Friday, March 30, 2012

Animal Rescue Team:Show Time by Sue Stauffacher

Keisha Carter is a fifth grade girl who is so getting nervous about her upcoming jump rope competition she can’t focus when she practices. Then another problem comes up. Keisha and her family run an animal rescue called Carters’ Urban Rescue. A lady calls them from Mt. Mercy College petitioning them for help with a squirrel problem. The squirrels on campus are damaging the roofs of buildings and obtaining access to the staff offices. While at the college investing the squirrel predicament, Keisha meets Sarge, an Army officer from the wounded veterans’ hospital on campus. Sarge is re-learning how to walk, this time with a prosthetic leg. He got his artificial limb following his leg amputation after being the victim of an IED (improvised explosive device) outside of Kabul. Keisha hopes Sarge’s story and friendship will help her with her jump roping, but she still can’t perfect her routine. Will she overcome her nervousness in time for the competition? How will she solve the squirrel dilemma?

Opinion: This book was written for 9 and 10 year olds, but it was a good read even for me, a 13 year old. I enjoyed the length of the book, which 147 pages even though it was only ten chapters. I was pleased to find that in the back the author included some facts about squirrels and her experiences with them. Though geared towards 10 year olds, I recommend this book for 9 to 13 year olds or anyone who enjoys jumping rope and/or squirrels.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Annandale, Virginia USA

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Out of Xibalba by Liz ColeyChel was just another teenage girl until she traveled back in time to the ancient Mayan civilization of her ancestors. Chel has no idea what to do next. She knows the only thing keeping her alive in this society is the fact that all the locals believe she's the godess Ix Chel. She realizes she was sent back to this time to stop the end of the world and the end of the Mayan civilization. Can she do this and more? Could she possibly find love here?

This book was really, really good. When you're reading this book you feel like you are Chel. You feel her pain, her joy, and her longing for her family. The plot is slippery: it twists and turns and you never can really tell what the plot is until you've finished the book. Then everything makes sense. Some of the customs in this book seemed rather barbaric to me, such as the blood sacrifices, but that was a very big part of Mayan belief, so unless you're squeamish it isn't much of a problem. I'd recommend this book to just about anyone over 13 who likes historical fiction

Chel was just another teenage girl until she traveled back in time to the ancient Mayan civilization of her ancestors. Chel has no idea what to do next. She knows the only thing keeping her alive in this society is the fact that all the locals believe she's the godess Ix Chel. She realizes she was sent back to this time to stop the end of the world and the end of the Mayan civilization. Can she do this and more? Could she possibly find love here?

This book was really, really good. When you're reading this book you feel like you are Chel. You feel her pain, her joy, and her longing for her family. The plot is slippery: it twists and turns and you never can really tell what the plot is until you've finished the book. Then everything makes sense. Some of the customs in this book seemed rather barbaric to me, such as the blood sacrifices, but that was a very big part of Mayan belief, so unless you're squeamish it isn't much of a problem. I'd recommend this book to just about anyone over 13 who likes historical fiction.

There is some innuendo, including actual sex. However, this does come with the territory of the ancient Mayans.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Rockwell City, IA USA

Scandalous! by Hallie Fryd

Scandalous by Hallie Fryd recounts fifty of the most controversial scandals of the 20th century.  The scandals range from the Black Sox scandal to the Rosenberg Trials and from the Kent State Shootings to the Bill Clinton's alleged affair with Monica Lewinski.  Fryd presents each scandal in a newspaper-style format that was common in print media.  Numerous sections examined different details of the case.  Sections include an overview of the case, memorable quotes, the aftermath, its impact in our society today, and other related people or events for those who want future research.  When these sections are put together, they provide the reader a comprehensive understanding of the scandal, and the reader will surely be able to impress his/her friends (as the cover states).

While this book may only be appropriate for its target age group, Scandalous delivers a quality overview of fifty memorable scandals of the 20th century.  I was very impressed with the layout and format of each section.  The numerous short sections for each case make the reading more manageable while also creating more suspense and drama.  However, this book is nothing more than fifty stories.  It is fairly brief, and it may leave readers unaccomplished.  While some readers may be disappointed, this book will spark interest in most readers to do more research on cases, and ultimately, it will provide a significant educational experience to the reader.  Therefore, with the right age group in mind, this book holds a great deal of value.  The cover boasts that you will be able to impress your friends with the knowledge with this book, and I certainly agree with that statement.   

Reviewer Age:22
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Monday, March 26, 2012

Save the Pearls Part One, Revealing Eden

Save the Pearls Part One, Revealing Eden, is about 17 year
old Eden Newman. Eden lives in a world where the the threat
of solar radiation is very real, preventing her from ever
traveling to the Earth's surface. Instead, humans live
underground, seperated with a class system that favors the
dark-skinned Coals over the weak, light-skinned Pearls.
Eden's father is the lead scientist at Resources for
Environmental Adaptation, where he eventually figures out a
way to add animal DNA to that of humans, increasing their
chances of survival. However, a Pearl-hating militia group
soon causes Pearl, her father, and the arrogant Coal
Bramford to flee into the jungle, where Eden must find a way
to save the human race from the sun, and fight her growing
attraction to Bramford.
Revealing Eden was a suspenseful,
fun read, but the characters were not fully developed. I
could not get a hold on exactly who Eden was, as she was
portrayed as both a selfish, naive girl who only wants to
get home to her technology and as a lustful girl who only
wanted to stay with the genetically modified man of her
dreams. Eden was hard to like, because she never seemed to
grasp the enormity of their situation and acts in her own
interests without thinking of how she is going to affect
those around her. The plot was creative and interesting, but
got very repetitive as Eden and Bramford fell for eachother.
There were also many loose ends that were not fully
addressed by the end of the book, but I assume that they
will be covered by additional books. I would recommend
Revealing Eden to teenage readers who are looking for an
interesting, quick read.
I have given this book a content
rating of 2 because of the many lustful thoughts of Eden and
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and
Country: Harleysville, Pennsylvania USA

