May 16, 2013

Book Review: Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George

Title: Wednesdays in the Tower
Author: Jessica Day George

A castle that is constantly rearranging itself, and a young royal family sworn to protect it... Celie, Rolf, and their beloved Castle Glower are back in this exciting sequel.

Strange things are afoot in Castle Glower: new rooms, corridors, and even stables keep arriving, even when they aren't needed. Celie's brother Bran, the new Royal Wizard, has his hands full cataloguing an entire storeroom full of exotic and highly dangerous weapons, while Celie has her hands full . . . raising the creature that hatches from a giant egg she finds! Will they be able to find out what's making the Castle behave this way in time?

My Thoughts

Super cute, super fun book.  I really enjoyed this one.  I do have to admit that I hadn't read the first book in the series, Tuesdays at the Castle, yet, but to be honest it didn't affect my understanding of this one too much.  It was just a cute fun read!

I've said it many many times in reviews, but I have a hard time with middle school age girls that seem unrealistic or too precocious.  They just kinda annoy me (sorry!).  But once again I was pleasantly surprised!  I didn't find Celie that in any way.  She was just was just a nice girl.  I would say she was delightful, but that might sound silly.  Ok Ok I'll say it - she was delightful!  As you know I read YA as well as MG, and sometimes it's nice to just read a book where it doesn't have mean girls and high drama.  

The plot:  fun, just fun.  I loved.  From the appearing and disappearing rooms, hallways and towers to Rufus and his behavior.  It was completely enjoyable. I liked that there was mystery because it kept the tension in the book a bit higher.  Had it just been the story of Celia finding the secret in the tower without the mystery surrounding it that they had to figure out the story would not be as good.  

Final Thought: Fun MG novel with charm and sweetness
Best stick-with-you image: Any description of Rufus!
Best for readers who:  Enjoy magic, mystery and fun.
Best for ages: 9-12

For the Guys?  Yes.  The brother and sister has equal time in the story, so it will appeal to both.

May 15, 2013

Book Tour Review: The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos +GIVEAWAY

Title: The Planet Thieves
Author: Dan Krokos
Book Obtained: From publisher for honest review

The Planet Thieves is the first thrilling installment of a new middle-grade series by Dan Krokos.

Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded theSS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter.

But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.

Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.

My Thoughts

I'll admit it.  I'm not a huge sci fi fan at all.  Well that's a bit of a lie.  I LOVE all the Star Wars movies.  Love them! But when it comes to reading science fiction is not something I run to.  BUT I'm always wanting to try something new, and I'm always looking for books that will hook the boys I teach into reading.  This book fit both of those needs.  And, in the end, I enjoyed the book.

I'm so use to pointing out the awesomeness of strong girl characters that sometimes I forget I need to make sure to find books with strong, courageous  GOOD boys.  This book has that.  Mason is a fantastic character. He's strong, smart, full of courage and just a great kid.  In the risk of sounding cheesy - he's a great role model for boys reading the book.  And what I really like, he's not perfect.  He messes up, teases his sister and doesn't know all the answers.  What's great is none of that slows him down.  If something goes wrong, he pushes past it and keeps working.  I liked that.

As for the plot, I enjoyed it.  Lots of tension and lots of action.  It doesn't slow down much and that was good.  It was especially good for someone like me that doesn't love sci fi.  The action pulled me along any time I got hung up trying to keep all the new lingo and aliens straight.  As I reader I'm not good at learning new stuff like that.  Thankfully I found it pretty easy in this book!  I wasn't overly slowed down or distracted by having to figure out this futuristic world.  The plot contained enough description to keep it pictured in my head without over doing it.  

Oh did I mention that there's plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and thinking and wonderful right up until the very last page??? Well there is.  Love that.  

Final thought: Great book even for people who are in to sci fi!
Best stick-with-you image: The first description of what the Tremist.  They sounded creepy!
Best for readers who: Like actions mixed with twists and turns
Best for ages: 9-12

For the Guys?  For sure!!!

The Giveaway

The publisher has offered up a copy of The Planet  Thieves.
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May 2, 2013

Giveaway at Hooked on Books

Hey all my students have the first giveaway up on their blog.  
It's for a copy of the first two books in the Tomorrow Girls Series.  
Check it out HERE.

As my blog shuts down, you might want to follow them.  They do the writing, posting, editing etc.  Great place to hear real thoughts from real kids reading the books written for them!