Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Treason's Shore by, Sherwood Smith

After being exiled for ten excruciating years, Inda finally returns home. He finds that his old classmate, Evred, has become the ruler of his homeland and is overjoyed to see his friend again. However, the kingdom he knew has changed. Evred wanted Inda to be his Royal Shield Arm-leader of the military-so that his now famous skills can be put towards defending the kingdom. Inda is a military genius, but his skills lay where the ocean is and is not suited for land. During this, the ancient kingdom of Venn is planning the largest invasion the world has ever known. Can Inda defend his homeland while gaining new responsibilities? Find out in Sherwood Smith's, Treason's Shore.

Treason's Shore was definitely a great, action-packed book. Treason's Shore is bursting at the seams with characters, events, and magic. This story of blocking an invasion kept me riveted to the page as though I were made of iron and it, the magnet. The book was a little slow in the beginning, however. I recommend this book to all those who search for adventure as they enter a library.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas America

Attack of the Killer Video: Take 2

Attack of the Killer Video Book: Take 2 is for kids who want to make a movie. It has tips on brainstorming ideas, casting characters, and writing a script. It also has technical tips including lighting, cameras, and sound. It shows different types of camera shots and when to use each of them.  Lastly, it gives ideas to make the movie happen: costumes, props, and special effects. It even shows how to edit your video. It helps people plan a video, and then do it.
This book contains all the information anyone would ever need to know to make a stellar movie. Its humor and easy reading give a light tone; it is good for all ages. It is well organized and gets to the point. It has many variations and possibilities to use depending on the number of people, type of video, and other factors. No one who reads this book will need any other references; it covers the whole process, from the planning to the editing. It is filled with Great Idea boxes with tips for keeping organized, shooting smoothly, and more. It also has several Bloopers telling how to solve or prevent problems you might have. I could not find anything the author could have improved.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: calhoun, georgia USA

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A Princess of Mars is the first epic tale of John Carter and his adventures on the planet Mars, or as the natives call it, Barsoom.  The story begins with Carter, a former captain in the Confederate army, searching for gold in the deserts of Arizona.  A dangerous encounter with a band of Apaches leads Carter to a mysterious cave that transports him to Mars.  As John Carter becomes assimilated with one of the warring tribes on Mars, he learns of a great threat that could jeopardize all life on the planet.  All the while he is infatuated by a lovely princess, knowing each decision he makes may determine the fate of their romance.  A Princess of Mars is a true science fiction epic combining action, romance, and many other elements that make it an essential part of the science fiction canon.

A Princess of Mars was written nearly 100 years ago, yet it still influences the most prominent science fiction writers and film directors of our era.  Edgar Rice Burroughs has written an epic story with many elements that add to the size and scale of the story.  Readers will become attached to many of the main characters despite their alien origins, and the character studies (especially the romance) is interwoven flawlessly with dramatic scenes of action and adventure.  However, the most intriguing aspect to the story is the personal journey of the protagonist, John Carter.  His combat experience prepares him well for the war-torn planet of Barsoom, but amongst the death and destruction, he finds true love.  Like many stories we know today, he must juggle the roles of soldier and lover as the inhabitants of Mars fight for survival.  Science fiction readers must read A Princess of Mars to truly understand the standard Edgar Rice Burroughs has set for the science fiction genre.  

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

The Age of Amy: Bonehead Bootcamp by Bruce Edwards

When Amy' s family is relocated from her beloved city apartment to a large house in Skankstonville, to say she is upset would be a major understatement. She is constantly fighting with her family, and when her parents are just done with her, they send her off to Bonehead Bootcamp. Greeted by Sergeant Sheep, the ruler of camp with a head of a sheep, she and the other campers, Devon, Jake, and Lydia, begin an obstacle course. After scaling a wall, they all drop into a new universe with their ultimate challenge being to escape. Each camper faces specific challenges engineered to their person, and they must all work together to go back home.

