Showing posts with label Middle Grade books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Middle Grade books. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review of Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only
copy of his mysterious new game.
Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold's new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.

This book was a lot of fun to read. I sympathized with the main character but I also thought she was a little too self-centered. She's so focused on herself that she doesn't know what it means to be a good friend. I suppose that's typical for girls this age.
The whole idea behind this book is fun and unique, bound to get kids excited about reading.
Included with the book is a website that explains the idea and how your family can participate. It's like geo-caching, only with books. It's an adventure, a treasure hunt and lots of intriguing fun.
My grandkids always get bored after the first week of summer. Little do they know what Grandma has planned.
I hope to keep it going all summer long.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Amy reviews Mom made Us Write This

Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer by Ali Maier

Genre:   Fiction
Content: Clean
Publisher:  Erie Island Media; 1st edition
Release date:  October 2013
Number of Pages: 208

Book Summary:
A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh.

This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share!

Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life - a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”
Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a journal-style book that inspires kids to read and write, and captures the essence of sibling relationships. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience this summer! From a trip to the zoo to the annual check-up at the docs – read all about the life adventures of Maggie & Max.

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is recommended for 2nd – 6th grade students.

Parents, kids, and teachers will love this book. Parents will welcome the emphasis on strong family relationships. Teachers will appreciate the classroom extension opportunities. Kids will enjoy the laughs, lessons and the “me too!” connection.

“Positive, creative and fun for classrooms and families!”
-Mrs. Jane Jagielo, 4th Grade Teacher

My opinion:

I had fun reading this book, I think kids would REALLY enjoy this one.  It is journal entries written by ten year old twins, they have fun sharing their opinions and teasing each other.  It is cute and clever the way it was done.  I did have a hard time believing that it could be written by ten year olds though.  I have a nine year old and an eleven year old and it just doesn't fit.  Their sense of humors are too mature, and their ability to express themselves with clear, coherent, and entertaining ideas is also too developed.  I really did enjoy it, and I think the idea of it is very fun.  My only complaint was that it didn't seem realistic.  But maybe that's why it would be best for kids! 
Rating: ****

 Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Ali Maier

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Book Review--The Ember Gods by Andrea Pearson

The Ember Gods by Andrea Pearson 
Book #2 in The Key of Kilenya Series

At the end of book one, fourteen-year-old Jacob Clark returns from Eklaron. He frustrated the evil plans of the Lorkin and returns the Key of Kilenya to its rightful owners, but for some reason, the key only works for Jacob.

When he escaped the Lorkin, he had to leave his friend, Aloren behind in order to save another friend, Akeno, who is seriously wounded. Jacob is haunted by this decision and vows to return for Aloren.

The Ember Gods begins with the beginning of a new school year for Jacob. He now has to balance the demands of high school, trying out for the basketball team, friends and family, and the responsibility he feels to the Makalo and the world of Eklaron being pulled between both worlds.

Jacob learns patience and obedience the hard way (don't we all?), and learns the consequences of not listening to the adults who care for him, and his inner voice. If he had listened he not only would've saved himself and his brother, Matt some severe consequences, but he would've had more information and more protection that would've made his mission go much easier. Isn't that what we all do? We strain against obedience only to find out our lives didn't have to be so difficult if we'd have only listened. Jacob learns more about himself and his new-found abilities and learns to trust the wisdom of others.

There are several things I liked about this book: first, I really liked the development of the relationship between Jacob and his older brother, and I look forward to finding out more. Second, I enjoyed the pacing of this book more than the first. I was able to keep up with the new information. Third, there are a couple of surprises that made total sense and explained some of my questions from book one, while leaving a couple of questions for book three, August Fortress, to answer. Fourth, the action is never-ending in both worlds. Fifth, the journal entries become everything. I wonder if Mr. Coolidge turns out to be a problem in book three. He knows too much.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars for a fun read and life lessons taught. I'm looking forward to August Fortress.

