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Review! Thornghost by Tone Almhjell

25 Aug

thornghostThornghost

By Tone Almhjell

368 pages – ages 9+

Published by Dial Books on August 16, 2016

Synopsis- Niklas Summerhill has had nightmares for as long as he can remember. His mother died when he was younger, and he vividly remembers her last word – “Thornghost”. He has no idea what it means. But that is pushed out of his mind when livestock are being slashed by a mysterious beast, who ends up being from the depths of Niklas’ imagination. Pair that with a lynx that can speak and a world full of children’s imagination, and you get a fantastic adventure!

What I Thought- This book was both dark and fun at the same time – a weird combo, I know, but it actually works out pretty well. There is a lot of introspection going on, as Niklas thinks about all that he thinks he knew. Almhjell’s writing style is subtle, but marvelous. As the book goes on, Secret, the lynx, is slowly becoming more and more like the upright animals in the dream world. But, instead of saying that,  Almhjell shows us that by never addressing the fact that it was happening – sure, she wrote that it would probably happen, but showed us by having the lynx do more and more things that the upright animals would do. It was really neat. Niklas really grows as a character as well, from the kid who is afraid and tries to hide it by acting brave and pulling pranks, into a thoughtful boy with actual courage. It was a nice touch. This book is more on the serious side, but it is really good.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Shattered Lens by Brandon Sanderson

22 Aug

shatteredlensThe Shattered Lens

Series: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (#2, #3)

Written by Brandon Sanderson

Illustrations by Hayley Lazo

336 pages – ages 9+

Published by Starscape on July 19, 2016

Synopsis- Alcatraz Smedry is back! Well, actually, he’s still been where he was, and you’ve just picked up the fourth book. Anyways, the country of Mokia is under siege by the Evil Librarians, and Nalhalla cannot send help because there is not a legal technicality enabling them to. Until Alcatraz and his family (plus Bastille!) decide to change that, that is. The Knights of Crystallia, the guardians of the royalty, are excellent warriors, and are supposed to protect the royalty. So, Alcatraz decides to do something stupid – he decides to visit a capital under siege. But will it be enough to change the outcome of the war?

What I Thought- This was an awesome book! It is a well-written for kids, and is clean. The book has a lot of humor that pokes fun on how books are written. Sanderson’s writing style is captivating.  I love the narration of  “Mr. Smedry” (the book is a “memoir” of Alcatraz), breaking the fourth wall with witty humor, and a way of making fun of everybody while not being 100% insulting. His snarkiness is just amazing. The story keeps the reader laughing through the entire book. The book is just as good as the others, if not better. You really see Alcatraz turn into a better leader, and learning responsibility (to a certain degree, after all, he is a 13-year-old boy and a Smedry!). There are illustrations throughout the book that add another dimension to the story, making the book even more funny. The book is a great read, and I cannot wait to read book five!

I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Miist by Kamilla Reid

16 Aug

miistMiist

Series: The Bone Grit Historeum (#1)

By Kamilla Reid

313 pages – ages 9+

Published by Kamilla Reid on October 3, 2015

Synopsis- In a fantasy world where humans aren’t the only intelligent life forms, there lived a girl named Root. Root wasn’t an ordinary girl – every human in the land has a Pyre, or a magical talent, and Root’s was one of the most infamous; the “Bone Grit”, or cursed Pyre, which enables the user to find objects considered lost forever. When the Guardian of the Land (a corrupted “governor”) issues a Marrow Bind, a mandatory call for service intended for kids of Bone Grit blood and Root is called, she realizes that all is not what it seems, especially when kids without wealth (AKA her) mysteriously “disappear” afterwards. It doesn’t help that the Guardian wants a magical vessel called the Miist of Kalliope found. The Miist can heal anything, was thought to be lost in an infamous battle, and is also an extremely dangerous object in the wrong hands…

What I Thought- This was a pretty good book! Ms. Reid’s writing style has a way of drawing you in and making you sympathize with the characters. The book is a little on the darker side, but it is a really well-written book. There are scary monsters, but the book is not graphic or anything like that. The characters are realistic, and the fantasy world makes sense. I really enjoyed reading about the adventures the characters go through. Root is a tough character who has a lot going on in her life, but still manages to pull ahead. I like how Ms. Reid wrote the book, the style being both serious and light-hearted. The plot keeps you interested, and the setting is dark, but the characters are like beacons of light in the world. The book is a great example of a well-executed self-published book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Thief’s Apprentice by Bryan Methods

19 Jul

theifapprenticeMaster Diplexito and Mr. Scant: The Thief’s Apprentice

By Bryan Methods

272 pages – ages 9+

Will be published by Carolrhoda Books on October 1, 2016

Synopsis- The Ruminating Claw. A name with no face behind it. The greatest thief London – perhaps all of England, even – has ever know. The butler at Oliver Diplexito’s house. Of course, Oliver Diplexito (and his family) didn’t know this at the time. That is, Oliver didn’t know until the Claw was in their gallery battling a man with a sword. The Claw, AKA Mr. Scant, soon figures out that Oliver knows, and through some chain of events, Oliver gets caught up in the Claw’s thieving schemes. That is, if the Claw was the actual thief. It appears as if an elitist society has been trying to steal the priceless artifacts, which the Ruminating Claw steals back, and returns. An honorable ploy, yes, but one that doesn’t leave one with no enemies…

What I Thought- This was an awesome book! It is set in the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, and has a fair amount of steampunk mixed in – most of the world is average, but the claw that Mr. Scant wears is very steampunky, along with a few other details. I like that sort of mix. The plot is very thrilling, and keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting more. The small details really make the book, as you can really imagine as if this took place yesterday, or 100 years ago, which creates a timeless sort of feel. I really enjoyed this debut from Mr. Methods, and wish to read more of the series (of course, when they come out!)

