Tag Archives: bookworm

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! 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

BLOG TOUR! Monster Needs To Go To School by Paul Czajak

18 May

monster school 4_4-2

monsterschoolMonster Needs To Go To School

Written by Paul Czajak

Illustrated by Wendy Grieb

32 pages – ages 6+

Published by Mighty Media Press on June 28, 2016

Synopsis- Monster and Boy are back in another book! Monster needs to go to school, but he’s reluctant to try it. Maybe he’d get bullied because he looks different? But Monster goes to school, and he actually has a nice time! Until he sees his new friends bullying another kid. Monster speaks up right away but he is scared his new friends won’t like him.

What I Thought- This was a nice book about how school isn’t that bad. Well, elementary school, at least. Middle school’s a whole ‘nother story.😉 I liked how it had an added message of how having friends is great, but when our friends turn out to be bullies themselves, we need to speak up. Mr. Czajak skillfully points out that being a bystander is just about as bad as being a bully. Ms. Grieb’s illustrations create a sense of liveliness, and are very colorful. I thought it interesting to see other monsters in some of the scenes – usually you don’t see other monsters in the monster series. The rhyming is rather good too – it flows evenly and has a fun rhythm to it.

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! To Stay Alive by Skila Brown

9 May

stayaliveTo Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party

By Skila Brown

304 pages – ages 12+

Will be published by Candlewick on October 11, 2016

Synopsis- It was 1846, and Mary Ann Graves was 19 when her father and her entire family decided to move west. Her 21-year-old sister (and her husband) were coming as well. They had to go from Illinois all the way to California. They would see most of the country as they traveled through the land. They met up with several other families when they were traveling, including the Reed family, and the Donner family. All they need to do is make it through the infamous Rocky Mountains before it snows…

What I Thought- This was a slightly disturbing book. It is a historical fiction of the infamous Donner Party, and for the most part it was telling the story of their journey westward. The novel-in-verse format is interesting, and makes it a rather fast read. It was odd reading the part where they started eating the dead flesh (which honestly, didn’t bother me – some consider it a valid survival technique (when there is nothing else, of course)) – it was the part where they started killing the weaker travelers for food that grossed me out a little, but it is part of history and needs to be told. That aside, the book was very good, and I enjoyed reading about the journey westward. Ms. Brown’s poems stir an emotional impact with the reader, while still telling of the lives of the families going west. I liked that she included an Epilogue, Author’s Note, and a list of the members of the Donner Party, with facts as to what happened afterward, during, and other such things. All-in-all, a very compelling read with solid writing and having it in verse makes the story even more surreal. I’d just recommend for a more mature kid-reader.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review! Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

5 May

Flora-and-the-PeacocksFlora and the Peacocks

By Molly Idle

40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Chronicle Books on May 3, 2016

Synopsis- Flora is back in another wordless picture book! This time, she and two peacocks are going to dance together. But what if the two peacocks both want Flora to themselves? Can the dance go on?

What I Thought- I really like this series (see Flora and the flamingo and Flora and the penguin). This is a great next book, and I like that it teaches that it is okay to have more than one friend. The peacocks fight over Flora, and end up ripping her fan. Ms. Idle’s illustrations are gorgeous, but that’s not all you have to look at – there are also flaps to flip, and even a fold-out scene.

 

flora1 flora3

 

I really like these, because it makes the reading experience even more interactive. I really like how Ms. Idle does these wordless picture books!

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!

Review and Blog Tour! Balthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs by I.J. Brindle

1 May

YAY! THIS FUN BOOK IS OUT TODAY!!!

balthazarBalthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs

Written by I.J. Brindle

Illustrated by Sholto Walker

240 pages – ages 8+

Published by Holiday House on May 1, 2016

Synopsis from the Publisher-Balthazar Fabuloso’s lovable and eccentric family performs a magic show. What makes the act so unusual is that all the Fabulosos actually have superhuman powers, except for Balthazar, a practical-minded 11-year-old who simply aspires to be a normal kid. So when everyone but Balthazar disappears mid performance, the only Fabuloso without real magical skills must save the family.Balthazar wonders if the family’s arch-rivals, the Furious Fistulas, are to blame or if there are other, even darker forces at work. To free his loved ones Balthazar must work with some questionable characters, including a lunatic long-lost uncle, three enigmatic senior citizens and the loathsome Pagan Fistula, whose family also mysteriously goes missing.

