Showing posts with label Fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fantasy. Show all posts

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson

   ***There is also a graphic novel of Witch and Wizard available.

Witch & Wizard
Reading grade level 4.9
Interest level Middle school

James Patterson is known for writing adult mystery stories, but he is also gathering A LOT of attention in the teen world too!  His series Witch and Wizard is action packed and the reading is reachable for all readers. 
   The story starts right out with a bang!  The siblings are awoken in the middle of the night to be arrested for using witchcraft.  Yet, they have no idea what is going on or why they are being wanted.  Wisty and Whit find themselves against the New Order with only an empty book and a drum stick to help them. 
    I loved this fast-pasted story.  The brother and sister relationship was so strong. I rooted for the duo the entire story and can't wait to read the next book. 
Witch and Wizard: The Manga, Vol. 2
*There is also a graphic novel of this story. 

For a sample of the story, see James Patterson's web site

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Juniper Berry, by M. P. Kozlowsky

Juniper Berry
Juniper Berry
Lexile Level: 700

I am not a fan of spooky, creepy books that make my skin crawl....but plenty of my readers are!  So, I recommend Juniper Berry to all of you that like books that linger with you in uncomfortable ways.  Juniper is a child of famous movie star actors.  They are a very close family, at least they were BEFORE they found acclaimed fame.  Now they forget Juniper even exists.  Lonely, Juniper sees the world out of her spy glasses.  She desperately wants to be apart of the world, but is locked away from it.  One day, she comes across a thin, wisp of a boy who is also looking for belonging.  Juniper and Giles find their answer, but it turns out to be more costly than they ever thought it could. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bitterblue, By Kristin Cashore

Sequel to Gracling
see previous post

I was fascinated by Cashore's strong characters in Graceling, so I was hoping I would find that kind of strength and smartness in Bitterblue.  I am slightly disappointed.  Bitterblue had moments where I was beginning to care about her and rooting for her, but mostly I was spending my energy hoping she would get a clue.  Gracling had so much action and passion, that Bitterblue seems dull in comparison.  You get glimpses of Katsa and Po's continued story- but you are watching from afar, so it loses it's impact- like watching a silent movie.  I gave the story 3 stars, because it is not all bad.  The plot is very developed and will keep you guessing.  There is a brief escapade that provides action and a touch of passion.  Not horrible, just not Gracling.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier
    Kerstin Gier wrote an impressive first book to her Ruby Trilogy.  Over the centuries Gwen's family has kept a secret.  They are part of team of time travelers who are working to solve a very old puzzle.  Gwen thinks she is a common 16 year old girl.  Her cousin is the one destined to be special.  Charlotte was trained her entire life to be ready for when it was her turn to travel through time.  Yet, the family was wrong.  It wasn't Charlotte who trips into the past but instead it was Gwen.  One minute she's heading out to the store for sweets, the next minute the scene changes.  Gwen couldn't believe she can travel back in time.  Her family is quite upset to find out that she is the magical Ruby that they have been waiting for.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Theodosia, by R. . LaFever

Theodosia Throckmorton and the Serpents of Chaos     Click to see a larger image   Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus   Coming April, 2011!  Love this website!  It offers a blog written by Theodosia, books she's reading, and information about the time period Theodosia lives in.  You can also read a section of the book here.

     This series quickly became a favorite for me.  Theodosia's parents work for a museum in London.  They are very neglectful parents so they often forget all about Theodosia.  She practically lives in the museum and sleeps in her own coffin.  Why you ask? Theodosia is special.  She can feel curses!  She's always careful to keep her hands covered and doesn't lurk in the dark halls of the museum.  Her dad thinks she's very odd, but she's just trying to protect people from these dark curses.  She goes on quite a few adventures trying to stop the Serpents of Chaos from bringing chaos and destruction to London.  She rescues artifacts, control mummies, and even goes to Egypt to save London.  You must read this adventure tale to see how a young girl does it!
*Mrs. B's note:  when reading about ancient cultures, it always helps to research more about that time period, people, and beliefs as you read.  It will surely help you comprehend (understand) so much more.  See my list of Egyptian books to help you. 