This book didn' t go over very well with me. The flow wasn't great, with an extra-long exposition and rising action, and a tiny climax and falling action crammed at the end. I didn 't understand parts of the book, such as the Sergeant and campers possessing heads of animals. The animal head relates to the personality of the specific person; for example, the wealthy business tycoon changes to the head of a weasel. However, that element just seemed really odd to me. The concept behind the book was a unique and interesting one, but I feel like it really needs some more work.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States

Moon Pie by Simon Mason

Moon Pie is about a girl named Martha caring for her little brother and drunken father.  Martha loves on Tug and mothers him.  She gives him baths and makes his favorite pie for him.  But when Martha s father starts acting strange, like taking them out on a picnic in the middle of the night, she starts getting worried.  When a lady tells Martha that her father could be drinking, she doesn 't waste time to find out.  Martha learns that the Social Services might take her and her little brother away because their father is drinking.  Read this book to find out what Martha does to help her father and little brother.
I think that this story has a few bad ideas for many children.  I would be cautious before giving it to any kid.  It has parts such as drinking parents and being driven by someone drunk.  It is a great book other than the parts that aren' t very nice to think about.  I don' t recommend it for children under 11.
There is drinking to the point of being drunk involved.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leesburg, Virginia USA

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Amos Daragon No. 2 The Key of Braha by Bryan Perro

Amos feels secure in his place as mask wearer in the castle in Berrion.  That is, he feels secure until a mysterious girl and several black panthers arrive and the girl demands he undergo a quest to the land of the dead.  She performs a ceremony that ends the mask wearer's life.  Amos travels to the City of Braha and finds the doors to heaven and hell have been shut, and the city is overflowing with spirits waiting to be judged so they can continue on into the afterlife.  Amos must find the Key of Braha to open the doors, but to do so he must come back to life.  Can he manage it?  And even if he does, what exactly is the Key of Braha?

This book is a great follow-up to the first Amos Daragon, which I also reviewed.  I liked Amos' clever wits when he outsmarted Charon, ferryman of the dead, by promising him double nothing and giving him exactly that - two times nothing!  I enjoyed the intricacies of Braha, how it was the same as an ordinary city; judges, ordinary people, thieves, etc., and how it was different because of the giant pyramid in the center.  I certainly did not expect the Key of Braha to be edible!  Amos is definitely the most clever twelve-year-old I have ever heard of.  Anyone who has read the first Amos Daragon - The Mask Wearer - needs to get ahold of book two - it's spectacular!

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beneath the Heavens

Beneath the Heavens

On a train bound for the Everlands, a fabled island that is said to remedy all ailments, many who are said to have incurable diseases wait as they speed toward their salvation in Beneath the Heavens by Christine O Nell. Some are bedridden, some barely conscious, some just slowly wasting away. Saying they are relived when they get there is an understatement barely surviving a vulpiodon attack (the Everland’s only real threat ) was heart-stopping enough. They find their niches quite quickly, and start to settle down into the Everland’s peaceful beauty until something goes horribly wrong. Two murders taking the life of the train’s conductor and a shady magician wreak havoc among the residents of the Everlands. From there, it only gets worse. Another passenger from the Miracle Line goes missing. Pair of natives are found mutilated by vulpiodons,vulpiodons that were supposed to be kept out by the Everland’s protective bulwark until somebody dropped it in the middle of the night. The town’s guiding light, Lazarus, is slowly wasting away. Two men are wrongly condemned for murder only to later escape and find a secret no one was supposed to discover.

Quence heard rapid footsteps behind him. Shifting as best as he could manage, body prickling with fear, he struggled to look behind him while reaching for the knife in his pants.

I really did enjoy this book. The many viewpoints in this novel kept it edgy and interesting,you could connect with at least one character. O’Nell explored the very tip of fantasy, but gave it a suspense-filled vibe, and then added a dollop of romance to create one dynamic manuscript. The only downside I noticed is that I got a little confused at the beginning,there were so many different characters and the setting was a little hard to distinguish,but once you got the hang of all the personalities names, you were set free to kick back and enjoy. O’Nell provided such diversity in this book, from an annoying insomniac to a sweet paralysis patient. Some of the scenes felt like they came right out of CSI; the mystery, the shady suspect, the surprise ending. There was definitely a creative story plot, and the imagination of O’Nell is certainly expansive. In the end, I would give this book a five star review! (Even if it hasn’t been made into a movie--yet.)