Andrea Pearson
To purchase on Smashwords:

To learn more about the author:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Book Review--The Key of Kilenya by Andrea Pearson

The Key of Kilenya by Andrea Pearson      YA Fantasy

First off, I love the book cover. I've always had a fascination for keys, especially antique keys. I have a collection, so that all by itself grabbed my attention.

Second, I enjoyed the journal entries--a very unique way of providing the back story. I found myself caring as much about the characters in the journal entires as I did for the main characters.

Third, the action begins from about page two and never lets up. In fact, I had a hard time keeping up. I felt a lot like the main character, learning on the run.

When two of the largest, and darkest of wolves chase fourteen-year-old Jacob Clark into the forest behind his home, he leaves this world and enters the forest of another world.

With vivid descriptions, the author paints a new world of sights, sounds, smells and lots of new terrors. Jacob learns of new races of beings, and creatures, and the properties of this world while being hunted, or is he being driven?

He has to learn quickly of his own abilities--abilities he never knew he had. He has to reach deep within himself and push himself harder than he ever has before. He learns to care for others and he has to make hard choices.

The end of the book leaves some unanswered questions as the adventure continues in the next book of the series. I was a little surprised by the reaction of Jacob's parents. If he were my son, I wouldn't have taken that information so lightly.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

It's FREE! Want to know where to get it?

To learn more about Andrea, click here:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Book Review--The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl is adapted from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. It is the first of four books in the Bayern series.

Shannon Hale does an extraordinary job of fleshing out the details of this story. It is also a good study of how to write a novel. The characters are well developed and they grow as the conflict intensifies.

It is a coming of age tale centered around the Princess of Kildenree. Her official name and title is the Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee. Her nickname is Ani.

Ani is timid and unsure of herself, living in her mother's shadow. She doubts her own gifts, and, in fact, is not aware of all of her gifts.

After her beloved father, the King, dies, she is forced into a marriage of alliance with the Crown Prince of Bayern, a full forest away from Kildenree.

On her journey through the forest to Bayern, Ani meekly puts up with the mutiny of her best friend and maid-in-waiting, Selia, along with most of the guards. Ani is forced to trade places with Selia and she is afraid to fight back.

As the story progresses, the conflict increases. With the help of her new, forest friends (people born in the forest are considered second class citizens in Bayern), she manages to hide her true identity and escape from Selia's clutches.

Ani learned animal-speak at home. She develops her innate ability to wind-speak. She falls in love with one of the royal guard. By the end of the story she becomes assertive and is able to do what needs to be done to save both kingdoms from war and expose Selia for the traitor she is. I won't spoil all of the surprises.

It is very well written and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

In the original Brothers Grimm version, the King tricks the false princess into naming her own punishment for betrayal. The false princess decides on a particularly cruel and brutal sentence. The King reveals her betrayal and her own-named punishment is carried out.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday Book Review--The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

I'm fairly certain that most, if not all, fans of Harry Potter have read The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by J.K. Rowling.

I was absolutely wonder-struck by the imagination that went into this wee little book, translated from the ancient runes by Hermione Granger, with commentary by Professor Albus Dumbledore, and footnotes by J.K. Rowling.

These tales seem more graphic than Muggle fairy tales, but if you knew what I know about some of our traditional fairy tales and nursery rhymes, you would understand how truly graphic (and violent) they are, and how similar they are to Wizarding tales.

I'm always amazed when authors construct worlds so complete that they come with thousands of years of ancient history, like The Lord of the Ring series; and to be able to conjure five stories that teach values to any world and provide academic commentary in the voice of one of her characters is beyond magic. The reality and continuity of the Wizarding world remains intact.

I remember when word about this book came out, aside from dreaming about owning one of the leather-bound specials (that I could never afford), my first instinct was to find a way to somehow read the stories themselves. I read the review written by Amazon and wished I had been lucky enough to peruse those pages. A year or two later, Muggles everywhere were able to read, at last, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.