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson

27 Jun

evillib2The Knights of Crystallia

Series: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians Book 3 (#1, #2)

Written by Brandon Sanderson

320 pages – ages 9+

Published by Starscape on April 19, 2016

Synopsis- Alcatraz Smedry is back in another adventure! This time he is going to the land of Nalhalla, a country that the Evil Librarians do not control. Only, on the way to Nalhalla, their giant glass bird they were riding in blew up. Which is not fun. Thankfully, they didn’t die. Unthankfully, the Librarians are trying to negotiate with the monarchs of Nalhalla, and it looks like they are succeeding. Negotiations are normally a good thing, but it seems like these are hiding a sinister purpose…

What I Thought- This book as well as the series is hilarious! The plot is solid, but the narration is what really sold the book – it is written as a memoir of Alcatraz Smedry, so we hear it as he would write it. It leads to an interesting story. Alcatraz does his best in the series to make himself seem like a terrible person, and that he is not the hero he is made up to be. The story itself is fun, and I enjoyed finally getting to see the country/continent of Nalhalla, where the Smedry family resides. The characters are incredibly wacky, providing humor as a whole. There is a lot of character development going on in this book, including really meeting Alcatraz’s father. I really enjoyed this new-installation in this amazing book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

 

Review! Waybound by Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

23 Jun

ore2Waybound

Series: Ore book #2  (book #1 review)

By Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

368 pages – ages 11+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 12, 2016

Synopsis- Phoebe and Micah are still in the metal world of Mehk, and are now helping the Covenant, a secret Mehkan resistance group fighting against the evil human-run Foundry. Phoebe has been declared Loaii, which is similar to being enlightened in the religion of Mehk. Phoebe and Micah were given a mission to find the Occulyth, which belonged to the Ona, the Mother of Ore of whom the religion is based, and had been lost in a supposedly barren wasteland. They must go deep into Mehk, while also staying under the Foundry’s radar. It’s going to be hard, but the Ona knows they can do it.

What I Thought- This was a gripping book. There is a lot going on as Phoebe and Micah try to find the Occulyth, and Dollop, their mehkan friend, tries to find himself. You can see how both Phoebe and Micah grew from book 1 throughout the story. There is still language (cussing) throughout the book, but it is less than in book one – just a note for parents of younger readers. In book 2 you “see” more of Mehk, and the lifeforms in it. It was enjoyable to see the authors breathe life into the world by expanding the story. The co-authors write well together, and make the story realistic, even if it is put into a dystopian world. The series is perfect for middle grade and young adult readers who are looking for a great fantasy story to get lost in. I highly recommend this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review! The Nethergrim and the Skeleth by Matthew Jobin

20 Jun

nethergrimThe Nethergrim

Series: The Nethergrim Epic #1

By Matthew Jobin

368 pages – ages 9+

Published by Philomel Books on April 8, 2014

Synopsis- Edmund Bale was the unhappy son of the local innkeeper. He was unhappy because he wanted to be a wizard but his father is going to have him to take over the family business. He was trying to convince his friends (Tom and Katherine) to run away with him because they would be able to make something more of their lives. That plan was interrupted when they heard a scream from not that far off. They go to the source of the sound, and end up being attacked by a bolgug – an evil creature supposedly only controlled by a supposedly dead monster called the Nethergrim. Edmund and his friends defeat the bolgug, but find out that Edmund’s brother was taken by the creatures. When the local hero leaves to make sure that the Nethergrim is actually dead, the kids promise to stay out of trouble. That is, until his horse comes back alone. Now it is up to Edmund and his friends to get the hero out of trouble and save the land from an impending invasion!

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! The fantasy world created is perfect, with just the right amount of magic, monsters, and medieval times! The magic is explained with a good amount of counterbalances – keeping it from being a deus ex machina. The characters really add depth to the story, keeping you reading. I really enjoyed reading about the creatures serving the Nethergrim. Mr. Jobin has a great writing style, which made the setting even more plausible, even with the magic and monsters. I read the book rather quickly, which I believe is a testimony to how involved I was in the story.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

skelethThe Skeleth

Series: The Nethergrim Epic #2

By Matthew Jobin

400 pages – ages 9+

Published by Philomel Books on May 10, 2016

Synopsis- Edmund and his friends have returned from the Nevergrim’s lair. Edmund is learning magic.  Edmund’s friend Tom, who was a slave, and only had a whipping to return to, ran off with Katherine’s father to go talk with the legendary Tristan, who fought alongside Katherine’s father, to discuss what happened in the lair; and Katherine finds herself working in the Baron’s castle. When a neighboring baron comes to visit, his jolly demeanor is not as it seems, for a war is brewing, and it is unclear what the cost will be for both sides! Will Edmund, Tom, and Katherine be able to stop this new threat in time?

