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Review! Fantasy League by Mike Lupica

18 Sep

fantasyleagueFantasy League
by Mike Lupica
304 pages – ages 10+
Published by Philomel on September 16, 2014

SUMMARY- Seventh-grader Charlie Gaines was an everyday kid who loved football. Charlie also happened to be a whiz at fantasy football. Charlie’s best friend, Anna happens to be the granddaughter of the owner of a local  NFL Football team (a team that isn’t doing really well and is pretty much a laughing-stock). Charlie makes a draft suggestion to Anna’s granddad and Charlie is surprised when her granddad takes him seriously. Soon, the football team starts doing better with Charlie’s suggestions but Charlie isn’t very comfortable with his  new-found fame after the media gets wind of what’s been going on. As Charlie learns to cope with the good (and the bad!) of being locally famous, he soon learns things don’t always go the way you plan. Now Charlie is being targeted by the media and it also doesn’t help that his best friend is getting slightly peeved with him…

WHAT I THOUGHT- I will be the first to admit, I am not a huge football fan (give me ice hockey and baseball!) and I wasn’t real excited about reviewing this book. After reading the book, I will admit Mr. Lupica  has written a football story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hung on every word, the story was that good. The book had a ton of football facts and strategies but I really enjoyed reading all of it because it was mixed into such a great story line. The book isn’t just about football.  It is more a story about being true to yourself, and making the most of the moment. It was about making new friends, and having fun with the old ones. It was very realistic and felt like a story that could happen to anyone. All the characters were excellent and each one had their own story behind them. I also liked the fact that Charlie’s best friend is a girl, but he doesn’t see her in any romantic ways – just someone who loves football the same amount that he does. Anna is a great character and it shows that she is as much an expert on football as Charlie. Mr. Lupica has written a wonderful story about so much more than football.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about Mr. Lupica and his other books, please visit his website by clicking HERE

Review! The Time Smugglers by Rosie Morgan

14 Sep

timesmugThe Time Smugglers

Book 2 of The Camelot Inheritance Series

by Rosie Morgan

275 pages – ages 9+
Published by Liscarret Creations on July 17, 2014

Summary – Arthur Penhaligon, and his friends Gawain, Nick, and Tamar, are back in another great adventure!

Goodreads description:

It’s been a year since Arthur Penhaligon swapped his skateboard for a sword and became a reluctant, teenage hero – and a Guardian of Cornwall.
Twelve months since he and his friends found themselves among time-travelers and ancient knights.
Fifty-two weeks of wondering what would happen next. The waiting is almost over.
On Cornwall’s shores, old and new enemies are gathering, more deadly and more powerful than the four Guardians could ever imagine.
Memories will live and the Time Keeper will be named. There will be bloody battles, death will finally claim its prize and a tiny green dragon will make its mark
.”

What I thought - Rosie Morgan has written another great book in the Camelot Inheritance series! The series mixes modern characters with characters right out of the Arthurian legends. It is not simply a re-telling of the legends of King Arthur. I think Arthur and his friends are great characters, and people you want to see succeed in their mission. The book picks up from where the last book left off. I felt there should have been a bit more back story in the beginning, but the reader catches up pretty quickly. You don’t have to read the first book, but it would help going into the second, (plus I’d recommend reading it because it’s good). ;) I like how the plot gets thicker in this book, but a lot is revealed too. The story is action-packed and there is some violence, but nothing graphic at all. There are black and white illustrations scattered throughout the book that are a nice addition to the story. I like the Writer character, a mysterious lady who pretty much records everything that happens and is in charge of the time-travelers. I think it’s cool that the story takes place in modern Cornwall but people from different times pop in and out. The setting is described well and I found the story very enjoyable. This is great for MG or young advanced readers looking for a thrilling adventure.

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Check out my review of the first book in this series: The Golden Sword (click HERE)

To learn more about Ms. Morgan and her other books, please visit her website HERE.

