Thursday, October 30, 2008

Against The Tide by Hope Irvin Marston

This book is an inspirational story about a brave-hearted young lady. Based on a true story, you follow along with young Margaret as she is torn between her family and religion. She lives in a time of dragoons, kirks, unfair laws, and religious restrictions in 17th century Scotland. She is empowered to stay faithful to God but her life is threatened. With her true love and brothers off in hiding and her faith as strong as ever, will she do the unthinkable and run away with her younger siblings, or stay to keep her family safe? If she does leave, will she be caught?

Since the book was based on a true story it was more powerful. Margaret was very inspirational. I don't know how many girls could do what she did. I would recommend this to anyone would has just started reading historical fiction as well as those who have always loved historical fiction. This was not the most well written book but it was definitely a good book.

It has a few violent and disturbing thoughts and actions.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Germantown, TN United States

Rating: 10

Content Rating: 3

The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap

Maria Theresa lives in a place of murder and love otherwise
known as 18th-century Vienna. Her father turns up dead on
Christmas Eve, and the event does not help her pregnant
mother, little brother, or herself in any way. Theresa
finds a clue to her father's death when she notices the
gold pendant on his neck. Her friend Zolt£n and godfather
Haydn help her overcome her struggle and sadness, and also
teach her about the secret life of her father. Meanwhile,
Theresa is learning more and more about her shifty uncle
and some interesting gypsies. Who exactly murdered her
musical father, and what role do they play in society?

An interesting mix of mystery, music, and romance is found in
The Musician's Daughter. The mixture of these genres
ensures that all kinds of readers will remain interested in
the book. I didn't particularly care for the musical aspect
of the story. However, the characters and plot were
interesting. A strength of the book is the multitude of
characters. However, after a while, I would forget which
characters were related and who was who. While it was a
good book, I didn't find myself always wanting to read it.
I recommend this book to readers interested in music and

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Seems: The Split Second by John Hulme & Michael Wexler

The Seems: the Split Second is the sequel to the book The
Seems: the Glitch in Sleep. This is a fantasy book in
which two brave young people go on a Mission to Fix what
happened because of a Time Bomb, a bomb that can destroy
Time on earth. Fixer Becker Drane and Briefer Shan Mei-Lin
travel through other peoples Frozen Moments, moments people
will never forget, that are melting. When Fixer Drane
arrives at his own Frozen moment, he and Briefer Shan get
separated. From there, the story takes an exciting turn.
Whether it is broken Split Seconds or snow filled
landscapes, this story is sure to keep you turning the

This book is like no other. Even though it is not
a Harry Potter-type fantasy, it is a good book for fantasy
lovers. The beginning is a little slow, but once the ride
starts up, it doesn't slow down. When I got the book, The
Seems: the Split Second I tried to read the first chapter,
but it was very confusing. I went back and read the first
book and then it all made sense. I strongly suggest reading
the first book, The Seems: the Glitch in Sleep, first, like
I did.

Content Rating: 1
Rating: 9
Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Harleysville, PA USA

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trouble My Way

Karis Reed tries hard to be a godly person. She doesn't
mean to get into trouble; trouble seems to find her. When
Karis is busted for being at a boy's house unsupervised,
her mother takes away all of her electronics and grounds
her. Karis feels unjustly punished, and decides to take
matters into her own hands. Behind her mother's back,
Karis borrows her friend's cell phone which ends up being
a disaster and gets her into even more trouble. Will Karis
and her mother ever be able to get along? And can Karis
start acting like the good person she knows she is inside?

This book was okay. It was the author's first attempt
at writing young adult fiction and the writing showed her
inexperience. The premise of the story was good, but the
plot could use some doctoring. Parts of this book were
unrealistic and characters reacted to events differently
than what normally would be expected. Despite this, I
could tell that Karis was a good person even though she
got into all kinds of shenanigans, which is what the
author wanted to achieve. There were even some funny
moments that made me laugh. All in all, a good read that
could have been better with some more TLC.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Miley Cyrus by Brittany Kent

Miley Cyrus’s secrets and personal past, celebrity lifestyle, and much more, are revealed to you. With the help of this book, the reader ventures deeply into Miley’s world. This magazine style scrapbook is simple to read, yet informative. It is chock-full of photographs, fun facts, quotes, quizzes, and everything you ever wanted to know about Miley’s life.

This book served its purpose by presenting many surprising and interesting facts about Miley. I enjoyed the good advice on friendships and fashion, but was never truly engrossed in the hodgepodge of interview quotes. In my opinion, a complete interview might have been a better format. This book may best suit some of Miley’s super fans looking for the dish on their favorite star, but is not for her occasional admirers.

