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Review! The Gift of Sunderland by Jeanne E. Rogers

24 Aug

sunderlandThe Gift of Sunderland: An Australian Fantasy Adventure #2

Written by Jeanne E. Rogers

Illustrated by Guy Atherfold

213 pages – ages 9+

Published by Acadia Publishing Group, LLC on February 17, 2015

Synopsis- Waylond Ayers, part of the royal Numbat family had accidentally shattered his family to pieces. His older brother Morlund, angry that his weak brother was named successor to be the Guardian of the Forest, decided that he would be rid of Waylond. Father Roland paid the price as he lay, dead, in their burning house. Waylond goes into a self-imposed exile, denying to himself who he truly is. When he finds a lost young girl, he decides to help her. Soon, Waylond is on his way, with a small posse of characters, and a mindset to free an enslaved group. But can he come to terms with his brother, let alone himself?

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! It reminded me of my favorite series (Redwall, by Brian Jacques), but was also a unique story and book within itself too. Ms. Rogers gives a shout-out to endangered, threatened, and other animals (and places) in Australia. That was a nice addition. I liked how the characters were realistic and had distinct personalities. I didn’t really understand the magic-y of the Forest (like their gods), but that was okay. Waylond is someone you can admire. The story shows his growth as a character and a person (or animal in this case)? He really becomes something great. I really like the black-and-white images throughout the book of the characters. It adds a lot to the story. Ms. Rogers also included a Glossary of the animals and real-life places in the book at the back. And, yes, the book deals with hard topics, as there is some killing, slavery, beatings, etc. Nothing graphic or gory. Appropriate for a 4th grade reading level and up. I highly recommend this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Double Review! Lawless and Justice by Jeffrey Salane

13 Aug

These both get five bookworms! They are the first two books from a series I was just introduced to. I don’t know how this series flew under my radar for so long (Lawless was originally published in 2013). I am hooked on the story!

fivebooks

lawlessLawless

By Jeffrey Salane

288 pages – ages 9+

Published by Scholastic Press; Reprint edition on February 24, 2015

Synopsis- Publisher’s summary: “Welcome to Lawless, where the head of the class is a dangerous place to be.


M Freeman is the newest student at the prestigious (and mysterious) Lawless School. All she really wants is to fit in, but from the moment she arrives, her unusual skills have the whole academy buzzing. M excels at escape tactics. She’s a whiz at spotting a forgery. But can she tell right from wrong? She’ll have to figure it out fast, because some of her teachers are planning the crime of the century . . . and M and her classmates might be the only people who can stop them.

But, who can M trust?

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I liked the idea of a criminal school. This may sound kind of scary, but I would like to go there. It would be really cool. I am interested in criminology, and also activities like lock picking, pick-pocketing, etc. (Don’t ask why – I don’t know). Putting these skills to a use would be awesome (but for a good cause like counter-espionage or something like that – I digress…). M was a great character. She is everything I look for in a main character and Mr. Salane lets the reader really get into her head. Plus it was cool and mysterious how her name was only “M”. Her personality was well-developed. You feel like you really know M by the end of the book. I liked reading about her adventures in the school (and also outside of it). The book brings up incredibly strong self-provoking philosophical points – what is considered bad? -good? How far would you go on either way? I enjoyed reading this great debut every second. I read it in one day it was that good!

justiceJustice

Book #2 in the Lawless series

By Jeffrey Salane

288 pages – ages 9+

Published by Scholastic Press on March 31, 2015

 

Synopsis- Publisher’s summary: “M Freeman thought she had finally found a place where she belonged: the Lawless School, where the children of master criminals trained to become master criminals themselves. She took her studies seriously, never suspecting she was a pawn in a dangerous game.

Now she knows the truth: The forces of Lawless are after a weapon that threatens all life on earth. M and her crew are determined to stop them – but they can’t do it alone. And that means joining the Fulbright Academy.

But what if the Fulbrights aren’t as “good” as they seem? What is going to happen to M and her friends? And how does her deceased father play a part in this?

