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Review! Wisdom of the Centaur’s Reason by LRW Lee

5 Dec

centaurWisdom of the Centaur’s Reason

Series: Andy Smithson #6 (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5)

By LRW Lee

212 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on November 19, 2016

Synopsis- Andy Smithson wants to get back to Oomaldee. But he can’t. Whatever brings him there (he’s still unsure) isn’t bringing him! Thankfully, he is then given a task – find the Heart of Oomaldee, hidden in our world, in America! He finds the heart, and restarts it inside Oomaldee, finally getting back to his people. But now, with that quest done, it is time that he returns to his main quest – breaking the curse. And if he breaks the curse, it means that he must come to terms with what happens after doing so – mostly the death of his mother, the King, and Mermin, beloved wizard. Can he do it?

What I thought- Wow! This installment of the Andy Smithson series really pulls at your heartstrings! There is a lot of tension in the story as everything draws towards the final showdown between Andy and Abaddon. Lee plays on the reader’s emotions as she leads them through this exciting story. The reader is totally connected with the characters and you empathize with the pains and troubles that plague them. The characters get more realistic and personable as the series goes on, so by now, you feel as if you know each of them rather well. The progression of Andy, as the main character, throughout the series is especially satisfying. He is coming to terms with a friend dying, and also with the fact that if he breaks the curse, his mom will die, along with the King and another close friend. WOW! That’s a lot for a kid. I appreciate that Lee has a fine sense of where to draw the line at the story being too dark, because it could easily fold into a depressing story. But it doesn’t. Lee keeps the characters’ hope up, and they will not give up even if things are looking down. She definitely has her target audience in mind. Lee’s vivid description of the setting and characters play like a movie in your mind, and make it so that you don’t want to put the story down. Very much looking forward to the next book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Best Man by Richard Peck

15 Nov

bestmanThe Best Man

By Richard Peck

240 pages – ages 9+

Published by Dial Books on September 20, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer,; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth—Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school.
But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn’t see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he’s the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story.”

What I Thought- This was an interesting and very complex story. It is interesting that the subject of gay marriage is seen from a more innocent view-type, instead of jaded – one way or the other. It is complex because it really isn’t a story about gay marriage, it is a coming of age story of a boy trying to define himself  – as all kids do as they hit puberty. It is a story about family relationships, bullies at school and dealing with siblings. I liked it that the marriage wasn’t used as a tool but rather shown as a part of life. It is a reflection of the world we live in.  There were a ton of supporting characters, all which brought an interesting angle to the story. Although there was a lot going on (in terms of characters), the story was easy to follow, as if the reader is just another character in the story.  The one thing I didn’t like really, though was just the obliviousness of Archer – that just seemed a tad unrealistic for a fifth grader. This isn’t the action/adventure story that usually has me turning pages at a furious pace. It is a heartwarming look into a family that connects the reader with the characters and one that you can get lost in.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review and Interview! Skyborn by Lou Anders

14 Nov

slybornSkyborn
Series: Thrones & Bones #3 (#1, #2)
Written by Lou Anders
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on September 6, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “The chase continues for the legendary Horns of Osius. Thianna and Karn’s quest to retrieve the horns from those who wish to abuse their power takes them to Thica, an ancient land where two tyrant queens reign supreme and where years earlier Thianna’s mother was labeled a traitor. Soon the two heroes are caught up in an epic battle for control of the kingdom, one that puts their very lives at stake. The only way to overthrow the queens is to beat them at their own game. But with an entire empire against them, how can Karn and Thianna hope to compete—or better yet, survive?”

