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Review! Frostborn by Lou Anders

15 Dec

thronesandbonesFrostborn

By Lou Anders

Series Throne and Bones

336 pages – ages 8+

Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on August 5, 2014

Summary- Karn Korlundsson hates the farming life and the fact that he is to become hauld (head leader) of the traveling farm village he lives him. He wants to see the world. Thianna is half-giant, half-human. She is content to stay in her frost giant village, and she strives to be excepted. It is hard being half the height of every giant around her, you know! When dangers arise for the the two of them, they happen to meet up and band together. Thus begins the journey of a life-time for the small boy and the giant girl. They are chased by draugs (evil undead people) and evil female warriors riding winged reptiles. Will these two misfits survive?

What I Liked- As a fan of Norse mythology, I am a huge fan of this book, and its Nordic-like setting and lore. The frost-giants are just plain cool. Literally. I like the fact that there is a tough (7′) female protagonist, along with a short boy who can’t even swing a sword. They were great opposites in characters. The Nordic legends are a wonderful touch, and I can’t help but want more. Mr. Anders has written a fine book. His style is a spot-on epic fantasy for middle-graders, with tons of humor, friendship, and adventure. I can’t wait for the next book, especially after that dang-blasted awesome cliffhanger that makes me both happy and angry! (happy that there will be another book, angry (or maybe sad) that I will have to wait)

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Gifts from the Enemy by Trudy Ludwig

11 Dec

giftsfromGifts from the Enemy

By Trudy Ludwig

Illustrated by Craig Orback

32 pages – ages 8+

Published by White Cloud Press on June 17, 2014

Opening – “There are those who say that what I’ve lived through never happened. But I’m here to tell you that it did. My name is Alter Wiener and I am an ordinary person with an extraordinary past.

Synopsis- from the inside jacket – “In this true and moving story, Alter Wiener, a teen survivor of five Nazi prison camps during WW II, transports young readers back in time when an unexpected person demonstrated moral courage in repeated acts of kindness toward him.

What I Liked- This was a very well-written, important book. It deals with a very harsh topic in an amazing way. The story is enough for younger  kids to understand the horror of the Holocost and the suggested activities, glossary, discussion questions and information included in the back of the book is a great addition for older kids.  The fact that a female German helps Alter is very dangerous, and the fact that she didn’t have to do it and risked her life doing it, makes Alter (and the reader) all the more grateful for the act. This story is written from Alter Weiner’s point of view as a holocaust survivor and is incredibly moving. The illustrations are stunning. The story is kind of sweet, in a very sad way. It shows how terrible people can be, and yet how wonderful too.

I give this wonderful book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Patricia Tilton reviewed and nominated this book as a perfect picture book. Check her review out HERE

Want to learn more? Check out Ms. Ludwig’s website HERE.

Review! Wanderville: On Track For Treasure (Book 2) by Wendy McClure

1 Dec

wander2Wanderville: On Track For Treasure
By Wendy McClure
Series: Wanderville – Book 2
224 pages – ages  8+
Published by Razorbill on October 16, 2014

Synopsis- Set in the early 1900’s, Wanderville is a traveling “town” that was created by orphans in the first Wanderville book. The town is set up so that, wherever they are, it can come with them (see my review HERE), they are kind of like gypsies. The town now has 10 new residents but they all must leave immediately. The evil sheriff had found them and he is determined to round the kids up and send them to the work farms they escaped from. They hop a train, and find a home with a reverend and his wife. But the kids soon find out it may all be too good to be true.

What I Liked- Ms. McClure has written another great historical fiction story! The characters in the book are very real. They act and talk like kids – kids who are on the run and who are trying to find a home. The story is really interesting. I was very intrigued because there really were orphan trains and I found the 1900’s setting very fun to read about. The interesting plot twist is *DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT A SPOILER* The reverend and his wife do good, but they aren’t necessarily good. *OKAY YOU CAN READ AGAIN* The plot kept me reading and lost in the story. The length and language in the book makes it great for kids 8+ but older kids will enjoy the story a lot too. I love the covers in this series. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

I give “On Track For Treasure” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Secret of King Triton’s Lair (The Expeditioners Book 2) by S.S. Taylor

28 Nov

exped2The Secret of King Triton’s Lair (The Expeditioners Book 2)

By S.S. Taylor

Illustrated by Katherine Roy

320 pages – ages 9+
Published by McSweeney’s McMullens on September 23, 2014

 