Otto stopped to look at Tienan. Before the Everlands was all this, it was a volcano. This is the nowhere that these tunnels don’t lead.

I would recommend this book for ages ten and up, for some of the profanity and sexual references. There was nothing too obscene in the novel, though. I was really impressed with the language for a teens book, it only had one or two real-world curses in it.

So, who is the soul that is slowly killing off the people of the Everlands? What is the mysterious secret that no one was meant to see? Beneath the Heavens has all the answers!

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri U.S.A.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks

When Rain's once best friend Wendy is discovered dead in Central Park, she is shocked and upset. Though not liked by everyone at their prep school, Wendy was still full of life and fun to be around. But now the newspapers are accusing Wendy of only being a party girl whose actions caused her demise. Rain decides she wants to clear Wendy's name and set the record straight - and the best way she can think of doing that is by exposing her murderer.

I really enjoyed The Girl in the Park. It was short and an extremely quick read, especially for a mystery. However, the book read just like an episode of Law and Order. I was instantly drawn into the murder, and having a great narrator like Rain made the novel that much better. Even though the book is short, the author hits a lot of points and we get backstory on Wendy as well as an array of suspects. Rain realistically looks for clues and questions suspects like Nancy Drew, but it doesn't seem corny or campy. The whole time I was unsure of the culprit, but the ending is very satisfying. All the clues added up, and I was pleased with how everything was resolved. For such a short book, I thought that the author wrote an exciting mystery that everyone can enjoy.

The book portrays the murder of a young girl.

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

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ascend (Trylle Trilogy No. 3) by Amanda Hocking

Wendy Everly is willing to do anything for the well-being of her kingdom. Even if "anything" includes marrying someone she doesn't love. But marriage is the least of Wendy's problems. The Vittra are planning an attack that will leave most of her kingdom dead. Will Wendy figure out how to save her people, or will she be too late?

Unlike its two predecessors, this book is action-packed from the beginning. Normally I would have to read half of the book to get to the action; but with this final installment in the trilogy, the action starts on page one.

Wendy has matured into a smart young woman. She understands her actions have consequences, and is focused on saving her people. I am pleased to see how far she's come from the whining and pathetic little girl she was in the first book. Part of this transformation is due to the fact that she no longer obsesses over Finn. I am extremely pleased about that since I've loathed the obsession from day one. Instead of obsessing over a guy she'll never be with, Wendy turns her attention to the people of her kingdom and how she can protect them. She has finally grown into the responsible young woman I was hoping for from the beginning.

Wendy's relationship with her mother has also changed. In the beginning of the series Wendy loathed everything her mother stood for. In this book, however, she realizes that taking time to understand her mother helps their relationship.

For the most part, the plot is original. While there were a couple parts that were predictable, the storyline kept me on the edge of my seat.

Amanda Hocking has redeemed herself in my eyes. She has finally created the original story and compelling characters that she promised in her first book. She has truly created a whole new world.

Wendy has sex, and this book is written from her perspective. There are multiple instances of mild cursing as well.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yucaipa, CA USA

