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Review! A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis

29 Nov

riddleA Riddle in Ruby

By Kent Davis

432 pages – ages 8+

Published by Greenwillow Books on September 22, 2015

Synopsis- Ruby Teach is a thief [in training]. Her tutor is a master of disguise. Her father is a pirate. They all live [part-time] on a ship with her father’s crew, giving rides to rich people while transporting cargo. (They are fake, “for show” pirates.) But when young Lord Athen Boyle comes aboard, he isn’t looking for a good time. He’s looking for a fast ship. At sea, though, they realize that they aren’t fast enough when a royal ship overtakes them. Ruby, Lord Athen, and his serving-boy are hidden in a room during the encounter.

Ruby’s father gets taken aboard the ship, and it all seems to be Lord Athen’s fault. That seems fair to Ruby. But as a mysterious plot unfolds, and more events occur, it seems to point to Ruby at the center…

What I Thought- I really like the idea of this book. It seems to take place in the 1700’s (but maybe later?), because there are still the thirteen colonies of America (under British Rule). What’s different though, is the fact that it is a heavily steampunk-influenced society, that has a slight use of science spiced with magic in it. It’s really interesting. Needless to say, I was enthralled by this book. Ruby is a spirited main character that keeps you on your toes. Athen Boyle is an intriguing character also. I enjoyed the cast of characters in the book, each with a memorable personalities. I like the world that Mr. Davis has created. I cannot wait for book two, as there should be second one coming (judging by the cliffhanger).

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review! 101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up by Suzette Valle

11 Nov

Before I get to today’s review, I get to tell you that the guy over there wildly waving his hand has won the Voyagers prize pack provided by Disney publishing! If you missed my review of this great new series, check it out HERE.



Who is the guy?

Why it is none other than children’s book author and capybara lover – MIKE ALLEGRA!

Congratulations Mr. Allegra, I will be emailing you to get your mailing address so the publisher can send you the box of cats your prize pack!

Now, on to the review!


101movies101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up

Written by Suzette Valle

144 pages – ages 9+

Published by Walter Foster Jr on October 19th, 2015

Synopsis- Don’t spend your time looking for the latest movie to watch! There is a treasure trove of movies already made that you can feast your eyes on! Don’t know which ones of the thousands and thousands to watch? Are you looking for a good movie with lots of family fun? Or how about adventure? Fantasy? Even romance? This is the guide for you!

What I Thought- I like the idea of this book. Who wouldn’t love a list of a bunch of great movies? Of course there is always going to be someone saying so and so movie should be listed in the book (you can’t please everyone). I was happy to see some of my favorite movies listed (and the two greatest movies ever made – The Princess Bride and Star Wars ;) ). I liked that there were little “Fun Fact” boxes about the movies, actors, directors, etc. There is also a spot to put your own rating and notes about each movie. The author included a note cautioning about ratings (some movies are PG or PG-13). I enjoyed the book. I noticed the book was heavy on the recommended Disney movies. In all fairness Disney makes a ton of really great movies and I’ve seen almost every one mentioned in the book – actually the movies deserve to be on the list, but I would have liked to see some movies recommended that laid the groundwork for what movies are today (and ones that kids would enjoy). A Charlie Chaplin movie or Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein? How about a Harold Lloyd or a Buster Keaton Movie? But that is just my opinion. I do like that the book includes documentaries (some of which I still have to see) and it is very well organized. There are definitely movies on the list that I have marked to watch. After reading the book I am thinking maybe I should branch out – This Kid Reviews Movies ;)

I give this book four out of five bookworms. fourbooks

Review! Brain Games by Jennifer Swanson

10 Nov

braingamesBrain Games: The Mind-Blowing Science of Your Amazing Brain

Written by Jennifer Swanson

Forward by Hank Green

112 pages – ages 8+

Published by National Geographic Kids on September 8th 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what your brain can do – exactly? Why we feel what we feel? What makes us ‘go’? Get ready to take a trip through your brain with this National Geographic Kids book!

What I Thought- This is a really fascinating book! I enjoyed reading it. It presents the information in a fun way and makes you want to keep reading. There are new topics on each page, usually under the topic listed at the beginning of the section. (ex: Emotions). There are good activities throughout the book to tickle your brain and are just plain fun to do. The book has pictures through-out it that make the book reminiscent of a scrapbook-type collage. I sincerely recommend this book to everyone interested in the operations of the brain.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Blog Tour and Giveaway for the new series Voyagers! #VoyagersHQ

4 Nov

Today I am blogging about a new interactive multi-platform series from Random House. I was pleasantly surprised to learn this series is set in space and has a sci-fi feel to it. I am a fan of the multi-platform format for kids books because I think it hooks more kids into reading. I also love the idea of different authors carrying on the story from book to book and adding their own personality to the story as it grows. The new series from Random House is called Voyagers.