At the center of these disappearances is a force so evil that the world’s most preeminent magicians cower before it. What hope could a ragtag crew of misfits have against it?

What I Thought- I was a bit hesitant to review this book. I wasn’t  really drawn in by the description but I have to say, the book had a good story and solid writing. Brindle has a fun writing style that aims perfectly at a younger audience. The characters are super odd but that totally work within  the story. I really enjoyed the images created by Brindle’s writing. There is a good story-line that will keep kids involved and reading. I liked the touch of having Pagan Fistula’s journal entries included in the story. Walker’s illustrations add the finishing touch. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would like to follow the further adventures of this quirky family. I really hope that there is another book to follow this fun debut.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review! Crisis Zero by Chris Rylander

28 Apr

crisiszeroCrisis Zero

Series: The Codename Conspiracy #3 (see #1 and #2)

By Chris Rylander

400 pages – ages 9+

Published by Walden Pond Press on February 2, 2016

Synopsis- Agent Zero, AKA Carson Fender, seventh grade secret agent, is back on another adventure! This time, his mission is to get his principal’s computer’s hard-drive. Simple, right? But what about when his principal is arrested for treason? And his replacement is suspiciously… unsuspicious? And who framed the old principal? This time, it seems like there are more questions than answers! Carson will need all of his skills to get to the bottom of this case!

What I Thought- This is the third, installment in the Codename Conspiracy series. I enjoyed every book in this series and getting to know the characters. This book is interesting because it starts revealing secrets and tying up loose threads from the previous books. It was cool seeing everything come together, and figuring a lot of it out. The characters are realistic, and I really liked that Carson grows as a person throughout the story. Mr. Rylander’s writing style is exciting, and adds a decent amount of humor into the book as well. I really liked the way that the book made being a spy seem like an everyday occurrence – I think I related to the story more.

I give this book five out of bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Valley Forge Dog by Ruth G. Zavitsanos

21 Apr

valleyforgedogThe Valley Forge Dog

By Ruth G. Zavitsanos

Illustrated by Cathy Peluso

62 pages – ages 8+

Published by Wild Child Publishing on October 23, 2015

Synopsis- Clay is a dog at Valley Forge, with his boy, Will. Will’s pa is in the Continental Army, fighting under General George Washington. Together, they are living through one of the harshest winters at Valley Forge. With the sick soldiers, deserters, and no supplies, it all looks rather bleak. But when General Washington’s wife pays a visit to the camp, morale rises – that’s not all, though. An Austrian military man shows up to train the troops, and it looks like they might actually stand a chance against the British forces.

What I Thought- The story was good, and I liked how Ms. Zavitsanos connected it to the present day. Like Ms. Zavitsanos’ other books (learn about them on her website), the voice of the book is interesting because it is narrated by a dog, giving it a very unique perspective. The book is a historical fiction story and one, because of the story being told through the eyes of a dog, that will interest many kids who wouldn’t normally pick up an historical fiction book. The story captures the desolation that the soldiers felt at Valley Forge and gave the reader a glimpse of what they had to suffer through. At 62 pages, it is a quick read that just touches on the winter at Valley Forge, but makes a nice story out of it. There was a nice little touch when it talked about the Austrian’s dog that he brought, and how it was a snooty kind of dog – something that the narrator would notice, seeing as he is a dog. The book is realistic, and makes you feel empathy for the soldiers. Ms. Zavitsanos has a good writing style that keeps you reading.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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