Tag Archives: reading

Rrrrrrggggle! (The Wesley Series) by Monsieur J and Mister F

30 Jan

wesley Rrrrrrggggle! (The Wesley Series)

By Monsieur J and Mister F

Illustrated by Papaya

139 pages – ages 9+

Available as an ebook

Published by Monsieur J & Mister F on November 10, 2013

Wesley is a 5th grader who just happens to be a zombie. He and his family have just moved to Stuff Falls, and he will go to Stuff Falls Middle School, which is a regular human school. Everyone knows that he’s a zombie, so he makes a friend with a half-zombie (whose mom is human, and dad is zombie), who shrinks every year because of him being half-zombie (I don’t really understand that, so please don’t ask detailed questions ;) ), and is obsessed with acting. He also becomes friends with a young yeti girl. The school bully, a human, is not one of Wesley’s friends, and has challenged him to a hard, deadly game, which will decide if  he will be left alone (or tormented) by the bully for the rest of the school year.

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I usually do not accept books about zombies or monsters. It usually isn’t my thing, but I try one every now and again. This is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved this because it didn’t focus on the scary “zombie brain-eater apocalypse” part of zombies. True, the zombies eat organs, but Wesley’s parents eat animal organs, and Wesley is a vegetarian. I love how in the story, zombie is passed via genes (like the half-zombie kid). I like that the story is about a young zombie trying to make friends and fit in. That was pretty funny. I like how Wesley’s dog is allergic to humans. :) The illustrations are cute and cartoon like. They are fun to look at and add to the story. You can see examples above this paragraph, and below it too. The story isn’t really about monsters, it’s about having a good family and good friends. I like how the authors puts a zombie in as the “new kid.” This book is a quick, humorous read, great for reluctant readers, especially boys. I can’t wait for book two!

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I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

Visit the Wesley the Zombie website HERE.

Like Wesley on Facebook HERE.

Follow Wesley on Twitter HERE.

Taylor Davis and the Clash of Kingdoms by Michelle Isenhoff

6 Jan

Let me start the New Year off right with a review of a great book!  :D

taylordavisbook2_cover_600x900Taylor Davis and the Clash of Kingdoms

By Michelle Isenhoff

244 pages – ages 9+ (ebook reviewed)

Published by CreateSpace on January 1, 2014

Taylor Davis is back, along with Elena Camila Velasquez Cartahena, and their guardian angels/agents, Mike (short for Amikim) and Ranofur! They need to save the world from chaos and destruction, before a third World War erupts! The team is sure that Bartholomew Swain (a horrible pirate who ate a rotten piece of fruit from the Tree of Life who they thought they got rid of in the first book – Taylor Davis and the Flame of Findul  – see my review HERE) is behind several hypnotized students, friends of Taylor, who have tried to beat him up, but they have no proof. The trouble isn’t just at Taylor’s school though. The whole world is going wonky. When the European Union, British Parliament, and the United Nations erupt in violence, Taylor knows something very bad is up. How will he and his team stop it – whatever it is?

This was a great second book in the Taylor Davis trilogy. I love how Mrs. Isenhoff writes an exciting adventure appropriate for middle grade kids.  The action kept me on the edge of my seat and the story kept me wanting to read more. Taylor and Elena are great characters that I enjoy reading about. I love the mix of angels/villains/humans in the series. Taylor seemed to have changed at the end of the book, more mature, I think, but in a good way. I guess saving the world will do that to a character! I like the sounds (but not the looks) of Simgali the Trickster – very interesting character.   Mrs. Isenhoff writing style gave me a great picture of the story without being dragged down with too many details. It made the book enjoyable to read. I could have done without the tad bit of romance (Elena has a boyfriend, and a thing at the end of the book), but that’s just me. ;)

I give this book five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

To learn more about Mrs. Isenhoff and her other books, please click HERE.

To find where to buy Taylor Davis 2 – click HERE.

Granpa Guff and the Pasta Wars by G. Guff

27 Nov

gguffGranpa Guff and the Pasta Wars
Book 2 in the Unbelievable Adventures of Granpa Guff
By G. Guff
67 pages – ages 6+
Published by Fort Guff Press on October 7, 2013

Granpa Guff is a master story-teller. In Book 2 of this series, Granpa Guff’s grandkids are visiting him for the weekend. He tells them a story about how Italians came to America and started to make Italian food products. Well, it turns out that those Italians really take food and business seriously. They take them SO seriously, they team up to sabotage the Italian whose product is doing the best at that moment! It gets so bad that they do everything – from tossing cats and dogs with parachutes off a skyscraper (that’s where the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” comes from. :) ) during a grand opening of a restaurant to putting snakes in cans of pasta sauce! What will happen? How will these wars end?

This is the second book in the Granpa Guff series. I enjoyed the story because it had a bunch of things in it that I like. The plot idea is cute (a grandpa telling his grandkids these outrageously strange stories – that turn out to be real-ish). The story is the type I like, fun to read and just plain silly. I like the illustrations throughout the book  a lot (although I thought the cover seemed a bit dark and scary and didn’t match the story). They are whimsical and sometimes hilarious. G. Guff’s writing style is fun and appropriate for all ages. The reading level is good for advanced young readers and older kids. I think it would be a fun read aloud too. I couldn’t figure out who the narrator (one of the 2 grandchildren) is. Other than the narrator thing, there are a few editing mistakes and places where the conversation between characters is a bit confusing. An editor would have picked these things up. With the edits, this book could turn into a favorite bed-time story for a lot of kids.

I think Granpa Guff and the Pasta Wars is a good book and gets 3 out of 5 bookworms from me.threebooks

Check out Granpa Guff’s website HERE.

Momo by Michael Ende

14 Aug

Before I get to a review of one of the best books I read this year…

At 4pm today (EST), you can join me today for a TWITTER PARTY for Bruce’s Hale’s book, Playing With Fire (School for Spies Book 1 – my review of this fun and exciting adventure story will be coming soon)!!! The chat is moderated by @DisneyHyperion (Mr. Hale’s twitter name is @storyguy1 and my twitter name is  @ThisKid_Erik). Mr. Hale will be answering questions about being an author and writing and publishing. Disney Hyperion will also ask Mr. Hale to summarize his book in one tweet! I’m looking forward to that! :)  Look for hashtag #PlayingWithFire!  Hope to see TWEET you there!

 playingwithfire

Now to the review!

momo

Momo
By Michael Ende
240 pages – ages 12+
Published by McSweeney’s McMullens Anniversary Edition edition on August 13, 2013

Momo is a young orphan girl living by herself in an abandoned amphitheater who has many friends from town because Momo listens. Momo is so good at listening that people from town come to tell her their troubles and Momo makes them feel good again. Momo also helps kids imagine. But it all changes when the “gray men” come to town and start to convince the townspeople to “save” time by doing things very quickly. In reality, everyone who agrees loses time and becomes super grumpy! No one visits Momo anymore except for the kids, who have no where else to go. Momo realizes she must save everyone from the gray men.

This edition of Momo is a 40th anniversary edition (just released yesterday!) and it is a MUST READ book. The plot of this book is very unlike anything I’ve read. It is unique and fun to read. I love Master Hora, the guy in charge of keeping time going. He’s cool. I like the idea of the gray men as bad guys. They are really creepy. Momo is a great character. I like her “power!” I wish I had a power like that. I love the adventure in this book! I really like Cassiopeia, Master Hora’s turtle, which can see exactly 30 minutes into the future and she can also “talk” by having letters appear on her shell to spell out sentences. I find that very cool. The illustrations scattered through the book are awesome. I like the last picture – Cassiopeia showing two words that appear only to the readers – The End!

I give this book 5 out of 5 book worms!fivebooks

PS – My parents were surprised I never heard of or read “The Never Ending Story,” Mr. Ende’s most popular book (he wrote Momo six years earlier than The Never Ending Story). Guess what I will be checking out of the library next? ;)

neverending

Doom & Gloom (Book 1) by M.J. Shaughnessy

7 Aug

doomandgloomDoom & Gloom (Book 1)

By M.J. Shaughnessy

135 pages – ages 9+

Published by Jumping Jackalope Press on June 13, 2013

Available as an ebook sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Dane Winter, the 6th, was rich. He had everything he could want… well maybe not everything. Dane’s parents give him everything he could want but they really pay no attention to him. His parents travel to Outer Cambria a lot to help poor/sick kids, which is pretty ironic because their own kid feels so alone. Plus there’s the “little” matter that Dane has a rare disease where he’s super allergic to the sun and he can’t go outside except at night (that’s why his nickname is Gloom).

When his parents buy him a super-special suit that protects him from the UV (Ultra-Violet) rays from the sun, Dane gains his “freedom”. The suit is great and all that, but it means that he has to go to Outer Cambria, by order of his parents, which Dane doesn’t want to do because a) he has friends here in Winterville, where he lives and b) he’s pretty angry at his parents. The suit projects holographic images of Dane, so that anyone looking at him sees the real Dane, and not a weird suit. With his new suit, and his best friend, Jinx Bellamy (her nickname is Doom), Dane decides to take on the Mad Dogs, an evil group of terrorizing citizens of Winterville who are trying to take over the town (they burned down a doughnut store and a library! Can you believe that?!?), which Dane heard about from Jinx. Even though Dane and Jinx have no actual superpowers (although, the suit CAN turn into different costumes, or just plain invisible), Jinx is a black belt in TaeKwon-Do and Dane knows how to use a sword. But is that enough to stop the Mad Dogs?

I loved this book. The characters in this story are awesome. I like how Dane is rich, but is neglected (ex: his parents come from Outer Cambria to be with him on Christmas, but they do NOTHING together!), and how he seems to have it all but he has a horrible sun allergy. I think it gives more depth to the plot. Dane (the 6th) is a great character. I like him a lot. He’s got guts, a lot of money, and a nice home, but he has problems he has to overcome. This all makes Dane more “likeable” I like the idea of a normal person (especially a kid) becoming like a superhero even though they have no superpowers. I think it’s very cool. I hope that there is a Book 2 (there should be because this is a book 1 ;) ), even though this ended at a place where the book has a great ending and I felt like this part of the story was complete.

I give this book 5 out of 5 book worms!fivebooks

Lucy the Wonder Weenie by Nina Clark and Horace the Tortoise At the Water’s Edge by Krystal Russell!

21 Jun

First off to start the day, I want to wish my Mom a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” :D She turned 27! ;)

lucywonderLucy the Wonder Weenie

by Nina Clark

Illustrated by Sara Pulver

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on February 11, 2013

Lucy, the Wiener dog, loved to lick everyone. Sadly, everyone didn’t like to get licked. But when Lucy eats some magic beans, she turns into… LUCY THE WONDER WEENIE!!! She uses her licking powers to make EVERYONE happy, whether they lick it… er… like it or not!

This was a cute picture book (and I love a good doggie story). I like the message the story gives – “use your strengths”. It is important for kids to learn this! Lucy was a great character and she is based on a real dog!  I liked the  illustration style used in the book. I thought it was different and colorful. The book would make a great read aloud for parents and kids.

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I give this book four out of five book worms!fourbooks

You can visit the Lucy the Wonder Weenie blog HERE.

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horace

Horace the Tortoise At the Water’s Edge

By Krystal Russell

Illustrated by Tabitha Smith

58 pages – ages 5+

Published by Tall Tails Publishing House on January 9, 2013

Horace the tortoise didn’t like the day if it was sunny, cloudy, or rainy. It was never a perfect day. As always, he goes to the edge of the water and checks it with his foot. But it’s always too warm, too cold, or too wet. Except for one day, he fell in, and met a new friend – Todd the Toad. Will Todd change Horace’s grumpy outlook?

