Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Tilting House

The Peshik family moves into a strange old house that has tilting floors and writing all over the walls. Jake isn’t sure if he’ll be able to live in such an eccentric house. How is he going to have friends over? But he and his little brother, Aaron, find out through a few misadventures that the house has secrets. The previous owner’s mysterious life and death is evident in the writing on the walls and other things he left behind. Jake comes to realize how cool his new house really is.

This book was a real page turner. I read it in less than a day. But it was a little out of my age range. It’s probably better for someone aged 9-11, but I still liked it and would recommend it to anyone. The tone of the book was kind of goofy and cheerful, despite some of the more morbid bits. In the part that directly deals with death itself, the author adds over the top accents and coffin shaped men to keep the goofiness going. The first person was okay, but I think third person would have worked better for the whole theme, especially since Jake was not a very interesting character, but it didn’t really hurt the book. The book was like a collection of short stories united by the ending, which was an effective technique and seemed to get the job done. The plot was the strongest point of the book, but I think the characters weren’t terribly interesting or sophisticated, although it didn’t end up being fatal to the book. The ending was quite satisfying and tied up a lot of loose ends that those previously mentioned short stories left hanging. Overall, it was very satisfying and I would recommend it because it’s a fun read for just about anyone.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Friday, July 30, 2010

Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity by Mary Hershey

I recently read the book, Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity by Mary Hershey. You would find it in a library under realistic fiction. I found the book to be interesting and very realistic. This book was about 10 year old Effie Maloney going away from home for the very first time. This was very exciting for Effie because no one in her family had ever gone on vacation before because her mom was trying to "make ends meet". See, Effie's mom was Effie's only guardian because her father had been arrested for stealing money from people. Effie was delighted to be able to go to camp without Maxey, her annoying older sister, but apparently, that's not going to happen. Also, Effie has to learn how to swim-fast- as she is not the greatest swimmer in the world. Can Effie survive Camp Calamity? Read Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity to find out.

The book, Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity was a rather interesting story. I found the setting to be rather believable, as if I was in Texas with Effie and Maxey Maloney. Throughout the book I felt two distinct moods coming from main character Effie Maloney. The first mood was radiated by Effie in the beginning of the book when Effie is excited to be going to camp. The second mood was radiated by Effie in the second half of the book when she gets homesick and wants to go home from camp. The writer makes me believe in the characters as people because the characters were kind, thoughtful, and yet, they would get on each other's nerves sometimes and do some irrational things that I thought made them human. I think the author had put in a good amount of information, and there were also parts that left me hanging so that if there ever was another book and this became a series, I would definitely read it. I think the author achieved her purpose and really connected with the kids reading this book. The writing was kid friendly, and the vocabulary was definitely age appropriate. The strength of this book is that kids everywhere can connect to Effie and the other characters. However, I thought that one weakness of this book is that the author dwelled too much on Effie's homesickness. This book is definitely on my top list of realistic fiction books I've read so far. I found the book to be interesting, and the only thing that I think could be improved on is not dwelling on the homesickness for too long. I thought the ending was good, and made me want to read another book featuring Effie Maloney if one should ever come out. I liked the ending because it finished off the story nicely, yet made me want to read more. I didn't learn much from this book, being as it is a fictitious book with no facts, like most fiction books. I would definitely recommend this book because it is a very interesting book that will keep you turning the pages until you have no more pages to turn! As you can see, this is what I think of the book, Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity by Mary Hershey.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States of America

Monday, July 26, 2010

Project Seahorse by Pamela S. Turner

"Project Seahorse" by Pamela S. Turner is about seahorse conservation. Diving into the behavior and science of the fish first, the book teaches readers many fun facts. Some include the fact that male seahorses give birth and the fact that seahorses can change the color of their body to camouflage themselves against predators. Seahorse exploitation is given in great detail as are ways to combat them with marine conservation.

This book is full of information. It describes the cultures that hunt for seahorses. While the pictures are vibrant, some may not be best for younger readers. One picture has dead seahorses sold for Chinese medicine. Two have spears through fish. Lastly, one has a scantily clad "researcher" in a bikini top. All in all, this book is informative and great for any marine biologist enthusiast.

