Monday, October 29, 2012

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk

Guy Langman is a quiet, self-centered, 15-year-old with one friend, Anoop. Nothing much has ever interested Guy, except for girls and sleep. His friend Anoop convinces Guy to sign up for the Forensics Club at school, but he insists only to meet girls. After a few weeks of detective training, Guy begins to enjoy, and become good at, detective work, especially lifting fingerprints. And when someone breaks into his recently deceased dad' s pirate treasure, The Forensics Club is called on to solve a real crime. As they search for evidence and answers to the mystery, they uncover another crime scene. After another week or so, The Forensics Club must compete in a competition against their rival school to solve a fake crime, until Guy and Anoop find a real dead body along with some suspicious fingerprints. As Guy uncovers more secrets about his father's past and begins to piece together the boy 's death and the coin robbery, Guy makes new friends and uncovers new things about himself.

Guy Langman: Crime Scene Procrastinator is a funny, page-turning story that keeps the reader engrossed throughout the entire book. The plot starts out a little slow but picks up after the first couple chapters. The author expertly combines mystery and crime-solving with the life of a grief-stricken teenager. By creating a sad and lonely main character, the author is able to develop both Guy' s and his friend s' character traits and personalities. I extremely enjoyed this book and found myself not being able to put it down. I enjoyed the rich but humorous plot and narration, but I was also able to pick out clues while reading the book. I believe that Josh Berk did a fantastic job, and I would love to read another one of his stories.

I would give this book a 2 for content because there are some more mature things going on such as crime and emotional difficulties and high school conversations. If someone younger than about 12 wanted to read this, I would recommend parent guidance.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Parker, Colorado USA

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ruby (eBook) by Amanda Burke

Ruby is a book about a girl named Ruby who has a gift. This gift is not one that she knew of for most of her life, only recently has her gift arisen in her. Ruby is special, her gift provides her with abilities beyond human capabilities. She was known as a witch. Ruby is a witch from one of the most powerful witching families in the world, the Sullivan clan. As a child, she and her grandmother would practice magic, but when her father found out, he took her and forced the grandmother to plant a spell that stops Ruby from using her powers. The grandmother had a different idea though, she put the spell on Ruby, but made it so that when she turned 18, the spell would lift and Ruby would be able to use her powers again.  Her father was a man who hated wizardry and witchdom, even though he himself was one, so he kept his identity as well as Ruby s own identity secret during the time she couldn t use her magic. Then one night, a few days after Ruby turned 18, Ruby s father was found with his insides cut out and his blood covering the wall. So now she must find her grandmother, and accept the truth of who she is. She must learn to control her magic and use it stop the evil that is threatening to destroy the world as we know it. It is up to Ruby and her cancer-ridden grandmother to perfect her abilities and accept her fate.I loved this book! I loved it so much, I finished the whole thing in one day. It kept me intrigued with high action, but also wasn t too much. The book was amazing, but the prologue could be a little more interesting, I almost wanted to put the book down until I got to chapter one. The author could change the wording from old English to today s form of English because a lot of teens and young adults don t really know that form of English anymore.  Other than that, I felt the book itself was spectacular and I hope the author writes a sequel. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read it. It will keep anyone intrigued, from 8-100 years old. Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, North Carolina USA

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Time Fighters: The Shifter Prince (eBook) by Mark Budman

The Shifter Prince is a book about two gifted teens whose stories collide a few chapters into the book. One character is a high school exchange student named Amber, and she is visiting the country of Poslopia, her father' s native country. Poslopia is a dictatorship, heavily enforced by the government, with a rebel group on the loose trying to overthrow them. While in Poslopia, she meets a boy named Yaroslav, a native Poslopian boy with the ability to shape shift, a common Poslopian trait, and one that Amber envies. There is something special about Yaroslav though, and that is that he is a Talent. Talents are special because, while normal shape shifters have a glow surrounding them, they are able to completely change themselves into another being without any trace. When Amber and Yaroslav meet, they instantly have a connection, and that is when Amber tells Yaroslav about her gift, the gift of time travel. At that time, they get the news that Libya, the leader of the rebels, has been captured. Amber and Yaroslav must travel back in time to find important information so they can free Libya and free Poslopia.