No Crystal Stair by Yaunda Micheaux Nelson

In No Crystal Stair , you experience a completely different side of the black rights movement. This is a documentary novel and story of Lewis Michaux, a Harlem bookseller. Although in the beginning of the story Lewis never had an intention of becoming a bookseller, his passion of education later on in life is enchanting. Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are only mentioned very briefly during the last parts of this novel because this story shows the development of the civil rights movement from the very early beginnings in the 1920's. If you're looking for a book that's out of the ordinary and about real American history, then you've come across the right book.

I absolutely loved this book. I found everything about it very interesting. I'm not the history type at all, but by reading this book I turned into one. I'd heard everything about Malcolm X and Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr., I'd heard the I Have a Dream speech more than twice and, frankly, I was getting bored of the civil rights part of history. So, I chose this book purely at random from a group that I couldn't decide between and I'm glad I got this one. I got to finally see the other side of the civil rights movement; it was like going back stage at your favorite concert. No matter how little they are interested, I highly recommend this book to any middle or high school history student. 
Some language and intense themes
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan United States

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Sound of Red Returning

The Sound of Red Returning

Ever wish that there was just one Christian

suspense novel out there that you could get your hot

little hands on? Well, your dreams have just come true

with Sue Duffy s new manuscript, The Sound of Red

Returning! Prominent concert pianist Liesl Bower has had

plenty of sorrow and danger in her young life. When she

was a child, her alcoholic father caused the death of her

beloved aunt. Her mentor, Professor Schell Devoe, was

brutally murdered before her eyes. Now, just when her

life was finally returning to normal, just when she was at

the peak of her career, she is again sucked into the

whirlwind of her tutor s demise. The CIA believes that

Mr. Devoe had quite a bit more going on than he disclosed

to Liesl and the rest of the world including him being a

crucial Russian spy that almost had the control to

completely wipe out democracy and set the stage for

communism s rise to power once more. Yet there s a

drawback. The information, secretly coded, was gathered

up in an unsuspecting Leisl s arms as she collected her

numerous sheets of music just before the Professor s

death. Now, the undercover Russian agents are out to get

that code at any price. Currently on the run, Liesl must

do everything she can to survive, and with the help of a

life-roughened CIA agent and a straight-minded old-timer

and his grandson, she just might make it. What Liesl

didn t expect was to lose her heart along the way&&&

Her eyes locked on Ava Mullins, and the last

fifteen years that slippery cushion between her and

Devoe' s murder fell away.

I truly did enjoy this book immensely. It had

suspense, mayhem, comedy, and just a hint of romance that

kept me interested all the way through. I loved how I

could relate to some of the predicaments some of the

characters got themselves into even if I haven t exactly

been chased across the country by demented spies. It had

some soul searching moments, but not enough where it got

to be tiresome to read. The characters in this novel

really complemented the plot all coming from different

backgrounds, different lives, and then being thrown

together by fate s twisted path. This book grabbed me

from the very beginning, and drew me into it, until I read

it from beginning to end. The vocabulary was near

perfection too, enough where it wasn t dry but not so

complicated that I would get utterly lost. One thing I

disliked about this book was that some of the Russian

spies had such difficult names that it took me a while to

sort out who was who and what they were doing. Besides

that one little bump in the road, this book was a

fantastic read.

Ava peered out the window, and Liesl heard her

whisper, God help us all.

I would recommend this book for ages seven and up,

because this book is quite long and some of the story plot

might be hard to understand for younger readers. There is

absolutely no profanity in this book, you have my word as

a gentlewoman. Remember, this book is faith based, with

mentions of the LORD frequently. If this offends you, I d

advise not to read this book.

In the midst of all this terror and trauma, will

Liesl be able to get out of the whirlwind of deceit and

chaos that revolves around the Russian underground alive?

Or will she perish and let the Russians take over all of

Europe? If you want to uncover the answer, read The

Sound of Red Returning by Sue Duffy!

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country:

Leopold, Missouri U.S.A.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Serpent in the Glass by D.M. Andrews

The Serpent in the Glass takes place in the present. It is about a boy named Thomas Farrell, whose father dies and leaves him a glass with a serpent in it and an already paid for education at Darkledun Manor, a school for gifted children.  Thomas doesn't feel very gifted, but goes anyway, and soon finds out that Darkledun Manor is anything but ordinary. While going to this school he will face challenges, along with his sister and friends. The main theme of this story is Thomas trying to find out who he is and how he fits into Darkledun Manor. This book would most likely be in Adventure, and Fantasy.