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Glitch takes place in a dystopian future where everyone is connected through controlling computer chips implanted in their brains. Despite the Community's assurance that life is more peaceful and happy while the people are under their control, the "subjects" feel no emotions, and make no decisions. Increasingly frequent, however, are Glitches. Glitches, or Anomalies, are teenagers who develop the ability to escape the Link, and are amazed at the world of color and emotion that surrounds them. Zoel is a 17 year old glitch who also has telekinetic powers, anomalies that she is constantly trying to hide from those that would report her as faulty. Luckily, she soon discovers that she is not alone in her independence when she meets Adrien, part of the Resistance. Adrien, who has the ability to glimpse the future, is positive that Zoe will one day lead this rebellious organization. Telekinetic powers don't make it any easier to figure out who is trustworthy and who is not, however, and Zoe must quickly make the distinction between friend and foe if she ever wants to figure out the secrets from her past, and what she plans to do with her powers in the future.
Glitch was a fast-paced book that I found hard to put down. With a setting that reminded me of the Uglies Series and Revealing Eden, the author twisted the familiar dystopian theme into a new interesting take on freedom and emotion. Zoe was an incredibly likeable character, with well developed thoughts and realistic reactions. Her friends, including the Glitches Adrien and Max, were each unique and added to the intrigue of the plot. Intense action scenes involved high-tech brain control and supernatural powers, and moved the plot smoothly from one idea to the next. The author also played mind games, as allegiances are questioned throughout the book. I enjoyed trying to puzzle my way through the deceit and figuring out what was really going on. The end of the story did not quite tie up all the loose ends, but it is definitely possibilities for a second book. I would recommend Glitch to teenage readers who enjoy futuristic stories and adventure, as well as to those who enjoy Scott Westerfield and Suzanne Collins.
Glitch contained a small amount of cursing and sexual references.
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Harleysville, Pennsylvania USA

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

When three kids skip out on a museum tour their punishment is the scariest thing ever!!!! They have to join their schools mathletes. At first the kids are really bummed, but with the help of Lunch Lady and her sidekick, Betty, they figure out that being mathletes can be a wonderful experience. This book has action, humor, and comic book format. If that intrigues you, Lunch Lady is definitely the book for you.

This book was hilarious!!!! My mom is a lunch lady (she wanted to help out because the other lunch ladies are, in my opinion, evil!) and Lunch Lady reminded me of her. No, my mom is not a crime-fighting spy person but my mom is always willing to lend a hand. This book was so funny even my dad who was on the side while I read it laughed out loud. I would recommend this book to anyone who says they want a book with action and humor.

Reviewer Age:9

Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC United States

Oreo by Valerique Williams

In the book Oreo, by Valerique Williams, Jayenia is trying to figure out who she is, because she is too black on the outside to be white, but too white on the inside to be black. She thinks high school will be a great time but does not think that after the first day. Jayenia must try to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. She wants to fit in society, but she feels as if she isn't living up to who a black person should really be.

I would not recommend reading this book for many reasons. First, the writing style seems as if it is being written by a first grader during free time, rushing to get it all down. Secondly, the book doesn't even make much sense. It seems as if she just got tired of writing it at the end and said there she's fine, done, let's get this published. This was not a very good book and it just doesn't make sense. I wouldn't have read past the first chapter if I didn't have to review it.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Rochester, New York USA

Rating: 1
Content Rating: 1

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Echo's Revenge: The Ultimate Game by Sean Austin

Echo's Revenge: The Ultimate Game by Sean Austin is about the video game Echo's Revenge becoming a reality for its online players. The book is written around two brothers, Reggie and Jeremy, and starts in the small town of Meadowbrooke, Washington, with both of them playing Echo's Revenge. Reggie is one of the top players in the world of Echo's Revenge, and as such, he's able to kill the Echo in the game. However, their real life is not so good, with Reggie and Jeremy living with their absentee mother and their abusive step-father Asa. Reggie, being one of the top, was invited to the top players conference at the AAA Reality Games headquarters, but Asa forbids him to go, throwing the invitational letter into the fireplace. Reggie decides to go anyways, and once there, he meets all the other top gamers. After Reggie gets home from the conference, Asa discovers that he disobeyed him, and both brothers enact Operation: Thunderbolt, their plan to escape Asa and go to their dad's house in Pasadena. However, they encounter many trials along the way and end up facing their greatest fear: a real life Echo. Full of danger, Echo's Revenge: The Ultimate Game is a riveting adventure full of unexpected turns and twists.

Although being varied and having many things going on within it, Echo's Revenge: The Ultimate Game can be evaluated in three ways: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good:
Although the idea of a video game coming to life is not a new concept, Sean Austin explores it in a way previously unseen in a story, making it distinctly unique. Also, it is a relatively short read, so it can easily be read on any schedule.  And finally, it's conclusion leaves it very suspenseful, leaving the reader thirsting for more. I know that I cannot wait for the next book.

The Bad:
Although there are hidden twists and secrets behind the book, the majority of the book is extremely predictable. It can make the book a bore at times and makes it a lower level reading material.

