Tag Archives: middle grade readers

Book Review: The Land of the Beasts by S.F. Claymore

17 Aug

“Psykoria is on the brink of civil war. King Breetor knows he must do something to appease the unrest. He decides that the only way he can win peace is by impressing the other lords with a feat so grand it will win their undying respect.

There is a legend of a land where the greatest beasts in the continent reside. In a war past, men bore witness as dragons appeared in their realm to help end the conflicts. Breetor has decided to follow their trail and find this land. If he can bring back proof of its existence, perhaps he can end the unrest in his realm once and for all…”

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

King Breetor decides that he is going to go to a faraway land to defeat a dragon and bring proof back to his people. There is growing unrest and he thinks that they will respect him if he shows them how brave he is.

What an adventure! Breetor and his men battle the sea and actually find the Land of the Beasts. Not only are there dragons but there are many dangerous beasts. The people who live in this land are welcoming, but when they find out that Breetor wants to kill a dragon, they’re not happy because they believe it will cause a war with the dragons.

Breetor’s adventure turns out to be very different from what he’d envisioned. He learns a lot about dragons as well as the Land of the Beasts. Will he be able to accomplish his goal of proving his bravery?

The Land of the Beasts is a fun adventure for readers around middle school age. For me it was a quick read that was good but it would have been better if I could have connected with the character.

About the Author

Born and raised in the UK, I have a technology-based education, but my passion has always been in creating stories, worlds, characters, and doing anything that allows me to use my imagination.

I’ve had the privilege of being able to travel many parts of the world in such a small number of years, learning of different cultures and histories. Everywhere I go, I’m always absorbing new knowledge, and when one has so many ideas bursting in their mind, there is no greater joy than allowing them to materialise.

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Book Review: The Frights of Fiji by Sunayna Prasad

24 Jun

A world of magic and adventure awaits for 12-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer kidnaps her to an enchanted island, filled with magical creatures and technology, but also danger. It is up to Alyssa to defeat the peril and overcome the warlock.

My Review

I chose to review this book after requesting a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Alyssa McCarthy was an orphan living with her uncle and cousin. She was suddenly introduced to the world of magic. Although she didn’t believe in magic to begin with, she seemed to just take it in stride. I found it odd that she told adults about the things she’d seen and expected them to believe her. Most children her age know that adults wouldn’t believe in such “nonsense.”

After Alyssa leaves home, her adventure and the magic involved is all creative but a little over the top. I don’t think middle grade or young adult readers would go for it. The story does have a good ending, however.

About the Author

Sunayna Prasad has been writing stories for over several years, starting at the age of six. Now twenty-four, she is done with college and will pursue a career in art and design as well as continue to write for children. Aside from that, Sunayna also likes to cook, watch movies, and draw. She lives on Long Island, New York, with her family.

Website http://www.sunaynaprasadbooks.com/

Audiobook Review: Primrose’s Curse by Kiara Shankar & Vinay Shankar

16 Jun

Narrator: Laura Welsh

Length: 1 hour and 28 minutes

Publisher: Vinay Shankar SP

Released: Apr. 21, 2019

Genre: Children’s; Fantasy

Synopsis

Primrose Fernetise, a beautiful, audacious 12-year-old girl, and a group of woodland animals with divine mystical abilities set out on an adventurous mission to Hellevue, a murky island on the dreary part of Mystopical. Their daring mission involves vanquishing the evil sorceress Queen Evelyn Velecrona and breaking the curse she has cast on humanity.

How do the woodland animals and Primrose plan and embark on their brave voyage to defeat the wicked sorceress?

Will the bunch of lovable woodland animals and an innocent 12-year-old girl really succeed in bringing down the dreadful Queen Evelyn? Also, will they be able to bring back peace, well-being, and happiness to humanity?

To find out more about this epic fairy tale, please do consider listening to this entire audiobook.

Available on Audible

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Primrose’s father is sick so she decides to go deep into the forest to find a healing plant. What she finds are magical woodland animals and an exciting adventure. If she and the animals are successful, they won’t just heal Primrose’s father but all of humanity!

Primrose’s Curse is for middle-grade readers. Based on the books I’ve read for middle-grade readers, I’d recommend this one to girls who are just beginning to start middle-grade books.

The narrator has a great voice for this book. She also has a good pace and timing.

About the Authors

KIARA SHANKAR is a young talented author from San Francisco, California, USA. Apart from writing books, she loves reading, artwork, writing poems, playing with her friends, and listening to her favorite Bollywood music.

Kiara’s poem “A Deadly Star” was published in the national level writing contest book “A Celebration of Poets” (Fall 2018 Edition – published by Creative Communication, Utah, USA).

