Tag Archives: debut

Review! The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

27 Nov

The Goldfish Boy
By Lisa Thompson
320 pages – ages 9+
Published by Scholastic Press on February 28, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?”

What I Thought- I think this was an excellent debut novel. Matthew is thoroughly developed, so that we as a reader feel that we sort of understand why he has germaphobic, agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive tendencies, even if we don’t get a clear picture until almost the end. It’s quite an insight into the mind of someone who middle-grade readers may not “meet” so often. One thing I thought was interesting was that Matthew understood he wasn’t thinking normally, but was unable to stop his thoughts and actions. The book focuses a lot on the inner turmoil of Matthew, and how he must face his fears to be able to help find the missing toddler. The actual plot and the mystery are solid, with lots of clues that keep you guessing as to who did the crime. Thompson has an incredible way of  writing that keeps you drawn into the story. I cannot wait to read what she comes up with next!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle

26 Mar

From Ant to Eagle
By Alex Lyttle
256 pages – ages 9+
Will be Published by Central Avenue Publishing on April 1st, 2017

Synopsis- Calvin Sinclair has a little brother, and they do everything together. Or really, Sammy does everything Cal tells him to. They still hang out together, but it isn’t until Calvin becomes enthralled with a new girl in town that they start spending less time together. If he had realized that Sammy had cancer growing inside of him, then he would’ve acted differently. He would’ve spent quality time with Sammy. But now all Cal can do is hop on the roller coaster with him and hope for the best.

What I Thought- This book was outstanding. When I first heard about it, I was interested enough to try it, but not quite sure if I would enjoy it. I am glad to say that I loved this book! Lyttle, being a pediatrician who worked in an oncology unit, knows the details about the ravages of cancer and the toll it takes on families. Lyttle also knows how to write a poignant, thought-provoking story that has beautifully-crafted lighthearted moments. Because of the subject matter, the story does have a darker feel to it, but Lyttle does a great job with keeping a sense of redemption and hope going. I do not normally like or even read books about topics like cancer/death, but this one is such a wonderfully crafted story about siblings I loved this story. Sammy and Cal have the most realistic brother relationship I’ve read in a book in a while. Everything about it rings so true.  Cal says it, that he loved his brother, didn’t wish any harm to him, but he sure could be a pain in the rear at times. Okay – most of the time. Close to the end of the book, there are a few cuss words (s*** and d***) in an acceptable scenario, but just know that they’re there. This is a fabulous debut from Lyttle, and I really hope to read more from him. This is a definite must read.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Creative Kid Thursday! Monster Realm Stories by Nara Duffie

7 Jul

Hello Readers! Today Creative Kid Thursday is featuring Nara Duffie, a 13-year-old who wrote her first book when she was 10, and her second book when she was 12. Here are my reviews!

nara1The Monster Realm

Series: Monster Realm Stories Book 1

Written by Nara Duffie

Illustrated by Elisabeth Alba

272 pages – ages 8+

Published by Roam & Ramble by April 2, 2014

Synopsis from Amazon – “Medusa aimed her poisoned arrow right at Lillian …

Lillian always loved stories about myths and monsters–until she found herself inside one, fighting for her life!

Joined by her best friends, Katy and Maisy, Lillian must cross a sea guarded by Krakens and sirens, race through a dark forest haunted by elves and chimeras, and cross mountains ruled by griffins and rocs.

Where in this world is Lillian’s sister? Who is the mysterious boy with the stone medallion? Why do the monsters hold an ancient grudge against humanity? And what is the secret hiding at the heart of it all?”

What I Thought- This was really good! Nara has written a great debut book that kids will enjoy reading! The story did seem a little abrupt at times, as in the flow was a little choppy. Honestly, that didn’t really bother me so much, mostly because it was only a small thing on a wonderful first book. The setting she creates is perfect for the plot, and really brings the story to life. Lillian is a good main character, who must come to terms with what her sister is doing. Her two friends bring comic relief, while you also feel empathy for what they’re going through. The descriptions throughout the book really paint the picture for the adventure, just as well as Ms. Alba’s illustrated map in the beginning.

nara2The Three Worlds

Series: Monster Realm Stories Book 2

Written by Nara Duffie

Illustrated by Elisabeth Alba

382 pages – ages 8+

Published by Roam & Ramble by March 16, 2016

Synopsis from Amazon- “Lillian and her best friends, Katy and Maisy, barely survived their first adventure in the Monster Realm. Now they have only days to stop a war between the worlds, a war in which the mythical creatures of Lanodeka plan to reclaim the earth as their own.

But this time, the girls have to face more than dragons and griffins, sirens and elves, rocs and harpies. They discover the real power behind the war, a power that is using the Creation Stone to build an army unlike anything they could have imagined. Worlds are about to change.”

What I Thought- This book was even better than book one! You could see the growth as Nara as a writer from the first to the second. The characters are well-rounded and thought-out by this point, and we see them change in their mentality as the story goes on, most notable in Katy, who has become less of a girly-girl (although she’s still not a tomboy). Ms. Alba’s map is extended in this book, now taking up two pages – it looks pretty cool, and puts things into perspective. Nara has written an enjoyable conclusion to the Monster Realm series, leaving you feeling content and happy.

I give both of these books five out of five bookworms!


To learn more about the books and Nara, go HERE!

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