Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Madhouse of Love by Peter G. Mackie

In the book The Madhouse of Love, by Peter G Mackie is a very challenging read, but leaves you in awe. His true, yet dramatic tale of his own experiences in life may leave an impact on the reader. Tony Whitfield was a young teenager at the time of his admittance to the Adolescent Unit of a psychiatric hospital. Being only around the age of 12, he merely was "acting the goat". Tony spent nearly his whole teenage life in and out, not wanting to part with the life he grew to love and accept. There is where he learns about the "fruits" of nature and learns how self-conflicting his infatuation with women can really be. Even though Tony was released a number of times, he always finds himself back at the asylum.
The Madhouse of Love was quite a deep and riveting story. Age-wise, I'd recommend this story for the more advanced reader due to difficulty in understanding the author's dialect. Peter Mackie's points change often and I often had to go back and re-read what I read.

Yet, at some points I really could relate to his thoughts and I could always argue against them. Generally, this tale would be considered a "coming of age" one, due to life lessons learned and self-realization. The author's use of distinct vocabulary was very powerfully projected.

The ending of the book, I must say, wasn't very impressive but the theme of the book; "The place of comfort is never easy to let go of", was very meaningful.

Overall, the story was charming and made me smirk every couple of pages. Recommended for mature readers due to intense vocabulary, confusing translations, and content more aimed for 17+.
I rated this for it's intense language and sexual references of the mind of a growing teenage boy. That and the difficulty of the read.
Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Naugatuck, Connecticut United States

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life on Hold by Karen McQuestion

Rae has never stayed anywhere for long. Her free-spirited mother moves herself and Rae every time things don t work out. Rae, now fifteen years old, has learned to never get attached to any place, but her mom has made her a promise:  no moving until Rae graduates. Rae has made a few friends, and is starting to enjoy life. But nothing prepares her for Allison. Rae was picked by her vice principal to show the new girl around, but Allison seems ungrateful. Rae has a sleepover to try and break the ice, but it goes wrong. Rae sees another side of Allison, and doesn t know what to think. Rae learns she must make some big decisions about family and friends, or her life will start to unravel.

This was an enjoyable book. The author really does a nice job of connecting with the reader. I have never had to move, but after reading the book, I can understand how stressful it would be through Rae s character. It also deals with friendship and how one person can impact another. This book was fresh and well thought out, a nice and easy read for the young adult audience.

Reviewer Age:13

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson

I very recently just finished reading the book Priscilla

the Great by Sybil Nelson. This book is about a seemingly

ordinary 12 year old girl who discovers she has super

powers that she inherits from her mother. All her life,

her mother has been away, traveling the world under the

ruse of being a pharmacist. However, it turns out her

mother has been out trying to save the world from the evil

Selliwood Academy, a place where children are turned into

heartless violent machines. Will Priscilla be able to help

defeat the Selliwood Academy? Read Priscilla the Great to

find out.

Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson was a very

interesting read. I was mesmerized by the story and I

couldn't put the book down. Even after I finished reading

about it, I found myself thinking about the book and

wondering what would happen next. While reading the book,

I found myself laughing out loud at Priscilla's quirky

humor. Although Priscilla has super powers, she still

reminds me of a normal 12 year old girl trying to enjoy

her childhood. This book could very well become the next

Harry Potter. The mixture of comedy, suspense, and action

make it hard to stop reading. I really hope this book

becomes a series and I can't wait to read


Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States of America

Pop Sculpture by Tim Bruckner

Pop Sculpture is a guide to making great action figures and highly detailed collectible statues. Some of the most talented individuals in the business pool their knowledge and secrets into this book to aid any aspiring toymakers. The book starts with a brief introduction to the industry and its impact on American culture. The book then dives into the detailed tutorial of two different items: the traditional action figure and the collectible sculpture. This guide addresses every stage in the creation process from research and design to mold making to painting. With hundreds of pictures showing each step in the process, Pop Sculpture is a definitive look at the artistic process of bringing some of our favorite characters to life.
The collaboration of action figure icons for this book is what makes Pop Sculpture a must-read for anyone planning on joining the industry. However, for those who are more interested in the history of action figures and comic book characters, this is not the book for you. Pop Sculpture focuses on the technical aspects of making action figures and collectible statues. Furthermore, the authors provide very valuable insight for certain stages of the toy making process. These pieces of information from some of the most experienced designers in the industry create the value in this book. Overall, Pop Sculpture is a great technical guide, but it is not by any means a historical perspective for the casual reader.

Reviewer Age:21
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

The Raven's Bride, by Lenore Hart

Virginia, or Sissy, Clemm isn't a name that most people will recognize, but her husband, Edgar Allen Poe, is
probably one of the most acclaimed authors. Like most famous
authors, Edgar Allen Poe was neither rich nor famous
throughout his life. The Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart is a
fictional account of Virginia and Edgar's unlikely romance
and the hardships they went through, both before and after
their marriage.