What I Thought- This was a thrilling conclusion to the Thrones & Bones series, leaving things off in a way where the imagination wonders what happens next, but also gives a satisfying resolution to the story-line. Mr. Anders has a way of writing the story that keeps you reading. The characters are engaging, and the readers really root for them as they go through their struggles. The readers will also like that they can see Thianna and Carn growing up and learning from their past experiences. The setting is perfect, and draws the imagination into the story. It is a cool blend of mythology from different cultures, particularly Greek/Roman and Scandinavian. I really enjoyed reading this book, and think it has the same great feel as the other two books. I cannot wait for another book by Mr. Anders!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Here is my interview with author Lou Anders:

bloglogoWhile reading the books, the reader can pick up on the Norse culture and mythos, and the island-continent of Thica also has similarities to Greek and Roman mythos. Why did you think to include this “clash of culture” in your books?

slybornOne of my big pet peeves is when fantasy countries and lands appear to exist in isolation to themselves. In the real world, no country develops without the influence of its neighbors and even cultures that are actually very far away. I started out with the Norse-inspired people of my land of Norrøngard, but the more I researched the actual Scandinavian peoples and particularly the Vikings, the more I learned of their influence on so much of European history. They traveled all over Europe and beyond, raiding and trading with lots of different countries. There is even strong evidence that the Vikings visited North America and met (and fought) Inuits and Native American peoples. When I wrote the books, I was very careful to make sure the story always had hints of a larger world. Not only is Thianna’s mother from another country, but so is the dwarf Gindri, and there are mentions of other lands and their influence on the people of Norrøngard. In fact, as you read along you learn that even Orm himself is actually an immigrant to Norrøngard! The wyverns are European monsters that have somehow made their way to the Greece-inspired land of Thica (much to their disappointment). And Karn’s sword Whitestorm is actually an artifact of the long vanished Gordion empire. It was forged a thousand miles from his home, and although it’s not mentioned in the book, I know that the sword was actually very important to the adventures of a young queen of the neighboring country of Araland hundreds of years before Frostborn takes place! (Maybe I’ll get to tell her story one day.) So in order to make my fantasy world “real” it had to mirror the back-and-forth exchange that cultures and countries in our own world experience.

bloglogoYour books are able to immerse the readers in a sense of adventure, while they learn about the importance of key practices, such as strategy and trust, through the characters. Did you plan an overall message in your books or does that develop as you create the story and characters?

slybornI believe that theme is something that grows out of the interaction of your characters. All stories start with characters, and no matter how important a book’s message, it’s the characters that make people care. So Frostborn was born very much out of who Karn and Thianna were as people, their strengths and their faults, and how they would bounce off of each other when they met. That being said, there are some themes, or perhaps “concerns” is a better word, that I very much wanted to address. I grew up reading a lot of fantasy fiction, the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, and Michael Moorcock in particular. I love (LOVE!) those stories. But they are sort of lacking when it comes to strong female characters. I wanted to write a story that encapsulated all of the excitement and “sense of wonder” of the fantasy books I grew up with, but which was more reflective of today’s world and had something for everyone, not just one half of everyone! Also, my own children are biracial, and I wanted to write a character for them, someone who was struggling with being a “child of two worlds.” And I had a lot I wanted to explore about friendship and family. There’s another theme, which I don’t want to admit to but only hint at, that runs through all three books. If you are curious about what that is, I’ll just say to look at the villains in the books, both the people and the monsters. Who do you think the worst villains are?

bloglogo The Thrones & Bones series has awesome main characters – Karn and Thianna – but your stories also have fearsome monsters and tough enemies. Do you spend as much time developing your “bad guys” as you do your MCs?

slybornOh yes. No “bad guy” is a bad guy in their own mind. I think a really good story has another story in it, one in which the “bad guy” is actually the star. Sydia is fiercely loyal to her country and is fighting to save her way of life. Tanthal is the product of a city that has taught him since the day he was born that embracing his own power at the cost of others is the best thing for his people overall. Helltoppr was out to become king of Norrøngard when he was alive, and if he had succeeded, he would have been no different than hundreds of other kings of that land, a lot of whom came to power through violence. And Sirena has a real (legitimate?) complaint with the way Thianna has messed up her life. And even Ori, who is pretty self-centered and nasty, is actually a lot of fun to hang out with. At the start of Frostborn, Karn likes his uncle a lot and, I would go so far as to say, Ori likes Karn too. They play games together and they share a sense of humor. And they probably have more in common than Karn has with his own father (or thinks he has). It’s just an unfortunate accident of birth that Ori’s nephew is in the way of his ambition… Sad, but what can you do?

bloglogo I am a fan of your Thrones & Bones series and as much as I liked how Skyborn finished off the trilogy, I didn’t want it to end. Is it hard for you to walk away from your characters?