Reviewer Age:10

Reviewer City, State and Country: Cockeysville, MD USA

Friday, October 24, 2008

Book One of the Iron Elves: Darkness Forged in Fire

Konowa Swiftdragon is not your average elf; he was marked by the evil Shadow Monarch, was commander of the Iron Elves (a special branch of Her Majesty’s Military), killed a viceroy, and had his beloved Regiment disbanded. After his court-martial for killing the viceroy, Konowa was sent to the one place he hates the most, the forest. Now Konowa is called upon to reform the Iron Elves, but only as the second-in-command. However, the new Iron Elves are not his regiment from before. A legendary, magical Red Star falls from the sky and Konowa and the Iron Elves are in a race against several opponents to reach it first. If they fail to claim the Red Star, the empire may be doomed.

A Darkness Forged in Fire is a witty and tantalizing tale. I absolutely loved it! The characters are thought out and written well. The mood of the story changed depending on the situation; it was sarcastic and funny, but serious whenever the plot dictated. The main points of the story are well laid out and understandable. The text was very descriptive and enjoyable to read. This was an amazing read!

Sexual references and killing.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, PA USA

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Ever is sixteen and has been in an accident, where her family dies. After this tragic experence, Ever goes to live with her aunt and is presented with a new life. Most people would love it, but Ever just wants her life to be back to normal. Since the accident she can hear people's thoughts, see auras and know a person's life story by one small touch. Not only that, she can see her dead sister. Then Damen comes along and seems to be the cure to her weird gifts, yet there is something different about him.

I thought this book was very good! The author creates a great picture of each and every character in the book. I am a fan of the twlight series and I recommend this book to those who like the series as well. It is a very quick read, with all the interesting twist and turns in this book.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, PA USA

Need by Carrie Jones

Pixies have uncontrollable needs, and now one is stalking
Zara. Her step-father has just died, and she is living
with her step-grandma in Maine. At her high school, she
meets several friends: Issie, Devyn, and Nick. As she
learns more about them she also learns more about herself
and her phobias. As Zara gets accustomed to one fear, she
gains reason to add another to her fickle list. New
characters become involved frequently as Zara learns more
and more about the horrible nature of pixies. Who exactly
is after her, and what does he want from her?

Need was an exciting book to read because of the use of suspense.
The plot has great use of details and irony. This keeps
the reader interested and willing to continue reading. The
characters are not necessarily round, but they do display
significant traits that differentiate them from each
other. In the beginning of each chapter, it is named with
a phobia. I thought this was unique, but after a while it
didn't interest me and I stopped bothering to read them.
The resolution of the book was definitely worthy of
praise, and I loved the action that the climax had built.
This is a great book for suspense and romance lovers to

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Ancient Forces

Ancient Forces is another collection of Bill Myers exceptional stories from the Forbidden Doors series. This one includes books 10-The Ancients, 11-The Wiccan, and 12-The Cards.
The Ancients - Becka and Scott have been sent on another mission by their mysterious friend Z. This time to the mountains of New Mexico where a Native American cult has been greatly mislead in their teachings of religion. It is not only the Natives who are in trouble here though. When Scott is led astray by these new ideas, they are all placed in great danger.
The Wiccan - There is this new show on TV that everyone is watching called ”The Hex”. It has a lot to do with a type of witchcraft called Wiccan. But it's just a TV show, so everybody knows those things aren't real, right? Sarina, the star of the show, has been promoting this witchcraft as a type of healing practice and many of Becca's friends are captivated by it. Can she stop them before they get in too deep? Can she reach out to Sarina and show her truth?
The Cards - Philip, a close friend of Rebecca, has been going through a trying time in his life. Overwhelmed with stress, he turns to the tarot cards for a bit of insight into the future. But what do they really offer?

Once again I was very pleased with Bill Myers' book. Each story addressed a different way that demons may try to trick you into turning away from God. It reminded me to stay strong in my faith and not to be too open to new ideas. On a more critical note, however, I did not enjoy this collection nearly as much as the last one I reviewed, Invisible Terror. It was not as exciting for me, but that may just be personal opinion.
If you are interested in discussing or learning more about the Forbidden Doors series I highly suggest checking out this page:
Forbidden Doors
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin USA

Cry of the Wolf by Rachel Roberts

Adriane has always shared a special bond with the
mistwolf Stormbringer. So when Storm finds out that she is
not the last of her kind and follows them to another
world, Adriane is determined to find the pack. Then she
finds that the Dark Sorceress has captured them. When she
meets an unexpected friend, they work together to free the
animals. But what is the mysterious rock that has been
following them around.

