Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

Court of Thorns & Roses – audio

AGE: Young Adult

Review:

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas, Jennifer Ikeda

The forest had become a labrynith of snow and ice.

first sentence

Feyre is a nineteen-year-old girl who supports her family by hunting. When she kills a wolf, she violates a centuries-old treaty. As punishment, she must live with Tamlin, a powerful, immortal faerie in the land of Prythian. Feyre goes from hating Tamlin to falling in love with him, but there is a darkness over the land and Feyre may be their only hope.

This is a robust story with unexpected twists and turns. Feyre taught herself how to hunt in order to keep her family alive. She is a powerful girl and definitely not a typical fairy tale heroine – who needs a strong male to save her. I loved Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, and even Rhys and I hated Amarantha and her evil court. I loved the derisive tone the narrator gave to Feyre’s thoughts about certain characters and the emotion she infused into the story.

The end of this book was fabulous and I immediately started listening to book 2 (thank goodness for audible credits). The narrator did an excellent job, and I hope she continues with the next two books.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Graphic Novel

Review:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel - Cassandra Jean, Ransom Riggs

Love this graphic novel version of Peculiar Children – the story, the illustrations, the way it’s black & white in the “normal” world and turns to color in the “loop”. If you liked the original, you will surely enjoy this one. It even includes black & white photos found in the original book.

 

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

Lemons – audiobook

owlowlowl

Lemons - Melissa Savage

Bigfoot.

It’s the very first thing I see when we pull into town.

opening lines

This is a charming story about a feisty 9 year-old girl (Lemonade Liberty Witt) who is forced to uproot her life to live with her grandfather (who she never even met) when her mom passes away. Willow Creek is the Bigfoot Capital of the world and Lem’s neighbor, 11-year old Tobin Sky, is the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. Together, Lem and Tobin follow Bigfoot leads and try to capture him on film.

This is a realistic story set in the 1970’s that deals with some pretty serious issues surrounding grief and loss. Lem is grieving the loss of her mother and Tobin is dealing with his father’s disappearance after coming back from Vietnam. Tobin and Lem are cute together and their interactions bring humor to what is a pretty serious theme. The additional plot line with Tobin’s father is a little overwhelming and his issues with PTSD may be hard for children to understand. The end of the book is a bit surprising considering how realistic the rest of the book is, but overall this is a touching story of friendship, loss, and dealing with grief.

Recommended to: Grades 4-6, fans of realistic fiction who can deal with a bit of sadness

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Grades 3-5, Sci-Fi, Sunshine State 17-18

The Wild Robot Escapes

Review: owlowlowl

The Wild Robot Escapes - Peter Brown

 

Our story begins in a city, with buildings and streets and bridges and parks.

– First sentence

At the end of the first book, Roz is taken away from her island home and brought back to the factory. She is reactivated at Hilltop farm to work for the Shreef family. As much as she enjoys her new home (kids, cows, etc.), Roz misses Brightbill and all her friends on the island. Will she be able to keep her secret? And will she ever make it back to her island home?

This is a great follow up and just as quirky and fun as the first one. I read this to my book club at school. The kids liked the first book better, but they did enjoy this one. It took a while to get going, but the end is worth it.

Recommended to: 3rd-5th graders who like quirky stories with talking animals

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Book Review, Horror

A Terrifying Twist on the zombie genre

Review:

Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel - Jonathan Maberry Fall of Night - Jonathan Maberry Dark of Night - Flesh and Fire (Journalstone's Doubledown) - Lucas Mangum, Rachael Lavin, Jonathan Maberry

 

This is how the world ends.

 – First sentence

 

Wow. Reading Dead of Night blew my mind. Imagine being trapped inside your brain, having no control over your actions, but feeling and experiencing everything. Oh, and your body is a zombie, eating people. The people trapped inside zombie bodies just wanted to die and escape the horror. Maberry captured their thoughts and feelings perfectly.

A scientist creates a formula that mimics death, with the purpose of punishing serial killers in the worst possible way. He plans to inject the formula during the execution process and bury the body in an unmarked grave. When the killer’s consciousness revives, they are unable to move, forced to experience the pain of decomposition, and the torture of being buried partially alive. Of course, things don’t go as planned and the world gradually goes to hell.

I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Maberry’s work since I read Rot & Ruin several years ago. The events in the Dead of Night series take place years before that, in the same world. He is an amazing writer. I’m looking forward to reading more by him.

Overall the series was fantastic. Dead of Night (book 1) was my favorite, followed by Fall of Night (#2), and then Dark of Night (#3). Dark of Night was very short, but I enjoyed seeing characters from other series in that one.

It was funny seeing the characters watching dead people reanimate and not believing their eyes. Or, seeing the zombies taking bites out of people and then watching others trying to reason with them. Zombies are so prevalent in our entertainment that I felt much more knowledgable on the subject than the characters in the books. How did they not realize what was happening and how did it get so out of control? The characters also wrestle with moral issues – is it ethical to destroy a town full of innocent people in order to prevent an apocalypse?

Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…?

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Grades 6-8, Horror, Middle Grade, Sunshine State 2018-19

Curse of the Boggin – audiobook

owlowlowlowl

This is book one in The Library series, about a magical library that helps spirits whose stories have been disrupted by supernatural events.  After Marcus finds the key that opens the door to the library, he is confronted by a creepy old lady who demands that he “Surrender the key.” Along with his friends, Lu and Theo, Marcus must fight an ancient enemy and protect the library.

I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job. The forward gave interesting information about the author and the other books in this series, complete with creepy laugh. The only slightly annoying part was when the narrator read for the librarian who has a Scottish accent. It was a bit distracting.

While this book was much shorter than what I’m used to, the length is perfect for young readers. I was a bit disappointed when it ended so soon. Middle-grade readers will want more of this scary, thrilling adventure. Some may find they want to leave the lights on after reading, but the story is worth it.

This book has also been released as Surrender the Key. There is one more book in the series so far (Black Moon Rising), and book 3, The Oracle of Doom, will be released in October of this year. After reading this book, I am interested in checking out other series by this author including The Pendragon series, and The Morpheus Road series.

Has anyone out there read either of those or something else by MacHale?

Recommended to: Readers in grades 5-8 who are looking for a scary adventure series.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Horror

I Know What You Did Last Summer – audiobook

Review:

I wasn’t a fan of this book at all. I didn’t expect much to start with, I was just curious because I’ve seen the movie. Anyway, the voices the narrator did for certain characters were annoying. The characters themselves were flat and shallow and I didn’t like any of them or care if (when) they died. There was very little to the plot and it ended too suddenly.

My suggestion – watch the movie instead (but don’t expect more than a teenage slasher movie). 🍿

 

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Young Adult

The Darkest Corners – audiobook

Review:

At nine years old, Tessa and Callie were the prime witnesses in the trial of a serial killer (the Ohio River Monster). Now a teenager, Tessa returns to her hometown to confront her past and find out the truth.

This book was just okay for me. I didn’t care for any of the characters and I didn’t enjoy the narration. The main plot was okay, but the end felt contrived and unbelievable. The subplot involving Tessa’s mother and sister was unnecessary and distracting.

Bottom line: Take out the subplot, make the characters a bit likable or relatable, and this story would be better. As it is, there are better thrillers to spend your time on.

 

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.

 

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