The premise of this novel seems very,
very interesting because Edgar Allen Poe's marriage was
very, very screwed up. He married his thirteen-year-old
cousin; plus, he was thirteen years older than her! Honestly
though, I don't think this novel did their relationship
justice. The author tries too hard to make their romance
seem normal. It seems like she's aiming for the audience
to go aw and to have heart-warming moments, but really,
with a twisted romance like Edgar and Virginia's, that's not
possible. I give her credit for trying to attempt something
like that, but the result was many unrealistic moments
filled with purple prose. Despite the purple prose, the
writing wasn't bad; it wasn't spectacular either.

The main problem with this book, however, was the pacing.
The book just dragged on and on and on. Maybe it's because I
don't like angst, but it felt like the situations were
overly dramatic--to the point that they weren't interesting
anymore. Overall, if you're looking for historical fiction,
there are much better choices.

Reviewer Age:  17
Reviewer City, State and Country:  Hinsdale, IL USA

The Secret Journeys of Jack London: The Wild

In the beginning of the book you find Jack on a boat heading to the Yukon River in Alaska to find gold for
his family with his brother-in-law James. Once he gets to Yukon he sets out on a gold finding adventure. Sadly though, his brother-in-law had to go back due to sickness. Jack sets out to Dawson City with his newfound friends Jim and Merritt. He gets in a brawl with slavers and ends up being a slave. The first night he's there a Wendigo (a cannibalistic spirit that possesses a human) attacks the camp. His so-called "guardian" wolf saves him. When he wakes up he finds himself in a hut with no one else. He soon finds out he was taken in by a girl called Lesya. She tells him her father is a nature god of the surrounding forest. When he takes a walk in the woods he sees bodies entwined in trees. The horrific thing was that they were still living. He finds out it was Lesya who did it. What he learns from Lesya is that the men in the trees were lovers trying to get away so they don't have to stay forever with her. He luckily gets away before it can
happen to him. Once he gets far away he runs into the slave camp. There he meets up with the Wendigo again. Will he live though this reunion and head home? Read this exciting book to find out.
 I thought this book was awesome. The two authors made a book that Jack London would be proud of. The illustrator's pictures a open window into the world of Jack. I think any teenager would love this spooky book. This book is a great starter book in the series. Any teen would enjoy its adventure style. I think the authors achieved there purpose.

Very bloody secenes and alot of strong language.

Reviewer Age:12 Uxbridge, Ma USA

The Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar

Laura Horton just moved into the Visconti House, a very old place built by a Mr. Visconti. In school, Laura is constantly made fun of for being the Ghost Girl, and she's getting tired of it. So when Leon Murphy, a weird new kid at her school, moves in next door, she can't help but make herself a promise to stay away from him. She doesn't need any more abnormal ties in her life. After hearing lots of comments about the house she is now living in, she decides to explore the house's history, with Leon doing some research of his own. Can Laura and Leon discover the Visconti House's secret? And will they join together and form a wonderful friendship? Read to find out!

The Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar has a story line that is original and common, but it still amazed me. It has a little mystery, friendship, romance, and some of the issues normal teens go through today. The author had a really good ending; it left me wanting more, but it did end at exactly the right moment. The only thing I would add to the book is a little more suspense about the house and owner's history. It was wonderful, and I would definitely recommend it to grades five and above.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter

The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter is a fabulous fun-filled fiction work.  After a few accidental incidents, eleven-year-old Bessica Lefter is forbidden to be with her best friend, Sylvie. Then, Sylvie moves to a new school, leaving Bessica to start middle school friendless. On top of everything else, it doesnt help that Bessica's special grandmother is off on some crazy road trip with her weird new boyfriend and has little or no time left for Bessica.  It also doesnt help that the gorgeous Noll Beck just thinks she's some little kid.  I highly encourage young teens to read Kristen Tracy's, The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter.  Every reader will greatly enjoy him or herself and the book will unlock a new world through the fun-loving eyes of Bessica.
In my opinion, The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter was a very humorous and yet dramatic story.  I believe any book possessing both of these qualities deserves an extremely high level of praise. I think Kristen Tracy's fun way of putting things and incredible intellect is what makes her books so amazing. I will definitely continue to read her priceless works.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Akron, Ohio United States

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Vanishing Violin by Michael D. Bell (Red Blazer Girls series)

The unstoppable Red Blazer Girls are back in The Vanishing Violin to solve yet another captivating mystery, or mysteries. Someone has been breaking into their school and instead of stealing or vandalizing, they are redecorating! But their big mystery doesn’t start until Margaret gets a violin bow in the mail that is worth a lot of money, and with it the clues to find the even more expensive violin that goes with it. Another real problem comes about when a violin is stolen from Margaret’s friend Mr. C., who owns a violin store by Perkatory, the girls’ favorite Cafe (which the Blazers’ band also performs at). Mr. C’s alarm never went off and no window or door is broken, so the only thing more mysterious than who did it, is how they did it. Relationships are heating up, too. Not only do Rafael and Sophie date, but Margaret gets a new crush on a boy named Andrew from her music class. The Red Blazer Girls also have a new rival, Livvy, who hates the group. The best part of the book is at the end, with a couple of plot twists and surprises you’re sure to enjoy.