I was surprised that I still
understood most things without reading the second book in
the series. This book really describes where these sick
animals are coming from. I liked how the author had a
subplot including the mistwolves and the only other human
on Aldenmor. The book also explains how there is a safe
place, which is why not all of the animals on Aldenmoor
are infected with disease. I thought this was a good third
book in the series.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Exeter , New Hampshire US

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Isabelle's Boyfriend by Caroline Hickey

Taryn's mom is recently divorced and she replaced her husband with a dog!!! Her mom treats the dog better then Taryn, her own daughter. But that is just one of the problems that Taryn has to face. Taryn goes to an all-girl's school and she is not the most popular girl on the block. Taryn is taking her dog for a walk when she runs into the boy of her dreams. The down side is his girlfriend is the most popular girl at her school, Isabelle Graham. As Taryn schemes to take Isabelle's boyfriend, she ends up being friends with Isabelle. Taryn is now popular and goes to all the parties, and she likes her new life. So she is faced with the decision of her new life or the boy. Which will she choose?

This book never grabbed my attention at all. It was definitely not what I was expecting. The book had no climax and the author just kept going on about a certain plot point. Then it felt like she was rushing at the end of the book. The book wasn't completely boring, I was able to sit through it, but I would not recommend this book to others. It is a quick read; I read it in one day. The ending didn't really do much for me; it summed it up, but it just sort of felt like it should have ended differently.

Reviewer Age: 13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, Ohio United States

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scene of the Crime by Malcom Rose

Do you watch in CSI? Well, it's a great inside look at how forensic scientists figure out who commited a crime. The pictures are very colorful and detailed and easy to read. The book goes step by step to uncover the truth of how the murder happened. There are interesting facts along the way as well as indepth descriptions of what the investigation entails. You don't just read it, you discover who commited the crime yourself!
My opinion of this book was great. It wasn't what I expected for my first book but it was really interesting. The pictures help make the investigation real and exciting. The explaination of the book is very well done and descripive. It was very awesome!

The book has violence in it and isn't appropriate for children.

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Newville, Pennsylvanis United States

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

It's Shakespeare's classic story of Macbeth, with lines untouched. The story begins with the king learning of Macbeth's fearless fighting on the battlefield. The king, it appears, is so impressed he decides to reward Macbeth in some way. Shift to Macbeth, our tragic hero, who has no lofty ambitions until he comes across the three weird sisters who inform him that he is to become Dane, and foretell his becoming a powerful king. Macbeth is skeptical at first but when he learns the king has indeed appointed him to such a position he begins to lust for even more power. Soon, he has vaulted down a road of obsession, greed, and guilt a combination that has nasty consequences. But how far is too far? Shakespeare's play goes on to explore the ideas of fate, the power of suggestion, and Machiavellian politics, in a truly emotional story that will grip you from the start.
I can't really say anything against Shakespeare's storytelling prowess. The graphic novel aspect of Classic Comics version of Macbeth made it much simpler to understand the more difficult parts of the play. It really is the best of both worlds: readers get to experience the integrity of Shakespeare's original text while getting the extra help of the graphics to better grasp the nuances of the play. The lines suddenly jump out with a vivacity that wouldn't otherwise be possible; they come alive. The comics helped make the play more understandable and thus more enjoyable without altering the lines. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to explore Shakespeare, but is too afraid to tackle the challenges of Elizabethan English alone.

The play addressed some darker aspects of human nature...including murdering for the sake of personal gain. Additionally, to portray such things the comics showed some graphic pictures of violence, that younger children might feel squeamish seeing. Finally, Elizabethan english is difficult to understand, especially for younger kids.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Bellevue, WA USA

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Youngest Templar by Michael Spradlin

Tristan of St. Alban's has always lived his life with the monks. Now, he is being whisked away as Sir Thomas's squire. The Saracens are trying to conquer the Holy Land, and Tristan has been pushed into the conflict. Soon he meets a possible traitor within the Knights Templar and is entrusted with the most sacred relic in all Christendom. Tristan leaves Sir Thomas behind as he runs to deliver the relic to safety. His new allies, Robard Hode and a female assassin, help him remain alive and able to continue his quest. Can Tristan make it to safety with the Holy Grail?

By reading the summary of The Youngest Templar I knew it would be about the Crusades. However, I did not expect to read an extremely provoking, fiction story. While the beginning is slightly slow, the additions in plot move swiftly and beneficially in exciting the reader. The vocabulary was perfect for the young adult age group. Also, the character's personalities were intriguing, and the context clues made me want to know more about Tristan. On the downside, many conflicts were left untold and I will have to wait until the second book comes out to find more information.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Rating: 7
Content Rating: 1

The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Anne Kogler

Fern has always been different. She knows this, and her family knows this. What she DOESN'T know is that she is not really human. She's a vampire, an "Otherworldy." The kids at school pick on her, with the exception of her brother and another vampire, and one of the popular girls. Together, the three children set out to discover the truth about Fern.