Follow Ms. Morgan on Twitter HERE.

I love the cover on this book and the updated cover of the first book in the series – The Golden Sword!

Check it out!

gloden

Review! Ariona: The Bounty Hunter by Anthony Lampe

10 Sep

Ariona: The Bounty Hunter (Explore-A-Quest)

by Anthony Lampe

edited by Kristi Lampe

104 pages – ages 10+

Published by CreateSpace on February 8, 2014

 

Summary –  The reader becomes Ariona The Bounty Hunter who is out to avenge the death of her father. Ariona is tracking  a thieving thug who is preying on sickly villagers by selling them poisoned medicine. To make things worse, her father’s murderer, Ludwig von Aldon, is now in control of an army of the undead. What happens next is up to you (literally) as you choose which path Ariona takes!

What I thought – This is the 5th book in Mr. Lampe’s Explore-A-Quest series. It is very well-done, and transitioned well from page to page. The choose your own part of it worked well and I enjoyed going back and trying different paths. Ariona is a great character who you really cheer on. The story is good, and I really like the setting, too. I really felt like I was there. The characters are realistic and fun to read about. The fact that Ariona is a girl is a great touch. For a choose your own adventure, the story was pretty cool. I like that it is written toward MG aged kids – most choose your own adventures I read are written for grade-school aged kids. The book was a very quick read for me. I think that kids in the middle grades would really enjoy this. There is some violence but nothing graphic. I’d definitely give the other books in this series a try.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms! fourbooks

To learn more about Mr. Lampe and his other Explore a Quest books, please visit the series’ official website HERE.

 

 

 

Hardy Belch and The Predator: Addressing Internet Safety by William Bentrim

26 Aug

hardybelchHardy Belch and The Predator: Addressing Internet Safety by William Bentrim

(The Adventures of Hardy Belch Book 7)

52 pages – ages 9+
Published by Bearly Tolerable Publications on May 27, 2014

Hardy Belch was excited! For Christmas he got the newest video game and it was AWESOME! Hardy’s cousin, Mardi a portable version of the same game. She tells Hardy that a friend online has been gifting her extra game boosts. Hardy is excited because he thinks that maybe someone will gift him extra stuff online! But when Mardi says she is going to meet up with this online “friend” named Amy, Hardy gets worried. What if Amy really isn’t Amy?

Wow – this is an important book! The message of internet safety is something every kid needs to hear and every parent needs to teach. Mr. Bentrim addresses the issue very well and creates a believable situation for Hardy and Mardi to be in. I can see this happening. The illustrations in the book go along with the story very well. Mr. Bentrim gets this serious message across in a very kid friendly way. The only issue I had with the book is that this is the first Hardy Belch book I have read in the series (this one is the 7th) and it took me a while (and a couple of times re-reading) to realize that Hardy’s dog, Tiny, is telepathic and Hardy understands his thoughts. Once I understood the characters, the story read well and it left me really thinking about the message of safety in the book.

Four out of five bookworms for Hardy Belch and The Predator. fourbooks

 

Like Mr. Bentrim and Bearly Tolerable Publications on Facebook HERE.

Follow Mr. Bentrim and Bearly Tolerable Publications on Twitter HERE.

Learn more about Mr. Bentrim and his other books at his website HERE.

 

Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting by Erin Dionne

24 Aug

ollieOllie and the Science of Treasure Hunting : A 14 Day Mystery

By Erin Dionne

269 pages / ages 10+

Published by Dial on July 10, 2014

Ollie still wasn’t adapted to his new-found fame in the last adventure he was in (Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking – Dial 2013). The reporters that watched his front door still bothered his family (well, who wouldn’t be bothered by that?). Ollie understood why they were there – they wanted to learn all about the mystery that he and his best friend Moxie had solved earlier (he and his friend Moxie found 500 million dollars worth of stolen art) – but Ollie thought that they were too insistent. Ollie, being a Boy Scout, was going to go to the Boston Harbor Islands. But, instead of going with Troop 5 – like normal –  Ollie was going to be with Troop 7 as a provo member, to get away from the paparazzi, and to let the FBI agents finish doing their “jobs”. Ollie thought it’d just be another scout camping trip, but Ollie soon found himself in the middle of a treasure hunt for a pirate’s treasure and all is not what it seems.

Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting is the second book in the “A 14-Day Mystery” series (I did not read the first book). This was a fun book. I really like the character of Ollie. He seems like a real kid, which makes him believable. I found it hilarious that Ollie describes himself as looking suspiciously like “the kid in that animated movie about the old guy who floats his house away with a zillion balloons”. I really liked the geocaching and orienteering brought into the story  (they are both really fun activities that you should try if you haven’t). It went along with the treasure hunting plot in the story well. The mystery and plot were a little predictable at times, but it was still an enjoyable story. The publisher has the book for ages 10+ but I think it is appropriate for younger kids too. I think boys and girls will enjoy this fun read.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms!fourbooks

Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger and Audubon Zoo WINNERS!!

18 Aug

HELLO blogosphere! I’ve missed you while I was away camping – okay not really the blogosphere but the awesome people I get to talk to on it. :)

So the big question was – how many books will I read while I was away camping for a whole week –

Here is the run down –

12 middle grade books and 2 graphic novellas (so I am not sure if I should say I read 12 or 14) and yes I did go fishing, hiking, bike riding, visited touristy things, roasted marshmallows and got bit by misquotes had a really great time! :)

 

What books did I read?

1. Spirit Animals #3 Blood Ties by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

2. Cassidy Jones and the Luminous by Elise Stokes

4. Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

5. After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

6. Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger

7. Hardy Belch and the Internet Predator by William G Bentrim

8. Choice of Twilight by Tyler Wise

9. Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting by Erin Dionne

10. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson

11. Mystery on a Church Hill by Steven K. Smith

12. Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger

13. Toto Trouble by Thierry Coppee

14. The Legend of Chima: The Right Decision

Guess what else I found on vacation? A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY! It was right in Lackawanna State Park where we were camping! How cool!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

Now for a review of a great book I read while I was away!

 

greenhornGreenhorn

By Anna Olswanger

Illustrated by Miriam Nerlove

48 pages – ages Middle grade

Published by NewSouth Books on December 3, 2012

Aaron, a young Jewish boy living in 1946 Brooklyn, attends a yeshiva (boarding school for Jewish boys). When 20 boys who survived the holocaust and came from a concentration camp arrive at the yeshiva, they fit right in. All except one. Daniel barely talked, and he always kept a hold of a small tin box. Daniel goes through relentless teasing from the other boys (except Aaron, who is also teased because of his stutter, and became a friend of Daniel’s) because he would not say what it contained. When the boys get fed up, they manhandle the box away from Daniel. When the rebbe (teacher) walks in on this, he has Daniel open the box (after stopping the boys, of course). It contains a bar of soap. Not a big deal, right? Not quite. Apparently, the Nazis had experimented making soap in the concentration camps. Daniel has it to remember his deceased parents.

This was a well-written nonfiction story about a holocaust concentration camp survivor and the friend he makes in Aaron. But, it is also about so much more. The story is for middle grade readers but it is only 48 pages (with illustrations). The writing was solid and the story was incredible but I would have liked the story to be expanded into a full novel – it was that good and it would be better for kids my age to have more details/backstory.  The book is based on a true story. Aaron is a real person (with a different name of course) and I think that I would’ve liked to have met the young Rabbi Rafael Grossman (AKA Aaron). The color illustrations were a nice addition to the story and went well with it. The history taught in the book and the message – is very important. I’d just love to see this as a novel. The publisher has a parent and teacher guide to go along with the story. You can find it HERE.

 

To learn more about Ms. Olswanger, Greenhorn and the film that the book is being turned into, please visit her website HERE.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

 

And, remember that post 2 weeks ago? What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo? Well, remember the giveaway? Guess what?