VINAY SHANKAR is Kiara’s dad, a software professional, who found himself inspired by his daughter’s idea of writing fictional fairy tale books and decided to co-write books with her. This collaborative effort of the family is helping to bring great ideas to life!

Viki Publishing * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest * Instagram

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About the Narrator

Laura Welsh is a Voice Actor currently living in Sunny California. She divides her time between the Studio and maintaining her Succulent Garden, equally passionate about both! Her professional career has spanned from TV and radio commercials, video games, cartoons, and Youtube channels, and of course narrating audiobooks. Delighting in her work, she hopes to be able to bring joy and pleasure in the projects she assists with for many many years to come.

Instagram * Facebook * Twitter * Website

Book Review: Big Bad Wolf by Nancy Gray

15 Oct

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Jane is ecstatic when she gets the role of Red Riding Hood in her school play, but she didn’t realize that they’d be using the stuffed wolf prop as the Big Bad Wolf. That tattered old prop has always scared her and, lately, she has been having strange dreams about it that make it seem like it’s something more.

Jane will have to get help to save herself from the hungry spirit that has haunted her people and her nightmares before it consumes her, or worse, escapes the prison of the last creature it took to sate its horrible appetite.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Big Bad Wolf is a scary story for middle grade readers and I think it would at least send a chill down the spine of young readers. Jane is in middle school and gets the lead part in a play as Red Riding Hood. The wolf is an old stuffed wolf that was donated by a family and it scares her and gives her bad dreams.

Of course Jane tries to tell herself that she’s silly for being scared which is a normal reaction, but she finally gives in to the realization that something is very wrong and it’s more than her imagination. She eventually enlists the help of other students who also end up believing that the wolf is evil. Will they be able to get rid of the evil that lurks inside the wolf?

This is a good story for this time of year. Not only is it scary and a fun story to read but it touches a little on some Native American beliefs which may be of interest to readers. It’s definitely a story for middle grade readers and it could be one of those stories that will help get reluctant readers to pick up a book.

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About the Author

Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her middle grade series Spine Chillers. She also published her YA fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.

Her latest book is the mid-grade horror, Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Audiobook Review: Sea Breeze Academy by Bryant A. Loney

21 Sep

A group of boarding school teens in season five of a Cali-based sitcom begin to realize they are in a TV show. 

A missing student, or maybe several.
Embedded marketing, sushi, token friends, and cacti.
The sound of the Pacific waves in the background.
Smothering darkness. The threat of Alaska.
Another perfect, perfect day.
Happiness lives here.

Brooklyn, Matthew, and the gang are ready to rock their last few weeks of junior year at their elite boarding school on the California coast. But something is amiss. In the fifth and potentially last season of this award-winning television series, the struggle between truth and network censorship just might destroy their bond once and for all. Can they survive another season of love, mystery, and adolescent angst on the sunny West Coast? Will life ever be normal again?

Experimental and subversive, Sea Breeze Academy is a smart love letter to the Nickelodeon and Disney Channel sitcoms you grew up with. Are you ready?

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My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I like reading books for young adults or middle grade readers most of the time, but Sea Breeze Academy was one that was hard for me to follow. It may be better in print but the audiobook was not easy to listen to. It was more like a script than an actual book and it started with Season 5 so I was totally lost when it jumped back to Season 1.

The characters said “registered trademark” a lot when stating a brand name and it tickled me once I realized why they were saying it, especially when one of the characters asked why they kept saying it.

Although Sea Breeze Academy isn’t for me, I think this is a book that middle grade readers might enjoy reading.

 

About the Author

Bryant Loney was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1997. Sea Breeze Academy is his third novel; he is also the author of To Hear the Ocean Sigh and Take Me to the Cat. He loves dogs, poems, and haunted mansions. You can follow him on Twitter (@BALoney) and Instagram (@BryantLoney) or visit him online at www.BryantLoney.com.

 

 

Book Review: Spine Chillers by Q.L. Pearce

31 Oct

The town of Saltlick Bluff is famous for an urban legend. Does the spirit of a young girl wait on a misty cliff-hugging highway for her ride to the prom?

In the house on Beech Street, a terrible tragedy occurred. Now neighbors won’t look at the place as they pass. Those who live nearby draw their blinds and shutter their windows after dark. What are they afraid of?

Hale Hallow Woods seems sinister and menacing even in the light of day. Does a thirst for revenge beat near its dark heart?
The answers lie within these pages, just waiting to send a chill up your spine!

Available on Amazon

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I enjoyed these short stories and wish it had been around when my boys were young. They would have enjoyed them too. Like the title says, they’re hair-raising tales rather than out and out horror. The stories are well written and easy to follow, definitely kid friendly.