Some pictures may disturb very young children

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Skinny on Willpower by Jim Randel

“The Skinny on Willpower” is a motivating book that teaches the reader that the key to success is not how good or bad a person is at what s/he is trying to achieve, but how when a person channels the willpower and energy within s/he can turn it into success. This book is deeply researched, and as I read, I felt in good hands. It takes on all different approaches to teaching the reader the ways to success, showing others who are successful and the roads that they took. All of these roads had something to do with willpower. The

book also talks about how once a person gets going it is like inertia; and unless someone steps in to stop him/her, it will continue to go. This book is an extremely quick read, an

hour give or take. I suggest that everyone who has a dream but does not quite know if they can achieve it to read this book!
I personally thought that this book was

inspirational! I've already taken a highlighter to it. “The Skinny on Willpower” is such a short book that's filled with a lot of information. Not a word on the page was a waste of time. I suggest the book to anyone and everyone because it's so informative and appeals to basically everyone. I think willpower is a great thing for people to explore, and this book is a great place to start! There are other “The Skinny on...” books and I'm definitely going to look into them in the future!

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country:

Libertyville, IL United States

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Secret to Teen Power by Paul Harrington

Paul Harrington's The Secret to Teen Power offers advice to readers about how to live life to its fullest, to find one's inner strength, and overall to make things happen. It focuses on an idea called the law of attraction, the idea that one's thoughts have more power than one realizes. It proposes that if you Think something will happen, then it will come to you. This motivational book focuses on the thought process and believing in one's self. Perhaps positive thoughts could bring more experiences that are positive to one's life.

Honestly, I could not derive personal betterment from the secret. It was disappointing to read that the way to make everything you want in life come your way is not to work for it, per say, but to Think that it will come to you. The book not only touches upon your achievements, but also your health. Unfortunately, it is hard to believe that by actively believing that you will not contract an illness, you will not get one; with passages like this, Harrington slashes apart his credibility. I would not recommend this book to anyone, but if you do decide to read it, please heed this bit of advice: take what you read with a grain of salt.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, OH USA

Xtreme Art Ultimate Book of Trace and Draw Manga by, Christopher Hart

This book is about how to draw (or trace) the basics of Manga. It is divided onto three different sections Draw Manga, Draw Manga Chibi, and Draw Manga Monsters. At the beginning of each section it tells you what you need to know before you begin drawing. For each different drawing there are only four steps. This book is good for beginning and advanced artists. It is a book that can be loved by many.

I think that this is a good book for artists of all ages. It was very good and improved my skills. Before I read this book I wouldn't be as half as good as I am now. This book gave me some important tips and ideas for my drawings. Out of all of the drawing books that I have read this is by far the best.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas United States of America

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Sanctuary by, Laurie Gray

Summer Sanctuary was one of the most amazing books I have ever read, and I've read a lot. Its the perfect combination of what teenagers are going through now, and a harsh bite of reality. It made me want to read more, I truly loved it. I found a real sanctuary in this lovely book, and I know you will too.

Summer Sanctuary by Laurie Gray is about two main characters, Matthew and Dinah. They meet each other in the strangest way, but find that they are the perfect match for true friendship. Matthew is going through hard times with his parents, his mom is pregnant for the fifth time, Matthew's best friend Kyle is gone, and his younger brother Mark is surpassing him in all athletic ability known! And to Matthew's surprise, Dinah is having an even harder time. She's homeless, on the verge of being put in Child Welfare. Matthew needs to help his new friend, and your going to love the way he does. I think this author made it so uncommon, I loved how he mixed the two lives together of Dinah and Matthew. I couldn't get enough of this book! The author really did achieve his purpose in this book. Like I said, I found a sanctuary of my own in this Summer Sanctuary. I loved it so much, and I know you'll enjoy it just like I did.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas USA

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer of the Geek by Piper Banks

Summer of the Geek by Piper Banks is about a funny, sweet, smart, and charismatic teen named Miranda who faces obstacles in what is supposed to be a good summer. First she lands a job babysitting a young piano player, which is good right? Wrong. The young girl, Amelia, is more interested in practicing her piano than talking to Miranda. Miranda makes efforts to open Amelia's eyes to new things but nothing seems to work. While doing this Miranda worries about her parents continuous arguing, her spoiled and model-like sister, and her hunky boyfriend's ex girlfriend suddenly showing her face around town. Not to mention, her boyfriend has been acting very suspicious lately. But the most important and exciting decision Miranda must make is also the most life changing and relationship ruining decision. This decision could change her life for- well ever. In the end, all ends well and Miranda helps others and herself get through the summer of a lifetime.
Summer of the Geek by Piper Banks was a very enjoyable book. It did not rank high in my 'Top Ten Books List', but it is still very enjoyable. The writing is acceptable. It has its moments with witty outbursts and funny scenes but nothing too exemplary. For the most part, it reminds me of every other teen book: plain, and no significant underlying message. It has an interesting story line, sure, but is this story really going to change the reader's outlook on things? Probably not. The characters are very individual and thoughtful, but they don't get far past that. The writing style is rather good. It is light-hearted and cheerful throughout the book. This is a good read for summer, especially if you'd like a light, cheerful, book on the side of all your summer fun. But probably not a book that will change your view, or impact your life.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cedar Park, Texas U.S.A.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nuts by Kacy Cook

