatiana A. Makeera are both inviting and exciting. The illustrations in the book are lovely -- in fact, I wish there were more. The chapter headings (all puns) were Harry Potter funny (ex: In De Nile) and the Ankh divider illustrations were beautiful.

#JaggerJones&TheMummysAnkh by @Malayna is timely, diverse, multicultural, exciting, and fun! A must-read. As a librarian, I would recommend adding this to every school or public library collection. Great way to grow your diverse book collection! I have a feeling this could become a series.

Favorite quote: "I think they're ignoring facts because they don't want to face an uncomfortable truth." (Chapter 4)
9 reviews
May 25, 2019
NOTE: I received an advance eBook copy in exchange for my honest review.

This work marks the author's first foray into storytelling, and while a couple of areas could be cleaned up, IMO, overall the story is tight and cohesive and was a quite enjoyable read for myself and my 10-year-old son.

13-year-old Jagger and his 11-year-old little sister, Aria, are in Egypt along with their mother, a travel-writer. After a series of somewhat bizarre occurrences, young Jagger begins hearing a voice calling to him. After following the voice out into the desert, he begins to dig and soon a staircase downward is revealed. The stairs lead down to a tomb where Jagger and Aria are teleported through time and meet the owner of the mysterious voice, Princess Meretaten, eldest daughter of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti! Seems Jagger and Aria are modern-day descendants, and are the only ones that can help stop a plot against the Royal Family by the Pharaoh's General and the evil High Priest of Amun-Ra, Herihor. The two siblings must race against the clock to thwart the nefarious plans as they only have a week before the final spell is cast that will wipe out the entire Royal Family. Jagger must use all his knowledge of ancient Egypt to stop the plot and then to get himself and his sister back to their own time...

Miss Evans has crafted an intricate tale involving long-lost culture and beliefs replete with the gods and ceremonies of ancient Egypt. Her background (a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago) serves her well in this endeavor, and gives the reader a more accurate picture of the times and customs of the era.

Target audience and reading level is Tweens and older; younger children would enjoy the story if read to by a parent or older sibling in order to pronounce some of the names and explain the rituals and spells taking place. Although primarily centering around Jagger and therefore appealing to boys, there is more than enough of his sister Aria to keep most girls interested in the tale.

I found repetitive use of a couple of phrases ("blew a puff of air" being one) to be personally irksome, and the editors' choice to not weed out excessive commas an annoyance, but overall this was a very good read for both myself and my son, and we both agreed that a sequel or further adventures of Jagger would be most welcome. ****1/2
Profile Image for Pippa Chorley.
Author 6 books13 followers
May 27, 2019
Jagger Jones, is a fantastic first book in what I am sure is set to be a great middle grade series – at least I hope it does. Being an actual Egyptologist, Malayna Evans does a wonderful job of slipping in juicy ancient facts all the while keeping the book modern, fun and youthful. There is the perfect blend of humour, facts and adventure here and my middle son (aged 7) absolutely devoured this book!
Profile Image for Kimberly Gabriel.
Author 2 books116 followers
May 18, 2019
I just finished this fast-paced adventure fantasy story about Jagger Jones, a boy genius, who frequently travels with his sister and their mom on her travel-writing expeditions. On their trip to Egypt, Jagger finds himself and his sister 3000 years back in time in Ancient Egypt where they must save a royal family and solve a slew of puzzles to make it home safely. I loved Jagger's smarts paired with his little sister's snark. Evans's world building is vivid and immersive, and I also learned a thing or two about Ancient Egypt. As a middle school teacher, I think my students are going to connect to Jagger and love following him on his action-packed journey. Both fun and exciting, this is a perfect supplemental read to any student studying Egypt.
Profile Image for Shauna Holyoak.
Author 4 books37 followers
May 4, 2019
An adventurous tale set in Egypt with lots of interesting historical details. I loved the sibling relationship between Jagger and Aria--such fun and believable characters. Middle-graders will love this engaging story that is sure to keep them on the edge of their seats!
Author 8 books23 followers
September 14, 2019
Jagger and his sister Aria are sucked from the present day to ancient Egypt. Jagger, full of brains, some trust issues, and the occasional analysis paralysis is balanced well with his adventurous and creative sister, and her bag of tricks. Together they travel across Egypt in order to save the royal family and their own bloodline. Action pulls you from the very first chapter. Full of facts, drama, magic, and a great sibling relationship, this is a must read!
Profile Image for Karla.
Author 7 books25 followers
August 30, 2019
This time travel adventure set in ancient Egypt was written by an actual Egyptologist, and it shows! The historic details feel specific and authentic without slowing down the action one wit. Hand this book to graduates of THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE series and kids who like a little mystery mixed in with their history lessons.
June 2, 2019
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publisher. This is my honest review.