This book was very intriguing and well written. I felt that Mark Budman left you at just the right moment at the end of chapters and at the end of the book. I really hope he writes a sequel because if not, the end will leave a lot of people hanging, but if he does, it will definitely sell well. I would absolutely recommend this book to any of my friends because I felt it had just the right amount of mystery, action, and even some romance. Mr. Budman kept the story flowing while adding just the right amount of detail. He explained the characters well and always kept us wanting to read more. I predict that The Shifter Prince will be a huge success.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC USA

Friday, October 19, 2012

Faith, Hope & Reindeer (eBook) by Joe Moore as told to by Santa Claus

This book is about families who lost faith in Christmas.  They are chosen to go to the North Pole to see Santa Claus and all the toys that the elves make.  They learn a lot during the week they stay.  They buy souvenirs from the stores.  Each item had a price tag with unique prices.  One said, "Take orphans to the movies," Another one said, "Donate all your unwanted clothes to the homeless shelter."  The elves and Santa changed the lives of each and every family that went on the week trip to the North Pole.

I like this book because of the characters.  They started out as a family that avoided each other and had a transformation throughout the book.  The setting was very different than most books.  It has more truth to it than other books I've read. It was fun to see how each character changed. I recommend it to anyone who likes to read about changing lives.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leesburg, Virginia USA

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

The United States of American has fallen. It' s now The United Northern Alliance: an alliance between America, Canada, and Mexico. The government has decided that at the age of sixteen you must take a personality profile test to determine if you are a threat to society. If you fail, you will be sent to The Wheel, the harshest prison set up by the government. You have been be forsaken.

Orphan Alenna Shawcross goes in to take her personality profile test expecting to pass. The next thing she knows, she's waking up on The Wheel frantically trying to figure out what' s going on. She meets a girl named Gadya, who takes Alenna to her tribe, where she meets Liam, a boy trying to find a way to escape the Wheel. Soon, Alenna finds out that this all may have started with her parents, and she is determined to find out what secrets the Wheel is hiding about them. As Alenna and her fellow tribe members try to plan an escape, she begins to learn that not all of the teens are forsaken and that there' s something sinister running below the surface.

I was a little disappointed with The Forsaken. I had this book on my to-read-list for at least three months before it came out, so I was anticipating great things. The main thing that disappointed me was the detachment I felt from most of the characters. I didn't feel that connection with any of the characters in the beginning. It did change toward the end. Another disappointment was how slow the book starts. If fact, I did not feel hooked until page 170. That's when you learn more critical things, and it started to live up to my expectations. Then I got to page 251, and I COULD NOT STOP READING. I was sucked in to the story, and at page 298 I was sold. By then, I started to connect with the characters. Lisa Stasse really put the emotion into the ending, and I hope that and the development of the characters will continue in the second book.

I loved the setting of this book. To me, it felt like Lost's jungle with a Hunger Games fight-for-survival feeling.  I also felt that Lisa Stasse did a superb job of giving just enough detail to make it seem like you were there. Overall, I liked it, and I loved the ending. I, for one, will be looking for Lisa Stasse 's next book, The Uprising, which is due to come out summer 2013.

Throughout the whole book there 's a lot of violence, so I would definitely recommend it only for older teens.. It' s quite graphic and bloody at times.
There are no sex scenes, although there are some comments about it (they 're not graphic) and a few mild kissing scenes, but overall I was very happy with how little there was in that area.
There was also some language in this book, but not as much as I would expect from a teen novel.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sharpsville, Indiana USA

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Flappers Diva by Jillian Larkin

Diva, the third installment of the Flappers trilogy, focuses on the lives of three girls living in New York during the 1920s. Clara, the budding journalist, struggles to get over the one man she truly loved and his sudden engagement to a suspicious social climber. Her cousin, Lorraine, is free from prison but is forced to investigate a shady businessman. Gloria, having been left by her two former friends, finds herself ostracized at her new school. The three girls struggle to find who they really are amidst the dazzling life of high society. Along the way, they learn more about themselves and each other and put their loves to the test.

Diva, by Jillian Larkin, is a fast-paced, exciting read. The setting is especially intriguing to any lover of New York in the Roaring Twenties, and the characters are true to the time period, but are also relatable to the modern reader. Without reading the first two books in the series, the plot can be somewhat baffling, but the original confusion is soon forgotten as the novel progresses. The series closely resembles Anna Godbersen's Bright Young Things novels, but without the charm and sophisticated writing style. Any lover of this series would also enjoy the Flappers trilogy.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI USA

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Summoning Sphere (eBook) by Jennifer Kloss

Blake and his brother Riley are bored over the summer, so they go to see if their neighbors need help.  Their neighbors, Grace and Rachel, offer to have them clean out a shed in the back yard. The boys get to work and find a  wheelbarrow containing a  mysterious sphere, stone, book, and a talisman.  The brothers hold the sphere along with the other contents, and it transports  them to the land of Tor Forlough.  This begins a grand adventure. While exploring, they learn that the inhabitants of Tor Forlough need help to expose the evil Lord Dario. Lord Dario has poisoned the king and queen to gain power. The Priestess uses the stone of disappearance to investigate the crimes but is captured by the Lord. The brothers then know they must help to save the people of Tor Forlough. But how are they going to get home?