The Ugly:
Although I understand this was an uncorrected advanced readers copy, the book is in desperate need of just a basic grammar and spell check. Mistakes are riddled all throughout the book, which makes the book a confusing read. It is not fit to be published until these mistakes are corrected.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.

Peaceweaver by Rebecca Barnhouse

Hild is the sister-daughter of King Ragnar of the Shyflings.  She was a favorite of her uncle until the day she ran across a training field, controlled by a strange instinct, to keep her cousin, the heir to the throne, from being assassinated.  In doing so, she killed her cousin's would-be murderer with a borrowed sword without realizing what she was doing until it was over.  To Hild's surprise, her uncle is not pleased to have his heir safe, but instead is furious at her deed.  His adviser, Bragi, goes so far as to say she has been possessed by evil spirits, while others murmur of the gods chosen.  Because of the doubt that this possession is for good purposes, Hild must be exiled.  Ragnar decides to marry her off to the new king of the Geats.  On her journey to the Geats, Hild meets a terrifying monster, loses her maid, and learns that the union is a ploy. Her uncle plans to attack after the wedding, when the Geats feel secure.  Hild know that when he attacks, she will not be spared.  In only a few days, Hild must find a way to be a true peaceweaver between the two kingdoms.

Hope.  That is the feeling I had when I closed this book.  Hope and determination.  Hild was so brave to endure extreme hardships: from being accused of being possessed, to being attacked by a monster and losing her maid on a journey to be a false bargaining tool.  It wasn't her choice to be possessed, and the punishment is unfair, but Hild doesn't complain.  She simply does as she is told, hoping it will all end well.  Then she arrives in the land of the Geats, which has been ravaged by a dragon.  She almost runs from the small kingdom with so little to offer but decides to stay and help the new king rebuild his country and possibly make peace with hers.  Hild must have felt hope, determination and also a certainty that this was her home now.  This story attracted me because it supposedly involved Norse Mythology.  I was disappointed to learn the author only made use of the three most common gods and goddesses, but it was still a great story.  What more can I say?  It was an amazing and extraordinary story, the kind that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.  Thank you, Rebecca Barnhouse.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Emerald Witch

Living with her Grandmother Grace in a small Irish town resides the story’s main character, Amelia. The book follows Amelia as she must abandon her human life to embrace a newfound discovery; she is the last in the line of the Emerald Witches. With her mother deceased, and her father, a dark and infamous wizard, out for her blood to complete a nefarious spell, it is Grace who must help Amelia survive and harness her new powers.  The pair is accompanied by a throng of magical defenders willing to put down their lives in order to save Amelia and stop her wicked father. Together they begin an epic adventure filled with danger, mystery, and malevolence. 
The Emerald Witch begins with Amelia, not knowing about her magical heritage, dealing with mostly normal teenage issues, mixed with strange and unexplainable happenings that become important later on.  It is at these earlier stages of the book that I became acutely aware of the skewed priorities of our heroine. Exploding principals, mysterious disappearances, unsolved murders and in Amelia’s mind, all this pales in comparison to the dreamy way an attractive guy-not the one she is dating, mind you- flips his hair.  I was infinitely grateful when the storyline moved on, and the importance of her love life diminished, replaced with the more significant details of the story. I found myself enjoying the book more and more as it continued on, getting darker and much more interesting every time a key point was revealed. The majority of the characters where unique and had their share of endearing faults, though I could point out a few that where unrealistically perfect. The plot itself seemed very original, while still keeping familiar elements used in the majority of the fantasy genre. In all, the story was enjoyable, and I don’t regret choosing this fascinating book. 
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Phillipsburg, New Jersey United States