All in all, I thought this book was enjoyable and slightly humorous. Even though the plot was not as suspenseful as others like it, it is sure to be a book that you will enjoy reading. This book also flexes your mind with puzzles and riddles, unlike most books of its kind. The Vanishing Violin is a mystery and is a pretty light read, and I fell in love with the characters. With their brains and charm, I think the Red Blazer Girls have earned a spot up there with the likes of Sherlock Holmes.

Content: 1
Rating: 8
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas USA

Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur

The graphic novel starts off when young Arthur pulls
the legendary sword Caliburn from the stone. Ulric, the
current king of Britain, challenges Arthur to a duel at
dawn. Arthur accepts. Merlin takes Arthur to the Faerie
Realm to train for 2 years and a day. When he gets back
Arthur is 17 years old and trained in the art of fighting,
kingship, warcraft, and politics. He wins the duel and
becomes the king over Britain. King Arthur s evil half-
sister Morgana sends Merlin 7 years into the future. When
he gets back King Arthur had already married Lady
Guinevere and built Camelot. Morgana (Arthur's half-
sister) makes an evil replica of King Arthur and
challenges the real King Arthur to war. Will King Arthur
win and Albion be saved? Read this eye-catching book to
find out.
Excalibur was an awesome graphic novel.
The pictures make you feel like you're in Albion beside
King Arthur. Tony Lee tells the story of king Arthur
perfectly. Their work combines to make an ideal graphic
novel for young adults. I thought the book was hard to put
down. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good action
Reviewer Age:12 Uxbridge, Ma USA

Monday, March 21, 2011

Terezin: Voices From The Holocaust by Ruth Thomson

In Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust, by Ruth Thomson, you journey from pre-World War II to the end of the war focusing on the Holocaust but in particular a ghetto/concentration camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia. Most of the people sent to Terezin died. They died either in Terezin due to health issues caused by ghetto life or during transport to Auschwitz, called going east , or in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. You see first-hand quotes, diary entries and drawings that were secretly hidden and every now and then a real photo of life in Terezin. This book gives you all the information you would ever want to know. It gives you information about what a ghetto/concentration camp is to even the food schedule.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Holocaust and anyone who likes to read interesting non-fiction books. Even if you do not like reading non-fiction this book makes it seem like you are reading a normal book just with facts thrown in. Having read other non-fiction books that can be heavy on the details, I thought the balance between the text and images were perfect.

In this book the life-like drawings make the reading more life-like and captivating. With quotes from real people that were in Terezin you really learn how horrible this was for all the Jewish people in the time period.

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Rochester, New York United States

Amazing Crayon Drawing with Lee Hammond

This book teaches you how to draw amazing pictures with a
childhood favorite - Crayola Crayons. It is hard to
believe the life-like images were produced by crayons, but
this book teaches you the techniques that can be used with
crayons. There are warm-ups and projects, step by step and
telling you what colors and techniques to use for each of
them. It teaches how to make the unique look of crayon to
works to your advantage and shows you how to make a
variety of texture. Anything you need to know about
drawing with crayons is in this book.

I laughed when I saw this book, saying "Drawing professional art with crayons?! Yeah right, I've got to see this."
Even with myself being an artist, it was hard to believe you could
make professional with something so common and cheap it
was considered to be a child's toy to scribble with when
they were bored. Although when I saw the artwork on the
cover I thought, wow, these really are drawn with crayon.
This book is a great way to learn to draw with crayons,
teaching you how to use different techniques, make various
textures and create masterpieces. There are many step-by-step warm-ups
and projects that help you get the feel of how to use the crayons and what colors to use to best serve your art. I told my mom to go get some crayons, and have had fun using the book to its best potential.

Reviewer Age:13

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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How Tia Lola Learned to Teach

"How Tia Lola Learned to Teach" is about a Spanish aunt who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic. She came to help her sister - who just got divorced - raise her son and daughter, Miguel and Juanita.
While Tia Lola was in the U.S she was volunteered to teach Juanita and Miguel’s classes Spanish. During Tia Lola's visit she soon finds herself helping everyone, but she doesn't mind. Tia Lola is a very helpful person. She helps Rudy with his restaurant, and everybody else in the town with everything you could imagine.

I didn't really like "Tia Lola Learns to Teach" because the story line isn't something that I'm in to. I did like the fact that the book had a lot of Spanish in it. I also liked the lessons it taught. There were Spanish sayings, but some of them Americans say, too.

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Claremont, NH USA

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Crazy Day With Cobras by Mary Pope Osborne

The book "A Crazy Day With Cobras" was a very exciting book. In this book Jack and Annie set off to India to find an emerald rose. They are searching for this rose because Teddy acciendtally turns Penny the penguin into stone. Annie has to pretend to be a boy because in India, 400 years ago women were not allowed to show their faces in public without being killed. In order to get this rose, Jack and Annie have to bring the Great Mongul,(The ruler of India),a precious gift and pick the correct stone from a tray filled with different jewels. I really enjoyed reading this book.