I loved this book to pieces! The author wrote the story so that it almost seemed like you were there, watching it unfold. The author made the characters very believable, and I loved all the main ones. I think that the story was wrapped up quite nicely, though there was room enough for a sequel, if desired. The vocabulary used was appropriate for middle school and up, though some elementary school kids would understand and enjoy the book as well. This book is different from other vampire books I've read, because the author took the term vampire and completely redefined it. I loved this book, and begged my library to get a copy so that others could enjoy it as well.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Highland, MI USA

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Floating Circus by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

The Floating Circus by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer tells the story of Owen, a 12-year-old orphan in 19th century Pittsburgh, PA. As the book opens, Owen seriously damages his arm falling out a tree at the orphanage where he and younger brother, Zack, live. Within weeks, they are herded onto a train with dozens of other orphans being sent out West to be adopted. The boys have to give up their dream that their penniless mother and alcoholic father will reclaim them, but they still hope to be placed together. Although they are accompanied by two elderly Quaker sisters who dote on them, Owen fears that his useless arm will prevent anyone from adopting him. Not wanting to hurt Zack's chances for a new family, he runs away. He ends up on one of the 'floating' circus boats on the Mississippi River, after being saved from drowning by Solomon, a former slave who has bought his freedom, but is still subject to a multitude of indignities. Although Owen works with many animals, the elephants really capture his fancy. This book relates the adventures of a young boy trying to find his own niche in the world, and also discovering the tough reality that African Americans faced in 19th century America.

Although historical fiction is not my favorite genre, this book had a relatively interesting story line, with the intriguing theme of trying to find your place in the world. Even though I was interested in Owen, and the descriptions of circus life were fascinating, the main reason that I kept reading the book was to find out what happens to Solomon, a free African American, and former slave. Solomon reveals that he has made terrible mistakes in the past, but he is goodhearted and tries to protect Owen as well as the circus animals from cruel treatment. The author's research is impressive, and her writing is clear, but there were so many subplots--including one involving the Greenes, a circus family whose son Caleb befriends Owen, and also features a depressed mother, and a beautiful, snooty daughter. The ending was disappointing for me as it left too many loose ends hanging, particularly Solomon's fate. I usually read a book in a few hours or days, but this book took weeks to get through as it rambled along and did not hold my attention very well. Even though this book is not at the top of my list I would still recommend it to readers between 9 and 14, especially if they like historical fiction, or are curious about circus life.
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hingham, MA USA

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Name is Number 4 by Ting-xing Ye

In a time where what your parents did defines who you are, Ting-xing Ye is growing up. As the Cultural Revolution evolves and changes from white to black, Ye is trying to go to school and become smart enough to go to a University like her brother. That is the only way for her to become independent of welfare and live a better life then what she has. But when Ting-xing Ye is sent to a prison farm so her sister can get a job, not only has it become a much more difficult struggle to survive, but also it means the chances of her going to a University are getting thinner and thinner. Injuries and sickness plague the farm, but will Ting-xing be able to survive and overcome, and eventually be able to achieve her dreams?

Wow. Wow and amazingly good. That's really all I can say about this book. For this author to be able to go through what she did and then write about it is truly amazing to me. My Name is Number Four is a shockingly true poetic novel that will have every single person who opens the book unable to put it down. Not only is this book surprisingly easy to fallow, it also educates the reader about the Chinese Cultural Revolution without being boring or sounding to much like a homework assignment. My Name is Number Four may be one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona USA

The Golden Path by Anson Montgomery

In the book The Golden Path by Anson Montgomery you get to decide your own destiny. You and your two friends, Dresdale and Peter, spend the summer on an internship at an archaeological and geological expedition run by your parents in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. You and your friends are exploring off the trails when you find an unusual pottery shard. You start researching it and decide to use it as a project for school. The next thing you know your parents are missing, some guy is accusing you of stealing the pottery shard and you're getting expelled from school. You have no choice but to find your parents and save the day. It's up to you to be the hero in this adventure.
I thought the Golden Path was a good book. I thought the beginning was slow, but the more I got into the book, the harder it was to put down. I thought it was a great idea to let the reader choose the decisions the character made and how the book was left with multiple endings. One of the strengths in this book is how it draws the reader's attention further and further into the story. I think a weakness in this book are some parts where the reader gets to decide what happens to the character, I think it becomes more confusing, like where the character can die. You have to find the place where you went wrong and re-read it and make another decision of what to do. I found myself trying to remember my page number or writing it down so I could just go back to that page if I made a mistake. I thought the ending in this book was okay. It left me with many questions but just enough answers to buy the next volume book and read on. I would recommend this book to anyone who is tired of reading the same types of books and wants to try something new.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon United States