When Nell and her brothers, Jack and Charley, find two baby squirrels, which they name Mantha and Jess, in their backyard, they really want to help them. When their parents say yes, Nell finds a person who has raised squirrels named Libby on her website. Nell is not happy when she finds out she should take the squirrels to a wildlife rehabilitator. She wants to keep the squirrels so badly, she ends up lying to Libby about her age and where she lives. Nell also lies to her parents about taking the squirrels to a wildlife rehabilitator. Will Nell and her family be able to raise and release the squirrels with the help of Libby's advice?

I think this is my favorite book I have reviewed. I felt like I could relate to all of the characters in some way. The vocabulary was also age appropriate. I also thought this book was very interesting. I also learned some things about squirrels from this book. I would recommend this book to people who like animals.

Reviewer Age:13
eviewer City, State and Country: Enon, OH USA

Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish

D. M. Cornish starts his latest novel in the Monster Blood Tattoo series (a planned trilogy), Lamplighter, where his first book, Monster Blood Tattoo, left off. Lamplighter follows a Foundling (orphan) boy, Rossamund, who has been summoned to train under the military branch of the Lamplighters, soldiers who walk the Empire's monster-plagued streets and light the Great Lamps for the safety of travelers. Rossamund arrives at the Lamplighters' barracks, Winstermill Manse, and begins his training as a prentice. Not extremely long after his beginning at Winstermill, Rossamund's military prentice quarto (that is, the group he is assigned to) heads out on a prentice-watch to light and dowse the Great Lamps from Winstermill to the Wellnigh House, along the Wormway, but after the overnight stay at the Wellnigh House, on the way back to Winstermill, a carriage comes racing headlong down the Wormway -- a carriage with vicious horn-ed nickers attacking it! Will Rossamund survive his first theroscade, or monster encounter, as a Lamplighter? Who is in the carriage? Read Lamplighter by D. M. Cornish to find out!
I absolutely loved Lamplighter. I was excited when I saw that D. M. Cornish had come out with a sequel to
Monster Blood Tattoo. The book matches, if not outmatches, the creativeness of its predecessor. I thought that the characters all showed their personality well, and you could see Rossamund transform from a weak
Foundling boy into a courageous adventurer. Like the first book in this series, the text is filled with words that
you would never find in Mr. Webster's dictionary : terms like "gretchen-globe," "enkle," and "slot and drag." But not to fear, both books include their own glossary, and it's a whopper at nearly 100 pages. (By the way, you'll also find a few of Mr. Webster's odder words in there too: "pledgets" and "sillibub" make an appearance.)

I recommend this book to readers who liked Monster Blood Tattoo as well as anyone who enjoys intricate plots and detailed descriptions of the fictional world that a story is set in.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country:  Saugerties, NY USA

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Amigas, Fifteen Candles, by Veronica Chambers

Alicia Cruz lives in Miami, Florida with her 3 amazing friends. There is Jaime, the fashionista. She loves hip hop and is the fashion know-it-all. Then there is Carmen, the designer of the year. Carmen could totally be a model, but instead she chooses to make the most amazing clothes anyone has ever seen. Last Alicia is friends with Gaz, but lately she has developed feelings for him and she isn't sure if she should go for her feelings or hide them in case it ruins their friendship. On top of the big issue, Alicia has decided to start a quince-planning business. To her seems like everyone is perfect for the job, Jaime with her fashion, Carmen with her sewing, Gaz with his band, and Alicia with her dancing. It is all great until Alicia falls under pressure with the time crunch, and with her new internship. Will she and her friends be able to pull it all off?

Amigas, Fifteen Candles was a pretty good book. I thought that there was a good setting and part of the ending was unpredictable. I loved the characters in the book; they are what kept it interesting. The only thing I didn't like about the book was that it was pretty predictable.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, OH USA

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sea by Heidi R. Kling

On Sienna's 15th birthday she receives a plane ticket to Indonesia. Something she didn't want after her mom died in a plane crash over the Indian Ocean. Sienna reluctantly accepts and agrees to help children recover from their losses during the tsunami.