In my opinion "A Crazy Day With Cobras" was an exciting and adventurous book. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book. Out of all the books Ms.Mary Pope Osborne has written, this one is my favorite. The content of this book is just right for the recommended age. I loved this book and can't wait for book 46 to come out in August.

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Glenwood, Arkansas U.S.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Can You Survive The Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier

You're just one of the many 25-year-olds in Manhattan with a monotonous life and equally (if not more) monotonous job. Well, until the day zombies take over. Gruesome killing on every street corner; an unhealthy abundance of blood, gore, guts, and brains. Your survival depends on you -- solely you - and the decisions you make with each turn during your race for victory. Die, become a zombie, or perhaps, stay alive until the very end -- it's all up to you.

Maybe I was deprived as a child, but I was never given any Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books. Reading through Max Brallier's Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? turned out to be quite an experience. Peppered with interesting characters that slather raw meat juice on themselves to imitate zombies and others that are just alarmingly trigger-happy with a machine gun, this book was an intense read. That is, if you don't mind dying and instantaneously resuscitating yourself a couple hundred times. Of course, the burning question here is: can you survive the zombie apocalypse? Profanity and sexual content.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA USA

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Skinny On Time Management by Jim

I read the book The Skinny on Time Management. The book
was written in comic form. The author, Jim Randel, wrote
links to outside sources, such as the internet and other
books. The book tells you detailed step by step things
on how to reach your goal in a certain amount time. The
author puts other links to outside sources so one can do
his or her own research.
I thought the book was useful. He clearly states ways one
can fix his or her problems with time management. He also
made it fun to read it. The author says jokes throughout
the book. He uses helpful visuals throughout the book
too. The book is written as a cartoon, which makes it fun
for a child to read. He writes other sources for helping
oneself, such as titles of other books and names of online
sites. The book was well-written and I really liked it
because it really helped me.

Age:13 Uxbridge, MA USA

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant

Carmen Navarro dropped out of school when she was in high
school. Her true love is music, until she meets a guy on
campus named is Ryan. When Ryan spots Carmen, his pulse
quickens. She usually doesn't like to get into a
relationship, but this time, she feels something.

If you want to know more, read the book !!

The book was
really good. I enjoyed it a lot. It was very romantic. It
even made me cry a little at some parts. Overall, good

Some kids will make fun of romances. So, you have
to be mature about the book and not think of it as some
silly story.

Reviewer Age:13

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

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Speculation and Keeping It Real with Fantastic Fiction by Helen Lowe

Two years ago, my first novel, Thornspell, was a Flamingnet Top Choice book. My second (“crossover”) novel, The Heir of Night (the first in The Wall of Night series) was published in the USA, Australia and New Zealand last October and has just been released into the UK. Both Thornspell and The Heir of Night are Fantasy fiction—or as I like to think of it, fantastic fiction—and someone said to me recently: “But why write Fantasy? It’s not real, is it?”

The same observation could be made about all fiction, of course, since it’s all “made up.” The process of that making, while aided by leaps of creative imagination, requires acute observation and understanding of people and the forces at play in human society. No matter how fantastic the setting, the reader has to believe in the characters at an emotional level or the story will not ring true—and if the author is successful in creating emotionally believable characters, then in that sense the story is real.

Focusing specifically on Fantasy and Science Fiction, a recently popular name for both genres is “speculative fiction”—and it is speculation that enables both writers and their readers to explore alternative ideas of how a world or society might be. Ursula Le Guin is one writer who has been particularly adept at this over a long period of time. A number of reviewers have also commented on the matter-of-fact equality of men and women in the Derai society of The Heir of Night. The opportunity to create a society where this is simply the case, without either "discussion or worthy treatise" (SFX), is what speculative fiction is all about.

As a writer, I love asking why and what if questions and having the freedom to answer them without being bound by what we know has happened in history, or constrained too much by the laws of physics. In fact, it’s always been a big part of the fascination, and also the fun, of Fantasy for me—and a valid way of taking a “rain check” on reality.
About Helen Lowe
Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, poet and interviewer. Her latest novel, The Heir of Night, the first of THE WALL OF NIGHT quartet, was published in the USA, Australia and New Zealand in October 2010 and is newly published in the UK. Helen’s first novel, Thornspell, (Knopf, 2008) won the 2009 Sir Julius Vogel Award for “Best Novel, Young Adult.” She blogs on the first of every month on the Supernatural Underground and every day on her own Helen Lowe on Anything, Really site.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fruitbasket From Hell (ebook) by Jason Krumbine

Alex Cheradon is a private investigator who wants nothing but to actually work as a private investigator. As his luck would have it he barely spends any time investigating and more time trying to avoid the supernatural. On top of the supernatural being after him so is his ex-partner who is trying to kill him. Luckily for Alex his bad luck is about to make him rich.

A genius celebrity comes to him for help to look for his daughter. The catch is that his daughter is a Satanist and she is most likely dead. The only thing that makes him take the case is a check worth one million dollars. Now it is up to Alex to solve this mystery while at the same time he must stay alive long enough to at least spend his million.