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Miracle Girls

The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt tells
the story of 14 year-old Ana Dominguez. Ana has just moved
from San Jose, California to the nearby small town Half
Moon Bay. A few weeks after she starts her freshman year
of high school in this new town, Ana lands herself and
another girl, Riley McGee, in detention after accusing
Riley of cheating on a pop quiz. While there, the teens in
detention are required to write an essay entitled "The Day
My Life Changed" and are then divided into groups of four
to whom they must read their essays. Ana is paired up with
Riley and two other girls, Christine and Zoe. After each
girl reads her essay, they all realize that the four of
them each would have died years ago, but each was saved by
a miracle. Ana and Zoe team up and try to befriend the
other two "miracle girls" and in the end the four
experience adventures that can only be experience with a
true friend.

This book was an exciting, heartwarming page-
turner. The Authors have successfully written an
intriguing story for teens and preteens. The story is both
slightly foreseeable while also being reasonably
unpredictable. The details are vivid enough to let you
easily picture the settings of the story. Also, the
characters are very much real to life. The Miracle Girls
is an excellent book that I would recommend to any teenager
especially girls.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City,State and Country: Marble Hill, Missouri, USA


This book is based in China and it is about twin sisters name Hana-Chan and Ageha. When they were little Ageha went to live with her grandmother in the country and Hana-Chan stayed with their parents in the city. Ageha came back to the city when her grandmother became ill. Hana-Chan and Ageha turned into completely different people even though they were twins. Ageha ended up working with her childhood friend but doesn't ever say anything to him because she is in love with him until one day he realizes who she is. She and her twin sister, Hana-Chan, end up competing for young Ryusei Koike. Along the way friendships are gained and lost and Ageha becomes friends with someone unusual who gives her a lot of helpful advice.

I loved the book Papillon because it was very descriptive of what an everyday life of a teenager would be like if they thought they were in love. I would definitely recommend this book to kids of mature age and good moral standings. It has some graphic details and vivid pictures so some parents may not approve of the children reading it. This book provides real-to-life situations and is very true to what love is like and what happens in relationships. I would definitely recommend this book and trust me you won't be able to put it down once you start to read it.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri United States of America

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Endless Quest by Bruce Algozin

This book is a great and adventurous story where you make the decisions of what to do. In the book, you are a halfling that goes by the name of Tammery Blackfoot, a quiet and peaceful person. However, behind this disguise, you are the Night Shadow, the only one who can stand up against the evil Blue Hag! And when your friend, Clarion the Pegasus, is captured by the Blue Hag, you immediately go out on a quest to find her, with some help from your friends. If you make the right decisions, you get closer every step you take, and will eventually find and save Clarion. But if you make one bad move, the Blue Hag will catch you, Clarion will certainly die, and it will be The End!

In my opinion, this book was exciting, but it lacked some crucial parts to it. The idea was a great one and I liked how the author set it up in the beginning. But, once the group got inside the castle, the choices you could make seemed obvious and boring. I did not think this was a very suspenseful book, and at some parts, I had wanted to close the book and give it up. Also, I felt that the story was short and not well described. However, I did like that one wrong turn could lead you the defeat or victory. This is my opinion of the book, Endless Quest 2: Search for the Pegasus

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Baltimore, Maryland United States of America

Rating: 4

Content Rating: 1

Time's Chariot

This novel is science fiction, action, mystery, and
historical. Its purpose is to entertain. This story is
set in future period called the Home Time. In the Home
Time, it is possible to travel back in time as long as one
is careful not to upset the history of the world. If
history is drastically altered, the time stream will split
and many more people will be created. The main problem
with the Home Time is that it will end in twenty-seven
years and it will no longer be possible to travel through
time. Two field agents, Rico and Su, that escort groups
back in time are swept into a plot involving a murder,
time paradoxes, and dangerous contact with the people of
the past by people at the highest levels of Home Time
society. While seeking the truth, Rico and Su are sent
through time, threatened, and held captive by their Home
Time foes and powerful historical figures. Though the
characters in the book travel through history, the book is
more science fiction and adventure than historical or

I found this novel very entertaining and
exciting. I read lots of science fiction books and many
contain time paradoxes or time travel, but this one was
unique. It was for a young adult, though not childish,
and more general audience, rather than most science
fiction books that are written for adult science fiction
fans. It was cleaner and less focused on hard science
fiction. The flawed futuristic society is not the focus
of the novel, but it does provide room for thought about
how much people should be controlled. The different
periods of time and alternate histories were enjoyable, as
were the straightforward main characters. There was
enough mystery and intrigue to keep me guessing, but I was
never too confused or lost. The ending has unpredictable
and exciting plot twists. The book is a short and easy
but thoroughly worthwhile read.