What I Thought- This was an amazing sequel. It was extremely well-crafted. You really feel sorry for M when she realizes that she can’t trust anyone, maybe not even her own friends! This one was kind of on the depressing side, but I’m assuming it is like the bridge between the ultimate final “battle” in the series. This is the book where all hope seems gone. The characters that you meet are intriguing and keep you guessing at their motives. Justice brings up more thought-provoking questions such as in Lawless. Mr. Salane has a great writing style. It really draws you in and holds you there. Like Lawless, I couldn’t put this book down! I can’t wait to read more from Mr. Salane!

Review! The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland

10 Aug

forgetsummerThe Forget-Me-Not Summer

By Leila Howland

352 pages (Hardcover) – ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on May 5, 2015

Synopsis- Marigold, 12, Zinnia, 11, and Lily, 5, are sisters. They have big plans for the summer. Lily is planning on being her very best [mischievous] five-year-old self, Marigold is trying to hook an acting agent and maybe get a boyfriend, and Lily will probably be Marigold’s second shadow. But when their movie script writing father is going to an out-of-the-way location to assist in the filming of a documentary on redwood trees, and their mother might have a job opportunity in Canada for a few weeks, all of their summer plans get shattered.

The girls will be flying cross-country to Massachusetts, to live with their Great-Aunt Sunny for a few weeks. She lives in a small house (with no TV!) in a small town, and they lived in L.A. Not only are they suffering from culture-shock, but they have to share a room! Will they survive this monstrosity?

What I Thought- Overall, this was a good book. I can understand that Marigold is a budding (no pun intended) child actress, but I don’t know if I like how obsessed she was with having a boyfriend. She’s 12 in the book. It was just weird. Zinnia was a great main character. She was funny, and had to cope with being the middle child of an actress big sister, and being what should be a perfect little sister. That was believable and it worked. The story was good, but seemed to take a back seat to the character development. It took a long time to get to know the characters. Still, there was a plot and it was realistic and fit well in the story (Zinnia needs to write a play and find a cast for her play by a deadline for a local talent show, Marigold wants to get in a movie, etc.). That was nice. All in all, my favorite character was Aunt Sunny. She was the awesome aunt living a simple, fun life in a small town. Plus, the book includes a recipe for the brownies she makes. :)

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! Digital Filmmaking For Kids by Nick Willoughby

6 Aug

forkidsfordummiesDigital Filmmaking For Kids

By Nick Willoughby

336 pages – Ages 8+

Published by For Dummies on May 4, 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered how to make your own movie, or mini-film? Have you ever tried to get a movie crew started with your friends but didn’t know how? Well, is this the book for you! Mr. Willoughby-filmmaker, teacher, and self-proclaimed film geek-gives you the step-by-step process of making your movie, from trailer to editing, all in one book! Are you up to the task? This book includes areas on learning the basics, making a film trailer, making a documentary, your first short narrative film, and much more!

What I Thought- Mr. Willoughby has written a pretty nifty book. It teaches you how to do all of the cool stuff mentioned in the summary. The book gives good sound advice (literally and figuratively ;) ). Mr. Willoughby put in several fun projects to try out and use as a starting point for your film-making career. There were easy-to-understand diagrams, and well-organized chapters. There was a wide assortment of topics covered so the reader gets a good understanding of the basics. There were a few parts of the book I thought could have been explained a bit more (remember the book is for “Dummies”). For example, Mr. Willoughby used iMovie to edit his film, and he mentioned, amongst others, Microsoft Movie Maker for an alternate program, but it didn’t explain benefits or drawbacks with either program. I would have liked even just a small photo of a Movie Maker screen, with labels for the important objects. The majority of the content was very helpful and interesting to read.  I really liked this book. I would recommend this book to a kid in your life you wants to gt into movie/video making.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! Dark Enough to See the Stars by Cindy Noonan

3 Aug

darkstarsDark Enough to See the Stars

By Cindy Noonan

158 pages – Ages 9+

Published by Helping  Hands Press on June 3, 2014

Synopsis- Moses was a slave during the Pre-Civil War period in the United States. Moses is heart-broken. His mother was being sent further south to another plantation. Luckily, Moses and his mama had a plan. He would run while the train was pulling into the station. He would then head north towards Pennsylvania. He finds harbor with a reverend and his family in Harrisburg, and lives there for a bit, but when the Fugitive Slave Act becomes law, he and the other runaway-slave at the house must head for Canada. But even with various methods of transportation, the slave catchers are at their every turn. Will Moses make it?