From the little girl who can heal to the boy who is haunting a house, the stories are a little scary, a little ironic, and a lot of fun to read.

 

About the Author

Best selling author and expert on all things that go bump in the night, Q. L. Pearce began her career as a writer and editor in 1985 with Lowell House / Roxbury Press in Los Angeles. She has since written more than one hundred and twenty books for children, including eight collections of scary stories for middle grade and film tie-in books for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the Universal animated series Land Before Time. Q believes strongly in the value of scary books for young readers. When asked what credentials she has which qualify her as an expert in this area she replies, “I was a child once. That was very scary.”

 

Websitehttps://www.qlpearce.com/

 

 

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Book Review: Guardian of the Talisman by Michael Gess

1 Jan

33630182Guardian of the Talisman (Falconara Book 1)

by Michael Gess

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publication Date: December 27, 2016

Available on Amazon.

 

Summary

A long time ago, the Dark Lord Skallerim trapped his death in a needle. He sealed the needle inside an emerald called the Izmargahd and hid it in the Shadow world, out of reach of any mortal being, and thus he became immortal.

Millenniums passed. The story of the Izmargahd became a legend, and then a fairy tale. But the emerald continued a life of its own.

The world of fourteen-year-old Nick Falconara is shattered by the news that his father disappeared without a trace during an archaeological expedition. Nick thought life couldn’t get much worse. He was wrong. He is sent to a special school – a place where “to go on a summer vacation” means to be Killed in Action and to be “expelled” means to be canceled.
As he trying to stay alive, an ancient emerald with mystical powers passes into his hands, setting in motion a strange chain of events that goes far beyond anything he could have imagined. Now Falconara should not only find his father but also save the life of his friend Katie Lynx.

As Falconara embarks on a journey beyond the world, he will face the ultimate evil, threatening to destroy everyone he loves.

 

 

My Review

I was paid to proofread this book and I chose to post a review after reading it. All opinions in this review are my own and unbiased.

Guardian of the Talisman is the first book in the Falconara series. It is about Nick Falconara, a teen whose mom and sister died in a car accident and now his dad is missing. He ends up being sent away to school but once he gets there, he realizes that is is no ordinary school. This School teaches things like combat training and they have strict rules. It’s rumored that students can’t just leave the School once they’re there; instead, they are never heard from again.

When Nick’s dad was still around, he was trying to prove that fairy tales are real stories. Nick was always embarrassed about what his dad did for a living. Now, things are happening that are making him wonder if maybe, possibly, his dad was right.

There is a lot of action in this book. Even when there’s not action, there’s always something going on. There were a couple times I had to go back and re-read a section because I got too involved in reading and forgot to proofread.

The characters aren’t typical teens but how could they be? Typical teens wouldn’t be in the School. They have all had to grow up fast, most of them before they came to the School, definitely all of them once they are enrolled in the School.

I definitely recommend Guardian of the Talisman for middle school and young adult readers. Adult readers will enjoy it as well. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

 

 

About the Author

71jgautnoyl-_ux250_Michael Gess is the author of the FALCONARA trilogy. Between working as a computer engineer, reading, and watching the old episodes of Star Trek, he wrote the first part, GUARDIAN OF THE TALISMAN. It is the beginning of the fantasy story of a fourteen-year-old Nicholas Falconara who embarks on a journey beyond the world to find his missing father. The second part of the tale, A PINT OF LIFE, will be followed by the conclusion of the story, the third part called THAT ANCIENT SERPENT.

 

 

 

Book Review: Also Known as Lard Butt by Ann Herrick

29 Jul

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Laura finds out that, Ricky, the boy who created her horrible nickname, “Lard Butt,” has moved back into town—and immediately schemes to keep him quiet. After all, she can’t let her new swim teammates, especially drool-worthy Noah, hear the horrible name! No way!

She’s determined to put a million years between grade school and junior high—even in the face of a father who drives an éclair, a would-be-movie-star mother who suddenly moves back home, and a past that comes back to haunt her with the dreaded nickname.

Although Laura’s embarrassed about how she looks in a swimsuit, she tries to stay true to her vow to take risks. She even lets Maria talk her into going to the school dance, where she braves negotiating a truce for a quarreling couple.

New friendships form, Laura’s mother starts getting too domesticated for Laura’s comfort, and hints of romance start to develop—or do they?

Available on Amazon.

 

My Review

I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

Also Known as Lard Butt is a story for middle grade readers. It’s about Laura, who has a poor self image because of her large derriere. She feels like no guy could like her because of her butt. She tries to talk to herself positively but often fails. Her mother, a wannabe actress, doesn’t help. She’s always trying to get Laura to wear dark colors to “hide her problem.” Luckily, her mom isn’t around too often.