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Mark by Jen Nadol

Cassandra Renfield didn' t know what it meant...until she followed a man and watched him die. She now knows that the strange glow she sees on individuals does not mean she' s crazy . . . it means those people are going to die. Today. Cassie knows that the mark is a remarkable predictor of the inevitable, a warning . . . which is why she feels anxious and panicked when she sees marked people and knows she can 't save them. Or can she? Seeing the mark again and again begs the question: should Cassandra tell the people she knows will die in just hours?  Can she prevent death?
Although it was not the best I' ve read, I liked this book. It has an interesting concept that I haven' t seen before in a story. Cassandra is a believable character, and the dialogue is believable as well. The writing style wasn 't my favorite, but that 's personal preference. Overall, this was a decent book. I wouldn' t recommend it to younger readers, mainly because of harsh language but for more mature readers, give it a try. The Mark is a worthwhile read.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tigard, OR USA

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

Last spring, Paige and her friends were involved in a drunk driving accident; luckily for them, it could have been a lot worse. She returns to her small town in Iowa for her senior year after having been shipped off to Paris for the summer to be an au pair. She's expecting to pick right where she left off, but things have changed. Her boyfriend is distant, her friend walks with a limp now, and Paige feels increasing pressure from her mother to look and be perfect. But when she takes a creative writing class with an inspiring teacher, Paige learns how writing can be therapeutic and uses her new found knowledge to become the person she's always wanted to be.

I really enjoyed The Princesses of Iowa, especially because it addressed a lot of concerns that teenagers have to deal with on a daily basis. This included drunk driving, friendship/boyfriend/family issues, self-image, love interests, popularity, parental/peer pressure, disabilities and gay rights/discrimination. While I was glad to see so many themes, there was almost too much going on in the book for any one point to be fully addressed and discussed.

That being said, I liked that Paige developed like a true dynamic character. She really did change for the better, and it was nice to actually be able to see that. Also, some of the supporting characters were really fun to read about, such as Shanti, Ethan, and Mr. Tremont. Since there is a lot going on, the book is a quick read, and there is never a dull moment. I liked The Princesses of Iowa a lot, but for her next book the author should use a few themes and stick with just them.
Reviewer Age: 20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Secret Circle: The Divide by L. J. Smith

Cassie and the Circle are back, and they are in even more danger than before. The Circle's loved ones and friends are slowly being marked by a witch hunter! Could the hunter be Scarlett, the suspicious new girl in town? Or is the culprit Max, the school's new jock and principal's son? To help save themselves and others, their loyalties and friendships will be tested, lines will be crossed, and lives will be lost. Who is the hunter, and will the Circle be able to stop him or her?

L. J. Smith has created another wonderful addition to The Secret Circle series. This book was filled with action, drama, and romance. This story leaves you on your toes with suspense, and I feel like I can see the book being played out in my head. Even though the story line was amazing, Smith could have cleaned up the end of the story a little better. Most likely there is going to be another in the series, and I cannot wait for it! I recommend this to all girls and lovers of the mystical.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Ice Island by Sherry Shahan

Tantum is a young teenage girl that is visiting Santa Ysabel Island (in Alaska) for a week with her mom. She loves dogsled racing and meets and befriends an Eskimo boy named Cole who also likes dogsled racing. They decide to do a trial run, but then a freak blizzard hits leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere. With half of the dogs exhausted and one dog with newly born pups, one person will have to go for help, leaving the other behind.
Ice Island was a pretty satisfying book. I like do-or-die type of books and this was a good one. The author also does a really good job describing the scenes. An example of this is on page 74 "Cole's team looked like they were swimming down the trail, snow sprayed up from his sled like a wave behind a speed boat". I recommend this for ages 10 and up. If you enjoy it then I recommend books by Gordon Korman, more specifically his Everest and Island trilogies.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Uxbridge, Mass. USA

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Nick Dunmore notices strange things happening. He sees a mysterious package that is being passed around at his school. Nicks initially thinks it is only a pirated CD, but after he gets his hands on it, he finds something much better: a computer game called Erebos. He discovers that the game is so addictive that it takes control over the gamers. The game connects with the real world, giving you seemingly mindless tasks to complete in order to level up. The puzzle pieces begin to fit together and Nick now realizes things are far bigger than he imagined, and that Erebos will stop at nothing to reach its goal. This poses a new question. What is Erebos?
I really liked this book. It gave me an inside look on the addictive power of games, and how games can be like a drug: almost impossible to stop. The players couldn't tell the difference between the game and reality. The book depicted the story in explicit detail but still left room for your imagination. It was very mysterious and the conclusion made sense. The author gives us a look inside the game while Nick is playing and shows what it takes to disconnect from Erebos without going completely insane. Although the middle dragged on a bit, the ending was more than satisfying. Now excuse me, I have to get back to my game.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, KS United States

