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

Picture Book Bonanza!

30 Jul

I’ve had a stack of to be reviewed picture books sitting on my desk and these three are the ones I enjoyed the most so far. I give all of these wonderful books 5 bookworms!

fivebooks

charieballCharlie Plays Ball

Written by Ree Drummond

Illustrated by Diane deGroat

40 pages – Ages 6+

Published by HarperCollins on March 24, 2015

Synopsis- Charlie the Basset Hound is a ranch dog. He ropes, he rides, and he eats – okay he really doesn’t rope and he just rides in trucks but he does eat a lot. And eats. Besides eating, Charlie also loves it when the ranch people play ball. Come with Charlie as he goes and PLAYS BALL! [He also takes a nap and eats, but that’s not the point]

What I Thought- Charlie is amazing. The series is awesome. I may be a tad biased, because we also have a basset hound and the books has the basset personality down pat. The books are funny and really cute. I love the fact that Charlie is a real dog. It brings a good touch of realism to the story. The illustrations are funny, usually with under-lying humor in the background. For example, Charlie has a little chipmunk friend on almost every page. Ms. Drummond really knows how to write a great story! Charlie eats, sleeps, and thinks he helps out. Just like Clyde, our basset. I really like this series, and think that kids will love it too.

bearduckBear and Duck

By Katy Hudson

32 pages – Ages 5+

Published by HarperCollins on May 12, 2015

Synopsis- Bear is tired of being a bear. He’s tired of sleeping all winter. He’s tired of his warm fur. He’s tired of the bees. So, he decides to be a duck. Being a duck looks much easier. All they do is waddle and quack. Duck decides to help Bear be a duck. But is there more to being a duck than Bear thinks?

What I Thought- This was a funny book. I like how Bear is convinced that he can become a duck overnight. I also like that on his list of complaints is his fur. That made me smile. Duck is a great friend. Ms. Hudson really wrote a good story about two friends who are united by their differences.

pigwigWhat This Story Needs Is A Pig In A Wig: A Pig in a Wig book

By Emma J. Virgán

40 pages – Ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on May 12, 2015

Synopsis- This story needs a pig. In a wig. In a boat in a moat… But what happens when, as more and more animals and their belongings appear on the small, over-crowded boat?

What I Thought- This is a cute book. I like the rhyme, which reminds me a tad of Dr. Seuss’. I like Ms. Virgán’s illustrations. They have a fun, cartoon feeling about them. This story is perfect for bedtimes, and young kids starting to read.

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! Max’s Wild Night by Meg Welch Dendler

28 Jul

maxnightMax’s Wild Night By Meg Welch Dendler 146 pages – Ages 7+ Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on February 23, 2015 Synopsis- Max liked his owners. They were always good to him. But one day, Max’s daily routine got mixed up. His play-times were cut short, and his owners were busy. When he was in the yard, he caught a scent-trail. So, as any sensible dog would do, he followed it. But soon, the trail led into unfamiliar territory. Max was lost. So began Max’s wild night. What I Thought- This was a fun book. It involves characters from Ms. Dendler’s other books, but it doesn’t mention the cat-aliens at all (see my reviews of Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3 in the Cat in the Mirror series). It was just a story about a dog running through the Ozark Mountains on an adventure. It was cool getting into a dog’s perspective. It was realistic, and reminded me of my dog, Clyde. I felt like I was there with Max and his new-found friends. Ms. Dendler knows how to draw you into a story. Max was a nice character, and you feel kind of sorry for him and you can’t wait for him to succeed. The black-and-white illustrations throughout the book are done really nice. They have a cool sketched feeling about them. I think younger kids will love this series! I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Lionel Goes to Camp by Paul R. Hewlett

27 Jul

lionel#3Lionel’s Grand Adventure #3: Lionel Goes to Camp

By Paul R. Hewlett

112 pages – Ages 8+

Published by Shoe Shine Publishing, Inc. on June 4, 2015

Synopsis- Lionel Snodgrass was excited to be going to camp for the first time. His father went to the camp once, and Lionel wants to be more like him. All was going well, until he finds that one of his roommates is Tad, the biggest bully in the school. Now Lionel is just going to try to avoid Tad. How will he have a good camp now?

What I Thought- This was a nice book. I really like the series. [See my review of Book 1 HERE!] Lionel is a good kid, and you feel sorry for him as he carries on being a nice kid as people keep being horrible to him. It’s great how Lionel is trying to follow his missing father’s footsteps. I like the illustrations throughout the book. They are nice and funny. Mr. Hewlett’s writing style really goes with the book and is great for his audience. You get the feeling of a non-perfect kid trying his best to be a good person. I think kids will enjoy this series.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Friend or Foe by Jody Feldman

25 Jul

friendorfoeThe Gollywhopper Games: Friend or Foe

By Jody Feldman

432 pages (Hardcover) – Ages 8+

Published by Greenwillow Books on April 21, 2015

Synopsis- Zane loves football. When he grows up, he wants to be a professional player. All is going well, until he gets his second concussion. Now he’s not allowed to play football for a year. At first, Zane was devastated, but when, through taking a test , he gets chosen to take place in the preliminary contest for the legendary annual Gollywhopper Games (a big, Olympic-style game for kids filled with puzzles and riddles, funded by a rich international game-seller), he isn’t sure what to believe. The prize for winning? $1,000,000. Does Zane have what it takes to win?