Synopsis- After their escapades in Drowned Man’s Canyon (see my review HERE), Kit, Zander, M.K. West (and Sukey) are back in another adventure! When Kit’s supposedly dead father gives him clues that lead to an island in the North Carribean, Kit finds the perfect excuse to go there – via an expedition request! After the Drowned Man’s Canyon fiasco, the Wests joined the Academy for the Exploratory Sciences (a school for expeditioners). The Academy has a yearly program that allows the students to make a request to go on an expedition of their choice. But when their rival at the Academy, Lazlo Nackley, steals their idea, he is one of the ones to get chosen, and becomes head of the operation. It all starts to go downhill when Lazlo’s evil, controlling father comes along as a chaperone (the nice teacher that is supervising them can’t come because he is seasick and wouldn’t have been able to help).  The Wests (and Sukey) know that they have a hard journey coming on, but there is much more they aren’t expecting.

What I liked- This was a marvelous sequel to the first book. It has all of the steampunk-y, futuristic-ness that I came to love in the first book. It explains some more about how the world got into its “current” state, with all of the dystopian-ness of it. The new adventure that the West’s go through was cool and exciting, and they really make use of their surrounding events perfectly. I think that they go to the Bermuda Triangle (although it is called something different, in this world-frame), and visit a mysterious island in it. The setting is a fascinating place, and plays an important part in the series. The characters get stuck on a deserted island, full of unknown animals, and the island isn’t charted as existing. Like the first book, the book jacket is reversible, and has a blueprint-y feel to them, as it shows a machine from the book. This is a great adventure story that a lot of kids will like. I really like this series, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Always, Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh

26 Nov

alawaysabigailAlways, Abigail
By Nancy Cavanaugh
320 pages – ages 9+
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on August 5, 2014

Synopsis- Abigail Walters was entering the sixth grade, and, along with her best friends Alli and Cami, can’t wait to become a Pompom Girl. Then everything goes wrong. Alli and Cami get the same homeroom, and have the same teachers. Abigail has the meanest homeroom teacher in the school. When that teacher assigns a project where you write letters to an assigned person in the class, Abigail gets paired with Gabby – an outcast-y, “weird”-type – and Abigail dreads it. But what if she actually starts to like Gabby? And starts to realize that her friends aren’t as nice as she thought they were?

What I liked-This was a great book about choosing what you  should do, over what you want to do. At first, I wasn’t sure about the writing style of the book, it started off as list after list after list, but then I figured out that the book was written like a notebook, and I found myself really liking it. Abigail tells her story though lists and small paragraphs (for example: 3 Reasons I Know I Was Born To Be A PomPom Girl, and What I Wanted To Say, But Didn’t). The style really grew on me. Abigail has always wanted to be one of those popular “PomPom Girls” (I am figuring that is a cheerleader), but first, she doesn’t get any classes with her two best friends, and then, in her Language Arts room, she gets partnered with the biggest “loser” in 6th grade and she pretty much thinks her life is over. I didn’t really like how Abigail blatantly calls Gabby (her partner), a “loser” in her notebook. I really disliked her at first, but I guess that is the point of the story. ;) Abigail goes through a natural, yet significant, character change. As a reader, I really enjoy that in a book.

I give “Always, Abigail” four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

23 Nov

sistersSisters

By Raina Telgemeier

208 pages – ages 8+

Published by GRAPHIX on August 26, 2014

Synopsis- Raina and her family are going to Colorado for a family reunion. She, her sister, brother, and mom are going by car, and their dad will fly in later. Along the way, a lot of things go wrong for Raina and her family. Raina and her sister never get along, even though Raina wanted a sister for years. The arguing made the car trip even longer. After pretty much everything goes wrong, especially her parents hinting that they don’t get along anymore, Raina starts to wonder if anything will get better.

What I liked- This is a really cool graphic novel. It’s pretty interesting how, along with the story-line, there are also “flashbacks” that Raina has. That was fun. Raina (the character, reflects Ms. Telgemeier, because another one of Ms. Telgemeier’s books, Smile (also a great bookand Sisters are memoirs) is an average 14-year-old, with an average, slightly angry younger sister. They have a normal, argumentative, at times humorous, relationship. It was a nice touch that Raina and her sister were kind of brought together by the fact that their parents might get divorced, and that they were scared of what would happen. The story is full of humor, and seems very realistically done. It is a nice story, and the illustrations are top-notch. I hope that there will be another book!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Scavengers By Michael Perry

19 Nov

thescavengersScavengers

By Michael Perry

336 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on September 2, 2014

 

SUMMARY – Maggie was an OutBubbler. She and her family live outside the “Bubble-cities” that most people choose live under. The bubble-cities were cities that are under bubble-like domes that “protect” the inhabitants from danger. The OutBubblers live out of the cities and fend for themselves, with no electricity, guns, or other things like it.  When Maggie’s family disappears and her house is ransacked, she and her little brother find refuge with their neighbors, Arlinda and Toad Hopper. Maggie soon finds out that her father had things he was doing with the government, and that he had deserted, and the government wanted him back. What will Maggie do?

