Tag Archives: literature

Book Review – Kat McGee Saves America! by Kristin Riddick

25 Jul

katmcgeeKat McGee Saves America!

By Kristin Riddick

104 pages – ages 7+

Published by In This Together Media on June 2, 2014 (ebook)

After her adventures at the North Pole and Treatsville, Kat McGee was ready to just sit back and relax for the 4th of July. But that doesn’t go as planned. When her Gram asks the McGee kids what they know about the 4th of July, the kids don’t really answer, Gram takes them to Philadelphia to learn about what happened there to help make the 4th of July so important. When Kat goes through a door and pops up in a place called Libertyland, she is shocked. Kat meets a giant lady in a greenish dress called Liberty. She is the governor of Libertyland, and she needs Kat’s help. The Declaration of Independence has gone missing, along with Thomas Jefferson, two days before he was supposed to present it to the Continental Congress! Kat must go back in time and find Jefferson and the Declaration before the fate of the United States is changed forever!

YAY – Historical fiction for younger kids! This was a great book. Ms. Riddick writes stories that are easy and fun to read. I like how she incorporated the time travel, and historical facts into this book. I really enjoyed Kat McGee and the School of Christmas Spirit (see my review HERE).  I didn’t know that there was a second in the series (this is book 3) and I saw on the publisher’s website a book 4 is planned (click HERE). Good news for parents looking for a great Magic School Bus type series for their kids! I like the character of Kat McGee a lot. She is a great girl who perseveres. I also like that she meets John Quincy Adams in the book (just because I am a super American history buff).  The story is packed with American history facts and kids will learn without knowing it! The cover art is pretty cool too. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

I give Kat McGee Saves America five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

The Dark Eagles Book 2: Wells In Desolation by David R. Smith

21 Jul

wellsThe Dark Eagles Book 2: Wells In Desolation

By David R. Smith

320 pages – ages 12+

Published by Vrigham Distribution on February 13, 2014

Kief and his friends are back in an all new adventure. After breaking Flinch, a friend, out of jail, Kief and Tarc, along with Flinch flee their country, which was invaded by soldiers from Gar. They are going to Gar to find Kief’s father, who had been held captive there for a long time. When mysterious “Stone Hunters” start chasing Kief, going after the mysterious stone that his grandfather gave to him, the friends get reckless and get a job on a ship that will take them to Gar. Little do they know that they will soon become prisoners for no good reason. Making a friend with a fellow prisoner, they escape. The man joins them and they head towards the Wells In Desolation – where Kief’s father is being held. But will they make it there, and back, ALIVE?

This was an action-packed book, much like the first book (to read my review of it, click HERE)! I love the thrills. Mr. Smith has got the fantasy world down! I love the descriptions and the humor in the dialogue. At first I was confused at the beginning of the book because it didn’t recap the first book (and I read the first book a while ago), but I soon got past it and just enjoyed the story. Kief is a great main character. He acts like you would expect him to act. At first I wasn’t sure about his age, but apparently, because Fundautum is a different planet, they age differently. That really helped, it’s just that it explained the aging differently at the end of the book – I wish it was sooner. I DO think that it was cool and nice of the author to have information about Fundautum at the beginning and end of the book – nice touch. The story is good and the plot is solid. I really like how the characters get along with each other. The book is a tad violent but not graphically. It is a great read for middle graders.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Check out Mr. Smith’s website HERE!

 

 

MINION by John David Anderson – BLOG TOUR!!!

14 Jul

minion1

 

Have I got a treat for you! Not only do I have a review of a great superhero book, but I also have videos of the author, John David Anderson, reading aloud from it!

 

minion2MINION

By John David Anderson

288 pages – ages 9+

Published by Walden Pond Press on June 24, 2014

My Summary – New Liberty. The city that nobody’s ever heard of. The town with two rival crime bosses (Tony Romano and Mickey “Six Fingers” Maloney). The town with no Super. The town that Michael Marion Magdalene Morn lives in, with his adoptive father, Professor Benjamin Edson. They make electronic boxes with unique powers, and sell them to the highest buyer. They do small crimes, only stealing what they need. It may help that Michael has a hypnotizing “gift”. Surprisingly, the town’s crime rate isn’t out of hand (a few banks robbed, a couple of houses broken into, etc.). That is, until a supervillain calling himself The Dictator shows up, with henchmen in bullet-proof outfits and silver masks. And, as most things happen, when a supervillain comes, a superhero soon follows. The Comet. A bullet-proof, super-strength, flying superhero who leaves a blue streak in the air when he blasts off. The Comet may ruin everything that Michael and his dad have built (literally and figuratively). And it doesn’t help that The Dictator has taken an interest in the Edson family…