While in Indonesia Sienna meets Deni, the most handsome man she's ever met. Sienna and Deni fall in love too quick and soon Sienna would be going home. While with Deni they travel back to Aceh, Deni's hometown. There Sienna sees the damage from the tsunami clearly with mass graves and the death wall. Also Sienna is caught by surprise from someone unexpected looking for Deni. Sienna had to leave for home not only without Deni but also with a broken heart.

Sea was a very good book. It was a love story woven with suspense. I would recommend this book to teen readers looking for a romantic novel. Heidi Kling was very good with bringing everything to life with so many details. She also made the book seem like it could really happen.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Friday, July 09, 2010

Is Anybody Out There by, Nick Gevers

Have you ever wondered if other kinds of life existed somewhere out in space? Fuel your imagination with fifteen original stories about aliens. Gaze up at the stars and think about the possibilities that aliens might exist. Could it be that these stories are not just fiction? Ask yourself, is anybody out there?

"Is Anybody Out There" was many things. It was comical, suspenseful, horrifying, and many others. I enjoyed this book because of its variety of views on alien life. Anyone who reads will find something they like in this book. Some of the stories really make you wonder, is anybody out there.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas America

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Tomorrow's Guardian by Richard Denning

Tomorrow's Guardian, by Richard Denning, is the story of a boy named Tom Oakley who discovers that he can "walk" through time. His job as a Walker allows him to go back in time and save other Walkers. A conflict arises because a dimension parallel to ours, where the Nazis rule, wants to control Tom's world. The story takes the reader from a sinking U-boat to the Great Fire of London, from a Nazi-controlled England to a Zulu vs. English battle. With Tom's ability to walk through time comes hard choices that need to be made, enemies to recognize, and worlds to keep apart.

I really enjoyed reading Tomorrow's Guardian. Richard Denning put a lot of ideas and problems into the book, but the combination worked well and made sense. His descriptions were good, not too general but without the fluff you sometimes encounter. His characters were also very believable. Mary, the Walker rescued in the Great Fire of London, was one of my favorite characters because it made sense that she would be scared and worried at her sudden time change. Her worries and failure to call Tom anything but "Master" were details that made her very real to me. Overall, I think the book was well written, with a believable plot and characters. The book made good use of history, fiction, and science, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction books, adventure, or an enjoyable read.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lederach , PA USA

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Skinny On Success by Jim Randel

The Skinny on Success is not your normal novel. This book is written in stick figures, word bubbles and quotes. It tells a story about Beth and Billy, a couple who both have ambitions, but just can't reach the goal of success. Jim helps them realize what it actually takes to succeed and that it's not just a walk in the park. Throughout the book it gives you all the tips you need to reach the final goal: success.

The Skinny on Success was a very different book to read; I've never really read a self help book before but I liked it. I am graduating high school and I have so many goals to which I want to succeed at. This book was a tremendous help to show me what I need to do to succeed. I recommend this book to teenagers and young adults who are looking for some help in reaching their goals. I'm very glad I read this. It's helped me want to preservere on my current goals. It only took me about a day to read and is definitely worth it. Please Read!

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mantua, NJ USA

Dark Oracle

Tara is a criminal profiler. Her ways of doing things are a little different than those of her coworkers, however. Tara uses Tarot cards and her own powerful magic abilities to learn things about people. Before her untimely death, Tara's mother belonged to a group of women, called the Daughters of Delphi, all of whom had extraordinary powers. By birth, Tara belongs to this group, too, but doesn’t want anything to do with them. After receiving scars all over her body in a previous mission, Tara decides to abandon the profession of profiling so that she can recover from the trauma of her injuries. Her wish, however, is not to be. Tara is recruited by one of the Daughters of Delphi to find a missing scientist whose mind and research may hold enough information that, in the wrong hands, could lead to the destruction of the earth.

This is a book for the person who wants a strong heroine. Tara has to work hard to overcome her fears, and she has plenty of them from having been captured and scarred by a serial killer. Williams, the author, spends too much time explaining the meanings of each Tarot card for the casual reader. It can get a little wearisome when the meanings go on for pages. She could have spent more time, however, explaining the power and the details of the Daughter’s of Delphi, so that the reader better understands their community and its meaning. Overall, Dark Oracle is a little tedious because of the way it is broken up by long definitions and the detailed backgrounds of Tara’s readings. The concept of the story is a good idea, but the finished product could use a little work.