Laura’s best friend, Maria, seems to have a little more sense when it comes to body image and is supportive of Laura. As the school year progresses, Laura learns that there’s more to life than just having a perfect body. She learns not to worry so much about what other people think and to enjoy the family and friends she has. 

I enjoyed the author’s writing style and especially her sense of humor. An example is when Laura unexpectedly sees a guy she has a crush on in a restaurant: “Startled, I whacked myself in the chin with chicken…” I think we’ve all been there. Also Known as Lard Butt is a coming of age story that I definitely recommend for tweens.

 

About the Author

507620Ann Herrick grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University.  She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart.  Their wonderful daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given Ann her only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-rottweiller-beagle mix.  While she misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  Ann loves cats, walking and working in her back yard.  In addition to stories and books for children and young adults, Ann also writes copy for humorous and conventional greeting cards.

Ann’s website

 

Book Review & Giveaway: Cryptogram Chaos by Linda Covella

2 Jun

 

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About the Book

CryptogramChaos

Title: Cryptogram Chaos

Author: Linda Covella

Publisher: IngramSpark Publication

Date: March 9, 2016

Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

Number of Pages: 197

Available on Amazon

 

Book Description

What if you were 8, or 11, or 14, and you could race cars at 150 mph, bungee jump, fly, eat all the ice cream and candy you wanted, or become powerful avatars such as Robobug, Kulshedra the dragon, and Altai, the gryphon avatar?

All this and more is possible in the ultimate virtual reality game The Cryptogram Connection created by 14-year-old computer whiz Cody Reynolds and his two classmates, Nicole Nash and Kerry McCorkle. To advance to different levels in the game, players must solve cryptograms, or secret codes. (Readers also get to solve the cryptograms.)

They create their game to be used with the latest VR technology developed by local game manufacturer NuVision Games–a headset with biosensors that transmit signals to the brain, fooling it into tasting, hearing, feeling, seeing, and smelling what was programmed into the game. The games are as close to reality as reality itself.

The game becomes every kids’ virtual dream, and Cody, Nicole, and Kerry, besides becoming national celebrities, make more money than they ever imagined. But The Cryptogram Connection turns into “cryptogram chaos” when an evil presence inhabits Zazar, the laser avatar and the most powerful, and takes control of the game. It’s up to the three partners to enter the game and fight Zazar to save the gamers from virtual—and real—disaster.

 

My Review

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

What a great read for middle school age readers! And just for added fun, the cryptograms from the game are at the end of the book so that the reader can solve them.

Cody is considered a nerd at school because he’d rather play with computers than be active in sports, etc. He is so good at writing code already that he helps improve games for NuVision, a major company in the gaming industry where his brother works.

When Nicole, one of the cool kids, asks him to help her and a friend develop a game that they have an idea for, he’s skeptical. She’s barely acknowledged his existence before now, so I was skeptical as well. It took me longer to trust these girls than it took Cody.

Once the game is up and running, it’s an instant success until there’s a major, and possibly fatal, glitch that Cody can’t figure out how to fix. Can he figure it out before it’s too late?

Talk about suspense! On top of a good story and cryptograms, there’s also a lesson: one bad decision can change a person’s life and affect the lives of many others.

I definitely recommend Cryptogram Chaos for middle grade readers as well as young adults and adults, especially if you like suspense.

 

Take a look inside the book…

cryptogram1

Cryptogram Connection: Level 1

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Cryptogram Connection: Level 2

cryptogram2

Cryptogram Connection: Level 3

 

About the Author

Linda Covella AUTHOR PHOTO

Linda Covella’s varied background and education (an AA degree in art, an AS degree in mechanical drafting & design, and a BS degree in Manufacturing Management) have led her down many paths and enriched her life experiences. But one thing she never strayed from is her love of writing.

Her first official publication was a restaurant review column for a local newspaper. But when she published articles for various children’s magazines, she realized she’d found her niche: writing for children. She hopes to bring to children the feelings books gave her when she was a child: the worlds they opened, the things they taught, the feelings they expressed.

She has published one young adult historical romance Yakimali’s Gift, and, besides Cryptogram Chaos, two other middle grade novels in The Ghost Whisperer Series: The Castle Blues Quake and The Ghosts of Pebble Brook Lodge.

She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She lives in Santa Cruz with her husband, Charlie, and dog, Ginger.

No matter what new paths Linda may travel down, she sees her writing as a lifelong joy and commitment.

Learn more about Linda and her writing at http://lindacovella.com/.

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Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a 25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice

Giveaway ends: June 13, 11:59 pm, 2016

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Linda Covella and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com.

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What Books to Give a Middle-Grader

29 May

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