What I Thought- This was an awesome Historical Fiction novel. It was incredibly realistic. Moses was an amazing character. He had a strong sense of purpose and will. I would be proud to know someone like Moses. This book taught you a lot about what it was like to be an escaping slave during this time period and the pain they experienced. I liked it when Moses stopped at Frederick Douglass’ print shop on the way to Canada. That was a cool part in the book. Ms. Noonan has written a heart-wrenching story. The only thing that I didn’t 100% like was the ending, because it was realistic, and sad (and I am a sucker for a happy ending – but the ending served the story well). I won’t tell you what happens. I love the historical fiction genre but I am also a history buff, so if the story doesn’t ring true, it won’t sit well with me. The writing was solid and I was totally engrossed in the story.  I would still completely recommend this book.

I give this amazing story five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Legends Begin by Shane Fegarty

29 Jul

darkmouthDarkmouth #1: The Legends Begin

By Shane Fegarty

416 pages (Hardcover) – Ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on April 21, 2015

Synopsis- Finn was a Legend Hunter. Or, at least, he was supposed to be. The thing is, he’s not very good. A Legend Hunter is basically a monster (or Legend) fighter. Finn’s dad, Hugo, is a great Hunter. But when Legends start popping up left and right in their town of Darkmouth, it seems like it could be too much for Hugo the Great to handle by himself. Finn needs to step up. But… Can he?

What I Thought- I kind of feel sorry for Finn. His dad insists on him becoming a Legend Hunter, even though Finn doesn’t have any interest in being one. He wanted to be a veterinarian. Not necessarily good for a job that is passed down the family in the last town that still gets invaded by monsters (every so often). The story had a good plot, and some humor (basilisks are apparently raised to believe that their stare petrifies humans. In reality they are small fat lizard-things that stop and stare at humans trying to petrify them but they end up just getting caught). I liked the book. It had a good amount of twists and turns. I didn’t see the major ones coming and I enjoy being surprised by plots. At 416 pages it is a middle grade book that readers will sink into. Despite it’s length, I didn’t think there were any unnecessary parts to the story and it all hung together and moved along very well. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging story and will be looking forward to the next in the series.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Masterminds by Gordon Korman!

22 Jul

mastermindsMasterminds

By Gordon Korman

336 pages (Hardcover) – Ages 9+

Published by Balzer + Bray; First Edition on February 3, 2015

Synopsis- Eli Frieden liked his life at Serenity, New Mexico, a nice little town in the middle of nowhere. It was reported as the #1 Best Town To Live In in the world. But it isn’t until Eli’s best friend Randy suddenly leaves town with no explanation, only leaving a cryptic note, that Eli starts to suspect things. He soon finds out, with the help of other classmates, that Serenity isn’t a charted town. Everything in it is fake. Everything they’ve been told is a lie. Even who they are.

As a science experiment over nurture-versus-nature, they took DNA from the world’s captured criminal masterminds, and cloned them. They would then raise the children in an environment devoid of evil to see if they would be nice, respectful citizens, instead of evil geniuses. Did I mention that the idea of cloning was made illegal internationally?

It’s funny, that in sheltering people from the truth, when the wall breaks down, they turn into what you hoped they wouldn’t.*

What I Thought- This is an interesting book. It’s very original. The concept is cool, but kind of creepy, too. I mean, kids being cloned from modern criminal masterminds to discover the answer to nurture vs. nature, is kind of awesome, but also disturbing. It really made me think about the whole story. Cloning is not something to be tampered with. The creepiness of the plot really sets the stage for the whole story. I couldn’t put this book down or get it out of my head. Mr. Korman has written a well-done story with great characters and a marvelous execution of a plan. Really looking forward to a second book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

 

 

Review! Nightborn by Lou Anders and GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

3 Jul

The winners of The Princess and The Pony Giveaway are:

Sue Morris!!!

And

Kristen!!!