The Serpent in the Glass really pulled me in. I was dying to know what happens next, so I didn't want to put it down. Also, I felt like I could actually see everything that was going on like watching a movie. The mood of the story felt like a mystery, but also fun. I really liked the main character, Thomas. I really wanted him to find out who he is. Also, I liked his attitude towards everything. It didn't leave me hanging on any character, but it made me want to know if a second book will be made.

I think the author did achieve his purpose. The writing was effective and age appropriate. The strength of this book was how it pulled you into the book. Its weakness was trying to tell if the dreams where connected, some of them were italic, some were not.  It could become a movie, but I'm not good at telling if a book is good enough or not.  I haven't really read anything by D.M Andrews before now, but I am considering finding books written by him. My over all opinion of this book was it is really good and I am hoping there is a part two. The ending was great, it didn't leave me with any questions or confusion. I would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure, fantasy, or even just a bit of action.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Oskaloosa, Iowa U.S.A

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Survivors: Point of Origin by Amanda Havard

Point of Origin is a Paranormal Romance centered on Sadie Matthau and her quest for answers. Sadie, however, is not mortal, nor is her main love interest, Everett. Sadie is what is described as a Survivor, or, to humans, considered a Witch. Everett however, is called a Vieczy-a type of vampire. The pair, accompanied by some of Everett's family, travel across the globe researching more about their questions. Sadie yearns to know more about what she is exactly, how to kill a Survivor, if there are Survivors other than her and those in the Survivor City where she came from, and where they really originated from. However their search causes many problems and leads them to many dead ends and obstacles, both external and internal-including Sadie's struggle on whether she wants to be with her supernatural boyfriend Everett, or her old human flame, Cole, who still pines for her.

When I first began Point of Origin, I was actually a bit disappointed. It seemed that every time something exciting happened, it would get pushed aside and the plot would continue on without much mention of it. However, as the story progressed and I learned more about the situation and the characters, I began to get more involved in the book. I also realized that the past predicaments where pushed to the side for a reason. Each would be brought back at its proper time in order to help complete the plot. By the time the story was brought to its cliff hanger conclusion, I was completely engrossed in the book and anxious to know the answers to Sadie's questions-even those that I had previously thought of as somewhat insignificant to me. Overall, this book was suspenseful and thought provoking, and I will be waiting eagerly for the third installment of The Survivors.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Phillipsburg, New Jersey United States

Rating: 8
Content Rating: 1

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Project Jackalope by Emily Ecton

Project Jackalope is about a boy and a girl who are on the run with a killer jackalope. A government agency named DARPA is after Jeremy who is a distracted boy, and Agatha who is a girl who is always trying to get good grades. These two kids are on the run with a killer bunny that Professor Twitchett, who is a scientist that dumped the jackalope in there hands, to take care of. But after those eyes blinked at Jeremy everything started going wrong. At the end do they get to keep it or have to give it to DARPA? Read the book to find out! 
I think that this book was very interesting. It is a fun and adventourous book. I recomend this book to all readers. It uses a swear word four to five times. I loved this book. 
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tomah, Wisconsin United States of America

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fire Works in the Hamptons by Celia Jerome

The book 'Fire Works in the Hamptons' is the incredible third installment of a series by Celia Jerome. I would describe it as a mix of sci-fi/fantasy, romance, suspense, and magic, all in one extraordinary adventure. The story is written from the point of view of the main character, Willow Tate, who is an author/artist visiting her summer home of Paumanok Harbor, Long Island. The town is home to not only over half a population of psychics, but to a whole range of mysterious rumors that just so happen to be true. Willow is a visualizer, similar to being telepathic, but only with pictures. Somehow or other, she 'summons' magical flaming beetles (or fireflies, as they are referred) that are starting fires all over the town. With the help of an unusually gifted fireman, Willy has to figure out what the fireflies are there for and for a way to get them to leave. Within her stress-filled adventures, she encounters obstacles other than the beetles she feels the need to protect: a flame-crying baby with an abusive father out to get the both of them, a reporter who may not exactly be what he seems, a science teacher who is trying to catch the bugs for 'scientific' purposes, and not to mention the confusing romantic tensions filling the air.

While it took me a little while to actually get around to reading this book (due to a small pile of other books needing to be read first), I really enjoyed it. I was unhappy to learn, after I had already received it in the mail, that it was the third book in a series; however, I was very relieved to see that it was not the type that requires you to read the others beforehand. Though some parts of the storyline refer back to the two previous books, they are nothing too relevant to the plot, and are easily explained without feeling like you've just missed something completely. This book is a very fantastic story with beautiful descriptions that make you feel as though you yourself were witness to the awesome splendor of the 'fireflies' plaguing the town. Overall, it is a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it, along with the rest of the series, to anyone who loves a good fantasy.

The main character, Willow, is relatable to people from the ages of mid-teen to early thirties; she has several issues that I am sure a lot of young women can sympathize with (for instance, her mother constantly nagging at her to settle down with a man and give her grandchildren). I think she is a rather down-to-earth person, even if every psychic in town thinks she is both looney and 'cursed'. She cares a great deal for the dogs that her mother rescues-though she may not always admit it. She says that she can't stand her hometown, but I think she secretly loves it-she just tires of it easily almost immediately after arriving. She claims that she would be a horrible mother, but yet grew so attached to a little baby that she was often referred to as "momma."
Rating:  3  I rated this book 3 because while it does not actually contain any sex, it is implied and talked about. I do not feel that anyone under a certain age should read something like that-I would definitely put this book in the teen section of a library.
Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Oskaloosa, Iowa USA

Monday, March 12, 2012

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

In After Obsession, there are four stages and none of them are pretty.