There are a few
instances of language and violence.


Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA
United States

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Writing On The Wall by Wendy Lichtman

When eighth grader Tess looks at the back wall on the church across from her school, she notices something that she's never noticed before: about twenty bright green fours. Her friend gives her the idea that maybe, just maybe, the fours mean something. With this in mind, and being the math whiz that she is, Tess decides that maybe they are a fours four problem (a type of math problem) and decides to figure it out and look for a pattern or a code. Throughout the next few days, she gets help with the problem from her friends and a boy that she really likes, who keeps waiting for her after her school clubs. Does that mean that he likes her too, and if so, will they be able to take their relationship to the next level? Will she ever be able to stop the harassment from Richard, a classmate, who is cruel to her because she was going to tattle on him for stealing the answers to the U.S. Constitution exam? Also, will she ever find out what the problem means? Find out by reading Writing on the Wall.

This story was ok, but I thought that it was written for younger kids because the vocabulary was very simple and it didn't possess a very complicated or interesting plot. Since I'm almost fifteen, I thought the book was rather boring and didn't hold my attention for very long. It was an extremely quick read and it only took a few days to finish. The story seems like it should be for kids ages 9-12 but some of the things included like the eight grade math problems make this story seem like it was written for younger teens around 13. I learned a lot of interesting math facts and formulas, which is definitely useful when it comes to getting good grades in Algebra. Overall, this was an ok book, and I recommend it to younger pre-teen girls.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, Pennsylvania United States

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Snake Prince of Montreal by Aliana K. Deveza

Agatha and Lucille are best friends. Lester and Prince Aaron are best friends. Lester likes Lucille who likes Aaron who likes Agatha who likes Aaron. Aaron and Agatha marry, making Lucille angry. So she runs off to her aunt (a black witch) and learns dark magic to plan revenge on Agatha. On the day of their wedding, Lucille shows up out of nowhere and curses Agatha's unborn son. Every full moon, he will turn into a snake! Will he ever break the curse?

This book felt like a Dick and Jane book: I felt like the sentences were very choppy and did not flow well. That was before I read the About the Author section. Turns out it is very good for her age - she is only 11! It had a very good storyline but I think the author could have given more detail. It was a cliffhanger ending, so I am going to have to locate the second book!

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Oregon United States

Escape the Mask by David Ward

Escape the Mask is an action-filled novel that tells the story of a young girl named Pippa and a young boy named Coriko. These characters were captured and enslaved when they were no older than ten by soldiers called Spears. Spears seem especially frightening because of the fact that they wear masks, and they are never seen without them. Coriko and Pippa have been put to work in the Spears' special labor camp, digging up shards. Every day, they work in the sun, digging up baskets of shards. One day, however, Coriko and Pippa meet up with two newcomers, fellow diggers Bran and Tia. Then everything falls apart. Pippa begins to realize that something is out of place . . . the Spears seem awfully nervous about something. But no one can discover what! The story continues to unfold with an adventure of daring acts and an attempted escape. To find out more, read Escape the Mask!

My favorite part of Escape the Mask is when the four children (Coriko, Pippa, Bran, and Tia) work together to carry out their escape attempt. I think the story teaches a great lesson about cooperation, without making it seem like an actual "lesson." I liked the way the kids in the story developed relationships with each other in spite of the hardships they were going through. I would recommend this book to kids ages 12 to 15. It was a wonderfully exciting story filled with action and love and conflict -- very entertaining.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Saugerties, New York USA

Discovering Pig Magic

The book, Discovering Pig Magic, is about Matilda, a young girl, who along with her two best friends (Nikki and Ariel) discovers how hard growing up is when you are thirteen years old. Ariel has a dream to be just like Rachel Ray and follow in her footsteps. Nikki finds that it is hard to trust her parents after she finds out the big secret. Matilda started loving pigs at the age of six when her aunt gave her very first pig keychain. Now her thirteenth birthday is coming, and she hates pigs. Her dilemma is: should she tell her parents she hates pigs or risk receiving more pig presents. She keeps telling herself she can do it. The solution to all the girls’ problems is to get a magic book to make all their problems go away. However, they quickly find that to make a problem go away you must change what you do. For example, to get Matilda’s problem to go away she must tell her parents she hates pigs.