This book was very exciting.  The main characters were smart and used detective skills to solve the crime.It was action packed with magic and suspense.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries. 

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Glen Burnie, MD USA

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Eyeballs Growing All Over Me . . . Again (eBook) by Tony Rauch

For my inaugural Flamingnet book request and subsequent review, I eagerly selected Eyeballs Growing All Over Me&Again by Tony Rauch, from the great literary intellect of which sprouted such imaginative concepts as 40-foot chickens, not to mention heads the size of elephants and elephants the size of heads. Symbolism abounds throughout, and is eluded by neither the teenage generation s disordered bearings on body-size nor the cyclic nature of agoraphobia. But then again, to mangle Freud, sometimes a bee the size of a tricycle is just a bee the size of a tricycle. Yah, don t ask.

Opinions are hard to formulate, and literary works even harder to judge, particularly when, as is the case with Eyeballs Growing All Over Me&Again, I fear instances of brilliance soared over my head not unlike the characters whom, in one intriguing read, wound up shriveling and floating away. My dear Mr. Rauch, what is perhaps my most emphatic and only complaint is this: When symbols are as bountiful and profound as yours, I ask you- no, I beg of you-do not constrain them to the smallest housing suitable. Many a story ended with my pounding my head on the desk in frustration, and I wouldn t be surprised if it soon must be replaced by that of a goat. That being said, however, I must congratulate you on generating such frustration, as few students weep at the end of their math book. Despite my slight criticisms, I recommend this book to any and all, and anxiously await the completion of your upcoming works. Job well done.

Brief references to alcohol, drugs,and/or mature behaviors, the stories' content may be interpreted by younger readers as mildly disturbing.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yardley, Pennsylvania United States

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Superpowers by Frederic Neuman

Superpowers by Fredric Neuman is the story of Chipper, a frail, asthmatic, pitied high school student who is given the choice of a lifetime.  After the passing of his loving mother, Chipper meets Hal, an eccentric, otherworldly being with a very unique wardrobe.  Hal grants Chipper the choice of any one and only one, superpower.  Chipper must weigh this difficult choice while also coming to terms with his mom's death and the life she left behind.  This is even more difficult with a distant father, few career prospects, and frequent asthma attacks.  However, Chipper takes it all in stride with his group of friends, showing that the weakest of bodies may hold the strongest of hearts.

Despite the good intentions of the book to shed a humorous light on important societal issues, the incredibly loose structured narrative is very distracting to the reader. Inner monologue and scene description are mashed together with no consistency. This makes the attempts at humor fall flat.  This flow also causes the development and description of characters to leave much to be desired.  Where Chipper begins to describe the quirks of his friends soon turns into incessant rambling.  This poorly written story ultimately diminishes any lasting impact from themes or morals.  There are certainly important issues that young adults will debate, but it' s hard to be inspired by these topics when they are delivered at a significantly lower reading level.

There is some language in this book.
Reviewer Age:22
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Brother from a Box by Evan Kuhlman

Matt finds a crate that has been shipped to his house. Inside it is a kid? The boy turns out to be a French-speaking robot named Norman. At first, Matt is excited to have a robot brother, but there are complications. Matt 's mother does not want the robot because it reminds her of her first son, who died as a baby. Also, Matt' s new brother is a lot to care for. He flirts with girls, shows off, shuts himself in lockers, and always wants to go back to his crate. In spite of all this, Matt loves Norman. When he starts malfunctioning, Matt is concerned. These are not mere programming problems; someone is trying to hurt Norman! Can Matt protect his brother? Will Norman' s mad robot skills save them all?

Brother From a Box held my interest to the end with unique twists in the plot. It is appropriately told in first person, giving us a glimpse of how Matt sees life. He has many characteristics that resemble a real person. The girl who tries to kiss him drives him crazy, but sometimes he has to play with her because his parents tell him to be polite. He is jealous of Norman, yet somehow loves him. He gives Norman advice, but also exaggerates to him because he is so vulnerable. Their relationship resembles a real relationship between brothers. Even Norman, the robot, had a distinct personality. The mood of the book is funny and lighthearted, but it had some sad parts and some exciting parts. All in all, Brother from a Box is a fun read for kids of all ages.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Calhoun, GA USA

Monday, October 01, 2012

Flutter of Luv (eBook) by LM Preston

When Tony moves into Dawn's neighborhood, Dawn is nothing to him but one of the guys. On the other hand, Dawn sees Tony as something she will never have. Soon they become good friends, and they are pretty much inseparable. As the years go by, and as Dawn changes, Tony's view of Dawn changes as well. Their relationship quickly evolves into something more than just friends. Will their relationship last, or will it go down the drain?