There is one sex scene in this book that may not be appropriate for younger readers. Many of the murders and tortures in the book are described in detail, which may be uncomfortable for readers with a more sensitive nature.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leverett, Ma USA

Conspirator by C.J. Cherryh

The book Conspirator is based on an alien planet dominated by a species called the atevi. There are events already in motion when the book opens, events like political intrigue, attempted coups, and attacks on the atevi seat of government, the Bujavid. Tabini-aiji, and his son Cajeiri and paidhi, Bren Cameron, have survived the coup and have returned to the Bujavid. But regaining control after rebellion is no easy task, and this coupled with the escape of Tabini's son provides a tense opening for the book.

I found this particular book to be rather confusing, especially since I did not read the previous series of books. The names and places were a little overwhelming, and the action was rather confusing. I lost my place in the story a couple times, and I had to read it bit by bit, rereading every so often to make sure I understood where the story was going. I would recommend this book only to fans of the series, or fans of the genre. Personally, it's just not my genre, but it was a little halting anyway.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinois U.S.A

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Last Seal

In the year 1380, Stephen Blake of the Liberati released the demon Dantalion. The demon was stopped by the sorcerer Cornelius Silver who trapped Dantalion in a new prison. For 286 years, the demon was trapped beneath London. Now, in 1666, Artemas and the evil Liberati are working to bring the demon back to wreak havoc on the unknowing people of London and the rest of the world. It is up to Benjamin, a school-skipping schoolboy; Freya, a thief; Dr. Tobias Janssen, a Dutch doctor on the run from the King s personal spy; and Gabriel, the only one left of the Praesidium, the group that works against the evil Liberati. Artemas is gathering the supplies and knowledge needed to raise the demon. He also needs
Ben, who is the flesh and bone and blood of the man who imprisoned the demon, Cornelius Silver.
Ben and his friends must stop Artemas. The world is at stake. The Liberati and the Praesidium must fight.  It will be the battle that causes the Great Fire of London and destroys 13,000 homes and leaves 70,000 out of London's population of 80,000 homeless. Will Ben, Freya, Tobias, and Gabriel be able to stop the demon from rising and save their precious London?
The Last Seal by Richard Denning was an interesting book. It is a fantasy book with a hint of historical fiction. One of the main events this book talks about is the Great Fire of London. I found this book more enjoyable after I looked it up and learned a little about what the Great Fire of London actually was.
There were times in this book where I felt nervous and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. At other times, the book didn t seem to be going anywhere. Overall though it was a pretty good book.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country:
Harleysville, PA USA

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Gecko and Sticky : The Greatest Power by Wendelin Van Draanen

The Gecko and Sticky: The Greatest Power is the second book in The Gecko and Sticky series. It is a hilarious action novel in which 13-year-old Dave Sanchez and his gecko named Sticky battle the infamous Damien Black. Dave has a magical ancient Aztec wristband that was previously owned by Damien. The wristband has a slot for an ingot that gives the wearer of the wristband a special ability. Different ingots give the wearer different abilities. In The Greatest Power, Dave must recover items stolen by Damien, including money and a ring.

I found the story absolutely ridiculous at first, but then I couldn't put it down because the story was told so entertainingly. Part of what makes the story so entertaining is the playful wordplay that is rhythmic and rhymes. For example, on the first page, a gun is described as "a multi-muzzled, peculiar puzzle of a gun." The story is also entertaining because of the humor, which made me smile and occasionally laugh out loud. The wordplay plus the magnificently drawn illustrations give the story a cartoon-like feel. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys cartoons.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sammamish, WA USA

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Haworth

When Allie Jo’s friend goes away for the summer, she doesn’t expect to do much more than her usual. But when a guy named Chase comes to stay at the hotel everything starts to change. Soon she sees Chase getting tremendously hurt. Allie Jo meets a girl walking straight out of Hope Springs. Fate soon arrives and they all meet and become friends. Once Chase and Allie Jo know the girl’s, Tara’s, secret, can they keep it; or will they ruin the secret and Tara’s life?

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets is an enthralling, captivating book that you don’t want to put down. It’s a story about friendships, summers, first loves, and the importance of keeping the secrets entrusted into your care. At first the story frustrated me with the switching of characters every chapter, but then I realized that to hear the story from both Allie Jo’s and Chase’s sides was the only way to hear it. I hope the readers will love this book for years to come.

Reviewer Age: 13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Andrea Carter And The Trouble With Treasure by Susan K. Marlowe

The bank robbery in Fresno won't stop Andi and her friends from taking their long anticipated camping trip to the mountains. But when her brother Mitch gets gravely injured, it's up to Andi to save her brother. When the former deputy visits them things become complicated, and dangerous. Can Andi save her friends? Andi has never wanted to grow up, but when she gets a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, she decides it might not be so bad after all.

Susan Marlow did a great job writing this book. It s action-packed and exciting. All the characters have great depth, especially Andi Carter. The responsibility that falls on her shoulders is portrayed realistically. The twists and turns really keep you wanting more. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves old western stories.

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Rockwell City, IA USA

Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag

Beautiful Americans follows four American exchange students who join a Parisian study program. Alex, a typical New York socialite and an expert in spending her parents money, joins the program after she is cut off. Olivia has been given the opportunity to train at a famous ballet school. PJ is hoping to get away from a scandal plaguing her family. Zach is a Southern boy who has been hiding his gay lifestyle from his conservative hometown. In Paris, all four students want to escape their problems at home and hope to change their lives for the better. The story alternates between the different perspectives, and documents the trials and adventures of the four teens as they live in Paris for the year.

As a fan of books like Gossip Girl and the like, this plot of this book interested me right away. The plot of Beautiful Americans isn't a new one, but the way the story was written was attention-grabbing and the Parisian background adds a whole new level to the novel. The drama behind the four teens is interesting to read and the further I got into the story, the more I wanted to know about them. Beautiful Americans is a great summer read. This book is the first of a series and there are new other books out. So for a taste of teen drama and adventure, give the Beautiful American series a try!

Reviewer Age:23
Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA USA

The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb

With one letter, Hallie James' life changes in an instant. After discovering that her mother had died recently instead of many years ago as she had previously believed, she is summoned to a remote island to hear her mother's will read. But that's the first of many strange things that Hallie encounters. She inherits millions of dollars and an old mansion where she discovers that she's been living a life full of lies. In the mansion, she finds ghosts, magic and other unnatural beings. She learns a lot about what happened to her family so many years ago and it's up to Hallie to clear her family's bad name and break the curse that's kept a hold on the family.

Once I picked up this book, I couldn't put it down. It had aspects of all my favorite elements, from mystery, to suspense to romance. Hallie James was an interesting character to read about and the plot was captivating. This is not a story for someone who gets scared easily! The Tale of Halcyon Crane is not the typical summer beach read, but it's one that I definitely recommend picking up. I'm looking forward to seeing what the author will come up with next!

Reviewer Age:23
Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA USA

Anna Maria's Gift by Janice Shefelman

What if you could study under the most famous geniuses in music? Anna Maria will promise her dying father to study under a world famous musician. When he dies, Anna Maria is sent to an orphanage in Venice, Italy with one possession, a violin her father made her. The violin is her prized possession and the only reminder of her father. Anna Maria arrives at the orphanage not knowing what to expect. She meets the other girls, meets the teachers, and learns the rituals of the orphanage. The only thing that Anna Maria looks forward to during the day is music class with the famous composer, Antonio Vivaldi. Anna Maria loves music and shines in the class. Paolina, the best violinist before Anna Maria comes, becomes jealous. To get revenge, Paolina throws Anna Maria's violin into the canal. Anna Maria goes on a search through Venice to find her violin, and learns about the magic of Venice along the way.

Janice Shefelman wrote a sweet book with a good message. The message of the story is reiterated at the beginning and the end, the message being to not judge a place or people without getting to know them first. Anna Maria, being the main character does put the message across, but it is mostly the minor characters that give the message. For example, the gondolier gives the message. Many of the minor characters in the book play an important role in the overall outcome of the book. This makes the book more unique. I would recommend this book to beginning readers because it has simple vocabulary, and is easy to follow.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America

Global Warming and the Dinosaurs by Caroline Arnold

The age of the dinosaurs was millions of years ago, but they lived exactly where humans do today. In fact, the dinosaurs covered more of the earth than we previously imagined! The far reaches of the world, the Arctic and Antarctic, used to be covered with forests. Also, global temperatures were much hotter than they are currently. Polar dinosaurs can be found in places such as Alaska, Canada, Australia, and South America. That is because the landmasses were only Laurasia and Gondwana. Since, they have split to become the seven continents that we know today. If dinosaurs were dominant in the world, what brought about their destruction?