Princess and the Pony FINAL TEXT.pdf

I will be emailing you to get the address you want your prize sent to! Congratulations! :D

nightbornNightborn

Book 2 Thrones and Bones Series

By Lou Anders

368 pages – ages 8+

Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on July 14, 2015

Synopsis- Karn Korlundsson was quite happy learning to manage his family’s huge farm. So Karn didn’t understand why a wyvern (a small dragon-type thing) had to come out of the sky and kidnapped him from a local trading market. When he gets to the home of Orm, a giant linnorm (a type of dragon), Karn finds out that Thianna Frostborn, his half-giant friend, while on a mission for Orm, got captured by an enemy force. Orm says that she was looking for another Horn of Osius for him. The Horn can control reptiles, like wyverns and lizards, and Orm wanted to destroy them (for the safety of such reptiles listed). Orm now wants Karn to look for it too, but all Karn wants to look for is Thianna. Unfortunately, Karn soon finds out that finding Thianna and the horn isn’t his only problem.

What I Thought- This was a great sequel to Frostborn. I like that it still has the great adventurous feel of Book 1. Sometimes you don’t get that in a series – but this carries it off very well. The message in the story about friendship is awesome, and subtle enough so that you don’t realize that you are learning a lesson. Karn is a great character that you really connect with. His friend was kidnapped, and he wants to rescue her – nothing will stop him. But throw in a giant dragon, and a promise too, and you have an adventure! Thianna was a good character, but you would think that her traveling the world would make her more street-wise, and less newbie-like when it comes to things. Her character was still awesome. The story had a lot of twists and turns. It was fun to read. I think that this is an amazing series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY! Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton

22 Jun

vanishing island preview tour banner updated

I am very excited to share this book with you. It is the beginning to a very promising series and even better – one of you will get to win a signed ARC of the book! Details of the giveaway are at the bottom of the post. :)

VanishingIslandHC

Vanishing Island
By Barry Wolverton
Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Black Tulip
352 pages – ages 8+
Will be published by Walden Pond Press on September 1, 2015

 

Publisher’s Summary- Does  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! It had adventure, comedy, excitement, mystery – pretty much anything you could want in a book! Bren is a character you would like to meet in real life. He has dreams, and he’s clever in how he gets them achieved. Mouse is a cool character too. I really like how Mr. Wolverton doesn’t hide that sea isn’t always exciting – at times Bren is just sitting around at sea. There is death throughout the story, but it is not graphic/gory. There are some illustrations that will be put in the final version of the book, but not in the ARC that I read (they weren’t in yet), and they play a role in the story, so that was sad for me. Guess I’ll have to get the completed version! This is a solid start to a new series. :)

WHO IS THIS BARRY WOLVERTON?!?

Barry Wolverton Author Photo

Barry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com.

Links for Barry Wolverton: 

Website: http://www.barrywolverton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wolvertonhill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bwolverton

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wolvertonhill/

Check out all the stops on this awesome tour!

Blog Tour Schedule: 

6/15 Blue Stocking Thinking:  bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com
6/16 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia:  hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
6/17 Small Review:  smallreview.blogspot.com
6/18 Maria’s Melange:  www.mariaselke.com/
6/19 Unleashing Readers:  unleashingreaders.com
6/19 The Hiding Spot:  thehidingspot.blogspot.com
6/22 This Kid Reviews Books:  thiskidreviewsbooks.com
6/23 Mundie Kids:  http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
6/24 Page in Training:  https://pageintraining.wordpress.com
6/25 Novel Novice:  novelnovice.com

BLOG TOUR PAGE HERE!

Connect to Walden Pond –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ WaldenPondPress
Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/WaldenPondPress

Website/Blog: http://www. walden.com/books/

Pinterest: https://www. pinterest.com/waldenpondpress/

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

All you have to do is comment in the comment section below telling me you want to WIN! (well you can comment somewhere else, but I won’t see it) and on June 29th I will pick one name out of a hat of all the entrants. US residents only please. Good Luck!

VanishingIslandHC

 

Review-o-Rama! or The Aftermath of a Blogger’s Illness

18 Jun

HELLO BLOGGING WORLD!