1.           Invitation: When you ask him in
2.           Infestation: When he destroys your home
3.           Obsession: When he destroys your body
4.           Possession: When there’s no coming back

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel is an amazing story that I just finished. It is about a girl named Aimee, who lives in Maine, and her best friend, whose dad died just a few weeks ago. Then, a boy named Alan moves to Maine. Right from the start, Alan and Aimee are connected. They know they will have to work together to save someone or something; the only problem is, they don’t know who, or how.

 This book was very good, and once I started I couldn't stop. The entire time I was reading, I felt as if I was there in the book. The book has a very mysterious mood and tone that keeps you very intrigued. The authors give so much voice into the characters that I believed everything that they did and said. The authors’ writing is very effective and powerful. The ending really surprised me. It was not something I expected, and it really made me wish there was more. I would definitely recommend this book to a reader looking for a great story with a little mystery and some interesting characters.

 There is some mature content, strong language in this story, and some violence, so I would recommend this book to older teens. 

 Rating: 7
Content: 2
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States of America

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steve E. Wedel

A boy named Alan is forced to move from his home town in Oklahoma to Maine to live with his aunt and his cousin, Courtney, who has just lost her father in a boating accident. Alan meets Courtney's best friend Aimee and they immediately feel a strong connection. It turns out that they both have special powers that in the long run will save all of their town and Courtney's life. They start having feelings for each other and both struggle to keep them under wraps.  Aimee just broke up with her boyfriend a little after Alan arrives so she doesn't want to immediately start another relationship, because he is acting strange in a bad way. In fact the whole town is acting strange. It turns out that many years ago a brave hero trapped a dragon in the lake. Every decade, he tries to take over someone's body, in order to live and spread his hate. It has taken over Courtney, and Alan and Aimee must work together to get the spirit out of her before it completely takes over.

I loved this book and I had a hard time putting it down. I would recommend this book to anyone older than 14.   There is a bit of strong language, so it is more suitable for older teens.  I thought Carrie Jones and Steven Wedel made an amazing writing team. They make you feel like you're right beside Alan and Aimee through all the ups and downs. Their detail is amazingly good and it blew me away. The thing I loved most about the book was the character of Alan. He is kind and gentle, but has a hidden strength that makes him a reliable person. His relationship with Aimee was also written really realistically. The other interesting part about the book is that one paragraph is written through Alan's eyes and the next is through Aimee's eyes, so the chapters switch back and forth between Alan and Aimee (which was a new and enjoyable twist). I give this book two thumbs up!

 Rating: 9
Content: 1
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tucson, AZ usa

Mallory in the Spotlight

I read the book Mallory in the Spotlight by Laurie
Friedman.  The main characters in the book are Mallory and
Mary Ann.  When their school decides to put on the play,
Annie both girls try out for a part.  Mallory wins the
part of Annie but Mary Ann does not get any part at all.
Mary Ann begins ignoring Mallory.  Mallory is sad and
doesn t know what to do about the situation.  Two girls in
the class begin to be nice to Mallory.  They act like they
are her new best friends.  Mallory sends them an email
explaining how sad she is that Mary Ann is ignoring her. 
They send the email on to Mary Ann. Mary Ann becomes upset
and Mallory get embarrassed. In the end Mary Ann and
Mallory work out their problems and promise to stay best

Mallory in the Spotlight is a good book and I could barely
put it down because of the excitement.  It was well
written and I wanted to know what would happen next.  My
favorite part is when Mallory and Mary Ann become friends
again. Jealousy can ruin a friendship.  These girls work
out their problems but that does not always happen in real
life. Mallory in the Spotlight is the fourteenth book in
the series.You don't have to read the first ones to
understand this one but now, I want to read them all.   I
think that girls seven through twelve will like this book.
Age 8
Jackson, MO USA

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

A year after Luna' s mother dies, Luna wants to take a chance. She decides to clean out her mother' s studio and finds her mother' s cell phone. Bright red. Fully charged. With seven unread messages.
When I picked out this book, I though it would be a well-written murder mystery. It isn' t. The only part of the plot that' s good is Luna 's trying to find out how her mom died. That took up about one-third of the book. The other two-thirds consisted of drama, teen angst, puppy love, and extremely unrealistic and paper-thin characters. The plot was just drawn out over way too many pages, when it could 've been put nicely into a smaller book.

Luna, as a character, is confusing. One minute she says she isn' t into guys, and the next minute she says she' s liked one since eighth grade. She starts out as a shy but strong person, but actually gets weaker towards the half-way point of the book.... and goes downhill from there.

Luna' s father is a wimpy, horrible character. He' s truly not fit to play the father role, and I disliked him very much throughout the entire book.

Tile, Luna' s brother, was the only really good character. While he may seem naive because of his age, he experiences life like no other person and changes for the better over the course of the story.