slybornYes. But there was also a real feeling that they had grown and come into their own and found their place in the world across their adventures, and so they were “okay without me,” if that makes sense. Karn and Thianna are at peace with themselves by the end of the Thrones & Bones series. They’re also quite powerful as individuals (and the more powerful characters are, the harder they are to write. It’s called “the Superman problem”). As I was writing Skyborn, part of me was sad because I was saying goodbye, but another part of me started itching for new characters, people who hadn’t yet found their place in the world or come to grips with who they were or figured out their talents. So I was sort of letting go and getting ready to move on. I will say though that I have a very clear idea of where Karn and Thianna’s life goes from here and their adventures are not over by any means, so it’s possible you’ll see more stories about them in the future. And as for Desstra, although she has grown too, she’s still a little lost and sad and still isn’t sure where she fits in, and that means her story isn’t finished.

bloglogo I am sad to say Skyborn marks the end of the Throne & Bones series! Do you have anything you are working on that you would like to share with us?

slybornYes I do! I recently delivered The Dragon Squire to my wonderful editor, Phoebe Yeh. It’s currently scheduled to come out Summer 2018, and it’s the story of a young squire named Tuggle who works for a knight who is supposed to fight a dragon named Brinstax. But Tuggle tries to hedge his bets with a witch’s potion and the result is that he and Brinstax accidentally switch bodies! It’s a lot of fun and maybe a little bit lighter and sillier than the Thrones & Bones series. I wrote it to be something that new readers could jump in on without having to know anything about the world of Thrones & Bones, but I did hide easter eggs for T&B fans in the book. Meanwhile, I’m working on something else now, a young adult novel featuring an older version of one of the characters in Thrones & Bones having a solo adventure. I won’t say which one but maybe you can guess!

WHO IS THIS LOU ANDERS?!?

louanders

Lou Anders drew on his adventures traveling to Greece in his twenties to write Skyborn, combining these experiences with his love of pulp adventure fiction and games (both tabletop and role playing). However, he has yet to ride a hippalektryon. Anders hopes that his third book in the Thrones and Bones series will continue to appeal to boy and girl readers equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction, and was named a Thurber House Writer-in-Residence. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com, on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, and on Twitter at @Louanders.

Links:

Website: http://www.louanders.com

Twitter:@LouAnders

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

Tumblr: http://louanders.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louhanders/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/thrones_and_bones

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/61741.Lou_Anders

 

Review! The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock – Blog Tour!

31 Oct

wishingThe Wishing World

By Todd Fahnestock

224 pages – ages 9+

Published by Starscape on October 25, 2016

Synopsis- Lorelei believed in monsters. After all, a monster is what stole her mother, father, and her brother. Yet no one believes her. But when she summons a griffon into her bedroom, she learns that there is an entire world existing within all children’s imaginations. And that in that world she belongs to a select group of people that can create things with their minds. And the monster that took her parents is the most powerful of those people. Sounds like a fun adventure, right?

What I Thought- This was an imaginative book. Quite literally. The characters could create things from their imaginations. Which is awesome. This is definitely a book that you wish you could take place in. The Wishing World within the book is amazing. The characters are ones you can sympathize with, especially Lorelei. Honestly, the book started off kind of dark, but nothing too bad, just plopping you into the action  – a nice hook for the reader. The one thing I had was that the beginning seemed a little bit rushed for my taste (maybe because of the all the action), with a nefarious character suddenly introduced – but the pace is spot on for a middle grade audience. Bonus points for a cool cover too, and small illustrations at the start of each chapter. Mr. Fahnestock’s writing style is exciting, and keeps you reading.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more?

Visit Todd Fahnestock on Facebook, or Twitter

BOOK SUMMARY FROM THE PUBLISHER

The Wishing World

****

In the Wishing World, dreams are real. You can transform into your own hero, find wild and whimsical friends, and wield power as great as your imagination. But Lorelei doesn’t know about any of that. All she knows is that a monster took her family.

It happened during a camping trip one year ago. Hiding inside the tent, she saw shadows, tentacles and a strange creature. By the time she got up the courage to crawl outside, the monster–and Lorelei’s mom, dad, and brother–were gone.

