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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

Review! Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet

24 May

cloudfishCloud and Wallfish

By Anne Nesbet

400 pages – ages 10+

Published by Candlewick Press on October 4, 2016

Synopsis- American Noah Keller was pretty taken-aback when both his parents picked him up after school in Virginia. Especially when they told him they were moving to East Germany for six months, East Berlin to be specific. Oh, and apparently Noah’s name isn’t really Noah Keller. He’s Jonah Brown, with a different birthday, a different hometown, and no idea what’s going on. Noah-Jonah and his family move to East Berlin, and soon he meets a highly-outspoken girl named Claudia. They become friends. But it may end up that this friendship draws a little too much attention in a society built on blending in and spying on itself…

What I Thought- This was a really good historical fiction book. It captures the feelings of living under constant oppression, while also trying to make it look like you are living in a normal situation. It was interesting, especially because Noah doesn’t really know what’s going on, just that something is going on (I won’t give it away). Ms. Nesbet’s writing style is very informative, and I like that at the end of each chapter, she tells a little more information about historic events mentioned in the chapter, and how they relate to the characters. They also seem to flow with the story pretty well, as well. I enjoyed the book very much.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Foundry’s Edge by Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

16 May

oreThe Foundry’s Edge

Series: The First Book of Ore

By Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

448 pages – ages 11+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 15, 2014

Synopsis- Phoebe Plumm was waiting for her dad to come back home. He was gone, probably on a work trip, but for around three months – his longest yet. One day, Phoebe’s dad is suddenly home, and they need to leave – immediately. Only, they don’t make it away in time. The two of them are captured by identical robot men. Only their housekeeper’s son, Micah, sees this happen, and he decides to rescue them. Phoebe escapes on her own, and ends up meeting up with Micah. They try to find Dr. Plumm, Phoebe’s dad, but end up in a fascinating world, where everything is made of metal, and it seems like the machines there may actually be alive!

What I Thought- This was an exciting book! I enjoyed the world that Phoebe and Micah discovered, along with the secrets they uncovered about the company her dad worked for. The book was an interesting dystopian story, and I enjoyed reading about it. The coauthors worked well together, creating memorable characters in a realistic setting. Micah was a fun character, and you can see him grow from a mean-spirited, selfish person into a mature(-ish) person. Phoebe was a brat (a good-natured one, but still pretty naive) in the beginning, and she really evened out as the story went on. The dystopian world spun by the authors was fascinating and one that the reader can loose him/herself in. One downside- there was some minor language (cussing) throughout the book that didn’t need to be there. At 448 pages the authors give kids a full story that will keep them wrapped up until the last sentence. I cannot wait to read the Second Book of Ore!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Harp and the Ravenvine by Ted Sanders

4 May

sandersThe Harp and the Ravenvine

Series: The Keepers #2

By Ted Sanders

672 pages – ages 10+

Published by HarperCollins on March 1, 2016

Synopsis- In a world where magic is possible, there are people called Keepers that use Tan’ji (magic-channeling tools) but end up mentally bonding with their Tan’ji, making them inseparable. Add in the humanoid Riven, which are formally of the species that were thought to be the only ones who could bond with the Tan’ji, who now want all of the Tan’ji to themselves – at any cost. When a new Tan’ji-using human realizes her power, she knows that she is missing a piece of her Tan’ji. But reuniting the piece may have some strings attached…

What I Thought- This was a pretty cool book. I didn’t read book one, but it had a nice way of recapping what happened earlier in a way I didn’t feel lost. Sander’s writing is compelling and I am going to go back and pick up book one. At 672 pages this is a meaty fantasy novel that kids can sink into. Despite the length of the book, the action, character development and dialogue keeps the reader interested. The characters are realistic, and they help bring the story to life. There are cool black-and-white drawings throughout the book, adding another dimension to the story. The publisher rates the book for kids 8-12. I think because of the length, some mild language and complexity of the plot I’d bump that up to 10+. I really enjoyed the story line, and cannot wait for book three to come out!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to know more? Check out Ted Sanders’ website!

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