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Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Briny Deep Mysteries: Trilogy Review

**FTC disclosure: Books received at no charge to facilitate my review. As always, I am free to give an honest review.

                        The Disappearing - Book 1

For Tim and his friends the seaside town of Briny Deep is the perfect place to grow up together. Nothing bad ever happens. Nothing until a stranger comes to town and a young girl disappears. Now Tim has more to worry about than his recurring nightmare in which a stranger chases him but he alway awakens before getting caught. When one of his own friends disappear, he and his friend Max set out to solve the mystery behind the disappearances and the stranger with the yellow hair. A jarring conversation overheard by Tim leaves him with more questions than answers about what might those closest to him are hiding.

The short novel length will appeal to the reluctant reader upper middle grade reader. However, the older teen may not find the story stimulating enough, especially since the plot relies on the cliche of a recurring dream. However, the cliffhanger presented by Torres will have the paranormal science fiction fan reaching for the next installment.

The Return - Book 2

In the two weeks since his best friend, Luke, disappeared Tim hasn't found many clues to his whereabouts. He has learned the name of the stranger with the yellow-hair, Canary. He is certain if he could find out more about a place called Earth, he may be able to find his friends. In the meantime, Tim overhears a conversation that makes him worry about his remaining friends, Max, Emily and Nina. In his quest to solve the mystery of the missing children, he stumbles across a secret  tunnel. His discovery takes him from the only home Tim has ever known.

Instead of starting where the previous book left off, The Return, begins inside Tim's recurring dream, making it hard for the reader to get into the real story. It takes several chapters to follow the plot, potentially losing those who haven't read the first installment. Luckily, the excitement builds and leaves a surprise twist for the protagonist.

The Battle - Book 3

Tim and his friends, Luke, Max and Emily have uncovered the dark secret of Briny Deep and embark on a journey to a place called Earth where the surprise of their lives await. But Tim can't quell the lingering feeling that he has left something behind. Trident, the evil leader of Briny deep, has vowed to stop the return of the precious cargo that he is convinced will save his planet.

Plenty of plot twists keep the reader engaged in climax of Torres' paranormal mystery trilogy. Overall, the series wobbles on lack of strong interactions between the protagonist and his female friends. Those who love plot driven stories may overlook the lack of reliance on friends and may even admire Tim's independent streak.

Series Rating:  Good to Recommended ★★★✬☆

Publishing Information:
 Publisher: Speeding Star (Sept. 2014)
Pages: 95-96 pages each book
ISBN-13: 978-1622851737, 978-1622851812, 978-1622851867
Age Level: 9-14

These books can be purchased from the following retailers:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Affordable Eyeglasses at Firmoo: Review

**FTC Disclosure: Complimentary product received to facilitate review. No monetary compensation was received.

Less than a year ago, my prescription changed for my reading glasses. Even after reusing the frames, it still cost me $200 to have the lenses replaced.

While I knew I could order glasses over the internet, I never dared to try. I finally got a chance with Firmoo. The only thing I regret is not trying Firmoo sooner. For less than $50.00, I can get a pair of prescription glasses which includes both the frames and the lenses. Best of all, the glasses were the right prescription and fit well.

The ordering process is a little more extensive than a most online purchases. I had to obtain my prescription from my last optometry visit. Luckily, the optometry office at the mass merchandiser was very accommodating and not only gave me a copy of my prescription, but also measured my pupil distance.

Once I received my prescription, the ordering process was easy. I input the numbers and waited for my glasses. With Firmoo, you have to be patient. My glasses were shipped from outside the country and it took over three weeks for delivery. For the amount of money I would have saved compared to my last purchase, it's definitely worth the wait. The quality of my Firmoo glasses were as good as the more expensive pairs I own. The glasses fit comfortably, even after hours of use. My glasses came packages well and also included a nice case, a cleaning cloth and a small screwdriver for adjustments.

Sunglasses at Firmoo

I already have a pair of sunglasses picked out at Firmoo for my separate driving prescription. I have wanted a back up pair and don't mind waiting a few weeks to save a large amount of money.

I'm so happy Firmoo found me. I'll be using them again when my teenage son needs a pair of glasses.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ALI: An America Champion by Barry Denenberg: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Through the creative use of news documents boxing legend, Muhammed Ali, comes to life. Ali's "trash talk" and controversial mix of politics, religion and race along with his sports prowess created a media frenzy wherever he went. Denenberg's fictional use of newspaper and magazine articles, "man on the street" interviews, "breaking news" transcripts, and letters to the editor to tell the true story of the famous boxer and fits with the "larger than life" icon the media helped create during the 1960's and 70's.

Denenberg doesn't shy away from some of the unflattering events in Ali's life that came to define the legendary boxer. From his refusal to enter the draft for the Vietnam War to his relationships with Elijah Muhammed and Malcolm X, the author shows in fictional narratives the true life mixed reactions of both the black and white communities during the Civil Rights Era.

The layout of the news stories with the black and white photos of Muhammed Ali will capture the attention of even the most hesitant reader. Muhammed Ali says it best when he proclaims, "I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want." A solid biography in a unique format will resonate with those who want to stay true to themselves even when it is unpopular with those around them.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers  (Sept. 23, 2014)
ISBN: 978-1-4814-0141-8
Pages: 96
Ages 10-14

This book can be purchased at the following retailers:

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FTC Disclosure: Book was provided by publisher at no charge to aid in review. No monetary compensation was received.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giveaway: The Code Busters Club Series by Penny Warner (3 paperbacks and 1 hardback)

FTC Disclosure: Prize sponsored by publisher. No compensation was received.

I have teamed up with Egmont Publishers to offer one of my lucky readers The Code Buster Series of 3 paperback books and one hardback. 

Check out what Kirkus Reviews had to say about the The Code Buster:

“This intriguing tale has vivid characters and such a tantalizing cliffhanger that readers won't be able to resist cracking the next Code Busters.”—Kirkus Reviews

Giveaway Details:

One of my lucky readers will receive the following:

The Code Busters Club, Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key (paperback) 
2011 Agatha Award Nominee

The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse (paperback)
Winner of the 2012 Agatha Award

The Code Busters Club, Case #3: The Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure (paperback) 
2014 Agatha Award Nominee
2014 Anthony Award Nominee

The Code Busters Club, Case #4: The Mummy's Curse (hardback)

Please use Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 11/3/2014 at 11:59 EST.

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