WE HAVE WINNERS!!!

I get to give away 2 copies of the awesome picture book “What the Sleepy Animals do at the Audubon Zoo!”

sleepyanimals

They are -

Anne McKernan of the Itsy Bitsy Mom blog HERE

Donna Marie from The Writer Side Up blog (click HERE)

CONGRATULATIONS! :D

 I will send you an email to get your mailing address!

The Platypus Police Squad Book 1: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

15 Aug

ppsfrog

 

The Platypus Police Squad Book 1: The Frog Who Croaked

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

240 pages – ages 8+
Published by Walden Pond Press on May 7, 2013

 

Rick Zengo was excited. It was his first day for his new job. Zengo was going to be joining Kalamazoo City’s police force, the Platypus Police Squad (PPS for short). He spilled some hot chocolate on his partner in the first hour. On the second hour, they get a case about an illegal fish exchange gone wrong. But, that’s not important. Nope, not at all. We’re talking about Zengo’s first hour at work. So… He spilled some hot chocolate on his grumpy (but kindly) partner, Corey O’Malley, and they both got made fun of by two over-confident platypi detectives (can someone lend a helping mouse? ;) Platypi or platypuses?). It was a perfectly normal hour. Nothing out of the ordinary. No wondering if the local billionaire panda is behind the fish exchange. No fretting over where the school professor was who apparently disappeared at the fish exchange. Not a minute spent over worrying that a night club owned by the billionaire panda is behind the illegal fish market. No pondering how many hot dogs Corey O’Malley can eat at a time. Nope. None of that. Now, on the other hand, about that second hour…

THIS WAS HILARIOUS!!! The title is a wonderfully done pun and a marvelous hooker! The book was well done and was fun to read. I read it in one day. Mr. Krosoczkais a great author who has a way of creating a wacky world that pulls you in and only lets you out when the mystery has been solved. Detective Rick Zengo is a great guy, er… platypus… who tries to do the best he can, even if he messes up sometimes. I love all the goofy characters in the book. This is a fun book! I already read Book 2 (see my review HERE) which prompted me to go back and read book 1. I am glad I did (and obviously you don’t have to read the books in order to enjoy them!)! I am already waiting for the third book…

yup still waiting…

…someone please tell Mr. Krosoczka I’m waiting…

okay, okay I’ll get on with it -

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

 

Book Review! How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating

1 Aug

ourtruncrocHow to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied

My Life is a Zoo Series: Book 1

By Jess Keating

288 pages – age 9+

Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on June 3, 2014

Ana Wright was having a horrible year. Her best friend, Liv, has moved to New Zealand (A.K.A. Half-Way around the World), and doesn’t seem to want to move back. Her famous grandfather is having a documentary on his life filmed, and will be featuring his family in it, including socially awkward, extremely shy Ana (UGH!). It doesn’t help that her parents, zoo workers at the local zoo, are moving them into a house at the zoo for the summer (now Ana actually LIVES in a zoo). And don’t forget those nasty Sneerers (the three popular girls who hate Ana)! Will Ana Wright ever make her life right?

This was a great book. I read it in one sitting – that’s how good the story was – I didn’t want to put it down. It was very realistic, and I thought that, given certain circumstances, it could actually happen. Ms. Keating has gotten the middle school experience down pat. Ana is a nice girl and I think if I knew her, I would be friends with her. I was cheering her on while she tries to make sense of her life. Ms. Keating is a great author. Her writing style draws one in. There is a good amount of humor in it. I love the ending of the book. I thought it suited the book well. I would like to read other books from her and am looking forward to the next book in this series. I think that the book is a good length, and that it is good for kids who like school stories.

I give “How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about Ms. Keating and her books, visit her webpage, click HERE.

Find Ms. Keating on Twitter HERE.

