Latest Entries »

horten2Summary:  Stuart Horten stumbles upon a an old treasure hunt originally intended for his father.  With the help of April, one of his next-door neighbors and a triplet, he searches for old clues in unusual places.  The end result is satisfying and slightly mystical.

Rachel:  This book is a page-turner.  I was up till 10:00 pm reading it.  I encourage everyone to read it.  My favorite part was definitely when he snuck into the museum at night.

Mom:  This book reminded me of The Mysterious Benedict Society, but the puzzles were easier, making it appropriate for younger readers.  That’s not to say that older readers wouldn’t enjoy it too!  Very clean and appropriate, with nothing too scary.

 

Advertisements

ascendance 1 asendance 2

Synopsis:  In the kingdom of Carthya, a royal prince is missing.  A fiendish plot finds the royal family dead (although no one knows it yet) and four pretenders trying for the crown.  Full of twists and turns that leave the reader learning secrets as fast as the characters, this is a great plot with a lot of action and intrigue.  In the second book, the character who becomes king must save his country from the pirates in a most unusual way.

Ben:  This book had me looking back several times because the main character revealed things I hadn’t noticed earlier.  The plot was good and very engaging with a twist at the end.  At the very end you get the “wait, what!” factor that makes you read the whole book again.

Mom:  I love a good action plot that is clean and focuses on great writing, not shock value.  This book really makes you think about the plot and how you could have missed certain things.  I love the way that the main character, Sage, hides his thoughts from the reader and almost from himself, so you have to reconstruct your perspective several times.  Clever and engaging!

cjj not readingcjj extra credit

Synposis:  Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading and Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit, by Tommy Greenwald, report the hilarious adventures of Charlie, who will stop at nothing to avoid reading a book or studying to get good grades.  Charlie is in middle school, with all the usual social pressures and parental problems.  But he creates more trouble for himself by refusing to do any actual work.  The chapters are short, the lists of tips are really funny and this is an easy read.

Ben:  An awesome book- perfect for the reluctant reader.  This book is funny because of so many different reasons.  Also, it feels pretty real with all the same things that happen in middle school.  Just try reading only 5 pages-it won’t work.  You have to read the whole thing.

Mom:  Usually this type of  book feels fake to me, but I thought Greenwald perfectly captured how it feels to be a tween boy.  I laughed out loud more than once.  There is a lot here to appeal to reluctant readers.  I found nothing inappropriate, although some of the situations were uncomfortably real.  Hand this book to any middle-school boy you know!  (The girls will love it too!)

theo-staff Summary:  We reviewed Theodosia and The Serpents of Chaos earlier and we finally got our hands on the latest three books:  Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, and Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh.  Theodosia is a nineteenth century British girl who can see Egyptian curses and knows how to remove them.  Luckily, her parents are archeologists who are in charge of a museum.  Theodosia has all sorts of adventures involving such groups as the Serpents of Chaos, the Order of the Black Sun and the Eyes of Horus, as well as unlikely friendships made in England and Egypt.

theo-horusBen:A very good series to read.  Theodosia’s slightly rebellious attitude mixed with her frustration at others makes her a character easy to like.  I was happy with this series.

Rachel:  This series is one of the best I’ve read.  I love these kinds of books.  And considering that I’m a girl and I like history, it was even better for me.  I encourage those who are girls and like history to read these books.

theo-pharaoh
Mom:  I really enjoyed these books!  I love to read about Egyptian mythology, but I also really love plucky female heroines.  A lot of Theodosia’s family issues are brought out and examined, and somewhat resolved, although I think there is material there for another book.  The second book, like the first, has one swear word.  The other two didn’t have anything inappropriate.

wings of fire wings of fire2

Wings of Fire:  The Dragonet Prophecy (Book One) and Wings of Fire:  The Lost Heir (Book Two)

Synopsis:  Wings of Fire is a fantasy novel in a world populated by dragons.  Humans play a minor role as scavengers, but dragons rule.  Five dragons were prophesied to end the war between the different dragon tribes.  The Talons of Peace work to make that prophecy come true by stealing five dragon eggs and raising the resulting dragonets underground and in secret.  Book one follows the dragonets as they make their escape into the world.  It is written from the perspective of Clay, the mudwing dragonet.  Book two is in the voice of Tsumani, the seawing dragon, who discovers that she is the lost heir of Coral, the seawing queen.

Ben:  One of my favorite series ever!   It was awesome and I loved it.  My favorite part was the fact that it was so different from any other book I read.

Rachel:  I enjoyed this book.  It was one of the best books I ever read.  I read it in an afternoon.  It is a page-turner.  My favorite part is the whole entire book!