While the overall message of the book is good, the way the author gets to that message is unnecessarily complicated.  Saying that people who' ve not had sex before they turn 15 are prudes is highly subjective.  That parents are liars, and that marriages can' t last forever is not what I want to be reading about; and unfortunately, that' s what I got when I read this.
There are multiple curse words (no f-bombs, thankfully). The concepts of divorce, adultery, molesting, and homosexuality are talked about and seen.
Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yucaipa, California USA

Friday, March 09, 2012

By The Time I'm Twenty

In By the Time I'm Twenty, Lawrence attempts to make money in the hood by selling drugs with his friend Winston until two of his friends get shot in a crack house. Then Lawrence realizes how dangerous drug dealing is, and he wants out. The problem is,  he doesn’t have enough money to "buy himself out" so he ends up telling his parents about all of it.  Now he has to make a decision, to tell the police, or not. Meanwhile, Winston and L.C, the drug lords, are after him.
In the book it makes you feel like you are right there in the action.  The characters of this book seem like very real people. Lawrence, the main character, is just like any other teenager, but is put into a tough situation. This book is written as a play so there is no feeling of a narrator. At the end of the book you actually know what happened to most of the characters. I believe the author shows about how drugs can ruin a person’s life in many ways. The book had a good climax and falling action which is very exciting. After finishing this book I learned about how school is important and how terrible drugs are. I would recommend this book to my friends because it is entertaining and after I finished the book I think I will never forget it.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Blood Sun

Book Title: Blood Sun
Author: David Gilman
ISBN: 9780385735629
Summary: Blood Sun By David Gilman
The book Blood Sun was about a teenage kid named Max Gordan who tries to uncover the truth about the mysterious death of his mother. She died in the dangerous forests of Central America. There, man-eating snakes and deadly creatures wait at every turn. A powerful agency is also hunting down Max to exterminate him. Max is willing to die to uncover the truth, and he must find it before it's too late.
Opinion: The book Blood Sun was an amazing novel that generated constant suspense. I could actually imagine what everyone and everything looked like. I could understand everything the author said and found the book entertaining and interesting to read. I liked how in the end, Riga teamed up with Max to uncover the truth. I loved this book and it is definitely one of my favorites.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springfield, Ohio United States

You Can Run

Book Title: You Can Run
Author: Norah McClintock
ISBN: 9780761383123
Summary:  You Can Run is a book about a girl named Robyn who has a fight with a another girl from her school, Trisha. The same day they have the argument, Trisha mysteriously disappears. Robyn is afraid that she was the cause of Trisha's disappearance. She tries to find out everything she can about this girl to help get her back, but along the way, she could find herself in danger. She doesn't know why Trisha ran away, but she wants to find her to bring her home.
Opinion: This book overall was okay. The ending was fabulous! All the loose ends were tied up, and everything made sense. Unfortunately, the rest of the book was kind of slow. There wasn't much suspense, or shockers. I would have liked to have seen that in the book.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, Ohio USA

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Forced Out by Gene Fehler

A new catcher has joined Zack's travel team, the Roadrunners. His name is Dustin and everybody is wondering why he gets so much playing time. How did he even get invited to such a good travel team? Everyone is also wondering how the team can finally afford to go to an expensive tournament. It creates lots of problems and threatens the Roadrunners chance at winning the championship. A rumor starts about Dustin and the tournament. Then Zach finds out what Dustin's dad is secretly planning that Dustin doesn't even know. But what can Zach do about it?
Overall, it is an interesting story about teamwork, choices, and fairness. All Dustin's dad cares about is himself and his son. His choices affect the whole team. It gives a vivid description without too many adjectives, and I can picture things in my head. I can also tell a lot about Dustin and Zach's personalities. They are very believable characters. The vocabulary was appropriate for the recommended age, but it is about high schoolers. High schoolers with lower reading levels would probably enjoy this book as well. The bad thing was the plot seemed to drag a little bit at some points.
Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Calhoun, GA USA

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

In Unleashed, a girl named Katelyn McBride moves from colorful California to dull, rural Arkansas to live with her grandfather after her mother dies. Wolf Springs, in the Ozark Mountains, has hidden surprises. Katelyn is warned of walking alone in the forest but never believes there to be true danger until she is attacked by a wolf one unplanned evening. One of her only friends, Trick, is intensely disliked by most, if not all, of the locals. Cordelia, her only other friend, seems to have secrets of her own. Katelyn begins to uncover some of the town's mysterious wolfy secrets, and along the way she gets herself into danger.

Unleashed was not overly original, but neither was it incredibly boring. I did not enjoy the way that Katelyn discovered some of the town's secrets (a school project), as it seemed somewhat commonplace. Still, the local werewolf populace was interesting, as was Cordelia's eccentric family. Trick, the disliked writer of poetry, was certainly unique, as were many of the other characters, such as Katelyn's unconventional grandfather. Unleashed is a decent rainy-day read and may leave one with anticipation of the second book in the series.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC USA