WHAT I THOUGHT – This was a really cool book. The dystopian factor was cool, but also slightly creepy. I would like to know more about the back-story about the bubble-cities and how they came to be. Toad Hopper, Maggie’s neighbor, is a cool guy. He is sometimes hard to understand, because he uses tons of word-play and pig latin in what he says (for example: Nule Rumber Half A Dancing Skirt) – but it is also kind of fun to decode what he’s trying to say. Maggie is a great female character that you come to care for. She is brave and spunky at the same time. The setting is important to the story. Fortunately for the reader, Mr. Perry is a great story-teller and he vividly described the world. The world really makes it hard for the OutBubblers to live, but it makes it more worthwhile when they succeed. The way the land is described makes me think of a barren wasteland outside of the bubble-cities (besides huge government-run fields of genetically-modified corn). The story-telling in the book is really, really good.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms.fivebooks

Review! Future Flash by Kita Helmetag Murdock

2 Nov

futureflashFuture Flash
by Kita Helmetag Murdock
208 pages –  ages 9+
Published by Sky Pony Press on June 3, 2014

Laney Magee has always been different. She’s the girl that draws on her falling-apart-sneakers, and always wears her favorite black hoodie. It doesn’t help that she has this weird power that when she meets someone new and makes contact with them, she sees a short vision of their future, to the exact detail. A new student comes to their school, and Laney is dreading it. She touches his hand in gym class (they are learning about square-dancing), and she gets a horrible vision, the worst she sees – the new boy, clothed in flames, in a burning building. Laney decides to stop his fiery fate from happening. To do that, she must stay close to him. Which might be hard, because he, well, kind of hates her.

This was a cool book about an ordinary girl with an extraordinary power – when she makes contact with someone, usually for the first time, she catches a glimpse of something in the future concerning that person. Laney is a nice, art-loving, “oddball”-type girl who risks her skin to try to save someone she doesn’t even know, who doesn’t really like her (at first – they become friends). She is a marvelous role model, and a great female lead character. The setting is perfect for the story – a small, rural town. Literally – there are only 13 kids in Laney’s class! My school is small, but it isn’t that small! The cover is gorgeous and fits well with the story. I like the silhouette on it a lot. Ms. Murdock’s style kept me reading. I like how she gave every character a unique personality. For example, you know that saying “Never trust a skinny chef” – well, apparently the town baker is super skinny. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms.fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Memory of an Elephant by Sophie Strady

31 Oct

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a very cool and somewhat odd book. ;)

thememoryofelephantThe Memory of an Elephant: An Unforgettable Journey
by Sophie Strady

Illustrated by Jean-Francois Martin

38 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on September 9, 2014

Theme/Topic- Elephants/memories

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening –  “Marcel is an elephant – a very old elephant. Like all elephants, his skin is gray and wrinkled, so it is difficult to tell his exact age.

Synopsis – (publisher’s description) Memory and meaning are at the heart of this oversized, content-rich picture book celebrating the life of Marcel, a soulful elephant. From the towering buildings outside his window and his recollected world travels, to the friends, flora, and fauna that flourish around him, Marcel finds significance in his surroundings and, most importantly, in life’s abundant details. Marcel is writing an encyclopedia, after all, and his entries are featured in full-page spreads packed with facts, elegantly situated alongside the story of his day and his life. Part story and part miscellany, this unforgettable book with dream-like illustrations will transfix both parents and children.