I really did like the book. The author kept a serious but humorous attitude though out the book which kept me reading and focused. The one thing I do think that Jason Krumbine needs to work on it how much detail he gives. I do like detail but he went a little over board. Other then that I enjoyed his tale and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Az city, Arizona USA

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Saraswati's Way by Monika Schroder

Saraswati's Way is an interesting book about a young boy in India. It starts off when Akash's bapu (father) dies. The family has a hefty debt. Akash, being the only boy beside his sluggish uncle left in the family, is sent off to work so the debt can be paid. When he gets paid his sense of numbers tells him that the debt is not actually going downward. He thinks it s because his family is continuing to take on more debt so that adds to the debt. He doesn t get paid enough to pay that and more, so he runs away on a train, not wanting to keep working forever. When he gets to the train station in Delhi, he meets a group of boys that help him. He sleeps on top of a newspaper booth that the kind owner Ramesh provides. He starts working for Ramesh so he can earn money to go to school. One day Ramesh falls and has to go to the E.R. When Akash is in the waiting room he meets a boy from a private school. The boy tells him that they have a scholarship test and he could possibly win it so he can go to school. Will he win it and his dreams come true? If you want to know the answer read this outstanding book.
Monika's writing is strong and enjoyable. It makes you want to read it in one sitting. One of my favorite things about it is how it makes you feel you are at Akash s side throughout the book. I would certainly read more novels by Monika. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to imagine being in another person's shoes. Overall I think it's a excellent book.

Reviewer Age:12 Uxbridge, Mass. USA

I Am Nuchu by Brenda Stanley

I Am Nuchu by Brenda Stanley is the story of a high school senior, Cal Burton, that is struggling to find himself after his parents divorce and his mother relocates him and his siblings to an Indian reservation in Utah. When he gets to the reservation he has to build a relationship with the grandfather he barely knew as a child, and he struggles to build true friends. Once Cal finally begins to feel comfortable in his new surroundings a horrific incident occurs that sends Cal on a mission to convict his brother's killer. Will Cal succeed?

I found this book to be so full of action and adventure that I could hardly put it down to go to sleep. I admire Cal's persistence in unraveling the mystery of his aunt's murder, and to catching his brother's killer. I think the book was filled with rich sensory words that painted a picture of the Utah scenery and made you feel like you were there living in the moment. I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone who loves a good mystery full of anticipation.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Makanda, Illinois USA

Candy Wars by Robert Cordiner

James and Emily, brother and sister, both see a small mysterious creature exit from their room into a little space of light. They went in different times so they went to different parts of a strange place. James was closest to the candy king's land while Emily was closer to the tooth fairies. James finds a candy land where all the creatures are made of candy. He soon meets the king and finds out they candy king is at war with the tooth fairies. They are fighting over the lost teeth of children. Each tooth contains some energy. The tooth fairies need it for their magic and the candy monsters need it for making new candy creatures. James attacks the tooth fairies but turns to the fairies side after his sister explained the tooth fairies' reasoning to him. With the help of a dragon, the tooth fairies defeat the candy king and corner him in a cave. They then realize that the candy king is the queen tooth fairies' son.

I thought the book was awesome. I would recommend it to all my friends. I love how the author wrote in both James' and Emily's perspectives on the war so you can see both sides of the story. I think it's really unique how she puts brother and sister on different sides of the war. We all know that brothers and sister fight sometimes but R.G. cordiner made it as if they were fighting on different sides of a war - which they were. They just did not know that the other was on the other side.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: katy, texas USA

Rags and Riches by Mary Pope Osborne

Rags and Riches: Kids in the Time of Charles Dickens is a book by Mary Pope Osborne that is perfect for young kids who want to learn more about history. It is a good background for Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". This book will help kids better understand what society was like in the 1800's. It describes the lifestyle of children in the lower classes, orphanages, and workhouses as well as how children in the middle or upper classes spent their time.

Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce have done an excellent job in their account of life in 19th century London, England in their new book Rags and Riches Kids in the Times of Charles Dickens. They describe in page turning words what life is like for both rich kids and poor kids during that time.

The details given by the main characters Jack and Annie describe everything from clothing and work to vacations and royalty and the illustrations make the words on the page come to life. Much of the novel is spent as seen through the great author Charles Dicken's eyes and how he saw life around him. It is this life that he depicts in his well known novels A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist.

I highly recommend this book because not only is it fun to read, but also because you will learn so much about a fascinating time in history.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cary, NC USA

The Wolf Tree by John Claude Bemis

Shuckstack is a safe home for children, but soon, nowhere will be safe. The Darkness is coming, and the only way to stop it is to destroy 'The Machine', or as some call it, The Clockwork Dark. Three groups of travelers set out: Jolie the siren, and Conker, the giant, thought to be dead; Ray the Rambler, with his crow, B'hoy, Redfeather the Indian, and Marisol; lastly, the lone traveler Sally, Ray's sister, who later joins with Hethy an Quorl. Each group has thier own goals, but, even if unknowingly, they all lead to one source - defeating the Darkness. When the 3 groups meet with the rougarou, part human, part animal, at the Great Tree, they realize- things are more disastrous then they thought.