Graffiti Moon

Graffiti Moon
What has mystery, intrigue, and deceit
lurking around every corner? Cath Crowley's new novel,
Graffiti Moon, of course! Lucy Dervish, just graduating
from high school, has an obsession. Obsessions, actually.
She s obsessed with art. And glass-blowing. And colors,
trillions of colors. And a notorious graffiti artist
named Shadow who has all of her sweet obsessions rolled
into one tantalizing package. Yet, as always, there is a
problem. She hasn't even seen Shadow, much less has been
introduced to him. But she wants to. She really, really
wants to. Lucy believes that Shadow has all the answers
she wants. Answers about love, hidden wants, and, most of
all, art. So how could she refuse when her best friend
Jazz suggests that they go out on the town to celebrate
their graduation? Lucy believes this is her only chance
to find Shadow before she goes off to college. She has an
entire night to get what she desires. But there s a
hitch. She has to go on her Shadow-hunt with Ed, a guy
she spent the most embarrassing date with in her entire
life. Yet she has to find her man.
Ed, by the way, is no more interested in this hunt
than he is in physics. He has had enough of Lucy Dervish,
thank you very much. He certainly can t help that she
broke his nose during the most awful date of his eighteen-
year life. But when the two are thrown together by pure
fate, Ed finds himself being sucked into Lucy s satisfying
aurora. Something is stopping him, though. It turns out
Ed just might a secret of his own...
Let me make it this time. Let me meet Shadow.
Poet too but mainly Shadow. The guy who paints in the
dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost
in ghost forests.

This book had its good points and bad points. One
thing that extremely disappointed me in this novel was the
language. We re talking about major profanity here. I
had to lay down the book a few times to clear my mind. It
also could get a little dull at times, especially when Ed
would reminisce about his past girlfriend. I just felt
like screaming "Get on with it!" sometimes. Yet, even
with its faults, it also had many strengths, too. It
really shows how tough life is for some young Americans.
It made me feel eternally grateful for my privileged life
I live. I also liked how deep it was. These kids
thought and thought hard. I picked up many good points in
here that portrayed the human soul, deep inside, just
waiting for you to take it out, release it, examine it,
and cherish it. Another thing I enjoyed was the poems
scattered throughout the book, written by Ed' s partner in
crime, Leopold Green. They really got me in touch with
reality. This book had a beautiful blend of romance,
drama, and mystery to keep me entertained most of the
time, yet sometimes I felt slightly bored with the
patterned plot. I believe that if you love art, you'll
probably love this book. If you don't, you feel
uninterested sometimes, but all in all, this book is a
good read.
I close my eyes and spray and piece in my head, a
wall with a shadowy guy on it and a shadowy road in front
of him.
I would recommend this book to ages
fifteen and up, just because of the language would
definitely not be suitable for a younger age.
So, will Lucy find her man or her match? Will Ed
ever spill his dirty little secret? To find out, read
this exciting novel by Cath Crowley!
The profanity in this novel was a force to be reckoned
with. Reader discretion advised!
Leopold, Missouri U.S.A

Shadowrise by Tad Williams

This fantasy novel is the third book in a series. It takes place in an imaginary land. The twin heirs of Southmarch Castle, Prince Barrick and Princess Briony have been separated as they each battle with two very dangerous enemies to their kingdom. Each must find a way to save their kingdom from these powers as well as some mysterious force awakening underground.

I've never had a problem with long books, nor with detailed books. I absolutely love to read, and the size of this book did not deter me from wanting to read it. As soon as I actually started, however, my opinion started dropping pretty quickly. I like William's description and character development; Briony, for example, is very easy to sympathize with, as is Barrick. But there is just too much going on with the plot; there are too many subplots and characters and it is quite hard to follow what is going on. The detail would have been fine if not for this flaw, but the addition of so many new characters every chapter made it tedious. I felt bogged down with so much detail and so much new information coming in at once; it felt more like an assignment than a book one would read for pleasure. I fought through the book for a few more chapters, but I was unable to read on when the combination of an overly-detailed plot, uncomfortably ornate descriptions, and unbelievably tiny font gave me such a big headache that I was forced to stop reading. The thought of picking this book back up is extremely unappealing. Again, the detail would have been a huge plus in a book that was around 300 pages, but for a 625-page book, it was way too much. I don't think the author achieved his purpose because the book was extremely boring to me and the writing would have been a lot more effective if there was just less of it. I'd recommend this book to hard-core fantasy fans or to people with lots of time on their hands and a magnifying glass handy, as well as a character web ready to fill out in order to keep all of these characters straight. All in all, definitely not the next Harry Potter or LOTR.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Columbus, Indiana United States

Monday, March 05, 2012

Mourning Under The Bridge by C. Amethyst Frost

Mourning Under the Bridge is about a girl who was an orphan. She had some other older orphans caring for her. Her favorite was a seventeen year-old girl named Jo. While Mourning was prowling around the Pullman s old, burned house, she is caught by a count named Damien. He takes her to the dungeon under the castle. While she is there, she saw Jo, who was to die. Orphans were killed or sent to a workhouse. When Count Damien did her blood test to see who her parents were, the results showed she was the last Pullman heiress. Damien was her brother. She now has to learn how to behave like a normal person after ten years on the street. Is she successful or should she have stayed on the streets?