THIS IS AN AWESOME STORY!!! Mr. Anderson is an awesome author of superhero stories! At first, reading the summary for Minion, and seeing that it is a companion to Mr. Anderson’s book, Sidekicked, I thought the superhero would be The Sensationalist (Sidekicked’s Main Character), but I was pleasantly surprised to see a new superhero. Michael Morn is a great character. I like how this book isn’t about good or evil. It’s about doing what you believe in. It’s about being true to yourself. Michael and his dad aren’t bad, but they aren’t completely good either. They’re… neutral-ish. Mr. Anderson handles these subjects very well. New Liberty is actually nice. The crime bosses aren’t tyrants to the people – in fact, I think that most people don’t really know that they exist (except from what they read in newspapers). They’re just rivals to each other. This is an extremely well-written story, especially for us Middle Graders. I really like the world Mr. Anderson has created. The book is pretty much everything I want in a story. I can’t wait until his next book comes out!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Now, onto the fun stuff!

I asked Mr. Anderson if he’d read an excerpt from Minon for my wonderful blog readers as part of the blog tour! He agreed to do it! :) Plus he sent a hysterical version of it in which he has a “chipmunk voice.” :)

Check them out!

Normal Voice:

Chipmunk voice. (Mr. Anderson wanted me to share this too, for “people with not a lot of time on their hands” ;) )

Who is this John David Anderson?!?

John David Anderson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, IN HIS OWN WORDS:

John David Anderson writes novels for young people and then, occasionally, gets them published. Besides Minion, he is the author of Sidekicked, and Standard Hero Behavior. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, making board games, chocolate, not putting away his laundry, watching movies, and chocolate. Those aren’t his real teeth.

To find out more: www.johndavidanderson.org

Check out the book’s trailer too!

 

Follow Walden Pond Press on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Check out the other stops in the blog tour!

June 23 Maria’s Melange

June 24 The Library Fanatic

June 25 The Next Best Book 

June 26 Jean Book Nerd

June 27 Book Egg

June 28 Word Spelunking Book Blog

June 30 Ms. Yingling Reads

July 1     The Book Monsters

July 2     The Book Monsters

July 3     Read Now, Sleep Later

July 6 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

July 7 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

July 8 Candace’s Book Blog

July 9 Middle Grade Mafioso

July10 Librarian’s Quest

July 11 Unleashing Readers

July 12 Trisha Perry

July 14 This Kid Reviews Books

July 16 Charlotte’s Library

July 17 Literacy Toolbox

Go to Mr. Anderson’s website HERE!

Wish You Weren’t by Sherrie Petersen

11 Jul

wishyouWish You Weren’t

By Sherrie Petersen

138 pages – ages 8+

Published by Intrepid Publications on March 15, 2014

Marten couldn’t believe it. A wish he made on a star actually came true – and he feels awful about it. He wished that his little brother, Aldrin, wasn’t there. While at a museum, Aldrin just… Faded away. Marten and his best friend, Paul, meet a strange man named Tör, who says that he will help them get Aldrin back. Using watches that can control time, Tör, Marten, and Paul go through time, trying to undo what happened. When Tör’s star he comes from starts to die, and signs of Aldrin start disappearing, it’s up to Marten and Paul to stop Aldrin from disappearing forever.

This was a very good time travel book. Ms. Petersen’s plot has no holes and her description of the story puts the reader right in the middle of it. I like books like this – a little bit of magic, a little bit of time travel, a lot of adventure. It was a great read. I like Ms. Petersen’s writing style. She gets into the mind of an 11 (almost 12!) boy very easily. Marten is a great character and, speaking as a 12 year old boy, he acts very realistically. I understand why he does everything he does. I also like Tör – he is mysterious and I love the idea of him being in charge of making sure the wishes made on his star come true. The book was appropriate for all ages. I think a lot of kids (and adults) will love this story.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Elementary, My Dear Watson: The Astounding Adventure of the Ancient Dragon by Jose Prendes

8 Jul

elementaryElementary, My Dear Watson – The Astounding Adventure of the Ancient Dragon

By Jose Prendes

174 pages – ages 9+

Published by Curiosity Quills Press on March 3, 2014

12-year-old John H. Watson was distraught. His mother was dying, his father was depressed because of it, and he was going to Candlewood Boarding School for Boys and Girls because his home was not a happy environment (and because he was neglecting his studies, of course). When a bully, calling himself Moriarty, orders Watson to hand over his money, a young boy, Watson’s age, saves him from Moriarty. The boy introduces himself as Holmes, Sherlock Holmes. When classmates start disappearing, Sherlock starts investigating, along with his new friend. Where are all the missing students going? And who is responsible for it?

