Posted in Adventure, Book Review

The Golden Tower (Book 5 – Magisterium series)

Review:

The Golden Tower - Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

Audience: Middle Grade

For the first time in Call’s life, the house he had grown up in looked small.

– first sentence

I’ve missed the Magisterium; I didn’t realize how much until I started reading this book. It has been a while, so I went to the Book Series Recaps website and read the summaries of the first four books. Call and his friends have been through a lot in the past 4 years, and the final year of magic school isn’t any easier, in fact, it may be the toughest year yet.

Call is full of doubt and flaws; he wants to be good, but he has reason to doubt who he is at his very core. He questions his actions and decisions constantly, but his intentions are always good. He wants to protect his friends and the school, he wants the girl to like him, he wants to please his father and impress his teachers. He insists he isn’t a hero, he is just left with no choice. But he never runs from danger, in fact, he seems to find it more than most.

In this final year at school, Call isn’t the only one who doubts his intentions. Most of the other students fear and resent him and his connection to the Enemy of Death. Many of his friends aren’t exactly his friends anymore. He feels alone, except for the voice in his head that is (I won’t explain this because I don’t want to spoil it).

This book is fantastic. My only complaint is that this is the final book in the series. I keep hoping the story might continue when Call and his friends go to the Collegium, but the summary refers to this as “the monumental conclusion to the Magisterium series,” so it seems like I’m out of luck.

I highly recommend this book (and the series) especially to grades 4-8.

Original post:

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Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Defy the Stars

Review:

Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray

Audience: Young Adult

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

– Amazon

Noemi is a soldier of Genesis. Abel is a mech prototype. Noemi is filled with hatred and prejudice for Earth and mechs. Abel is designed to be more than just a mech. They come from opposite worlds with opposite points of view. They will learn from each other and together become more than they ever were apart.

The is an epic story with rebels, space battles, prison breaks, and last-minute rescues. The themes include loyalty, love, environmental destruction, and what it means to be alive.

I was captivated by the story and the narration was excellent. I often listened late into the night because I couldn’t put it down.

Recommended to: Fans of The Lunar Chronicles and epic sci-fi adventure stories.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Audiobook, Book Review, Grades 3-5, Sci-Fi, Sunshine State 2018-19

Code Name Flood – audiobook

Review: owlowlowlowl

Code Name Flood - Laura Martin

This was a bad idea.

– First sentence

I loved the first book so much and the cliffhanger ending got me, so I jumped directly into this when I finished The Ark Plan. The change in narrator was a bit jarring because I was accustomed to the way the characters “spoke” in the first book, but the story is just as good, if not better.

Sky, Shawn, and Todd continue their journey to solve the mysteries of the topside world and the Noah. Why is the military so set on catching them and will Sky be able to complete her dad’s mission? Oh and don’t forget all the deadly dinosaurs.

I thought one character was going to be traitorous, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. (In an adult book, I might have been right.) Any kid who liked The Ark Plan will be thrilled with this sequel. The audio is a delightful way to experience the thrills and adventure of this fantastic story.

Recommended to: Grades 4 and up – fans of sci-fi, adventure, dinosaurs, and kids saving the day.

 

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Grades 3-5, Sci-Fi, Sunshine State 2018-19

The Ark Plan – audiobook

Review: owlowlowlowl

The Ark Plan: Edge of Extinction #1 - HarperAudio, Emma Galvin, Laura Martin

 

I needed two minutes.

– first sentence

Imagine a world where dinosaurs freely roam the surface and people are forced to live underground. This is Jurassic Park gone wild – dinosaurs were cloned 150 years ago and kept in zoos and on farms. Needless to say, things got out of hand. Sky Mundy lived underground her entire life and now that she found a clue to her father’s disappearance, she must venture to the topside world to find answers.

The story follows Sky’s journey and is filled with thrilling action, life-threatening situations, and heroic characters. The plot moves quickly with twists and a cliff-hanger ending. Make sure you have the second book ready for your young reader.

The narrator did an excellent job – I highly recommend the audio version. I borrowed it using the Hoopla app through my public library.

Recommended to: Grades 4 and up – fans of sci-fi, adventure, strong female characters, and of course, dinosaurs.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Grades 3-5, Realistic Fiction, Sunshine State 2018-19

Overboard (Survivor Diaries) by Terry Lynn Johnson

Review: owlowlowl

“Tell me how you survived the whale attack,” the reporter said.

– opening lines

Could you survive if the whale watching boat you were on capsized and you were left floating in the cold ocean? Travis and Marina are in just such a situation. Luckily, Travis is wearing an immersion suit, and Mariana has survival supplies in her vest (and a lot of knowledge). All they have to do is stay out of the water, find land, and get rescued. Simple, right?

So, this is a good book, but the plot is a little thin. Things resolve a bit too easily for me, but I don’t think kids will mind. At the end of the book, there is a section with “U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Cold Water Survival Tips” which kids will probably find very cool and informative.

It’s about 100 pages, easy to read and about survival, kids will love it.

Recommended to: Grades 3-5 (and some second graders), fans of the I Survived series, adventure fans, reluctant readers

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Grades 6-8, Sunshine State 2018-19

The Eureka Key by Sarah L. Thomson

Review:

owlowlowlowl

Sam’s eyes were on the clock: 9:54.