The book had a very exciting topic, which I find unique. When I picked it out, I suspected it would be very interesting. It has a very exciting suspense in many of the chapters. I have definitely added it to my favorite books. Mourning Under the Bridge shows a real example of what it is like to be an orphan on the streets and how to deal with the outcome. I recommend it for 12+.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leesburg, Virginia

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Pale Death Moon by C.P. Goy

Terry and his friends have been whooshed into another world by a taurus(a kind of portal). They landed in a world on the edge war - a group of people broken away from their leader, who's started sacrificing blood offering to the "black spirits", finds Terry and his friends. They bring them in telling them that their old friends, Yalf, foretold their coming and that they (the people) were to help them. Terry requested their help finding the 3 tumblestones hidden in their world - one of which has reportedly fallen into the hands of their evil leader, Akru. Then, matters get even worse as Terry's new friend from the broken-off village, Pendu, is captured by Akru's men and is meant to be the next blood sacrifice at the full moon. Can terry and his friends find all three of the tumblestones and rescue Pendu, before it's too late?

This book is really fascinating! The wonderful grasp of the English language that the author enriches the book beyond words. It's the best imagery of the landscape, the word choice is fantastic, just... no words to describe it. Also, the writer's huge vocabulary prevents the book from becoming repetitive - instead of saying "the forest was green, and teeming with life", Goy says it at least 20 different ways. The details are so exact it feels like you could tell when a leaf dropped - even though it doesn't say so in the book. (If that makes any sense.) Not only that, but the plot is exciting and really, really deep. As the book goes on,you're able to slowly piece things together, and you realize things like, "Oh! That shadow - that was.... ohhh..... OMG." *reads next page frantically* The whole book was just amazing.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

Friday, March 02, 2012

A Girl's Guide To Guns and Monsters by Martin H. Greenberg

This is a women butt kicking collection. I like when I read A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters, which was 13 different stories and all had fast action. Most had some monsters, craziness, and different tones. The stories are in time order from the Old West to the future. Don 't worry you won t get confused.

One little problem from the stories was the setting. Some of them were set in the worlds of the author's other writing. I didn' t know the worlds or characters, but I could still follow them. I like that women were the main characters. It made the story seem strong.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Newburgh, NY US

Fangbone: Third-Grade Barbarian by Michael Rex

Fangbone is a graphic novel that was written by Michael Rex. It is the first in a new series about a third grade barbarian named Fangbone. He is a barbarian boy from the planet Skullbania that was sent to Earth to guard the toe of a great villain named Drool. This was an important job for Skullbania because if Drool got his toe back, he would become so strong no one on Skullbania would be able to beat him. While on Earth, Fangbone enrolls in Eastwood Elementary and meets lots of new friends including a boy named Bill. Bill becomes his best friend and Fangbone learns about all sorts of things that are not on his planet. Fangbone and his newfound friends have lots of crazy and exciting adventures and work together to try and stop Drool.

I was surprised to find out this was a graphic novel. It was full of humor and was very easy to read. This book was recommended for readers that are 9-12 but I feel it is better for 8-10 because of the word level and the length of the book. The book is great at getting your attention and because of this I plan to continue the series to find out what happens next. I do not read graphic novels often but this one seemed to be good for entertainment. I would recommend it to others looking to read something fun and adventurous.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Henrico, VA USA

The Lunatic's Curse by F.E. Higgins

In The Lunatic's Curse, Rex Grammaticus is living in the town of Oppum Oppidulum. In this thrilling page-turner by F. E. Higgins, Rex is living with his father, Ambrose, and his new mother, Acantha. He hasn't been as happy since his father got engaged, but one night things really get bad. His father goes insane and he is sent to the asylum, but under false pretenses. Rex knows that he can get his father out. Now he just has to find the evidence to prove his father sane. He knows it will be a challenge, but he just doesn't know what he's getting into.

I believe that F. E. Higgins does a great job explaining the setting and immersing you into the characters lives. The characters are very interesting and aren't like any other characters you have ever known (except maybe in the authors other books). In this polyquel book the names of all the towns and people are kind of hard to pronounce, but that makes them all the more memorable. I have read many books, but this one is pretty high up on my list. I'm not sure I would rate it that high, but I would definitely recommend it.

It is a very good and interesting book, but it does have a bit of death, blood, and gruesome details. It has some... interesting descriptions, but it gives good reasons why it would put them in.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Overland Park, Kansas United States

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters Vol.1 Phantom by L.J. Smith

Elana and her friends are back at Fells Church. But now there is a new evile their at Fells Church. This eveil is a Phantom that Stefan thinks Tylers cosen Calob let it lose to distroy the small town. When Elenas friends are trying to get rid of the Phantom. Elana is dreaming about the dead Damon. Merdith who is as strong at a bull, but is jealous Celia witch caused the Phantom to come to Fells Church.

I find that this book is an amazing book that shows how importent friendships are. I have a friend who is just like Bonnie and that made this book even more fun to read! I have recommended this book to almost all of my friends and can't wait to recommened it to a lot more of my friends. The only down fall to the story is that I fell bad for Elena and her friends for never getting a brake. I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon U.S.A

Lenobia's Vow by P.C. Cast

In Lenobia' s Vow, readers are welcomed into the back-story of the favorite House of Night professor. Set in France in 1788, at the urging of her mother, Lenobia takes on the role of Cecile, her recently deceased half-sister, to better her life in New Orleans. Fate has a different plan for her, which centers around a mulatto she loves, horses, and the evil Bishop. Lenobia s plan works until the Bishop recognizes her as the illegitimate child and not Cecile. By the end of the novella, she has been introduced to world of magic and marked as a vampyre.

