Archive | Age 9+ RSS feed for this section

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


Review! The Glass Gauntlet by Carter Roy and GIVEAWAY!!!

15 Sep

glassgauntletThe Glass Gauntlet

Series: The Blood Guard (Book #2)

Written by Carter Roy

272 pages – ages 9+

Published by Two Lions on August 18th, 2015

Synopsis- Ronan is a new member of the Blood Guard. They protect certain souls (called “Pures”), that, if unbalanced, could destroy the world. The Bend Sinister, the bad guys, for some odd reason really want to unbalance the Pures. Ronan and his friends, one of whom is unknowingly a Pure, are going to a sort of maniacal testing, and are trying to find an ancient device that can put a Pure’s soul back into their body while at the testing site. Will they succeed?

What I Thought- This was a really unique book. I didn’t read the first book in the series, but  this book gives you the main details needed so you aren’t lost. I think any series that you can pick up the books out of order and still get what is going on is a sign of great writing. Mr. Roy created a fun series. The characters are realistic, and it was a cool twist (I think it happened in book #1) that Ronan’s mom is a good guy, but his dad is the head of the bad guys. That made it interesting. Mr. Roy has a riveting plot and an interesting way that defines the magic in the book. There is a lot of action in the story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

If you want to win a copy of this amazing book, all you need is to comment between now and September 21! I will announce the winner on September 22, next Tuesday. US entries only.

Review! Max: Best Friend Hero Marine by Boaz Yakin and Sheldon Lettich

9 Sep

maxMax: Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

Based on the Major Motion Picture

Written by Boaz Yakin and Sheldon Lettich

253 pages – ages 9+

Published by Harper Collins on June 9, 2015

Synopsis- Justin wasn’t sure what to do with his deceased military brother’s dog, Max. Max had been trained as a military dog. He only lets Justin approach it, but Justin wants nothing to do with Max. But what happens when Max and Justin start unearthing secrets involving Justin’s brother’s death? Justin is about to get the adventure of his lifetime!

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but this book really draws you in! The authors have a writing style that makes you feel like you are there with Justin and Max. You feel all of their pain and troubles. The book handles it all very well. The story was so compelling I read the whole book in one sitting. The content, while some is slightly mature themes, is still appropriate for a younger audience. This book would be a good companion for the movie, and it could be used in the classroom. Now, I really want to watch the movie! I recommend this book to kids in the 4th grade and above.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks


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!



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!


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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,210 other followers

%d bloggers like this: