Tag Archives: this kid reviews books

Review! Nightborn by Lou Anders and GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

3 Jul

The winners of The Princess and The Pony Giveaway are:

Sue Morris!!!

And

Kristen!!!

Princess and the Pony FINAL TEXT.pdf

I will be emailing you to get the address you want your prize sent to! Congratulations! :D

nightbornNightborn

Book 2 Thrones and Bones Series

By Lou Anders

368 pages – ages 8+

Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on July 14, 2015

Synopsis- Karn Korlundsson was quite happy learning to manage his family’s huge farm. So Karn didn’t understand why a wyvern (a small dragon-type thing) had to come out of the sky and kidnapped him from a local trading market. When he gets to the home of Orm, a giant linnorm (a type of dragon), Karn finds out that Thianna Frostborn, his half-giant friend, while on a mission for Orm, got captured by an enemy force. Orm says that she was looking for another Horn of Osius for him. The Horn can control reptiles, like wyverns and lizards, and Orm wanted to destroy them (for the safety of such reptiles listed). Orm now wants Karn to look for it too, but all Karn wants to look for is Thianna. Unfortunately, Karn soon finds out that finding Thianna and the horn isn’t his only problem.

What I Thought- This was a great sequel to Frostborn. I like that it still has the great adventurous feel of Book 1. Sometimes you don’t get that in a series – but this carries it off very well. The message in the story about friendship is awesome, and subtle enough so that you don’t realize that you are learning a lesson. Karn is a great character that you really connect with. His friend was kidnapped, and he wants to rescue her – nothing will stop him. But throw in a giant dragon, and a promise too, and you have an adventure! Thianna was a good character, but you would think that her traveling the world would make her more street-wise, and less newbie-like when it comes to things. Her character was still awesome. The story had a lot of twists and turns. It was fun to read. I think that this is an amazing series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Aftermath of a Blogger’s Illness Part 2 – Reviews Galore!

28 Jun

Hello blogging world. I feel like I haven’t seen you in a while. Sadly I’ve been sick for as long as I’ve been out of school. At first I thought I was getting better but then – nope. It turns out I had pneumonia and the doctor I was seeing “missed” it (my mom took me to a different doctor because she knew something was not right with me… well besides the usual). I am happy to say that after 14 days of 101+ fevers, I was fever free yesterday! WOO!  I am sad to say, I’ve not been able to keep up with commenting and posting and reading everyone’s wonderful blogs like I usually do (I got around a little, but not much), but things should be back to normal now. :) I have one more multi-post that I will do to catch up on all the things I got behind on! Here we go –

The winner of the Guardian Herd: LANDFALL by Jennifer Alvarez Swag Pack is:

GuardianHerd_3_final cover

Front of Tote

Front of Tote

Maureen Verone!!!!

Congratulations! I will be emailing you to get the address of where to send you your goodies!

NOW ON TO THE REVIEWS!

shiversShivers! The Pirate Who’s Afraid of Everything

Written by

Illustrated by

192 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on February 24, 2015

Synopsis- Shivers is a pirate. His mom is a pirate, his dad is a pirate, and his big brother is a pirate. It runs in the family. So why is Shivers afraid of everything that can do anything on this world? And if that’s not bad enough, why did his entire family have to be captured while sailing the high seas, leaving only Shivers and his pet fish, Albee, to rescue them. But then Margo comes along. Her dad is chief police officer, and she’s almost as good as him! Will Margo be enough to whip Shivers into shape?

What I Thought- This was a hilarious early chapter book! I read it while I was stuck in bed because I was sick, and I read it in an afternoon. It really cheered my spirits up. Shivers is a great character, and he’ll make you laugh! The book has random chapters missing, or blotted out, but all with a purpose, and they add humor (for example, the last page of Chapter 5 is blotted with “squid ink” because they were being attacked by an angry squid). I like how Margo, Shivers’ best friend, helps him on his adventures, taking control of a “frightening” situation. It’s a nice touch that she’s a girl. The book is wacky and slightly unbelievable, and kids will learn a little about the Statue of Liberty. Story-book pirates still exist in modern-day New Jersey and New York City, and they sail around looking for the treasure in the Statue of Liberty’s torch. This is a really funny book!

I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

~

The Bewundering World of Bewilderbeests coverThe Bewundering World of Bewilderbeests

By Bailey Fort

ebook  (picture book) – ages 5+

Published by Fortify Books on March 23, 2015

Synopsis- In the East, over the high seas, lays a land you’ve never seen before. It hosts marvelous creatures that normally only exist in your imagination. Discover wild beasts that make you laugh, like the Two-Headed Mugwump, and others that you just think are cool, like the Millipus. Journey to the bewundering world of the bewilderbeests in this picture book!

What I Thought- This was a creative book. Ms. Fort has made a nice picture book. The creatures are whimsical and the illustrations are bright and marvelous. Kids will really like them. They capture the spirit of the book. The book is available as an ebook and the illustrations come out pretty well digitally. The repetitive rhyme in the poems are fun to read. They get your imagination going.

I give this four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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Solve-A-CrimeYOU DO THE MATH: Solve A Crime

Written by Hilary Koll and Steve Mills

Illustrated by Vladimir Aleksic

 

  • Series: You Do the Math

 

32 pages – ages 6+

Published by QEB Publishing on April 1, 2015

Synopsis- When a crime is reported, you are called upon to do the math to find out who broke into the safe in an apartment. You then learn about fingerprinting, DNA, alibis, video footage, etc. In math skills you learn about pie charts, fractions, timelines, area, etc. You learn many more skills of both types. Can YOU solve the crime?

What I Thought- This was a really cool book! This series shows you how you will have to use math to do a job well. The job in this book is a police officer/detective. I like how it goes through the crime, and gives you math problems related to what is going on in the case. You learn a lot about crime solving, and just plain old math problems. This book is appropriate for young advanced readers, but does mention blood (but no murder is committed (it mentions it in a statistic)), and using it for a DNA test. There are answers in the back of the book, including a glossary and index too. All in all, it’s a really cool book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

hospitalThe Berenstain Bears: Hospital Friends

By Mike Berenstain

23 pages – ages 5+

Published by HarperCollins on April 21, 2015

Synopsis- When the Bear family goes to pay their well-wishes to a young family member at a hospital, they get curious about what really goes on in a hospital. Luckily, the family doctor is willing to give a tour of the hospital, explaining how they worked.

What I Thought- This is a nice book. It gives a tour of the average hospital, with operating rooms, x-ray rooms, kid (or “cub”) playrooms, etc. I like that this book helps with the fact that some kids might be afraid of hospitals, but they are actually nice places. The illustrations have that timeless Berenstain feel. It is really cool how the newer stories keep all of the elements we like about the original books. I really liked this book. I think, if anything, that hospitals should all carry a copy of this book, at least in their kids’ section.

BONUS – from the publisher – “All of the author’s royalties are being contributed to the Stan & Jan Berenstain Healthy Kids Foundation, a charitable organization devoted to children’s health issues.”

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY! Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton

22 Jun

vanishing island preview tour banner updated

I am very excited to share this book with you. It is the beginning to a very promising series and even better – one of you will get to win a signed ARC of the book! Details of the giveaway are at the bottom of the post. :)

VanishingIslandHC

Vanishing Island
By Barry Wolverton
Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Black Tulip
352 pages – ages 8+
Will be published by Walden Pond Press on September 1, 2015

 

Publisher’s Summary- Does  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! It had adventure, comedy, excitement, mystery – pretty much anything you could want in a book! Bren is a character you would like to meet in real life. He has dreams, and he’s clever in how he gets them achieved. Mouse is a cool character too. I really like how Mr. Wolverton doesn’t hide that sea isn’t always exciting – at times Bren is just sitting around at sea. There is death throughout the story, but it is not graphic/gory. There are some illustrations that will be put in the final version of the book, but not in the ARC that I read (they weren’t in yet), and they play a role in the story, so that was sad for me. Guess I’ll have to get the completed version! This is a solid start to a new series. :)

WHO IS THIS BARRY WOLVERTON?!?

Barry Wolverton Author Photo

Barry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com.

Links for Barry Wolverton: 

Website: http://www.barrywolverton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wolvertonhill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bwolverton

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wolvertonhill/

Check out all the stops on this awesome tour!

Blog Tour Schedule: 

6/15 Blue Stocking Thinking:  bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com
6/16 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia:  hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
6/17 Small Review:  smallreview.blogspot.com
6/18 Maria’s Melange:  www.mariaselke.com/
6/19 Unleashing Readers:  unleashingreaders.com
6/19 The Hiding Spot:  thehidingspot.blogspot.com
6/22 This Kid Reviews Books:  thiskidreviewsbooks.com
6/23 Mundie Kids:  http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
6/24 Page in Training:  https://pageintraining.wordpress.com
6/25 Novel Novice:  novelnovice.com

BLOG TOUR PAGE HERE!

Connect to Walden Pond –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ WaldenPondPress
Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/WaldenPondPress

Website/Blog: http://www. walden.com/books/

Pinterest: https://www. pinterest.com/waldenpondpress/

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

All you have to do is comment in the comment section below telling me you want to WIN! (well you can comment somewhere else, but I won’t see it) and on June 29th I will pick one name out of a hat of all the entrants. US residents only please. Good Luck!

VanishingIslandHC

 

Review! Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan

20 Jun

mahalaMahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens

Written by Nina Nolan

Illustrated by John Holyfield

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Amistad on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- Mahalia Jackson was a young girl with a ginormous voice. Even while life was tough for her, she still sang what she loved, and she loved gospel. She always sang, and she realized her voice had power. Even though she had to overcome a lot of hardships in her life, she got to sing on TV shows, at Carnegie Hall, and many places she could only dream of! She became and is still know as the Queen of gospel music.

Check out the video below – you’ll know why she got the title!

What I Thought- This is a really motivational picture book that will have you feeling positive. The story of Mahalia Jackson, from cleaning-maid to Queen of Gospel, is truly inspiring. The story stresses perseverance, and working towards a goal. Mahalia, no matter where she was, or how her life was, always sang. The illustrations are gorgeous and make you really smile inside. They capture the spirit of a girl with a goal perfectly and using the talents you are given. The book has a short timeline and more ways to learn about Mahalia at the end of the book. The publisher has the age range as 4+ – this is a great book as an introduction to this fabulous lady and perfect for a younger kid. The resources at the back of the book are a great add-on for older kids.

I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Now excuse me I am going to go download some Mahalia Jackson from iTunes. ;)

Review-o-Rama! or The Aftermath of a Blogger’s Illness

18 Jun

HELLO BLOGGING WORLD!

So I have been sick since Sunday which is weird because I pretty much never get sick. I’ve had a 104 fever until Wednesday. Today it’s down to like just over 100 but I feel a bunch better… and I’m pretty hungry and a shower after laying on the couch 24/7 for four days felt pretty good – so I think I’ll live.

“Why are you telling me this Erik?” you ask.

Well maybe you didn’t but let’s pretend you did. I am telling you so you’ll know why I am posting a bunch of reviews at once – I missed posting on a few days (except Wednesday because that one was written a while ago and I had a guest) – hey if you didn’t read it click on over – click HERE – plus that post has the honor of being my 1000th post of my blogging “career.” ;)

SOOOO HERE WE GO!

nerd12_2Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind

Nerdy Dozen Book #2

By Jeff Miller

272 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins; Reprint edition on March 10, 2015

Synopsis- Neil Andertol is an expert video-gamer. He’s in the top twelve in the US. And he’s only a kid. He and the other top players (also kids) were recruited by the US Air Force, in order to stop an evil plot (thought out by a wayward genius kid). Now they are joining NASA to recover a top-of-the-line space shuttle that was stolen. It doesn’t help that another giant asteroid (like the one that may have killed the dinosaurs) is supposed to hit Earth in about two weeks…

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! I honestly don’t know how I missed book one! This book brings you up to speed, so reading book one isn’t necessary, but it would make some minor points clearer. Neil is a great character, who, while not perfect, is extremely realistic. The other nerds in the book are people you would probably like to meet in real life. I know I would! It’s pretty cool how all the kids are expert video-gamers, and because of it, they are government secret mission pilots. That would be neat if it would ever happen (or maybe it did, but it’s a secret). Mr. Miller’s writing style has a good mixture of humor, adventure, vivid descriptions, wit, and great characters for an overall enjoyable experience.

I give this book five out five bookworms!fivebooks

zariaZaria Fierce

By Kiera Gillett

224 pages – ages 9+

Published by Keira Gillett on March 6, 2015

Synopsis- Zaria Fierce was not fierce. Or so she thought, that is, until a river troll kidnaps her best friend. Then she, pitted together with his other friends (one of whom is actually a changeling (a creature swapped for a look-alike human)), goes on an adventure up the river, into a world mixed with the modern world and the ancient myths of Scandinavia.

What I Thought- This was a really good book with a great setting and cool plot line. I really liked how it didn’t hide that Zaria was adopted and she knew it . I also liked how her adoptive parents were nice. You don’t see that often in books (as an adopted kid, I like it when adoption is portrayed well). The characters and mythology are realistic, and the mythology was well explained, too. I like how Zaria tries her best to make do in a world she knew nothing about. There are some instances of d*** throughout the second half of the book that some parents may have issues with for younger kids. This was a good book and I will be looking for book 2.

I give this four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

HEY IT’S ALSO ….

CREATIVE KID THURSDAY!!! WOO!

My Creative Kid guest is JOSIE my little sister. ;)

Today Josie is doing a guest review.

peridotThe Peridot Pendant

By Emma Homes

75 pages – ages 9+
Published by Spark Street Communications Pty Ltd on April 17, 2015

 

Summary (from Amazon) Fabrina is devastated when her mother suddenly vanishes. When she stumbles across her mother’s necklace, Fabrina sets out to untangle the mystery of her disappearance. With feisty best friend Vicky, bookish boy-next-door Harry, and her enigmatic cat Mr Whiskers, Fabrina begins to unlock the secrets of her mother’s magical green pendant.

A fast-paced fantasy where stories from long ago are entwined with present, ‘The Peridot Pendant’ is an imaginative tale that will appeal to children nine years and older.

What Josie Thought – This story was cool. I thought it was going to be a mystery but it had fairies in it and the people traveled to another world. I liked Fabrina. She is smart and brave. I liked Vivky and Harry too. They were all goo characters. The Red Cap guy was creepy (the evil fairy that kept her mom). I liked that there was magic in the story and how Fabrina could travel to different worlds. The book wasn’t too long for me, some of the words were kind of hard but I used my kindle dictionary to help me. I liked how well all the characters are described and all about the fairy world. It was a good book to read.

I give it five bookworms fivebooks

 

The Guardian Herd Book 3: Landfall by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez COVER REVEAL BLOG TOUR!!!!! AND GIVEAWAY!!!!!

17 Jun

Have I got a bunch of goodies for YOU! Literally! (more on that later) But FIRST- the COVER REVEAL of the new Guardian Herd book – Landfall!!!!

GuardianHerd_3_final coverPretty awesome cover right?

Synopsis- From the cover: “It has been many moons since Star received his starfire power. He has gone from being born a dud—unable to fly and shunned by the five herds of Anok, including his own—to becoming a strong yearling, ready to lead his own herd as an over-stallion. But now he will face his toughest challenge yet. Nightwing the Destroyer, Star’s eternal rival, is amassing an army to destroy him and all of Anok. The only way for Star to defeat him is to learn how to fight like a warrior—without using his starfire. For if he uses his power, even to heal, Nightwing will know where to find him. 

As the threat of war looms over Star’s head, he can’t help but wonder if the current peace among the united pegasi is strong enough to defeat the powerful Destroyer once and for all.

With increasingly difficult challenges and brand-new areas of Anok to explore, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez will thrill readers with this epic and exhilarating third installment of the Guardian Herd series.

Release Date: 02/02/2016 – but you can pre-order it HERE!

 

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, the author of the Guardian Herd series

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, the author of the Guardian Herd series

You asked – “Where do i find out more about Ms. Alvarez Erik?!?”

Author website: http://www.jenniferlynnalvarez.com

Series website: http://www.theguardianherd.com

HarperChildrens book links,

STARFIRE: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062286062/the-guardian-herd-starfire

STORMBOUND: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062286093/the-guardian-herd-stormbound

BUT WAIT!!!!! There’s MORE!

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, [JLA] the awesome author of the Guardian Herd series, has generously provided an interview, where she interviews the actor that read the audiobook version of the Guardian Herd, Andrew Eiden! [AE]

Andrew Eiden

Andrew Eiden

Keep reading to the end- there is an AWESOME give away!

JLA: You have a background in theater, television, and movies—how did you also become a voice actor?

AE: It’s all in the family! My mom was my drama teacher in high school. My dad directed Whittier Junior Theatre where I grew up. My grandpa was involved in the community theater and my grandma did costumes and props for all the shows. My sister is an actress as well, and a very talented voice actor, she started doing audiobooks and told me I should get into it. She introduced me to Bob and Debra Deyan, big time Audiobook producers, and I’ve been doing it ever since!

JLA: When narrating a book, what do you do, if anything, to prepare your voice?

AE: I’m actually very bad at this. I rarely do anything to prepare my voice, and there is a LOT of talking involved. Sometimes I end up regretting it because after 6hrs in the booth my voice gets a little froggy. I will give you a little insider trick that I use quite often though. Sometimes during a session, your mouth gets really noisy, and nobody wants to hear gross mouth noises, smacking lips and such. I don’t know the science behind it, but for some reason eating green apples clears up your mouth so you can speak more clearly. It’s key because the mics they use to record us hear EVERYTHING.

JLA: Once you’ve agreed to narrate a particular book, do you read the novel in full before you begin?

AE: I once directed another actor narrating a book he hadn’t read first. There was this assassin character, mean, cold-hearted killer. We played with a few voices and decided on this great low growl. He sounded like boba fett from Star Wars. Anyway, in the last chapter of the book, after having been recording for 3 days, about 500 pages later, the main character finally meets this assassin we’ve been following face-to-face, and in the narrative, the character notices that the assassin has a high-pitched feminine voice with a slight lisp…..sooooo….we had to go back and re-record every piece of dialogue the assassin had said to match the author’s intent. I ALWAYS read the book before I start recording.

JLA: How is a voice performance different than a stage or screen performance? How is it the same?

AE: When I’m on stage or TV, there’s only so many parts I can play, or that an audience will believe me as. I did a show once where I played an old man, but it was a clown show and pretty far from reality. Ultimately, I’m going to play something closer to myself, a young man. However in Audiobooks, the sky is the limit. I’ve played young men, old men, teenage girls, mothers, and 6 year olds, heck I’ve played killer robots, romantic werewolves, nasty monsters, and of course heroic young pegasi! To add to it, I’ve played all the roles in a story, usually you just play one. That’s a very fun part of what I do.

JLA: When narrating, is there a director or a producer giving you notes on the characters or your performance? What types of input do you receive regarding playing the emotions of the characters?

AE: It always depends on who’s hired me. Sometimes, I record in a studio, and sometimes I record from my home. If I’m at home then I’m on my own, and I have to direct myself. It can be a little daunting because I don’t have anyone to watch my back and give me notes on how I’m doing. In the case of The Guardian Herd books, Harper hires Deyan Audio to record for them, so I get to go to a studio where there’s an engineer/director.

One of the guys there, Sebastian Zetin, is really great. On top of making sure I sound great, audio wise, he follows along with me as I read. He’ll catch me saying the wrong words, or check me when I get all mush mouthed, but he also is pretty great at helping with tone and emotion. He might stop me after some line and say something like, “It seems like this character is pretty upset, maybe we should do that last line again with a little more emotion behind it.” He’s also really good with helping jokes land. “Hey let’s do that again but put a little beat right before the last line, I think it will help the joke be funnier.” Having a director means you have someone in your corner, helping to make the production better.

JLA: How is the book’s text displayed for you? Do you read from the physical book, off a computer screen, or do you memorize the section you’re reading?

AE: I’ve heard horror stories of the old days when people used to read from physical pages. When they’d get to the end of a page they’d have to pause their reading, turn the page, and then continue like they hadn’t just had an awkward pause. But nowadays, we read from tablets. So scrolling on the page is silent so you can just keep going and going and going.

JLA: How many hours or minutes in a row can you narrate before your voice requires a break? What does a typical day of recording look like?

AE: For me, I usually don’t take breaks for my voice. The Late Great Bob Deyan once told me that as long as you narrate with your normal speaking voice, you’ll never have to worry about it giving out on you in the middle of a book. For me, the breaks are important because your mind needs a break. When you record, its usually for about 6hrs a day. But after a couple of hours, you start to go cross-eyed. You start reading words that aren’t even there, or you start misreading words. Like the sentence will say, “Let’s have a conversation,” but what comes out of your mouth is, “Let’s have a convention,” and you just keep going as if what you said made perfect sense. That’s usually when the director says, “Hey maybe after this chapter we should take a little break.” But again that’s just me, I know some narrators who can’t go an hour without stopping for a break, and there’s this one guy PJ Ochlan who’s famous amongst narrators for being able to sit down and record for hours and hours without making any mistakes or stopping for breaks.

JLA: What happens if you make a mistake? Do you have to go back and re-record the entire chapter?

AE: That would be so horrible. If we had to go back and record the whole chapter because I screwed up, I would still be working on the first book I recorded 5 years ago. I usually screw up at least 5 times per page. When that happens, I just stop the recording, go back to the start of the sentence, start recording again and punch in from there. I directed a quasi famous person recording a book they had written, and for famous people it’s usually what they call a roll record. You just hit record and let them go, if they screw up they just go back a bit and say it right. It’s much easier on the narrator doing it like that, but it makes it horrible for the editor. So punch in recording is pretty much the standard practice.

JLA: The Guardian Herd books include a lot of horse and fantasy terms. Did you study a word list before beginning? When you’re not sure how to pronounce a word, what resource do you use to verify it?

AE: That’s a good question. I actually ran into a little trouble with The Guardian Herd. Usually Deyan audio makes a word list for their narrators, that is a combination of particularly difficult words, difficult names, or fantasy words. They have a guy named Nate who’s kind of brilliant, he either looks up the words in the dictionary, researches names on the internet or reaches out to the author to get the proper pronunciation for the fantasy names. On day one recording Guardian Herd, there was no wordlist for me, so I had to sort of guess at the pronunciation of Anok. Turns out the wordlist was filed under “THE Guardian Herd” and so we found it about halfway through the session and realized I’d been pronouncing it all wrong. I was pronouncing it like Anne-ek, so we had to go back and rerecord every instance of it. It was lame, but at least we caught it early.

JLA: Do you ever get the giggles or have an emotional response to the text you’re reading?

AE: I have been known to find myself with tears and snot streaming down my face while reading a particularly good part of a particularly good book. I actually kind of like it, because it’s usually during a time when tears are called for in the story, and so rather than stopping the recording to compose myself, I let some of my real emotion eek into my voice. I find it makes for a more authentic, from the heart, reading. I’m not, like, sobbing while I read, but a little uncontrollable quiver in my voice slips past here and there.

It’s funny, as I get older, I start to notice weird things trigger an emotional reaction from me. In Guardian Herd, I never cried at the sad moments, maybe because the circumstances are so dire for Star and the rest of the herds that the sad parts seem to be the norm. But then there will be these moments when someone shows Star kindness, or a stranger from a strange herd shows mercy, or a helpless filly does something incredibly brave. Moments like those are what hit me the hardest and got me all weepy during Guardian Herd.

JLA: Through narrating the Guardian Herd series, you’ve become the voice for many characters. Did you study them before beginning? Do you have a favorite character?

AE: I don’t really plan voices out until it’s time for them to speak. But that’s another reason why reading the book first is so important. Beyond just to check to see if you, the author, has said specifically what their voice sounds like, or if they speak with an accent, it’s also important because you get an idea of who these characters are. Are they going to be brave? Are they betrayers? Do they die? How do they react in adversity? All of these things will influence how I portray their voice. Personally, I really liked Grasswing from book 1. I liked him a lot because not only was he this gruff, old military guy, a war stallion of legendary skill, he was also this kind soul, almost like a grandpa to Star. That’s a fun voice to play with, hard and soft at the same time.

JLA: You perform the Guardian Herd chapters with heartfelt sincerity and fans of the series have fallen in love with your performances! Since your voice brings these pegasus characters to life, I’m curious—do you have any experience with horses?

AE: I rode a horse once. That’s about the extent of my experiences with pegasi. I will say, my mother is a writer, and she used to tell me bedtime stories. Sometimes with me, my sister, and my cousin, she had this ongoing story she would tell when we were all together. I don’t remember what would happen, but I remember that in the story, the three of us had magic whistles and when we would get into trouble, we would blow our whistles and three Pegasi would come to our aid. We each had our own, and they had names and various colors and such. I don’t remember much because I was very young. So while I don’t have much experience with horses, clearly telling stories about pegasi runs in my blood!

JLA: How about acting tips? Any advice about how to get into character, or how to portray emotions?

AE: There are a lot of schools of thought on how best to approach a character. For me, it’s about asking questions of what do they do and why do they do it, what type of person would I have to be to do those things for those reasons. The answers you get will always be determined by the questions you ask.

JLA: What advice would you give to kids about becoming an actor? What are the rewards of an acting career?

AE: Acting is a very rewarding gig. You’re a storyteller. We tell stories for a lot of reasons, sometimes it’s just for entertainment, to give people some relief from their stress, sometimes it’s with purpose, to shed light on some part of humanity that needs attention. As an actor, you become the vessel for those stories, you take these words on a page that were written to make other people feel something, and bring it to life. It’s a very cool job. As far as advice goes, I have no idea how to get into it or get good at it. I say just do it! Audition for a local play. Take a class. Join an improve troupe. Anything to just get up and do it. Its fun!

And there is STILL MORE!!!!

Mrs. Alvarez is offering a SWAG PRIZE GIVEAWAY!!!

Just comment on this post and you are entered to WIN this amazing prize pack! I will randomly pick a winner from all the entries on June 24th! Good luck!

Front of Tote

Front of Tote

The fabulous swag prize pack includes:

Back of Tote

Back of Tote

  • A Guardian Herd tote bag
  • A series poster for Book #3, Landfall
  • A sheet of character trading cards
  • signed paperback of Book#1, Starfire

 

 

 

Critical Praise for the Guardian Herd Book Series:

  • “Chock-full of adventure and twists, making it difficult to put down. Readers will be clamoring for the next book in this adventure.” School Library Journal

 

  • “Alvarez’s world is lush with description and atmosphere, and her premise has much to offer. Fans of animal fantasies should find it enjoyable..” Publishers Weekly

 

  • “Filled with fantastical action, and rich with description. A well-paced and engrossing story. Alvarez has created a series that will be beloved by readers.” Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

 

  • “The clever resolution will get kids psyched for more tales from the Guardian Herd.” Booklist

 

  • “This epic adventure is richly developed. Compelling.” Kirkus Reviews

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Beach House by Deanna Caswell

12 Jun

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 summer breaks are starting everywhere, and families are going on vacations a lot.

beachBeach House
Written by Deanna Caswell
Illustrated by Amy June Bates
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 12, 2015

Theme/Topic- going to the beach / waiting

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening

“A long, long drive.
It’s been a year
of dreaming, waiting.
Summer’s here.

Synopsis – from GoodReads: “In a funny and heartfelt celebration of family, vacations, and the joy of the sea, Deanna Caswell and Amy June Bates capture the essence of summer—building sand castles, jumping the waves, and watching the stars come out after a long day at the beach—and the love that warms every moment.

Why I picked this book- This is a really well done summer book. The characters are never named, which is a great touch. The warm feeling the watercolors generate is perfect for this book. I really enjoyed this book, and the rhyme in it had a soft, there-but-not-there feel. This was a great book I would recommend to any family going on vacation to read (whether on vacation or not) or if you just want to dream about warm summer days. :)

Activities and Resources-

I found a cute seashell fish craft for kids on the Crafts by Amanda blog – click HERE

Education.com had a list of 10 Super Sand Activities HERE

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

Here are some other great summer books you may want to look for!

onmybeachOn My Beach
By Sara Gillingham
Illustrated by Lorena Siminovich
Puppet board book – ages 2+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 19, 2015

What I Thought- This is a cute board book. It gives a little about a day in the life of a crab, and also gets kids interacting, with the puppet it has.

~

aquaAqualicious
By Victoria Kann
Series: Pinkalicious
pages – ages 5+
Published by HarperFestival on March 3, 2015

What I Thought- This was a great book! It was cool how the mermaid/merminnie in the book was an “actual” thing at the beach for Pinkalicious and her family to see, and not just in Pinkalicious’ imagination. This is a really cool series!

~

paddingtonbeachPaddington at the Beach
Written by Michael Bond
Illustrated by R.W. Alley
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by HarperCollins on June 30, 2009

What I Thought- The Paddington books are a great series. I like how this book slightly encourages counting (seagull #1, etc.), and has a funny ending. The illustrations help make this a good book, too!

 

~

 

 

 

chubeachChu’s Day at the Beach
Written by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Adam Rex
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by HarperCollins on April 7, 2015

What I Thought- This was a really cute book. I like that the animals WANT Chu to sneeze again, even though his first sneeze messed the beach up. It was nice.

~

 

intowavesIn the Waves
Written by Lennon and Maisy Stella
Illustrated by Steve Björkman
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by HarperCollins on April 28, 2015

What I Thought- This was a great interpretation of a song by Lennon and Maisy Stella. Lennon and Maisy are the stars of the ABC TV show, Nashville. The illustrations are fun and really cool!

From HaperCollins –

Head to www.harpercollinschildrens.com/inthewaves to listen and sing along as the girls gather their boogie boards and sip homemade lemonade.”

Review and Blog Tour! The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

8 Jun

Dungeoneers Blog Tour Banner

Dungeoneers

The Dungeoneers

By John David Anderson

pages – ages 9+

Will be published on June 23, 2015 by Walden Pond Press

Synopsis-

Publisher’s summary:

The Dungeoneers is an action-packed, funny, and heartbreaking middle grade fantasy-adventure from the author of the acclaimed Sidekicked and Minion, John David Anderson.

The world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler’s earnings, Colm can’t help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It’s just a question of how far you’re willing to go to get it.
 
In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery, or he can become a member of Thwodin’s Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will. Colm soon finds himself part of a family of warriors, mages, and hunters, learning to work together in a quest to survive and, perhaps, to find a bit of treasure along the way.