First thing I have to say is - this book was really confusing.(Even more so than The Fire Eternal series, if you've read that.) It really doesn't help that there were ten or so characters in the first couple of chapters. After reading to chapter 10 or so, it was less confusing, but still a little hard to understand. I think it is because this is the second book, so you definitely need to read the first before reading this. Other than that, the book was okay. It was interesting to read about the affects of the darkness, and loved the part with the rougarou and the Great Tree. In all, the book was okay, once you understood it.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

Selected Shorts and Other Methods of Time Travel by David Goodberg

"Here I am. Or better said, here I all am. Five clones of myself and I are about to play some three-on-three basketball. Who will win? How in the world are we going to decide who starts with the ball if we are exactly the same?"
Selected Shorts and Other Methods of Time Travel by David Goodberg is a book full of hilarious tales of cloning, time travelling, and alien planets. The book takes place in the future when time travel companies have become as normal as Wal-Mart stores. For example, in the story The Perfectionist, a lady, Jane Swanson, uses time travel to go back into her past to make her life better. Jane tells her former self lottery numbers and useful information for the future. Once she has cautioned her priego, he former self, Jane goes back to the future with an entirely new life. She is rich beyond belief and has the best family. Jane believes she is now truly happy. Although, some time travels don't necessarily work out well. In the story '21x' a man named Ben Bucksley acquires a little plastic watch. The only thing the watch says on it is '21x'. Ben presses buttons on the watch, but it doesn't work. Ben tries to fix it, but realizes he can't. He holds on to the watch so maybe he can give it to someone else or try again later. By holding onto the watch, Ben finds out there is more to the watch than being a plastic piece of junk. The watch really reverses time by twenty-one minutes. Ben uses this with caution at first, but then the power drives him crazy. Eventually, the watch appears to stop working and Ben is caught. Stories like 'The Perfectionist' and '21x' are just the beginning of even more wacky and entertaining tales that Goodberg takes the reader on.

David Goodberg's short stories aren't just humorous, but very thought provoking. Every story has a message behind it, whether the story is one page long or three pages long. Each story has the same setting and future-lingo though. If a reader were to just pick up the book and start with the very beginning story and not read the prologue, it would be confusing. The prologue was nice to have and cleared up many of the questions from the beginning. Goodberg's novel isn't a Douglas Adams book where it is almost pure satire, but it does have it's funny parts and sad parts. I really enjoyed Selected Shorts and Other Methods of Time Travel and I would recommend it to young adults because some of the stories of death can be graphic.

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

I Am Here by Ema Toyama

Sumino? Who is Sumino? No one seems to know the answer -except for the most popular boy in the class, Hinata. Sumino lacks self-esteem and fears that she will live her life without ever being seen. She has two friends in the world, but they are people who she does not know personally. Sumino knows them from the Internet because they read her blog and give insightful comments. When Hinata finally talks to Sumino, she is overjoyed that someone notices her. The other girls in the class do not feel the same glee. Invisible Sumino may be able to grow in the light that Hinata shines upon her, but she must overcome the other girls first.

I believe that i am here! accurately describes the life of a young girl who is a loner. The reader instantly feels sympathy for Sumino as she encounters other students who run into her or claim that they never saw her because she is invisible. Anyone who has felt left out may connect with Sumino. The hope that Hinata gives her is equivalent to a true friend that one may make in real life. Being a manga, the drawings are done very well, and the facial expressions of the characters match the tone of the book. I recommend this book to someone who likes to read female manga and to those who feel like the character Sumino matches their own situations. This manga is inspirational and shows the benefits to working hard for what you want to achieve.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder

The book Penny Dreadful is about a girl named Penelope Grey, she comes from a wealthy family that lives in a mansion, has a tutor, and many other pleasures. While Penelope enjoys her life she often longs for something unexpected to happen, much like the things that occur in the books she reads. One day she decides to make a wish that something exciting will happen. Little did she know that the wish she made would give her more than she bargained for. About a week later, Penelope's father, Dirk, came home from his work and exclaimed some very shocking news: he had quit his job so he could write a book! Over next few weeks the Grey family started to lose money. The house turned into a pit of despair, the house employees started leaving, the lights were left off, the laundry wasn't done and Delia, Penelope's mother spent hours up in her room crying. Then a telegram came announcing that Delia Grey had inherited a house far away from the city. So the Grey's decided to rent out the mansion they owned and move to the country. They arrive to find the house, named the Whippoorwillows, is divided into apartments, and they will only have one apartment to live in. Penelope meets many kids her age and changes her name to Penny. She likes her new life as a country girl and has lots of fun. Then she hears her parents discussing the lack of money. If they can't find enough money they will lose the house and have to move back to the city. Can Penelope find the hidden treasure and save the Whippoorwillows, or will her family and the others find themselves without houses?