This book was fun to read. I would recommend it to anyone. It was well written. Julie Crabtree is an amazing author who held my interest and I could not put the book down. I even received approval from my 6th grade teacher to review the book for a report. I am hoping for an A+. My teacher thought it was perfect challenge for young readers.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Germantown, Tennessee United States

Julie Crabtree

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kurt Cobain: Oh Well, Whatever, Never Mind by Jeff Burlingame

Kurt Cobain. A name that, if you didn't know, you would never forget after hearing one Nirvana song. “Kurt Cobain: Oh well, Whatever, Never mind," by Jeff Burlingame, is a narrative about a boy who was not your typical boy of the seventies or eighties. He certainly wasn't your typical man of the nineties, and he didn't come from your typical family. This biography gives little known details about Cobain's rise to fame (which for the most part he did not want) to his not so shocking death. In the story, Cobain appears to be a good man (and child) who got lost. As a child, he never seemed to fit in, to which many young adults can relate. Cobain was a bit like an extra in a movie; he was just there. Kurt Cobain never really learned how to deal with a bad situation; maybe bashing instruments was his way of doing so. He was a bit misunderstood (like most) and a lost soul (seen frequently in society in today). Cobain walked to the beat of his own drum, or in his case the strum of his own guitar.

Although you can only capture a person's essence (especially one like Kurt Cobain’s) to a certain extent, Jeff Burlingame did an astounding job summing up Kurt's life in 134 pages. I would recommend this book to fans of Nirvana, Musical rebels, Kurt Cobain fans, and anyone who enjoys reading about celebrities or tragic stories.

Reviewer Age:15

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

Between Golden Jaws by Tiffany Trent

After their adventure in Scotland, Corrine and her friends hurry off to London to try to find the next Rathstone, which can help them regain Hallowmere. On the long trip there, while trying to fight off the evil Captain, Corrine is surprised to find that her magical powers are bound, which causes her to be little help to Council. With that in mind, the Council needs all the help they can get and requests that her two friends and Siobhan join in on searching for information that can help find the whereabouts of the next Rathstone; they all agree to it. Throughout the next few weeks, many evil forces are working which puts Corrine and all of her friends in danger. When a report of two missing girls arrive, Corrine and Ilona go in pursuit of them, which leads them into a trap set by the Captain and The Dark Fey Prince. He makes Corrine a deal that he knows she'll accept: Become his lovely consort and he won't harm her beloved friends and Father Joe. As the day comes to complete the deal, will Corrine go through with her promise or will she find another way to escape the wicked arms of the scheming Prince?

Between Golden Jaws was a great book full of mystery and intrigue. I was kept on my toes guessing the whole time what would happen next to Corrine. While I was reading this book I was puzzled at how Corrine could possibly get out of the muddle she got herself into. This third Hallowmere novel also managed to reach my high expectations that were set by the excellence of the first two novels. I'm looking forward to reading the fourth book in the series, Maiden of the Wolf, to find out what problems and situations Corrine will find herself in next.

Reviewer Age:8

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Night I freed John Brown by John Michael Cummings

Ever since the Richmonds have moved in to the historical
town of Harpers Ferry, young Josh knows he has to
investigate further into an old family secret. The
Richmond's house is a five-story Victorian house, with a
Catholic church built in. The twist is that Josh's
grandmother's house is the exact structure, except it's
hidden by the woods. Josh shows his new neighbor, Luke, the
abandoned house in the woods, and describes the woeful
event that occurred in Josh's grandmother's house. Years
before, someone stole everything from the house and the
church; from the napkins to the bell. Ever since, the house
has been abandoned. A wax figure of John Brown, a
historical abolitionist, overlooks Josh's house. Could he
be the one causing all the bickering in Josh Conner's
house? What about Father Ron, the mysterious pastor? And
can Josh and his brothers solve the mystery of the
Victorian house in the woods before time runs out?

I liked the book. Considering that this is Michael
Cummings's first novel, The Night I Freed John Brown was
great. In the beginning, the story seemed monotonous. It
took me awhile to finally catch on to the book's action.
The story was very easy to predict, although the first
chapter leads you astray, making you think that this was
going to be a ghost story, not realistic fiction. I liked
the parts that held suspense, and the sudden change of
character each person displayed. Overall, The Night I Freed
John Brown was a great book.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Osseo, Wisconsin United States

Monday, October 06, 2008

Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go

When Milton Fauster goes to the mall with his juvenile delinquent sister Marlo, he doesn't expect to be tricked into shoplifting and he certainly doesn't expect to die in a tragic marshmallow accident. But perhaps the most unexpected thing is Dale E. Basye's bizarre twist on the usual concepts of heaven and hell. Once dead, Milton and Marlo enter Heck, one of the many levels of the afterlife where they are to stay for all eternity, or until they turn eighteen. In the school-like institution, the Fauster children encounter a wide variety of characters from Captain Blackbeard to Mrs. Bea Elsa Bubb, the principal of Heck. Convinced that he doesn't belong in there, Milton along with his sister and their new friend Virgil must navigate the timeless realms of the afterlife to seek a way back to their world.