Lorelei is determined to find her family. When she accidentally breaks into the Wishing World, she discovers a way. It’s a land more wonderful than she could have imagined, a land of talking griffons, water princesses, and cities made of sand, where Lorelei is a Doolivanti–a wish-maker–who can write her dreams into existence.

There’s only one problem: the monster is a Doolivanti, too. What he wishes also comes true, and he’s determined to shove Lorelei out, keep her family, and make the whole Wishing World his. To save them, Lorelei must find the courage to face him, or her next wish may be her last.

 

#LockwoodandCo Halloween Giveaway! LOCKWOOD & CO by Jonathan Stroud

27 Oct

Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy is a favorite of mine so I was thrilled when Disney Hyperion sent me all four books in his Lockwood & Co series and is allowing me to give away a prize pack of all four books PLUS a cool pumpkin carving kit to get everyone in the Halloween mood! 

lockwoodseries

About the series:

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see—and eradicate—these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

Jonathan Stroud, author of the internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books, continues his hit series of supernatural thrillers about three teen members of a Psychic Detection Agency who are battling an epidemic of ghosts in London. The fourth book in the series, The Creeping Shadows, released September 13th.

WHO IS THIS JONATHAN STROUD???

stroud

Jonathan Stroud (www.jonathanstroud.com) is the author of three previous books in the Lockwood & Co. series as well as the New York Times best-selling Bartimaeus books, and the stand-alone titles Heroes of the Valley, The Leap, The Last Siege, and Buried Fire. He lives in England with his wife and three children.

Want to learn more?

Creep on over to LockwoodandCo.com.

Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram.

What I Thought:

I am by no means a fan of scary horror books. I really have a distaste for monster books (with a few exceptions). I would not classify these books in these groups. These books are creepy paranormal meets Sherlock Holmes. I like creepy. Stroud’s writing and story-telling abilities shine through in each book. Want to see what I mean? Click HERE to read an excerpt from the newest book – CREEPING SHADOW.

I love the dystopian setting in the books. It is a clash of modern London with a hint of Holmes and a big ghost problem. Stroud pulls the reader into this world with ease and before you know it, you are completely submersed in the plot.  The characters are memorable with a favorite being Lucy, who tells the story from her point of view. Each book in the series, including Creeping Shadow, can be read individually, but I urge you not to cheat yourself out of the series.

AND HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THE ENTIRE SET!!!

prize

Prize: One (1) winner will receive a prize pack containing the following:

  • print copy of the Lockwood & Co. series (4 books)

  • a pumpkin-carving kit to get into the Halloween spirit!

  • Contest ends: October 31, 11:59 pm, 2016

    Open: United States

    How to enter: Please enter by commenting below for a random draw. Winner will be announced on November 1, 2016.

**Disclosure – Free products provided by Disney Consumer Products. All views are my own.

Review! 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up By Bianca Schulze Blog Tour! AND GIVEAWAY!!!

12 Oct

101books

101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up

Series: 101 series for Kids

By Bianca Schulze

Published by Walter Foster Jr on October 1, 2016

144 pages / ages 8-12

Synopsis from the publisher: 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up provides a comprehensive list of kid-friendly books for children to read before they grow up. This must-read review list acts as an interactive journal where kids can document the books they read, why they like them, and how they rate them. Divided into sections by subject, from fairy tales and fantasy to sports and nonfiction, 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up celebrates the importance of reading and encourages family participation to develop lifelong readers. The perfect reference guide for book lovers of all ages, 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up helps both kids and parents decide which books to read next!

What I thought: This is a nice addition to the 101 Series for Kids. When I first saw the title of this – 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up – I immediately thought – come on, how can you possibly come up with this list? There are SO MANY books you should read before you grow up! Then I read the following author’s note –

“There are so many amazing books to be discovered and read—and far too many to list in one fun book. The 101 awesome books contained in these pages have one collective message: Be kind, be brave, and make good choices. Remember the struggles of those that came before you and those who will come after you. Be true to yourself, and with every page you turn, live your life like an epic adventure.”

Makes sense.