I found this book very interesting, because I could relate to Penny and her desire for something new and adventurous to happen. The characters in this book were very interesting and very well described. I also enjoyed the fact that the author used a lot of dialogue, since it helped me visualize the story more accurately. I would recommend this books to readers between 8-10 years old. The book as a whole was very good but I liked the ending better than the beginning because the beginning seemed to talk about the same things for a long time and continued to mention them to frequently.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Boothwyn, PA USA

Old Photographs by Sherie Posesorski

When Phoebe Hecht offers her help to a sweet, but
confused elderly woman, she has no idea how drastically
this will affect the rest of her summer. The main
character of Old Photographs, by Sherie Posesorski,
Phoebe, has been going on solitary bike rides through town
until she stops at a garage sale and notices Mrs. Tomblin,
a frail old woman, struggling to count money and deal with
customers. Phoebe helps Mrs. Tomblin and becomes almost
like a grandchild to the old woman. After Mrs. Tomblin s
house is broken into, and several valuable photographs are
taken, it is up to Phoebe and her friends Colin and Yuri
to solve the crime and determine the culprit in this fast-
paced mystery.

The prospect of a mystery is enough to
tempt any reader, but Old Photographs was unfortunately
lacking in several areas. The plot, for example, seemed
slightly forced and predictable, such as the
confrontations between Phoebe and her mother. Also, the
language was too loose and informal for my taste. However,
I did enjoy getting to know some of the characters, who,
for the most part, were fresh and original. I was
disappointed with the mystery aspect, because it was
fairly easy to identify the culprit from the beginning. I
would not recommend this book because it was written at a
low level and not worth the time it took to read it.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country:
Bayside, WI U.S.A.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Shadowspell by Jenna Black

Sometimes people place fear in others, when really they
should fear themselves. Dana Hathaway has finally got
some order to her life and can now come and go from her
hideout fairly easily without too much hassle, but when
the Erlking and his posse come to town, all of that
changes. Her father fears that the Erlking was sent by
the Courts to eliminate Dana and has more or less set her
on lockdown unless she necessarily has to leave, taking at
least two bodyguards with her. When the Erlking saves
Dana from the clutches of her dear, evil aunt Grace and
her hiree, she begins to wonder if he isn't out to hurt
her after all, but when he tricks Ethan, Dana's sort of
boyfriend, into attacking him and then takes him as his
slave, Dana is without a doubt confused. She has no idea
what he wants from her, but she knows that she must get
Ethan back, but what Dana doesn't realize is how dangerous
it can be to bargain with the Erlking.

The second
installment in the Fairewalker series, Shadowspell, was an
enjoying read and had me guessing as to what was come
throughout the entire novel. Although I enjoyed reading
Shadowspell, I probably would have enjoyed the story more
if the setting was not located all around the same area
throughout the entire novel; it made for less intrigue
because the main character did not really go anywhere
besides her safehouse and a little around town. I was
captivated by the overall appeal of the new main
character, the Erlking, which the author, Jenna Black,
added to the story; scenes that included him always kept
my attention and made the plotline much more interesting.
Surprised by how much Dana had grown as a person overall,
I was overjoyed to see that she had definitely matured.
The author did well with creating interesting details and
adding surprises through-out, which really helped the flow
of the story. The second novel in the riveting
Fairewalker Series, Shadowspell, was just as satisfying as
the first and leaves off at a perfect place for a
promising continuation in the third.

There was a small
amount of inappropriate language as well as sexuality and
sexual references and suggestions.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

The Crescent by Jordan Deen

Lacey thinks that she is a normal teenager, but comes to find she is wrong.
She meets two guys - Alex and Brandon. Her heart tells her she loves Alex, her mind tells her she loves Brandon. Then, she starts to have reactions to certain people, and her senses are heightened. Brandon tells her it is because she is close to transforming -into a werewolf- and she is not with him, her true, destined mate. Lacey can't bear to hurt Alex, but she doesn't want to sign Brandon's death contract, for werewolves will die without their mate. She can't think of any way out of it, and soon she will be forced to make a decision.

I noticed on the first page alone that this book would be hard to read, there were almost no commas, and apostrophes were often misused. It made the reading slower and took the normal flow of proper grammar out. As for the story itself, it was interesting how the author viewed werewolves, they were described as much more caring and loyal than the cold-blooded beasts we normally see them as. The conflict between Alex and Brandon over Lacey's love was always shifting, one would gain the upper hand, only to fall back again. The end surprised me, and in all the book was okay.

Language and intimate relationships, some bed scenes

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

Sugar Changed The World by Marc Aronson

Sugar Changed the World, by Marc Aronson, is a tale full of adventure, history, human cruelty, and of course- sugar! Marc Aronson tells you his family history- while at the same time telling you how sugar changed everything. Through these true events and stories, you see how slavery was a BIG part of sugar. You start to wonder if that wonderful spice was worth all of the suffering. Throughout the story you learn all kinds of interesting details about sugar, but at the same time you learn a lot about humans in general. If you ever wonder where slavery came from, then this is the book for you.

Sugar Changed the World was an amazing book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who ever wonders about slavery. Throughout the story I began to wonder if we even deserve sugar with the way people were treated. The author really helps you connect with the slaves, but he helps you understand the slaveholders intentions too. This book is very well researched and is full of all kinds of interesting facts and opinions. You learn a lot about how sugar was invented while you read. Anyone who likes sugar would like this book!