What I Thought- This was an awesome story set in a medieval time. I really liked Mr. Anderson’s superhuman/superhero books (Sidekicked and Minion), and this one wasn’t a disappointment. Mr. Anderson really knows how to immerse you into the story and not let you out. You get engaged with all of the characters and their stories. Mr. Anderson develops them so well, it makes you feel like you’ve known them all of your life. The fact that there is magic, but that it doesn’t play that major of a role in the story, is a refreshing change from all the magic-oriented stories out there.  The idea of a “rogue” is fascinating and rather cool. Rogues are the dungeoneers that disable traps, pick locks, etc., but they also make great liars and thieves. Colm is a great kid (who happens to only have 9 fingers!), and you get sucked into his adventures learning to be a rogue. Thwodin’s Legions is a cool guild, and one I wouldn’t mind joining. The ending was solid and satisfying but I could see a sequel coming out of it, but apparently Mr. Anderson isn’t into writing series – too bad for us! I’ll just have to wait to read what his brain comes up with next! ;) Another great book from Mr. Anderson!

I give this five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Check out the book’s trailer!

WHO IS THIS JOHN DAVID ANDERSON?!?

Dave Anderson author photo

John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked and Minion. A dedicated root beer connoisseur in his spare time, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?!?

Awesome – check out this interview where Mr. Anderson interviews himself!

Dave Anderson  Interviews John David Anderson –

Part one of a one-part series in which the author interviews himself to ask the hard-hitting questions that other interviewers thought were simply too obnoxious to ask.

DA (just staring)

JDA: What?

DA: No. Nothing. I just never quite realized how handsome you were. Really, quite dashing in a frumpy, track-pants-wearing, unbrushed-hair kind of way. Did anyone ever tell you you look just like Tom Cruise circa 1994?

JDA: I get that a lot. I really liked him in that one movie. Where he punches people and all that stuff explodes.

DA: Yeah, that one was great. All right, let’s get started. So, Midwestern Authors Weekly recently ranked you number seven on its list of Indiana writers who drink too much Diet Coke. How does that make you feel?

JDA: Like I drink way too much Diet Coke, actually. Where was John Green?

DA: Number one.

JDA: Does he even drink Diet Coke?

DA: Does it really matter?

JDA: No. Probably not.

DA: Water is better for you, anyways. You should drink more water. And lose a little weight. And call your mother more often.

JDA: Diet Coke basically is water, if you think about it. Water and acid. And some other stuff I can’t pronounce.

DA: Speaking of acid—I love the opening of Sidekicked, where Drew is dangling above the pool waiting for The Titan to save him and Jenna is complaining about the health teacher and all that. Just curious, though—how deep was the pool?

JDA: How deep? Does that really matter?

DA: Well. I’m just thinking if I’m a supervillain, and I’m going to dunk a guy in a pool of acid, I want it to be at least eight feet deep so that he’s sure to go all the way under. I don’t want his head sticking out or anything. But some of these municipal pools, I’m not sure they go that deep.

JDA: I don’t think that really matters. It’s acid. Drew probably would have died from shock by the time it had dissolved his kneecaps.

DA: Ew.

JDA: I didn’t bring it up.

DA: Touché. All right. Tell us about your new book, The Dungeoneers.

JDA: Well, it has scorpions.

DA: Really?

JDA: Well. One scorpion. But it’s really big.

DA: Does it have alligators?

JDA: No. No alligators.

DA: That’s kind of disappointing. Alligators are cool. Did you know that alligator eggs end up male or female based on temperature? If the egg is warm, it will be male. If it’s cool. Female.

JDA: Makes sense. Females are naturally cool. The Dungeoneers has two main female characters. A kick-butt, multi-weapon-wielding smart-mouthed barbarian named Lena, and a reticent, cuddly-nature-loving druid named Serene. It also has a stuttering mage and a wizard with rabbit ears and…

DA: Yeah, that’s good. I’m done talking about The Dungeoneers. Let’s move on. Let’s talk about what you’re working on write now.

JDA: Well. Right now I’m working on not punching you in the face.

DA: Why? Because I interrupted you in the middle of describing your new book? You know if you punch me, you’ll only be hurting yourself.

JDA: It worked in Fight Club.

DA: Wow. Great book.

JDA: Good movie, too.

DA: Not for kids, though.

JDA: Not like The Dungeoneers. Fun family entertainment for all ages, that one.

DA: Truth. If it’s all right, I’d like to read some questions that were sent to us through email. Hotcrossbuns44 writes, “Are you ever going to write a sequel to Catcher in the Rye?”

JDA: I didn’t write Catcher in the Rye. That was J.D. Salinger. The J. stood for Jerome.

DA: So the answer is no, then?

JDA: Yeah…I’m really not into that whole, write-a-sequel-to-a-book-you-never-actually-wrote-in-the-first-place thing. I’m really more of a write-a-book-that-will-never-be-turned-into-a-series-and-thus-will-never-make-you-a-millionaire kind of guy.

DA: Sucks for you. You probably should have called it Diary of a Dungeoneer and drawn some pictures of stick kids with spikey hair and stuff.

JDA: Now you tell me.

Links for John David Anderson: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anderson_author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnDavidAndersonAuthor?ref=hl
Links for Walden Pond Press:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WaldenPondPress

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WaldenPondPress

Website/Blog: http://www.walden.com/books/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/waldenpondpress/

Find the other stops on the tour!

