Tag Archives: bibliophile

Review and book birthday! The Ominous Eye by Tracey Hecht

20 Sep

nocturnals2The Ominous Eye

Series: The Nocturnals #2 (#1)

Written by Tracey Hecht

208 pages – ages 7+

Published by Fabled Films Press on September 20, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis- “Join Dawn, Bismark and Tobin as they set out to investigate the source of a violent jolt that fractures the earth! Along their journey, the Nocturnal Brigade meets an unfamiliar reptile—a tuatara named Polyphema—who reveals that a giant beast caused the destruction and will soon strike again. Polyphema with her special insights, is the only one who can help the Nocturnal Brigade stop this fearsome predator… but can she be trusted? With help from an owl, the jerboas, and some kiwis, the animals set a trap since surrender is not an option against this relentless beast.”

What I Thought- This was a nice sequel to the first Nocturnals book. It still has the same feel, but it also shows the characters changed just a bit, and become more mature. The book gives enough background so that the reader doesn’t have to have read the first book (but do because it was good!). I like that it has a friendship message that kids can follow, while still being an enjoyable book and not preachy. The friends that make up the Nocturnal Brigade are fun and a but zany. The characters are funny and personable, and their personalities develop throughout the story. There are nice watercolor illustrations throughout the book that really add to the overall feeling of the book. Hecht’s writing really sets the readers imagination on fire! I think that this is a great series, and I hope the next books are as great as the first two!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Blog Tour! Bjorn’s Gift by Sandy Brehl

14 Sep

bjornBjorn’s Gift

Sequel to Odin’s Promise

By Sandy Brehl

272 pages – ages 8+

Will be published by Crispin Books on October 5th, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher-Set in Norway during World War II, Bjorn’s Gift continues the adventures of Mari, a young Norwegian girl who faces growing hardships and dangers in her small village in a western fjord.
German occupation troops and local Nazi supporters move closer to her family’s daily life, and her classmate Leif becomes active in the Norwegian Nazi youth party. Mari struggles to live up to her brother Bjorn’s faith in her, as she becomes more involved in risky resistance activities, trusting only her family and a few close friends.
Across Norway, oppressive laws are imposed in the months from Fall 1941 to early 1943, with dire local consequences. Difficult decisions force Mari to admit that many things in life are not easily sorted into good or bad, and she begins to wonder if Hitler will ever be defeated and . . . whether the occupation of Norway will ever end.

What I Thought- Odin’s Promise was a wonderful historical fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was excited to see a sequel and was equally impressed with Brehl’s writing in this novel. Ms. Brehl’s way of writing down the events makes it very personal, and you can really feel the turmoil that Mari, the main character, is going through. The book is set during WWII in Norway. I really enjoy this because the Norwegian occupation is something glossed over in the history classes I have had so far. It is a part of history that I want to know more about. The imagery Brehl uses is amazing. She paints vivid images in sentences that really makes the reading experience enjoyable. The beautiful descriptions of Norway set against the ugliness of the political time is a striking contrast. This is a riveting historical fiction novel, and I think it really brings to light a different side of the German invasion of Norway. The book is completely appropriate for younger readers.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

author-brehl-copy-1 Sandy Brehl is a retired educator and active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). When she’s not reading and writing, she enjoys gardening. She lives in the Milwaukee area and invites you to visit her website (www.SandyBrehl.com) to learn more about ODIN’S PROMISE and BJORN’S GIFT. Sign up for quarterly newsletters to stay informed about future releases (including MARI’S HOPE), and special events and offers.

Contacts:

Crispin Books, an imprint of Crickhollow

sandybrehl.com
Twitter: @SandyBrehl
Facebook.com
Email: Sandy@sandybrehl.com
Sandy shares a blog about middle grade historical novels with three other authors: TheStoriedPast.org
Also blogs about picture books at UnpackingPictureBookPower.com and @PBWorkshop on Twitter

Blog tour schedule:

September 1– Interview with Todd Burleson at GROG blog:

Groggorg.com

September 7- Review: Stephanie Lowden at golowd, a blog about teaching and books:

Golowd.com

September 11- Guest post Unleashing Readers

Unleashingreaders.com

September 14- (TODAY!!!)- Review by Erik at This Kid Reviews Books,

Thiskidreviewsbooks.com

September 19- Review, Suzanne Warr, at Tales from the Raven, for MMGM:

Suzannewarr.com

September 20- Olivia and Oscar- review of ODIN’S PROMISE at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com

September 27- Olivia and Oscar- review of BJORN’S GIFT at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com 

September 29- Alex Baugh review at The Children’s War

Thechildrenswar.blogspot.com

October 3- Jenni Enzor MMGM with review and interview:

Jennienzor.com

October 5- MomReadIt- Review by Rosemary

Momreadit.com

October 7- Trisha P at Mindjacked

Trishap00.com

October 11- Guest post Rochelle Melander

Writenowcoach.com

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

Dark-Talent-Banner-788x90

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! Legend of the Forest Beast by Don M. Winn