Plus, Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review so she knows what she is talking about. Scanning through the table of contents, yes I did see some books I think should have been listed, but I can’t argue against any of the books Schulze lists (well maybe one). And, she only got to name 101 (although in the “What to Read Next?” section following each book description Schulze got to list a few more).

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As with all the books in the 101 Series for Kids, the pages are well-organized and colorful. Schulze gives a brief synopsis of each book and some comments as to why the book belongs on the list. There is also a section below each book named for kids to record that they read it and write what they thought of it. The variety of books Schulze suggests is wonderful – ranging from classics to adventure, humor to historical fiction. Schulze even gives a nod to graphic novels. There is a nice selection of culturally diverse books and I was happy with the mix of classic and more modern titles represented.

101books3

schulzeABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review, a resource devoted to children’s literature and recognized by the American Library Association as a “Great Website for Kids.” She is a reader, reviewer, mother, and children’s book lover. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s bookseller, Bianca’s goal is to share her passion to help grow readers.

 

To enter the giveaway to win this book, all you need to do is comment telling us what book you think everyone should read!

Reviews! Mystery & Mayhem books by Tom McCarthy

3 Oct

survivalSurvival: True Stories

By Tom McCarthy

128 pages – ages 10+

Will be published by Nomad Press on October 24, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Tales of survival are as old as humanity! In Survival: True Stories, readers discover accounts of survival that required innovation, a thirst for adventure, and even a bit of brutality. Whether it’s Shackleton on the frozen landscape of Antarctica or William Bligh and his loyal followers adrift in the Pacific after mutiny on the Bounty, survival is a fascinating topic for readers ages 9 to 12!

Survival is the second book in the Murder & Mayhem series, which features true tales that whet kids’ appetites for history by engaging them in genres with proven track records—mystery and adventure. History is made of near misses, unexplained disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and bizarre events that are almost too weird to be true—almost! The Mystery & Mayhem series delves into the past to provide kids with a jumping-off point into a lifelong habit of appreciating history.”

What I Thought- This was a good book. I like that in the introduction Mr. McCarthy points out that he chose true stories that make you wonder whether you would actually survive, and not think that anybody could just do that. The stories are all true, and kids will enjoy reading about them. They learn a little bit of history, and they may not even realize it. There should be a little bit of reader discretion, as there are parts where it is pointed out that there may have been cannibalism, or just mentioning the death of explorers. The book doesn’t go into detail, but it does mention those parts. A neat part of the book is that there are fact boxes at the end of each chapter that tell of other important events going on at the time. Altogether a really neat book.

I give the book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

shipwreckPirates and Shipwrecks: True Stories

By Tom McCarthy

128 pages – ages 10+

Will be published by Nomad Press on October 11, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “When Daniel Collins and the crew of the Betsey set sail for Cuba in 1824, they have no idea of the horrors that lie ahead. This is just one of the stories in a collection of five true tales about pirates and shipwrecks that introduces readers to the perils of the high seas.

Pirates and Shipwrecks: True Stories is the first book in the Mystery & Mayhem series for 9–12 year olds, which features true tales that whet kids’ appetites for history by engaging them in genres with proven track records—mystery and adventure. History is made of near misses, unexplained disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and bizarre events that are almost too weird to be true—almost! The Mystery & Mayhem series delves into the past to provide kids with a jumping-off point into a lifelong habit of appreciating history.”

What I Thought- Mr. McCarthy has written another book that is just as good as the Survival book. Also nonfiction, these true stories tell of real-life pirates, and also real-life shipwrecks that almost (or even did!) turned into disasters. It was an interesting look into a different time. The one thing I like about both books is that they include maps of where the events take place. Mr. McCarthy’s writing style is well organized and well written, with a lot of information for the readers. The book does mention cannibalism, and some of the people were beheaded by pirates, but the book doesn’t go into detail, and only writes what had to have been written to write an accurate novel. The books are shorter, and good for a quick read, especially chapter by chapter. A really nice nonfiction series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Joshua and the Arrow Realm by Donna Galanti

12 Sep

Joshua and the Arrow Realm ebookJoshua and the Arrow Realm

Series: Lightning Road Book #2 (#1)

By Donna Galanti

278 pages – ages 9+

Published by Month9Books, LLC on August 30, 2016

Synopsis- Joshua is back in another book! When he and his friend Charlie are brought back to the land of Nostos, where the heirs of the Ancient Greek gods control realms, they are needed to rescue their friend, the new King Apollo, from the Queen Artemis. But all is not what it seems when they themselves get captured and a cherished ally turns traitor. Is there any hope of Joshua and Charlie getting back home?