I must admit, I have not read any of the other House of Night novels, so I did some research before diving into a series midway. The novella is a wonderful stand alone book, but the Casts have caught my attention with Lenobia' s story, and I m ready to get lost in the magic of the House of Night.
Although I started of cautious at the beginning of Chapter One, by the end of it I was completely hooked. Needless to say I finished it in one sitting. To all magic lovers and House of Night fans, read this book!

Although the descriptions and language were not too graphic, especially for the setting, I still recommend parental guidance. The rest of the series is for more mature readers.

Reviewer Age:23

Reviewer City, State and Country: Bay City, Texas USA

The Secret Room (eBook) by Beth Kanell

While measuring an old stagecoach inn's dimensions for a math project, new friends Shawna and Thea discover a secret room behind a pile of wood in the cellar. A seemingly nonsensical code covers the walls, and the two math whizzes are determined to figure out what the secret room was used for. Unfortunately, word about the room gets out, and soon the whole town is excited about the room they assume was part of the underground railroad. Knowing that there is more to the truth than the solution that seems most obvious, Shawna and Thea enlist the help of the historical society to try and prove what everyone else is just assuming. Not only is Shawna kept busy with the secret room's mysteries, she is also sifting through her family's dirty laundry, struggling to make sense of her estranged older sister Alice and the sideways glances being exchanged between her family members.

The Secret Room was an interesting double mystery, and the author did an excellent job of weaving the two distinctly different plotlines together. Shawna, the overweight eigth grade math whiz, and Thea, her new best friend, are unique and well described. Their thoughts and actions fit their situations very believably, and their reactions were exciting enough to keep me involved in the story. The plot itself went fast in teh beginning as they found the room and began to puzzle out it's significance, but slowed down considerably in the middle with a lot of non-action progress being made on the research. The end sped up with a terrifying search and rescue, as well as resolutions to the big mysteries. Not all the loose ends were tied up, however, and I was a bit unclear as to the final verdict on the secret room. All in all, The Secret Room was a good story, and gives an important lesson in fact gathering and research credibility. I would recommend this book for preteens and teens with an interest in history and realistic fiction.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Harleysville, PA USA


You' d think that this was a perfect computer generated high school. In LifeGame, you couldn' t be more wrong. In this adventurous novel, Gabby discovers the true side of the life she 's been living. The system she thought was perfect turns out to be extremely violent, and questions are left unanswered. When the Frags contact Gabby from outside of her small town, she is wary to trust them. Throughout the novel she learns who her real friends are and who can be trusted. But in life or death situations, can even your closest stay by your side? Gabby fights for her life as the obstacles presented to her get more and more difficult as well as more and more threatening.

I enjoyed the book Gamers by Thomas K Carpenter for many reasons. Typically when an alternate universe or future community is written about, the descriptions overrule the action in the book as the author tries to explain their idea. Luckily, that wasn' t the case in this book. Thomas K Carpenter had a way of having enough description that the reader understood the plot, while still keeping plenty of suspense to keep the pages turning. Another plus to this book was the character development. There were tons of action to go around, but there were also enough feelings within the characters to keep the events more personal. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hermantown, Minnesota USA

Thursday, March 01, 2012

This is not a Test by Courtney Summers

Sloane and five other teens are trapped inside their high school during a zombie outbreak. Just one bite to kill you and reanimate you as a vicious creature without any sense of love, compassion, or remorse: only a hunger for human flesh. People have become erratic and sometimes Sloane doesn't know who to trust. The necessities of the group change drastically, everything turns for the worse, and their willingness to survive takes them to a new level. The dead know the living are inside the high school and it's only a matter of time before the dead get past the barriers until something happens that will change the group, for better or for worse.
This book was one of the best books I've ever read. It was filled with action and suspense and sometimes I found myself yelling at the characters because of their slow thinking. But I don't blame them, because if I came face to face with a zombie there would be a lot of hesitating. This book isn't completely filled with action but instead focuses on the mind of someone who was in Sloane's situation and how they would react to the mental changes that turn them from a human to a survivor. It was the first zombie book I have read and it has convinced me that I've found my genre.
It is violent and gory.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States

This One Time With Julia by David Lampson

Joe hasn't had an easy life. His parents were killed in a car crash when he was five and he was raised by his older brother. Besides that, Joe also has developmental disabilities that have prevented him from becoming a functioning member of society. He can't read and has limited cognitive abilities, so he's not sure what to make of his twin brother's disappearance. But when Alvin's ex-girlfriend Julia shows up, he decides to accompany her back to Tennessee and work at her family's hotel. It is here that Joe discovers the truth about Alvin's disappearance and just how much Julia's family is involved.

This One Time With Julia was a lot different from other books that I've read, and unfortunately I did not enjoy it that much. The only character I sympathized with was Joe because he seemed very geniune and sweet. But he was so unobservant that it made him an unreliable narrator. It was hard to get into the story when the main character doesn't even really know what's going on. I didn't like any of the other characters, and none of them were developed beyond a few superficial characters. A lot of them  just seemed like a caractitures of people. I didn't care for the plot, as there was a lot of telling about events and not showing them. For example, Joe discovers the truth about Alvin's disappearance via a ghost/hallucination. The only good thing about This One Time With Julia is that it's a short and easy read.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States