This new middle grade adventure was fun to read! Brother and sister Jagger, 13, and Aria Jones, 11, are from Chicago’s south side. Their mom takes them to Amarna, Egypt where pharaohs once ruled and Ancient Egypt history that was alive Jagger is fascinated with. Jagger hears a mysterious voice calling his name. He follows the voice, his sister follows him, and suddenly they are transported back in time over 3,000 years ago to ancient Egypt. The historic events, places, and people combined with a fantasy adventure with magic, danger, and the quest to save nine gemstones (and racing against time!) make this story a wonderful new addition to any middle grade classroom library! Thank you @month9books for sharing Jagger and Aria’s story with me and now so many readers get to go on this adventure! Recommended for grades 5+
Profile Image for June Jacobs.
Author 29 books144 followers
August 8, 2019
Combine a multi-dimensional main character, time travel, adventure, Egyptology, and some snappy dialogue and you have this appealing, action-packed story.

Follow 13-year-old Jagger Jones and his 11-year old sister, Aria, on their adventures in ancient Egypt. With strong character development and unique settings, this fast-paced story will appeal to upper-middle-grade and tween readers who enjoy a mix of current lingo and historical surroundings.

The cover art and the illustrations complement the story well and will enrich the reader's understanding of the action occuring on the page.

Note from reviewer: I was given access to a digital copy of this book by the publisher. I was not compensated in any way to read this book, write this review, or post this review on this or any other site.

Profile Image for Jess Redman.
Author 4 books268 followers
June 13, 2019
A fast-paced, fun, and fully researched story! Written by an actual Egyptologist, JAGGER JONES takes readers from present-day Chicago to present-day Egypt and then—to ancient Egypt. I loved the dynamic between Jagger and his little sister Aria, the fascinating insights on ancient Egyptian culture and court, and the puns.

This is a wonderful read for kids who can't get enough of mythology/ancient culture adventure stories. It would also, of course, pair perfectly with a unit on ancient Egypt! Highly recommend this story, which is the first of a series.
Profile Image for Jarm Boccio.
Author 1 book30 followers
June 27, 2019
This is a fast-paced story that dives deep into the ancient Egyptian culture and religion, blending with time-travel and lively MCs. Although at times, I had difficulty following the many historical Egyptian characters and details of the period, it’s obvious the author knows her ancient history. My favorite part were her very clever chapter titles which made me smile. If you like adventure and all that is ancient Egypt, you will become absorbed in Jagger Jones’ story!
237 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2019
The action starts on page one, and doesn't let up until the very end! Readers will feel like they are in ancient Egypt with Jagger and his little sister, Aria, facing magic, mystery, and mayhem in just the right doses. This is a great read to add to any classroom shelf that will take kids to a time, place, and culture full of intrigue and excitement.
Profile Image for Connie Dow.
Author 5 books6 followers
August 13, 2019

Jagger Jones is a fun, energetic story right from the start. We go back in time to ancient Egypt to meet famous princesses, learn about the culture, the religion, the magic and so much more. Jagger Jones and his sister have an amazing adventure in the past, and Malayna Evans brings it all to life for us in her well-written story. Can’t wait for more!
Profile Image for Matthew Archibald.
179 reviews15 followers
August 6, 2019
This was an enjoyable debut novel. It was full of ancient Egyptian historical and cultural references, wonderful action and suspense, and a realistically beautiful relationship between a brother and a sister. I recommend this book to anyone who likes stories about Egypt, magic, or action.
Profile Image for Eden.
5 reviews4 followers
June 21, 2019
Loved this book !!!! Amazing from the beginning to the end !!!!
Profile Image for Niki.
Author 3 books51 followers
December 24, 2019
Such a fun read for adventurers, history buffs and lovers of the magical!
Profile Image for Wulf Krueger.
327 reviews80 followers
March 31, 2019
“KA-TASTROPHY” Or “The story erupted from his mouth like vomit.”