This book was excellent. The humor found within this novel with its witty observations and clever word play will appeal to young adults and even to their parents. In fact, it would be hard to find someone who doesn't enjoy the nonsensical logic of Heck and the dead men and women who make up the faculty there. The combination of humor and emotion that Dale E. Basye uses to tell this tale is one that will hold you captive until the last page. The only complaint I could possibly give was that it could have been even longer. In conclusion, this amusing and touching story which is about growing up as much as it is about dying, is an excellent choice for readers both young and old.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA United States

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Immortal Prince

The story takes place in the land of Glaeba where a murderer is hung but does not die. He is thrown into prison and claims to be Cayal, the Immortal Prince, of tales. Arkady Desean the duchess of Lebec, where the hanging occurred, is asked to interview the prisoner and try to break his story. With the help of a Crasii, a human/animal hybrid that is in a nearby cell, the duchess tests Cayal’s story. The duchess slowly begins to believe the story and begins to fall for Cayal at the same time. But as the long vanished Tide starts to return so does the power of the Tide Lords, the immortal magic wielding gods of stories. As the Tide Lords begin to struggle and gain more and more power, Arkady finds herself deeper in their plots than she could have ever imagined.

Jennifer Fallon, the author, makes you feel like you are in the court and ancient stories. You can see what is going on and you can not wait to find out what happens next. The book’s characters are like real people, you can see their reasoning, desires, and you either hate them or love them just as the author intended. I enjoyed how the story was told from different character’s personalities as their opinions, thoughts and memories all showed the story in a more understanding way. There were many well placed cliffhangers and many plot twists to keep me guessing what will happen next; but it was too long and I started losing my patience and reading it less and less often as it went on. I think the book would be popular if it was shortened a little bit so people slightly younger could read it. It would also help if the book was publicized, because I have not seen it anywhere except my dresser and bookcase. I would recommend this to someone who is very interested in this genre. Overall I enjoyed the book.

The book refers to sexual content which is more implied than graphic although it is held behind a very thin curtain.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Eastchester, New York United States of America

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another Mother's Life by Rowan Coleman

Catherine was in love, or so she thought. The mind-blowing weeks she spent together with Marc as a carefree, crazy in love seventeen-year-old became the essence of her being, though now the memories are all she has left. And the memories are tainted by her best friend's disloyalty.

Alison was in love, too. Alison was in love with her best friend's first and only love, Marc. And so Alison ran away with her best friend's boyfriend at the tender age of seventeen, thus irreversibly betraying her closest companion.

Now, nearly sixteen years after the incident that shaped the lives of both Catherine and Alison, their situation is about to take another turn. Alison is moving back to her home town, the very same town in which ever-heartbroken Catherine still resides. Pick up Another Mother's Life, and read a heart-wrenching story of love, friendship, and the true meaning of forgiveness.

I truly love Another Mother's Life. For one, the characters seem real and are easy to relate to. You feel the pain of Catherine's heartbreak and Alison's agonizing decisions. Not only is the story interesting, but it is fun to read. Coleman's writing style is fluid, with just the right amount of description and dialogue. If you've ever been in love, ever been a mother, or even had a friend, this book is for you!

There are some adult situations that may not be suitable for young readers.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, Ohio, USA

Citizen Alpha by Patrick E. Peterson

Citizen Alpha is the exciting story of five students brought together from all corners of the world. It starts with each character, Peter Jobe, Mousa Diop, Mario Costa, Kim Suk Bae, and Larissa Svenson, being introduced separately from their separate countries. Along with them, however are five characters, Musad, Park Il Sung, Xavier Salazar, Rachael, and Abdul, also from five different countries and cultures. Peter, Mousa, Mario, Kim, and Larissa all have a strong faith and interest in science. These two disciplines are rarely mixed, but they seek to connect them. Eventually, they all end up at the University of Chicago, and are put into a group together for a project. Their objective is to bring together all disciplines of science. They all have spiritual experiences, and have a sense of unease. They take a trip to Hawaii for a vacation, where they all have the same dream: five major American cities are attacked and destroyed. On the other side of the world, Musad, Park, Salazar, and Abdul come together with one goal: the downfall of the United States. Rachael ends up falling in love with Abdul, who uses her connections with America to further the group’s acquisition of nuclear weaponry. Will the students' group be able to interpret their dream and stop the terrorists, or will America finally succumb to attack? Read "Citizen Alpha" to find out.

"Citizen Alpha," by Patrick E. Peterson, is a fantastic read. The introduction of the characters is done perfectly, along with their coming together. They are all realistic, believable characters, and their ideas and spiritual experiences, while somewhat far-fetched, are well-thought and believable. While reading it, the story almost seems real. It's a fiction book that tricks you into thinking it's non-fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Content: 1
Rating: 10

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA United States