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.
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.
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.
Some secrets are small — the size of a battery, or a button, or a scrap of paper. Other secrets are so big they can bury a man alive, or tear apart a family … or even destroy the world. Omega City was both.
Gillian’s dad is a historian who specializes in Cold War conspiracies and wrote a book about Aloysius Underberg, a brilliant Cold War engineer. But Dr. Underberg is missing and Gillian’s dad has been discredited. When Gillian is faced with an opportunity to solve Underberg’s greatest mystery and prove her dad right, she can’t resist. She enlists the help of her brother Eric, best friend Savannah, a NASA obsessed boy from school (Howard), and Howard’s brother Nate. Others are searching for Underberg’s secrets too, and they will stop at nothing to get them first.
This is an adventurous mystery with a strong female protagonist. Gillian’s team faces life-threatening situations, including nerve gas in an elevator, goons with guns, and scuba diving in unknown waters. I think middle-grade readers will enjoy this thrilling adventure. (for fans of Luck Uglies or City of Ember). Grades 5-8
The enemy fighter jets surged past Neil Andertol, soaring over desolate, sandy terrain.
So, another 6-8 grade Sunshine State nominated book. I wasn’t planning on reading this one because I didn’t think I would like it. That’s what I get for judging a book by its cover. Anyway, one of the 4th-grade students was really enjoying it and she asked me to read it with her. It’s actually pretty good and I can’t wait to talk to her about it tomorrow. Though I finished it and she is probably around halfway through.
Neil loves video games, like most 13-year old boys these days. He especially enjoys one called Chameleon. Chameleon, it turns out is a training tool used by the Air Force to teach pilots to fly an actual plane called the Chameleon that is capable of seeming invisible. Neil and a bunch of other kids get recruited by the Air Force to find a lost plane and save the day. I know, I know. Big suspension of disbelief here, but kids love that sort of thing.
Anyway, Neil ends up meeting a few people in real life that he only previously knew online. So, there are expected surprises there. And the kids make a couple of decisions that mess up something that Major Jones had planned, resulting in more unlikely situations. At least the kids don’t make some half-assed decision based on their guts and end up being right over the Major who is an adult and should know better than them.
This is a fast-moving story that kids will devour. And now that there are 3 books in the series, it will keep the kids reading.
Good for 4th – 8th graders who enjoy video games, strong female characters, soldiers, edge of your seat adventures… it has something for everyone.
Book 2: The Inquisitor’s Mark, by Diane K. Salerni
Book 3: The Morrigan’s Curse, by Diane K. Salerni
I loved this series. Unknown to “normals,” there is an eighth day between Wednesday and Thursday called Grunsday. The people that know about this day are descended from King Arthur, Merlin and others from that time. Some of them are “transitioners” who are able to live in normal days as well as Grunsday. Some are “kin” and are stuck only living on Grunsday. Merlin created the eighth day to trap the kin and Merlin’s descendants are the ones keeping the magic of Grunsday alive. There are only two descendants of Merlin left and everyone wants to protect or control them.
That’s the idea, without giving too much away. Basically, if you like fantasy or adventure, read this series. I loved it!!
When Una Fairchild stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, she thinks nothing of opening the cover and diving in. But instead of paging through a regular novel, Una suddenly finds herself Written In to the land of Story — a world filled with Heroes and Villains and fairy tale characters.
But not everything in Story is as magical as it seems. Una must figure out why she has been Written In – and fast – before anyone else discovers her secret. Together with her new friend Peter and a talking cat named Sam, Una digs deep into Story’s shadowy past. She quickly realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never could have imagined — and it might be up to her to save it.
Fabulous story, great characters – loved this!! Una is a terrific example of a strong female heroine.
Una finds an old book with the title: The Tale of Una Fairchild. She starts to read and next thing she knows, she is in the middle of the story. She is actually in the middle of an exam for students studying to be characters in a fairy tale. She meets Peter who is the hero-in-training and Snow, the Lady he is rescuing. Peter figures out Una has been Written In, which hasn’t happened since the Muses were defeated. But, why is Una here now and who wrote her in?? And what really happened to the Muses?
This story is full of adventure and excitement and twists and turns. If you like fairy tales or twists on fairy tales, this book is for you. It reminded me a bit of The Accidental Hero, which I loved too.
Grades 6 and up; anyone who likes fairy tales or fractured fairy tales!