Blog Tour Schedule: 
6/2/2015 Maria’s Melange                                    ​mariaselke.com                                 
6/5/2015 Unleashing Readers                             unleashingreaders.com                    
6/6/2015 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia      hauntedorchid.blogspot.com          
6/7/2015 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers     insatiablereaders.blogspot.com     
6/8/2015 This Kid Reviews Books                     thiskidreviewsbooks.com                  
6/8/2015 Ms Yingling Reads                             ​msyinglingreads.blogspot.com           
6/9/2015 Read Now Sleep Later                         http://www.readnowsleeplater.org/ 
6/10/2015 Charlotte’s Library                         charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com          
6/11/2015    Nerdy Book Club                     https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/  
6/12/2015 The Hiding Spot                         thehidingspot.blogspot.com                      

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad by Liz Climo

5 Jun

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 really cute and a good pick for father’s day.

roryRory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad
By Liz Climo
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on May 5, 2015

Theme/Topic- Father-Son Bonding

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “This is Rory.”

Synopsis – From Goodreads: “Meet Rory, the dinosaur. He loves spending time with his dad, but today he wants to go on his own adventure and explore his island home. He can’t wait to tell his dad all about the things he can do all by himself, from crossing rivers to finding shelter from the rain. Little does Rory know, his father is never far behind. There’s nothing Rory’s dad won’t do for his intrepid son–he’ll even let him think he’s made the journey all by himself.

Why I liked this book- This is probably one of the best family-bonding picture books I’ve read this year. I like how, even though Rory is going on an adventure, he still “listens” to his dad (Rory “isn’t allowed to swim without his dad.”) and follows his rules. Rory is a good kid. The illustrations include some humor for adults/older readers (like the titles on the books Rory’s dad reads – “Roar and Peace” :) ) The book is a great story about parents watching our for their kids ut still letting them have an adventure. All in all, it’s a great mixture of fun for everyone.

Activities and Resources- 

Think about a time when you and your dad had an “adventure”. Then write about it! (It’s okay to exaggerate a little) For example, once my dad and I were walking through the woods, and we stumbled upon a flock of turkeys;

The forest was silent. A man and child crept through the woods. It was now or never – gobble gobble gobble! A huge flock of giant turkeys came out and starting attacking the humans with ninja moves and fast reflexes. The man was scared, but the boy was not. He knew what to do. HI-YAH! And Thanksgiving was plentiful.

;)

Since Father’s Day is approaching, why don’t you make a homemade card for your dad?

I see Ms. Climo has another book coming out in October – I already have it on my TBR list – mostly because of the title. ;)

lobster

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

Review! All Hallows Eve #14 and #15 By David Eveleigh

3 Jun

It’s no secret that one of my favorite comic heroines is David Eveleigh’s All Hallows Eve.

All Hallows Eve is a novella series that has a ton of comic action and adventure, but unlike a traditional comic, these novellas only have a few illustrations.  Five bookworms for Eve’s newest adventures!

fivebooks

eve14It Came To Earth To Hang Out At The Malt Shoppe

By David Eveleigh

Words: 5,780 (ebook) – ages 9+

Published by Smashwords on May 29, 2015

Synopsis-  All Hallows Eve is back in another adventure! When Eve goes to ask a newcomer in town a question, and he quickly leaves the local malt shoppe, Eve gets suspicious. Sure enough, he disappears down a man-hole in a dark alley, and begins talking to someone. Surprisingly, this “guy” is an alien from outer space, and- he’s not here to conquer us. He’s just trying to recharge is spaceship and get on the “road” again. But sadly, while Eve believes him, the rest of the town doesn’t. The misunderstanding leads to BIG trouble.

What I Thought- This is another solid Eve story. Mr. Eveleigh really knows a way to inadvertently put a message into his Eve books. “It Came To Earth To Hang Out At The Malt Shoppe” has a message about going against the flow, and doing what’s right. Eve knows that the aliens mean no harm, but no one, not even her friends, believe her. It also teaches a lesson in mob warfare. The illustrations are spot on and colorful. The Eve books are kid-friendly, and will get reluctant readers reading.  Eve is a great character that makes you feel good inside.

eve15The Killer Wore Leather Gloves

By David Eveleigh

Words: 4,560 (ebook) – ages 10+

Published by Smashwords on June 26, 2015

Synopsis- All Hallows Eve is back (yet again) in another adventure! [It’s paradise!] This time, she’s in Hollywood, and a movie about her is being filmed! Sadly (or luckily?), she’s not cast in the movie, but is more there for accuracy in the movie. But when a fake gun shoots a real bullet, Eve realizes that there is more at stake than whether she’ll ever get her close up…

What I Thought- Like All Hallows Eve stories, “The Killer Wore Leather Gloves” has a message too. It talks about not doing drugs (a little) and not acting in anger, or any other emotion. Yes, “The Killer Wore Leather Gloves” does have murder, nothing gory/graphic, but for an older audience. This one is a tad dark, but ends up well. I like how it features an older crime fighter (well, she isn’t really old at the time of this book…), Alfred Harvey’s Black Cat. All in all, this was a great book for a slightly older Eve reader. Whether this means that the next books will be darker, I don’t know. [Hey, Mr. Eveleigh? Could you bring back Fantomas? Or do another 3-part series – those were good!]

I can’t wait to read what Eve is up to next!

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