Kane Chronicles, by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid 

      Rick Riordan does what only he can...create a mystical tale that pulls you in and makes you hang on for dear life.  The Kane Chronicles (Book 1, Red Pyramid and Book 2, The Throne of Fire, Book 3 Serpent's Shadow) are excellent examples of that!  Riordan weaves Ancient Egypt with modern day in a very real way.  Two siblings, Carter and Sadie are separated by an ocean.  Carter lives with his dad, traveling as a archaeologist.  Sadie lives with her mom's parents in London.  On their traditional get together, their lives change drastically.  Carter's father is not really what he seems.  Not only that, but he helps very powerful Egyptian gods loose.  Carter and Sadie now have to save their dad and figure out how to help out.  Get on board this wild ride and hold on! 
*Mrs. B's note:  It will help greatly if you research Egyptian gods as you read this book.  It will make so much more sense. 

     In book 2, Throne of Fire, Sadie and Carter are back at fighting ancient monsters.  Without giving too much away, Sadie and Carter are now running the House of Life in New York.  Their uncle is away and put them in charge of training the new recruits.  Sadie gets separated from Carter when she goes to celebrate her birthday in London.  Instead of finding Grandma and Grandpa, she finds a vulture and a gorilla- well not really but close enough!  Carter has his own problems back in New York with his new "pet".  This time their adventure leads them all over ancient Egypt.  Their challenge is even bigger this time and they don't have Horus and Isis to help them.  Read more to see if they make it back to New York alive! 
*Mrs. B's note: Keep researching about Ancient Egypt.,  especially the timeline of the Egyptian Empire. 

    In book 3, Serpent's Shadow, Sadie and Carter are trying to save the world- yet, again!  The siblings are trying to stop Apophis from swallowing Ra (sun god) and destroying the whole world.  It doesn't help matters any that they are losing every scirmish that arises with the Serpent of Chaos.  They were responsible for the destruction of the 51st Nome in Dallas.  Sadie is worried about Walt and his curse of a shortened life.  Carter is trying to be a leader, but is suffering from self-doubt.  Throw in the mix a deranged ghost from ancient Egypt and you have quite a head-ache.  This was an excellent final book for the Kane Chronicles. 
*Last book in the series

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Savvy and Scumble, by Ingrid Law



      Mib's family is special.  When they turn thirteen, the Beumont family savvy appears.  What is a savvy?  Each family member has a special power.  Mib's brother Fish controls weather- or at least tries to keep his savvy in control.  Her other brother has power over electricity.  So, Mib's and her family was waiting to find out what her savvy would be.  Two days before her birthday, Poppa got into a terrible accident.  Now Mib's and her younger siblings are on a mission to get to Poppa.  Her journey shows not only her savvy but also friendship and love.  Read this wild ride!!!!


     Ledger Kale's savvy is a total dud -- all he does is make little things fall apart. So his parents decide it's safe to head to Wyoming, where it's soon revealed that Ledge's savvy is much more powerful than anyone thought. Worse, his savvy disaster has an outside witness: Sarah Jane Cabot, reporter wannabe and daughter of the local banker. Just like that, Ledge's beloved normal life is over. Now he has to keep Sarah from turning family secrets into headlines, stop her father from foreclosing on Uncle Autry's ranch, and scumble his savvy into control so that, someday, he can go home.  excerpt from the two books

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tiger's Curse, by Colleen Houck

Tiger's Curse (Tiger's Curse Series #1) by Colleen Houck: Book Cover      

  I LOVE this book!  Colleen Houck weaves an amazing tale filled with what every great fantasy needs: a heroine that thinks she's plain Jane but something so much more special, a dark and handsome stranger with magical abilities, and a strange, exotic land to explore.  Kelsey, an 18 year old, plans to spend her in summer working for an animal trainer at the circus.  She becomes entranced with a white and black striped tiger. She is drawn to him and feels no fear around him.  The tiger leads her to a world quite different from hers. old, rich culture that Kelsey tries to understand as her new reality.  I think if you like Twilight, Hunger Games, or will find Tiger's Curse even better!