First of all, I am a huge fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. Sherlock Holmes never ceases to amaze me.I was a little worried that reading about a young version of Sherlock would not live up to what I would expect. This book however, was a great read (cool cover too)! I really like how Mr. Prendes mixes up Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters and jumbles them into middle school. It was marvelously done. I especially like the irony in one scene, where Holmes, Watson, and another student are investigating the case, and the Head Mistress of the school walks in on it. Holmes says that they are acting out a play with 3 characters from Shakespeare’s plays. When the Head Mistress points out that they aren’t from the same play, Holmes states that it is pretending if the characters had met each other in Middle School – just like they are in this book! ;) Mr. Prendes also included of the thrill from Doyle’s mysteries, and I loved every second of it. The book was a very fast read for me. I read this book in less than a day. The plot of the story kept me on the edge of my seat, and I immediately liked John Watson. Mr. Prendes has written a great book. I would like to read other books written by him, especially from this series.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

The Dragon Hollow Trilogy by Christy Bower

2 Jul

Before I get to today’s review – I get to tell you Stephanie The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow blog (Click HERE to go THERE) won my give away copy of The Starburst Juju (see my review HERE). Congratulations! I will be emailing you to get your mailing address. :)

juju

HELLO BLOGOSPHERE! :D

Happy Wednesday to you! Today I have not one, but 3 books to tell you about! An exciting and fun TRIOLOGY!

The Dragon Hollow Trilogy

By Christy Bower

draghol1Book 1: The Legend of Dragon Hollow

212 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on May 25, 2013

Summary (From the back of the book): When an enemy army attacked Mirabeau, Peter and his friends, Sebastian and Alexandra, lost their parents, their homes, and their city. They set off in search of the dragon’s treasure that Peter had read about in his favorite book, The Legend of Dragon Hollow.

On their journey, they encounter all sorts of people and adventures, and they learn valuable lessons that will help them fulfill their destiny – a destiny that is greater than dragon treasure.

draghol2Book 2: The Secret of The Sword

186 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on September 23, 2013

Summary (From the back of the book): [SPOILER ALERT] After Peter learned he was the rightful heir to the throne, he returned to Mirabeau to discover a tyrant had made himself king. When Peter and his friends, Sebastian and Alexandra, try to spy on the tyrant king, they are captured as traitors. It looks as if things will end badly for the three young people, especially when an invading army attacks the city, complicating the situation.

draghol3Book 3: The Rise of The Dragon King

196 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on October 8, 2013

Summary (From the back of the book)[SPOILER ALERT] In this third book in the Dragon Hollow Trilogy, young Peter Cole has just taken the throne of Mirabeau, but being a king is not what he expected. In addition to the city’s financial crisis that left knights and workers unpaid, King Peter is also faced with the disappearance of a friend; a dragon bent on revenge; a call for help from an ally; and a horde of barbarians on the march for his city. Meanwhile, his two friends, Sebastian and Alexandra, face problems of their own. Alexandra is coming to grips with being scarred by the dragon burns and Sir Sebastian is learning to be a knight while dealing with a bully in Knight School. Peter’s destiny as the foretold Dragon King is liked to whether he can navigate these difficulties and fulfill his calling.

What I Liked About the Trilogy: This series was action-packed, hilarious, and great for kids. The books are full of “references to fairy tales, fables, fantasy fiction, classic literature, nursery rhymes, and children’s songs”. I laughed at “The Three Musket Deer”, a tyrant king named Ham Burger (or King Burger), King Cole, and his wife’s name, Nat (some kids may not get some of the references – I didn’t get a couple and asked my parents about them), and so much more! I think I fell off my beanbag chair a couple of times laughing at the book! The story, itself, very good. Ms. Bower’s writing style is enjoyable and the self-published book is edited well. I liked the story-line a lot. Peter was a great main character. He was brave (for a kid), smart (for a kid), and awesome (for anybody). He handles situations very well. Donkey Oatie was hilarious too. In the book, there is a** repeated, but it is normally talking about Donkey Oatie (as in Donkey Oatie said things about him, like his mother always said that he was a “smart a**”). The theory that geckos, when put in water, turn into dragons, was a great one (and was a TOTAL surprise to me *Note to self – get geko). The books were quick, fun reads for me and I think they’d be great to bring along in the car on summer trips. If the series went on, I’d gladly read the next book, but sadly, trilogies end at three.