I got this book for free as a win from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. Thanks!

There are books I’d love to just completely forget about, e. g. Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter so that I could read them again for the first time. Others, I simply want to forget. This book is one of the latter.

Reading “Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh” does indeed feel like the story erupted from [the author’s] mouth like vomit. Seriously, as an author you should be able to at least stay above that level. That seems to be the primary issue, though: The author, Malayna Evans, is the self-professed “author of the middle grade time travel series, The Egyptified Joneses” (from her blurb at Amazon) - despite this being her debut title and she simply can’t write:

- Evans’s severely limited vocabulary shows all over the place, e. g. all people are doing if they’re in distress or even hurt is moaning:

Jagger moaned as his little sister spun and zoomed back into the house.
Jagger moaned when his phone
Jagger moaned as Tatia draped a dress over
Wenher moaned through clenched teeth as she slowed the horses.
Jagger moaned. Was he really being profiled in ancient Egypt?

And this is just a careful selection from around 30 moans. The characters’ voices often “crack” as well and oftentimes it’s not quite clear why – was the cracked voice trying to be stern? Is it just puberty or was the speaker so emotional his voice cracked? Mostly, we don’t know. Nor do we care.

- Oh, and grammar surely is important for any author to make themselves clear:

He flinched, startled by a huge, black cat that jumped onto the railing separating the street from the park, running miles along the lake, teeming with bikers and dog walkers.

The railing teems with bikers and dog walkers? Wow, that must be a busy railing, indeed, and so many artistic people!

She leaned into the captain, whispering, as the prince steered he and Aria into the rectangular building on

He and Aria? I think not. Maybe some comma might have helped to save that sentence but, alas, Evans liberally sprinkles them all over the place...

They must be in one of the small, storage rooms adjoining it.

… making it painfully clear she doesn’t know how to use them.

Now, I’ve read books that were saved by their story – not so in this case, though, because the story is bland and uninspired: Two kids get magicked back in time to ancient Egypt, save the Pharaoh and his family and secure “Death life” (afterlife) for one of his daughters. Story telling mostly consists of either someone using mono-syllabic magic (“Bind!”) to make happen whatever needs happening (and that includes everything but the book ending).
Alternatively, Aria (yes, seriously, the “y” stayed over at Ice and Fire) dives into her seemingly bottomless pink purse (or maybe it’s a disguised TARDIS?) and – TADA! – finds just the thing they need (chewing gum, bug repellent...) to save the day.

None of the characters are in any way relatable, interesting or at least likeable. In fact, each and every character is boring, clichéd and guaranteed not to develop in any way. You simply don’t care if Aria, her brother or anyone else lives or dies. Or the people they try to save.

In a nutshell: This book is a complete, utter, irredeemable failure without any saving graces. Don’t believe me? Want to know if this book might actually be for you?

Just try reading the following chapter headings without cringing (my favourites are written in bold) – if you’re successful, read the entire thing; otherwise, do something more worthwhile like watching paint dry or grass grow:

Profile Image for Erin Britton.
533 reviews15 followers
September 5, 2019
Although he’s a total nerd when it comes to all things Ancient Egypt, Jagger Jones is less than thrilled about taking a trip to Amarna with his mom and little sister, Aria. His mom’s job as a travel writer means that Jagger and Aria are homeschooled, often from exotic locations around the globe, but Jagger would rather stay in Chicago and go to regular school with his best friend. On their first night in Amarna, Jagger is awakened by a mysterious voice calling his name. He follows the voice (and Aria follows him) to a previously undiscovered tomb, from where the siblings are transported back three-thousand years into the past. An Egyptian princess needs Jagger’s help to find nine gemstones, defeat an evil general, save her sister, and manage the old gods. Luckily, Jagger has an encyclopedic knowledge of Ancient Egypt and Aria is armed with a sparkly purse full of useful things…

Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh is an exciting, action-packed read from the get-go. There’s a certain element of spookiness when Jagger hears the disembodied voice calling to him, and then he and Aria are zapped back in time and thrust straight into a potentially deadly adventure. There’s a lot of humor in the story, too. The relationship between the siblings leads to a lot of snark and laughter, as do their attempts to fit in with the Egyptians. Malayna Evans has a Ph.D. in Egyptology and she has managed to weave a heap of interesting historical facts into the story. There’s a thrilling mystery to be solved and plenty of villains to be fought, and it all makes for a top-notch fantasy/adventure story.
Profile Image for Susan.
18 reviews2 followers
August 5, 2019
Malayna Evans has written an intriguing action adventure starring a pair of worldly siblings, whose knowledge of science and history—and clear-headed wisdom—save the day. It’s just that the day they “save” happens to be 3,000 years ago! Jagger and Aria Jones have very different views of their mother’s globe-trotting career. Aria is always up for new experiences while Jagger prefers armchair travel, reading books from the comfort of his room. But when Mom’s job lands them in Jagger’s favorite historical period in Amarna, Egypt, it’s Jagger who is summoned by ancient gods and goddesses, while Aria tags along for the ride. Jagger Jones & the Mummy’s Ankh is fast-paced and entertaining. While Jagger and Aria meet challenge after challenge with spunk and spirit, they learn a few important lessons along the way, among them, as the goddess Isis explains why they were chosen, “you do not walk alone,” “you share the blood of your ancestors,” and “you two have your own powers.” And isn’t that true of us all?
Profile Image for Jane Hertenstein.
Author 13 books10 followers
December 2, 2019
Malayna Evans—Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh, Tantrum Books, 2019

Malayna Evans has made ancient Egypt come alive for readers with her first in a middle-grade series: Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh from Tantrum Books (2019). Her characters are relatable and help move the plot forward. Aria and Jagger discover a mummy’s tomb and fall backwards into time, where they meet Princess Meretaten, daughter of King “Tut.” They find themselves in a race against time to help avert future disaster. The brother and sister are from a mixed race background and, therefore, blend in with the Egyptians. This series is a great way to “experience” ancient Egypt. Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh is full of witty dialogue, mummy puns, danger, magic spells, and humor. You end up learning a little something along the way. (By the way, the author has a degree in Egyptology!) Adventure/Mystery/Ancient Egypt
5 reviews
May 3, 2020
Oh, I loved this book so much!!! As a fan of Chicago and of King Tut, this was such a great read! When I was a teenager, my wonderful and crazy aunt got me a book about King Tut for Christmas and while so weird and not anything I asked for, I devoured it. This book took me back to that and I loved learning so much more about Egypt! And the kids are sweet but believable. I love that they feel like real siblings. It was a quick read because I didn't want to put it down - I was excited at points and so worried and scared for them at others. I love reading young adult fiction and this was a wonderful journey! I hope they have more adventures!!
Profile Image for Lisa Kalma.
11 reviews
October 20, 2019
Jagger Jones ad the Mummy's Ankh is a wonderful time-travelling story of Jagger and his snarky sister Aria, who he loves dearly. Besides the twists and turns and REAL magic of ancient Egypt, their relationship was one of my favourite parts of this book.

This story would make an excellent addition to a middle-grade classroom library for either independent reading or as a read-aloud. The story is highly entertaining and engaging! I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series!

I received an ARC of Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh and have left an honest review.
Profile Image for Tina Shepardson.
79 reviews4 followers
October 20, 2019
This is a terrific, high interest, action packed time travel story about siblings of today's time being transported to ancient Egypt. How will these siblings figure out the ways of ancient Egypt and how to get along with the Gods? A great read for middle school age kids!
Profile Image for Pat Eroh.
2,580 reviews25 followers
March 21, 2020
Wow, love these characters. Brother and sister team up, to Jagger's dismay and do some ultra-cool time traveling. Great middle schooler read that my group of students loved! They want more!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
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