This book has TWO great messages – “Don’t be a pessimist” and “Try new things” and “Make new friends”! Oh wait, that’s three great messages. :) I like the story and the messages it gave.  I thought the illustrations are really well done and went well with the story. The length and word difficulty of the book makes it a parent read aloud book, but that can be nice too because parents can use the book to talk to their kids about making friends and trying new things.

I give this book four out of five book worms!fourbooks

Dreamwalkers Part One By D.M. Andrews

1 May

dreamwalkerDreamwalkers Part One

By D.M. Andrews

41 Pages  – Ages 12+

Published in 2013 by D.M. Andrews (ebook)

Cal (age 17) liked to dream because it took him away from this world into a world where he wasn’t bullied. Cal didn’t know what to do when he learned that a girl from his dreams, Ash, is real! He hadn’t seen Ash in real-life before the day she joined his school (and sat next to him in English Literature class). Later he realized that they could “meet” in their dreams (and that if they get hurt in their sleep, they wake with a pain in our world). Cal and Ash together learn that they aren’t in control of “their” dream, and they want to find out who dreamed this place up. The problem is, the people who ARE in control (or under the control of the Guy In Control) are out to stop them!

This was a great YA novella (also good for middle graders)! I like the idea of the “Dreamframe” (as Cal calls it). It is a cool (and a bit scary) idea. It was a great first book in the series and I am anxious to read the next. There is no foul language or over-the-top violence, though Cal is bullied. I like Ash. She was a nice character. I also like Cal. He sounds a lot like me. He prefers books to almost anything else. ;) Mr. Andrews’ writing style is great. I like how the plots in his books are interesting and exciting. His descriptions of the worlds he creates for his characters really let you see what they are seeing. I think kids 12+ would like this novella.

I give “Dreamwalkers” 5 out of 5 bookworms.fivebooks

To learn more about Mr. Andrews, please visit his website by clicking HERE. Visit his facebook page HERE.

Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors by Kris Yankee

14 Jan

crackingthecodeCracking the Code: Spreading Rumors

By Kris Yankee

168 Pages – Ages 9+

Published by Nelson Publishing & Marketing on December 15, 2012

Toby Karlson (A.K.A. TK) was a pretty popular guy. That is, until he accidentally “hip checked” an elderly secretary at school when he was pushed into a table. Toby is suddenly hated and made fun of by pretty much every other 5th grader because rumors start going around about the incident which says that it is all Toby’s fault. His best friend, Drew, hates him the most and wants nothing to do with Toby and Toby doesn’t understand why. Toby wants to get his reputation back. He sees a chance when the 5th graders go camping, but needs help. Toby gets help from Morgan, a super smart but very “nerdy” kid. How can Morgan help Toby? And what about the class bully, who hates Toby too? Will Toby ever get his reputation back?

This was a good book about friendship, the harm of rumors and life as a fifth-grader. I do like the “code”. It is a series of rules Toby lives by and the “code” is the title of each chapter (like  “CODE 1 – No Matter What, Don’t Hip Check Little Old Ladies” – “CODE 2 – Sometimes Taking One for the Team Means Putting Your Head in a Toilet”). I like Uncle Jack, TK’s guardian (TK is an orphan). He’s pretty cool and sensible and gives TK good advice. I also like Morgan. There are a lot of references to ice hockey in the book which is fun for boys, but you don’t have to be a hockey fan to like it. Ms. Yankee also put some great humor in the story too. The word “cr**” appears a couple of times in the book. I don’t think it needs to be there, but other than that the book is a clean read. I recommend this book to kids 10+.

I give “Cracking the Code” 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

This is the second book by Ms. Yankee I have reviewed. She also wrote “Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure” (See my review HERE), a great fantasy adventure that I really enjoyed. To learn more about Ms. Yankee and her books, please visit her website by clicking HERE!