What I Thought- I liked this book even more than the first, and that says a lot. Mr. Jobin really gets into the world he created, fleshing it out, making it his own. You really learn about the characters, and you see them grow as well. There is a lot of action, subterfuge, and mistrust going around, all of which amounts to a thrilling story! The new characters are interesting, and I liked trying to figure out their motives. I really enjoyed the book, and read it faster than the first! The trilogy is very good so far, and I cannot wait to read book three!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

14 Jun

apolloThe Hidden Oracle

Series: The Trials of Apollo (Book 1)

By Rick Riordan

384 pages – ages 9+

Published by Disney Hyperion on May 3, 2016

Synopsis- Meet Lester Papadopoulos. He’s a half-blood, sixteen years old, covered in acne, and just happens to be the god Apollo. You see, after all of the trouble with Gaea rising (in the Heroes of Olympus series), and almost taking over the world, the blame fell to Apollo. As Zeus said “Your fault, your punishment.” – so he turned Apollo into a human, of all things. Apollo just expects to have an easy time of being a human and expects that Zeus will feel Apollo learned his lesson. Apollo finds it a bit hard to win back the favor of his father. Where can he turn? Camp Half-Blood of course!

What I Thought- It is no secret that Riordan is one of my favorite authors. Every time I see a new book come out, I brace myself thinking it may be the one where he jumps the shark. I was especially hesitant with this one because it is yet another expansion of the Percy Jackson universe. I am happy to say Riordan once again did not disappoint. The story highlights Riordan’s masterful use of humor weaved into an action story. This book was hilarious. Apollo is so full of himself, you can’t help but like him. It is also really interesting seeing his character and personality change as the story goes on. It is a really unique perspective on Mr. Riordan’s world, finally seeing it truly from the eyes of one of the gods. Kids will enjoy reading the story, and meeting new characters, along with revisiting some of the older ones. Meg – the half-blood Apollo is charged with serving, is a great new character with an interesting past who I will enjoy getting to know in the coming books. The level of action and suspense is on par with what I’ve come to expect from Riordan’s work.The book reminded me of Riordan’s writing in the Lightning Thief (the start of the Percy Jackson series). With each book, the series gets more intense. I am wondering if that is what will happen with The Trials of Apollo series. Overall, a great concept and a wonderful introduction to a new chapter in this franchise.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! A Spark Ignites by Michael Lachman

12 Jun

sparkA Spark Ignites

By Michael Lachman

264 pages – ages 12+

Published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on March 17, 2016

Synopsis- Matt Stone is an average high schooler. That is, until his brother unexpectedly dies in a car accident, his last words to Matt cryptically tell him to keep the legacy. His legacy, it turns out, is that of the superhero Spark. Matt feels compelled to take up the job, even if he doesn’t want to, out of honor for his brother. But what if Matt’s brother dying wasn’t an accident? What if there was foul play involved?

What I Thought- This was an intense book – it has a plausible way for there being superheroes (all are electronically powered via suits and gadgets), and Matt and his friends are pretty realistic teens. The story is a bit dark, with a lot of uncertainties on behalf of the characters, as Matt tries to figure out who killed his brother. I enjoyed reading it, and trying to figure out the mystery. Mr. Lachman’s writing style is very engaging, and draws the reader in. You can believe that everything is actually happening. I really enjoyed reading the story. I think it is for a slightly older reader because of the intense and dark plot.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Dragon Whistler by Kimberly J. Smith

26 May

dragonwhistThe Dragon Whistler

Series: The Secrets of the Soul Treasures

By Kimberly J. Smith

222 pages – ages 9+

Published by Lulu.com on October 18, 2015

Synopsis- Willow McLain knew she had found a whistle. What she didn’t know is that when she played one song she had found with it, a dragon would burst out of the nearby mountain. Or that she was the only one who could put it back. Or that it would start a ginormous chain of events that involved riding a dragon to England to stop a crazed relative from taking over the world. Obviously, Willow knew none of that, so she played the whistle.

What I Thought- I loved the plot of the book, but one thing really threw me off at the beginning – Willow, the main character, was a really big brat – so much so it made it hard to keep reading. I found myself with an utter disdain for the main character. Granted, that changed slowly over the course of the story, so much that if you read the first and last chapter, you wouldn’t believe that they are the same person. Looking back at it, it now seems like a great way to flesh out Willow as a character but it just originally made it a harder book to pick up. Other than that, it was a great story, with a believable adventure. There was an excellent amount of foreshadowing – so much that I knew that there was something off with one of the characters, but I had no idea what they would do! It is a nice story, and a fun read. The book is a quick read, but a good one – makes me think what great things Smith would come up with if she expanded the story.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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