Why I liked this book- This book is very unique. I had a hard time thinking of the theme and genre – it’s a pretty odd book (but I like odd ;) ). Even the size of the book is odd – it’s a large 10×14 – but Marcel is a very large elephant so I guess that makes sense. There is a fictional story in the book – the story of Marcel and his memories, but there is also a ton of facts about everything you can think of (Marcel is writing an encyclopedia). Take a look at what I mean:

memoryeleph1The illustrations are incredible. I love the detail in them (check out Marcel’s tattoo ;) ) and the old-fashioned feel.

memoryeleph2The story of Marcel is nice. He thinks about his life and the things in it and what he’s experienced. We get to meet some of his friends. It’s a nice story by itself but when you put it together with the awesome illustrations and all the fact information packed into the book, I think the book is just super cool. The publisher rates the book for kids 5+. Kids that young probably wouldn’t be able to read the book independently, but this book would make an awesome read aloud. It is the kind of picture book I would have loved when I was little. I always loved books with lots of fact boxes and tons of stuff I could look at. This isn’t a “normal” picture book, but if you are looking for something a little unique – I recommend this one!

Activities and Resources-
I didn’t have to go far for activities. There is a bunch right in the back of the book. There are 2 pages of information on Marcel’s friends who happen to be endangered species. You can use the thumbnail pictures as a look and find in the book for all the endangered animals. There is an “encyclopedia” section on Marcel’s favorite foods, and his furniture. There is also a recipe for “La Crèpe Marcelette” (which I need to try)!

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has a bunch of lesson plans, videos and information in a section called “Elephants, Never Forget.” Click HERE to go to it.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

All Hallows Eve – Comic Novellas by David Eveleigh

20 Oct

 

Helllllooooo blogosphere! First off I get to announce that Kevin Springer author and member of The Middle Grade Mafia won the 3 signed book trilogy Double Vision by F.T. Bradley! WOO HOO! Congratulations Mr. Springer – I will be emailing you to get the address of where you want your books sent! Want to learn more about this series?  Check out the interview I did with Linc Baker – the main character from the series HERE.

Double Vision front coverCode Name 711--cover(1)Double Vision The Alias Men hi-res coverMy favorite Halloween Heroine is back in all new adventures! The All Hallows Eve comic/novella series has comic style action and adventure in it, but they are novellas, not comic books. Each book has a great message in it and Eve is a very cool female super hero. Check them out this Halloween!

All Hevedeadallows Eve: The Land Of The Dead

Series: All Hallows Eve, Book #10

By David Eveleigh

Published by Smashwords on July 20, 2014
Ebook –  11,210 words

SUMMARY - [From Smashwords]

“Join our beloved heroine All Hallows Eve as she journeys into the Afterlife itself to rescue a friend who has lost the will to live.”

WHAT I THOUGHT – This was a great short story. It has the perfect amount of confusion in it. It kept me on the edge of my seat all throughout the book. I like how Eve helps Samantha, her best friend who was driven insane by the evil Fantomas (one of Eve’s greatest villains from an earlier book), out when she needs it. The Tailless Black Sow was an interesting villain. It is a giant pig… that doesn’t have a tail. (Duh.) ;) This is a very creative story set in the 50-6o’s time period, which lends itself to the comic part of the story, and all of the superhero stuff. Mr. Eveleigh has written another great story. I like that at the beginning of the chapters have little cartoon images that sum up what happens in the chapter. The story is fun to read and appropriate for younger kids. All Hallows Eve is a great series for reluctant readers and perfect for this time of year.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

evevillainAll Hallows Eve: I, Villain

Series: All Hallows Eve, Book 11

By David Eveleigh

Published by  Smashwords on Oct. 10, 2014
Ebook –  8,710 words

SUMMARY – [From Smashwords]

“All Hallows Eve faces off against her deadliest enemy yet… You! That’s right, in this tale of madness, suspense and adventure, you are the villain! Equipped with a secret lair, evil powers, an army of robots and a diabolical superweapon, will you succeed in finishing off our beloved heroine once and for all?”

WHAT I THOUGHT – This Eve story is perhaps one of my favorites! Mr. Eveleigh has written this story with a wonderful perspective. In it, YOU are the villain, and YOU are facing All Hallows Eve, who is ruining YOUR evil plan. It is never revealed what your name is, though (a nice point, if I do say so myself). It almost reminds me of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book – you do this, you did that, etc. – but it isn’t a choose-your-own – it’s a cool story that twists you into a character. The story is fun to read and it’s kind of cool to be the bad guy. The illustrations scattered throughout the book are as good as I always expect in the Eve books. Eve is a great superheroine that both boys and girls will love.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out Mr. Eveleigh’s author page and his other books on Smashwords – click HERE!

Here’s a BONUS Mr. Eveleigh made up for Halloween! Make your own comic-style mask! Happy Hauntings! :D

The Big Giveaway

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