This story was alright. It didn't flow very well, and the mini stories at the end threw me off. However, the story line was very cute, and it made me wish for more. This is a book for middle schoolers and above.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Fire In the Streets by Kekla Magoon

14 year old Maxie wants desperately to be a part of The Black Panther Party, but she s too young. No matter how much she works, Maxie can t help but feel like everyone sees her as the little girl who is invisible. She starts to try to prove herself worthy of being a Panther, risking relationships with both her best friends and her older brother. But when she unveils a shocking secret that will give her the chance she needs, she must decide what matters most and where her loyalties lie. Throughout the book, Maxie has to figure out how she will live with any of her decisions once she s made them.This is an okay book. I like the way you can learn about the time, but from the perspective of someone living it, which I feel makes it more enjoyable and sheds light on the subject and how everything effects her as a person. Fire In The Streets, is one of those books that is not necessarily a must read. Kekla Magoon has created a cast of characters who are knit together like a big family which I think shows how hard it must have been to actually work as a Panther while trying to figure out who you are and what loyalty really means to you.
 This book just didn t truly interest me, and it was kind of bland in my opinion. Fire In The Streets for me is like a piece of candy I think I ll enjoy, but the flavor fades fast. I keep chewing finding little bits of flavor left, but not enough for satisfaction. It s not my favorite, I don t think I would read it again, but it wasn t a total waste of my time.Reviewer Age:14Reviewer City, State and Country: Canoga Park, California United States

Storm of Arranon by R E Sheahan

In Storm of Arranon, by R.E. Sheahan, Erynn has to deal with
both a hidden secret and her feelings for Jaer.  When an
alien society is discovered on their planets, Erynn and Jaer
are thrust into battle and Erynn s secret may be their
worlds only hope. Struggling with her feelings and the war
raging constantly Erynn must figure things out quickly
before horrible things happen. When Jaer and Erynn are
finally together, war drives them apart. Will they ever be
able to be together? Will their planets be saved?I
enjoyed this book a lot. It was a great romance/sci-fi novel
without going overboard. My one, tiny complaint is that at
some points in the story things are over-described and it
gets boring. I really liked this book and would recommend
this for anyone 12 and up. I felt this story was interesting
and can t wait for sequels!Reviewer Age:12Reviewer
City, State and Country: Rochester, New York USA

Desert Fire by H.M. Prevost

Desert Fire is about a 17 year old boy named Nick whose goal in life is to be an investigative journalist.  His life takes a drastic turn when he, his mom, and sister move to Abu Dhabi to escape his domineering and cheater of a father. Abu Dhabi was the perfect place because it was far away and had the only job opportunity for the mother and sister.  The day he arrives in Abu Dhabi, Nick looks out the window and finds himself staring his newest journalism project in the face. A plane was falling out of the sky with a flaming tail. Nick decided to investigate and finds a military officer at the scene, blood sliding down his face, slowly losing the light in his eyes. The man slides a disk into Nick s pocket - a disk that Nick later finds holds key military information. This information will make everything around him change, placing him in life-threatening danger, dangerous missions, and gut wrenching decisions. Nick is a determined teenage journalist who becomes a Canadian spy in order to stop the men who want the disk so badly, they re ready to kill for its secrets.  I personally loved Desert Fire. It reminded me a lot of the Alex Rider series, but it seemed like it was geared toward a slightly more mature reader. There were so many moments where I felt like I couldn t stop. I would read a chapter before a school night, try to sleep, then turn the light back on and pick it up again to find out what happens. I never felt like I was reading, I felt like I was a part of the action. There were no moments where I was bored and wanted it to end. It always kept me intrigued and curious about what would happen next. All in all, this book is a 10 out of 10, no contest. I hope other readers will pick this book up as well because it is definitely top of my shelf, next to Hunger Games.Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC USA

Alice Parker's Metamorphosis (ebook) by Nicola Palmer

13 year old, Alice Parker has had some strange things happen to her. Extreme fruit cravings, mysterious back aches, and perfect grades are just some examples. Join Alice as she learns who she is and what she is, and how she keeps all her secrets from her parents. Lucky for Alice she has caring friends that help her along the way. If you like fiction, adventure, and mystery Alice Parker s Metamorphosis is the perfect book for you.I loved this book so much. It was great how the fictional characters were different- not the usual mermaids and fairies. That was the main attraction for me. I got so involved with the characters that I didn t want the book to end. I really liked how friendship was so important in this book. Overall Alice Parkers Metamorphosis deserves 5 stars!Reviewer Age:10Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC United States of America