Infamous: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon

In this book, Nick is a half-demon, half-human teenage boy who faces all of the average trouble a kid could face- doubled by the dangers of the demon world he also lives in. With a constant threat around him, he tries to cling to his values and the people he loves while his world threatens to break apart. He knows someone very close to him will betray him eventually, but this doesn't stop him from laying his life on the line for his friends. His mother means the world to him and although he is a very powerful demon, he is as meek as a puppy when her temper rises.
I liked the book as far as content and plot go. The description was vivid and it was a pleasant read. However, one thing I think the writer failed to capture was the true essence of Nick, the main character's personality. I'm not a male myself, so I can't say this with certainty, but I really doubt that an average teenage boy would see things the was Nick does. I was just pulled out of the story whenever she described her version of a typical teenager's thoughts. Although I'm not a boy, I'm around them daily and the two comparisons just didn't match up. For example, at one point Nick's mom is scolding him. He cows like a six-year-old girl and absolutely breaks down emotionally. In my opinion, there was nothing in the scolding that should have made him feel the way he did. I think the author over-dramatized the emotions of the character and it just didn't work for me. The plot was fine, with great descriptions and enough secrecy that the end wasn't a dead giveaway. The end has a cliffhanger, but not one so dramatic that it makes you want to throw the book at the wall in frustration. The only reason I didn't like this book overall was because the author failed to capture the essence of a teenage boy; a feat that I would have thought impossible for a female, non-teenaged author anyways. J.K. Rowling succeeded with Harry Potter because she was not trying to capture every thought that ran through Harry's head; she wasn't aiming to a teenage audience, either. The thoughts Rowling showed could have belonged to anyone, while in this book the author was trying too hard to put the reader right inside a teenage boy's head, not-so-secretly referenced hormonal urges and all.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Columbus, Indiana United States

Apocalypse To Go by Katherine Kerr

Apocalypse to Go by Katherine Kerr is an urban fantasy about a young woman named Nola. She is helping a secret agency, the Apocalypse Squad, by using her psychic powers. She is just on the brink of solving a mystery when she finds out that her younger brother is gone. He has gone looking for their missing father. Nola and her partner, Ari Nathan, must find Nola's brother in time to save him from a world more terrifying than either of them imagine.
I did not enjoy Apocalypse to Go. I thought is was not well written at all. The overall concept is a good one, but I feel that the author could have gone so much further with it. I thought the descriptions of things, while vivid in some points, tended to drag on. On the other hand, I think the author did do a good job in establishing the relationships between characters. I really felt as if i understood how Nola felt about everyone in the story.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, OH United States

Roland Wright: Brand New Page by Tony Davis

When Roland's father makes a suit of armor that saves the king's life, the king allows 1 of his sons to become a page, which the first step in becoming a knight. But once Roland gets to the castle, he realizes it isn't so great. The queen won't even let Roland's pet mouse stay! And there's a mean older page that hates kids like Roland. Ho will he get through this?
The book was pretty good, but very short. The type face was big, and the book had many pictures, so it was a short story, most likely meant for younger kids. The plot was good though, so I did like it. The story had more detail than you may expect because the book is so short. The author did a great job making a short but thorough novel.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Baltimore, Maryland USA

Book Title: The Flying Beaver Brothers and The Evil Penguin Plan by Maxwell Eaton III

This book was about two beavers that helped the island from being a frozen resort. Just before the day of the beaver surfing contest, was when the penguins devised to turn the island into the frozen resort. This machine of the penguins seemed to be invincible, but can the two heroic beavers even be able to solve this problem? The climax is as surprising as the end, and is you to see what happens!
The Flying Beaver Brothers And The Evil Penguin Plan was a book that did not appeal to me. Although I thought it would. So when I read the book I knew it was for someone of younger age. My eight year old brother was amused and enjoyed the book. I would recommend this book for anyone still in elementary school, and I found this book also very predictable.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sterling, Virginia USA