What I Thought- This was a thrilling sequel to Joshua and the Lightning Road! Ms. Galanti really carries on the spirit of the first book, while also making it different. Joshua grows as a character, coming to terms with being the Oracle. Almost all of the characters changed throughout the story, and you really begin to care for them. The story starts off with a bang, kickstarting the latest adventure. The book has a few deep themes that the characters explore, such as loss and true loyalty. This was a really well-written installment in this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Release Day Book Review Blitz! The Dark Talent by Brandon Sanderson! GIVEAWAY!

6 Sep

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Welcome to the Release Day Blitz of “The Dark Talent” by Brandon Sanderson!

The Dark Talent coverThe Dark Talent
Series: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #5 (#2#3, #4)
Written by Brandon Sanderson
Illustrations by Hayley Lazo
304 pages – ages 9+
Published by Starscape on September 6, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- “The Dark Talent is the fifth action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. This never-before-published, fast-paced, and funny novel is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary—known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders—the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

“Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review”

What I Thought- Wow. This book was great. And unexpected. There was a huge plot twist I wasn’t expecting at the end, honestly one of the biggest I’ve ever encountered. I won’t give it away, but I was really surprised. I will say that this book is extremely well-written, and doesn’t break the style of the rest of the series. Alcatraz and his family is still very wacky, and you still really enjoy reading about their adventures. Alcatraz continues to make fun of himself and almost everything as the book goes on, while also going on and on about how he is a coward. There is a nice resource section at the back of the book, for reading discussions. The book is a thrilling…conclusion…to the series…or is it?

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Author Image

Author Bio: BRANDON SANDERSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Rithmatist and Steelheart, both of which were selected for the American Library Association’s Teens’ Top Ten list. He’s also written many popular and award-winning books for adults. His middle grade series, Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians, is now available in deluxe editions.
Visit his website HERE!

The giveaway!

There is a giveaway for a copy of “The Dark Talent” (Along with a really cool button-pin!) for one lucky winner in the US or Canada! You can enter if you live in another country, but just as long as you know someone willing to hold the package for you! We want to share the Talents book love with everybody!

OR you can just by the book HERE!

Review! Argos by Ralph Hardy

31 Aug

argosArgos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog

By Ralph Hardy

400 pages – ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on May 31, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “For twenty years, the great hero Odysseus struggles to return to Ithaka. After ten years beneath the walls of Troy, he begins the long journey back home. He defeats monsters. He outsmarts the Cyclops. He battles the gods. He does whatever it takes to reunite with his family.

And what of that family—his devoted wife, Penelope; his young son, Telemachos; his dog, Argos? For those twenty years, they wait, unsure whether they will ever see Odysseus again. But Argos has found a way to track his master. Any animal who sets foot or wing on Ithaka brings him news of Odysseus’s voyage—and what a voyage it is!

These tales bring hope that one day his master will return. Meanwhile, Argos watches over his master’s family and protects them from the dangers that surround a throne without its king. This rousing story of devotion and determination is an original take on one of the most beloved myths of all time.”

What I Thought- This was a very unique idea for a retelling of the Odyssey – through the eyes of his faithful dog, who stayed on Ithaka. While at first, that may not sound like a great premise, it was turns out to be a very compelling story and an amazing read. I found it neat how the author told of the trials of Odysseus. Various animals visit the island and tell Argos of Odysseus’ travels. As the story goes on you become attached to Argos. Sadly you know he will die at the end. I did like is how the author handles it, thinking of a clever way to finish the book, as Argos does not witness his master’s revenge. It is a really good book, with a neat look into how a loyal dog would think. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  Having said all the great stuff about the book, I think the writing is a bit difficult to catch the attention of the average middle grader – the book’s intended audience.  The story idea is excellent but the dense text makes it more appropriate for an older kid.

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

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