ABOUT THE SERIES (From the publisher)

The action is on the page, on your device, and out of this world! This multiplatform middle-grade series is fully locked and loaded and ready for launch, blasting off in Fall 2015.

Part sci-fi, part eco-mystery, all action-adventure!


As the young heroes in VOYAGERS journey into outer space to save planet Earth, readers are invited to become part of the story by joining the crew through the multi-platform, VOYAGERS HQ. The HQ extends the adventure beyond the page, unlocking games and activities on their devices.

Each book has clues and codes that lead to world extensions to be explored, played, and shared. Your online profile tracks your progress through the VOYAGERS universe, and gives you rewards, ranking and virtually currency for each product code redeemed.

Readers become part of the VOYAGERS world, which extends beyond the books to a digital interactive experience, and downloadable pay-for-play mobile apps games.

Readers can create their own custom VOYAGERS character, follow the team and experience this space adventure through the eyes of their own virtual droid.



by DJ MacHale

In Stores Now

Synopsis [from the Publisher]:

Earth is in danger! Without a renewable source of clean energy, our planet will be toast in less than a year. There are 6 essential elements that, when properly combined, create a new power source. But the elements are scattered throughout the galaxy. And only a spaceship piloted by children can reach it and return to Earth safely. First the ideal team of four 12-year-olds must be chosen, and then the first element must be retrieved. There is not a mistake to be made, or a moment to lose. The source is out there. Voyagers is blasting off in 3, 2, 1…

What I Thought [from me]- D.J. McHale sets the pace for this series in the first book. This was an engaging story. I really got hooked into the story and the characters were fun to read about. I like how the book has an environmental theme, and found the current Earth in the book (which is at an unspecified time period) a good reminder about where we will end up after a period of time. Not only that, but the fact that space exploration is a very near, very possible event. The book is really well-written, the story is set up nicely and it made this reader very anxious to get his hands on the next boo (fortunately I already have it ;) – see below ). I read the book in a day, and couldn’t put it down at all. The plot is realistic, and made me think of ways that the characters could get out of the situations.

About the Author [from the Publisher]:


*Credit: Gayle Goodrich*

D.J. MacHale is the author of the bestselling book series Pendragon, Morpheus Road, the SYLO Chronicles. He has written, directed and produced numerous award-winning television series and movies for young people including Are You Afraid of the Dark?; Flight 29 Down and Tower of Terror. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California.

Want to know more? Visit or track him down on Twitter at @DJMacHale

VoyagersGameofFlamesBOOK 2: GAME OF FLAMES

by Robin Wasserman

In Stores Now

Synopsis [from the Publisher]:

The Alpha team has been chosen and they’ve already snagged the first element on planet J-16. The second is hidden on Meta-Prime, a planet filled with metal mazes, catapults of fire, and warring alien robots. But what our Voyagers don’t know is that there is another ship, the Omega team, following hot on their trail…

What I Thought [from me]: WOW! I liked the second book even more than the first. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that the world is an amazing steampunk fantasy, or if it’s because its characters are developed further. Maybe it’s both. In this book, the characters learn several lessons of being on a team, but also about each other. It’s interesting to see how they are adapting to their tasks. Ms. Wasserman’s writing style is fun, yet still serious – it’s a good mix. I would continue reading the series in a heartbeat – it’s that good! Not so patiently waiting for the next book by PATRICK CARMAN (one of my favorite authors find him at @PatrickCarman) due out on January 5, 2015! 

Author Bio [from the Publisher]:


*Credit: Sonya Sones*

Robin Wasserman is the author of several acclaimed books for children and young adults, including The Waking Dark, The Book of Blood and Shadow, Hacking Harvard, the Cold Awakening Trilogy, and the Chasing Yesterday Trilogy. A former children’s book editor, she lives and writes (and frequently procrastinates) in Brooklyn, New York.

Want to learn more? Visit or track her down on Twitter @RobinWasserman


BOOK 1: PROJECT ALPHA BY D.J. MacHale [out now]
BOOK 2: GAME OF FLAMES BY Robin Wasserman [out now]
BOOK 3: OMEGA RISING BY Patrick Carman [01/05/16]
BOOK 4: INFINITY RIDERS BY Kekla Magoon [03/01/16]
BOOK 5: ESCAPE THE VORTEX BY Jeanne DuPrau [03/01/16]
BOOK 6: THE SEVENTH ELEMENT BY Wendy Mass [05/03/16]


The other cool thing is that this book also has an interactive, online game (called Voyagers HQ) as a part of the multi-platform program of the series. At the online portion of the series, you can make your own profile, unlock bonus content by cracking codes, and I especially like how you can investigate the planets in the series. You can design your own ZRK Commander robot (I like how the robot in the series is calles STEAM – a common acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). It looks like they will be adding more features as the series continues. I am curios to see how that develops. Check it out HERE!


Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Random House Children’s Books.


Get the full Voyagers experience! One winner in the US receives:

  • The first two books in the series;
  • Branded iPhone6 case and home GadgetGrip button to deck out your device while experiencing the Voyagers app.
  • TO WIN JUST COMMENT BELOW AND YOU WILL BE ENTERED! I will pick a winner randomly from all eligible entries on November 10th and announce the winner on November 11.

Learn more at Voyagers HQ!

Review! Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

2 Nov

connectConnect the Stars

Co-written by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

352 pages – ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on September 22, 2015

Synopsis- Aaron Archer is a living encyclopedia – he remembers every single thing he’s read/heard – word for word.

Audrey Alcott is a walking lie detector – she can tell when someone lies – every single time – no matter the lie.

They have no idea who the other is. They live pretty far apart.

But when their parents (who also don’t know each other) decide, for various reasons, that spending six weeks in the total outdoors would do the kids good, they meet. They also meet some other kids (some nice, some not-so), and a crazy guy in charge of the event.

And thus starts the adventure of a lifetime.

What I thought- This was a really well-written book! I enjoyed the uniqueness of the fact that Audrey and Aaron pretty much have super-powers, but the story just makes them out to be interesting people with great talents. It made it seem almost normal – almost. Ms. de los Santos and Mr. Teague set up a wonderful story with these two unique kids thrown into an environment that really challenges them. The setting is a great place for the adventure – the Texas “Desert” Plains. The kids must learn to get along with each other, and also survive the blazing sun and landscape. When a classmate disappears after getting into a fight with the counselor, the kids team together to get to the bottom of it. I like how they learn to work together despite having very different personalities.  I enjoyed every second of it.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon

29 Oct

doldrumThe Doldrums

By Nicholas Gannon

368 pages – ages 9+

Published by Greenwillow on September 29th 2015

Synopsis- Archer B. Helmsley was a dreamer. His father was a lawyer, and his mother was a doer. His grandparents were trapped on an iceberg, presumed dead. His mother, afraid that Archer – who, as a dreamer, tended to fantasize and imagine – would suffer a similar fate, kept him in the house at all times: only allowed out for school.

Archer decided that he would search for his grandparents (who had been gone for two years) in Antarctica. To do that, he would need help. So, he’s got Adélaïde L. Belmont – who only has one leg, maybe because of her world wide adventures – and Oliver Glub – who will figure out the details of the trip realistically.

It seems like it will work out. They have a plan. They have a location.

Now, if only things were what they seemed.

What I Thought- This was an amazing book. I loved every single second of it. Archer is such a great character that you want him to succeed, to blossom into a wonderful story-driven character, as he does. There are illustrations placed throughout the book, most in color, that were drawn by the author himself. They are fascinating, as you see the characters as they were imagined by the author himself. On the other hand, Mr. Gannon’s writing style is creative and has a unique way of drawing you into the story with a touch of humor and wit. I really enjoyed the book, and wish for a sequel.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Immortal Guardians by Eliot Schrefer

19 Oct

immortalImmortal Guardians
By Eliot Schrefer
Series: Spirit Animals
Spin-off Series: Fall of the Beasts
Book Number: 1
192 pages – ages 9+
Published by Scholastic on August 11th, 2015

Synopsis- In Erdas, having a spirit animal is uncommon. It was even more so when four children, – Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan – summoned the four fallen Great Beasts of Erdas. But now more children are summoning the other Great Beasts – and getting them stolen! A man has found a way to alter the spirit animal bonds, and to steal animals and force them as his own. It seems the entire world is at stake, and there are only a few who can stop him. Will they be able to save Erdas?

What I Thought- This was an amazing first book for a new series! Mr. Schrefer brings you up to speed without spoiling much of the other books from the original story line. Mr. Schrefer’s writing style really played a huge part in setting up the new series, as he was descriptive enough to vividly create a setting and to give a realistic aspect to the characters and their spirit animals. I like how it keeps the older characters – and gives them a fuller background – but also brings newer characters into the series. You really feel for the characters almost immediately – one is shunned from his tribe, another’s city is destroyed, and one is bonded to one of the worst possible Great Beasts. The story is a fun one that has a great villain and a lot of mystique. The story is actually pretty gloomy, but has a lot of humor to even it out. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Bridget Wilder, Spy-in-Training by Jonathon Bernstein

6 Oct

bridgetwilderBridget Wilder, Spy-in-Training

By Jonathon Bernstein

320 pages – ages 9+

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 1st 2015

Synopsis- Bridget Wilder is the sort of child you never remember. Her older brother is a juvenile delinquent, and her younger sister is perfect. A devil, an angel, and Bridget. Then, on her [forgotten] birthday, she receives a mysterious bag with a broken smart phone, tic-tacs she doesn’t like, and lip gloss that doesn’t open. When Bridget gets a call on the smart phone, she realizes her life will be changed forever. Bridget was adopted, but she learns that her birthfather is a secret agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. Not only that, but she may be good secret agent material too! But what if being a secret agent ends up being more than meets the eye?