So I have been sick since Sunday which is weird because I pretty much never get sick. I’ve had a 104 fever until Wednesday. Today it’s down to like just over 100 but I feel a bunch better… and I’m pretty hungry and a shower after laying on the couch 24/7 for four days felt pretty good – so I think I’ll live.

“Why are you telling me this Erik?” you ask.

Well maybe you didn’t but let’s pretend you did. I am telling you so you’ll know why I am posting a bunch of reviews at once – I missed posting on a few days (except Wednesday because that one was written a while ago and I had a guest) – hey if you didn’t read it click on over – click HERE – plus that post has the honor of being my 1000th post of my blogging “career.” ;)

SOOOO HERE WE GO!

nerd12_2Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind

Nerdy Dozen Book #2

By Jeff Miller

272 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins; Reprint edition on March 10, 2015

Synopsis- Neil Andertol is an expert video-gamer. He’s in the top twelve in the US. And he’s only a kid. He and the other top players (also kids) were recruited by the US Air Force, in order to stop an evil plot (thought out by a wayward genius kid). Now they are joining NASA to recover a top-of-the-line space shuttle that was stolen. It doesn’t help that another giant asteroid (like the one that may have killed the dinosaurs) is supposed to hit Earth in about two weeks…

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! I honestly don’t know how I missed book one! This book brings you up to speed, so reading book one isn’t necessary, but it would make some minor points clearer. Neil is a great character, who, while not perfect, is extremely realistic. The other nerds in the book are people you would probably like to meet in real life. I know I would! It’s pretty cool how all the kids are expert video-gamers, and because of it, they are government secret mission pilots. That would be neat if it would ever happen (or maybe it did, but it’s a secret). Mr. Miller’s writing style has a good mixture of humor, adventure, vivid descriptions, wit, and great characters for an overall enjoyable experience.

I give this book five out five bookworms!fivebooks

zariaZaria Fierce

By Kiera Gillett

224 pages – ages 9+

Published by Keira Gillett on March 6, 2015

Synopsis- Zaria Fierce was not fierce. Or so she thought, that is, until a river troll kidnaps her best friend. Then she, pitted together with his other friends (one of whom is actually a changeling (a creature swapped for a look-alike human)), goes on an adventure up the river, into a world mixed with the modern world and the ancient myths of Scandinavia.

What I Thought- This was a really good book with a great setting and cool plot line. I really liked how it didn’t hide that Zaria was adopted and she knew it . I also liked how her adoptive parents were nice. You don’t see that often in books (as an adopted kid, I like it when adoption is portrayed well). The characters and mythology are realistic, and the mythology was well explained, too. I like how Zaria tries her best to make do in a world she knew nothing about. There are some instances of d*** throughout the second half of the book that some parents may have issues with for younger kids. This was a good book and I will be looking for book 2.

I give this four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

HEY IT’S ALSO ….

CREATIVE KID THURSDAY!!! WOO!

My Creative Kid guest is JOSIE my little sister. ;)

Today Josie is doing a guest review.

peridotThe Peridot Pendant

By Emma Homes

75 pages – ages 9+
Published by Spark Street Communications Pty Ltd on April 17, 2015

 

Summary (from Amazon) Fabrina is devastated when her mother suddenly vanishes. When she stumbles across her mother’s necklace, Fabrina sets out to untangle the mystery of her disappearance. With feisty best friend Vicky, bookish boy-next-door Harry, and her enigmatic cat Mr Whiskers, Fabrina begins to unlock the secrets of her mother’s magical green pendant.

A fast-paced fantasy where stories from long ago are entwined with present, ‘The Peridot Pendant’ is an imaginative tale that will appeal to children nine years and older.

What Josie Thought – This story was cool. I thought it was going to be a mystery but it had fairies in it and the people traveled to another world. I liked Fabrina. She is smart and brave. I liked Vivky and Harry too. They were all goo characters. The Red Cap guy was creepy (the evil fairy that kept her mom). I liked that there was magic in the story and how Fabrina could travel to different worlds. The book wasn’t too long for me, some of the words were kind of hard but I used my kindle dictionary to help me. I liked how well all the characters are described and all about the fairy world. It was a good book to read.

I give it five bookworms fivebooks

 

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