The author's goal in this short story is to inform the reader about dinosaurs. She emphasizes the types of dinosaurs from different areas of the world. This book is not necessarily for pleasure reading. Its purpose to inform is met, however, because Arnold uses many descriptive words and presents the material in an organized fashion. I could foresee this book being used to teach elementary school children. My only dislike is that there are almost too many specific dinosaur names listed in the book. It would flow better if there were a chart in the back with the types of dinosaurs and less in the actual text.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

His Own Where by June Jordan

As his dad lay dying in the hospital after a car accident, Buddy Rivers, an African-American teenager, finds himself alone. While visiting his father in the hospital Buddy meets Angela, the abused daughter of his father's nurse. Peering over his father's bandaged body, Buddy and Angela immediately form a bond of friendship and of love. Their relationship only grows stronger as Buddy witnesses the constant physical and physiological abuse Angela endures by her parents. After one final drunken attack by her father, Buddy is forced to take Angela to the hospital. As a result, Angela is taken away from her parents and sent to live in a strict Christian girls' home. While at the home Angela is not allowed to see Buddy and is held under constant watch. It is up to Buddy to free her and start a life together.

While I found June Jordan's His Own Where to be a unique and interesting book, I also thought it to be difficult to understand as the entire book is written in Black English, a dialect used by members of the American-American community. Despite the hard to understand dialogue, I was eventually able to understand the language and found myself intrigued with the New York black culture of the early 70s. Although a fairly short book (only 92 pages) it is not an easy read and it takes work to read it. Nevertheless, for someone that doesn't mind putting in a little extra effort, I found the book to be very interesting and would definitely recommend it.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Potomac, Maryland United States of America

Cthulhu's Reign by Darrell Schweitzer

Cthulhu's Reign is a collection of stories about several different creatures, such as Cthulhu, a large sea serpent. These creatures come from the past and cause problems for many civilizations. The stories may seem more interesting to someone who enjoys reading fictional stories. One story was about a telepathic girl who helped her family fight its way to safety from the creatures that came to Earth. Several of the other stories were also about people who have visions or omens that help save them from different creatures.

I felt the various authors did an excellent job of using descriptive text. I could easily picture the various creatures and characters. I feel that this book is appropriate for middle school students. I found this book especially interesting because I enjoy researching Greek mythology. I recommend this book to people who enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Helena, AR USA

The Time Pirate by Ted Bell

The Time Pirate is the exciting and fast-paced sequel to Nick of Time. The setting is England during Word War II and the American colonies in the late 1700s. Nick McIver, the main character, has access to a rare time traveling machine created by Leonardo da Vinci. In this book, Nick must face his nemesis, the infamous Captain Billy Blood, who he has battled in the past. He has to betray his country to aid the Americans in the American Revolution in order to ensure their help in the future. This book combines fantasy with historical fiction to create an intriguing and suspenseful book.

I enjoyed this book because the author successfully included two time periods, which was the purpose of the author's writing. The vocabulary was sophisticated, but not too complicated for the age range, which is about 10-12. I found it interesting, and I would definitely say that the quality of writing is just as good as the first book in the series. I thought the ending was appropriate because it had a good closing to the story, without ending the series. I would recommend this series to readers who enjoy adventure and historical fiction.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI USA

The Fire Opal by Regina McBride

The Fire Opal by Regina McBride follows the life of Maeve O'Tullagh, who seems to take after her mother, Nuala, in hearing voices in the secluded Ard Macha, Ireland. When Maeve's sister Isheleen is born, Maeve is overjoyed. It took a while because she had to be reincarnated twice. However, Ishleen and her mother fall under a strange spell that renders them unconscious. Maeve suspects that the handsome yet dark-spirited Tom Cavan has had something to do with this. She discovers that he's made a pact with an ancient goddess to gain control of Ireland. Also, he wants to marry her and finds it hilarious to see her angry after seeing him chuck baby seagulls off a cliff. The goddess lives on a slightly weird ice barge and keeps girls as slaves. Those girls must care for their mothers, who have been frozen by the spiteful goddess. In the midst of all this, Queen Elizabeth of England is fighting the Spanish Armada, but not by herself.

I really didn't like The Fire Opal. The plot didn't seem very original, or just entirely too bizarre. It might have worked with better explanations. For example, the entire idea of cursed goddesses wasn't very well explained and so left the reader hanging. I had absolutely no idea what the goddess was doing on a stationary ice barge in the middle of the ocean, of course guarded by fierce mermaids. Maeve was slightly strange and underdeveloped. While it was nice that she rescued a Spanish soldier, he disappeared and nothing more was heard of him. Also, I wasn't sure how she discovered all these conspiracies or why she kept seeing the nice ancient goddess. Overall, The Fire Opal was pretty terrible. It had some decent ideas, like covering Irish disputes with Queen Elizabeth, but lacked something extra, like depth.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC USA

Whaling Season by Peter Lourie

Whaling Season is a journey through a spring season in the
Arctic Circle in Alaska with bowhead whale scientist, John
Craighead George, or "Craig." As you follow Craig, vivid
pictures help describe the process of a thorough examination
of a bowhead whale. The tribe that ensures that the whaling
is purely for tradition and culture are the American Indian
tribe, the Inuiat. Once the whales are harvested, Craig
studies them to see what effects pollution is having on the
environment. In the midst of the season, Craig and his
fellow scientists have a contest to see who can get the most
data. Craig and his scientists also study the DNA of the
whales to see if the whales are evolving or adapting to
pollution in any way. Overall, Whaling Season is a very
interesting and factual book.