– opening line

In this series, Sam and Martina use their brains and skills to solve puzzles that will help find an invention that could save or destroy our nation. After winning a contest, they are on a trip across the country, but it quickly turns into something far more important and dangerous. The founding fathers left clues to seven “keys” that will unlock Benjamin Franklin’s greatest invention, but, sinister forces are also searching for the keys. Sam and Martina get along like oil and water, but they must learn to work together to solve the difficult puzzles and avoid booby traps to find the keys first.

In this book (the first in the series), Sam and Martina are looking for Ben Franklin’s key. Throughout the book, we learn different facts about Franklin (thanks to Martina’s vast knowledge). Most of the story takes place underground as the kids evade the bad guys and try to survive the dangerous puzzles/traps. The keys are vitally important and failing to solve the puzzles could lead to death. Sam and Martina didn’t sign up for this, but they are determined to find the keys and thwart the bad guys.

This is a fun adventure/mystery story. Kids who enjoy solving puzzles or have an interest in history will love this book. There are three books in the series so far, but I’m assuming there will eventually be seven (for the seven keys). The keys are not all literal keys like Ben Franklin’s key – each one relates to the founding father who hid it. The second book to Thomas Jefferson’s Eagle’s Quill, and the third to Alexander Hamilton’s Ring of Honor.

Recommended to: Ages 9-13, fans of history and adventure stories.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Audiobook, Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8, Sunshine State 2018-19

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst

Review:

owlowlowlowlowl half

The dreamer controls the dream.

Imagine having a friendly monster as your best friend and protector. Sophie’s parents own a dream shop in the basement of their bookstore where they secretly sell liquid dreams. Sophie’s best (and only) friend is a cupcake-loving monster named Monster, who she once pulled out of a dream. Monster is a bit sarcastic and a lot overprotective, but he would do anything for Sophie. Then, Mr. Nightmare arrives, the shop is robbed, and Sophie’s parents go missing. With the help of Monster, some new friends, and some fierce, but friendly creatures, Sophie just might be able to find and save her parents.

This is an enchanting and quirky story that reminds us it’s okay to be different. And our most courageous friends may look all fluffy and cute on the outside, but they have fierce hearts.

I listened to the audio and the narrator was excellent. I loved the voice she used for Monster. I highly recommend the book and the audio.

Recommended to: Ages 9-13, fans of fantasy and adventure stories.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Sunshine State 2018-19

Forest of Wonders by Linda Sue Park

Review:

owlowlowlowl

This is an enchanting adventure that kids are sure to love. There is magic, talking animals, danger, friendship, and by the end Raffa realizes that choices (and people) are not always what they seem to be. The plot is unresolved at the end (which makes sense because this is a trilogy), but all three books are already released so it’s easy to continue with Raffa’s adventure.

Highly recommended to students in grades 4 and up, fans of fantasy, magic, and adventure.

I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job.

 

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Adventure, Audiobook

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

Review:

owlowlowlowl

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan. Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. He wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He’ll do anything to be that sun. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever. Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. Peter Lies.

What if you heard the story from another character’s point of view? Would it change who you thought of as the hero??

If the story was anything like this, then I would say yes. This is the true story of Captain Hook. In this version, Peter is a trickster with no conscience who only cares about staying young, having fun, and getting what he wants. Before he became Captain Hook, Jamie was a strong, determined young boy, even though he was more than a bit naive.

Peter brought Jamie to the island so they could stay young forever, together. And no one had better stand in the way of Peter getting his way. Is Peter magic? Is it the island? And what will happen when Jamie finally figures out the truth?

OK, so we all know the end, but we don’t know how they get there. And that is where this story hooks you.

It is bloody, violent, sad, chilling, and even sentimental at times. I loved the narration. Samuel Roukin (British accent and all) set the scene and had me immersed in the world of the lost boys.

Highly recommended – if you don’t mind violence. The concept of “never growing up” isn’t as appealing as it once was…

It’s not such a wonderful thing

To be young.

It’s heartless and selfish.

– Jamie

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8, Sunshine State 17-18

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Review:

owlowlowlowl

 

Yes. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.

– Opening lines

 Magical babies are dangerous babies, Glerk tried to remind himself, day after day. When he wasn’t cradling Luna. Or singing to Luna. Or whispering poetry into her ear as she slept.

-Chapter 5

A story can tell the truth, she knew, but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed.

– Chapter 38

Knowledge is powerful, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.

– Chapter 38

The village has always known about the witch, and about the sacrifice. Once a year, the Council of Elders takes the youngest baby and leaves it in the woods to appease the witch. But… the witch (Xan) has no idea why they leave the baby, so she takes it to the village across the forest and gives it to a loving home. Except for Luna… The witch accidentally feeds Luna moonlight (instead of the starlight she usually feeds the babies). The moonlight makes Luna magical. Luna grows up with Xan, Glerk (the swamp monster), and Fyrian (a Perfectly Tiny Dragon who thinks he is a Simply Enormous Dragon).

With characters like Xan, Glerk, Fyrian, and Luna, how could this story fail? The characters are amazing and the world is magical. People have been recommending this book to me all year, but I kept putting it off. I don’t know why, but the cover just didn’t appeal to me. Once I started reading it, I loved it.

Recommended to: Grades 5 & up. Fans of magical stories or fairy tales.

 

Original post:
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