What I Thought- There has been quite a lot of spy/secret agent books coming to my review pile lately. It’s nice to see a fresh take on this theme. This was a fun secret agent book. Mr. Bernstein does a great job getting the reader involved in the story. Bridget is a great character, and totally believable as the middle child who is always forgotten.  I liked the action and mystique in the plot. I was not expecting the twist at the end of the book (won’t tell you – you have to read it ;) ). It was a pleasant surprise to be a bit shocked – I love it when stories are not predictable. The writing was smooth and the story was told in a way that it will appeal to a wide age range. I think fans of James Bond will like this book a lot, I know I did.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

28 Sep

shrunkenheadThe Shrunken Head

Series: The Curiosity House (Book #1)

Co-written by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

368 pages – ages 9+

Will be published by HarperCollins on September 29, 2015

Synopsis- In New York City, there is a building. The sign outside reads “Dumfrey’s Dime Museum”, and it has the “Largest Collection of Oddities, the Strangest Assortment of Freaks, and Novel and Astounding Exhibitions Comprising More Than One Thousand Curiosities from Every Portion of the Globe.” In it, lives the performers.

Orphans Sam, Philippa, and Thomas have been raised by Mr. Dumfrey, the owner, along with the other performers. Sam is extremely strong – so strong that he breaks things without even trying. Thomas is a contortionist – it’s like his bones turn to rubber. Philippa is a mentalist – a true one, who, at the least, can see the contents of your pocket. Then an orphan girl named Max shows up – she can throw a knife like nobody’s business, and she’ll make sure it’s not your business! When the Museum’s newest claim to fame is stolen, and people who interacted with it start turning up dead, the kids decide to take things into their own hands, especially when the police start barking up the wrong tree! Can they find the murderer before Mr. Dumfrey gets put into the slammer (on accusations of child-cruelty and possible murder)?

What I Thought- This was a thrilling book. It has a good murder mystery. The book has a rather dark tone to it, but that being said, I rather much enjoyed it and even though there are some heavy subjects in the book (murder) I found the story appropriate for a younger audience too. I think it is a credit to the authors. The characters are top-notch realistic. You really feel for them. It is really cool how the authors bring the story together after setting up the plot. At several points I thought that I knew who was behind it, but the authors added a good amount of twists and turns that I soon was guessing what I thought was true. It was a very fun read. I really enjoyed every minute with the characters, and am happy that there is at least one other book to look forward to.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas

24 Sep

jackieConfessions of an Imaginary Friend – a memoir by Jacques Papier

As told to Michelle Cuevas

176 pages – ages 9+

Published by Dial Books on Dial Books, September 8, 2015

Synopsis- Somewhere in France, there lived an evil wiener dog named François. In François’ house, there lived a young girl named Fleur Papier, and she had a twin brother named Jacques. This book is about Jacques. Jacques is a good brother. Polite, fun, imaginative, and so much more. That is, until Jacques accidentally overhears his parents talking and learns that… Fleur has an imaginary friend. How could she have one, and if anything, not tell him? That wasn’t a nice thing! Well, two can play at that game. But when Jacques’ imaginary friend is huge, and takes up a lot of room, his parents yell out that an imaginary friend having an imaginary friend was “too much imagination” – and that was saying a lot, as they work in the imagination business. Wait. What? Can it be true? That Jacques is… An imaginary friend? Jacques soon realizes it is true, but he has a hard time adjusting. What if that by finding out he was an imaginary friend ends up driving him away from Fleur?

What I Thought- This was an amazing book about learning who you really are. Jacques (who we thinks is based off of Jackie Paper from Puff the Magic Dragon) is a memorable character who tugs at your heart strings. You really feel for him as he realizes that he is really his “sister’s” imaginary friend. The sad thing is, she didn’t even know he was imaginary! At least it explains how no one paid attention to him. Imagine if you were ignored all of your life, and then suddenly find out that you aren’t real. There are some simple illustrations in the book that add a lot to the story. I would really recommend this book to anyone looking for a really meaningful story that makes you think. I think that this book is good for an older audience (at least 12+), as they will get the impact behind it, but the story is all clean, and good for younger kids.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks



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