I give this series four out of fie bookworms!fourbooks

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

Follow on Twitter HERE.

Follow on Google+ HERE.

Book Review! Little Orchid’s Sea Monster Trouble by Claudine Gueh Yanting

27 Jun

littleorchLittle Orchid’s Sea Monster Trouble

By Claudine Gueh Yanting

98 pages (estimated – ebook reviewed) – ages 9+

Published by Carry Us Off Books on April 8, 2014

Little Orchid lives in 1960′s Singapore with her family. When Little Orchid and her sister are invited  to a wealthy classmate’s house for dinner, Little Orchid realizes that they are being served a giant cuttlefish – a special animal from the sea. They brought the mighty beast in, still alive, to be prepared. Little Orchid felt a connection with the cuttlefish when she made eye-contact with it, and feels sorry that she could not help it at all. Little Orchid tried to not eat the dishes with cuttlefish – and she was doing pretty good at that – until the hosts plopped a piece of cuttlefish on  her plate. It would have been disrespectful not to eat it! While everyone is watching, Little Orchid chokes down the piece of cuttlefish. A few minutes later, she throws up. Little Orchid and her sister quickly leave the premises. The next morning, Little Orchid wakes up to find herself covered in boils and rashes. When Little Orchid finds herself stretching out, elongating, she realizes that she is turning into the giant cuttlefish. She doesn’t know why, but she is. Her family will despise her. She quickly crawls to the nearby sea, and enters it without telling anyone. She begins her new life as a sea monster, wondering if she’ll ever see her family again.

This was an enjoyable story. I love the message I got out of it- if we take something special from the sea, the sea will take something special from us. I like that it takes place in Singapore during the 1960′s. It was nice to read a novel set in a place I usually don’t read about. Little Orchid is a good main character who thinks that everywhere she goes, she brings trouble. You really care for her, and you cheer her on until the last page.  Ms. Gueh has a wonderful writing style, and it makes you feel like Little Orchid is talking to you. I enjoyed the voice of the story. I like how there are cool painting-like illustrations scattered throughout the book. This book would be great for reluctant readers, and young readers. For me, I would have liked for the story to be a bit more involved and give me more because I enjoyed the plot concept so much. It’s a good thing that I would like more.  Little Orchid earned a spot on my library shelf!

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

Book Review! The Starburst Juju by Monica Strang AND GIVEAWAY!!!

25 Jun

juju

Ms. Strang has offered to give away a copy of her book to one lucky person (USA addresses only)! Read to the bottom to find out how to enter!

The Starburst Juju

By Monica Strang

278 pages – ages 12+

Published by Pants on Fire Press on January 3, 2014

15-year-old Pepper Jones was shocked. The Maddocks, aliens that are kidnapping the best of the best humans on Earth (the best architect, the best artist, the best scientist, etc.), just kidnapped her parents. Two ordinary, run-of-the-mill school teachers. So, what were they the best at? Pepper and her best friend Parker wondered that, until they were met by a human-like cat-looking man. He says his name is Ando and that he is a Popoki (not a cat!) and that he was a friend of her parents – brilliant inventors from an academy on a different planet! Pepper and Parker go to the academy and hatch a plan. They plan on how to save her parents by finding the Starburst Juju, a powerful alien stone that can help free her parents.  But Pepper and Parker are only two humans and they are up against an entire race of aliens.

This was a great story. I loved all of the cool gadgets, especially the Orico. I really want one – they are bracelets that can do a bunch of things at a command. I love that the book made me think about some things. For example the story says all planets that can support life are about the same size, same distance from their sun, same temperature range, etc. compared to Earth – I never thought about it like that. But I guess that only goes for life-forms like us but what if there are other types of life… okay getting off topic… Back to my point – I like books that make me think! :) The characters in the book were developed well. The aliens were fun to read about. I like Ando. He is really interesting, and I would love to spend a day with him. Pepper is a great character – smart, realistic, and nice. I also liked Parker. He’s a great friend to Pepper, and an immature normal teenage boy. ;) I think that this book is awesome, but I am slightly sad that this is a stand-alone novel. It ended well though. I think Ms. Strang closed it very nicely. Ms. Strang has a great writing style. I think this is another cross over type book – one that advanced MG readers will love as well as younger YA readers.

I give “The Starburst Juju” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Watch the awesome book trailer!