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Broken Arrow, Ok united states

Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Celeste Parker was just a small town girl. She grew up in Legend's Run-a place famous for its scary werewolf stories. It's just another year with her friends, hanging out and having fun. Then one day, she visits a psychic who gives her a puzzling reading and everything changes. She finds herself face to face with wolves when the new kid Brandon saves her. Brandon saves her, but not without incident. He was bitten, but something else changed inside him. She must discover if his transformation is more than a legend, or just a trick of the shadows.

At first, this book seemed to be really good, but as I went on, it started getting more and more stereotypical. The story line was too much like every other werewolf story out there. Also, the characters never seemed to take any risk or go into action, which made the book drag on. The character, Celeste, had no backbone. Yes, the romance between Celeste and Brandon was interesting at first, but she doesn't want anyone to know she's dating him because he's from the wrong side of town. If Celeste was a true heroine, she would at least tell her friends.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, OH USA

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

When Gabi and her sister Lia accompany their mother on an
archeological dig in Italy, they expect the summer to be
filled with boring old artifacts. Instead, they find
themselves transported back in time to 16th century Italy.
After the two are separated, Gabi is taken in by a
neighboring castle. She finds herself falling for the
handsome knight who saved her when she first arrived, but
she must fight her feelings and concentrate on finding her
sister. However, getting her sister back proves to be a more
daunting task for Gabi when she finds herself trapped
between two warring castles. This fast-paced historical
fiction novel incorporates facts, adventure, and romance and
tells the unforgettable story of life in 16th century Italy.

I enjoyed this book, especially the creative way in which
facts are intertwined with the story. The main character
is easy to relate to because of her strong voice throughout
the story. The setting of a medieval castle is vividly
described, and the events in the book are clearly
explained, making the reader feel as though he is actually
there. My only criticism would be that I was disappointed
with the cliff-hanger ending, but I am excited to read the
rest of the books in the series. The dialogue is appropriate
for the teen audience and seeks to engage the reader. I
would highly recommend this book to all historical fiction

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Bayside, WI USA

Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey

The book Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey is a mix
of many things: mystery, adventure, and romance, but
mostly fiction, since it is about vampires. In the book a
girl named Isabeau is turned into a vampire after her
parents are killed. During the French Revolution, Isabeau
went and found her way to her uncle's house. He threw a
party and that's when she met Greyhavan changes her into a
vampire and leaves her buried for 200 years. She loathes
him for doing so and is sure to seek revenge someday.
After 200 years, she is found by the hounds, an exclusive
vampire clan thought to be savage.

Then she meets Logan, one of the seven Drake
brothers, considered royalty, at their home caves for a
negotiation meeting to unite their two tribes. Montmartre
is an evil vampire who wants Logan's sister to marry him.
He is partnered with Greyhavan. Isabeau and Logan locate
him and his culprits in an attempt to catch them, but fail
in their attempt. Isabeau finds out that her people are
being attacked. She and Logan go to see if they are okay,
but end up getting attacked by helpers of Greyhavan and
Montmartre, in Isabeau's clan's caves. Isabeau and Logan
get free and flee to help Logan's family under attack as
well. They get caught again on the way by Greyhavan and
Montmartre. Isabeau is then faced with the dilemma of
making a decision to die, but seek revenge by killing
Greyhavan by herself while Logan flees, or leave with
Logan and loose her only chance at revenge.

Blood Feud takes place in the twenty-first century in Europe, and in
Isabeau's past life during the French Revolution. The tone
of the book was eery and exciting: you have the eery past
life of Isabeau's life, and the adventure of what Isabeau
and Logan go through together. There is also mystery and a
bit of humor. Isabeau is amazingly beautiful with dark
brown hair and stunning green eyes. Logan is handsome with
his his brown hair and green eye as well. This book is the
perfect mix of everything a book needs: mystery, suspense,
adventure, humor, and love. The book jumps back an forth
from the present involving Isabeau and Logan and the past
of Isabeau, which is different. It was age appropriate and
had no bad language or other inappropriate content. I
would recommend this book to others, especially vampire
lovers. I learned that getting revenge is not the answer,
that there are better choices to make. You should
definitely read this book because it grabbed my attention
right from the beginning.
Reviewer Age:14 Uxbridge, Massachusetts United States

Shiner and King by Nolan Carlson

In the book Shiner and King by Nolan Carlson, the main
characters are Carly and Troop. They do everything
together. They formed a club called the Mustangs. They
both are in the same class at school. One day Troop and
Carly were riding their bikes and Luke Webster (a mean
boy in the town) fell, the boys went over to him to make
sure he was OK. Luke, because he is mean, kidnapped
them. He kept them in his shed. They were soon
rescued. The dog King goes missing and they spent a lot
of time looking for him. They found him in the nick of
time. King was in danger. You'll have to read to find
out if they find and save King.

I found the book slow moving and difficult to
understand. This was Book 3 of the series and I did not
read books 1 or 2. I felt I was missing connections that
might have been clearer if I had read the previous books.
The Book didn't seem to be about the title characters
Shiner and King. Overall this book was not for me.
Reviewer Age:10 Uxbridge, MA USA