I already have Ms. Keating’s next book in this series on my TBR list. It comes out in January 2015

howtoshark

Creative Kid Thursday! Tarleton’s Spy by David Slaughter

31 Jul

Welcome to Creative Kid Thursday!

I have a great book for you, loyal readers! A historical fiction novel that was written by David Slaughter, who was 14 when he started writing it.

Here is a bit about David Slaughter from his author page on Tate Books’ website:

“David Slaughter, a young author from Westerville, Ohio, began writing Tarleton’s Spy when he was fourteen. He enjoys the flexibility of his home school and is furthering his avid interest in the details of America’s history and language with a degree from Patrick Henry College.” To learn more, visit his author’s page HERE.

tarlatonTarleton’s Spy

By David Slaughter

120 pages – ages 9+

Published by Tate Publishing on June 10, 2014

16-year-old Jimmy was both excited and scared. He was leaving Britain to serve as an errand runner/message boy in the Americans’ rebellion. He would be serving under the British General Banastre Tarleton. The Americans were rebelling for reasons that he didn’t understand. Making friends with an American boy who was captured, Jimmy soon learns everything he needs to know. It only confuses him about which side to fight for. What can the lad do? It also doesn’t help that he has heard a mysterious murder plot being whispered among some of the men. Jimmy decides to investigate the murder plot while also deciding where his loyalty lays.

This was a great historical fiction novel written by a kid. David Slaughter was 14 when he started Tarleton’s Spy. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I also think it is a very hard genre to write in because the story has to be believable for the time/event it is set around. I think that David did a wonderful job of writing the facts into a great fiction story. From the title I thought that the story would be about Jimmy being a spy for/on Tarleton but really it is about the events leading up to Jimmy deciding to be a spy. I would have liked to read about Jimmy as a spy, maybe David can write a follow-up! Jimmy was a great character who you come to like. I understand why he feels so conflicted about who is right in the war. I think the story was good, and I would be happy to read other works by David Slaughter. The story is completely appropriate for younger kids. Young Mr. Slaughter uses great language, and doesn’t go into great detail in the fight scenes, but adds enough action and adventure to make the story exciting.

 Find Tarleton’s Spy on AMAZON HERE

Find it at Tate’s website HERE.

Book Review! Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption by Mark Myers

27 Jul

virgilVirgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption

By Mark Myers

211 pages – ages 9+

Published by Pelican Hater Books on December 19, 2013

It all started with a ball game between four kids, an army veteran out for a walk, and the little town in Georgia called Portsong in the 1920’s. When Virgil Creech (the youngest in the nasty Creech family), and his friends Henry Lee, Joe, and Willie, are playing a ball game, and Virgil’s team is losing, he starts throwing a temper tantrum, kicking the ball at Henry. It went over Henry’s head, and it hit a retired military man from England, the Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle, injuring him and knocking him unconscious. The boys get an ambulance, but don’t tell how the Colonel got in that condition. Through a misunderstanding, the boys think that the Colonel was blinded by the accident. So, Henry, Joe, and Willie decide to get him a seeing-eye dog. They take a dog from the junkyard and give him a night’s training, and then Henry drops it off in the Colonel’s hospital room. Unbeknownst to the boys, the dog was once owned by nasty Virgil, and he’ll do anything to get that dog back, no matter how happy the dog makes the Colonel.

This was a great historical fiction novel about friendship, being a good person, and about community. The story was very well done, and I think that Mr. Myers got the feel, language, and authenticity of the time period down pat. Virgil is a character you come to care for, but, to me, it seemed like Henry was the real main character. I didn’t mind that. Virgil still played an important part. I loved to read about Virgil plotting to get his dog back. The cover of the book is magnificent and goes well with the story. I would really like to read other books by Mr. Myers. I think that this book is a lot of fun to read and kids who wouldn’t normally read a historical fiction-type book will enjoy reading this story.

I give Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

To read an adults view on this book, check out Michelle Isenhoff’s review HERE.

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