  I loved Tiger's Curse so much that I didn't want to leave Kelsey and Ren.  I had a deep desire to find out what happened next.  So, I dropped everything and went to the book store to BUY it (which I never do till I KNOW I love a book- the library is free)!  Kelsey and Ren are separated just as they begin to understand how they feel about each other.  Ren's brother, Kishan helps Kelsey continue on her quest to free the brothers from their curse.  Of course, Kelsey has a very powerful pull on both Indian brothers.  Kishan sees Kelsey through a dangerous test and sees her through an even more dangerous emotional trial. 

  I am smitten by Colleen Houck's characters.  Kelsey is a great female heroine.  She is brave- but in a last minute, trust that you can, kind of way.  She is deeply in love, and honest.  She is loyal to both her tigers, even though it can be painful.  Kelsey continues to try to break the spell that has taken Ren's memories.  Though painful, Ren tries to reconnect to the remarkable American that works tirelessly to save his brother and him.  After an accident, Kelsey is rejected by Ren.  Confused, Kelsey doesn't understand why her love would scorn her.  Kishan tries to console Kelsey.  She finds she trusts Kishan and allows him to help stabilize her.  As the tiger brothers and Kelsey visit dragons, they journey to find their own identities, loyalties, and passions.  This is an excellent book- join them for a voyage you will not forget. 

*PS I am so excited that Colleen's books will become a reality.  The movie will be made in the next year! YEA!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, Nathan Bransford

age 9-12

    Jacob and his friends trade a corn dog for a space ship.  Once aboard the luxurious ship, they begin zooming out of the solar system in a hurry.  In a panic, Jacob and his friends cause an asteroid to collide with a planet- which collides with another planet- which collides with a few stars causing the Cosmic Space Kapow.  You would think that would be enough for one book, but it is just the beginning for the three friends.  They are stopped by cops, hijacked by a royal pirate, banished to a planet of dust, try to steal a huge diamond, and so much more.  If you enjoy a fast paced adventure- this book is for you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sidekicks, by Jack D. Ferraiolo

Ages 12 and up (7th grade and up for content)

   Most super heroes have a trusty side kick.  Batman had Robin, Green Hornet had Kato, and Phantom Justice has Bright Boy.  Bright Boy, Scott Hutchinson, is a normal high school student...he just has a few secrets.  Instead of worrying about teenage dramas or playing sports, Scott scours the city at night for unrelenting evil.  Yet, his world is about to get very complicated.  He has an embarrassing moment when he saves a beautiful woman from falling to her death.  As the world around him is laughing at him, Scott no longer feels comfortable as Bright Boy or himself.  His relationship with Phantom Justice is also not what he thinks.  As he navigates high school, feelings of insecurity, and good vs. evil, Scott finds out who he is and what he wants.  
     Ferraiolo writes an exciting, funny twist on the super hero tales we fondly know.  I am NOT a fan of the embarrassing incident with Scott's costume.  I think it wasn't necessary because the book is already funny.  With this exposure, I can't recommend this book to 4th-6th graders. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fablehaven, #5, Keys to the Demon Prison, by Brandon Mull

      In Brandon Mull's final book, Keys to the Demon Prison, Seth and Kendra's adventures come to a conclusion.  Normally, I like to give a partial summary to tell you what the book is about.  Unfortunately, I don't think I can do this without giving away Mull's complicated conclusion to his five book series.  Instead, I will give my review of this final book.  I think one of the pitfalls to ending a series, is the author tends to throw everything into the story including the kitchen sink.  Mull falls into this trap.  He has multiple characters that have developed over the previous four books.  As the characters separate to try to prevent the Demon King from escaping the prison, Mull has to tell numerous side stories.  In parts, I found myself losing attention.  This 588 page book is about 100 pages too long in my opinion. 
       I liked the way Seth and Kendra finally come into their powers and together make a difference in the events.  Seth really becomes a favorite for me. He continues to make childish mistakes, but shows how wrongs can be set right.
      I am not sure I would search out this book- except for it shows how the fight of good and evil ends.  In the end, I find myself wanting a few more books to see how Seth and Kendra grow into their roles in the world of fantasy they live in.