Now, for the GIVEAWAY!!!

To enter in the contest, all you need to do is comment and say that you want to win a copy of this great book (USA addresses only please)!

If you want to make it fun, name your favorite alien from any novel, TV Show, comic, movie, etc. For example, I would say “Superman” or “General Grievous”.

Next week my sister Josie will pick the winner from all of the names put in a hat! :)

Good luck and thanks for reading my blog!

Book Review! Loot: How to Steal A Fortune by Jude Watson

24 Jun

Many middle grade readers know Jude Watson from the 39 Clues books she’s written. I am a HUGE fan of the many Star Wars books she’s authored too. Ms. Watson has a distinctive writing style and is one of my favorite MG authors. When I saw she was writing a new MG book, I had to get my hands on it!

Today is the release day for the new book! WOO!

lootLoot: How to Steal A Fortune

By Jude Watson

266 pages – ages 8+

Published by Scholastic Press on June 24, 2014

March McQuin was shocked. Right before his eyes, his own father had fallen off a roof, and was dying. Of course, some would say the man deserved it, as his dad was Alfie McQuin, infamous burglar, and March was his lesser known partner-in-crime. His dad handed him a strange stone, and gave him these final words – “Find jewels”. When March is at the airport being sent to an orphanage (his mother had passed away when he was young), he meets Jules McQuin (his long-lost sister that he didn’t know he had) who was going to the orphanage with him. They soon realize that the orphanage is not much better than a prison. At the orphanage they meet Darius and Izzy, who also hate the place, and they all break out. March realizes the stone his dad gave him as he was dying is much more than it seems and the jewels he told him to find was really Jules his sister. Soon the gang of kids find themselves not only evading the juvenile authorities but also going on a crime spree to “recover” more of the strange stones. The original owner (the one who March’s dad stole the stones from) offered the kids 7 million dollars for the return of all the stones. Sounds simple? Not really. The kids have to compete with an old associate of Alfie’s, a detective turned TV Show-Host, and time.  The McQuins and friends have their work cut out for them.

This. Was. An. AWESOME BOOK!!! Ms. Watson has written an amazing, thrilling, and completely action-packed book that kept me on the edge of my seat at all times. Gordon Korman (on the back of the book) wrote that is has “more twists than a pretzel factory” and he is totally right – in a good way! Ms. Watson has a way of drawing you in, and not letting you go until that final period. Just when I thought I had things figured out, the story took another turn. I loved that I never really knew who to trust in the plot. March is a great character and not even a bad guy (for the son of a thief). He hurts no one, and makes theft an art- form. The book is appropriate for all ages but the scene where Alfie dies may be a bit much for some young kids (nothing too graphic). The first ten pages of the story had me wondering. They were a bit slower than I am used to with Ms. Watson’s books, but then **BAM** she grabs you by the nose and doesn’t let it out of the book until the end. After I got done reading the book, I realized how much of the story was set up in those first ten pages. Ms. Watson is a masterful author.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Book Review! The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

18 Jun

maggieThe Meaning of Maggie
By Megan Jean Sovern
220 pages – ages 9+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 6, 2014

Maggie, a super-smart, very organized, overachieving 11-year-old, was shocked. Her dad had quit his job after his legs “fell asleep” (as Maggie calls it), and their mom had gotten a job. Her dad stays at home, in a wheel chair, working around the house. It is a new scenario for Maggie. She isn’t used to her dad being around all the time, and her mom working. When her science project approached, she decided to do it on what had made her dad’s legs fall asleep – multiple sclerosis. Maggie is determined to find a cure for her dad’s disease. What she finds out is how great her family really is and she can survive getting a ‘B’ in school.

First of all I’ll say I am a bit bias on this book. The “super-smart, very organized, overachieving 11-year-old” in my description above – sounds a lot like me (only I’m 12 – but just go back a year). Speaking as a “precocious” kid (as I am tired of being called),  Ms. Sovern has gotten Maggie’s personality down pat. I felt like I was with her the whole entire time, cheering her on! I like the sibling rivalry between Maggie and her sisters. It felt like a real situation and the characters were believable. I think this is another one of those “Crossover” books – one written on a YA reading level but the story is more for advanced middle-grade readers (as an advanced middle-grade reader, this makes me more bias ;) ). The book ends extremely well, and although there are some loose ends, they are the right kind that leaves you thinking about what happens next, but you know the characters will be okay. I think that Ms. Sovern has a very distinct writing voice. I would read other books by her.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Bonus points for a cool trailer too!

 

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