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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Wand & The Sea by Claire M. Caterer BOOK REVIEW

Book received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
It's been a year since Holly, her brother Ben, and their friend Everett discovered the magical world of Anglielle and they're anxious to return. In Anglielle, Holly continues her training as an adept but also faces the task of rescuing her friends who have been locked up by the evil King Reynard. The rescue doesn't go quite as planned. Luckily, they end up escaping on Captain Morgan's ship, the Sea Witch. They set sail to find the missing adepts. Holly will have to learn to master the magical elements to succeed.

While Caterer has included plenty of fascinating creatures, the magical world lacks clarity at times. Add to the fact that the characters could use some deeper development makes the story feel long. The avid fantasy fan may be able to overlook the weaknesses while enjoying the pace and fantastical characters.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (June 23, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1442457447
Pages: 384
Ages Range: 8-12

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
After the death of his father from consumption (tuberculosis), twelve-year old Elias is sent to live in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave to be treated by Dr. Croghan in hopes that the cool cave vapors will cure him of his consumption. Life in the cave isn't as adventurous as Elias imagines and he escapes his boredom by following the slaves who attend to the patients and conduct tours.

Besides a hospital, the caves serve as a tourist attraction. Elias discovers it also serves as a stop in the Underground Railroad when he follows Stephen, one of the slaves, to a cavern full of runaway slaves.  When the entrances to the caves are blocked off, Elias finds himself in the crossroads of questioning the morality of slavery and protecting them or giving away their secret and risking their lives.

Bradbury uses little known but fascinating bits of history that will have the reader wanting to know more about Mammoth Caves and the real Dr. Croghan. But the real strength lies in the growth of Elias' character consistently throughout the novel. A solid historical fiction novel with a compelling main character.


Publishing Information:

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 21, 2015)
Ages: 9-13
ISBN 978-1442468245

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Eddie's Tent and How to go Camping: Book Review and Giveaway

FTC Disclosure: Book received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
Holiday time and Eddie his Mum, Tom, Lilly and Tilly prepare to explore the outdoors with a camping trip. After a long ride to the campsite, they finally get camp set up. After a night of listening to owls hooting, Eddie spends the next day exploring the beach, learning to make a fire, and making Damper Bread. While fishing Eddie meets a new friend named Max and his puppy, Bouncer. When Bouncer disappears, Eddie puts his new found survival skills to work.

While the story gives a realistic view of family life with illustrations to match, the camping tips at the end provide delightful activities for the family. The Chocolate Bananas are not only surprisingly easy to make but deliciously yummy too. A fabulous introduction to camping for the budding outdoor enthusiast.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books (May 7, 2015)
Pages: 40
ISBN-13: 978-1-84780-408-2
Ages: 4-7

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Book Giveaway Details:

Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form. Winner will receive my hardback review copy of Eddie's Tent and How to go Camping. Giveaway ends 08/30/2015 at 11:59 EST.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace: Book Review

FTC Disclosure: ARC received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

With their dad's abandonment and their mom too busy working and trying to quell her boyfriend, Bull's temper, Jake and Tyler Wilder develop survival skills they will need in their upcoming endeavor. When they witness Bull shooting another man, things only get worse. After their mother is taken away in an ambulance after been severely beaten at the hands of Bull, the two brothers flee in fear for their safety and run off with their dog to find their father who is rumored to be living off the land in Wyoming.

Armed only letters and a journal to guide them to their dad's whereabouts, the boys manage to get from Pittsburg to Wyoming only to find themselves facing challenges in the wilderness that could cost them their lives. Luckily they meet up with Skeet, a wolverine tracker who helps them but will it be enough to stay ahead of Bull and find their father?

While some of the situations seem far fetched, there's no break in the action. A fun adventure that the reader won't be able to put down until the end. Wallace gives great wilderness tips at the end that might just help in preparing for the next great outdoor experience.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publisher: Aladdin (May 5, 2015)
ISBN: 978-1481432641
Pages: 240
Ages: 8-12

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