A Smile of Fortune (eBook) by Adam Kisiel

This book is about a bard who is traveling to his family member's funeral and gets caught up in a life or death situation. The Man starts on his way to Romarillan, the city where his uncle's funeral will be held, when he meets a Halfling. This is where his story begins. When they get to the city, the bard gets stuck in a situation where he is in debt to an inn and the only way to pay is through thievery from a friend. The bard steals a ring that turns out to be a powerful wizard artifact, the ring of air. The bard when to a store to sell the ring so he could get money to repay his debt. He got home with all the money he needed, but instead of a debt collector, he found men wreathed in black robes waiting to kidnap him. He is put in a life or death situation in a fight for the rings. The ring is nowhere to be found, so the assailants are struck at by the captured and are forced to flee with he rings they already have, fire, water, and earth. Then the end of the book arrives, where they all the friends are reunited and thieves are on the loose with three rings of immense power.
A Smile of Fortune was a very creative book dealing with lots of interesting characters and a bit of a confusing plot. I didn't understand the moral of the story or why the author created the story. There was little rhyme or pattern to the plot, so the story made little sense. In the beginning, when the bard meets the Halfling and the Halfling gets put in jail, he leaves him there, if they were friends, then why would he leave him there. That made no sense to me. The book had several editing problems and no order to the story.  Personally, I didn't like the book and would rather the story had been explained better, the characters introduced more completely, and the story continued so you could learn what happens to the magic rings stolen by a thief and so the readers could learn more about the characters backgrounds.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: charlotte, North Carolina United States

I, Dwayne Kebler by James Connor

The book I, Dwayne Kebler is about a young boy in high school. Dwayne's mother is pregnant and quit her job, so Dwayne and his brother Reggie have to find jobs to help support the family. One day Dwayne runs into a paperboy who tells him there are plenty of streets open. When Dwayne gets the job, he finds that one street is not enough to fit the budget for the family. Dwayne's father makes Reggie sign up for another street although Dwayne is actually going to deliver to both streets. The 2nd road Dwayne is delivering to was named suicide seventeen by his fellow paperboys. Dwayne soon discovers why because on his second day of delivering, he gets robbed and ends up with a broken tooth. Dwayne's father wants the newspaper to give him an insurance claim since Dwayne got hurt but the company doesn't give him one, so Dwayne quits the job.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was the perspective. Reading the book from Dwayne's perspective was very interesting because his view was very unique and he used slang terms which was very amusing. Although when I read the ending, I felt that it was not very good. In the end, Dwayne's father just tells him to get a new job and the book ends. I also thought that the plot of the whole story was pretty bad because all that happens is Dwayne gets a job, he stops doing his old job, and looks to find a new job. I also think that the vocabulary is not very age appropriate because all of the characters use cuss words very often in the book. Comparing to other realistic fiction books, I think that this book is not very good. I think this because it was very cut and dry and was not as interesting as other realistic fiction books I have read. I think the author could have added more appealing things in the story other than his job, like maybe more details about his family like whether his mother even had a baby, or even if he found a new job. Another thing I did enjoy about the book was it was very realistic. This book was all about Dwayne helping his family survive and to do that he had to earn money. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book to other people because I didn't really like the plot of the story and it was not very interesting.
All characters cussed many times throughout the book.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, Illinois USA

Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch

In the book, Alien Proliferation, there was action and romance. In the beginning, the main character Kitty, was in a lot of pain. That was because she was having a baby. She is tired of sitting around and doing nothing. So after she has it, she is relieved. She can go on missions! But will the baby restrict her? Read this action and romance novel to find out!

I loved Alien Proliferation. It was dull at some parts, but I adored the rest. The description of everything was amazing. I could see parts of the book very clearly. Gini Koch did an amazing job writing the book. I would recommend this book to any action and/or romance lover.
I gave this book a 3 because there was language that younger kids starting to read novels shouldn t read
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Whitinsville, Masachusetts United States of America