3 Sep

sirkayeLegend of the Forest Beast

Series: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight #3 (#1, #2)

Written by Don M. Winn

Illustrated by Dave Allred

178 pages – ages 7+

Published by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC on July 8, 2016

Synopsis- Sir Kaye, the boy knight, is back on another adventure! He and his two friends, Reggie and Beau, were at the castle when it is found out that the royal tutor has gone missing! And recently a man was just escaped from prison who was put in there because of the tutor. Can this be foul play? But anyway, this is Kaye’s first adventure not involving the castle! It’s his chance to earn his knight name – like Sir Griswald the Patient or Sir Harry the Just! This is his big opportunity to prove that he’s a great knight!

What I Thought- This was a nice installation in the Sir Kaye series. Winn’s writing style is perfect for his young audience. Winn shows that Medieval times were harsh and not always as wonderful as we sometimes imagine. I like that the books have a way of not hiding the fact that death happens, but also keeping it appropriate for the younger readers. I like the character development in this book. Kaye and Reggie both grow as people in very different aspects. They mature as the story goes on and we learn more about who they are as a people. The book is a nice look into medieval life, while also teaching good morals such as honesty, trustworthiness, and many more. There are also really neat black-and-white illustrations throughout the book. I really enjoy this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Let’s Play! by Herve Tullet

2 Sep

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 a fun, unique interactive book.

letsplayLet’s Play!
By Hervé Tullet
68 pages – ages 3+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 29, 2016

Theme/Topic- Interactive book

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Hey there! I’m getting a little bored in here. Wanna play?”

Synopsis from publisher: “It’s only a yellow dot…but what a dot it is! Readers won’t be able to resist this jaunty, adventurous dot, nor its invitation to play along. Thus begins a spectacular ride of color, motion, shape, and imagination, filled with the artistry and delight that we know and love so well from Press Here and Mix It Up! But on this journey, prepare to leap headlong into a completely new dimension: emotion. Connecting not only to the mind but also to the heart, this dot expresses an extraordinary sense of humor, fear, joy, and more as it pushes, lurches, wiggles, and slides its way through—and even off!—the pages of this glorious companion to Press Here and Mix It Up!

What I Thought- I really like the creativity of Tullet. His imagination shows in this book! I think it is extremely fascinating how he orchestrates the story line. Tullet guides the reader – anticipating what he will do. The wording of the instructions for the “game” and the illustrations completely immerse the reader in the book. Which brings me to another point – the illustrations, although simple, are brilliantly done! They tactfully bring all the attention onto the yellow dot – even though there is more going on in them. Kids and parents will love interacting with and reading this book!

Activities and Resources- One thing I would suggest is creating an interactive book of your own! Think of what you can have your reader and character do together!

Check out this video where Tullet introduces us to Let’s play!

Down load an activity kit and a Common Core aligned teachers guise at Chronicle’s website HERE
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog 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

Review! The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

30 Aug

shelbyThe Great Shelby Holmes

By Elizabeth Eulberg

256 pages – ages 9+

Will be published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 6, 2016

Synopsis from publisher- “Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen-always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.

When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. The easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack.”

What I Thought- First off, I just want to say that I appreciate that the book parallels the Sherlock Holmes stories, while not mirroring them. It is more of a referencing, with obvious ones being the name of Shelby’s dog, Sir Arthur, after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes books, along with John Watson, and him wanting an alias name of Sherlock Holmes. But there are more subtle ones, such as the apartment building the two share is 221 Baker Street – the building the original Holmes and Watson shared. But then it is its own story. There is a good amount of intrigue, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Shelby is an interesting character, and you are always trying to figure her out. I really enjoyed this first book, and want to read another!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

27 Aug

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 a unique story on perspective.

They All Saw a CatThey All Saw a Cat
By Brendan Wensel
44 pages – ages 5+

Published by Chronicle Books on August 30, 2016

Theme/Topic- Perspective

Genre- Realistic Fiction? Nonfiction?

Opening and Synopsis- Opening:The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws…'”

Synopsis from publisher: “In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

What I Thought- This is a really neat book. I like that when the others look at the cat, not only does it look different, but the illustrations reflect what is seen is an amazing way. Check out some interior pages –

image004 image005 image003

 

That was pretty cool! The story is a great way to teach kids about perspective and the way things are seen by different people. A great lesson of what you see is not what someone else may see! This is  Wenzel’s debut as both an author and illustrator, and it is great start. I am anxiously awaiting his next creation!

Activities and Resources- There is a great lesson plan about perspectives at Readwritethink.org HERE!

Teachingwithamountainview.com has a fabulous post on teaching point of view HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer –

Chronicle Books has an activity pack that goes with the book that you can download. Click HERE to get it!
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

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

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