Mom:  I didn’t expect to like this series as much as I did.  Ben and Rachel insisted that I read them and I’m glad they did.  They were funny and engaging and the plots had lots of twists and turns.  There was some violence, but nothing graphic.  I think middle-grade and junior high kids would enjoy these books.  The third book in the series comes out in June – we can’t wait.

templeton

Synopsis:  John and Abigail Templeton are 12-year old twins who are smart and inventive, although in different ways.  Their father, a professor and inventor,  runs into a enemy bent on stealing one of his inventions and kidnapping his children.  John and Abigail have other ideas.  The real star of the show, though, is the narrator, who describes himself as wonderful, exciting, fantastic, and amazing.  If you are a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians or Pseudonymous Bosch’s The Name of This Book is Secret, you will love this book.

Matthew:  I really liked this book. My favorite part was definitely the sarcastic narrator who kept the book interesting. It took him three chapters just to get the book started!

Mom:  I haven’t laughed like this in a long time!  My favorite part was the “review” questions at the end of each chapter.  This book was absolutely clever.  It didn’t feel heavy-handed or awkward the way some books written in this style do.  I think it would be very accessible for fourth-grade and up.

InfinityRing-book2-flatcover

Synopsis:  Dak, Sera and Riq are back, but this time they are facing Vikings!  The break in time occurs in the 800’s in Paris, when the French were facing attack from a group of invading Vikings advancing up the River Seine.  Through a series of misadventures, the trio find themselves separated and on opposing sides of the battle.  Sera finds a touch of romance, while Dak explores a real Viking ship.

Matthew:  I really enjoyed this book.  The cool feature that I’ve rarely seen in other books, is that you can download an app to go along with the book.  It is a really cool game.  I enjoyed the app and the book quite a book.  I would highly recommend this series!

Gasp!  Dad read this too!  His comment:  Great story with a lot of action.  It had some surprising twists and turns.  Just when you thought it was over, something unexpected happened.

Mom:  I wasn’t sure how this series would change with a change of author.  I was disappointed with 39 Clues when that happened, but this series continues to have the same standards.  No swear words or inappropriate scenes!  This was a little more violent, but not graphically so.  We are talking about Vikings, after all.  I particularly enjoyed learning more about a time in history that was unfamiliar.  The romance seems a little sudden and a little cheesy, but I don’t think that will bother many young readers.

200px-FairylandbyCatherynneValenteSynopsis:  A girl named September is invited to fairyland by the Green Wind.  She makes friends with a dragon named A-to-L (after a dictionary) and a Marid named Saturday.  Together they journey to the capital of Fairyland to defeat the evil Marquess and September returns home.

Rachel:  This book had an interesting fact about witches for me. It is very interesting at the end when you find out that an evil queen is a good queen.  This book was one of the books that I would say is for a family to read together.  I loved this book!

Ben: I have never read a book that is as weird or as strange as this one.  It doesn’t follow the normal rules for fairy tales but it does have a really good plot and a lot of fun characters and scenes.

Mom:  I loved reading the Oz books as a girl, and this book reminded me of them.  This is some strange and wonderful stuff.  The narrator almost acts a character, which only adds to the fun.  My favorite scene involves the wild velocipedes (old-fashioned bicycles with one huge tire in the front).  Very well written!

Heros-Guide-Galley-Cover1Synopsis:  Do you think you know who Prince Charming is?  Think again!  This book tells the story of four Prince Charmings who inhabit four familiar fairytales – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  Each Prince is his own person with very different personalities and failings and goals.  They ban together after being rejected by their respective princesses to save their kingdoms.  Fate sometimes works in their favor and sometimes  against them, with totally hilarious results.

Ben:  Totally awesome! Made me laugh so hard my family thought I was insane. I could not put this book down.  Such a great twist on the “Prince Charming” stereotype.

Matthew:  I couldn’t put it down. This has to be the best “fairy tale” I’ve ever read. All the characters have funny personalities and back stories that really add to the book.

Mom:  What a delightfully funny book!  Most fairytales only interest girls, but this one immediately caught my boys’ attention.  I laughed out loud a few times!  Everything here was respectful of marriage.  Three princes were not yet married to their princesses; one was married and happy but got really lost.  (You’ll understand when you read the book!)  I highly recommend this book – can’t wait for the sequel.

theodosia-and-the-serpents-of-chaosSynopsis:  Cursed artifacts, German spies, museum traitors, and secret organizations – what’s not to like?  Theodosia is a young British girl who can see the black magic and curses on the objects that her archaeologist parents bring home from their digs in Egypt.  There is a secret plot to destroy the British Empire (and possibly a whole lot more), which Theodosia must overcome using her unique talents.

Rachel:  I think this book is for people who like museums or work in them.  They will also have to like Britain a little in this book.  This book was good.  There is also a series out there too.  My favorite part was when Theodosia talked about the curses she was seeing.

Ben:  Really cool. Kind of boring at the beginning, though.  I had an awesome time reading about headstrong Theodosia.  She always gets her way.  I hope that everyone else will love this book.

Mom:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  There is a wonderful flavor about Theodosia.  She has pluck, spirit, and a sense of adventure, but she is definitely full of common sense.  I must add that there is one swear word on page 274, so use your best judgement there.  Other than that, nothing else is objectionable.  We looked up the name Theodosia on the Social Security website, and it hasn’t been popular for 100 years, if it ever was at all.