What I Thought- You know a book is good when you start reading it, and find out halfway through the book that it is third in the series, and yet it didn’t matter really what order you read it in. Sure, some small spoilers are said, but it doesn’t ruin the series. Each book (I think) has a different cast, as it is a different year in the Gollywhopper Games, which is cool. It’s also cool how the winners of the games can come back to help with some of the challenges. It was a great book. I like the variety of people that got into the games. There are athletes, geniuses, jerks, etc. in the games. The challenges sound fun to do, and would be awesome if they existed in real life.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall

23 Jul

wolfShadow of the Wolf

By Tim Hall

480 pages (Hardcover) – Ages 13+

Published by David Fickling Books on May 26, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “A world of gods and monsters. An elemental power, rising. This is Robin Hood, reborn, as he has never been seen before…
Robin Loxley is seven years old when his parents disappear without trace. Years later the great love of his life, Marian, is also taken from him. Driven by these mysteries, and this anguish, Robin follows a darkening path into the ancient heart of Sherwood Forest. What he encounters there will leave him transformed, and will alter forever the legend of Robin Hood.

What I Thought- This was a chilling book. It’s a take on the Robin Hood legends, but with more of a malicious tint. The book is definitely for young-adult readers, but I would say that it’s for 13 year-olds and older. There is a hint of horror, but not enough to be considered a horror novel. I like how it is a medieval setting, with no magic (there are potions and poisons, and Robin, who became blind, has a sixth sense that allows him to “see”), but there are gods, and a forest that is somewhat “living”, controlling how long you are in it. It has an intriguing cross between supernatural and legend. The story is good and solid, although sometimes Robin seemed a little too angry. There is some fighting, and murder, but nothing gory or graphic (although Robin at one point, wasn’t in control of his mind, and killed in cold blood.). All in all, it was a solid story and an interesting take on the Robin Hood legend.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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! Last Panda Standing by Jarrett J. Kroscozka

21 Jul

pps3Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda Standing (Book 3)

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka

256 pages (Hardcover) – Ages 7+

Published by Walden Pond Press on May 5, 2015

Synopsis- Platypus Detective Rick Zengo doesn’t know what to think of the new addition to the detective squad. Or that she’s now partnered with HIS partner! But when Frank Pandini JR, candidate for mayor of Kalamazoo City, almost gets hit by a flying squirrel, Zengo gets assigned to be a second eye for Pandini. But something nutty is going on in Kalamazoo City, and it looks like the Platypus Police Squad will need all hands on deck to crack this case!

What I Thought- Mr. Krosoczka has written another fun kids’ book, starring our favorite crime-stopping platypi. It’s awesome how he writes what could be an intense, middle-grade/young-adult story into a graphic-novel-like early chapterbook/middle-grade for kids. The book is completely appropriate for younger readers. Boomerangs are the weapon of choice for the police force, and a night club is known for its root beer floats. The characters’ personalities are spot-on, and they create a sense of normality for the reader to connect with (if you can call an animal-driven city “normal”).  I like Mr. Krosoczka’s black-and-white illustrations. They make the story that much more fun to read! I really like this book series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Fart Squad by Seamus Pilger

19 Jul

fartFart Squad

Written by Seamus Pilger

Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

112 pages – ages 6+

Published by HarperCollins on April 21, 2015

Synopsis- Darren Stonkadopolis’ packed lunch was missing. And he arrived late to the lunchroom, which meant that he had to eat the infamous lunch five-bean burrito. That was bad enough. But then the gas was passed. Now Darren, and some other classmates who had to eat the burritos, have super-fart powers. They must learn to harness the power in their guts to save the town from an ancient cursed Golden Scratcher!

What I Thought- This was a funny book. I mean, seriously? It’s a book about kids with special farting super-powers! What’s not to love?! Darren is a great main character. He has problems of his own, but he overlooks them for the sake of his hilariously-named town (Buttzville!!!). The story actually makes sense (or would that be “scents”? ;) ), in a weird way. Plus, some of the names are hilarious! – Harry Buttz, Tina Heiney, Nurse Rancid, etc. I don’t really understand why the janitor becomes their “scent-sei” (teaching them how to harness their powers), but that may be just me. Mr. Pilger has written a book that younger readers will love to read (especially if they’ve been struck with a bad case of gas)! This is a really great book that will get reluctant readers reading!

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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