Rebirth by Debbie Brown

7 Jan

rebirthRebirth
By Debbie Brown
181 pages – ages 14+
Published by GMTA Publishing on December 4, 2012

Aleksei didn’t know how it had happened. He didn’t even know WHO did it. Although he suspected it was aliens who were attacking the town. And he was trapped in some rubble from a building. He had lost all hope when two brothers, Mitch and Jamie, found him and dug him out. They hid and were able to steal an abandoned Jeep (all the humans abandoned town). They drove out of the town and picked up more kids they found along the way. The other kids were Krisztina, Ally, and the baby, J.J. The group of kids drove outside town into a park with hot springs and caves. They set up a shelter and lived there. They realize they are alone. They have no parents to help them and aliens all around them.  The kids have to get along, stay hidden in the caves and somehow manage to survive. until they came…

The Boxcar Children is one of my favorite series from when I was littler. I loved to read how the kids worked together. I especially loved the first book where the kids had to survive out in the woods in a boxcar and avoid being captured. I remembered getting very involved in that story. So why am I talking about the Boxcar Children? I felt the same way reading this book! I think it’s kind of a cool dystopian Boxcar Children book… only with aliens! :) The kids live in the woods with no adults… But then the aliens come and… Nah. Not gonna tell. ;) I LOVED this story! Ms. Brown’s writing style had me on the edge of my bean bag chair while I was reading it. The characters were great and they all had different personalities. The only problem I had with the book was the amount of cursing in it. I reviewed another great story Ms. Brown wrote, Amethyst Eyes (see my review HERE), and it didn’t have all the cursing. I think the cursing in this book could have been changed for younger kids to read. :( That was upsetting. The ending of the book was awesome and like Amethyst Eyes, there is a great message in the book about why we should care for our environment. I recommend this book to kids 14+.

I give “Rebirth” 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

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

PPBF! Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers by Kathi Appelt

4 Jan

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 I like that this story is about how one person can make a big difference.

ladybirdMiss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers – How a First Lady Changed America

By Kathi Appelt

Illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein

40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on February 15, 2005

Theme/Topic – Nonfiction, First Ladies, Nature

Opening and Synopsis –

“Deep in the heart of Texas lives a woman who loves flowers. “Wildflowers,” she says, “are the stuff of my heart!”

“There was a time when our roadsides were ugly. The were cluttered with billboards, rusted old cars, and miles of trash.

They might still be this way if not for the woman we know as Lady Bird Johnson.”

Claudia Alta Taylor was born on December 22, 1912 in Texas. Her nanny called her Lady Bird because she was pretty. This book tells the life of Lady Bird Johnson from her birth to her days in school to marrying Lyndon B Johnson and becoming the First Lady of the United States. Lady Bird Johnson with the help of her husband was able to get Congress to pass the “Highway Beautification Act” which cleaned up all the roads across America and planted wildflowers in  the trash and junk’s place.

Why I liked this book – This is a great Nonfiction book! I like that it taught me about a person I didn’t know about – “Lady Bird” Johnson (I think maybe a lot of kids don’t know who she was). She was more than the wife of Lyndon B. Johnson (Heeeyy… I just realized! Both of their initials are “L.B.J.” :) ). I liked learning about the National Wildflower Research Center that Lady Bird started and how they try to preserve wildflowers and birds.  The story of her life is told in a nice way that was interesting to me. The story is pretty long and is a good picture book for older kids, but I think it would make a great read aloud for parents and kids. The illustrations are marvelous! When I was reading the book I thought the pictures really made me calm. See what I mean? -

ladybird2

Activities and Resources –

There is a wildflower identification spot it game in the back of the book. There are pictures of different wildflowers and you have to find them in the book.

I think driving around and looking at the wildflowers with your kids would be a good activity. Maybe get a field guide to try to identify native wildflowers in your area.

You could visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas in Austin (click HERE to go to their website). That would be a cool thing to do.  If Texas isn’t close you could find a local nature center and see if they have information about wildflowers native to your area.

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

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