Whaling Season is a
nonfiction book that lets you feel like you are there in
Alaska. I loved the book because of the interesting facts
in all of the amazingly written detail. As you go through
the season, you learn more about Craig and his team, and
that they are all very smart, willing, and committed people.
The author, Peter Lourie, grabs you into the season while
Craig and his scientists study the whales in the Arctic. I
would definitely recommend this book to people of all ages
because it is interesting has great imagery.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Pepper Pike, Ohio USA

Keyholders 4: The Wrong Side of Magic by Debbie Dadey

Keyholders # 4
The Wrong Side of Magic

This story is about a magical world on the other side of a border where evil creatures live, including trolls and shape shifters.

The main characters are friends, Natalie, Luke and Penny. They are apprentice key holders. A key holder is someone who holds the keys to the border and protects the border from being breached by the evil doers.

The story begins when a troll crosses the border and the adventures continue as some of the other evil creatures try to take over the town and the human's bodies. Natalie, Luke and Penny work to save the world from them.

This book was interesting and entertaining. It kept me excited and wanting to know what would happen next. Anyone who likes books about adventure, will love The Keyholders four.

Natalie, Luke and Penny are the three main characters. Natalie is prissy, Penny is smart and Luke is always up for adventure. I liked them all and it did make me like the book more. Also, it made me want to read the other Keyholder books.

The book was not really funny, it was more of an adventure book. As for the end, I wish I had known for sure that all of the people who had their mind's taken over, were all ok. I know the main characters and their friends were ok, but I wasn't sure about everybody else.

I just finished book Five of Harry Potter. This is the kind of book I can read into between The Harry Potter books when I take a break because it is very short and you can get to the story and the end very quickly.

I would recommend the book because it did keep my attention and I will read the other books in this series now.

Reviewer Age:8
Reviewer City, State and Country: Phoenix, MD USA

The Dream Maker in the Desert by Marie Krushing

Emmet Watts is a lonely teenage kid who has no friends and when he miraculously does make one they are shunned by the rest of the school and leave Emmet who everyone thinks of as a freak. He has been bullied constantly his whole time at school for being a "freak" but Emmet doesn't know why people feel this way since he as always tried to act "normal" to try to fit in. After another day of this sort of torture at school he gets attacked by an evil little man named Braedan. Luckily Emmet is saved by a group of people who say they are part of the Society, that fight people like Braedan who they call the Dark Ones. Emmet is taken by the people of the Society and comes to realize he plays a bigger part in the fight against the Dark Ones that anyone could possibly imagine, while making a new life as part of the Society.

The book was okay. Wasn't the best book I've read but the last half was better. The storyline started slow but once you got to the middle things picked up when the actual battle with Braedan and his minions started. This would be a book that someone should make a movie out of because it has the right amount of different elements like action and romance. The author could have improved the story mostly by making it shorter and maybe chopping a few things in the first half out where nothing that important to the plot was happening. All in all it was a good book to read that I would read again and would most definitely read the sequels to find out what happens to all the characters in their next adventures.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinois, United States

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Alton barely knows anything about Uncle Lester, except that he is wealthy, blind and elderly. When Uncle Lester calls asking Alton to be his cardturner, he is very surprised. Alton's mother pressures him to become tightly knit with Uncle Lester, with high hopes that they will inherit a fortune, but there is other competition. In the process of becoming cardturner, Alton learns to enjoy the game of bridge. In the twists and turns of the novel, Alton realizes that he has more in common with Toni, the competition for the fortune then he thought, and discovers the mysterious past of Uncle Lester.
Louis Sachar builds the character's knowledge of bridge, the past, and each other in a creative way that hooked me as a reader. One of the main characters, Uncle Lester, had an interesting past that made me want to find more. The main topic of bridge may be thought of as boring, but Mr. Sachar navigated around that in a way that made it interesting. The book's writing style was interesting and funny. I recommend this book to boys and girls from grade 6 to adulthood.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake Bluff, IL United States